A Handbook to Literary Research by Simon Eliot, W. R. Owens (editors)

By Simon Eliot, W. R. Owens (editors)

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Wild cards Some search systems will allow you to use what is often called a ‘wild card’. Wild cards usually take one of two forms: 1 A symbol (sometimes a $ sign) which represents any single letter. If, for instance, you typed in: c$t the system would find ‘cat’, ‘cot’ and ‘cut’. 2 A symbol (sometimes a * sign) which stands for any number of letters (and is therefore most likely to be used at the end of a word when you are searching for related words from one stem). If, for instance, you typed in TOOLS OF THE TRADE 33 law* the system would find ‘law’, ‘laws’, ‘lawyer’, ‘lawyers’, ‘lawcourt’, ‘lawcourts’, etc.

This concentrates on British book history and has sub-groups that study book history archives, and work on oral book history (by, for example, interviewing printers and publishers on conditions in the trade in the 1950s and 1960s). Membership secretary: Dr Elizabeth James, BTHG, British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NWl 2DB. • The Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP), which issues a quarterly newsletter. This is an international learned society which, however, tends to concentrate on Anglophone countries.

What does ‘imposition’ mean? Describe the imposition and folding of a single printed folio sheet. 3 How was paper made in Europe before 1800? What is the significance of chain lines and watermarks? How can you use them to work out the format of a given book? 4 Describe the job of a hand compositor; discuss the ways in which turning an author’s manuscript into set type might lead to errors in the final printed text. 5 Take one change in book production technology that occurred in the period 1780–1900 (for example, the use of powered printing machines, or paper-making machines, or stereotyping or mechanical composition), describe the changes involved and evaluate the impact these changes had on the production of books.

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