STCV. Bibliography of the Hand Press Book

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Typographical Characteristics


With the help of typographical characteristics, a general picture is sketched of the techniques and outward elements used during printing. The aim is to name the different (typo)graphical elements in the description, so a user can effortlessly trace the presence of an engraved title page, the use of italics in the text or printer's devices in publications. For an overview of all elements, check the list of typographical characteristics.

General Remarks

The list of typographical characteristics is based on that of the STCN, including the mix of strictly formal, graphic categories and elements concerning content.

Besides strictly formal elements indicating the presence of illustrations, printer's devices, typefaces and the use of colour in typography, the list also contains content elements: does the work contains book lists, is the price mentioned and is there a list of subscribers?

In the list of formal characteristics, too, there are aspects of content: a distinction is made between illustrations in the prelims and the body matter, within and outside of collation. Clear boundaries between what falls within the prelims or what falls within or outside of collation cannot be defined by watertight rules.

To the exhaustive list of characteristics, STCV added a few more subcategories indicating the presence of coats of arms, author's portraits and maps within the prelims or elsewhere, within or outside of collation. There is also a code for the use of multiple colours elsewhere in the work.

Inputting Typographical Characteristics in Brocade

You can add as many characteristics as needed, keeping in mind the general aim of the publication.

The keywords for typographical characteristics are added by entering the codes in the 'subject'-field. Multiple keywords may be added in one go. In that case, they need to be separated by a semicolon or entered in separate lines in the field.

Additional information about the Typographical Characteristics

A number of definitions and elements are further explained here. The full overview can be found in the list of typographical characteristics.

In the prelims, within collation and outside collation

It is not always clear where precisely the prelims end. In first instance, purely formal elements, such as the signing, are considered. The prelims are often unsigned or signed differently, which is reflected in the collation formula. Sometimes, a gathering at the beginning of a work is signed double. The change in signature then is usually connected with the transition from prelims to body matter. Illustrations before that transition are then considered as belonging to the prelims, illustrations after the transition are considered as belonging to the body matter. Only two types of engravings are considered as belonging within the collation, even if they are added on separate leaves: the engraved title page and the frontispiece (an illustration characteristic of the entire work without an imprint or a title).

Illustrations on the title page/in the prelims (t010-t013)

  • By illustration, for example on the title page, we mean an image that is not used arbitrarily. A generic ornament (e.g. a bouquet of flowers) to embellish the title page is not considered an illustration. However, a commonly used image that represent an aspect of the work (e.g. a stylistic reproduction of a stage-coach for a travel story), is considered an illustration. A vignette, which should not be confused with the printer's device, is not considered an illustration when it is merely used as an ornament and there is not reference to the contents of the work.
  • All illustrations on the typographical title page, the engraved title page and the printed cover, receive the code t010. So, too, any illustration characteristic of the work as a whole (like a frontispiece), a coat of arms, a map or a portrait of the author belonging to the prelims or added to it, receives the code t010, t011, t012 or t013. It happens regularly that these last categories of illustrations are added to the prelims on separate leaves and are therefore not always visible in the collation formula. This does not prevent, however, the addition of the codes t010, t011, t012 or t013.

Illustrations outside of the prelims (t020-t033)

For illustrations not belonging to the prelims, a distinction is made between illustrations within collation and illustrations outside of collation. Unless it concerns clearly defined categories of sequential series of images corresponding to clearly defined passages, all illustrations on unsigned, added leaves are barred from the collation.

Book lists of printers and booksellers (t050-t060)

  • When a work contains a book list from the printer or the bookseller, the code t050 respectively t060 is added. This is also true when the entire work is a list from the printer or bookseller, as in for example auction catalogues. They also receive these codes.
  • A printer's book list may be perceived as a publisher's catalogue. He has printed the books or owns the copyright of these books and offers them for sale in large quantities.
  • A bookseller's book list may be perceived as a stock list. The copies from this list are for sale in a specific book shop.

