1 map wanting, 1 map badly torn

Upon a February 2014 search in WorldCat for “1 map wanting, 1 map badly torn”, the only result found was Richard Blome’s 1672 A Description of the Island of Jamaica... That phrase was found with sufficient frequency in library catalog entries for Blome’s Description that it raises the question: Are all copies described as such actually in that condition, or have a few catalogers errantly copied bibliographic data for their copy of Blome’s book from another library’s catalog? On line library catalogs are second only to digitized antiquarian map collections as the greatest invention since the wheel. However, researchers should take care to use digital library catalogs only as a finding aid, and not as a quotable source regarding condition or other details of an item. For example, while recently conducting research on Blome’s Description from the comfort of home, I learned that a few library catalog entries had misidentified the bookseller listed on the title page of their library’s copy of Blome’s book. One library had their physical Blome book labeled as a microform. Another library catalog listed 3 maps as present when, in fact, their copy contains no maps. The most important thing I learned or, more accurately, reconfirmed, is that librarians are among the most pleasant and helpful people on earth. There is absolutely no way I could have learned as much as I did about Blome’s Description without the cheerful and prompt assistance  and time of many librarians, almost all of whom do not know me from Adam’s housecat. If you aren’t a member of the Friends group for your local (or distant!) library, I encourage you to join post haste. Your library likely needs and absolutely deserves your support.

Addendum: As of January 2015, the search results are entirely different.

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