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ODLIS

Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science

by Joan M. Reitz
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b&w
See: black and white.


back
The sewn or binding edge of the gathered sections of a book to which the lining is applied. The back may be flat, but more often it is given a convex curve in a binding procedure called rounding. A flexible or hollow back is preferable because it allows the volume to open flat. Compare with backstrip and spine. See also: rebacked and tight back.


backbone
In telecommunication, the portion of a physical network that covers the longest distance and handles the heaviest traffic. To operate at the highest possible transmission speed, it must be constructed of cable that provides maximum bandwidth. On the Internet, regional networks are connected to the fiber-optic backbone, smaller networks are connected to regional networks, and so on, down the line. To see examples for various countries, try a keywords search on the phrase "internet and backbone" in Google Images.

Synonymous in bookbinding with spine.


backdate
To make a document or transaction effective from a date earlier than its actual date, for example, a book order given a prior date with the publisher's permission, to allow the purchaser to qualify for an expired discount.


back file
All the issues of a periodical that precede the current issue, usually bound in annual volumes or converted to microfilm or microfiche to conserve space. In the catalog record, the extent of the back file is indicated in the holdings statement. See also: holdings.


back fold
The fold along which a signature is gathered to form the binding edge of a book, left uncut in sewn bindings but trimmed in perfect binding to allow the adhesive to bond more securely. Synonymous with spine fold.


background
In pictorial art, the parts of a scene that appear to lie in the distance, behind figures and objects in the foreground. In illuminated manuscripts, the background in a miniature can be undecorated, diapered, or foliate, with or without gilding, as in the preceding examples from a Gospel book and a Bible historiale (Getty Museum, MS 65 & 1). In the late Middle Ages, miniatures were often painted against a naturalistic background, as in this miniature from Des Cas des Nobles by the Boucicaut Master (Getty, MS 63).


backing
In bookbinding, the process of shaping a shoulder on each side of the binding edge of the text block after rounding, before lining is applied to the back. In hand-binding, a backing hammer is used to bend the backs of the sewn sections from the center of the text block toward the front and back, forming ridges against which the boards of the cover rest. By folding the leaves over each other close to the binding edge, the process also helps maintain the rounded shape of the spine, preventing the leaves from working their way forward. Used since the 16th century, backing also enhances the openability of a volume by creating a slight crease in each leaf near the spine. Click here to see the process illustrated. In edition binding and library binding, backing is done by machine.

Also, a conservation treatment in which an additional layer is applied to a flat item to provide support, usually on the reverse side of a weakened sheet. Also refers to the material added as reinforcement.


back issue
Any issue of a periodical that precedes the current issue. Back issues are usually retained in a back file, which may be stored in a different location in the periodicals section of a library, sometimes converted to a more compact format, such as microfilm or microfiche. In the catalog record, the extent of the back file is indicated in the holdings statement. Synonymous with back number. See also: back set dealer.


back-lining
See: lining.


backlist
All the publications on a publisher's active list that are no longer new, having been published prior to the current season. Kept in stock to meet future demand, backlist titles are often the most profitable part of a publisher's list. Also spelled back-list. Compare with frontlist. See also: in print, out of print, and out of stock.


backlog
An accumulation of work that remains to be done, often the cause of delays and bottlenecks in workflow. A cataloging backlog may result when staffing is insufficient to meet the demands of acquisitions; for example, when a substantial gift is received within a short period of time. Synonymous in this sense with arrears.


back matter
The pages following the text at the end of a book on which the appendices, notes, bibliographies, list of contributors, indices, imprint, and any advertising normally appear. In scholarly works, the back matter may be considerable. Back matter is paginated in arabic numerals continuously with the text. Blank leaves may be included at the end to make up a full section. Synonymous with end matter, postliminary matter, reference matter, and subsidiaries. Compare with front matter. See also: parts of a book.


back number
See: back issue.


back order (BO)
An order for library materials that could not be filled when originally placed because at least one of the items requested was not in stock or was as yet unpublished. Back orders are held open for future delivery, usually for a designated period of time, after which they are canceled. Synonymous in the UK with dues. See also: reorder and short shipment.


back page
The last page of an issue of a periodical (verso of the last leaf), facing the inside of the back cover. In some publications (example: Booklist), the back page is reserved for a regular column or editorial. See also: front page.


back set dealer
A commercial company in the business of supplying noncurrent volumes and issues of serial publications to libraries and other institutions, usually to replace missing items or fill gaps in the library's holdings of a particular title (example: Periodicals Service Company). Synonymous with back volume dealer.


backslanted
A typeface or handwriting that inclines to the left of center.


backslash
A character consisting of a straight line slanting diagonally from upper left to lower right, used mainly in computer programming notation and to separate directory and filenames in DOS and Windows (example: c:\bib\bib.txt referring to the bib.txt file in the bib folder stored on the c:\ disk drive). Also spelled back slash. Synonymous with reverse solidus. Compare with slash.


backstrip
In bookbinding, the central portion of the covering material, extending from the front joint to the back joint over the inlay separating the boards, stamped with the spine title and the author's name in most editions. Sometimes used synonymously with spine. Compare with back. See also: lining.


back title
See: spine title.


back to back
In library cataloging, a term used in the physical description area of the bibliographic record to describe: (1) two maps that are versions of the same work in two different languages, printed on alternate sides of a single sheet; or (2) two parts of a bilingual atlas published tête-bêche in a single volume.


backup
In data processing, to make a second copy of an important data file in case the original is lost, damaged, or destroyed. Also refers to computer files, equipment, and procedures created and maintained specifically for use in the event of loss or failure of normal systems. In a more general sense, any strategy designed to be implemented if a preferred method or system fails.

Also, to print the reverse side of a sheet that has already been printed on one side. Also spelled back up.


badge
A printed, engraved, or photographic device in plastic, metal, paper, or cloth indicating support of a cause, signifying membership or achievement in a group or society, or verifying identity, usually intended to be worn visibly on the person and often preserved as memorabilia (example: a political campaign button). In AACR2, badges are cataloged as graphic materials.

Also, a removable name tag worn by a library employee who works in public services, identifying the wearer to library patrons. A badge may also indicate the individual's position, enabling the patron to distinguish professionally trained librarians from members of the technical staff. Not all libraries encourage employees to wear badges. For reasons of personal safety, some staff members wish to avoid public display of their real name. Badges are also worn at library conferences to identify attendees, by name and institution, to other participants.


Baker & Taylor (B&T)
A jobber in the business of supplying books, videocassettes, and music materials to retailers and libraries, usually at a discount, and of providing value added and customized services to meet the needs of libraries of all types. B&T products and services are listed and described in its trade catalogs. Click here to connect to the B&T homepage.


balance
In budgeting, to keep expenditures in line with income, usually for the duration of a fixed accounting period. In printing and Web page design, to arrange text and graphics on a page in a configuration that is aesthetically pleasing.


balanced
A library collection containing materials that present the full range of opinion on controversial issues and sensitive topics, for example, the "for" and "against" positions on legalized abortion, or religious books representing a variety of faiths. Although it is an elusive goal, balance is particularly important in developing public library collections that must meet the information needs and reflect the reading tastes of a wide range of patrons. See also: collection development bias.


balance stripe
See: magnetic stripe.


ballad
Originally, an orally transmitted narrative song composed in an impersonal style for public performance, often sung to a traditional tune that served as a musical accompaniment to a dance. Most ballads tell a popular story of tragic romance or personal catastrophe in short stanzas with a refrain, usually in the form of a dialogue with action. Repetition over an extended period of time tends to produce variants. Click here to see a 16th-century manuscript collection of love ballads in an unusual heart-shaped binding (Royal Library of Denmark). Synonymous in this sense with folk ballad. See also: saga.

Beginning in 16th-century Britain, broadside ballads about contemporary issues and events were printed on a single sheet of paper and sold in the streets to be sung to well-known popular tunes. In the late 18th century, a new literary form developed in which long narrative poems were written in deliberate imitation of earlier popular ballads (example: Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner).


balloon
In cartoons, comic books, and graphic novels, a space encircled by a line drawn from the mouth of one of the characters, containing dialogue or the character's unspoken thoughts. Click here to see examples in the comic strip "Pogo" by Walt Kelly.


ballot
A sheet of paper, card, or other device used to announce a slate of candidates for election, or by an individual to cast a vote (see this example). Ballots have a long history, beginning with the ostraka of ancient Greece (example). Click here to learn more about the history of ballots, courtesy of Douglas W. Jones, University of Iowa.


bands
Raised ridges running at intervals across the spine of a hand-bound volume, caused by the bulk of the underlying sewing supports (click here to see an example). Binders sometimes cut shallow grooves in the binding edge of the sections in which sunk bands were recessed to avoid ridges in the spine. In later bindings, false bands were sometimes added for decorative effect.


bandwidth
The maximum carrying capacity of a line in an electronic communications network. For digital devices, bandwidth is measured in bits or bytes per second (bps); for analog devices, in Hertz (cycles per second). Bandwidth determines the amount of data that can be transmitted in a fixed amount of time and is often described as narrow or broad, with broadband having greater capacity. During periods of peak use, it may also determine speed of transmission, particularly for large data files (graphics, audio, video, etc.) known as bandwidth hogs. On the Internet, the fiber-optic backbone has highest bandwidth. See also: T1 and T3.

In broadcasting, the width of the band of frequencies or wave lengths assigned (usually by licensing agreement) to a radio or television station for its exclusive use.


banned book
A book, the publication and/or sale of which has been prohibited or suppressed by ecclesiastical or secular authority because its content is considered objectionable or dangerous, usually for political and/or social reasons (examples: The Grapes of Wrath and Leaves of Grass). Banned Books Week has been celebrated annually in the United States since 1981. Lists of banned books are available in the reference section of most large libraries. Click here to learn about the first book banned in the New England colonies (Springfield City Library). For more examples, see Banned Books Online. Compare with expurgated. See also: censorship, challenge, Index Librorum Prohibitorum, and intellectual freedom.


Banned Books Week
An annual event observed in the United States since 1981 during the last week of September, Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Library Association, Association of American Publishers, American Society of Journalists and Authors, and National Association of College Stores and endorsed by the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress. Libraries and bookstores throughout the country celebrate the freedom to read by displaying recently banned books and books that have been banned throughout history. Click here to connect to Banned Books Week on the ALA Web site.


banner
A narrow band of graphic promotional material displayed on a Web site that has leased or sold space on its page(s) to a commercial advertiser. Also, a narrow strip logo across the top or bottom of a Web page, identifying the host organization or suggesting the content of the site.

Also refers to a newspaper headline of one or two lines, large enough to extend across an entire page or most of a page. Compare with skyline.

In medieval illuminated manuscripts, a decorative motif in the form of an unfurled strip of cloth bearing text (usually an emblem, motto, slogan, etc.) appearing in a miniature or in a border. Click here to see them used in a 14th-century Biblia Pauperum (British Library, King's 5), here to see an example in the 15th-century Gualenghi-d'Este Hours (Getty Museum, MS Ludwig IX 13), and here to see a profusion of banners in a 16th-century genealogy of the royal houses of Spain and Portugal (Getty Museum).


banquet camera photograph
A photograph made with a large format camera equipped with a fixed wide-angle lens capable of producing a sharp image of great depth. Popular in the first half of the 20th century, banquet camera photographs are often portraits of large groups, taken on formal occasions (see this example).


bar border
A decorative band running the length of one of the margins of a page in a medieval manuscript, usually along the left-hand side of the text but sometimes along the right-hand side on the recto. Click here to see a floral example in a 15th-century Dutch Book of Hours (Cary Collection, Rochester Institute) and here to see a strewn example in the 15th-century Hours of Dionora of Urbino (British Library, Yates Thompson 7). A bar border may begin as an extension of a large initial letter (see the Fleur des histoires de la terre d'Orient, courtesy of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France) and is often embellished, sometimes in gilt, as in the Burnet Psalter (University of Aberdeen Library, AUL MS 25). Bar borders are sometimes used to separate columns of text, as in the 14th-century Image du Mond of Gossouin de Metz (Bibliothèque Nationale de France). Some bar borders support playful bas-de-page scenes. See this example, courtesy of the British Library (Burney 275).


barcode
A printed label containing machine-readable data encoded in vertical lines of equal length but variable thickness, which can be read into an attached computer by an optical scanner. The barcode is a Universal Product Code (UPC) issued by the Uniform Code Council (UCC). In libraries barcodes are used to identify books and other materials for circulation and inventory and to link the borrower's library card to the appropriate patron record in automated circulation systems. Click here to learn more about barcodes, courtesy of HowStuffWorks. Also spelled bar code. See also: EAN-13 barcode and QR code.


bargain book
A book offered by a bookseller for a very low sticker price (usually $1.00-5.00), as distinct from one for which the list price is discounted, usually by a fixed percentage. Bargain book tables, often located near the cash register, are a marketing device commonly used by bookstore chains.


bar graph
See: histogram.


bark book
A book consisting of leaves made of bark cloth, usually folded accordion-style between wooden cover plates, a format used historically in Asia and the Pacific. Click here and here to see late 19th examples from Sumatra, courtesy of the Royal Library of Denmark.


bark cloth
A flexible material used as a writing surface in the Himalayas, South Pacific, and Americas, consisting of pieces of tree bark beaten smooth, then joined with a vegetable adhesive to form large sheets. In the South Pacific, the inner bark of the paper mulberry or breadfruit tree is used. Click here to see a manuscript written on bark cloth by the Batak people of Indonesia, folded accordion-style between wooden boards (Cornell University Library). Also spelled barkcloth.


