CATALOGUE OF THE
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Corvey Microfiche Edition (CME)
represents one of the most significant and useful resources
available to researchers in the field of Romantic studies.
The English Language collection of belles lettres in
the Corvey library, which Cardiff University purchased in
March 1997, consists of around 3,290
separate titles housed on over 10,000
microfiches. The CME was published in 1987, and in the ten
years between the release of Edition Corvey much new
information about its titles has come to light, including
such things as accurate authorial ascriptions, which makes
a new catalogue highly desirable.
receiving a three-year studentship at Cardiff University,
part of my role has included the development of an Access
97 database to store details of each title of the CME.
The long-term aim of preparing the catalogue directly as a
database is to make it available (either externally through
the Internet, or internally within the campus network) as
a fully searchable application. The advantages of using the
feature-rich set offered by Access means that searches do
not have to be limited to simple Author-Title queries, but
can be made in a number of ways, including Boolean searches,
statistical queries (with graphical representations), different
levels of data output per record, and so forth. By developing
the catalogue dynamically, I hope to make the finished application
a tool which will be more substantial than than a linear checklist
or an electronic card-index file.
AND INITIAL SOUNDINGS
methodology has been quite simple (if a little haphazard at
the moment). The first wave of checking has been based on
going through existing material from the 1810s (which happens
to coincide with the period I am studying for my doctoral
research). The reasons for this are three-fold:
have been lucky enought to have access to material covering
the period 18001829 based on the work of my supervisor,
Professor Peter Garside, and his colleagues. In association
with Professors James Raven and Rainer Schöwerling,
Dr Garside has been compiling English Novels: A Bibliographical
Survey of Fiction Published in the British Isles, 17701829,
contracted to be published by Oxford University Press.
The completion of research towards the second volume
(180029) coincides with my studies at Cardiff,
and I have already done some minor research work towards
the bibliography in my previous two years at Cardiff.
on this raw bibliographical data for 180029, I
have already constructed a database of fiction (again
in Access 97), which covers various aspects of the literary
marketplace of the time, such as gender, volume prices,
publishing concerns, and so forth.
the nine years or so of this research is coming towards
its conclusion, my collation of the CMEs will enable a twofold
checking process to take place: ensuring the accuracy of
the bibliographical entries against source texts (e.g. title
details, publishing information, pagination, etc.), and
the identifications made in the bibliography will allow
me to correct any errors of ascription made in previous
catalogues of the CME.
beginning with fiction of the 1810s, however, I have availed
myself of recording details of any other titles which have
come my way in the course of either my own research or that
of my colleagues. This will therefore explain the variation
in dates of the 100 sample entries which form the second section
of this article. Once I have made my way through the 2,256
entries from these first three decades of the nineteenth century,
my aim is to continue cataloguing the remaining fiches by
working from first ISBN to last.
Because of the rather unwieldy nature of the microfiche form,
I concluded that perhaps one advantage of a recataloguing
of the CME might be that I can record particular details on
a fiche-by-fiche basis, as well as on per-title terms. This
means that a querent wishing to search for a particular passage
to which they have found an oblique reference will be able
to easily locate the appropriate page with a minimum of trouble.
Again, the advantages of using a database for this process
are more than obvioussearches can be constrained to
something as simple as an author-title query, or expanded
to locate a certain page on a particular fiche.
initial policy as far as the whole text is concerned has been
to record fullest details wherever possible: extraneous data
can easily be hidden or removed at a later time. To this end,
I have accurately recorded the full title and publication
details as given on the title-page of the first volume, as
well as counting the number of chapters and pages (including
advertisements for other works) in each volume/fiche. Whether
this amount of detail will be necessary in the final application
remains to be seen, but in the first stage of cataloguing
it is far better to have unambiguous (if ponderous) data before
deciding what to do with the catalogue in its final entirety.
Certainly, at a later date further summarising
data will be added to each record, to address gender, short
titles, publishers details, and so forth.
addition to these essential bibliographical details, I have
recorded the type of work which is being catalogued, with
broad classifications being: Poetry/Drama/Fiction/Non-Fiction,
which then are divided into various sub-types, such as Tales,
Novel, Ephemera, Travel-Writing, and so forth. Finally, I
have also recorded any significant variations, inconsistencies,
and qualities which are immediately noticeable in the text
(obviously, in a project of this scope, one can never hope
to identify the more subtle aspects of a text).
these aims in mind, therefore, I have broken the cataloguing
into a number of identifiable masks or fields, divided into
two segments: Text and Fiches.
