Forensic handwriting analysis: an analytical bibliography
Prepositions, an analytical bibliography.
Analytical bibliography therefore is the science of how to obtain blood from a stone, or how to extract from an physical artefact every gram of information about the way it was made.
analytical bibliography | Society of American Archivists
There is a long-standing, oft-uttered and widely-held credence that analytical bibliography only deals with printed artefacts of the hand-press era. This credence is false and is tantamount to claiming that literary criticism only deals with the writings of an author when the said author is dead. Another equally useless and artificial distinction is the parallel belief that the principles underlying the study of medieval manuscripts, incunabula and successive products of the hand-press period, the publications of mechanised typesetting and printing, or the CD-Roms and DVDs of our own age, somehow differ in the necessity for analysis and description. But it is all one discipline. It is all bibliography, though it is reasonable to say that the knowledge and experience necessary to understand complex artefacts, widely dispersed in modern collections, often endowed with an extensive secondary literature, are acquired only over the space of a lifetime and therefore it is too much to ask a specialist in medieval codicology to interpret the intricacies of quadrichrome printing and electronic lettersetting in our own day and age. Specialisation is acceptable therefore, as long as it is recognised that, bibliographically speaking, the age, provenance and method of fabrication of an object have no determinant significance.