EdRLS

The New Edinburgh Edition of the Collected Works of Robert Louis Stevenson

Numbering notebook pages

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EdRLS will be referring to RLS’s Notebooks and so we need an agreed system for indexing and referring to pages; here’s my proposal.

1. Start with the ‘front’, the side with a label, but note (by reference to the lines on the pages) whether it was originally the back. Guiding rule: call ‘front’ the side that looks like the front from outside to someone confronted with the notebook: this will help confusion when ordering images. (RLS seems to have often preferred to write from the back (subsequently labelled as the front). Perhaps somebody could think of a psychological reason for this; maybe it’s related to the reason why I start reading a magazine from the back.)

2. Open the cover, if there is a decorated endpaper, note this on your table of Nb contents as p. 0 (the endpaper at the other end will be p. 00); if there is a writable inside cover on the left, record this first as ifc (inside front cover);

3. The first writable right-hand (recto) side is p. 1; the back of this will be p. 1v.; note the incipit on your table.

The object on the right of the binding is strictly speaking a ‘leaf’ with two ‘pages’, one on either side; but the ‘p.’ abbreviation has the advantage of being more visible and distinctive than ‘l.’, also used for ‘line’, and the word ‘page’ is also commonly used for the two-sided hinged object that you can turn, tear out etc..

Numbering in this way has additional advantages: (i) the numbers are the same as spread numbers, so if you want to order an image of both pages of an opening, p. 1 will be on the right-hand side of spread 1; (ii) counting out the numbers of pages is easier if you count one higher number as you turn a page (1, 2, 3 …) rather than two higher (1, 3, 5…); (iii) as a rule RLS (and I suspect most people) writes in sequence on the recto sides of a notebook, so a continuous text can be recorded as on Nb pp. 1–4, whereas if we number pages/sides then the same text is on pp. 1, 3, 5, 7.

4. Turn over: the left hand page is p. 1v; if you’re making a table index, note incipit, ‘blank’ or (if it’s upside down) b.s. (back sequence).

5. Work through the Nb to ibc (inside back cover); turn the Nb round and then record and content of a back sequence as bp. 1, bp. 2 etc. (‘bp.’ is a reasonably understandable abbreviation for ‘back sequence page’).

6. Write a header note at the top of the document confirming the system of numbering, whether the ‘front’ was originally the back etc. In particular, note any variation to the above system, e.g. where the pages are actually numbered it is sensible to follow that system as this will be the most useful to users. In this case, a writable endpaper before a page numbered “1” will be called ‘endpaper’. The guiding principle is that there should be as little possibility of confusion as possible and that the system should help users find the right page easily.

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Written by rdury

17/09/2013 at 8:59 am

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