Book list: other (t070)

These 'other' could be, for example, advertisements, such as book announcements in a text and bibliographical reference works.

Printer's device (t080)

  • Printer's devices on the title page, at the back or elsewhere in the work receive the code t080. As there is no overview yet of all printer's devices in the Southern Netherlands, it may not always be immediately clear whether an image on the title page should be considered a printer's device or not. When in doubt, this code is still added. Such doubt may be expressed in the cataloguing remarks.
  • The location of printer's devices in a less obvious place, is explained in a general note.
  • Vignettes of specific organisations and groups (e.g. IHS for the Jesuits), or vignettes of a merely embellishing nature, do not receive the code t080.

Typefaces (t090-t190)

  • A code for a specific typeface is only added when the majority of the text is set in that typeface. An exception to this rule is made for the code t115 for the financière typeface, the code t120 for the civilité typeface and the code t170 for music notation. In these cases, the mere presence is enough.
  • When a substantial part of the work is set in Roman and another clearly defined part in italic (e.g. a Latin text on the one hand and its translation on the other, one text one way and the commentary another way, one part in prose and another in verse, etc.) then both keywords are added. This also holds true for other combinations of typefaces.
  • When an entire work is set in Gothic typeface and the title page contains a few words in Roman, the overall aim of the work is considered and only the keyword for the Gothic typeface is added. This is also true for similar cases.
  • When an entire work is set in Gothic typeface but the privilege, for example, is set in Roman, then only the keyword for Gothic typeface is added. The privilege cannot be counted as part of the actual intended texts: the work was not produced for the privilege but for the actual text. The fact that the privilege is set in Roman typeface is therefore neglected. This is also true for similar cases.

Engraved title page (t200)

By an engraved title page, we mean a page that has been engraved in its entirety. An engraved title page contains, at the least, a title or an imprint. When both elements are lacking, we could only, potentially, speak of a frontispice. An engraved title page is usually composed of engraved text and figurative elements. In that case, both the codes t200 and t010 (for illustrations on the title page) are added, potentially also the code t011 (for a coat of arms), the code t012 (for an author's portrait) or the code t013 (for a map). In rare cases, the engraved title page only consists of engraved text. Then, only the code t200 is added.

Typographical title page (t210)

When a title page contains typography, we speak of a typographical title page, even if the majority of the space on the page is taken up by an engraving or a woodcut. When the typographical title page, besides typographical text, also contains engraved text or an illustration (engraving or woodcut), then the codes t010 (illustrations), t011 (coat of arms), t012 (author's portrait) or t013 (map) are also added.

No title page (t220)

The code t220 is added in two cases.

  • When a work is published without a title page, then the code t220 has permanent status. This also includes double-sided single-sheet prints.
  • When in the copies of a described work, the title page is lacking but there had probably been one, then the code t220 is added up until the moment a copy with its title page is found.

Each work receives at least one of the codes t200, t210 and t220. The use of the code t220 excludes the other two codes.

Single-page print (broadside) (t221)

Single-sheet prints (one-sided single-sheet prints) receive the descriptor t221. Double-sided single-sheet prints, however, receive the descriptor t220 (no title page).

Title page in multiple colours (t230)

When multiple colours (usually red and black) are used on the title page, the code t230 is added. However, when an entire title page is printed in red, this is not done. In that case, this may be mentioned in a general note. The use of multiple colours elsewhere in the work is indicated by the code t231.

Use of multiple colours elsewhere in the work (t231)

  • When multiple colours (usually red and black) are used in more or less large parts of the work (e.g. in an extensive index, at the beginning of each chapter) in a systematic manner, then the code t231 is added. This code can be combined with the code t230 for title pages in multiple colours.
  • Colouring by hand never results in the adding of the codes t230 or t231: the codes are reserved for printed colours. Hand-coloured copies can be indicated in the copy-specific information.