Understanding Pocket Series and Little Blue Book Title Profiles
To paraphrase G. Thomas Tanselle, the bibliographic problems associated with Haldeman-Julius' Little Blue Books borders on a nightmare. With thousands of titles spread across multiple series, and many of those edited, abridged, renamed, rewritten, reissued, discontinued, republished and/or renumbered, the variation of data and evidence is staggering. In our efforts to create a public-editable online resource that could serve as research tool, finding aid, and collector checklist all rolled in to one we were forced to make some hard decisions. To help our visitors get the most from the title profiles, we have outlined the more critical details and terminology below.
- The title of a booklet is considered to be that which was displayed on the front wrapper, regardless of the title printed on the book block.
- To facilitate more flexible, complex, and precise searching, titles should include notable subtitles or bylines, but should not contain attribution text (eg: edited by ...)
- It is possible to have different titles which contain the same book block. When this occurs it should be recorded in the Notes section of the profile. It is also possible to have booklets with identical titles, but different contents. In most circumstances this is identified by variations in number of pages, author name, etc. Regardless, this too should be recorded in the Notes section of the profile.
- When confronted by Anglicized versions of the names of foreign contributors we used the spelling indicated in the booklet. Some exceptions do exist, however. Most notably, when the contributors name was spelled differently from one book to another we standardized the name based on popularity in literary circles. In a surprisingly large number of cases this amounts to using a "y" instead of an "i" in last names like Tolstoy and Gorky. Names were not altered when they appeared in the proper title of a book.
- Very few honorifics are included in credits (eg: Lord, Sir, Prof., Dr., etc).
- "Author" is used to indicate direct literary contribution to the work, and includes those cited as responsible for reportage or retelling of stories.
- "Intro by" is used to indicate the author of a booklet introduction or foreword when said booklet was authored by a different writer. It has also been used to denote those responsible for writing any notes and/or hints included in such works.
- "Editor" is used to indicate the person who served as the primary editor of a particular booklet. E. Haldeman-Julius is never cited as an editor.
- "Condensed by" is used to indicate the editor responsible for condensing, abridging, and/or compressing a booklet's contents.
- "Compiled by" is used to indicate the editor responsible for compiling, collecting, selecting, and/or arranging a booklet's contents.
- "Translated by" is used to indicate the individual responsible for translating a booklet's contents into English.
- "Illustrated by" is used to indicate the individual responsible for any drawings, diagrams or illustrations found in the booklet. Said illustrator was usually not responsible for the artwork found on the booklet wrapper.
- Active participants in a recorded debate have not been given direct credit. These details should be contained in the "Notes" section of the title profile. We are giving consideration to introducing new types of credits to indicate the affirmative and negative sides of the debate but have insufficient information at present to determine the validity of this idea.
Regarding Numbers of Pages
- "Number of pages in book block" records the total number of pages in a booklet including title page, and all blank pages, advert pages, etc.
- "Number of pages of copy" records the number of pages which can be considered a part of the work itself. Thus, this figure excludes advert pages, blank pages which occur at the end of the booklet, etc.
Series and Sub-Series/Set Inclusion
- If inclusion in a series, sub-series or set has been indicated for a particular title, it is certain that such a specimen exists. Whether or not it conforms percisely to the known qualities and details (eg: number of pages, scope of material, etc) listed in the title profile, however, may not be as clear cut. As a result, booklets are assigned Proof Standards (ie., "Proven", "Assumed" or "Proposed") to indicate certainty of conformance.
- "Proven" is used either when a physical specimen of the booklet, or photographs thereof, has been evaluated. Thus, booklets marked as Proven are certain to conform exactly to the qualities and details provided in the profile.
- "Assumed" is used, in relation to profiles specifying qualities and details above and beyonf the title, to denote that strong secondary evidence exists suggesting that booklets will conform to these facts. Such evidence may include textual descriptions of a booklets which unambiguously indicate the exact book title and specify additional booklet qualities and details. The legitimacy of the source of these descriptions is of considerable concern. To qualify for this proof standard it must be reasonable that said booklet could be physical evaluated by contacting the relevant source. Catalogs and advertisements are not considered acceptable. Legitimate examples might include Library finding aids or online bookseller listings. In some circumstances this proof standard is extended to booklets mentioned in primary source materials (eg: Haldeman-Julius family papers, business records, or written testaments) which have been validated by strong supporting evidence such as sales figures.
- "Proposed" is used when some evidence exists indicating a booklet's conformance to known qualities and details, and said evidence does not conflict with the profile information. Catalogs and advertisements are not considered acceptable evidence. "Proposed" booklets are not included in search or browse results, but are listed on the title profile page for the relevant LBB Number.
- A discussion which may prove useful in further understanding these Proof Standards can be viewed here.
- Notes should identify when booklets have different titles, but identical contents. Similarly, Notes should also identify when booklets of the same title have different book blocks, regardless of whether this is identified by variations in number of pages, author name, etc between the two titles.
- Notes should clarify the relationship between listed authors and specific essays (etc) for booklets that contain multiple works by multiple authors.
- Notes should contain tidbits and facts of interest to collectors. This might include edition information, copyright renewal dates, materials removed or added from previous editions, copies in public collections, etc.
- Notes can contain a brief synopsis of the booklet material.
Do you have an opinion on the editorial policies that govern the Database of Haldeman-Julius Pocket Series and Little Blue Book Titles? Making this site feature of the greatest value to our visitors is of paramount importance to us, and we'd love to hear from you!
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