barrier sheet
A piece of well-sized paper, glassine paper, or acid-free paper placed between one material and another to prevent the migration of ink, oil, or acid. In books, a barrier sheet may be loose, sewn into the binding, or tipped in to the leaf to be protected or to the preceding leaf. In conservation, barrier sheets of inferior quality paper bearing letterpress are removed for deacidification and buffering, then reinserted.


bar scale
A line drawn or printed on the face of a map or chart, usually beneath the title or with the legend(s), calibrated to indicate the scale at which actual distance on the ground is represented, for example, in increments of one inch, each representing 100 miles. On most modern maps, the bar scale is calibrated in both miles (or feet) and kilometers (or meters). Click here to see an example on a relief map of the State of Idaho and here to see an example on an aerial photograph. Some bar scales are in two sections, the primary scale to the right of zero and the extension scale to the left of zero, showing the basic unit of measurement divided into quarters, fifths, or tenths, as on this example on a USGS topographic map of Connecticut (to enlarge click on lower right-hand corner of image). Click here to learn more about reading bar scales. Synonymous with graphic scale and linear scale. Compare with representative fraction and statement of equivalency.


bas-de-page
French for "bottom of the page." In medieval manuscripts, an unframed scene drawn or painted across the lower margin of a page, sometimes outside the overall border but more often resting on it, with or without reference to the text or other images on the same page (see this 14th-century example). Michelle Brown notes in Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts (Getty Museum/British Library, 1994) that this form of decoration is found in Gothic illumination beginning in the 13th century. Click here to see an example in grisaille in The Hours of Jeanne d'Evreux (The Cloisters) and here for an example in full color in a 15th-century Flemish manuscript (Getty Museum, MS 67). Other examples can be seen by paging through the Murthly Hours (National Library of Scotland).


base
In film, the layer of smooth, transparent, flexible plastic that serves as a support for the thin coating of magnetic recording substance or the emulsion containing the light-sensitive particles or dyes (in a gelatin binder) that bear the image. The base side of raw stock or processed film is normally glossy or semi-glossy, in contrast to the duller emulsion side. Flammable cellulose nitrate, introduced as a film base in the 1890s, was replaced in the early 1950s by slow-burning safety film made of cellulose acetate. Today, polyester plastic is the strongest and most chemically stable film base used. Like emulsions, all film bases are subject to deterioration unless stored under conditions of optimum temperature and relative humidity. Click here to learn more about film base polymers, courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.


baseball card
A paper trading card featuring a portrait of a baseball player or other person or topic associated with the game, often issued in sets (click here to see examples, courtesy of the Library of Congress). In the period following the American Civil War, carte-de-visite and cabinet card photographs featuring famous players were collected as mementos. From the 1860s to the 1890s, printed cards became a popular form of advertising. In the 1880s, tobacco companies began using mass-produced baseball cards to stiffen cigarette packs and boost sales. After a lull during the 1920s, chewing gum companies began issuing the cards in the 1930s. Today they are highly collectible. Common sizes are 1.5 x 2.5 inches, 2.5 x 3.5 inches, and 5 x 8 inches. In AACR2, baseball cards are cataloged as graphic materials. Click here to learn more about the early history of baseball cards.


base line
In typography, the imaginary horizontal line connecting the bottoms of lowercase letters lacking descenders, used to measure the intervals between lines of type. The line connecting the tops of letters lacking ascenders is called the mean line. Also spelled baseline.


base map
A map that serves as the framework to which more specialized ancillary data is registered for purposes of comparison or geographic correlation, allowing users to generate multiple data layers (counties, population, school districts, land use, floodplains, etc.) at different times that may eventually evolve into a spatial database (click here to see an example). In a narrower sense, a topographic map, usually on a scale of 1:10,000 to 1:50,000, used as the basis for other maps. In the United States, the base map is the 1:24,000 7.5-minute topographic quadrangle published in series by the U.S. Geological Survey, popularly known as the quad. Synonymous with mother map. See also: outline map.


base number
A class number in Dewey Decimal Classification schedules to which other numbers are appended, for example, 020 representing the library and information sciences, to which a decimal fraction may be added to indicate a subclass, as in 020.5 library and information science periodicals. Compare with base of notation. See also: add note.


base of notation
The set of characters or symbols used in the notation of a given classification system. In Dewey Decimal Classification, the arabic numerals 0-9 are used (decimal notation). In Library of Congress Classification, the letters of the English alphabet are used (alphabetic notation), minus the letters O and I, which are easily mistaken for the numerals zero and one. As a general rule, the shorter the base, the longer the notation representing a given class. Compare with base number.


basic collection
The U.S. government publications that are sent to every depository library under the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), to which the library is expected to provide easy public access. First developed in 1977, the list of titles includes basic documents considered vital sources of information in support of the public's right to know about the activities of the federal government. Proposed revisions in the basic collection are submitted by the Library Programs Service (LPS) to the Depository Library Council (DLC) for approval.


basic search
See: search mode.


basis weight
The mass in pounds of a ream of paper of a given sheet size and number of sheets. As indicated in the ANSI/NISO Z39.48 standard for the Permanence of Papers for Publications and Documents in Libraries and Archives, the basis weight of book paper is equal to the weight of 500 sheets measuring 25 x 38 inches. The basis weight of writing or printing paper is equal to the weight of 500 sheets measuring 17 x 22 inches. Basis Weight and Grammage Conversion Tables of Use in the Publishing Industry are provided online by Editorial & Design Services, Inc. Synonymous with paper substance. Compare with grammage.


bastarda
A book script used for speed in various parts of Europe from the late 13th to the 15th century, combining elements of formal textura (slow to write) with gothic cursive in letterforms that are spiky, with ascenders elongated and bent (see this example). Known as bâtarde in France and "secretary" in England, bastard hands were written with varying degrees of deliberation and individual style, depending on the amount of speed, elegance, and formality desired. In 15th-century French and Belgian Books of Hours, littera bastarda became a formal book hand in its own right (see this example, courtesy of the Syracuse University Library).


bastard title
See: half title.


bâtarde
See: bastarda.


batch file
A group of computer files which are treated as a single unit in processing.


batch processing
Processing of a group of accumulated records together, rather than one by one, a method used mainly in automated cataloging and interlibrary loan to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Synonymous with batchload processing.


bathymetric map
From the Greek bathys ("deep") and metron ("measurement"). A topographic map showing the depth and features of the sea floor, including coastal zones (bays and estuaries), or of some other large body of water, usually by means of contour lines called isobaths, with or without hypsometric tint. Click here to see an early bathymetric map of the Mid-Atlantic Grave (NOAA) and here to see a modern example (Gulf of Maine Research Institute).


bathymetry
The science of measuring the depth of the sea and other large bodies of water. Also refers to the information derived from such measurement, often presented in the form of a bathymetric map or nautical chart. Click here to see hypsometric tint used on a map of Arctic Ocean bathymetry and here to see the use of tint with contours to show the bathymetry of the Great Lakes (National Geophysical Data Center, NOAA). The U.S. Geological Survey provides online information about the bathymetry of Lake Tahoe and Crater Lake.


battledore
A type of school primer used in the late 18th century, made of folded paper varnished on the inside, resembling a horn book when opened but sometimes lacking a handle. Click here to see an early 19th-century example (Library of Congress), here to see a second example (University of Delaware Library), and here to see a third example in the Social History of Children's Literature by Kay E. Vandergrift. Also spelled battledoor.


baud
Originally, a unit of telegraph signaling speed (one Morse code dot per second) proposed in 1927 at the International Telegraph Conference and named after the French engineer Jean-Maurice-Emile Baudot (1845-1903), who designed the first teleprinter.

In telecommunications, a unit of measurement indicating the number of signaling elements (changes of voltage or frequency) transmitted per second over a communication channel, at slower speeds synonymous with bits per second (bps). At higher speeds, more than one bit may be encoded per second; for example, a speed of 4,800 baud may transmit 9,600 bits per second. For this reason, bps has replaced the term baud as a measure of data transmission speed. The baud rate of a modem is one of the factors determining the speed of an Internet connection in dial-up access. Pronounced bawd. Plural: baud.


Baxter-process print
A color print produced from intaglio plates (or sometimes from lithographic stones or plates) to which oil ink is applied, using up to twenty wood or metal blocks, one for each color, in a process patented by George Baxter in 1835. In wide use up to the 1870s, the process produced fine quality images, intended to give the appearance of oil painting (see this example, courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London). For more examples, see GeorgeBaxter.com. Synonymous with Baxter print.


bay
A unit of library or archival shelving, single- or double-sided, consisting of a number of horizontal shelves, fixed or adjustable, supported by rigid uprights (see this example). Synonymous with section. In a more general sense, a space or area used for a particular purpose.


Bay Psalm Book
Early in the history of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Richard Mather and a group of fellow clergymen transcribed biblical psalms into metrical verse to be sung in worship by members of the Puritan congregation. In 1640, 20 years after the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock, 17 copies of The Whole Booke of Psalmes Faithfully Translated into English Metre were printed by Stephen Daye at Cambridge, Massachusetts, on the first printing press in New England, purchased and imported specifically to print the hymnal. Issued in several editions over more than 100 years, the work was known at various times as the New England Book of Psalms and the New England Version of the Psalms. The earliest extant book of size written and printed in the United States, examples of the first edition are extremely rare, but the work is available in facsimile reprint. Click here to view an image of the Bay Psalm Book, courtesy of the Library of Congress.


BBC
See: British Broadcasting Corporation.


BBFC
See: British Board of Film Classification.


BBR
See: The Boston Book Review.


BBS
See: bulletin board system.


BCALA
See: Black Caucus of the American Library Association.


BCCB
See: Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books.


BCL
See: Books for College Libraries.


BD
See: Blu-ray.


BEA
See: BookExpo America.


beast epic
A series of stories popular during the Middle Ages in which the characters are animals with human qualities, usually written in the form of an allegory satirizing the Catholic Church, the royal court, or some other powerful person, group, or institution (example: Pierre de Saint-Cloud's 12th-century Roman de Renart). A more recent example is George Orwell's Animal Farm (1945), written in the same tradition. Compare with bestiary.


beatus initial
The first letter of the first word of the first psalm of the Christian Bible, often elaborately decorated and illuminated in medieval psalters (see this example in the 11th-century Eadui Psalter, courtesy of the British Library, Arundel 155). Click here to see an historiated example containing roundels displaying scenes from the life of David, to whom most of the psalms are attributed (Bodleian Library, MS Lat.liturg.d.42). A similar example can be seen in the 12th-century Shaftesbury Psalter (British Library, Lansdowne 383). See also this interlace example in a 13th-century English psalter (St. John's College, Cambridge University).


beatus manuscript
A medieval manuscript consisting of an illustrated compilation of allegorical commentaries on passages from the Apocalypse, the revelation of the second coming of Christ experienced by St. John the Evangelist. Click here to view a leaves from a 12th-century Spanish example (The Cloisters, Metropolitan Museum of Art).


beginning reader
A heavily illustrated work of fiction or nonfiction designed specifically for young children learning to read in which the text is brief, the vocabulary and grammar simplified, and the type size large, shelved in the juvenile section in public libraries (example: Harry and the Lady Next Door by Gene Zion).


belles lettres
A French phrase meaning "beautiful letters," referring to polite, refined literature (poetry, essays, drama, orations, letters, literary criticism, etc.) and to the aesthetics of literary studies. A writer of belles-lettres is a belletrist.


belletrist
A writer of belles lettres.


Belpré Award
See: Pura Belpré Award.


bench mark
A term borrowed from surveying to indicate the superior quality of a product or service recognized as a standard or point of reference in comparisons made by other producers or providers intent on improving their performance. In computing, a measure of the performance of a hardware or software component. Also spelled benchmark and bench-mark.

In mapping and surveying, a relatively permanent physical object, natural or man-made, bearing a clearly marked point for which elevation above or below a specified datum is known. To see examples of U.S. Geological Survey bench marks, try a keywords search on the term "bench mark" in Google Images. Compare with landmark.


benedictional
From the Latin benedictus, meaning "blessed." A liturgical book containing a collection of blessings recited for the benefit of congregants after the consecration and before the giving of communion in the Catholic Mass. In early Church history, when blessings were said only by the bishop, a lavishly illuminated benedictional might be made for a specific bishop. In the later Middle Ages, when any priest holding a Mass could give blessings, benedictionals became more common. Click here to page through the 10th-century Benedictional of St. Æthelwold (British Library, MS Add. 49598) and here to view an 11th-century Ottonian example (Getty Museum, MS Ludwig VII 1).


benefits
Compensation to which an employee is entitled in addition to salary or wages, such as health and dental insurance, pension or retirement contributions, free tuition, etc., usually specified in the contract or collective bargaining agreement governing terms of employment. Persons employed part-time are usually not entitled to full benefits. Synonymous with fringes. Compare with perk.


Beneventan minuscule
A noncursive book hand characterized by diagonal strokes, letters that touch each other, and ligatures. Beneventan script originated in the Duchy of Benevento and was used in southern Italy and Dalmatia from the 8th to the 13th centuries. Click here to see examples (Schøyen Collection, Oslo). Synonymous with Lombardic minuscule.


bequest
A gift of tangible property by will. Library and archival collections are enriched by such gifts, which are often acknowledged by the use of special bookplates, plaques, and memorial names, depending on the size of the gift. Click here and here to read about two library benefactors.


