Joseph Priestley Online
 
     
   
     
 
Ways to Access Priestley materials
 
     
 

Ways to access Joseph Priestley works:

  1. Original books, pamphlets, or letters

  2. Reprints of books, pamphlets, or letters

  3. Photocopies of original books, pamphlets, or letters

  4. Original books, pamphlets, or letters on microforms (microfilm or microfiche)

  5. The Theological and Miscellaneous Works of Joseph Priestley edited by John Towill Rutt.

Advantages of each possibility:

1. Original books, pamphlets, or letters:  The reader gets to read the book or pamphlet the way Priestley published it.  In the case of letters, the reader gets to read the letter in Priestley's own hand writing.

2. Reprints of books, pamphlets, or letters: The reader gets to read something very similar to the original book or pamphlet.  The reprint will probably not be in a rare book room, thus making it more accessible.  The reader would be able to more readily check the book out or photocopy it.  Reprints of letters are usually typed.  This will help with potential problems in trying to read Priestley's hand writing.  Reprints will be easier to find then the originals (when a reprint has been made), to access (as said before), and to acquire through systems like Interlibrary loan.

3. Photocopies of original books, pamphlets, or letters: Photocopies have all the advantages of the original books, pamphlets, or letters.  Yet, as an added advantage the reader can mark them up.  The reader will also not have to go through the hassle of accessing a rare book room or special collection at an institution.  However, finding photocopies of original books, pamphlets, or letters can be a problem.   One way to do it is see option four.  The other possibility is to buy a book from a place like Proquest Information and Learning.

4. Original books, pamphlets, or letters on microforms (microfilm or microfiche): Microform gives the reader all the advantages of reading the original.  Additional advantages are that the reader does not have to access a special collection or rare book room at an institution.  The reader also will often be able to make photo reproductions from the microfilm.  This might not be possible with original materials or cost prohibitive. 

5. The Theological and Miscellaneous Works of Joseph Priestley edited by John Towill Rutt.  Please see my Rutt Page, to see the Rutt page click here.

Disadvantages of each possibility

1. Original books, pamphlets, or letters:  The first disadvantage of originals are that they can be hard to access.  One usually has to enter a special collection area or rare book room at an institution to access the original material.  The second problem is taking notes.  Usually a rare book room or special collections area will only allow you to bring a pencil, paper, and lab top.  If you are reading a whole book and need many quotations this can be a time consuming process.  Plus your notes may not be as accurate as a photo copy would be.  The third problem is that photocopying is usually limited or cost prohibitive.

2. Reprints of books, pamphlets, or letters:  The first disadvantage to using this method is that you must have faith in the integrity of the editor.  The second disadvantage is that the work may not have everything the original edition you wanted had (Priestley would often add letters, essays, and even smaller works to the end of his main works).  The third disadvantage to using this method is that many of his works do not have reprints that will be readily available to many readers.

3. Photocopies of original books, pamphlets, or letters: The first disadvantage of this method is trying to find photocopies.  The second disadvantage is that it can be cost prohibitive. 

4. Original books, pamphlets, or letters on microforms (microfilm or microfiche): The first disadvantage is that you can only use the microform during the institution's hours.  The second disadvantage is that sometimes the microforms can be hard to read (the picture is bad on the form or the pages are so small the machine is not capable of doing the microform justice).  The third disadvantage is that they can be cost prohibitive to make photo reproductions at some institutions.

5. The Theological and Miscellaneous Works of Joseph Priestley edited by John Towill Rutt.  Please see my Rutt Page, to see the Rutt page click here.

 
     
 
Last modified: December 3, 2009 * Copyright © 2009 Andrew Burd-Harris