Sunday, 26 February 2017

Devon bibliography. Participate

Take part in the Devon Wikiography project

Since 2011 the Westcountry Studies Library has not had the resources to maintain bibliographical control over the ever increasing mass of documentation relating to our county or the means to acquire a representative sample for researchers today and in the future. The project seeks to enlist a team of volunteers from communities across the county to record printed and digital publications relating to Devon. Much of this material is available free of charge from tourist information centres, local authorities, museums, libraries, local history groups, charities and a wide range of other sources. In the first phase emphasis would be on current or recently published items, but if funding can be found, it is hoped to extend coverage to earlier periods. The project has been set up in consultation with the Devon Heritage Centre, the Friends of Devon's Archives, the Devon History Society and the Devonshire Association. If you are interested in working with this project, please read on to see what is involved and contact the editor, currently Ian Maxted, by email at

A. What does the Devon Bibliography cover?

The scope of the bibliography

1. Works with Devon subject content.
2. Works about Devonians (by birth or adoption).
3. Works by Devon authors.
4. Works printed or published in Devon.

Devon should include all parishes which are now within, or have at one time formed part of, the historic county of Devon:.
1. Parishes now in neighbouring counties: e. g. Thorncombe, Churchstanton, North Petherwin, Werrington, Maker.
2. Areas now separately administered: Plymouth, Torbay.
3. Works relating to the Westcountry as a whole should be included where Devon figures significantly in the contents.

Coverage of the on-line Devon bibliography

1. Core categories

B: Books, pamphlets, ephemera.
P. Periodicals.
N: Newspapers.
W: Digital and electronic data (websites, e-Books, digital documents e. g. PDF files).

2. Secondary categories

M: Maps.
I: Illustrations (especially published items, such as topographical prints).
T: Theses (non-Devon research the responsibility of the universities).
A: Articles in periodicals and essay collections (e. g. Festschrifte).
C: Collections (e. g. printed ephemera produced by an organisation, cutting files).
S: Manuscripts and typescripts (non-archival).

3. Other categories

R: Archives (the responsibility of record offices).
V: Sound and video recordings (responsibility of the Sound and Television Archive).
Z: Inscribed artefacts (monuments, coins and tokens etc, the responsibility of museums).

B. How are records archived?

The bibliography is currently presented online as a series of web pages derived from Excel spreadsheets. They are held as ASCI tab delimited text files marked up with basic HTML tags. It is hoped that it will be possible to merge these files into a single searchable database which can provide customised listings to researchers.

Content of individual files

Individual records are grouped into files of a manageable size for ease of working on and adding to data:

B: Books & pamphlets: by years/decades/centuries.
A: Periodical articles: by periodical or book title, then by year.
P: Periodical titles: alphabetically by title.
N: Newspapers: by place of publication and date.
W: Digital data: by place and subject.
S: Manuscripts and typescripts: by compiler/title.
M: Maps: by place and date.
I: Illustrations: by place and subject.

C. What is the format of records?

A typical record in the Devon Bibliography appears as follows:

Gray, Todd. Exeter engraved. Volume 1 : the secular city / by Todd Gray. - Exeter : Mint Press, 2000. - xx,208p : chiefly ill ; 24x24cm. - Devon engraved series. - ISBN 1903356040. -
Copies: WSL : sB/EXE/1700/GRA ; BAR: BX:EXE/0002/GRA. -
Subjects: Devon. Exeter. Illustrations. 1700-1900. -

This display format has only recently been finalised and only recent files demonstrate this. Here is the same record separated into its constituent parts by the pipe symbol (|) which may make for easier editing.

Gray, Todd. |Exeter engraved. Volume 1 : |the secular city / |by Todd Gray. - |Exeter : |Mint Press , |2000. - |xx,208p : chiefly ill ; 24x24cm. - |Devon engraved series. - |ISBN 1903356040. - | WSL : sB/EXE/1700/GRA ; BAR: BX:EXE/0002/GRA. - | Devon. |Exeter. |Illustrations. |1700-1900. - |<HR />

And with tabs, the way Excel and the web pages holds data:

Gray, Todd.      Exeter engraved. Volume 1 :      the secular city /      by Todd Gray. -      Exeter :      Mint Press,      2000. -      xx,208p : chiefly ill ; 24x24cm. -      Devon engraved series. -      ISBN 1903356040. -      WSL: sB/EXE/1700/GRA ; BAR: BX:EXE/0002/GRA. -      Devon.      Exeter.      Illustrations.      1700-1900. -      <HR />

The database structure with the punctuation following each field and separated by tabs, is given here. It can be copied and pasted as a basis for submitting a record.

