MAPP hosts thousands of rare twentieth century publishers’ materials: everything from fragile dust jackets; to author’s correspondence; to advertising brochures; to financial papers. We’ve collected these artifacts from dispersed archives and special collections, partnering with libraries in the UK, Canada, and the USA who hold the physical copies and host digital replicas in their own collections. MAPP seeks to digitize, collate, and share these beautiful and obscure objects with a wide public.

As a team of literary critics, book historians, archivists, and students, we have experienced the delight of sitting in institutional archives, sifting through boxes of old papers, and dreaming about the stories they contain. So, in building MAPP, we asked ourselves:

  • How could our website display objects about book publishing with inbuilt links so viewers could more easily uncover connections between them?
  • How could we maintain in a digital archive some sense of the experience of sitting in library archives and chancing upon that “surprise discovery”?
  • How could we honor exploration and search serendipity while also making visible how artifacts are always embedded in broader historical and institutional contexts?
  • How could we create new born digital content -- like individual biographies or biographies of presses -- that situate individual artifacts in networks you might uncover?

As you interact with MAPP, please remember: MAPP is continually in ‘build mode.’ We are adding new and updated content all the time. So, there are many placeholders for material waiting to be filled in. Gaps are not necessarily omissions. Gaps are potential.

Lives of People & Lives of Books

Click on an author icon and you may find:

  • an author photograph
  • a born digital peer-reviewed biography centering a professional life shaped by the publishing industry
  • a list of the author’s works contained in MAPP 

Click on a book cover icon and you may find:

  • the author
  • the date of publication
  • genre
  • language
  • publisher 
  • Correspondence and Ephemera detailing the behind-the-scenes activities that went into the book's making

Targeted or Random Search

Users who have a book title or person name already in mind can use the search button.  Or, users can explore randomly, entering MAPP via tabs on the Home Page: "People", "Letters" (correspondence related to book production), "Books", "Ephemera" (artifacts other than correspondence such as advertising fliers or marketing catalogues), or “Presses”.  All of these buttons will randomly generate everything in MAPP related to that search category.

To narrow the search, perhaps to maximize hits that retrieve more narrative content, simply use the ‘Sort by’ tab on the left hand side of the “All Resources” Page.

 Teaching & Blogging

Our Teaching Tab gives recommendations for how to use MAPP in the classroom, and our Blog – take a look at back issues! – has a lot of useful content, especially from our undergraduate and graduate researchers, about the discoveries they have made, and what it feels like to work with MAPP’s materials in real time.

And finally, while gaps may not always be omissions if you find any errors on the site – or if you just want to reach out – please contact us. We welcome feedback!


Reading Transcribed Documents and Letters. 

A selection of book files from The University of Reading are currently being transcribed and added to the site. Please view the end-user key attached below as a PDF to help you understand the notations used by our volunteer transcribers.