Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Ephemera are documents published with a short intended lifetime. An academic or a national library often has a rare book department tasked, in part, with the acquisition and organisation of such ephemera, in order to preserve them as witnesses of local or national history. In some places museums are given this responsibility, or decide to assume it. Some criteria have been laid down as to what qualifies.
Complete decks of the Most-wanted Iraqi playing cards are typical examples of ephemera because they will lose their original purpose and interest in a relatively short time. They will then become original printed witnesses of some major historical events.
The term ephemera is also used to describe the class of published single-sheet or single page documents which are meant to be thrown away after one use. This classification then excludes simple letters and photographs with no printing on them, which are considered as manuscripts or typescripts . It includes: postcards, event-oriented posters, transportation and show tickets, baggage stickers, stock certificates, motor vehicle licensing forms, business cards, printed wedding invitations, trade cards, and other similar printed materials.
- The Encyclopedia of Ephemera: A Guide to the Fragmentary Documents of Everyday Life for the Collector, Curator, and Historian by Maurice Rickards et alia. London: The British Library; New York: Routledge, 2000.
- Ephemera Society of America
- Catalogued printed ephemera digitised and held by the National Library of Australia
- Cycleback: Print and Photography Study Extensive Guides and Galleries to Ephemera and Paper Collectables
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