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Literary Research in Special Collections

This guide provides an introduction to conducting literary research using Special Collections. Collections at University of Maryland Libraries are featured, but information on other collections is also presented.

What is Descriptive Bibliography?

An important branch of literary study is bibliographic study; however, there are several kinds of bibliographies. "Analytical bibliography is concerned with the whole study of the physical book: its history, its appearance, and the influence of the manner of production on its text" (Belanger, para. 12). Terry Belanger's article "Descriptive Bibliography" describes the different types of bibliographic activities in which book historians, literary scholars and collectors can be involved. (Belanger's article can be found under the "Bibliography Defined" link from the Bibliographic Society of America's site.)

Descriptive bibliography, a type of analytical bibliography, is the study of book-as-object. Questions concerning how the book is put together, types and placement of illustration, typography, binding work, and type and quality of paper are all considered when viewing the book as an object.

Further Resources: Books

Further Resources on the Web