All academic libraries have within their holdings
books bound in 19th century decorative trade bindings.
These materials are significant in their place
within the fabric of American history and culture,
but efforts to present these bindings in a collection
that is representative of the era as a whole and
to make them available virtually, via the World
Wide Web have been limited. Even the extensive
exhibition mounted by The Grolier Club in New York
City (May-July 2000) with its handsomely produced
catalog offers only 254 examples from a collection
of more than two thousand volumes. Exhibits available
on the Web are far more limited in scope and number.
Many of those virtual exhibits are ephemeral, often
remaining online to promote a temporary on-site
a significant digital collection of decorative
trade bindings, along with a comprehensive
glossary and guide to the elements of these objects,
will strengthen the growing interest in and create
broader awareness for this “common” object called
the book. There is a great need to develop sensitivity
to these books and their significance. During the
19th century (Industrial Era, Modern Age), books
were produced for broader audiences, marking a
significant change in availability and perception.
Decorative trade bindings cover many of the books
that people have in their homes today, but their
owners are unaware of the cultural and historical
significance of such bindings. These bindings reflect
not only social and cultural history, but bibliographic
history as well. DTBOnline will expand awareness
of the book as artifact and of the role trade bindings
play in providing a window into historical, cultural,
and industrial periods. This project will increase
the awareness of the general public about the importance
of the trade bindings as reflections of historical
events, art movements, and the evolution of commercial
binderies. The project will also afford students,
teachers, binders, and scholars the opportunity
to study up to 5000 trade bindings in a single,
can look upon this project as developing a model
which other repositories can use with their
own collections, including possibly contributing
in the future to this project. DTBOnline will greatly
broaden a relatively unexplored scholarly field.
This resource will encourage interested parties
to look at their own collections, and to gain an
understanding of design movements and trends both
within the United States as well as abroad, comparable
to Jugenstil in Germany, Art Nouveau in
France, Arts and Crafts in England, and Glasgow
School in Scotland.
DTBOnline’s holdings will consist of a collection
of materials that not only provide the user an
understanding of what was being read but will also
illustrate the importance of the book as an object.
These titles will serve as a microcosm for understanding
westward expansion in the United States, when Alabama
was considered part of “the American West”. It
will allow users to explore the notion of “cult
of domesticity”; the evolution of the notion of
leisure; the shift in the manner in which children
were treated in the home; the movement towards
education, emancipation and women’s rights; the
movement toward the modern, Industrialization and
Victorian culture--all as reflected in the books
and their binding styles. DTBOnline can provide
help in understanding America’s first century,
both in history/culture and in design, such as
the development of a distinctive American style
and the movement from America looking abroad for
inspiration, to Europe looking towards America
for ideas and imagery.
DTBOnline will bring together a comprehensive
collection of materials through the World Wide
Web. By looking at the books as objects, and providing
a depth of metadata about each item, the collection
will be of great use to a broad range of constituencies.
The use of an online collection allows flexibility
for several levels of searching by one or more
elements, such as:
- Subject Headings
- Place of Publication
- Descriptive Elements (stamping, tooling, cloth,
There are very few books, reference sources, or
websites available on American Trade Bindings.
(See Appendix A: Bibliography.) Until very recently
trade bindings have been a topic that has been
of interest to a small group of scholars and collectors.
This project will create exposure and build understanding,
and at the same time create a definitive online
source, both for reference and for research on
the American Trade Binding movement.
The audience for a comprehensive online collection
of 19th century trade bindings with reference and
research components includes but is not limited
- Students and Other Learners
Students of the book arts, librarianship,
and special collections librarianship
K-12 students (as they learn about books as physical
- Scholars and Researchers
Scholars in Book Arts
Scholars of Industrial Art and Design
Librarians and descriptive bibliographers
Antiquarian book collectors and dealers
Centers for the Book members
DTBOnline will provide access to up to 10,000
images, all deliverable directly through the World
Wide Web. It will be designed to accommodate users
from all ages and levels of expertise through a
user-friendly and interface, and will be rich in
metadata, providing unprecedented searching capabilities.
The creation of the DTBOnline gateway and interface
holds potential in providing models that other
repositories, both large and small, within the
United States and abroad, can use with their own
collections and for their own user communities.
