My Sammelband Has Frisket-Bite.

Jer Thorp (“currently the Innovator-in-Residence at the Library of Congress”) presents “A Short Glossary of Delightful Library Terms.” Some of them are pretty basic (incunabula, verso/recto, gloss), but there are enough truly delightful ones I thought it was worth passing along, e.g. Wimmelbilderbuch “A kind of large-format picture book,” respect des fonds “A principle in archival theory that proposes to group collections of archival records according to their fonds — that is to say, according to the administration, organization, individual, or entity by which they were created or from which they were received,” and of course inherent vice “The tendency in physical objects to deteriorate because of the fundamental instability of the components of which they are made.” Note that we discussed volvelle here a couple of years ago and manicule back in 2008.


  1. Ronald Searle’s Anatomy of an Antiquarian Bookseller. I couldn’t find a clearer image.

  2. Oh, with “inherent vice” I see they’re talking about specifics like acid paper. I heard it as a more resistentialist statement about physical objects generally.

  3. David Marjanović says

    es wimmelt vor “it’s crawling with”, so a Wimmelbilderbuch should be a picture-book with large and very busy pictures.

  4. Des von Bladet, Burlap of Marginalia, Bearer of Imperial Grudges says

    What a coincidence: My cummberband is full of brisket.

  5. I’m afraid I’m going to have to diagnose you with brisket-bite.

  6. I’m a little underwhelmed by the list. I guess living with my archivist husband as he picked up his library science degree makes this all seem a bit old hat – especially “respect des fonds” which is “Archives 101”, so to speak.

    My husband also notes that the borrowed terms have a distinctly European bias (French, German, Latin, Greek). Where, for example, are the orihon (折本) or the lukasa?

  7. Well, since Thorp explicitly presents this as a collective enterprise and says “What are your favourite archival or library words that we may have missed?” I suggest your husband contribute whatever items he thinks are particularly missed. I would also point out that to people without a library science degree they are not old hat; most of us haven’t taken Archives 101.

  8. Fair enough on both accounts.

    I think for me the list feels like it carries a whiff of the exoticism people see in lists of putatively untranslatable words. I recognize this may not be the usual reaction. 🙂

  9. Heh. I totally understand the reaction, but you’re right, it will be shared only by members and associates of the Archivist Folk!

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