Astrology Library Progress report – 31st October, 2015

Astrolearn astrology library progress report

– No. 14: 31st October, 2015

This past week, I have made mostly steady and useful progress with cataloguing work.

To begin with, I processed the two shelves of large-format paperbacks as anticipated. For most of the rest of the week, I have been working on the German journals and almanacs sections of the offline catalogue. The German journals section has been converted to the same format as the existingly uploaded English and French ones, and at the same time, I have been through the older German journals (pre-1950) and added binding format, condition and pagination details. I am well underway with the same work on the German almanacs, and expect to complete that by the end of Sunday.

Received in the post this week was what appears to be a brand new copy from old stock, direct from the publisher, of the 1995 first and only edition of Christian Leitz’s “Altägyptische Sternuhren”, a major source for the later book “The Naos of the Decades”, which was already in the collection. It is quite unusual for an academic edition dealing with the history of astrology not to have sold out in the space of 20 years, but perhaps this particular one simply slipped under the radar as a result of the title being in German and not directly referencing astrology.

Leitz’s book in fact comprises three studies, all of which have to do with the ancient Egyptian decans. The other two appear to be developments of Neugebauer and Parker’s work in their voluminous “Egyptian Astronomical Texts” series (four vols., 1960-1969), which itself is also already present in this collection.

All in all, it seems to be a worthy and most relevant scholarly acquisition.

In the past week, I have given further thought to the format in which to publish the completed catalogue. I am now leaning strongly towards keeping to my original plan of uploading the whole bibliography to this website. However, it has been suggested by some friends in the astrological community that not everyone likes to have to browse web-pages and that therefore it would be worth simultaneously releasing a print-on-demand edition of the whole catalogue for general public sale. This I shall be only happy to organise in due course, probably in the new year because there are still some important books I have lined up but can’t afford yet. And that printed edition may well comprise two or even three volumes (one for journals and almanacs, one for books by authors A-K, and one for books by authors L-Z), because I don’t think print-on-demand-quality bindings are very tolerant of heavy book blocks and I would hate for the binding of a single large volume to fall apart too easily.

However, there is nothing to stop me from uploading the existing material to the website before then; and indeed it is my present plan and provisional undertaking to achieve this by the end of 2015.

One good piece of news is that the bookseller with whom I had been making enquiries about an important early 20th century academic edition, only for him to have been unable at the time to find it, as reported here a month or so ago, has now at last located his copy of the book. I can’t afford it immediately, but have agreed to purchase it in about nine days’ time and am looking forward to reporting on it in a few weeks when it finally arrives here. I remain of the mind not to name the volume in question in advance of its arrival. That way, it will be more of a fun surprise when it does turn up.

Once the German almanacs section of the offline catalogue is in proper order at the end of this week, I’ll need to think carefully about what work to undertake in the coming week. Rather than move onto ever smaller general modern paperbacks, I’m currently thinking of going back to the German books that I initially catalogued at the start of this year and going over them again but more thoroughly, in line with the standards for pagination and condition description that I came to adopt later in the year. That will keep me busy. If that proves worthwhile, I shall then proceed in following weeks to the earliest English-language books, which were also less thoroughly catalogued when I worked on them early this year than the ones that followed.

If I am to upload the catalogue in December, then I still have a month to improve it first. And it will surely be better-organised in the long run to do this before uploading rather than after. But if I find the further enhancements ceasing to seem truly worth the time taken, I could potentially start uploading sooner than that.

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