Berne Convention
An international copyright agreement creating an International Union for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works signed in Berne, Switzerland, in 1886, ratified in 1887 by several European countries and their colonies, and revised periodically. By 1974, there were 64 signatories. The United States joined in 1988. To receive copyright protection under the Berne Convention, first publication of a work must occur in a member country. Works published in nonsignatory nations receive protection if published simultaneously in a signatory nation. Protection is for the author's lifetime plus 50 years, except for anonymous or pseudonymous works and cinematographic works for which protection expires 50 years after the work has been made available to the public. Click here to read the text of the Berne Convention, courtesy of the Legal Information Institute, Cornell University. See also: Universal Copyright Convention.


Berners-Lee, Sir Timothy (1955- )
The inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Timothy Berners-Lee graduated from Oxford University in physics and worked in the telecommunications industry in England before he was granted a fellowship in 1984 at CERN, a high-energy physics lab in Geneva. In 1989, he proposed that CERN fund the development of a hypertext data system and spent the next five years facilitating the design of what quickly became a global electronic communications system. In 1994, Berners-Lee moved to the Laboratory for Computer Science at MIT, where he continued to develop Web tools and standards.

Although he has received awards for his work, Berners-Lee elected not to copyright or profit from his invention because he wanted the Web to remain widely accessible. He has been quoted as saying, "You can have an idea...and it can happen. It means that dreamers all over the world should take note and not stop." In December 2003, Berners-Lee was knighted in Great Britain for his achievements, and in 2004, he was awarded the first biennial Millennium Technology Prize of 1 million euro (US$1.2 million) by the Finnish Technology Award Foundation, an independent fund supported by the Finnish government and a number of Finnish companies and organizations.


BES
See: Buildings and Equipment Section.


best books
A selection of recently published books considered by reviewers to be superior in the field or type of publication they represent. Most library review publications publish annual lists of highly recommended titles in the various categories reviewed (reference, fiction, nonfiction, young adult, children's books, etc.). Recommended lists are also published in book form (example: Best Books for Beginning Readers by Thomas G. Gunning) for use in collection development. Compare with bestseller.


best evidence
The legal principle that in evidence, an original is superior to a copy, due to the difficulties frequently encountered in authenticating copies. According to the Federal Rules of Evidence, and similar rules adopted by the states, if the original of a document is available, a copy is inadmissible as evidence in a court of law.


bestiary
A type of medieval literature containing descriptions, folklore, and myths about exotic animals (real or imaginary), with text and illustrations intended to teach both natural history and Christian morals through allegory, for example, the rise of the phoenix as a symbol of Christ's resurrection. Based primarily on the Physiologus ("The Natural Philosopher"), a Greek text believed to have been written in Alexandria in the 2nd century, bestiaries were particularly popular in 12th- and 13th-century England in versions that incorporated other medieval sources such as the 7th-century encyclopedia of Bishop Isidore of Seville.

Michelle Brown notes in Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts (Getty Museum/British Library, 1994) that bestiaries were illustrated in a wide variety of styles, and their motifs were often used in other decorative contexts (borders, bas-de-page scenes, mappae mundi, etc.). The 13th-century Aberdeen Bestiary is one of the finest surviving examples (University of Aberdeen, MS 24). Click here to view a different style of illumination in a Flemish bestiary of the same period (Getty Museum, MS Ludwig XV 3) or page through the 12th-century Worksop Bestiary (Morgan Library, MS M.81). Click here to browse a late 13th-century Persian example titled The Benefits of Animals (Morgan Library, MS M.500). Synonymous with Bestiarius, De Bestiis, and Book of Beasts. Compare with beast epic.


best practices
In the application of theory to real-life situations, procedures that, when properly applied, consistently yield superior results and are therefore used as reference points in evaluating the effectiveness of alternative methods of accomplishing the same task. Best practices are identified by examining empirical evidence of success. See, for example, the guideline of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) on Characteristics of Programs of Information Literacy that Illustrate Best Practices (2003). Compare with guidelines and standards.


bestseller
A highly publicized trade book currently in such high demand in bookstores and libraries that large numbers of copies are sold and circulated. Major newspapers and review publications often publish ranked lists of bestsellers in adult fiction and nonfiction, and sometimes in children's literature, based on sales volume over a given period of time (example: The New York Times Best-Seller Lists). Library and Book Trade Almanac usually includes an essay analyzing the previous year's bestsellers. Click here to connect to the Yahoo! list of online bestseller lists. Also spelled best-seller. Compare with classic.


best-seller
See: bestseller.


Best Small Library in America
An award sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, given annually since 2005 to the public library that most profoundly demonstrates outstanding service to a population of 25,000 or less. The winning small library receives a $15,000 cash prize, a feature article in the February 1 issue of Library Journal, membership and conference costs for two library representatives to attend the Public Library Association's biannual conference, and a gala reception at the conference. Beginning in 2011, the two finalist libraries each receive a $5,000 cash prize, PLA membership and conference attendance for two library representatives, and special mention in Library Journal.


Beta Phi Mu (BΦM)
Founded at the University of Illinois in 1948, Beta Phi Mu is an international library and information science honor society established to recognize outstanding scholarship and to sponsor professional and scholarly projects in librarianship. Membership is open to graduates of ALA-accredited library schools who have completed the requirements leading to a fifth year or advanced degree (M.L.S. or M.L.I.S.) with a scholastic average of at least 3.75 and in the top 25 percent of their class. An affiliate of the American Library Association, Beta Phi Mu publishes a semiannual national newsletter. Click here to connect to the Beta Phi Mu homepage.


beta test
A full-scale test of a new software or hardware system, involving actual users under normal operating conditions in the field, usually preceded by alpha testing in a laboratory environment.


beveled boards
A technique used in hand-binding in which the upper surface of the edges of heavy boards is cut at a sloping angle, instead of the usual 90 degrees, to give the cover a more elegant appearance or in conscious imitation of an earlier style. Click here to see a 19th-century example in brown leather (Rare Books & Texana Collections, Univ. of North Texas Libraries). Also spelled bevelled boards. See also: beveled edge.


beveled edge
Any edge tapered at less than a 90-degree angle to make the transition from upper to lower surface more gradual than in a right-angle cut. Beveled boards are sometimes used in hand bookbinding (to see examples, try a search on the keyword "bevelled" in the British Library's Database of Bookbindings). The edges of mats used in framing are normally beveled at a 60-degree angle. Also spelled bevelled edge.


BFI
See: British Film Institute.


BI
See: bibliographic instruction and business intelligence.


biannual
Issued twice each year. Also refers to a publication issued twice a year.


bias
Judgment unfairly influenced by subjective opinion when the situation calls for reliance on objective fact. Bias exists even in reference books (compare the entries for "Holocaust" and "Inquisition" in the Encyclopedia Judaica, Encyclopedia of Religion, and New Catholic Encyclopedia). In publicly supported libraries in the United States, bias in employment practices is prohibited by law. See also: affirmative action and collection development bias.


BIBCO
See: Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC).


bib-dating
Getting together with other book lovers in a small group in order to meet singles of similar taste in reading material. American Libraries reported in April 2006 that two Belgian librarians, Danny Theuwis and Eric Van der Staeten, have conducted workshops for other professionals on how to host such groups as a means of drawing more young people into public libraries, capitalizing on the library's potential as a recreational venue. Synonymous with library dating and library speed-dating.


bibelot
A French term for a small decorative object of exceptional beauty, rarity, or curiosity. In literature, a book of unusually small size, elegantly designed, and crafted from the finest materials. Also known as a thumb book.


bible
Any book or reference work widely accepted as an authoritative and reliable source of information, often a work updated in successive editions. See also: Bible.

In television series production, a general outline of story and character development for all the episodes of a program, at least for the first broadcast season.


Bible
The sacred scripture of the Christian faith, consisting of the Hebrew Old Testament and the New Testament of the followers of Jesus of Nazareth. In the early Christian period, various Latin translations of Greek and Hebrew versions were used. In the early 5th century, at the behest of Pope Damasus I, St. Jerome completed a new translation, known as the Vulgata, which became the authorized text for the Roman Church. The history of the Bible as a book began in the 4th century when large codices were produced on parchment. The earliest surviving examples include the Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrinus, both in the British Library, and the Codex Vaticanus in the Vatican Library. During the early Middle Ages, corruption of the Vulgate generated attempts to standardize the text, including production in the 9th century of a series of bibles at the scriptorium of Alcuin of York at Tours for circulation among monastic establishments in Europe.

Throughout the Middle Ages, certain books of the Bible were produced separately, especially the Gospels, Pentateuch, Hexateuch, Octateuch, Psalms, and Apocalypse. Prior to the 12th century, most scriptural texts were produced as beautifully illuminated manuscripts, in large format for liturgical use (see the Marquette Bible, courtesy of the Getty Museum, MS Ludwig I 8), but with the growth of universities, a market developed for smaller, less costly bibles written in condensed script. Although biblical texts were translated into the vernacular as early as the 8th century (usually as glosses), vernacular translation did not get fully under way until the mid-13th century. The Latin 42-line Gutenberg Bible was the first book printed in Europe. Click here to see a page from the Tyndale New Testament in English, printed in Germany by Peter Schöffer. The Royal Library of Denmark provides an online exhibition of The Bible Printed in Many Languages. See also a selection of bibles in the Schøyen Collection (Oslo and London). For more information, see The Book: A History of the Bible by Christopher de Hamel (Phaidon, 2001). See also: Atlantic bible, Bible historiale, Bible moralisée, Biblia Pauperum, Coverdale Bible, pandect, picture bible, pocket bible, and thumb bible.


bible card
A small printed paper card bearing a devotional image or quotation from biblical scripture (or both), often issued in sets and used in Sunday schools as teaching aids and rewards of merit. In AACR2, bible cards are cataloged as graphic materials. Synonymous with Sunday school card.


bible fiction
Works of imaginative fiction in which the characters and settings are taken from the Christian Bible (example: I, Judas [1977] by Taylor Caldwell). Compare with Christian fiction.


Bible historiale
Available for centuries in Latin, the Bible did not become accessible in the vernacular until the 14th century. In France it appeared in a prose narrative version compiled by the cleric Guiart des Moulins, who based his translation on Peter Comestor's earlier text Historia scholastica, a commentary on Bible excerpts, with emphasis on the role of scripture as a record of historical events. Guiart added further commentary to translation of entire books of the Bible, also emphasizing historical narrative. Even before his death, Guiart's work was expanded by others to all the books of the Bible, including some apocrypha he had not translated. Michelle Brown notes in Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts (Getty Museum/British Library, 1994) that the illuminated miniatures in Bibles historiales often depict biblical images not found in Latin translations. Click here to view miniatures done in semi-grisaille in a 14th-century French example (Getty Museum, MS 1) and here to see a page from a 15th-century Dutch example (Koninklijke Bibliotheek). Synonymous with historical bible.


Bible moralisée
A type of Latin picture bible made during the 13th century in which short passages or episodes from the Bible are accompanied by commentary providing moral, allegorical, or symbolic interpretation of the text, often drawing parallels between events in the Old and New Testaments (typology). Both text and commentary are illustrated, sometimes with long sequences of miniatures. Click here to view a page from a facsimile of the 13th-century Bible of St. Louis from the Cathedral of Toledo (Univ. of Iowa Libraries, Special Collections) illustrated with over 5,000 miniatures in the form of medallions, and here to see a 15th-century French example (Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Fr. 166). Synonymous with Bible allegorisée and moralized bible.


bible paper
A strong, thin, opaque printing paper made from new cotton or linen rags, or from flax fiber, used to reduce the bulk of large volumes such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, bibles, and prayer books that would otherwise be too thick for easy handling. Sometimes used synonymously with India paper, of which it is an imitation.


bible play
A dramatization of events depicted in the Christian Bible. The category includes miracle plays, mystery plays, and passion plays.


bible style
A general term for any flexible leather binding that has rounded corners, especially one of dark color.


Biblia Pauperum
A blockbook issued in large numbers beginning in about 1450, consisting mainly of pictures illustrating parallels between the Old and New Testaments (typology), with captions in Latin or German providing lessons from the Scriptures. Jean Peters notes in The Bookman's Glossary (Bowker, 1983) that this form of book was not superseded by the invention of movable type but continued to be produced into the early part of the 16th century. Extremely rare, fewer than two dozen examples are known to survive.

Latin for "Bible of the Poor," the name was applied by German scholars in the 1930s who assumed that the purpose of the format was to educate the illiterate. However, since even blockbooks were costly to produce in the late Middle Ages, their real purpose may have been to entertain people of moderate means. Click here to browse pages in a illuminated Biblia Pauperum dated 1395-1400 (British Library, King's 5) and here to view a Dutch blockbook example dated 1460-1470 (Koninklijke Bibliotheek).


biblio
A publisher's term for bibliographic details (edition, ISBN, CIP, etc.) printed on the verso of the title page (see this example).


biblio-
From the Greek word biblion, meaning "book," used in combination to form a host of terms pertaining to books and libraries (bibliography, bibliomania, bibliophile, bibliophobia, bibliotherapy, etc.). In interactions with patrons, most public services librarians avoid the "B-words" because the general public is not familiar with the technical terminology of librarianship.


bibliocaper
A term coined by George Eberhart in The Whole Library Handbook 3 (ALA, 2000) to refer to an odd or wacky event, harebrained prank, or bizarre petty crime involving libraries, librarians, library patrons, or books.


biblioclast
A person who destroys or mutilates books, for one reason or another. Fortunately for bibliophiles, this form of aberrant behavior occurs infrequently. See Biblioclasm: The Mythical Origins, Magic Powers, and Perishability of the Written Word by Marc Drogin (Rowan & Littlefield, 1989). See also: libricide.


bibliognost
A person who has a profound knowledge of books, bibliography, etc.


bibliogony
Of or relating to the production of books in all their forms. Synonymous with bibliogenesis.


bibliographee
A person concerning whom a bibliography is compiled, as in a list of references at the end of a biographical essay or book-length biography. See also: biobibliography.


bibliographer
A person who describes and lists books and other publications, with particular attention to such characteristics as authorship, publication date, edition, typography, etc. The result of this endeavor is a bibliography. A person who limits such efforts to a specific field or discipline is a subject bibliographer. See also: Bibliographical Society of America.


