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using msDesc for rare books

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using msDesc for rare books

Lou Burnard-6

Every now and then we hear tell of people using the TEI <msDesc> element to represent bibliographic information about things that are not strictly speaking manuscripts at all. I'm looking at a project which wants to encode very detailed information about specific copies of printed books (page layout, binding, ownership etc.) and I am wondering if there's a consensus out there about how to tweak <msDesc> for the purpose. Specifically, today I am wondering how people go about recording detailed notes about the printing of books, that is notes that say things like

"226 copies printed; 5 copies in-quarto, raisin on imperial Japan, with 2 original engravings, numbered from I to V, plus an author's copy ex-series numbered 0; 20 copies in-quarto, raisin[1] on Hollande Van Helder, with 2 original engravings, numbered from VI to XXV; 200 copies in-octavo Jesus[1] on laid Alfa numbered from 1 to 200"

[This is my translation of the original, which reads "5 ex. in-quarto raisin sur Japon impérial avec deux gravures originales de Henri Laurens, numérotés de I à V ainsi qu'un ex. d'auteur hors série numéroté 0 ; 20 ex. in-quarto raisin sur Hollande Van Gelder avec deux gravures originales de Henri Laurens, numérotés de VI à XXV ; 200 ex. in-octavo Jésus sur Alfa vergé numérotés de 1 à 200"]

I guess I could just wrap the whole thing in a <note type="copies"> but that seems a bit dull and doesn't capture the structure. Moreover, this is summary information about three (or possibly four) *groups* of copies, so it's not copy-specific in quite the same way as the physDesc of a msDesc would be.  Did someone say "frbr"?

[1] this is the name of the paper size, if you're wondering. Or so I learn from the internet "In olden times, a pattern or a letter drawn from the daily life of the paper makers and imprinted in the paper used to give it its name. People used to buy raisin paper (50 x 65cm) as it bore the imprint of a bunch of grapes, coquille paper (44 x 56cm), Jesus paper (56 x 76cm) with the imprint of Jesus' monogram – JHS –grand aigle paper (75 x 110cm), etc."


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