Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2007 Issue

<b>AE</b> Services Part 2: Get Keywords

Captivity

"Get keywords" found 34 words which appeared at least three times in 100 listings.


By Michael Stillman

Last month we took a look at the AE Bibliographic Database, one of the subscriber services offered by this site. The "AED" consists of over 1.5 million records pertaining to books, taken from auctions, booksellers' catalogues and bibliographies. Most include prices. It is a service used by book collectors, booksellers, and historian/researchers. See http://www.americanaexchange.com/NewAE/aemonthly/article.asp?f=1&page=1&id=463. This month we look at a specific feature of that service, called "Get Keywords."

The way you access records in the AED is by a search. You can either search a particular author or title, or do a more general topical search using words or phrases. Once you do, you receive a list of matches. Here is where "Get Keywords" comes into play. It searches across the list of matches you have obtained for the most commonly used words. You simply check those records you want to search (or all of them), click the "Get AE Keywords" button, and in a moment, you will have a list of all of the most frequently used terms within those records.

Here is an example: click the image at the top left of this page for keywords we obtained from the matches after a search for "Indian Captivities." "Indian Captivities" is the term used for that once popular genre of American books that recounted tales of settlers who were captured and held by Indians. They were an effective means of stirring anti-Indian sentiment and justifying the taking of their land, the accounts generally being very one-sided.

When would you need these keywords? Three times come to mind: when buying, selling, and researching. Today, the number of books and items of ephemera available on the internet is staggering. There are many cooperative book-listing sites, there are auctions, including the specifically online type such as eBay as well as listings from the traditional auction houses, and many small, individually operated sites. There are absolute gems out there, but they can be extraordinarily difficult to find. You may be looking for items that relate to Indian Captivities, but there is no guarantee the seller has labeled them such, or is even aware of that term. So what other words have sellers of "Indian Captivities" used to describe these books in the past? The answer is to get their keywords.

As we look over the list, some are obviously commonly found, such as "Indian" and "Indians" and the ubiquitous "york" (so many books were published in New York). They don't help much. However, here are two worth remembering: "sufferings," and "savages." Not all of these writers referred to their stories as "captivities," but one of the buzzwords that regularly appeared was "sufferings," to describe what the captives endured. Likewise, "Indians" was not always the word the early settlers used to describe the native people, and it wasn't because they were calling them "Native Americans" instead. They were "savages." Of course, in hindsight we can wonder just who the "savages" were.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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