Bibliographical Society of America (BSA)
Organized in 1904, the BSA promotes bibliographical research and issues publications on bibliographical topics. Membership is open to all who have an interest in bibliographical problems and projects, including libraries and librarians. The BSA publishes the quarterly journal Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America. Click here to connect to the BSA homepage


bibliographic control
A broad term encompassing all the activities involved in creating, organizing, managing, and maintaining the file of bibliographic records representing the items held in a library or archival collection, or the sources listed in an index or database, to facilitate access to the information contained in them. Bibliographic control includes the standardization of bibliographic description and subject access by means of uniform catalog code, classification systems, name authorities, and preferred headings; the creation and maintenance of catalogs, union lists, and finding aids; and the provision of physical access to the items in the collection. See also: authority control.


bibliographic coupling
The idea that two scholarly papers containing a citation in common are bibliographically related in a way that is likely to be of interest to researchers. A similar relationship, called co-citation coupling, is established between two or more documents when they are both cited in a third. Citation indexing is based on the principle of bibliographic coupling. Synonymous with citation coupling.


bibliographic database
A computer file consisting of electronic entries called records, each containing a uniform description of a specific document or bibliographic item, usually retrievable by author, title, subject heading (descriptor), or keyword(s). Some bibliographic databases are general in scope and coverage; others provide access to the literature of a specific discipline or group of disciplines. An increasing number provide the full-text of at least a portion of the sources indexed. Most bibliographic databases are proprietary, available by licensing agreement from vendors, or directly from the abstracting and indexing services that create them.


bibliographic description
In a general sense, all the elements of data necessary to conclusively identify a specific document, presented in some form of record.

In library cataloging, the detailed description of a copy of a specific edition of a work intended to identify and distinguish it from other works by the same author, of the same title, or on the same subject. In AACR2, the bibliographic record representing an item in the catalog includes the following standard areas of description: title and statement of responsibility (author, editor, composer, etc.), edition, material specific details, details of publication and distribution, physical description, series, notes, and standard number and terms of availability (ISBN, ISSN, price). See also: chief source of information and level of description.


bibliographic essay
A critical essay in which the bibliographer identifies and evaluates the core literature of a subdiscipline or field of study, providing guidance to students, researchers, and collection development librarians, for example, the bibliographic essay published at the beginning of each issue of the review journal CHOICE. Compare with literature review.


bibliographic format
The standardized sequence and manner of presentation of the data elements constituting the full description of an item in a specific cataloging or indexing system. The machine-readable MARC record format has become the standard for library catalogs in many countries of the world.


bibliographic hermaphrodite
A term coined by Crystal Graham, serials librarian at the University of California, San Diego, in reference to a publication in any medium that has characteristics of both monographs and serials. Most are complete in one part but have the potential to continue. Their defining characteristic is "updatability." Examples include loose-leaf services, databases, Web sites, and some electronic journals. Beginning in 1995, reconsideration of issues related to seriality resulted in a new model, dividing the bibliographic universe into finite resources and continuing resources, a more accurate reflection of changing patterns in publishing. This new distinction has been adopted in AACR2 2002.


bibliographic instruction (BI)
Instructional programs designed to teach library users how to locate the information they need quickly and effectively. BI usually covers the library's system of organizing materials, the structure of the literature of the field, research methodologies appropriate to the discipline, and specific resources and finding tools (catalogs, indexes and abstracting services, bibliographic databases, etc.).

In academic libraries, bibliographic instruction is usually course-related or course-integrated. Libraries that have a computer-equipped instruction lab are in a position to include hands-on practice in the use of online catalogs, bibliographic databases, and Internet resources. Instruction sessions are usually taught by an instructional services librarian with specialized training and experience in pedagogical methods. The University of Texas at Austin Library provides Tips and Techniques for Library Instruction. Synonymous with library instruction and library orientation. Compare with user education. See also: information literacy, Instruction Section, Library Instruction Round Table, lifelong learning, LOEX, one-shot, and teaching style.


bibliographic item
In AACR2, a document or set of documents in any physical format (print or nonprint) that is given a single bibliographic description in cataloging, by virtue of having been published, issued, released, or otherwise treated as a single entity.

As defined in FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records), a single concrete exemplar of a manifestation of an expression of an intellectual or artistic work, in most cases a single physical object, such as a copy of an edition of a single-volume monograph. All the items constituting a manifestation normally contain the same intellectual/artistic content and are identical in physical form, but variations can occur subsequent to production, as in the case of a monograph rebound by a library. In some cases, an item consists of more than one physical object, for example, a videorecording released on more than one cassette or a multivolume set of reference books. See also: bibliographic record.


bibliographic record
An entry representing a specific item in a library catalog or bibliographic database, containing all the data elements necessary for a full description, presented in a specific bibliographic format. In modern cataloging, the standard format is machine-readable (example: the MARC record), but prior to the use of computers, the traditional format was the catalog card. Compare with catalog record, check-in record, item record, and order record. See also: brief record, encoding level, full record, and record structure.


bibliographic reference
A written or printed citation containing all the information necessary to uniquely identify a bibliographic resource in any format (print, audiovisual, digital, etc.), published or unpublished. Bibliographic references also help to ensure the intellectual integrity of research by crediting persons and organizations whose previous works have contributed to the research. The ANSI/NISO Z39.29 standard for Bibliographic References provides detailed rules and guidelines for the creation of such references (with examples) for a broad audience, including creators of bibliographic references, processors who publish and display references, and the ultimate users of the references.


bibliographic resource
In functional terms, an expression or manifestation of a work, or a specific item, that is the basis for bibliographic description in library cataloging (AACR2). Such a resource may be tangible (example: a printed publication) or intangible (an electronic text).


bibliographic retrieval
The process in which a user queries a library catalog or bibliographic database, usually by author, title, subject heading (descriptor), or keyword(s), and receives a list of records representing items that satisfy the parameters of the search. Most commercial databases allow the searcher to use techniques such as Boolean logic, truncation, and proximity to refine search statements. See also: precision, recall, and search strategy.


bibliographic service center
A regional broker in the business of handling access, communication, training, billing, and other services for libraries located within a given geographic area that are connected to an online bibliographic network. Compare with bibliographic utility.


bibliographic utility
An organization that provides access to and support for bibliographic databases directly to member libraries or through a network of regional bibliographic service centers, usually via a proprietary interface. Relying on machine-readable cataloging provided by the Library of Congress, the major bibliographic utilities offer software for downloading, editing, and local record creation; authority control utilizing the Library of Congress authority files; and services to facilitate interlibrary loan based on holdings information included in each record. The largest bibliographic utilities in North America are OCLC and A-G Canada Ltd.


bibliography
Strictly speaking, a systematic list or enumeration of written works by a specific author or on a given subject, or that share one or more common characteristics (language, form, period, place of publication, etc.). When a bibliography is about a person, the subject is the bibliographee. A bibliography may be comprehensive or selective. Long bibliographies may be published serially or in book form. The person responsible for compiling a bibliography is the bibliographer. The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) of the American Library Association has developed Guidelines for the Preparation of a Bibliography. Bibliographies are indexed by subject in Bibliographic Index: A Cumulative Bibliography of Bibliographies, published by H.W. Wilson. Abbreviated bibl. Compare with catalog. See also: Bibliographical Society of America, cartobibliography, discography, and filmography.

In the context of scholarly publication, a list of references to sources cited in the text of an article or book, or suggested by the author for further reading, usually appearing at the end of the work. Style manuals describing citation format for the various disciplines (APA, MLA, etc.) are available in the reference section of most academic libraries and online via the World Wide Web.

Also refers to the art and practice of describing books, with particular reference to their authorship, publication, physical form, and literary content. See also: analytical bibliography, annotated bibliography, biobibliography, current bibliography, degressive bibliography, national bibliography, period bibliography, retrospective bibliography, and selective bibliography.


biblioholism
An addiction to books and book collecting, a lesser affliction than bibliomania but more intense than bibliophily. A term coined by Tom Raabe that appears in the title of his book Biblioholism: The Literary Addiction (Fulcrum, 1991, rev. 2001). Raabe provides a 25-point quiz for self-diagnosis. Compare with bibliolatry.


biblioklept
A thief who steals books. A bibliokleptomaniac is a person suffering from a compulsion to steal books. When library collections are targeted, biblioklepts are considered problem patrons. See also: bibliomania.


bibliolatry
Excessive reverence for books, carried to the point of emotional dependence on them. A person who is a habitual bookworm may be at risk of becoming a bibliolater. Compare with biblioholism and bibliophile.

Also refers to excessive devotion to a literal interpretation of the Bible.


bibliology
The historical and scientific study and description of books as physical objects, from their origins in human society to the present, including knowledge of the processes and materials (booklore) involved in making them. Compare with codicology.


bibliomancy
The art of divination through the use of books or verses of the Bible or some other sacred text. Also, the practice of opening the Bible, or a book of verses or aphorisms such as the I Ching, without previously marking the page, to discover meaning or significance in the passage found.


bibliomania
An obsession or mania for collecting and possessing books, especially rare books and editions. In the International Encyclopedia of Information and Library Science (Routledge, 2003), the origin of the term is attributed to Thomas Frognall Dibdin (1776-1845), a writer and bibliographer who helped establish book collecting as a popular pursuit among English aristocracy of the 19th century.

Some bibliomaniacs are driven by apparent obsession to become biblioklepts. In a recent case, Stephen C. Blumberg was convicted on four felony counts, sentenced to five years and 11 months in prison, and fined $200,000 after a collection of 21,000 rare books was found in his home in Iowa, stolen over a period of years from approximately 140 libraries in the United States and Canada. The fact that Mr. Blumberg had a very comfortable independent income from family trusts suggests that his larceny was motivated by the desire to possess rather than profit from his illegal activities. Compare with biblioholism and bibliophile.


bibliometrics
The use of mathematical and statistical methods to study and identify patterns in the usage of materials and services within a library or to analyze the historical development of a specific body of literature, especially its authorship, publication, and use. Prior to the mid-20th century, the quantitative study of bibliographic data and usage was known as statistical bibliography. See also: citation analysis and informetrics.


bibliomining
The use of statistical methods in the analysis of library records to detect patterns of behavior in groups of patrons and/or staff which might assist library administration in making informed management decisions and marketing library services effectively. Protection of patron privacy is an important consideration in the use of such data. See also: bibliometrics.


bibliomystery
A work of fiction in the mystery genre in which plot, setting, and/or characters are closely associated with the world of books, manuscripts, libraries, archives, etc. (example: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco). Click here to view a bibliography of bibliomysteries. Also spelled biblio-mystery.


biblionarcissism
The art of convincing others that one is more knowledgeable about books or bookish than one really is, a term attributed to Tom Raabe, author of Biblioholism: The Literary Addiction (Fulcrum, 1991, rev. 2001).


bibliopegy
The fine art of binding books by hand, performed by a bookbinder or bibliopegist.


bibliophilately
The collection and study of library-related postage stamps, usually as a hobby (see "Bibliophilately Revisited" by Larry Nix in the February 2000 issue of American Libraries). Click here to learn more about bibliophilately, courtesy of Jerzy Duda of Poland.


bibliophile
A person who loves and treasures books (especially their physical form) and is sufficiently knowledgeable to be able to distinguish editions by their characteristics and qualities. Most bibliophiles are book collectors. The opposite of bibliophobe. Synonymous with booklover and bibliophilist. Compare with biblioholism and bibliomania. See also: bibliophile edition.


bibliophile edition
A limited or special edition that appeals primarily to book lovers and collectors who appreciate the fine points of book design, typography, illustration, etc. The category includes large books of plates, books containing original graphic art, high-quality facsimiles, and works of unusual shape and size. Click here and here to see 20th-century examples, courtesy of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek.


bibliophilist
See: bibliophile.


bibliophobia
An irrational fear or dread of books so intense that the afflicted person, known as a bibliophobe, avoids them whenever possible. The opposite of bibliophily. Click here to connect to the entry in Wikipedia on phobias.


bibliopole
A bookseller, especially one who deals in rare books and editions. See also: antiquarian bookseller.


bibliopsychology
The psychological study of the interrelationships between authors, books, and readers. See also: bibliotherapy.


bibliotaph
A person who hoards books and hides them from others, even to the extent of keeping them under lock and key.


bibliotheca
From the Greek biblion ("book") and theke ("to place"). A library or collection of books. Also refers to a list or catalog of books, especially one prepared by a bibliographer.


Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF)
The national library of France, located in Paris. The history of the BNF spans five centuries. King Charles V ("The Wise") made the initial gift of his private library in 1368, but continuity in collection development did not begin until the reign of Louis XI (1461-1483). Francis I established the legal depository in 1537, and the collection was first classified in 1670 by Nicolas Clément. During the French Revolution, the royal library was proclaimed a national library. After the rise of Napoleon Bonparte in 1799, it became an imperial library until the Republic was re-established in 1870. The creation of a Master Catalog of Printed Books was initiated in 1874 by Léopold Délisle, a medievalist who served as administrator general of the library from 1874 until 1905.

In 1994, the Bibliothèque Nationale (BN) and the newly built Bibliothèque de France (BDF) merged to form a single entity, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, one of the leading libraries in the world. The collections have been brought together in two locations, the "Site Richelieu" and the "Site François Mitterrand." The latter welcomes both scholars (2,000 seats) and the general public (1,700 seats). The Library of Congress hosts the online exhibit Creating French Culture: Treasures from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Click here to connect to the homepage of the BNF.


bibliotherapy
The use of books selected on the basis of content in a planned reading program designed to facilitate the recovery of patients suffering from mental illness or emotional disturbance. Ideally, the process occurs in three phases: personal identification of the reader with a particular character in the recommended work, resulting in psychological catharsis, which leads to rational insight concerning the relevance of the solution suggested in the text to the reader's own experience. Assistance of a trained psychotherapist is advised. LibraryBooklists.org provides an online bibliography for Bibliotherapy and Realistic Fiction. See also: readers' advisory.


BICI
See: Book Item and Contribution Identifier.


biennial
Issued every two years. Also refers to a serial publication issued every two years. Compare with semiannual. See also: annual, triennial, quadrennial, quinquennial, sexennial, septennial, and decennial.


Biennial Survey
A report prepared every two years by the Library Programs Service (LPS) of the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) on the conditions of depository libraries in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), as required by law (44 USC �1909). The Survey gathers data from all the depository libraries, supplementing the more in-depth inspections or self-studies performed every 6-7 years.


bifolium
In modern bookbinding, a pair of conjoint leaves, as opposed to a single leaf, one on each side of the fold down the center of a sheet. In medieval book production, a sheet of writing material (papyrus, parchment, or vellum) was folded in half to produce two leaves or four pages. A number of bifolia, nested one inside the other, usually in groups of four (eight leaves or 16 pages), formed a quire. A manuscript was assembled as a sequence of quires or gatherings, each sewn through the centerfold onto cords (sewing supports) running perpendicular to the spine. Click here to see an example from a 13th-century manuscript of the Decretals of Gratian, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Synonymous with bifolio. Compare with singleton.


big book
A special edition of a children's picture book, published in very large format to facilitate display of the illustrations to a group in storytelling, usually bound in colorfully illustrated, flexible covers. Library suppliers offer specially designed furnishings for storing big books and other large, flat items.


Big Little Book (BLB)
The series title given to children's books of a certain format published from 1932 to 1938 in hardcover editions of hundreds of thousands of copies by the Whitman Publishing Company of Racine, Wisconsin (see this example). Of small size, usually measuring 3 5/8 x 4 1/2 inches, most BLBs were over 400 pages in length, providing a considerable amount of reading for a very modest price, as they originally sold in stores for a dime (later 15 cents). The colorful books featured some of the best-known comic strip, radio, motion picture, and children's classics characters of the day (Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Tarzan, Li'l Abner, Little Orphan Annie, etc.), with a captioned illustration facing each page of text. The first BLB, The Adventures of Dick Tracy published in 1932, preceded the first true comic book by a year. The series was so successful that it was imitated by other publishers. Printed on highly acidic paper and often heavily used, copies of BLBs are hard to find in mint condition. Click here to see an online exhibition of Big Little Books, courtesy of the Broward County Libraries, Florida. More information can be found at Biglittlebooks.com


Big Read, The
Launched in 2007 by the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, Big Read is a program designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. Conceived in response to the finding, reported in NEA's 2004 report Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America, that literary reading has declined rapidly among all age groups, particularly young people, The Big Read provides citizens an opportunity to read and discuss a single book within their communities during the same month. Click here to connect to The Big Read homepage.

Also refers to a survey conducted in the United Kingdom by BBC in 2003 to determine the nation's best-loved novel of all time (Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien). Click here to read the results, as reported in Wikipedia.


big red books
A colloquial expression used by reference librarians in directing library users to the Library of Congress Subject Headings list, a multivolume set of large, thick reference books traditionally bound in red covers, usually shelved near the reference desk or the library catalog (click here to view image).


Bildungsroman
From the German word Bildung ("education" or "culture") and the French word roman ("novel"). A novel in which the author traces the maturation of the hero or heroine, from the subjectivity of childhood and early adolescence through the development of objective self-awareness (examples: Tom Jones [1749] by Henry Fielding, The Magic Mountain [1924] by Thomas Mann, and The Tin Drum [1959] by Günter Grass). Synonymous with apprenticeship novel and coming-of-age novel. Compare with Kuntslerroman.


bilinear script
See: majuscule.


bilingual edition
A book or periodical published in two languages, sometimes because both languages are spoken in the country in which the work is published (for example, English and French in Canada) or because the work was co-published in countries with different national languages. Click here to see an example. In some bilingual editions, especially of poetic and dramatic works, the text in the original language is printed facing the translation.


bill
A law proposed during a formal session of a legislative body. In AACR2, bills and drafts of legislation are cataloged under the heading for the appropriate legislative body. Bills proposed in the U.S. Congress are searchable by keyword(s) or bill number in the THOMAS database, a service of the Library of Congress. See also: omnibus bill.

Example:
A bill to give the consent of Congress to the removal by the legislature of the State of Washington of the restrictions upon the power of alienation of their lands by the Puyallup Indians : 52d Congress, 1st session, S.2306
Main entry is under the heading for the Senate of the United States.

Also refers to a written statement of the amount owed for goods or services rendered, sent by the seller to the purchaser in expectation of prompt payment. In library acquisitions, the term invoice is preferred.


Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Access to Learning Award
See: Access to Learning Award.


billboard poster
A large multi-sheet poster, usually printed in color for display on a billboard, wall, fence, or similar large, flat surface (see this example). Advertising content predominates.


billed
A code used in library catalogs and circulation systems to indicate the circulation status of an item unavailable due to loss or damage, for which the previous borrower has been charged an amount usually based on cost of replacement. Most libraries make an effort to replace lost and damaged items, even if the patron fails to pay the bill, provided demand exists and a reasonably priced edition is still in print.


bill of mortality
An official record of the deaths in a specified locality during a stated period of time, often giving cause of death, published periodically, usually in the form of a broadside (click here and here to see examples). Bills of mortality were originally published in London in the 16th century to warn inhabitants of plague epidemics. Some eventually included other vital statistics, such as age at death, baptisms, and marriages. They were superseded in 1836 by the Births and Deaths Registration Act.


bimonthly
Issued in alternate months (six times per year). Also refers to a serial issued every other month. Compare with semimonthly.


binary
Literally, two. Data used as input in a digital computer must be converted into code made up of the digits 0 and 1, called bits. Binary code is transmitted as a series of electrical pulses (0 bits at low voltage and 1 bits at higher voltage), stored as memory cells. When data files in digital format are displayed as output, the binary signals are translated back into characters or images. In binary notation, value is indicated by the position of the two digits:

0 0 0 0 position
8 4 2 1 value

Thus the decimal number 15 is expressed in binary as 1111. Click here to see an ASCII Code conversion table from character to binary.


bind
To fasten the leaves of a book together and enclose them in a protective cover, a process known as binding, originally done by hand but in modern book production almost entirely by machine.


binder
A removable cover used for filing and storing loose sheets, pamphlets, and issues of periodicals. Commercially made binders used in libraries to protect current issues of magazines usually have a transparent front cover to facilitate browsing. See also: loose-leaf.

Also refers to a person trained in the art and craft of binding books and other publications, usually employed in a bindery. Synonymous in this sense with bookbinder. Also used synonymously with bindery. See also: binder's mark and library binder.

In photographic and motion picture film, the substance in the emulsion layer, originally a form of gelatin, that in black and white film holds the image-forming particles and in color film holds the dyes and attaches the emulsion to the film base.


binder's board
A stiff, sturdy board made from pulped fiber derived from rope, wood, or recycled paper, used since the early 18th century to give rigidity to the covers of books published in hardcover, and preferred in hand-binding. Modern high-quality binder's board is single-ply, made by pressing pulp between heavy rollers to achieve the desired thickness and smoothness. Click here to see a sample. Synonymous in the UK with millboard. Compare with pasteboard.


binder's mark
A small device or symbol stamped on or affixed to the binding of a book, often inside the rear board, identifying the binder. Library binding specifications may require commercial binders to indicate responsibility by stamping or gluing a code mark to the volume in an appropriate place agreed upon by the library, giving the year and job lot number in which the volume was processed and the name of the bindery, as a guarantee of quality. Most libraries specify that materials used in the binder's mark (paper, ink, adhesive, etc.) must be chemically neutral to prevent deterioration. Click here to see the binder's mark of Wesleys, a major Victorian trade binding firm (British Library) and here to see various binder's marks in situ (Princeton University Library). See also: binder's ticket and signed binding.


binder's ticket
A small printed or engraved paper label affixed to a book, usually on the lower inside corner of the front or rear paste-down, bearing the name or mark and location of the binder. Click here to see examples (Bryn Mawr College Library). Click here to see a printed binder's ticket in situ (Princeton University Library).


binder's title
The title stamped or lettered on the spine of a bound volume by the binder, as distinct from the cover title on the publisher's edition and the title printed on the title page. See also: spine title.


bindery
An establishment that performs one or more of the various types of binding. Some large libraries and library systems have an in-house bindery usually associated with centralized technical processing (see this example at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand). In smaller libraries, materials in need of binding or rebinding (back issues of periodicals, paperback editions, etc.) are sent to a commercial bindery. Click here to see a modern hand bindery. See also: library binder.

In the early Middle Ages, most binding was done in the Catholic monasteries that produced manuscript books. Secular binderies were established in Europe as early as the 12th century near primary markets (towns and cities with universities and government offices), usually in the vicinity of shops owned by booksellers and stationers since most books were bound to the customer's order. Early binderies were often family businesses.


bindery record
The systematic account maintained by a library of materials sent to the bindery and the specific treatment given them. Most bindery records include title of publication, call number (if applicable), style and color of binding, format and placement of spine lettering, description of binding unit, and any special instructions. In some automated serials control systems, bindery information is included in the check-in record. Synonymous with binding record.


binding
The sewing and outside covering on a volume of printed or blank leaves. Books published in hardcover are bound in boards covered in cloth or some other durable material. Leather was used to bind manuscripts and incunabula but is now used mainly in hand-binding. Books bound in paper covers are called paperbacks. Also refers to the process of fastening the leaves or sections of a publication together by sewing or stitching, or by applying adhesive to the back and then attaching a cover by hand or machine under the supervision of a skilled binder. In large libraries, binding may be done in-house. Smaller libraries usually send materials to a commercial bindery. In any case, most libraries follow an established binding policy. Abbreviated bdg. See also: finishing and forwarding.

In medieval manuscript books, the collated quires were sewn onto leather or hemp cords, and the loose ends of the cords were threaded into grooves cut in the inner surface of the wooden boards and secured with pegs or nails. The spine and outside surface of the boards were covered in damp leather or parchment and the grooves concealed by gluing a leaf, called the paste-down, to the inside of each cover. The cover might then be decorated, usually by blocking or tooling, and metal bosses and cornerpieces added to protect the binding from wear, with one or more clasps attached to the edges to keep the volume tightly closed when not in use. During the early Middle Ages, binding was done in monastic scriptoria, but by the late Middle Ages, this stage of book production was done by the stationer or bookseller.

The tooled goatskin binding on the pocket-sized Stonyhurst Gospel of Saint John, found in the tomb of Saint Cuthbert (died A.D. 687), is believed to be the earliest surviving medieval binding. Click here to view an online exhibition of British bookbindings from the 16th-19th century (Glasgow University Library, Special Collections), and here to see examples of modern British bookbinding (Lilly Library, Indiana University). To find other examples, try the searchable Database of Bookbindings provided by the British Library.

See also: adhesive binding, antique binding, architectural binding, armorial binding, author's binding, Cambridge style, case binding, cathedral binding, champlevé binding, chemise binding, cloisonné, conservation binding, Coptic binding, Cosway binding, cottage binding, custom binding, deluxe binding, dentelle binding, designer binding, desktop binding, easel binding, economy binding, embroidered binding, Etruscan binding, extended binding, fan binding, fanfare binding, fine binding, flap binding, flexible binding, flush binding, gift binding, Greek style, Grolier binding, herringbone, imitation binding, in quaternis, jansenist binding, jeweled binding, lacquered binding, landscape binding, library binding, limp binding, Mauchline binding, mechanical binding, metal binding, mosaic binding, novelty binding, padded binding, painted binding, pamphlet binding, papier mâché binding, paste paper binding, Payne style, peasant binding, plain binding, prelibrary binding, presentation binding, prize binding, publisher's binding, rebinding, reinforced binding, relievo binding, retrospective binding, rocaille, sculptural binding, series binding, shaped binding, specimen binding, spring-back binding, stationery binding, suede binding, temporary binding, treasure binding, vellum binding, and wheel binding.

