January 27, 2022

University of Virginia: Professor Discusses”Book Traces” Project that Studies Annotations, Markings, and Other Items in Pre-Copyright Books

From The Daily Cavalier:

Assoc. English Prof. Andrew Stauffer gave a lecture Wednesday about Book Traces, a project to examine pre-copyright books in the Alderman stacks for markings from the original owners and to research the stories behind them.


Book Traces is a part of a national initiative started at the University to look into libraries around the country for hidden historical value, Stauffer said. The project currently has a two-year grant.


Book Traces arose from an assignment for students to find 19th-century books in Alderman Library and note historical marks, Stauffer said.

The project shows books as more than just paper and ink, but as an important part of the lives of readers and previous owners, Stauffer said.

See Also: infoDOCKET First Posted About Book Traces on May 1, 2014.

Direct to Book Traces Website

In Their Own Words:

Thousands of old library books bear fascinating traces of the past. Readers wrote in their books, and left pictures, letters, flowers, locks of hair, and other things between their pages. We need your help identifying them because many are in danger of being discarded as libraries go digital. Books printed between 1820 and 1923 are at particular risk.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.