File Not Found: Rarity in an Age of Digital Plenty

Doug Reside

Abstract

In the first section of the submission guidelines for this esteemed journal, would-be authors are informed, “RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage uses a web-based, automated, submission system to track and review manuscripts. Manuscripts should be sent to the editor, […], through the web portal[…]” The multivalent uses of the word “manuscript” in this sentence reveal a good deal about the state of our field. This journal is dedicated to the study of manuscripts, and it is understood by most readers that the manuscripts being studied are of the “one-of-a-kind” variety (even rarer than the “rare . . .

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