Artifact or Book/booklet?

 
 
 
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debbiepelletier21
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Artifact or Book/booklet?

Good morning,

In 1980 my grandmother gave me a booklet of 63 pages of typed family group sheets.  It has a title page, with the author’s name (my Great-great aunt).  It also includes annotations written in the 1960’s + 70’s by my grandmother, and other annotations written in the early/mid 1980’s by me.  (Yes, I started ‘Old School’ and am into the fourth year of cleaning up sources of my 40 year old mess.)

My first instinct was to Source this as an Artifact – Family Records (Non-Bible).  However, because it has a title page do I cite it as a book?

Before this starts another conversation, yes, I have found many primary sources to back up the information contained in this booklet.  Other than her use of nicknames, her information is unbelievable correct. 

Thank you,

Debbie 

EE
EE's picture

Debbie, two "technical" distinctions might guide you here:

  1. If a typed/typeset work of umpteen pages has been published as a standalone item, it's typically called a book—or booklet, depending upon its length.
  2. If a typed/typeset work of umpteen pages has not been published, it's called a manuscript. 

EE has a variety of examples for titled but unpublished manuscripts. For example

  • The Sarah Jane (Hickman) Brown "Journal" at 3.29 (also QuickCheck Model at p. 106 of EE3r) treats a manuscript handed down within a family.
  • The Croom manuscript example at 3.19 (p. 131) treats an unpublished narrative that FHL has microfilmed. The basic format in the first layer is the same. The only difference is that, in the second layer of the citation, you'd cite the provenance of the article (how it came into your possession) rather than identifying the library and its film number.

Of course, a manuscript passed down in someone's family would also be considered a family artifact. However, anytime we have an artifact, we have to consider its nature in order to cite it appropriately. An engraved locket, for example, would be cited differently from an authored narrative.

If you have a digital edition of EE, you might query for the keyword "manuscript" (or look for that word in the index of a print edition). You'll find a variety of discussions that help to understand how different types of manuscripts are handled.

 

The Editor

rickinracine
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This is a great discussion, and it brings up a similar issue I've struggled with on this topic: when is a work considered "published"?

In my family there was a series of stories about an ancestor (tall tales, most likely) that had been told verbally for generations, and finally commited to paper in the 1950's. In the early 1970's my grandmother commissioned a hardcover book from a local printer that drew heavily, but not completely, from the original 1950's typwritten manuscript. It has a title page, introduction, ToC, etc. and about 2 dozen of these books were passed to her cousins and children. Over the years I've come to possess several of the hardcover books, as well as the original typewritten manuscript. 

In the strictest sense we could consider this published, in that it was professionally prepared, printed, bound and multiple copies were distributed. However, it has no ISBN or copyright info, it was not distributed to local libraries or historical societies, and it was never available for sale. 

I've fallen on the side of these books being "unpublished manuscripts", thinking that outside of the family it's highly unlikely anyone would be able to procure, reference, or review these works since none are "in the wild" as it were. If someone was looking to verify/use my citation for this work, they would have to approach it as an artifact/family record/unpublished manuscript. But, in many ways they were clearly "published". I'd love feedback on how others would approach this question of published vs. unpublished.

debbiepelletier21
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Thank you, Editor,

After reviewing the examples you gave me I now have a new question. 

I do not have the only copy of this manuscript.  The author made multible copies of her manuuscript and gave them to all her siblings, nieces, and nephews.  I have personally seen 3 other copies, and believe there were several more; it was a large family. 

I think (OH that is dangerous) multiple copies changes the way I should cite this.  Does that make her self published?   OR????

EE
EE's picture

Rick and Debbie,

You are both right. It is not easy to draw the line between a manuscript and a publication. The most common criteria, arguably, are those applied by copyright offices. I'm attaching, below, a snippet from the U.S. Copyright Office's Circular No. 1, Copyright Basics. I'll also link to the full circular.

The key issue, in both of your cases, focuses upon the second sentence in this snippet: "Offering to distribute copies ... for purposes of further distribution ... or public display also constitutes publication." In both situations that you describe, the author offered copies to others but apparently did not do so "for purposes of further distribution." Presumably, the recipients weren't authorized to 'sell, rent, lease, or lend copies.' If not, then the work is considered to be an unpublished manuscript, even if bound. (We also recognize the possibility, especially with regards to a bound copy, that someone could have given their copy to a library, after which it ended up in library catalogs designed for publications.)

The snippet from the Copyright Office circular cites reasons why it is important for us to distinguish between published and unpublished materials. Those reasons focus on copyright law. As researchers, we have a different set of reasons. A published work is one that will be locatable through guides to published works. For books, we should expect to find the published work in the catalog of the Library of Congress, WorldCat, and a host of other library catalogs. For published articles, we would expect to locate copies by using periodical indexes. For manuscripts (even if bound but never distributed to libraries) no one can expect to locate copies in public catalogs. Thus, we cite them using certain conventions that identify them as manuscripts held privately or in a specific archives.

The Editor

rickinracine
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EE,

That is fasinating, and I'm surprised I was close to identifying the key distinctions of "published" as I was.

Since it's unpublished, and I own the original manuscript, if I freely share the scans of the stories I think I need to worry about copyright more than I'd considered, but that's a topic for another day!

 

Thanks for the great insight!!

EE
EE's picture

Glad to help, rickinracine!

The Editor

debbiepelletier21
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Dear Editor,

Thank you for the insight.  "Unpublished manuscript" it is.

Debbie