Loose material in or from collection items

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(also known as Things in Books)

Extraneous material sometimes travels with collection items. This material can be loose, loose in bound volumes ("laid in"), or affixed or attached in some way. Current Folger policy for vault items is to keep anything relating to the history, readership, or use of materials with the materials themselves, making reasonable accommodation against damage. Some items will require additional, protective housing.

If the material has been cataloged, you can also consult the Loose materials decision tree to help figure out what to do.


Material found with items that have not been cataloged

Whenever possible, leave the item where it was found. Add a note to the flag saying what page it's at (or what page it was at, if it has to be removed)

  • Readers: please notify Reading Room staff so that the item can be signed out to Cataloging when you're done.
  • Staff: please sign the item out to the relevant cataloger (in case of doubt, check with the Head of Collection Information Services) and let him or her know about it.

Material found with items that have already been cataloged

If you find something loose inside or with a collection item (open-stacks or vault) and it isn't mentioned in the Hamnet record:

  • Readers: please notify Reading Room staff about the item, including the page number
  • Staff: please notify the curatorial assistant about the item, including the page number

If it is mentioned in the Hamnet record, but the item does not have an "Attention: Contains loose material" flag:

  • Readers: please notify Reading Room staff
  • Staff: please add a standard "Attention" flag or notify the curatorial assistant

Procedures for catalogers

In case of doubt about any of these instructions, consult supervisor or curatorial staff

Loose material to be kept with item

  • Keep loose material with the item unless instructed otherwise
    • If material is fragile, bulky, or otherwise requires special attention, consult curatorial assistant (who will get the material into the conservation queue if needed)
  • Make a note giving a summary of what and where found (a local note, in the case of published material)
  • Write call number and location on the item itself, using standard procedures for writing on collection materials
  • If loose item is small, very acidic (for example, newspaper clippings), or otherwise may damage the material, fold acid-free paper around it and keep it in place
    • Use the thin paper in the cataloging office's white map case, facing Deck A lockup, in the top cubby
    • Cut the paper into a sleeve slightly larger than the text block of the book (about one cm), and place the item in the sleeve. Write what the item is in the top right corner, and tuck it lightly back into place
  • Add an attention flag pointing out the loose material
  • For laid-in material considered too bulky to keep in place, more than 2-3 items in a book, or in case of any doubt, consult curatorial assistant
  • Add the RBMS Provenance term Insertions, and any other terms appropriate to the loose material (Clippings, Letters, etc).
 655 7 Insertions (Provenance) ‡2 rbprov ‡5 DFo
 655 7 Clippings (information artifacts) ‡2 aat ‡5 DFo

Loose material to be given to Curator or Curatorial Assistant for filing

Make a note in the catalog record giving a summary of what and where found and give the material to the curatorial assistant. Make sure the call number of the item it came from is apparent (e.g., written on the material, written on the envelope you put the material in)

Loose material to be filed includes, but is not limited to:

  • Accession/acquisition-based information normally found in case files (e.g. correspondence between Mr. Folger and the dealer; shipping labels)

Loose items to be silently discarded

  • Folger accession slips (because official copies are filed elsewhere, and the associated number will be written in the item)
  • Folger processing flags (e.g., acc. number flags) provided that any information noted on them that's still relevant has been added to the Hamnet record
  • Dealer's descriptions if that dealer was the immediate source of acquisition and the material was acquired after the six-digit accession number system was introduced (because paper copies will be on file in the Acquisitions office, and scanned copies will be on a shared drive available to staff)
  • Blank slips of paper or other bookmarks inserted by Folger staff or readers

Loose items getting their own cataloging

  • Catalog the item(s) as you normally would, but also add:
    • 500 or 852 ǂz Removed from: Creator, title, date, location within said material (call number, with copy-specific information, if applicable)
    • Local work added entry for the larger work/former host (700 name/title or 730) with ǂ5DFo

Items attached or affixed

  • Leave in place unless damage is actively occurring
  • Insert buffered paper or refer to curatorial assistant who will ask conservation to mount Japanese paper to protect from metal pins or other rusty things, acidic paper, etc.
  • If conservation staff must remove an attached item, remove to curatorial file and make a copy note giving a summary of what and where found
  • If the attached item is to get its own cataloging, follow the procedures for Hybrid material

Special considerations

  • Consult the curator of manuscripts about extraneous manuscript material

Procedures for curatorial assistants

In case of doubt about any of these instructions, consult Head of Collection Information Services or the relevant curator.

Material substantially affecting the catalog record

For most already-cataloged material, adding a note to the Hamnet record without involving a cataloger is enough. In some cases, though, previously un-noted material will be significant enough to affect the body of the record (e.g. the date of publication or creation), require a substantial upgrade, or even warrant creating a new record. In these cases, sign the host item out to the relevant cataloger.

Include a note so the cataloger knows what he or she is looking for. Ideally, also make a note in the Hamnet record so that there's redundancy.

Examples of situations that warrant signing out the material to a cataloger include, but aren't limited to:

  • Evidence of a different or more certain publication or creation date for the item
  • Unusually significant former owner (e.g. if it's J.O. Halliwell-Phillipps or someone else frequently found as a former owner, just add the appropriate access point yourself)
  • Evidence that the item is more significant than previously described (hypothetical example: a printed almanac filled with slips of notes showing it was being used to transmit coded information)
  • Letters or other manuscript material of independent importance (e.g., a note from the author to an unknown recipient saying "Hope you like my book! See you Tuesday" just needs a local note, not cataloging; a note from the author to an unknown recipient saying "Hope you like my book! See you Tuesday so we can conspire to overthrow the management of the Drury Lane Theatre" needs to be cataloged)

Loose material to be kept with item

Follow procedure for catalogers, above.

Loose material to be filed

Material that simply missed being added to case files by accident should be added to the case files. This includes correspondence with Mr. and Mrs. Folger, bookseller descriptions from their acquisition of the item, and shipping labels

  • if there isn't a file for that case number yet, start one
  • if the case number is unknown, remove to curatorial file (because you at least have a call number for the item)
  • if the material has a one-to-one relationship to the item (e.g. a case number flag in a book), it can go to the curatorial file for that item
  • make a note with a general description of the removed material; it is not usually necessary to indicate where the material was found

Loose items to be silently discarded

Follow procedure for catalogers, above.

Loose items getting their own cataloging

Sign the host item out to the appropriate cataloger. Include a note so the cataloger knows what he or she is looking for. Ideally, also make a note in the Hamnet record so that there's redundancy.

Items attached or affixed

Follow procedure for catalogers, above.