About Book Traces @ UVA

Book Traces @ UVA was a large-scale project to find and record historical readers’ interventions in the circulating collections of the University of Virginia Library, focusing on volumes published before 1923. The project started in early 2015 and officially concluded at the end of June 2017. Based on the ongoing Book Traces initiative (http://booktraces.org), this project aimed to develop a protocol for the discovery and cataloguing of uniquely-modified volumes in the stacks while also gathering data regarding the nature and distribution of such modifications.

Many titles in our nineteenth-century circulating collections were acquired by donation from private owners and have unique evidentiary or artifactual value due to characteristics including marginalia, inscriptions, artwork, and inserted objects such as photographs and correspondence. Although the books themselves have always been discoverable in the catalog, the unique artifactual features of the books have previously been undocumented and therefore undiscoverable, hidden in plain sight in our stacks. We have created a protocol for surveying large swaths of the collection and identifying the interventions we find using a controlled vocabulary. We are adding enhanced metadata to the catalog for books with unique interventions and we are eager to share the adaptable protocol we have developed.

Our work was funded by a Hidden Collections grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).

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)
  • Ivey Glendon, Manager of Metadata Analysis and Design, University of Virginia Library
  • 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
  • Christine Campbell, Project Assistant
  • Brooke Cook, Project Assistant
  • Eva Latterner, Project Assistant
  • Samuel Lemley, Project Assistant
  • Rachel Newman, Project Assistant
  • Nitisha Potti, 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
  • Allison Holm, 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!