What is a textbook


The monograph is a treatise, i.e. the written representation, of a single subject in book form. This means that the monograph deals with a single issue, living being, problem, work or personality. It is irrelevant how many authors collaborate on this publication if the contributions were conceived together. Monographs are mostly holistic. So you try to illuminate and present a topic from all points of view. The term is also used as the opposite of ongoing compilations such as magazines (periodicals).

Term & example

The term goes to the Greek nounmonographía back (μονογραφία), which is with Single font lets translate and from the words monos For only as graphein For write is formed. Accordingly, the translation shows what it is about: that a font revolves around a single topic, but not that it was written by a single author. Let's look at an example.

In the treatiseKäthe Kollwitz with self-testimonials and photo documents by Catherine Kramer, the author presents the life and work of the German graphic artist, painter and sculptor Käthe Kollwitz comprehensively. The oeuvre is presented on 160 pages(Complete works) shown by the artist. The monograph therefore claims to illuminate the topic holistically and revolves around a single personality.

The scope such a treatise is not regulated and is therefore not subject to any regulations. Kramer's work on the German sculptress is rather small in scope, although there are also writings on individual topics that are well over 1000 pages long. The choice of the depicted subject is of course decisive here - a monograph on the depiction of Mephisto in Goethe's fist of course offers far less material than a treatise on the life and work of Goethe.

Monograph, manual, textbook, anthology

The terms monograph, manual, textbook and anthology are not easy to separate from one another. Nevertheless, by definition there are quite a few differences to distinguish these terms. These are shown in the following overview.

  • Monograph: Treats a single object comprehensively and tries to present it from all angles. Very often written by one author, but this is not a must. Working in a collective is also conceivable if the individual employees create the texts together and do not separate their work by chapter or section. This is more true of manuals and anthologies.

  • Manual: The subject area is much broader, whereby more superordinate areas are also covered. So a manual could be one Overview of the literary epochs whereas a monograph would focus more on a single writer of the time. It is also common for manuals to be written by several authors, each with a different focus.

  • Textbook: Is very difficult to define. Mainly used to prepare content in such a way that it can be dealt with in class. As a result, a monograph can be a textbook. However, most textbooks tend to be superficial, only touching on topics to refer to further material. So they are not always holistic, which makes a major difference.

  • Anthology: Means a collection of individual texts by different authors on any topic. An anthology is considered a monograph when the authors have refined and developed the individual texts together. If this is not the case, one speaks more of an anthology, anthology or collection of articles. The anthology is related, but does not contain any scientific papers.

Monograph in librarianship

The librarianship tends to use the term in a more formal way, so it ignores the individual characteristics of the text types presented in this article and is based more on the basic translation of the word (individual script).

Monographs mean works that are available in one volume, i.e. are one volume and were written by one author. This distinction serves to distinguish the text type from multi-volume books and also to separate it from dependent literature, also called dependent works. Writings that are part of a higher-level work are considered dependent (e.g. essays).

Pharmacopoeia monographs

Pharmacopoeias are collections of recognized rules on the quality, testing, storage and designation of medicinal products, whereby the substances, materials and methods used in production and testing are also discussed. In a pharmacopoeia monograph, the properties of individual substances are presented and what requirements they have to meet.

Pharmacopoeia are divided into one general as well as one special Part. In the general part there is a foreword, an introduction to the topic and general instructions on how to use the book. The far more extensive part is the special one. This also includes the monographs. Here, individual active ingredients and their composition are explained.

Brief overview: The essential characteristics of the text type at a glance
  • The monograph is a written work that treats and presents a single object holistically, i.e. holistically. Accordingly, it does not remain on the surface or offers a broad overview of similar specialist areas, but rather goes into depth.
  • Most monographs are written by a single author who has studied the subject in detail. Joint projects are also conceivable, although the name is only applicable if all employees have influenced all of the texts. If the authors divide the tasks into chapters or sections, the term anthology or manual is usually used.
  • The librarianship includes writings that are available in one volume, are printed and come from a single author. This distinguishes the monograph from multi-volume publications and periodicals. Pharmacology uses monographs in pharmacopoeias. These clarify the components and properties of various active ingredients.

  • Note: Typical examples that meet the characteristics of the type of text include a dissertation or a biography that also deals with the entire work of a person.