Cataloguing Richard Bradley’s A Philosophical Account of the Works of Nature (1739)

It’s clear from looking at catalogue entries for Richard Bradley’s A Philosophical Account of the Works of Nature: As Founded upon A Plan of the late Mr. Addison (London, 1739) that there are numerous ways for bibliographers to describe this text.

The ESTC describes the text as follows:

The ECCO entry is here:

The UVic library describes the its copy like this in the general catalogue:

But the Special Collections catalogue offers slightly different information:

We might describe the University of Victoria library’s copy the book as 4 leaves of prefatory material, 299 pages plus 5 pages of printer’s advertisement; octavo; A4, B-U8 with 29 plates

  • Plates 1 and 2 between 32 and 33; discussion on 33
  • Plates 3, 4, 5, and 6 between 98 and 99; discussion on 98 and 99
  • Plates 7 and 8 between 100 and 101; discussion on 100
  • Plate 9 between 106 and 107; discussion on 106
  • Plates 10, 11, 12, and 13 between 122 and 123; discussion on 122 and 123
  • Plate 14 between 160 and 161 (with ink transfer to 161 from the plate)
  • Plates 15 (damaged), 16, and 17 between 162 and 163; discussion on 162 and 163
  • Plates 20A and 20B between 170 and 171; 20A (with misspelled heading) discussed on 170 and 20B on 171
  • Plates 21 and 22 between 174 and 175; discussion on 174
  • Plates 23 and 24 between 184 and 185; 23 discussion on 184, 24 discussion on 185
  • Plates 25 and between 214 and 215; discussion on 215
  • Plate 27 between 216 and 217; described on 216
  • Plate 18 (damaged — cut in half) between 230 and 231; (labeled as XXVIII) described on 231
  • Plate 19 (missing) described on 232; it would have originally been between 232 and 233 — offprint from plate shows on 232 and tab survives between the pages
  • Plate 28 between 258 and 259; described on 259 to 260
  • Plate 29 between 264 and 265; discussed in appendix starting 265

Even though there are standard guides to collation and descriptive bibliography, individual scholars engage in selective and interpretive acts to represent — shall we say code? — a pre-digital book.

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