The organization of this project, as well as the
technical guidelines and outreach/publicity guidelines
produced within DTBOnline, will provide models
for other libraries that seek collaborative relationships
and strong outreach efforts surrounding future
digital projects. Following the initial grant period
of three years, DTBOnline itself will continue
as a gateway for smaller repositories wishing to
contribute their holdings to a large, searchable
virtual collection. Many smaller institutions do
not have the resources to support in-house digitization
projects, but would benefit from working with a
library rather than a commercial vendor.
By bringing together these materials in a virtual
environment, there is the potential of working
with collections and repositories throughout the
world. Of specific interest will be collections
with holdings that reflect parallel movements in
Decorative Trade Bindings, such as Jugenstil in
Germany, Art Nouveau in France, Arts and Crafts
in England, and the Glasgow School in Scotland.
University of Wisconsin-Madison has a long and
distinguished track record of diverse cooperative
projects with a variety of partners. The University
of Alabama’s participation in the IMLS-funded Cornerstone
Project illustrates the university’s strong commitment
to collaboration both within the state of Alabama
The decorative trade binding is a universally
recognized style, widespread throughout the 19th
century and early part of the 20th century. Because
so many repositories, both in the US and abroad,
hold these kinds of works, there is excellent potential
for integration into larger scale initiatives worldwide.
One of the first activities of the project will
be for the partners to develop a comprehensive
implementation plan. This section identifies and
describes the major responsibilities, tasks, and
objectives including in the process of developing
DTBOnline to strengthen the number and enlarge
the scope of resources available to scholars, students,
practitioners, and lifelong learners.
DTBOnline represents a major breakthrough in providing
access by creating a web-based searchable resource
for trade bindings, based on an integrated thesaurus
of terms and rich metadata that describes images
of 19th century trade bindings, including covers,
spines, end-papers, and title pages. In addition
to being a research tool, it will also serve as
an educational resource with a searching tutorial,
illustrated glossary, biographies of designers,
a bibliography and a webliography of research and
exhibits relating to the study of trade bindings,
and sample lesson plans for primary and secondary
following individual activities will be critical
to the project’s success in creating a resource
that is valuable and useful to many audiences.
- Select up to 5,000 items that are representative
of 19th century decorative trade bindings.
While some preliminary work has been done, it’s
imperative that the final selections be representative
of the variety
of styles of trade bindings. The selections will be both
broad and deep, reflecting the strengths of each of the two
The University of Wisconsin-Madison
has a deep resource with the Cairns Collection
of American Women Writers, an
8000-volume special collection of materials by American
women writers or about women covering 1650-1935. Included
are 150 titles in variant editions by Sarah Orne Jewett,
a writer known for her attachment to Maine and its
landscape, including examples of most of the
known Sarah Whitmandesigned
volumes. UW-Madison also has nearly all the recorded
editions of Emily Dickinson (about 200 volumes)
and Louisa May Alcott
(about 300 volumes), including a number of decorative
trade bindings depicting domestic scenes and
at-home life. Many
of the 600 volumes by Harriet Beecher Stowe feature
decorative bindings, some stamped or embossed
while others are colorful
descriptions of scenes from the book.
The University of Alabama’s collection in the W. S. Hoole
Special Collections Library contains more than 2700
volumes of decorative trade bindings. The collection is unique
in that it is representative of all areas of American
from the 1830s through the 1920s and includes both
major as well as lesser-known designers. All areas of publishing
are represented, including fiction, children’s fiction
and adventure, and non-fiction materials such as guides
for leisure activities (such as hunting and fishing)
as well as business publications. The two collections
each other especially well. Another value of DTBOnline
will be the connections it will allow between and among
disparate materials that have not been examined together
a model thesaurus of terms describing the representative
trade bindings selected. Use
the structured vocabulary and classification
system of the thesaurus to develop Dublin-Core
based descriptive metadata for trade bindings
included in the DTBOnline database.
a thesaurus and descriptive metadata for trade
bindings is one of the unique and
most important aspects of this project. As
noted earlier, there is limited research
on decorative trade bindings and no standard
terminology for describing the book as artifact.
Given its strength in this area, the University
of Alabama will take the lead on this objective,
with cooperation from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Project participants will review the literature,
analyze and synthesize the best research
and practices to date, and then develop a
model thesaurus. To test the effectiveness
of the thesaurus, the project will translate
it into descriptive metadata that will be
used in creating the DTBOnline database.