A generic classification,
as noted above, is made on a text-by-text basis: this will
form the basis of dividing the catalogue into various appropriate
sections at the time of publishing in either hard copy or
as a software application. The sample checklist already divides
into the different genres/types which I have already encountered.
Each entry then follows the formula listed below:
full ISBN starts each entry,
with the first four digits always being 3-628, barring
the odd errors made by the publishers of the CME (such
as transposition of basic characters). Also recorded with
the ISBN is the number of fiche
held under that denomination. In the checklist this has
been marked off in blue
details then follow in bold type, wherever possible
noting new and proven ascriptions. Identified parts of
an authors name are given in square brackets <[
]>, whether these be whole names or parts thereof.
Where the CME catalogue differs from my own records, this
is denoted by an asterisk <*> and an entry in a
separate Notes field (see below).
full title then follows in
italics, with the following level of standardisation:
nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and proper names are
capitalised, while prepositions, articles, and conjunctions
are lower-case (unless they begin a new sentence or follow
details then follow, again with the same system
of standardisation for titles. The place
of publication, publishers’ imprint,
and date of publication are
actually divided into three separate fields in the database.
These can either remain discrete (for a date/place search
for example spanning a number of years) or can be combined
in a report or hard copy into one segment of an entry
(as has been done in the sample checklist, where they
are contained within round brackets <( )>).
information for the entry is given, again having
been standardised to some extent, with the last applicable
page-number of each segment forming the basis for each
entry. Volume numbers are
given in upper-case roman numerals, while full body-text
pages are recorded in arabic.
Any other paginated matter occurring within the text,
such as prefaces, introductions, subscription lists, dedications,
and so forth, are given in lower-case roman numerals.
Whenever misnumbering has occurred or pages are unnumbered,
the pagination is given in square <[ ]> brackets.
This is followed by a record of the actual size
of the text, based on the established practice of counting
the number of leaves between printers’ signatures to determine
the collation of the original sheet. Again, if any variations
have occurred, these are noted in the Notes field.
remaining text details consist of the edition
number (when locatable), and any significant
notes, of a bibliographical or textual nature.
In the checklist, this section is denoted by an asterisk
<*> followed by the edition number in square brackets
<[ ]>, with applicable notes if necessary.
fiche details are presented on separate lines, broken by either
a new fiche number, a new volume, or a sectioned break within
the text itself (e.g. a new story in a collection of tales,
notes to the text, etc.).
first sections record the appropriate fiche
(abbreviated <F> followed by an arabic numeral)
and volume numbers (<Vol>
followed by an upper-case roman numeral) for the entry,
and each new fiche and volume consistutes a separate entry
in the database.
these are the chapter details
<Ch>, although any ‘chapter-equivalents’, such as
introductions and conclusions, or short-story titles,
poem-sections, etc. are recorded here.
information <pp> then follows, with the last
page of the appropriate type/s given in all cases but
that of the body text (which can be split across fiche,
hence necessitating a more detailed record).
text pagination is recorded in arabic numerals,
with any misnumbering or unnumbered pages causing square
brackets <[ ]> to be used. This could be the case
for the first-page of the text proper beginning with
a number other than one, or ending without a marked
page number, etc. The only exception to this rule is
that of where the page begins with the number ‘1’: as
is usually the case with books, the first page number
is rarely printed, and it is rather tedious to employ
brackets to denote what is a standard printing practice.
noted above, any matter that forms part of the text,
such as prefaces, dedications, subscription lists, and
so on, is recorded in lower-case roman numerals. Additional
(unnumbered) textual apparatus, such as contents pages,
errata, and advertisements for other works are given
in arabic numbers. More often than not, these types
of pages are unnumbered so that they will generally
be surrounded by square brackets <[ ]>. One proviso
need be noted: if the text itself numbers an introduction
(normally recorded in roman numbers) in arabics, then
this practice is followed in the catalogue; similarly,
if contents pages are recorded in roman, this is equally
reflected in the catalogue.
is a list of abbreviations and terms used in the case of the
fiche details (for pagination information generally), although
occasionally fuller details might be recorded for the sake
advertisements for other works (if an ‘Advertisement’ by the
author to his/her readers occurs, this is noted in full where
appropriate); cont continued; contents contents
pages; ded dedication; errata corrections to
the text; inc including; incom incomplete; introd
introduction; notes textual notes given by author/publisher
(i.e., not editorial notes given in present day); p
page/s; preface preface; subs subscription list;
entries have been arranged by their genre and then ISBNs for
the sake of convenience, although arranging by author, short
title, gender, date, etc. is also possible.
A.A.M., August 1998
30 September 1999.
This document is maintained by Anthony Mandal (Mandal@cf.ac.uk).