Also refers to the association of a particular syntax with the data dictionary of a metadata element set. Because of the popularity of XML, many metadata initiatives have developed XML bindings for their metadata standards.


binding copy
A worn book in such poor condition that it needs to be rebound and is worth the expense of rebinding.


binding edge
The edge at which the leaves of a book are attached to one another, usually by sewing the folded and gathered sections together and gluing them to a lining or by trimming away the back fold and applying strong adhesive to the loose leaves. The three outer edges of a book are the head, foot or tail, and fore-edge. Compare with spine.


binding error
A mistake made in binding a publication. Common errors include the incorrect folding of signatures; leaves or an entire section omitted, gathered in incorrect sequence, or bound in upside down; or application of the wrong cover to the body of the book. In most circumstances, the publisher will replace such copies at no charge. See also: aberrant copy.


binding margin
The unprinted space between the binding edge of a printed page and the area that bears print. The width of the inner margin often determines whether rebinding is possible. Synonymous with back, gutter, and inside margin.


binding medium
In the production of medieval manuscripts, an ingredient added to ink or paint to hold the pigment together and make it adhere to the writing surface (usually parchment or vellum). Gum arabic, made from the sap of the acacia tree, was used to bind ink. For paint, illuminators used glair (clarified egg white), tempera (egg yolk), fish glue, or size made from parchment or gelatin. Choice of binding medium could determine finish. See also: gesso.


binding policy
Guidelines established by a library or library system concerning the manner in which materials not purchased in permanent binding are to be bound. Cataloged monographs are usually bound (except for loose-leaf and spiral bound materials), and pamphlets may be placed in pamphlet covers. Serials permanently retained are usually bound unless converted to microform. Large library systems sometimes have an in-house bindery, but most small and medium-size libraries use a commercial bindery.


binding schedule
The dates on which materials to be bound are picked up by the binder (or shipped to the binder) and delivered back to the library after the work has been completed. According to Matt Roberts and Don Etherington (Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology), the schedule depends primarily on: 1) when the materials to be bound can be spared from the library, 2) the most convenient time for preparing materials for binding, 3) when the binder can accomplish the work with least delay, 4) when a sufficient quantity of materials can be accumulated to make up a shipment of reasonable size, and 5) when the library is prepared to pay the binder for work done. Academic libraries often have a routine schedule for sending serials to be bound.


binding slip
A set of written instructions sent by a library to the bindery with each volume or set of volumes, giving the specifications for binding the item. A form in multiple copies allows the library to maintain a record of the instructions given.


binding specifications
A detailed description of the materials, manufacturing processes, and standards of workmanship to be employed in binding materials for a library or related institution, agreed upon in advance to ensure an end product that meets the customer's expectations. According to Matt Roberts and Don Etherington (Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology), material specifications include the quality and weight (or size) of paper, cloth (or leather), sewing thread, adhesives, mending tissues, gold, foil, inks, etc., of components such as endpapers, guards, stubs, hinges, inlays, linings, tapes, and covering material. Manufacturing specifications include collation, preparation for sewing, special checking, reinforcing, removal of back folds, scoring, construction and attachment of endpapers, trimming, gluing, blocking, casing-in, inspection, etc. Specifications for workmanship include sewing, rounding and backing, adhesion of materials, turn-ins, squares, corners, trimming, etc.


binding unit
Two or more consecutive periodical issues bound together to form a volume of optimum size. For most journals published on a quarterly basis, the binding unit is composed of four issues, but for periodicals issued weekly or monthly, it usually consists of less than the total number of issues published in a year.


binding waste
Material from broken and discarded books, used in bookbinding for economy. When printed copies began to replace manuscripts following the introduction of the printing press in Europe in the second half of the 15th century, binders regarded disused parchment and vellum as useful material for making new bindings. As a result, many medieval manuscripts survive only in fragments reused as waste material, visibly or concealed, in subsequent bindings. Click here to see examples, courtesy of the Princeton University Library


biobibliography
A reference work combining biographical information with bibliography, either in the form of brief biographical entries with a list of works written by the biographees, sometimes in separate sections (example: A Biobibliography of Native American Writers, 1772-1924), or longer biographical essays with a list of works written by and about the biographee at the end of each entry (Women in Law: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook). If the subjects are writers, the bibliography may include critical studies (Asian American Novelists: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook). Also spelled bio-bibliography. Compare with author bibliography.


biodata
An abbreviation of biographical data. Factual information about the life of a person, particularly his or her professional or educational history, stored in a database for use in banking, marketing, or personnel selection or for other purposes.


biographical dictionary
A single-volume reference work or set of reference books containing biographical essays about the lives of actual people, sometimes limited to biographees who are deceased. Biographical dictionaries may be general (example: Webster's Biographical Dictionary), subject-specific (Biographical Dictionary of the History of Technology), or limited to persons of a specific nationality (American National Biography), race (Contemporary Black Biography), field or profession (International Dictionary of Anthropologists), or period or gender (Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Greek and Roman Women). Some are published serially (Current Biography Yearbook). Compare with collective biography.


biographical fiction
An imagined account of the life of a real person or persons, usually based on historical research (example: Sally Hemmings: A Novel by Barbara Chase-Riboud). Some authors specialize in biographical novels, for example, Irving Stone. Compare with autobiographical fiction.


biographical film
A motion picture in which the life of a real person (or persons) is dramatized (example: The Glenn Miller Story directed by Anthony Mann). The screenplay may be an adaptation of a previously published book, for example, the 1962 film Birdman of Alcatraz directed by John Frankenheimer, based on the 1955 book of the same title by Thomas E. Gaddis. Degree of veracity varies. Casting is usually based on physical resemblance. In an autobiographical film, the subject of the film plays himself or herself (example: Jackie Robinson in The Jackie Robinson Story). Synonymous with biopic and autobiopic.


biographical note
A brief sketch of the life of the author (composer, performer, etc.) of a work, printed at the end of a book, on the dust jacket, on the container, or elsewhere in or on the bibliographic item. Historical works sometimes contain a section of biographical notes in the back matter covering important persons whose names appear in the text. In library cataloging, the presence of a biographical note is indicated in the note area of the bibliographic description, with the name of the author of the note included if given on the item.


biography
A carefully researched, relatively full narrative account of the life of a specific person or closely related group of people, written by another. The biographer selects the most interesting and important events with the intention of elucidating the character and personality of the biographee and placing the subject's life in social, cultural, and historical context. An authorized biography, written with the consent and sometimes the cooperation of its subject, may be less critical than an unauthorized biography.

The literary form was pioneered by the Roman historians Plutarch, Tacitus, and Suetonius (click here to see a copy of the earliest printed edition of Vitae imperatorum by Cornelius Nepos, a Roman writer of the 1st century B.C., courtesy of the Royal Library of Denmark). Click here to page through a 13th-century Anglo-Norman verse life of King Edward the Confessor, illustrated with tinted drawings (Cambridge University Library, Ee.3.59). English literary biography began with James Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson, published in 1791. Modern biographers tend to be objective in approach, but classical and medieval biographers often wrote to confirm a thesis or illustrate a moral principle. Also refers to the branch of literature and history in which the lives of actual people are described and analyzed.

Biographical works are indexed annually in Biography Index, published by H.W. Wilson, and in Biography and Genealogy Master Index, published by Gale. Biographical information is also available online via the World Wide Web (see the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online). Abbreviated bio and biog. Compare with autobiography and memoirs. See also: biobibliography, biographical dictionary, collective biography, criminal biography, and hagiography.


biological attack
In preservation, damage or deterioration caused by biological organisms. In libraries, the worst damage is caused by mold and insects (bookworms, book lice, cockroaches, etc.), but rodents, dogs, cats, and babies may also inflict damage. Mold weakens the fibers of which paper and binder's board are composed, causing discoloration and in some cases fusing the leaves. Insects feed on paper, adhesives, and bindings, often leaving excretions that cause further damage and can be difficult to remove. Remedies are generally species-specific. Click here to learn more about biological damage to films, courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.


biometric ID
A method of authenticating personal identity electronically through the use of digital data (usually encrypted) in which measurements of the person's unique physiological or behavioral characteristics (fingerprint, eye retina or iris print, voice or facial pattern, signature, etc.) are recorded. Some libraries use biometric scanners to identify patrons accessing the Internet via public workstations, to prevent them from logging on with the library card number or PIN code of a friend or relative. Several European countries are considering mandatory biometric ID cards for their citizens.


biopic
An abbreviation of biographical motion picture. See: biographical film


biopredation
Damage to books or other library materials caused by living organisms, such as insects or mold (see this example).


BIP
See: Books in Print.


bird book
A type of natural history book containing pictures of wild bird species, with or without accompanying text (see this 18th-century engraved example, courtesy of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek). One of the most famous is John James Audubon's Birds of America, published in the mid-19th century. The category also includes field guides designed for bird identification.


bird's-eye view
A perspective representation of the landscape of the earth, or another celestial body, as it might be viewed from a position high above the surface. Features are shown as if projected on an oblique plane, with the horizon usually appearing in the upper third of the image. Often used to depict cities, mountain ranges, and other geographic features of considerable horizontal extent, which are not necessarily drawn strictly to scale. Click here to see a bird's-eye view of New York City in 1856 (UC Berkeley Library), here to see an 1884 bird's-eye-view of Cedar Key, Florida (click on lower right corner to enlarge), and here to see early views of Los Angeles (UCLA Library). The opposite of worm's-eye view. Synonymous with aero map. Compare with panorama.


birth and death dates
The dates on which a person was born and died. In library cataloging, a person's dates (birth, death, etc.) are added, in prescribed form, as the last element of a heading if the heading is otherwise identical to another (example: Lang, Andrew, 1844-1912). If the person is still living, the birth date is given, followed by a hyphen, and the death date is added later (example: King, Stephen, 1947- ). If the birth and/or death dates are unknown, the abbreviation ca. (circa) is used before the estimated date(s) to mean "approximately." Birth and death dates are also included in the entries in biographical reference works. See also: false date.


birthday book
A type of book popular during the Victorian period in which a quotation from a work by a well-known writer (usually a poet) is given for each day of the year, with space left blank for autographs. Click here to see an example published by Roycroft in 1924.


birthday book club
A special library program in which a child's birthday is recognized by the donation, usually by the parents or some other relative, of a modest sum (often a fixed amount) for the purchase of a new book for the child's school or public library. In some programs, the child may choose the title from a list prepared by the librarian or provide a book purchased independently of the library (hardcover editions are generally preferred). The child's name and birth date may be indicated on a label or commemorative bookplate affixed to the item. Once the book is available for circulation, the child may also have the privilege of being the first patron to check it out. To learn more about libraries in the United States that offer this program, try a keywords search on the term in Google.


BISG
See: Book Industry Study Group.


bit
A contraction of binary digit, either of the two values (0 and 1) used in the binary number system and as the smallest unit of storage in digital computers. In personal computers, data is stored and processed in 8-bit units called bytes. In ASCII code, each alphanumeric character is represented by a unique sequence of 7 bits. Although bits are used to measure digital transmission speed (bit rate), the capacity of storage (disks, files, databases, etc.) is measured in bytes. Click here to learn more about bits and bytes, courtesy of HowStuffWorks. See also: bit depth.


bit depth
In computing, the number of bits used to represent a discrete item, using a coding system based on numeric values. In digital imaging, the number of bits used to represent a pixel (at least 15 bits for digital video and 24 bits to produce full color in RGB). In digital audio, bit depth is a measure of the hardware or software processing the audio file.


bitmap
A digital representation composed of dots arranged in rows and columns, each represented by a single bit of data that determines the value of a pixel in a monochrome image on a computer screen. In a gray scale or color image, each dot is composed of a set of bits that determine the individual values of a group of pixels that in combination create the visual impression of a specific shade or hue. The greater the number of bits per dot, the wider the range of possible shades or hues. Number of dots per square inch (density) determines the resolution of a bitmapped image. Resolution may also be expressed as the number of rows multiplied by the number of columns in the map. When documents are scanned into a computer, the image on the page is automatically converted into a bitmapped image that can be viewed on a monitor. Click here to see a bitmap image enlarged. Also spelled bit map. See also: digital imaging.


bit rate
The number of bits of data that pass a given point in a computer network in a given amount of time, generally indicated in kilobits or megabits per second (kbps and mbps), a measure of the network's bandwidth, also known as its data transfer rate. Also spelled bitrate.


biweekly
Issued every two weeks. Also refers to a serial issued at two-week intervals. Used synonymously with semimonthly. Compare with semiweekly.


black and white
A still or moving image, such as a photograph, photocopy, or motion picture, produced in black, white, and intermediate shades of gray, without the use of color (click here to see an example by Dorothea Lange). Also refers to the process used to produce such an image. In bibliographic description, the abbreviation b&w is often used. Also abbreviated b-w and b/w. Compare with duotone and process color.


black box
A device which can be examined only in terms of its performance characteristics (input, output, and transfer), without knowledge of its internal components and how they function. In computing, a device designed to convert protocols from one computer system to another.


Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA)
Founded in 1970, BCALA has a membership of black librarians and black persons interested in promoting librarianship and encouraging active participation by African Americans in library associations and at all levels of the profession. BCALA publishes the bimonthly BCALA Newsletter. Click here to connect to the BCALA homepage.


black comedy
From the French humour noir. A term coined in 1935 by the French Surrealist theoretician André Breton to describe a subgenre of comedy and satire in which laughter arises from attitudes of skepticism and cynicism, often in reference to absurd or horrifying events that result in death or suffering. Examples include the novel Catch-22 (1961) by Joseph Heller, the film Dr. Strangelove (1964) directed by Stanley Kubrick, and the television series M*A*S*H (1972-1983). Synonymous with black humor, dark comedy, and gallows humor.


black edges
In the 19th century, it was not uncommon for the edges of the sections of devotional books and funereal publications to be blackened in binding by sponging them with ink, then with ivory black, lampblack, or antimony mixed with paste. Today, the technique is used mainly on photograph albums (see this example).


black face
See: boldface.


black letter
See: gothic.


black light work
See: luminescent work.


blank
A leaf intentionally left unprinted in a book, usually preceding the half title and/or following the back matter, often to give the signature an even number of leaves. Synonymous with printer's blank.

