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How have you selected these images?

Through a lot of browsing across digital collections! In most cases I was looking for specific examples of printed features discussed in Studying Early Printed Books, and so I sought out categories of books that I thought would have them. For instance, press figures appear primarily in 18th-century English books, so I browsed through instances of those to find good examples. When I wanted examples of texts printed in colonial Spanish America, I looked through relevant collections for open access, high-resolution images to use. I tried very hard to only use images that were over 2000 pixels, that were open access, and that came from reliably cataloged library collections.

Why can't I find any pictures from my favorite book/the most important work on elves/this text I heard about in class?

Well, not everything is here! For the most part, I wasn’t looking for famous books or important texts, and there are so many early printed books that I can’t include them all! But I hope that you find images of what you’re looking for on another site—see the next question for that point . . .

Where can I find more pictures of early printed books?

I have that for you! See this list of digital image collections that have a substantial number of freely accessible early printed books.

Have you edited or altered these images in any way?

Images have been compressed in order to save space and to appear on your screen more quickly, but other than that, they have not been altered in any way. If you think the colors look strange, or you can’t see some super fine details, you might want to follow the link immediately below the image to view it on the source site.

Why do some of the images have weird backgrounds?

Many libraries like to crop their pictures so that only the object appears in the frame: the page or pages of a book and nothing else. But others present their images as they were taken, with the imaging stand and color target visible. Since I haven’t cropped or otherwise retouched the images here, what you see is how the individual institutions have chosen to share them.

I thought one of these pictures was gorgeous and I want to put it on a tote bag. Can I do that?

If the institution’s license allows that! All of the images on this site are used in accordance with the terms under which they were made available. Further use of those images should follow those terms, which can be found in the text under each image.

I really like how you describe what title pages are. Can I quote that?

Of course! You can find some guidelines for citation practices on the Permissions page.

I like this site but I don't want to buy your book. Is that okay?

Sure! The site works well with the book, but I made it open access and free to everyone so that people could use it as they wished.

I like this site and want to help support it. How can I do that?

The biggest thing you can do is to recommend this site to others and to buy and recommend my book, Studying Early Printed Books 1450-1800: A Practical Guide. If you really truly feel like giving some more to help support the costs of running this site, you can donate some money through my PayPal link. I also have a Threadless Store where you can buy designs based on works from this website and other biblionerd related: a wynkenhimself joint.

I think there's a mistake on your site. Should I tell you?

Please do! You can leave a comment on the contact form or email me at sarah@earlyprintedbooks.com.

I have so many suggestions about what I'd like to included! Can I share them with you?

I’m happy to get suggestions. I can’t promise that I can always adopt them, but I like to hear what users want from the site or what ideas they have for images to add. You can use the contact form or email me at sarah@earlyprintedbooks.com.

What's next for the site?

Well, at the moment I’m enjoying having gotten the site launched. I’m building it out by adding further content along the lines of what’s there now: more images, more resources.

The next big phase will probably be introducing images and tags about bindings, book use, and provenance—perhaps adding those things in steps. That will mean not only sourcing images to meet new criteria and reviewing and updating the current images, but considering how the new sets of tags will be displayed and interact with the current library. I don’t know when that will happen!

Why did you build this thing on WordPress instead of X, Y, or Z?

That’s a good question to ask of any digital project, because just like the material features of a text help determine what it can mean, so does the software of a site shape what it can do. And just as how printing is shaped by economic and cultural forces, so too are the decisions about digital tools. I considered a number of different platforms for this project, but kept coming back to the fact that I know WordPress better than any other CMS (content management system). That meant that even though I’ve had to do a fair amount of modifications to the basic functionality of the platform and design changes to the theme I chose, it was still easier for me to work with than starting in on a CMS I was less familiar with. And since I work on this alone, without financial or institutional support from anyone, I needed to choose a tool that would help me, not hinder my ability to do this.

I'd really love to have you come visit our library/teach a workshop/give a lecture at our school. Can you do that?

I love visiting libraries and universities and colleges and I try to do this often! Contact me on the form or by email at sarah@earlyprintedbooks.com and we can discuss what you’re interested in and what it might cost.