Fredson Bowers described and formulated a standardized practice of descriptive bibliography in his Principles of Bibliographical Description (1949). Scholars to this day treat Bowers' scholarly guide as authoritative. In this classic text, Bowers describes the basic function of bibliography as, "[providing] sufficient data so that a reader may identify the book described, understand the printing, and recognize the precise contents" (124).
Descriptive Bibliographies as Scholarly Product
Descriptive bibliographies as a scholarly product usually include information on the following aspect of a given book as a material object:
Format and ...view middle of the document...
g. woodblock, intaglio, etc.), measurements, and locations in the text
Presswork - miscellaneous details gleaned from the text about its production
Copies Examined - an enumeration of the copies examined, including those copies' location (i.e. belonging to which library or collector)
This branch of the bibliographic discipline examines the material features of a textual artifact – such as type, ink, paper, imposition, format, impressions and states of a book – to essentially recreate the conditions of its production. Analytical bibliography often uses collateral evidence – such as general printing practices, trends in format, responses and non-responses to design, etc. – to scrutinize the historical conventions and influences underlying the physical appearance of a text. The bibliographer utilizes knowledge gained from the investigation of physical evidence in the form of a descriptive bibliography or textual bibliography. Descriptive bibliography is the close examination and cataloging of a text as a physical object, recording its size, format, binding, and so on, while textual bibliography (or textual criticism) identifies variations – and the aetiology of variations – in a text with a view to determining "the establishment of the most correct form of [a] text (Bowers 498).
Systematic lists of media other than books can be referred to with terms...