Also, any page or sheet of paper (or other writing surface) that does not bear written or printed matter. Compare with white space. In a more general sense, any recording medium, such as an audiocassette or videocassette, on which nothing is recorded.


blankbook
A book consisting of clean or ruled leaves for writing or making entries, with printing limited to page headings and/or divisions (see this example). Examples include diaries, albums, scrapbooks, guestbooks, sketchbooks, account books, minute books, log books, exercise books, etc. Because the information recorded in official blankbooks may be of permanent value, good-quality paper and durable bindings are generally used. A blankbook should open flat for ease of use. Also spelled blank book.


blanket order
An agreement in which a publisher or dealer supplies to a library or library system one copy of each title as issued, on the basis of a profile established in advance by the purchaser. Blanket order plans are used mainly by large academic and public libraries to reduce the amount of time required for selection and acquisition and to speed the process of getting new titles into circulation. Unlike approval plans, most blanket order plans do not allow returns. One of the best-known examples in the United States is the Greenaway Plan. Synonymous with gathering plan. See also: book lease plan.


blanking
In binding, the application of a heated brass stamp to the cloth cover of a book to create a glossy impression to serve as a base for lettering or for a stamped decoration.


BLB
See: Big Little Book.


bleaching
The fading of book covers, inks, and pigments used in illustrations, usually caused by overexposure to natural or artificial light (see this example). Bleaching can be minimized in libraries by switching off lights in unused areas, applying protective material to glass-fronted storage cases, and using light sleeves to filter artificial light.


bleed
In printing, to run text or illustration off the trimmed edge of the page without leaving space for a margin, accidentally or by intention. A page can bleed in more than one direction, depending on how many edges are touched by the image printed on it. Also refers to text cropped too closely in binding.


bleeding edge
The edge of a map or illustration to which printed detail extends after the sheet or page has been trimmed, leaving no margin. A sheet or page can bleed at more than one edge.


blind
In bookbinding, a procedure done without further embellishment, for example, tooling or blocking applied to a leather or cloth binding without the addition of ink or metallic leaf to bring out the design. Click here to view a 16th-century English example of blind tooling (Special Collections, Glasgow University Library, BD1-d.16). To find other examples, try a keywords search on the phrase "tooled in blind" in the British Library's Database of Bookbindings.

Also refers to a person whose vision is severely impaired, eligible in the United States to receive library services through the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS).


blind carbon copy (bcc)
A message sent to multiple recipients at the same time without displaying the list of recipients to each person on the list. The practice, which originated with paper correspondence, has become a feature of most e-mail programs. Compare with blind copy.


blind copy
A copy of a literary work from which the author's name is deliberately withheld. Blind copies are used in publishing and in jurying literary awards to allow the reader to judge the quality of the work without being influenced by the writer's reputation.

Also refers to a copy of an e-mail message sent to one or more persons without including the original sender as a recipient, leaving its source with no direct knowledge that the message has been forwarded to others. Compare with blind carbon copy.


blind folio
A leaf in a manuscript or book included in the foliation but not given a folio number. The opposite of expressed folio. Compare with blind page.


blind page
A page in a book, usually the half title, title page, dedication, or a blank page, included in the pagination but not given a page number. Compare with blind folio.


blind reference
A cross-reference in an index or catalog directing the reader to a heading that does not exist in the same index or catalog.


blind stamp
A symbol or other device embossed or impressed onto paper without ink, usually to identify the creator, printer, publisher, seller, or owner, or to indicate the purpose of the item, such as a "Review Copy." When applied to binding material (usually cloth or leather), blind stamps are often decorative (see these examples, courtesy of Alibris).


blip code
A small mark recorded on the edge of roll microfilm, outside the image area, that can be read to automatically to count frames (see this example). By assigning marks of constant size and density to distinguish documents as they are filmed, the codes can be used to index and automatically locate documents.


block
In records management, one or more segments (often chronological) of cutoff or closed records in the same record series, treated as a unit for purposes of disposition, for example, the transfer of records in 5- or 10-year blocks. Also, the records of an agency, organizational component, or functional area when stored with those of other agencies, components, or areas. In electronic records, a grouping of data maintained as a unit on an external storage medium and accessed by the computer as a unit of input or output.


blockbook
A form of book containing text alone or text with pictures, printed entirely from woodcuts on only one side of each leaf. Blockbooks originated in Europe during the 15th century concurrently with printing from movable type and may have been an inexpensive alternative to books printed on a press. A well-known example is the Biblia Pauperum ("Bible of the Poor") printed in large quantities during the second half of the 15th century. Fewer than two dozen copies are known to survive. Click here to view a page from a 15th-century blockbook Bible printed in the Netherlands (Special Collections, Glasgow University Library, Hunterian Ds.2.4/10) and here to learn more about blockbooks, courtesy of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek. Also spelled block book. See also: xylography.


blockbuster
A slang term for a new book for which the sale of a very large number of copies is virtually guaranteed, usually due to the reputation or popularity of the author (Mary Higgins Clark, Stephen King, Danielle Steel, etc.). Public libraries often order such titles in multiple copies to satisfy initial demand. Also used in reference to the willingness of publishers to repeatedly sign such authors and promote their works, sometimes to the neglect of writers of lesser fame whose works deserve to be read. Synonymous with megabook. Compare with bestseller.

In the motion picture industry, a newly released feature film expected to attract large audiences and sell well on videocassette and DVD, usually because it has won a major award or because its cast includes actors and/or actresses who are stars.


block diagram
In cartography, a generalized representation of a four-cornered portion of the landscape, shown in perspective or isometric projection, usually with some vertical exaggeration, often used to show structures hidden beneath the surface. Click here to see a block diagram of the Albemarle-Pamlico drainage basin in North Carolina and Virginia, courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey, and here to see two examples showing the geological processes in the formation of Oregon Caves National Monument (National Park Service).


blocked
The status of the borrower account of a patron who is barred from checking out materials from the library, usually because fines for overdue items remain unpaid. Most electronic circulation systems are designed to automatically block a patron record under conditions prescribed by the library.

Also refers to digital content which cannot be viewed from a user's computer because online access is denied, usually by the installation of Internet filtering software. Public libraries that accept federal funding for Internet access are required by the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) to block pornographic and gambling content on computers used by minors.


blocking
The process of impressing a decorative design or lettering on the cover of a book by machine in blind, ink, or metallic leaf, using an engraved plate called a binder's brass (die) mounted on a blocking press (click here to see the process illustrated). Michelle Brown notes in Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts (Getty Museum/British Library, 1994) that metal blocks were first used on leather bindings in Flanders in the early 13th century, and large wooden blocks were used in the Netherlands during the 16th century. Requiring far less time and labor than hand tooling, blocking was the precursor of modern stamping used in case binding. To see examples of blocking on leather, try a search on the keyword "blocked" in the British Library's Database of Bookbindings. Click here to a see its use on a 19th-century cloth binding (Rare Books & Texana Collections, Univ. of North Texas Libraries). Synonymous with stamping.

Also refers to the tendency of the leaves of a book or other bound publication to adhere when exposed to water, producing a solidly fused block. With uncoated papers, the effect can be mitigated by standing the wet volume on end with the leaves fanned open to allow them to air dry. In books printed on coated paper, the leaves can be difficult to separate without damaging the printed surface, especially once drying has commenced. Blocking can be minimized by the use of vacuum freeze drying. Under poor storage conditions, photographic film and magnetic tape may also adhere to neighboring materials or, if on a reel or in layers, to itself.


block letter
A letter printed in a typeface that has strokes of equal width and boldness, straight and without serifs, a style used for legibility in headlines but considered less legible for printing text matter (see these examples). Used synonymously with sans-serif. Compare with monoline.


block quotation
See: quotation.


blog
See: Weblog.


bloom
In conservation, the growth of mold or fungus on the surface of an item stored under warm, humid conditions, or a visible change in the appearance of the surface of an item caused by moisture (often atmospheric). Also, a powdery residue shed from the coating on magnetic tape (A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology by Richard Pearce-Moses).


bloop
An unwanted clicking sound caused when a faulty splice or break in the optical sound track on motion picture film passes the scanner in projection. Deblooping (also called blooping) is the application of opaque ink or tape over the splice on a positive optical sound track, or the use of a small perforation on a negative optical track, to render the noise inaudible. Also refers to the darkened or taped area that silences the noise. On magnetic sound tracks, diagonal splicing reduces the area of splice passing the playback head, but a bloop can result when the track is inadvertently touched by magnetic editing tools. Deblooping of magnetic tracks is done with a small magnet.


blowback
A hard copy enlargement of an image on microform. Most libraries provide reader-printer machines for enlarging and making copies of documents available on microfilm or microfiche. Also spelled blow back. Compare with blowup.


blowup
In photography, an enlargement usually made from a copy negative taken of a smaller print (the procedure is demonstrated in the 1966 feature film Blowup directed by Michelangelo Antonioni). Also, a motion picture made in a larger film format than the original, for example, a 16mm print made from an 8mm original. Synonymous with enlargement print. The opposite of reduction print.

In document reproduction, any copy made on a scale larger than the original. In the book trade, a greatly enlarged image of a dust jacket, illustration, or specimen page, used in marketing. Also spelled blow up. Compare with blowback.


blue book
In the United States, the popular name for a manual published by a state government listing the names of elected and appointed officials and providing information about government structure, agencies, voting districts, elections, etc., usually bound in blue covers. Compare with red book.

In a more general sense, any official or semi-official authoritative guide, usually published serially (see this example).


blue pencil
To mark corrections in a manuscript or typescript during the editing process, derived from the color of pencil traditionally used by editors. The term has also been applied to the editing of text by a censor.


blueprint
A photographic copy of the detailed plans for constructing a building or other structure, formerly printed in white against a blue ground by the cyanotype process. Blueprints are usually produced in sets, one for each floor for each phase of construction (plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc.). They are collected by architecture libraries and by archives and special collections for construction projects of historical significance. Blueprints are used by libraries in planning and overseeing the renovation, expansion, and new construction of facilities. To see examples, try a keyword search on the term in Google Images. See also: architectural drawing.


blue scale
A method used in preservation to determine whether a light source is affecting a book or other object. Strips of blue woolen cloth known to fade at different rates are pasted parallel to each other across one side of a card backed with a piece of stiff cardboard. A strip of black paper (or other opaque material), cut to the length of the card, is taped over one-half of the strips, so tightly that light cannot seep under the edges of the shield. The card is positioned beside the object, facing the light source, and checked regularly for evidence of fading. Date of installation should be noted on the back of the card for future reference.


Blu-ray (BD)
A type of high-definition optical disc introduced by Sony in 2006, BD quickly outdistanced HD-DVD (abandoned by Toshiba in 2008) in the emerging market for this new high-capacity storage medium. Named for the blue-violet laser used to read data in BD players, Blu-ray provides the highest resolution HDTV is capable of reproducing. Because the blue laser has a shorter wavelength than the red beam used to read standard DVDs, Blu-ray discs have a storage capacity five times greater (50 gigabytes) than standard DVDs. On discs that have become scratched, the greater data compression increases the likelihood of playback problems. According the November 15, 2009 issue of Library Journal, over ten percent of public and academic libraries in the United States circulate Blu-ray discs and the number is growing. Though not a compulsory standard, the Blu-ray Disc Association recommends that Blu-ray disc drives be capable of reading standard DVDs and CDs, for backward compatibility.


blurb
The publisher's description and recommendation of a new book, usually printed on the front flap of the dust jacket, portions of which may be used in advertisements published in book trade journals and review publications and in the publisher's catalog. Brief excerpts from favorable reviews are usually printed on the back of the dust jacket. See also: puff and teaser.


BMI
See: Book Manufacturer's Institute.


B-movie
A low-budget motion picture, especially one shown as the second half of a double feature during the period when most movie theaters in the United States sold admission to a double feature (example: I Walked with a Zombie [1943] directed by Jacques Tourneur). The main feature, shown first, was generally a large-budget production (A-movie) employing well-know actors. The term is still used although the practice of showing two films for the price of a single admission has been discontinued in most theaters. B-pictures typically use less well-known actors and may have limited theatrical distribution. A high proportion are genre films (horror, science fiction, romantic comedy, etc.). For reviews, see B-Movie Central. Synonymous with B-grade and low-budget movie.


BNB
See: British National Bibliography.


BNC
See: Library and Archives Canada.


BNF
See: Bibliothèque Nationale de France.


BO
See: back order.


board
A general term for the sheet of rigid material forming one side of the cover of a book bound in hardcover, the upper board preceding the book block and the lower board following it. Up to the 16th century, wooden boards were used (seasoned oak or hardwood in England and France to resist worming, beech in Germany and Italy), sometimes beveled or shaped to accommodate clasps (click here to see examples, courtesy of the Princeton Univ. Library). The thickness and weight of wooden boards helped keep leaves made of parchment or vellum pressed flat. The boards were attached to the sewn quires by threading the cords (sewing supports) through channels cut into the boards and then securing them with pegs or nails before the spine and sides were covered in leather or parchment. Until about the 15th century, boards were often cut flush with the sections, but after that time they extended beyond the edges of the book block, forming squares.