The project will contribute significantly
to scholarship in the area of trade bindings
by analyzing and synthesizing terminology
and, for the first time, creating a model
for describing trade bindings.
a comprehensive online glossary, complete with
images of visual elements and techniques
as well as information on binders, designers,
and printers. These will be described and explained
to meet both the reference needs of advanced
scholars and the information needs of students
and interested lifelong learners.
One of the stumbling
blocks associated with the study of the book
as artifact is that
of terminology. Although many scholars of
the book are from English-speaking countries,
the terminology used in each case differs.
One objective of the project is to develop
an accompanying virtual glossary that would
serve as the definitive research and reference
tool in the study of decorative trade bindings.
Because of the nature of web resources, the
terminology can be cross-referenced virtually.
The digital images of specific design elements
can also be enhanced and magnified to better
illustrate to the user the detailed aspect
in question. For students and lifelong learners,
explanations will be useful and easy to understand.
This component will provide users worldwide
with a greater understanding of the elements
of the book.
- Scan up to 10,000 images of 19th century trade
bindings (including covers, spines, end papers
and title pages) from up to 5,000 items to populate
a Web-accessible database.
core of DTBOnline will be this collection
of digital images of trade bindings. Both
institutions have experience preparing and
scanning materials, creating file naming
conventions, and so on. The University of
Wisconsin-Madison will provide the interactive
database and search engine. The project will
most likely use SiteSearch bibliographic
retrieval software, thereby providing users
with a familiar Web-based “online catalog” to
search, retrieve, and view images.
user-friendly, easy-to-use educational resources
accessible via the World Wide Web that
will meet the diverse needs of students, teachers,
and lifelong learners.
In addition to developing
a tutorial on effectively searching the database
binding images, the project will provide
a bibliography and a Webliography of research
and exhibits relating to the study of trade
bindings, biographical information on designers,
and sample lesson plans for both primary
and secondary schools. The variety of users,
uses, and resources will be considered in
designing the database, the web site, and
the accompanying resources.
a model for publicity and outreach activities
to introduce a new online resource.
University of Alabama Libraries has worked
extensively in the area of outreach,
marketing, and publicity. Using DTBOnline
as the “test case”, the project will test
the effectiveness of selected strategies
for marketing and advertising. Information
about the resulting model will be published
as an article or white paper and made available
through the DTBOnline website.
The Co-Principal Investigators will have overall
management responsibility for the project but will
delegate daily activities to the Project Manager.
The Co-Principal Investigators will work with an
Advisory Board and other experts to help set priorities
and benchmarks for the project, facilitate communication
between the Board and project participants, and
organize Board meetings and teleconferences.
The Project Manager will work in close consultation
with the coordinators at UW-Madison and other project
personnel to ensure that DTBOnline overall standards
and practices are developed promptly and applied
consistently, particularly with respect to selection,
description, metadata, imaging, file naming, web
development, and so on. The Project Manager will
coordinate implementation of the project to insure
that all goals and timetables are met, including
those for evaluation and reporting. The Project
Manager will have the responsibility for implementing
the DTBOnline outreach and publicity plan.
The Trade Bindings and Pedagogical Specialist
will provide scholarly subject knowledge and expertise
to oversee project content, specifically the development
of the thesaurus, glossary, specific item descriptions,
and lesson plans. With the Project Manager, she
will also be involved in selecting materials and
deciding how many and what images will be made
of different types of bindings.
A password-protected web site with bulletin boards
and relevant documents will be developed early
in the process to facilitate communication among
the partner institution personnel and the Advisory
Board. It will serve as a temporary repository
and clearinghouse for development plans, decisions,
progress reports, and so on. Selected items may
be moved to the DTBOnline site to serve as background
information for future project planners. The project
also includes plans for travel between the two
universities annually. There will be annual meetings
of the Advisory Board and key project personnel
each year of the project to set overall project
priorities and benchmarks, review progress toward
goals, and address problems.
will draw on the skill and expertise of UA and
UW-Madison faculty and staff as
well as several leading figures in book bindings,
book arts, technology, and digital projects to
address the twin problems of developing standardized
terminology to describe trade bindings and creating
a multi-purpose, multi-functional web resource.
DTBOnline will have an Advisory Board composed
of some of the foremost scholars in Decorative
Trade Bindings, along with students and other stakeholders.
