RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 15296407 / 2150668X
Current Publisher: American Library Association (10.5860)
Total articles ≅ 343
Current Coverage
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Latest articles in this journal

Richard L. Saunders
RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, Volume 20; doi:10.5860/rbm.20.1.54

Abstract:Dictionaries and encyclopedias represent bundles of choices. No book is large enough to address every aspect of its topic. Space is always at a premium. There are always more terms or variants that could be included. Publication due dates always limit how much more time one could devote to a project. The choices made by authors of these two books listing terms describing books shape the works, of course, but also provide the basis for judging them together. There is merit in a head-to-head comparison.
Maggie Gallup Kopp
RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, Volume 20; doi:10.5860/rbm.20.1.12

Abstract:Archives and special collections can be sites of deep, experiential learning for college students, through hands-on engagement with primary sources in reading rooms or classrooms and through mentored learning experiences like practicums or internships. Internships are a well-established component of formal education and training in the library and archives field, and many special collections and archives host internships for graduate students in library science and archives certificate programs; some institutions also host undergraduate student internships. Internships are recognized as a way for future archivists and special collections librarians to gain training and experience, “to connect the skills and knowledge gained” in coursework to day-to-day professional practice, and to “[engage] in meaningful work under the mentorship of experienced … professionals.” For libraries and archives, an internship is often a useful means for allotting additional manpower to projects like processing or cataloging backlogs, for promoting collections, or for recruitment.
Richard Saunders
RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, Volume 20; doi:10.5860/rbm.20.1.9

Abstract:As editor, I must tell you that this issue of RBM might be more notable for what it fails to contain than for what it presents, worthy readers. You will notice that this issue runs a bit short. That is because—well, there is a story here.
Sarah Wilkinson
RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, Volume 20; doi:10.5860/rbm.20.1.28

Abstract:Archives acquire records through a variety of circumstances. While they often have a direct and ongoing relationship with record creators (such as government records and national repositories), archives may also accept donations from record creators that align with the mandate of their organization. Less commonly, archives also face the possibility of acquiring records or objects from an entity that did not create them, which raises questions about title and the authority to act. Research notes, for instance, may be owned by the funder if conducted as work-for-hire, or the intellectual property rights might be held by a university. There may be issues of consent from human subjects of research, particularly Indigenous communities, that affect whether and how records may be donated and used. Although donors may be acting in good faith, they create dilemmas for archivists about whether they can accept those records and, if they do accept the records, what limitations are imposed by the nature of the donation. Such dilemmas are also informed by the challenges of what archivists can or should do with records they already possess that have unclear or unknown ownership. The case of Iraq’s Baath Party records has an international character and exceptional circumstances that likely places it outside the experience of most archives, but the core questions of who owns the records and who has the authority to take actions in regard to those records is relevant in a wide range of circumstances. It is particularly informative when considering whether and how the principle of inalienability can complicate determinations of ownership.
Cassie Brand
RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, Volume 20; doi:10.5860/rbm.20.1.47

Abstract:Eric White’s Editio Princeps is a staggering work in which he analyzes the history and scholarship surrounding what is popularly known as the “Gutenberg Bible.” His thorough research builds upon earlier scholarship, filling in gaps in knowledge and pulling together an impressive number of primary and secondary sources to illuminate the history of this famous book.
Tamara E. Livingston
RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, Volume 20; doi:10.5860/rbm.20.1.52

Abstract:The year 2016 marked the fifty-year anniversary of the tragic and destructive flood in Florence, Italy. The floodwaters shook the world with their indiscriminate destruction of human life, property, and priceless Florentine cultural heritage. Early in November of 1966, days of heavy rains transformed the Arno River into a raging beast, overflowing its retaining walls and submerging much of the city and the area around it in foul, murky water filled with sediment, vegetation, sewage, motor oil, and the flotsam of human civilization. The floodwaters either destroyed or badly damaged historic collections of art, sculpture, architecture, books, manuscripts, and documents stored in low-level galleries or basements of institutes, libraries, museums, and private residences.
Katherine Fisher
RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, Volume 20; doi:10.5860/rbm.20.1.49

Abstract:Michèle Cloonan’s wide-ranging study of cultural heritage preservation opens with the premise that preservation is an unavoidably complex endeavor. Collaborative and interdisciplinary approaches are needed to confront threats to heritage, whether from war and genocide, resource limitations, business interests, or apathy. Cloonan—current professor and dean emerita at the Simmons School of Library and Information Science, and a former conservator, preservation librarian, and special collections curator—takes an expansive view of monuments, including in her definition not only physical edifices but also texts, artworks, collections, natural landscapes, and intangible heritage. In doing so, she emphasizes the highly contextual nature of preservation, which has social, historical, and political valences. These influences, along with legal, technological, and financial factors, shape understandings of what constitutes preservation and what can and should be preserved in any given set of circumstances.
Amy Hildreth Chen
RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, Volume 19; doi:10.5860/rbm.19.2.154

Abstract:Editors J. Kevin Graffagnino, Terese M. Austin, Jayne Ptolemy, and Brian Leigh Dunnigan seek to turn Americanists’ attention back to the origins of their field, before the titans of twentieth-century industry built our country’s major collections with the wealth of the industrial revolution. By devoting a book to the earliest collectors, dealers, and bibliographers of Americana, the editors argue that the field was already motivated by nostalgia; they assert that embedded in this history of bookmen is a narrative of how “middle and upper-class America: white, Protestant filiopietistic, and male” chose recent history, an intriguing insight in the time of “Make America Great Again” (11).
Ryan Prendergast, Kristen Totleben
RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, Volume 19; doi:10.5860/rbm.19.2.133

Abstract:This article discusses the restructuring of a literature course to include a student-curated exhibit featuring rare, illustrated volumes from the University of Rochester’s River Campus Libraries. Faculty and library staff offered an experiential learning project for students to develop skills in the areas of primary source literacy, basic exhibit design, visual and textual analysis, process writing, and public presentation. We reflect upon the challenges and opportunities of project management and offer three models for integrating rare books and exhibit curation into a range of courses across disciplines.
Michelle Urberg
RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, Volume 19; doi:10.5860/rbm.19.2.158

Abstract:Digital scholarship is a growing area of interest in the affiliated library professions. The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is trying to better support Special Collections librarians working on digital projects through the Rare Book and Manuscript Section’s Digital Special Collections Discussion Group, and through the newly formed Digital Scholarship Section, which brings together previously separate interest groups for digital curation, digital humanities, and numeric and geospatial data services. A growing number of volumes have also been published in recent years about how libraries and librarians are either supporting digital scholarship or building digital collections.