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Special Bibliographic Files


The UC Berkeley Library system is no longer using the GLADIS and Pathfinder catalogs. A new guide will be provided for searching special bibliographic files in the new catalog, OskiCat.


The Bancroft Library has for many years maintained "special files" in its catalog. These special files provide extra access points that may not be familiar to many users. Researchers using rare books often find it extremely useful to search holdings by imprint place and date, by printer or publisher, by the names of former owners, by names of binders, and by genre. When the old card catalogs were converted to computer databases, these special files were also converted. They are now available in the GLADIS online catalog as well as in Pathfinder, the Web version of GLADIS. Do not use MELVYL for special files searching.

There are advantages and disadvantages to using Bancroft special files in each of these databases. A few reminders:


  • GLADIS first retrieves headings: to see the catalog records for your search, you must enter the heading number and hit RETURN.
  • In older books, names and places may appear in many forms depending on the language of the text. Bancroft's cataloguers have made an effort to trace these names in a normalized English form (e.g. the Latin place name "Argentorati" in an early book has been traced as "Strasbourg," its modern equivalent).
  • GLADIS is very literal: it matches your search string letter-for-letter and word-for-word.
  • In GLADIS, you can browse all the special file headings that have been assigned to Bancroft holdings: by entering a search string that is incomplete, the computer will give you a list of all the headings that begin with those letters or words.
  • GLADIS truncates your search string automatically - don't be overly specific, it can be counterproductive. A better strategy is to enter a shortened search request and then scan the results to select the most useful heading.
  • You cannot combine search terms in GLADIS (i.e. no Boolean searching).


  • Pathfinder includes all the same special files headings as GLADIS does.
  • You cannot browse the list of special files headings in Pathfinder, but you can combine them in a Boolean search.
  • Pathfinder also allows you to use truncation in the headings (# for a single letter; ? for multiple characters).
  • Bancroft's special files are available only in the "Full Feature Search" screen of Pathfinder. The choices are listed on the pull-down menu in the "Search for" line.
  • Pathfinder's keyword searching capability usually works better than phrase searching with special files (see the Pathfinder help screen for tips on using these features). Phrase searching of special files in Pathfinder should be used with the truncation sign "?" immediately following the last element of the search, but to check your results, redo the search as a keyword search.

Types of Special Files

The chronological file permits you to search by place and date combined. Headings are structured:


The GLADIS command is:

===>find ci ...

On the Pathfinder menu, look for:

Chronological Imprints [keyword]
Chronological Imprints [phrase]


find ci Italy Florence
(retrieves 342 headings with dates ranging from 1380 to 1996)

find ci Italy Florence 1548
(retrieves retrieves 6 records for books printed in Florence in the year 1540)

find ci Spain Valencia
(calls up 135 headings from 1493 to 1995)

find ci Netherlands
(retrieves 1,315 headings: first Dutch imprints with no city name, then headings by city from Alkmaar to Zutphen)

In Pathfinder, to achieve the same results, these searches would look like this:

Search for: in

This search retrieves 795 catalog records. GLADIS's 342 headings contain, altogether, these 795 records.

Search for: in

This more specific search returns the same 6 records as the GLADIS search.

Search for: in

Yields 254 individual records (represented by 135 headings in GLADIS)

Search for: in

Turns up 3,852 individual records (the contents of the 1,315 GLADIS headings)

For the United States, Great Britain, and Canada, it is necessary to add the state, province, or kingdom (England, Scotland, Ireland, or Wales) between the country name and the city:

f ci Great Britain England Oxford 1642


Search for: in

This search retrieves one heading in GLADIS and 21 records in Pathfinder. Entering the heading number (number 1) in GLADIS, brings up the same 21 records.

f ci United States California San Francisco


Search for: in

Yields 159 headings in GLADIS and 26,173 book records in Pathfinder.

f ci Canada Quebec Montreal


Search for: in

Brings up 105 GLADIS headings or 216 catalog entries in Pathfinder.

When you type a complete chronological file heading in GLADIS (country-province [if necessary]-city-date) the normal retrieval is just one heading (which may have multiple records attached to it). To browse a list of headings for books printed in a particular country, omit the city name and date; to browse by city, do not enter a specific date.

Date spans do not work in the CI index of GLADIS (i.e. you can't request France Paris 1733-1744; if you do, you will get no hits). On Pathfinder's full feature search screen, you could structure such a request:

Search for: in and Year(s):

This search retrieves the records for 209 titles.

Using other Pathfinder features can produce similar results. Using full feature Pathfinder's "place of publication [keyword]" index to search for "Paris," limiting the library to "Banc", and specifying the date span "1733-1744," the result is 218 records.

This file lists the names of printers and publishers of books held by Bancroft. The names of early printer often appear in unusual forms (e.g. in inflected Latin) so we have normalized the spelling.

The basic GLADIS command is:

find tf ...

For example:

f tf rey, marc michel

produces a result set that begins like this:

Typographical Name List
1. Rey, Marc Michel. (1748)
2. Rey, Marc Michel. (1756)
3. Rey, Marc Michel. (1758)
4. Rey, Marc Michel. (1759)
5. Rey, Marc Michel. (1760)

The dates in parentheses are the imprint dates for books published by Rey. Enter the line number to see the actual catalog records for these books.

