‘A Great Idea at the Time’: Cataloguing South Africa’s Artist’s Book Production

PATON, David (2015) ‘A Great Idea at the Time’: Cataloguing South Africa’s Artist’s Book Production. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2015 - Cape Town, South Africa in Session 221 - Art Libraries.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/1279
[img]
Preview
Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.

Abstract

‘A Great Idea at the Time’: Cataloguing South Africa’s Artist’s Book Production

Since 2006, Jack Ginsberg, the internationally renowned private collector of artists’ books and I have set about creating a database of every artist’s book produced in South Africa. By isolating the South African books in the Ginsberg Collection as well as the books I had come across in my research, we began to construct not only a bespoke database but also a wild bibliographic dream. It was hoped that this dream would gain such momentum within the South African book arts community that awareness of its existence as an index of a fledgling activity might promote the making of more objects which would then surpass the database’s ability to keep up with production. One of the most well documented problems facing appropriate mechanisms for the cataloguing for artists’ books is grappling with the hybrid nature of the items to be catalogued, each of which claims some territory within the disputed space of the book arts. This paper examines the progress of our database and discusses problems associated with its necessary refinement. Taking Anne Thurmann-Jajes’ Manual for Artists’ Publications (2010) as a point of departure, the paper examines three South African artists’ books which represent both the diversity of the field and the complexity of the cataloguing task. The paper suggests a local set of descriptors of types of artists’ books that help to describe the South African output more meaningfully.

FOR IFLA HQ (login required)

Edit item Edit item
.