Bibliography for Dummies

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Robert Darnton, a man who writes so much about the mechanics behind books, has started to give me perspective on his knowledge in The Case for Books.

"Previous bibliographers had assumed that each book would move through the chain of production according to consistent, linear pattern: a certain compositor would feed formes to the printers at a certain press, who would run off the edition, frequently leaving traces of their activity in the pattern of headlines at the top of the page, direction lines at the bottom, or press figures," (Darnton, 137).

Yes, this is certainly the way the production of books used to work, but where does the work come from now?  It comes from those darn machines.  I assume this book is not going to go into much of the mechanical and futuristic essence of technology nowadays, but I think Darnton allows the reader to compare what he is saying with that of the present and future of the book.  The production of books have already changed, but they are continuing to change with the idea that books might become an internet thing.
"The printers scattered clues to these irregularities by marks left in the text.  In some cases they crossed out a redundant page of Romeo and Juliet.  In others, they left corrections added by hand during the final proof-reading.  The text was always changing, always slipping morphologically from one state to another," (Darnton, 141).

Do texts change as much during production now?  The process is more robotic, so there isn't as much of a chance for the print to change; that is, after the editors have had a chance to look through it.  Maybe this is why we see mistakes in books sometimes, because people are not taking as much care into the process.  Also, there are so many new authors now who are releasing books multiple times a year.  This is why there is a purpose for writing bibliographies today.  

The amount of books that are produced and re-produced is insane.  I have the first addition of the book Wicked, which is not even that old, and now I just saw a "third" new addition of the book!  I don't understand why there needs to be so many, I guess the author thinks its necessary or someone is telling him to do it, but I see the need now for keeping that information straight.  When I have written bibliographies for class, I never gave much attention to what I was actually writing, of course that was in high school.  And in high school I never thought I was going to grow to love books and become a journalist.  So, it's good that I could learn from Darnton now about those insights to books that he gives.  I think it's interesting that he doesn't talk about the importance of what's on the page and reading in writing like we have read by other authors in this class; instead, he talks about the mysteries of the actual 'book' which, coincidentally, is the theme of this class.

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