As long as you have the last name of the firm or printer, you can truncate your search in GLADIS:

f tf bancroft

yields the following headings (among others):

 1. Bancroft. (1889)
 2. Bancroft & Kenny. (1852)
 3. Bancroft & Thayer. (1875)
 4. Bancroft Brothers & Co. (1887)
 5. Bancroft Company. (1880 )
37. Bancroft Library Press. (1998)
38. Bancroft Litho. (1884)
39. Bancroft Litho. (1886)
40. Bancroft-Whitney Company. (1850)

Using Pathfinder for the same type of search:

Search for: in

finds 558 records unsorted (and unsortable) by publisher.

f tf manu

retrieves a list of 81 headings beginning:

1. Manual Arts Press. (1900)
2. Manufacturers' Association of California. (1883)
3. Manus-Presse. (1969)
4. Manuzio, Aldo, 1449 or 50-1515. (1495)
5. Manuzio, Aldo, 1449 or 50-1515. (1497)

In Pathfinder, the search:

Search for: in

Brings up records for 329 individual books, but they are not sorted by specific printer.

This file traces the names of bookbinders whose work is represented in Bancroft collections:

The GLADIS command is:

find bf ...

find bf cobden-sanderson

Retrieves 1 heading with 18 records.

In Pathfinder, the same search:

Search for: in

Retrieves the same 18 records.

This file traces items by by the names of their former owners. It is useful for finding books read or owned by specific people. This is also called "provenance". Using provenance information can reveal the history of a specific copy of a work as well as suggest influences that books may have exerted on their owners.

The GLADIS command is:

find af ...

The GLADIS search:

f af Gibbon, Edward

Retrieves 1 heading which then leads you to records for 30 books once owned by this 18th-century English man of letters. The Pathfinder search for the same material can be structured very simply:

Search for: in

This produces the same set of 30 records as the GLADIS search.

To get a sense of influences on Henry James, try the GLADIS search:

f af James, Henry

This finds 38 books from the novelist's library currently held in Bancroft, but the Pathfinder search is complicated by the fact that there is also a James L. Henry in the Association File. In this case, it is necessary to specify dates for Pathfinder to distinguish between the two:

Search for: in

Adding the dates gives the same result as the GLADIS search. Without them, the retrieval list runs to 726 items, mixing books owned by the novelist with books from the library of James L. Henry, a private collector.

The genre file presents a way to find types of material in the Bancroft collections (e.g. printing, binding, and paper evidence). The genre terms used are taken from the controlled vocabulary given in several publications of the Association of College and Research Libraries. These thesauri are available in the Bancroft reading room:

  • Printing & publishing evidence (Bancroft call number: Z695.74 A871 1986 Reference)
  • Binding terms (Bancroft call number: Z695.74 A88 1988 Reference)
  • Genre terms (Bancroft call number: Z695.74 G46 1991 Reference)
  • Paper terms (Bancroft call number: Z695.74 P37 1990 Reference)
  • Provenance evidence (Bancroft call number: Z695.74 P761 1988 Reference)
  • Type evidence (Bancroft call number: Z695.74 T9 1990 Reference)

Note: the Library only began using these "genre" terms fairly recently, so many catalog records do not have a full complement of genre terms. It is not the Library's practice to make an entry for every term in the thesauri. Therefore, retrievals using the genre terms should be considered as examples of the genre, not as an exhaustive list of everything Bancroft owns to which that genre term might be applied. A few cataloguing units besides Bancroft have used this field.

The GLADIS command is:

find gp ...

Using the Genre File in GLADIS and simply entering a letter (e.g. find gp b ) will give you a list of all genre terms we have used that begin with the letter B. The first of the 196 headings in the result set look like this:

 1. Baccalaureate addresses--1744. [genre/form index term]
 2. Baccalaureate addresses--1757. [genre/form index term]
 3. Baccalaureate addresses--1794. [genre/form index term]
 4. Baccalaureate addresses--1798. [genre/form index term]
 5. Backless bindings (Binding) [binding index term]
 6. Badges. [visual materials genre/form index term]
 7. Ballads. [genre/form index term]
 8. Ballads--England. [genre/form index term]
 9. Bank notes--German. [visual materials genre/form index term]
10. Bank notes--Russian. [visual materials genre/form index term]
11. Banners. [visual materials genre/form index term]

Once you have determined which genre heading(s) fit your needs - either by referring to the thesauri or to GLADIS's list of terms used - you can perform a more accurate search.

Pathfinder also allows for genre searching. It is best to use a keyword search:

Search for: in

This brings up the records for 223 titles.

Using Bancroft's special files greatly expands the possibilities and sophistication of bibliographic searching in Berkeley's on-line catalogs. It is important to remember the special features of GLADIS and Pathfinder outlined above to obtain the best and most reliable results. The boolean search features of Pathfinder have made the special files even more useful since it is now possible to combine special files queries with other types of searches. It will take patience and persistence before you feel truly at ease with these new searches, but we feel that our users will find the special files to be a great help in their research.

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