About Book Traces @ UVA

Many volumes in the circulating collections of Alderman Library have evidentiary value due to modifications by their former owners: marginalia, inserts, inscriptions and the like. Book Traces @ UVA is an effort to find these uniquely modified books, record their significant characteristics, and make them discoverable through the UVA Library catalog.

We have developed a statistically-informed strategy for analyzing our holdings and have worked out a protocol for the discovery and sorting process. We are currently gathering data on the presence and types of “traces” in Alderman Library books published before 1923 (the earliest date of copyright in the United States), and can break down the rates of intervention by subject area or date of publication. We plan to add enhanced metadata to the catalog entries of books identified as containing notable interventions.

We hope to share our methods with other libraries and we invite interested parties to get in touch with us about possible collaboration. (Please contact Prof. Andrew Stauffer.) Our larger goal is to reveal and preserve a distributed archive of artifacts testifying to the history of readership and book use, potentially a rich ground for research.

Our work is funded by a Hidden Collections grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). All inquiries should be directed to Project Manager Kristin Jensen.

Advisory Committee

  • Kara McClurken, Director of Preservation Services, University of Virginia Library (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • Andrew Stauffer, Associate Professor of English, University of Virginia and Director of NINES (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • Jennifer Roper, Director of Acquisitions and Discovery, University of Virginia Library
  • Christine Ruotolo, Director of Arts and Humanities, University of Virginia Library
  • David Whitesell, Curator, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library

Project Staff

  • Kristin Jensen, Project Manager, University of Virginia Library
  • Eva Latterner, Project Assistant
  • Samuel Lemley, Project Assistant
  • Julia Schrank, Project Assistant
  • Emily Temple, Project Assistant
  • M. Jacqueline Morrogh, Statistics Intern
  • Kaye Marie Ferguson, Volunteer
  • Charles Friedman, Volunteer
  • Judy Herbst, Volunteer

Looking for booktraces.org?

Book Traces @ UVA grew out of Andrew Stauffer’s Book Traces, a website where anyone can submit pictures of unique copies of library books in circulating collections around the world. Have you found a book in your library with old writing on the pages or artifacts tucked in? Share your find on Book Traces!