An Encyclopedia of the Book: Terms Used in Paper-Making, Printing, Bookbinding and Publishing

An Encyclopedia of the Book: Terms Used in Paper-Making, Printing, Bookbinding and Publishing

An Encyclopedia of the Book: Terms Used in Paper-Making, Printing, Bookbinding and Publishing

An Encyclopedia of the Book: Terms Used in Paper-Making, Printing, Bookbinding and Publishing

Excerpt

In the fifteenth century, when the bookcrafts as now practised may be said to have begun, the printer often combined the roles of typefounder, editor, printer, binder, publisher and seller of his productions; a time-consuming but surely very satisfying occupation. As the years passed, however, and the processes of making books grew into separate trades, each with its own master craftsmen, special terms were evolved to describe the technicalities particular to every stage of creating a book. This evolution has never ceased, yet an exhaustive search must be made in the many handbooks available before the interested bibliophile, the apprentice printer and binder, the publisher or the bookseller, the paper-maker or the librarian can find clear explanations of these terms and something of their history. Perhaps more disquieting than the absence of a comprehensive English glossary on the subject is the fact that in many works on book production, presumably written by authorities in their several branches, there is a perplexing failure to agree, not only on the spelling of names, the dates of an invention, or how fast a machine operates, but on such relatively simple matters as to whether an 'introduction' and a 'foreword' are synonymous (they are not). May this be offered as a reason why a librarian, although outside the book trade proper, has ventured to write a book for its use, claiming that the detachment of a broad general viewpoint is a not unsuitable qualification for doing so, even in an age when specialization discourages the polymath.

In the preface to his 'Dictionary of the English Language', 1755, Samuel Johnson states that 'to explain, requires the use of terms less abstruse than that which is to be explained, and such terms cannot always be found. For as nothing can be proved but by supposing something intuitively known, and evident without proof, so nothing can be defined but by the use of words too plain to admit of a definition.' I have taken this as a guiding principle in compiling this short glossary which aims at providing a reference-companion to be constantly available when studying or practising the processes of book-making.

The scope of the book is stated on the title-page, it merely remaining to add here that advertising, newspaper work, and other . . .

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