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Rare Books and Special Collections

A landmark examination of the rare book and special collections field written by a veteran expert.

By: Sidney E Berger (Author)

537 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations

Facet Publishing (formerly Library Association Publishing)

Paperback | Aug 2014 | #216811 | ISBN-13: 9781783300150
Availability: Usually dispatched within 7 days Details
NHBS Price: £84.99 $104/€95 approx

About this book

From cuneiform, coins, and codices to prints, drawings, photographs, and maps, departments of rare books and special collections are the premier repositories of significant printed and manuscript works and artifacts. Entrusted with the responsibility of preserving the records of history and culture, these institutions enable access to millions of source materials.

Sidney E. Berger, a veteran of rare book and special collections, offers a landmark examination of this field, aimed at practitioners in the library field, instructors teaching courses on the subject, booksellers, private collectors, historians, bibliophiles, and others involved in rare and unique materials.

Showing readers everything they need to know about rare books and special collections, this wide-ranging book covers the following key topics:
- The profession's history and its relevance in the face of an increasingly digital world
- Archives' relationship to the special collections department and their role in the wider institution
- Collection development, cataloging, processing, physical layout, and other operational functions, with coverage of acquisition sources and methods
- What everyone needs to know about the physical materials in their care, including preservation, conservation, and restoration, storage, handling, and security
- Reference and outreach services, including a look at exhibitions and tours
- Fundraising and financial management; legal and ethical issues; forgeries, fakes, and facsimiles; bibliography and its impact on the rare book world, including a look at booksellers, donors, and auctions
- The present state of books in our digital environment
- The vocabulary of the trade

Rare Books and Special Collections presents a meticulous and systematic understanding of this growing field.


1. Some practical realities
2. Running a rare book department
3. Archives
4. The physical materials of the collection
5A. Physical layout and collections operations
5B. Fundraising
6. Security
7. Legal issues
8. Bibliography
9. Book collecting and handling
10. Outreach
11. Preservation, conservation, and restoration
12. Special collections departments today
13. Other issues

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Sidney E. Berger is the Ann C. Pingree Director of the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, USA. Since 2002, he has been a professor at Simmons College in Boston, USA, where he teaches Editing Copy and Proof, History of the Book, and Rare Books and Special Collections Librarianship. Sid is also an adjunct professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA. He has published and lectured widely on literary, bibliographical, and library subjects.

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