Posted by Cait Coker and Kate Ozment
We started the Women in Book History Bibliography more than eighteen months ago with the goal of making it easier for scholars working on women and textual production to find sources for their research. With this new project, we are taking the next step and focusing on pedagogy.
We named this blog Sammelband after a German phrase that means "a composite volume of two or more works, whether printed, manuscript, or both, bound together" (Oxford). One such sammelband at Texas A&M’s Cushing Memorial Library & Archives is a traveling tutor’s portfolio of subjects and languages. It’s so fat with texts that it is barely readable, clearly a book designed for reasons other than just reading. For reasons like this, sammelbands are some of our favorite works to explore, as they tell the history not only of production, but of reading practices and literary communities. This blog is in the same spirit of joining together and creating communities.
Sammelband has three main focuses: theoretical approaches, gathering materials and resources, and practical exercises for the classroom. The first discusses the motivations for and benefits of dedicating classroom space to empirical bibliography, or learning through replicating historical processes (Samuelson and Morrow, 2015; paywalled). The second will help build a teaching library by listing reliable dealers of materials and anticipated costs. We organize these posts around building working “kits” for classrooms, workshops, and personal use. The last category provides practical advice for how to implement this in undergraduate and graduate classrooms in history, literature, and library sciences, although many of these exercises could be used at the secondary and primary levels with modifications. We link to open-access resources and provide our own, as well as a supplementary space to discuss methods and effectiveness on social media.
The primary authors are two early career scholars, both of whom are philosophically committed to introducing undergraduates to book history and empirical bibliography but face the ever-present hurdles of time, funding, and experience. We do not have all the answers, but we do have some concrete suggestions and a spirit of relentless creativity. We imagine an audience with similar challenges and therefore gear these posts toward providing practical tools and resources. We will include posts on applying for grants and funding to build a teaching library as well as using innovative and non-traditional materials. Each exercise and materials post will list startup funding needed and explore quality versus cost. Whenever possible, we privilege open-access resources, archives, and tools. We also provide alternatives for teachers and students without access to technology in the classroom.
Samuelson, Todd and Christopher L. Morrow. “Empirical Bibliography: A Decade of Book History at Texas A&M.” PBSA 109 (1): 83-109 (March 2015).