Starting next Friday, we will be featuring a series of posts on the subject of categories of rare books commonly found in special collections libraries. The posts will showcase the work of graduate students in the fall session of the Faculty of Information course INF2162: Rare Books & Manuscripts. As part of an assignment using cataloguing manuals from the RBMS Controlled Vocabularies for Genre Terms, students produced a brief annotated bibliography of categories, or genres, of rare books according to their physical features as textual objects.
While literary genres are defined in terms of their composition (literary technique, tone, content, and length), the description of genres in rare books often focuses on the physical manifestation of such genres. From religious works in Indigenous languages to yellowbacks, zines, and cookbooks, this series of posts will capture the idea that the book is the “ultimate shape-shifting object” by paying attention to the definition of rare book genres in connection to bibliographical features such as format, typography, book illustration, mise-en-page, and more.
- David Fernández, Rare Book Librarian, Fisher Library