Finding copy specific information in the rare books search

Searching for bindings, annotations, insertions, presentation inscriptions etc

These are described in the notes of the records. Just use the default rare books search to retrieve this information, typing your keyword/s into the “Any field” boxes:

You can combine search terms and phrases, but starting simply is advised.

Click on search to show a list of results with brief details.

From this list, click on the title of any book that you want to see the copy specific details of.

A brief record will be displayed first. To see the copy specific details, click on the Full Record tab.

The copy specific details will now be displayed, along with other notes and information about the book. Your search terms will be highlighted in red.

Commonly used copy specific terms in University of Glasgow records

Remember that you are relying on matching up the search terms you use with the way the copy specific details have been described in the records. Try different search terms.

The following terms/phrases are a guide to the terminology that we have used in cataloguing the books, so try searching with these to start with: 

  • Binding
    - blind stamped
    - armorial stamp
    - gold tooled
    - fillets
    - (leather): calf; morocco; sheep; pigskin
    - vellum
    - clasp
    - embroidered
  • Binder's ticket/stamp
  • Marbled endpapers
  • Doublures 
  • Marbled fore-edge
  • Fore-edge title
  • Fore-edge painting
  • Manuscript waste
  • Manuscript fragment
  • Printer’s waste
  • Bookplate
  • Book label
  • Book stamp
  • Manuscript foliation
  • Manuscript signatures
  • Interleaved
  • Annotation/s
  • Manuscript
  • Manuscript note/s
  • Nota marks
  • Pen trials
  • Doodles
  • Inscription/s
    - presentation
    - ownership
    - manuscript dedication
    - autograph
  • Decoration
    - painted
    - illuminated
    - initials supplied in red
    - underlining supplied in red
    - rubrication
    - capital strokes
    - penwork
    - decorated border
    - white vine decoration
  • Coat of arms
  • Press cutting
  • Excerpt from bookseller’s catalogue
  • Letter
  • Bibliographical notes
  • Price code
  • Shelfmark (older useage: pressmark)
  • Inventory/accession number
  • Loosely inserted
  • Tipped in
  • Blind impressions of type
  • Watermark
  • Cancel

Searching for previous owners (provenance)

There is an extra option in the Rare Books Search for tracing previous owners of our books.


Click on the Printers & Provenance tab to use this search.


Provenances may be personal owners or corporate bodies. Type as much or as little as you want of the name you are searching for in the search box, in surname order (for personal names).

Click on search to display a brief set of results, and then click on the title of any book that you want to see the provenance details of.


A brief record will be displayed first. To see the copy specific details, click on the Full Record tab.

The provenance details will now be displayed. There may also be further information about the provenance in the copy specific notes in the record.

You may also use this search to trace books produced by specific printers and in specific places.

Does this retrieve information from all rare books in Special Collections?

Unfortunately, not as yet! The inclusion of copy specific and provenance information in Special Collections records is an ongoing project. Many of our records have yet to be upgraded to include this information, but we are adding it when we can. If you are conducting book history research and do not get many results, please contact us and we will try to help further.

So what exactly is copy specific information?

Find out more!