orientation (bibliographic)

The bibliographic orientation can be seen as an extension of either the documentary or the sociological, but in the last few years interest in it has increased sufficiently to warrant its separate discription. Based in the bibliographical studies of D. F. McKenzie, this orientation enlarges the definition of text to include all aspects of the physical forms upon which the linguistic text is written. This approach does not admit to any parts of the text or of the physical medium to be considered nonsignificant and therefore emendable. The texture of paper, the type font, the style and expense of binding, the color, the indications on the book of the type of marketing undertaken, the price, the width of margins–in short, all aspects of the physical object that is the book that bear clues to its origins and destinations and social and literary pretentions–are text to the bibliographic orientation. It is impossible to imagine what editorial policy would be in strict keeping with the bibliographic orientation rigidly applied, but the insights of this orientation in electronic archives, for which the bibliographical appearance of originals from manuscripts through mass-market paperbacks could be incorporated in order to preserve the broadest possible sense of text, including linguistic and bibliographic codes.

Contributed by Jesse. View changelog.