STCV. Bibliography of the Hand Press Book

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Bibliographical Units

General principle

The STCV describes bibliographical units. A bibliographical unit distinguishes itself by a separate title page, combined with separate signatures and a separate pagination. The following general principle holds true in defining bibliographical units: each printed work that was created in the same print run and presented as a separate publication, receives a separate description (bibliographically independent publications). If this work consists of multiple volumes, they are generally treated in the same description.

If one work consists of several parts, for example because they have a separate title page, it all comes down to their bibliographical dependence whether the parts need to be described separately or not. A part with its own title page, signatures and pagination is a semi-independent publication. These works are described separately but are connected to the 'mother'-description via a relation. A work that cannot have been printed separately from the main work, since the pagination or signatures are continuous, is a dependent publication. Such parts do not receive a separate description but are mentioned in a note of the type 'with'.

Bibliographically Independent Publications (Monographs)

Many works consist of a succession of chapters, books, parts, ... without there having been a separate print run for all these parts. They form one unit, a bibliographically independent publication or monograph. They are completely their own entity. Therefore, only one bibliographical description is made for such works.

In general, descriptions of bibliographically independent publications only have one collation formula and one fingerprint.

Sometimes, for different states or dubious cases, variant fingerprints are recorded. Divergent collation formulas, however, are never given in a separate collation field but indicated in a general note ('Some copies with an additional quire §6').

If there is another title page further on in the work but the work is signed and/or paginated continuously, or there is a catchword referring to the following part, there is clear evidence of one print run and therefore also of one bibliographical unit. Similarly, a table of contents mentioning both parts, or a joint privilege or index may indicate that the whole was printed in one go. In that case, we are dealing with a separately named part that is indicated by a note of the type 'with'.

Bibliographically Dependent Publications (Parts of multi-volume works)

Some works consist of multiple parts published in separate volumes. In face, these volumes are the result of several print runs, in which there was often a shorter or longer period between the printing of the volumes. Nevertheless these works are considered as one unit as regards content, since the indication of these volumes always refers to the existence of other volumes: the work is not complete otherwise. This is why these volumes receive one single bibliographical description.


In some cases, it is appropriate to describe the volumes separately, namely:

  1. when not all volumes of the work are present
  2. when the titles of the volumes differ strongly
  3. when the volumes appeared with different printers/publishers

In those cases, the unity of the separate volumes in indicated by:

  1. including the 'part indications' in the title as much as possible
  2. referring to the collective title or the title of the first volume in a general note
  3. referring in the collation field of separately printed prelims to the following volumes, such as : '§4 and 12 volumes'
  4. creating a suitable 'grouping title' that refers to the collective title or the title of the first parts, completed by an edited indication of the concerned part

A series with multiple volumes thus generally receives one description, ensuring the unity as regards contents is kept. The title(s), the author(s) and the imprint are recorded as for a monograph, as one unit. For the collation and the fingerprint, however, a division is made per bibliographically dependent part.

The first 'collation block' records the composition of the work. This block contains the bibliographical format. The indication of the number of volumes is recorded in the field 'Katernopbouw' [Quire structure]. Then the other collation blocks follow for the different volumes, each time with the pagination and the quire structure. These fields start with an indication of the volume to which they refer, consisting of their number, immediately followed by a # and a space.

Per bibliographically dependent part, a separate fingerprint is recorded. This is, just like the collation, preceded by an indication of the part to which it refers, followed by a # and a space.

It is often the case in a series that separate parts are also bound as separate volumes. But this is not always true: sometimes thinner parts are bound together. Regardless of the binding method, each bibliographically dependent parts (consisting of a separate title page, separate pagination and separate quire signatures) received its own block for collation and fingerprint, even if for example a collective title page refers to the unity of the different parts. The binding method is recorded at the copy-specific level.

Bibliographically Semi-Independent Publications (Parts)

In a number of works, there are parts that have the following four characteristics:

  1. they are announced (briefly) on the title page or in the prelims
  2. they start with a separate title page
  3. they are signed separately
  4. they have separate pagination

The announcement in the prelims is not always as explicit and often the parts are shortened or indicated by a different title. Sometimes separate prelims are added announcing the different parts, while the title page only refers to them in general terms. The disappearance of signatures or pagination, or the start of pagination in an otherwise unpaginated work, are also considered as new signatures or a new pagination. New signatures in lower case are also considered new signatures. In some instances, the change in signatures is not clear enough (if the last series ends on Z) and other elements need to be looked at.


A-P Aa-Cc: new series of signatures
A-Z a-d: new series of signatures
A-Z A-P: new series of signatures
A-Z AA-CC: unclear

A-Z Aa-Pp: unclear

When in doubt, catchwords, joint indexes or privileges,... may offer additional indications on the (lack of) unity of the parts. If a part starts in the last gathering of the previous part, this is more a case of bibliographical dependence than if the beginning of a new part coincides with a new gathering.

