A Library Primer (1899)/Chapter XVII

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A Library Primer by John Cotton Dana
Chapter XVII, Ink and handwriting
209361A Library Primer — Chapter XVII, Ink and handwritingJohn Cotton Dana

For catalog cards and all other records use a non-copying black, permanent ink. Carter's record ink is good. It has been adopted, after careful investigation, by the state of Massachusetts for all official records. The New York state library school, at Albany, has issued a little handbook on "library handwriting," which recommends Carter's record, and says they use Stafford's blue writing ink for blue and his carmine combined for red.

For all labels on the outside of books, and for all writing on surfaces which may be much handled, use Higgins' American drawing ink, waterproof.

The vertical hand should be used in all library work. The following rules, with the illustrations, are taken from the Albany school handbook above referred to:

Brief rules

1 Ink. Use only standard library ink and let it dry without blotting.

2 Position. Sit squarely at the desk and as nearly erect as possible.

3 Alphabets. Follow the library hand forms of all letters, avoiding any ornament, flourish, or lines not essential to the letter.

4 Size. Small letters, taking m as the unit, are one space or two millimeters high; i.e. one-third the distance between the rulings of the standard catalog card.

Capitals and extended letters are two spaces high above the base line or run one space below, except t, the character &, and figures, which are one and one-half spaces high.

5 Slant. Make letters upright with as little slant as possible, and uniformly the same, preferring a trifle backward rather than forward slant.

6 Spacing. Separate words by space of one m and sentences by two m's. Leave uniform space between letters of a word.

7 Shading. Make a uniform black line with no shading. Avoid hair line strokes.

8 Uniformity. Take great pains to have all writing uniform in size, slant, spacing, blackness of lines and forms of letters.

9 Special letters and figures. In both joined and disjoined hands dot i and cross t accurately to avoid confusion; e.g. Giulio carelessly dotted has been arranged under Guilio in the catalog. Cross t one space from line. Dot i and j one and one-half spaces from line. In foreign languages special care is essential.

Joined hand. Connect all the letters of a word into a single word picture. Complete each letter; e.g. do not leave gap between body and stem of b and d, bring loop of f back to stem, etc.

Avoid slanting r and s differently from other letters. They should be a trifle over one space in height. The small p is made as in print, and is not extended above the line as in ordinary script.

Disjoined hand. Avoid all unnecessary curves. The principal down strokes in b, d, f, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, t, u, and the first line in e, should be straight.


Joined Hand

Disjoined Hand

Make all the small letters, except f, i, j, k, t, x and y, without lifting pen from paper.

Make g and Q in one stroke, moving from left to right like the hands of a watch. Begin on the line.

Take special pains with the letter r, as carelessly made it is easily mistaken for v or y.

Make the upper part of B, R, and S a trifle smaller than the lower part.

Figures. Make all figures without lifting the pen. Begin 4 with the horizontal line. Make the upper part of 3 and 8 smaller than the lower part; 8 is best made by beginning in the center.