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Detectives with a Wood’s lamp: hunting for early users

It’s often the case with early books that the marks and other notes left by their previous owners have been cancelled by their successors – scored out heavily or lightly in ink, rubbed away or even removed completely by cutting them out – in the desire to take away all visible traces of the volumes’ previous provenance.


The sacred book: close reading and lazy readers

It’s a fact that more grammars than Bibles were printed in the early modern period but during this period and throughout western Europe the Bible nevertheless was regarded as the supreme book, the book by definition.


Reading, learning and teaching: best practices 500 years ago

The margins and other blank spaces found in books are often full of traces of past readings, sometimes packed into the space available and at others more sporadic. The marks left by readers who needed to consult the book, to underline a passage or add a comment can tell us a lot about the people who have handed down their books to us.


The importance of endpapers: investigating endleaves in incunabula in Santa Scolastica

The endleaves found at the front and the back of bound editions were blank leaves inserted by the binder at the moment of binding in order to protect the text block.