The cases described here are all examples of semi-independent parts. They parts came separately off the press (see the separate signatures and/or pagination and the separate title page) but they do belong together (see the announcement on the title page or in the prelims of the first part). These parts are therefore described separately but are put into relation with each other. We distinguish two possibilities: the construction 'incorporates' and the construction 'contains'.

It sometimes happens that two works are considered as separate bibliographical units even though they did come off the press together. This may happen when the works have a clear coherence as regards contents but still have a separate title page, a new pagination and a new series of signatures, but where this signature suggests that it follows another (for example a signature as AA). In that case, they are mentioned in a general note.

Incorporates / Part of Incorporates

In this construction, the title page of a work announces, usually in a smaller font, one or more works by name. This means we have a main work to which a number of semi-independent publications are added. These other works have a separate title page and are signed and/or paginated separately but do still belong together. This is, in first instance, evident from the title page but may also appear from the presence of a joint table of contents, index or privilege or a catchword that refers to the start of the incorporated part.

If it turns out that a semi-independent part was also sold separately, the 'mother'-description receives a general note. This may for example result from a new start in signatures and/or pagination. But this is not always the case. It also happens that a part of the gathering is all of a sudden signed differently at the start of a new part as regards content. For example: collation A-E12 but gathering E is signed from f. E9 until and including f. E12 as a1-a4, so that it appears to be a separate gathering a4.

Contains / Part of Contains

This construction does not occur often. It is recognisable by the presence of a limited 'container' at the start of the work. In essence, this container consists of a title page, possibly followed by prelims, to which other publications are then added. These publications generally appeared earlier already, even though this is not necessary. At the end may follow for example an index or table of contents for the entire collection. Unlike the incorporates construction, it is not possible to speak of one main work.

The composition of a container is, in general, less fixed than that of incorporates. For incorporates the composition of the semi-independent parts is more fixed since they are more or less announced on the title page of the first part. For a container, the specially made title page usually carries a general, vague title, leaving the composition of the whole relatively free.


For extensive, artificial collections without fixed contents (so also without table of contents), no relations are made. The quire structure of the collective description does indicate that there are separate parts.


Collation: §4 and 24 separately entered tragedies

Description of Incorporates and Container

For the description of an incorporates or container construction, the starting point is always a 'mother'-description to which other works are added. The 'mother'-description contains elements of the entire publication. The 'daughter'-descriptions only record those data that are relevant for the part. In an incorporates construction, the 'mother'-description is the main work. In a container construction, the 'mother'-description is the collective title (possibly followed by separate prelims), or the first work.

Field Mother-description Daughter-description
Title Collective title, title of the main work or of the first work Title of the semi-independent part as indicated on the separate title page
Authors All authors of all parts Authors of the separate title page
Imprint Imprint of the collective title page, plus possible diverging imprints of the daughter-descriptions Imprint of the separate title page. If this differs from that of the mother-description this is indicated in a general note.
Collation Entire publication, separated per part by punctuation:
; for the pagination
, for the collation formula
Only of the part
Fingerprint Entire publication in one field, with addition of consecutive numbers per part (1b1, 2b1, 3b1, ...) Only of the part
Subjects & typography keywords All codes of all parts Only of the part
Relation incorp

Separately Named Parts (Note of the type 'With')

If a work contains two title pages or the title page refers separately and explicitly to a part of the work but the works are signed and/or paginated continuously or a catchword refers to the following part, it is clear evidence of one print run and therefore one bibliographical unit. The continuous signatures and/or pagination furthermore make it difficult to present the work as a separate entity. We therefore make only one bibliographical description. It may also happen that a part of the work is mentioned separately on the title page but does not have a separate title page. Here, too, we record it in a note of the type 'with'. Separately named appendices, indexes or notes are not recorded in a note of the type 'with'.

A note of the type 'with' records, if present, the following elements:

  1. author of the part
  2. title of the part
  3. imprint details
  4. place in the work

These elements are taken from the part, in many cases therefore from the additional title page. Author, title and imprint are cited and transcribed according to the general rules for the title page. If the author is not mentioned at the start of the part but appears elsewhere in the work (title page, privilege, ...) the main form is noted. The title and the imprint of the additional title page serve as starting point for the reference. If the title lacks there, then the reference of the actual title page is cited. In other cases the incipit is used. If the additional title page does not mention an imprint, this information is not present in the note. The mention of the place where it is found in the work is compulsory and is presented between round brackets (parentheses). The first and last folio is indicated, each time with the side of the folio (recto-verso) on which the part appears.

Exception: collected works and opera omnia
In large collections with such titles as Opera omnia, no notes of the type 'with' are used since the presence of each part is implied in the collective title of the main work. If, however, it concerns a separately mentioned part by another author, for example a biography or commentary, this is recorded in a note of the type 'with'.