CREATOR.      TITLE :      SUBTITLE /      RESPONSIBILITY. -      EDITION. -      PUBLICATION_PLACE :      PUBLISHER,      PUBLICATION_YEAR. -      FORMAT. -      SCALE. -      CONTROL_NO. -      LINKS. -      SERIES. -      ITEM_NOTES. -      LIBRARY. -      REGION.      PLACE.      SUBJECT.      NAME.      ASPECT.      DATESPAN. -      <HR />

Not all fields in each entry will necessarily contain data. Any empty fields can be deleted. Punctuation will be checked by the editor. Fuller information on the fields in each record is given below.

CREATOR. The author: personal (name inverted), corporate body, or the first title word for anonymous works.
TITLE : As given on title page where possible.
SUBTITLE / Use sparingly, best reserved for sectional title of multi-part works.
RESPONSIBILITY. - As given on title page where possible. Includes author's name, editors, other collaborators.
EDITION. - As given on title page where possible. Also includes information on version e.g. Draft.
PUBLICATION_ PLACE : As given on title page where possible, otherwise from title verso, colophon.
PUBLISHER, As given on title page where possible, otherwise from title verso, colophon.
PUBLICATION_ YEAR. - As given on title page where possible, otherwise from title verso, colophon. Dates in roman numerals are converted to Arabic e.g MMXVI – 2016. -
FORMAT. - Pagination : embellishments (maps, illustrations) ; height in cm (plus width if landscape format).
SCALE. - For maps - use ratio (1 : 50,000) or scale bar (1 mile = 34mm).
CONTROL_NO. - This can be ISBN BNB or references to standard bibliographies e. g. ESTC, DUL. For items in print the ISBN can be followed by the price.
LINKS. - Given in form <A HREF="URL">Accessed Month Year</A>. Can be to image, e-version or web page.
SERIES. - Give series name and number if available. Most items are not in series.
ITEM_NOTES. - On publishing history, local nature of contents, authorship, other collaborators etc.
COPIES. - Only give shelf reference for WSL or BAR. Separate locations by semi-colon. Note any location where new records have been seen or the fact that a copy is bling passed to WSL.
REGION. Devon or Westcountry.
PLACE. Town, parish or wider geographical area (e.g. Dartmoor, South Hams, North Devon.
SUBJECT. Prefer concrete term e.g. Mines rather than Mining.
NAME. Relates to subject e.g. Devon Great Consoles.
ASPECT. How the subject is handled: part (Mines. Shafts.) action (Mines. Flooding) form of presentation (Mines. Gazetteers) etc
DATESPAN. Period covered e.g.: 1485-1603. 1914-1918, 2017-2023
<HR />&nbasp;This separates off the next entry

D. How do I contribute new records?

1. Search the bibliography to see whether the work has already been reported. An Excel spreadsheet of records from 2011 to date can be supplied by the editor to assist in searching. If the item cannot easily be located:.
2. Copy and paste the database structure above into a text file or a new Excel spreadsheet to use as a template. Alternatively paste the tab delimited sample record above as a template. If a similar record can be found, for example another work by the same author, another edition of the book, or another work on the same or similar subject, this may serve as a helpful template, but care must be taken to delete any earlier data which is no longer current.
3. Overwrite the template with data from the newly identified item. If you are uncertain about assigning subject headings, this will be checked by the editor. In the COPIES section note where the item has been seen and whether a copy has been passed to WSL.

E. What about duplicate records?

As information has been obtained from several sources it may become evident that there are duplicate records in the bibliography. Copy both records unamended to a text file and flag them for the editor for a final decision by preceding each entry with **.

F. And amended records?

Many existing records have been produced from limited information. In addition you may locate a copy in a new location. Where such records are identified, copy the record to a text file and amend it, flagging it by preceding each entry with *.

G. What happens next?

1. Gather the records into a text file, making sure that each record starts a new line. The file should be a plain text file (.txt) delimited by tabs or other distinctive characters such a a pipe(|) but not by commas or other characters that may appear within the records. Text files can be generated from a range of other programmes - e.g. Word or Excel - and Excel files are also acceptable.
2. Send the file as an attachment to the database editor (currently Ian Maxted at
3. The editorial team will match the records you supply, edit them, and add them to the master Excel spreadsheets which currently hold the Devon bibliography. The spreadsheets will be used to update the Devon Bibliography website.
4. As already indicated, it would also be helpful if a copy of items discovered could be deposited in the Devon Heritage Centre with the Westcountry Studies Library, as many local publications are not deposited with the British Library and so risk being lost to posterity. Many items, such as tourist guides are available free of charge from local information centres.

This page last updated 5 May 2017