Investigator Louis A. Pitschmann, Dean of
Libraries at the University of Alabama,
is a leading figure in American research libraries
particularly in the area of collection management.
In addition to working on a number of IMLS and
NEH grants, Dr. Pitschmann writes extensively
on the impact of technology on collections and
the need for libraries to be proactive. Since
coming to UA in 2001, he championed a number
of technological initiatives, all of which have
been enthusiastically received by the University
Croneis, Associate Dean of Libraries at UA,
is currently UA Project Manager for an IMLS
Grant for “The Cornerstone
Project: Building the Foundation for Sharing Unique Treasures
in Alabama”. With broad experience in library management,
user/collection services, and library assessment, she is
providing leadership for UA’s nascent digital initiative
Manager Jessica Lacher-Feldman, Public and
Outreach Services Coordinator at the W. S.
Hoole Special Collections Library at UA, is a
past president of the Association for History
and Computing. She writes on a variety of topics
related to history, technology, book arts, web
design, and printing. Lacher-Feldman created
two of UA’s three online exhibits and is a key
player in UA’s digitization work. Her outreach
work with UA’s Book Arts program helped to shape
key elements of this proposal.
Coordinators Lee Konrad, Head of the Digital
Library Group, and Barbara Walden,
History Outreach/European History Librarian will
provide overall coordination of the project at
the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Both have
significant digital projects experience at UW-Madison.
In addition, they have experience that is particularly
relevant to DTBOnline as key personnel on the
digital project “The Art of Books, German Decorative
Trade Bindings from Collections of UW-Madison”.
Trade Bindings and Pedagogy Specialist Cathleen
Baker, consultant and doctoral candidate in the
UA College of Communications and Information
Sciences, has extensive education and experience
in the areas of conservation, art history, books
arts, and printing, as a practitioner, a faculty
member, and an author. She is proprietor of The
Legacy Press which specializes in books about
American book arts.
Metadata Coordinators Amy Rudersdorf, Head of
Metadata and Encoding Unit at UW-Madison, will
supervise the work of using Dublin Core metadata
to describe the trade binding images. She is
experienced in design, development, and implementation
of initiatives relating to digital library collections.
The University of Alabama will also be using
Dublin Core metadata, under the direction of
Mary Alexander, Metadata Services Coordinator.
Ms. Alexander has experience developing standards,
identifying best practices, and writing a procedure
manual for participants in the IMLS Cornerstone
Coordinators Digital imaging at UW-Madison
will be supervised by Sandra Paske,
Head of the Digital Content Group Reformatting
Unit. Mrs. Paske is experienced with management
of digital projects, knowledgeable regarding
standards and procedures for digital imaging.
At UA, Donnelly Lancaster, Archival Access Coordinator
at the W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library,
will be the supervisor. Ms. Lancaster is also
knowledgeable in scanning and imaging projects
and is head of the UA scanning operation for
the IMLS-funded “Cornerstone Project”.
Website Development Cheryl Ballard, Web Services
Librarian at UA, will take the lead in developing
the DTBOnline website. She is skilled in web
design and development and is knowledgeable about
The Co-Principal Investigators will appoint
and chair an Advisory Board to ensure that project
priorities and parameters meet the needs of book
collectors, established book arts programs, researchers
in the history of the book, students, and lifelong
learners. To this end, the following individuals
known for their knowledge of the book arts and
the latest digital applications have agreed to
serve as members of the Advisory Board:
Allen, Instructor at Rare Books School at Columbia
University and the University of Virginia.
Ms. Allen has been described as “the foremost
authority on 19th-century American book covers,” and
she has lectured and published widely on the
conservation and preservation of 19th- and early
20th-century trade bindings. She has published
work on American cloth bindings found in collections
at Yale and at the University of Chicago and
evaluated bindings at many other institutions.
The American Printing History Association has
honored her for her research in that field.
Steve K. Miller, The University of Alabama.
Professor Miller came to The University of
Alabama in 1988 where he teaches letterpress
printing and hand papermaking in graduate-level
MFA courses in the Book Arts Program. Professor
Miller is Co-director of Paper and Book Intensive,
a nationally recognized annual series of summer
workshops in the book arts. He is Chair of the
Advisory Board of the Robert C. Williams American
Museum of Papermaking in Atlanta, Georgia. Professor
Miller is also a past president of the Friends
of Dard Hunter, Inc., the largest group of artists,
craftspersons, conservators and scientists in
the United States (450 individuals and companies)
devoted to the art and craft of hand papermaking
and related book arts.
