Jargon related to Book Publishing

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Jargon Guides

Organizations and specialized activities develop their own sets of specialized terminology, or jargon, and DP is no exception to that. Accordingly, we have developed some FAQ-like Jargon Guides you can access in order to learn some of our lingo.

The LONG DP Jargon Guide, and the Jargon Guides related to The Guidelines, User Roles, and Workflow contain acronyms and terms you will likely encounter as a new volunteer at DP.

Other Jargon Guides contain terms that are a bit more specialized. The Group Activities Jargon Guide will become especially relevant to you if you start using Jabber. The remaining Jargon Guides shown in the Jargon Navigator box relate to the specific activities mentioned in their titles.

If you come across an acronym or term that isn't mentioned in one of these Jargon Guides, please ask about it in one of the DP forums.

Detailed suggestions on how best to add and edit Jargon-related information can be found at Help:Jargon.

4to, 8vo, 12mo, 16mo

See page size.

end matter

The phrase end matter is used to collectively refer to the sections of a book which follow the main text. These include things such as the book's Index, Bibliography, Glossary, and sometimes a publisher's catalog of other books by the same and/or different authors.

Contrast with front matter.


See page size.

front matter

The phrase front matter is used to collectively refer to the sections of a book which precede the main text. These include this such as the book's title page and verso, frontispiece, Table of Contents, List of Illustrations, Dedication, and Preface.

Contrast with end matter.


A frontispiece is is an illustration in the front of a book that usually immediately precedes the work's title page.


See page size.

page size

Many old books include publisher's catalogues of other books at the end, which include some abbreviations, such as 4to, 6mo, 8vo, 12mo, 16mo etc., which indicate the dimensions of the book.

Printers started with a standard paper sheet size. To get a page size smaller than the sheet they would print multiple pages on the same sheet and then fold the sheet. If it is folded once then it forms 2 leaves of the book, each of which has a page on each side, so it holds 4 pages per sheet. To get smaller formats from the same paper size it is simply folded more times.

  • Folio (f) has 1 fold, 2 leaves, 4 pages, per sheet.
  • Quarto (q, 4to) has 2 folds, 4 leaves, 8 pages
  • Sexto or Six-mo (6mo) has 3 folds, 6 leaves, 12 pages
  • Octavo (8vo, 8o [which would be proofed 8^o]) has 3 folds, 8 leaves, 16 pages
  • Duodecimo or Twelve-mo (12mo) has 4 folds, 12 leaves, 24 pages
  • Sextodecimo (16mo) has 4 folds, 16 leaves, 32 pages

All larger sizes are abbreviated XXmo; only the 4to and 8vo abbreviations have different suffixes.

"Crown 8vo," etc., refer to a different starting paper size.

After printing the sheet is folded to form a section (or signature) and the edges trimmed to separate the individual leaves. If two leaves are still connected on an edge then in the book trade they are "unopened", but in common usage they are "uncut" (which means something else to a book dealer).

At the bottom of the front page of a section or signature the printer may include a mark to help in the final assembly of the book. For example, in a octavo book, every sixteenth page may have a letter at the bottom (A, B, C ...) which we delete in the proofing process, since it is not part of the text.


See page size.


The term recto refers to the "front," or right-hand-side, or odd-numbered, page of a printed work. The term obverse can also be used to refer to the front-side of an object, such as a page in a book, but that term is more commonly used outside the context of books and printing.


ToC and TOC are the standard abbreviatons used to refer to a Table of Contents.

(For post-processing advice related to ToCs, see Tables of contents.)


TP&V is an abbreviation for title page and verso.

You will often see this abbreviation used in the Content Providing Forums because in order to obtain a copyright clearance for a project from the PG Copyright Team, the minimum amount of documentation a CP must submit is a copy of the work's TP&V.


While technically, verso can refer to the reverse, or back, side of any (usually flat) object; and more specifically to any "back," left-hand-side, or even-numbered, page of a book; here at DP, the term almost always refers to the reverse side of the title page of a printed work.

See also TP&V.


Jargon Guides

WorldCat is a bibliographic database useful for searching library collections. It is frequently used by Content Providers to locate specific editions of books to scan for DP or to supplement Missing pages.

Many university libraries have subscriptions to WorldCat, with direct links to the search pages for students and employees. Some public libraries also make this search resource available to their patrons.

There is now a free portal called WorldCat.org which is a direct search into the WorldCat database created by OCLC members. You can sign for the Affiliate Program and add a WorldCat search box to your website.

There is also a version called Open WorldCat that works through both Yahoo! and Google search engines. To use Open WorldCat, include the phrase "find in a library" along with the title information in your search, and the first hit will be the WorldCat link. You can then continue your searches through this results page. (Through Google, there is a "Find a Library" search text box at the top of the results page, for example.)

More Wiki-quality info about WorldCat is available at Wikipedia.