With the widespread use of paper following the invention of printing, heavy boards were no longer needed. Pasteboard, made from sheets of paper stuck together, was introduced in the 15th century, and by the late 17th century millboard made from rope-fiber were being used. Strawboard did not come into use in bookbinding until the 18th century. In modern bookbinding, the cover is usually made of binder's board manufactured from various fibrous materials pulped or laminated and pressed into large, flat sheets cut to size in binding. In less expensive editions, strawboard, chip board, or pasteboard is used. See also: conservation board, fiberboard, pressboard, and yawning boards.

In computers, the flat piece of plastic or fiberglass designed to hold microchips and other computer hardware. The main circuit board in most systems is called the motherboard (see this example), and all the component chips that plug into the main board are called cards or boards.

Also refers to a group of prominent persons elected or appointed to serve as trustees responsible for overseeing the policies and major management decisions of an organization or institution, such as a library or library system. See also: editorial board.


board book
A durable book of small size designed for very young children, consisting of a few unnumbered pages made of pasteboard covered in glossy paper printed with colorful illustrations and little if any text (see these examples). Board books are often alphabet books or counting books.


Bodleian Library
The library of the University of Oxford in England. The original medieval library was severely damaged in 1542, then refounded in 1598 by Sir Thomas Bodley, a former diplomat. Its combination of buildings, constructed between 1490 and 1970, and its vast holdings make it unique among the world's great libraries. Its collections are particularly strong in English literature, history, and typography. The Bodleian has been a copyright depository library since 1662. Click here to connect to the "Bodley" homepage which provides a more detailed history of the library (see "Visitor Information"). See also: British Library, The.


body
In printing, the main portion of a book, beginning with the first page of the text and including any footnotes and illustrations but excluding the front matter and back matter. In bookbinding, the block of sections sewn or glued together in preparation for attachment of the case or cover.

In an e-mail message, the text of the message, as opposed to the header (e-mail address of sender, address[es] of recipient[s], subject of message), and any footer.

In typesetting, the small rectangular unit of cast metal bearing a single raised character on one end (the face) from which an impression is taken in letterpress printing. Synonymous in this sense with shank.

Also refers to a group of people with an official function. Library catalogers recognize: corporate body, related body, and subordinate body.


body matter
The text of a work to be printed, as distinct from any display matter (headings, ornaments, illustrations, etc.).


body type
See: text type.


boilerplate
Fixed or formulaic language or code, commonly used in forms, documents, legal contracts, and computer programming, which can be reused in new contexts or applications without significantly altering the original.


bold
See: boldface.


boldface
A typeface conspicuous for being thicker and darker but not larger than the medium weight type of the same font, used mainly for contrast or emphasis and for headings. The words thicker and darker in the preceding sentence are in boldface. Variations include semi-bold, extra-bold, and ultra-bold. Also spelled bold face. Synonymous with bold and black face. Compare with lightface.


bole
A fine, soft, oily red, gray-blue, green, or white clay dusted or mixed with glue and brushed onto the edges of the sections of a book to serve as a preparatory ground for edge gilding, enhancing its color and luster. Also used as a size on which gold leaf is applied in other types of gilding (see this example). See also: gesso.


bolt
The folded edge of a single sheet of paper at the head, tail, or fore-edge of the book block in an uncut or unopened book, known respectively as the head-bolt, tail-bolt, or fore-edge bolt. In binding, the fourth edge, called the back fold or spine bolt, is sewn and/or glued to the other folded and gathered sections to form the back of the book. If the sections are not trimmed on a guillotine in binding, the process of opening of the folds with a knife is called "slipping the bolts."


bond measure
See: library bond.


bonus record
An audiorecording given free of charge to a record club subscriber who purchases, at full price, a predetermined number of additional recordings, usually from the club's catalog, or who fulfills the requirements of some other club incentive program.


book
A collection of leaves of paper, parchment, vellum, cloth, or other material (written, printed, or blank) fastened together along one edge, with or without a protective case or cover. The origin of the word is uncertain. It may be derived from the Anglo-Saxon boc (plural bec) or from the Norse bok, meaning "book" or "beech tree," possibly in reference to the wooden boards originally used in binding. Also refers to a literary work or one of its volumes. Compare with monograph.

To qualify for the special parcel post rate classified by the U.S. Postal Service as "media mail," a publication must consist of 24 or more pages, at least 22 of which bear printing consisting primarily of reading material or scholarly bibliography, with advertising limited to book announcements. UNESCO defines a book as a nonperiodical literary publication consisting of 49 or more pages, covers excluded. The ANSI standard includes publications of less than 49 pages that have hard covers. Abbreviated bk. See also: art book, artist's book, board book, children's book, codex, coffee table book, gift book, licensed book, managed book, miniature book, new book, packaged book, picture book, premium book, professional book, promotional book, rare book, reference book, religious book, and reprint book.

Also, a major division of a longer work (usually of fiction) that is further subdivided into chapters. Usually numbered, such a division may or may not have its own title. Also refers to one of the divisions of the Christian Bible, the first being Genesis.

In reference to a musical play, a volume containing the scenario and dialogue without the score.


book announcement
A brief statement by the publisher, informing readers, booksellers, and librarians of the availability of a new book or backlisted title, usually published as an advertisement in a book trade journal or review publication or in the advertising section of another book published under the same imprint. A book announcement usually includes the title of the work, name(s) of author(s) or editor(s), ISBN, projected date of publication, list price, and prepublication price, if offered. It may also include a blurb or brief excerpts from favorable reviews and a picture of the front cover.


book art
The form of art expressed through the medium of the book. The artist's input extends beyond authorship and illustration, making the physical appearance of the book as object a manifestation of creativity in and of itself (see this example by Sherrie Knipe). In some artist's books, the traditional format of the book is not altered (example: an illustrated collection of poems in which the words and images are embossed, rather than printed, on paper). In other works, the artist experiments with format, even to the extent of challenging the concept of reading (example: a book with the leaves made of mirror-foil). Some publishers specialize in this art form (Ron King's Circle Press). The National Art Library at the Victoria & Albert Museum of decorative and applied arts in London holds an extensive collection of books on the history of this form of artistic experimentation.


book arts
The skills and techniques used in creating fine books and manuscripts, including papermaking, calligraphy, illumination and rubrication, typography, illustration, printing, and bookbinding. Book Arts Web provides a gallery. See also: Center for Book Arts, Grolier Club, and Morris, William.


book auction
A public or private sale at which rare books and used books are sold to the highest bidder, usually on commission. A firm specializing in such sales is known as a book auction house (examples: Bloomsbury Auctions and PBA Galleries). Extremely rare and valuable books and manuscripts are usually sold by international auction houses such as Christie's and Sotheby's. See also: American Book Prices Current and antiquarian bookseller.


book award
See: literary award.


bookbag
A sturdy carrying sack, usually made of canvas or heavy nylon fabric with firmly attached straps of sufficient strength to handle the weight of a number of books and related items. Some designs are open at the top, others have a flap or zippered closure. Used by students and library patrons, bookbags stamped with a logo or slogan are often sold as specialty items in library gift shops or by Friends of the Library groups to raise funds. To see examples, try a keyword search on the term "bookbag" in Google Images. Also spelled book bag.


book band
A strip of printed paper (usually colored) placed around the jacketed cover of a book to call attention to a special characteristic, such as availability at a reduced price, receipt of an award, or special loan status (reserve, interlibrary loan, etc.).


bookbin
A wheeled box for transporting books, sometimes with a bottom equipped with a spring mechanism to allow the space inside to fill gradually as books and other materials are returned by patrons to a book drop built into the circulation desk or wall of a library.


bookbinding
The process of fastening the leaves of a manuscript or book together in a particular order and enclosing them in a protective cover (forwarding), then applying lettering and decoration to the cover (finishing), formerly done by hand by a tradesman called a binder but now largely mechanized (see case binding). Medieval mansucript books were bound by hand (click here to learn more about the process). Prior to the 19th century most printed books were sold in sheets to be bound to the customer's order. Only titles for which demand was steady would have been sold ready-bound. Click here to see a collection of bookbinding models, courtesy of the University of Iowa Libraries. See also: conservation binding, custom binding, hand-binding, publisher's binding, and signed binding.

To explore bookbinding digitally, see Victorian Bookbinding (Rare Books & Texana Collections, Univ. of North Texas Libraries), Bound to Please (University of Miami Library), and Hand Bookbindings: Plain and Simple to Grand and Glorious (Princeton University Library), three excellent online exhibits. The National Library of Scotland provides images of Scottish Decorative Bookbinding and see British Bookbindings: 16th-19th Century, courtesy of the Glasgow University Library. The British Library's Database of Bookbindings is keywords searchable.


bookbinding model
The binding for a book, made by a skilled binder as a replica to exemplify a particular historic period, national tradition, or craft context, or as the production "dummy" for a hand-bound edition, typically containing only blank leaves. Click here to see examples from a collection of bookbinding models owned by the University of Iowa Libraries.


book block
All the sections of a book sewn or glued together, plus the endpapers and any other leaves added by the binder, before the cover is applied. Compare with text block.


book box
A container made of rigid, solid material, usually rectangular in shape, designed to hold a book and keep it tightly covered on all sides. Click here to see a 17th-century Chinese Buddhist example and here to see a modern clamshell example (Royal Library of Denmark). Categories of books requiring the protection of a box are those in fragile condition, of considerable rarity or value, in significant bindings or with protrusions that could damage adjacent items, and miniature books and unbound manuscripts. Commercially manufactured boxes of archival quality are available from suppliers in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Custom-made boxes can be ordered from book binders. A box designed for a very small book should be comparable in size to other books on the same shelf, filled in on the inside to the dimensions of the book. Compare with slipcase. See also: conservation box, drop side box, drop spine box, pull-case, and solander.


book burning
The intentional destruction by fire of books considered objectionable or dangerous, usually by a religious or secular authority, as in the mass burning of books considered politically incorrect by the Nazi Party in pre-World War II Germany, or by a mob, usually in the context of political unrest. The American Library Association provides a Web site on Book Burning. See also Burning Books by Haig Bosmajian (McFarland, 2006) and the online exhibition Fighting the Fires of Hate: America and the Nazi Book Burnings (U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum). See also: biblioclast, censorship, intellectual freedom, and libricide.


book caddy
A high two-wheeled metal cart with a protruding handle or bar across the top, designed for maximum maneuverability in transporting books to and from locations and across surfaces difficult to manage with a full-size book truck. Single-stack and multiple-shelf models are available from library suppliers (see this example, courtesy of Highsmith).


book card
A piece of stiff card stock of standard size (three inches wide and five inches high), with space at the top for the call number, name of author, and title of item, and blank lines below for recording the due date and the library card number or name of the borrower, used in manual circulation systems to maintain a card file of items currently checked out. The book card is reinserted in the book pocket inside the item at check-in (see this example). Some libraries use color-coded book cards to indicate type of material or applicable loan rule. See also: date due slip.


bookcase
A set of two or more single- or double-sided shelves in a rigid frame, used to store books, periodicals, videocassettes, and other materials. In libraries, bookcases are usually made of wood or metal with fixed or adjustable shelves.


book catalog
A library catalog in the form of a bound or loose-leaf book, whether handwritten, printed, or computer-generated, practical only for small collections.


book cloth
See: cloth.


book club
A commercial company that sells new books and backlisted titles by mail to subscribers who agree to purchase a minimum number of titles per year at discount prices, usually from main, alternate, or special selections offered on a monthly basis that may be rejected or returned by the subscriber. To attract new subscribers, an introductory offer of free or heavily discounted titles may be made in exchange for a minimum purchase commitment. Some book clubs offer books of general interest (example: Book-of-the-Month Club); others specialize by genre (mystery, science fiction, etc.), subject (gardening), or academic field or discipline (history). Directory information for book clubs is available in Literary Market Place, a reference serial available in most libraries. Click here to view an online list of Book Clubs by Interest, or try the Yahoo! list of book clubs. See also: birthday book club and book club edition.

Also refers to an informal group of readers who purchase books for circulation and, in some cases, discussion among themselves. Synonymous in this sense with reading circle. See also: online book club.


book club edition
An edition of a book offered for sale by a book club on a mail-order basis. Copies may be purchased by the club from the publisher's stock (usually at a discount) or specially reprinted for club distribution. An edition produced solely for distribution to book club subscribers can usually be distinguished from the trade edition of the same title by the inferior quality of paper and binding, the absence of a price on the dust jacket, and other distinctive markings (click here to learn more about how to identify book club editions, courtesy of My Wings Books). Abbreviated bc or bce.


book collecting
The process of acquiring a collection of books based on their content, history, antiquity, rarity, beauty, monetary value, or other characteristics. A person who systematically acquires books for the pleasure of owning them, as an investment, or with the intention of bequeathing them to a library or other institution is a book collector. For a brief but fascinating essay on the "history of book collecting," see the entry under the term in A Dictionary of Book History by John Feather (Oxford University Press, 1986). For the terminology of book collecting, see ABC for Book Collectors by John Carver and Nicolas Barker (Oak Knoll, 2004). Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America provides a Web page for book collectors. See also: bibliomania, bibliophile, and private library.


book collector
A person who acquires books for the pleasure of owning them, often bequeathing all or a portion of the collection to a library or other educational inst