Michael Seadle, Head, Digital and Multimedia
Center, Michigan State University. Dr. Seadle
is editor of Library Hi Tech and the author of
an array of articles on library technology. His
most recent article, “Outcome-based Evaluation,” will
appear in Library Hi Tech, v. 21, no. 1 (2003).
He is currently co-principal investigator of
two IMLS funded projects, “Making of Modern Michigan,” and “Feeding
America: The Historic American Cookbook Project.”
The Grolier Club, the Caxton Club of Chicago,
and the Book Arts Web will also be invited to
nominate one representative each to serve on
the DTBOnline Advisory Board.
To ensure that the needs of students, teachers,
and lifelong learner are met, the Co-Principal
Investigators will invite UA students and faculty
members from the School of Library and Information
Studies, History, and Education as well as local
collectors and others to become members of the
The total project budget is $568,304. The University
of Alabama will contribute $235,787 (41.5%), the
University of Wisconsin will contribute $82,551
(14.5%), and the partners seek $249,966 (44.0%)
from IMLS. Please see the budget section for details.
As part of the DTBOnline project, a model will
be developed that explores the methods of publicity,
outreach, and promotion of the project. This relates
not only to the development and use of the collection,
but also of the accompanying online glossary, as
well as the lesson plans that will be included
in the DTBOnline site. Participants in the grant
will use this opportunity to develop a published
guide, or contribute an article to a scholarly
journal on the development of the promotion, publicity,
and outreach activities surrounding the DTBOnline
DTBOnline will incorporate internal reviews and
external assessments to monitor progress on individual
parts and the overall project. The Project Manager
with project personnel will develop and implement
quarterly progress reporting procedures and regular
user-based evaluation mechanisms. The Advisory
Board along with students in related areas will
play a key role in ensuring the thesaurus and terminology
selected will meet the needs of the scholarly community.
Their input on the adequacy of the descriptions
as well as the accuracy, completeness, and ease
of use of the database will be solicited before,
during, and after the thesaurus and the website
In reports and evaluations, key personnel will
be expected to include qualitative and quantitative
feedback from all constituents, specifically students,
scholars, and the general public. Assessment of
the project, its influence, and its impact will
also be evaluated through a publication that specifically
addresses the marketing, outreach, and publicity
of the project itself.
Focus groups will also be conducted regularly
to evaluate the functionality of the site, not
only the database but also the educational resources.
Consisting of faculty and students in the Book
Arts, as well as users from other disciplines and
levels of expertise, the site will be developed
based on the expressed needs of each user group
and then evaluated by those same communities.
will be encouraged to discuss the ways, if any,
in which DTBOnline made a difference in their
lives, e.g., saved timed,
facilitated research, surprised them, taught them something
DTBOnline will be an interesting and vital resource
for a broad and diverse audience. The project and
its outcomes will be presented at conferences such
as the annual meeting of the American Association
for History and Computing, as well as statewide
conferences such as the Society of Alabama Archivists.
Articles in regional, statewide, and national journals
will also be submitted.
An article or white paper on publicity and outreach
of an online resource, based on the experience
using DTBOnline as the model, will also be an integral
part of the dissemination of information about
the resource. By creating and providing access
to lesson plans and a comprehensive online glossary/thesaurus,
DTBOnline will generate still further marketability
DTBOnline, in its conception and in its outcomes,
will be understandable, useful, and educational
to a broad and diverse audience including scholars,
students, and the lifelong learner.
This project holds limitless potential in its
sustainability. Other institutions, both large
and small, will be able to develop and create their
own, or to contribute to this project.
Making the project available via the World Wide
Web, and making the project accessible through
the Alabama Virtual Library (AVL), a statewide
information resource for all of Alabamians, will
lend it wide-scale appeal.
Through the development of this project, the staff
at both the University of Alabama, and the University
of Wisconsin-Madison will develop a greater level
of expertise in the Book Arts and in decorative
trade bindings. They will also gain a deeper understanding
of the development and implementation of collaborative
By providing broad access to the project findings,
both UA and UW-Madison will further the efforts
of digital scholarship, preservation, unprecedented
access, and collaboration.
*Narrative for 2003
IMLS National Leadership Grant as submitted to IMLS
in the grant application.