Minutes, 22 October 2010

Rare Books in Scotland business meeting

Thursday 22 October 2009, Edinburgh University


  • Norma Aldred (RCAHMS)
  • Helen Beardsley (Stirling University)
  • Bridget Bell (ICAS)
  • Stephanie Breen (NLS)
  • Caroline Brown (University of Dundee)
  • Duncan Chappell (Glasgow School of Art)
  • Felicity Cross (WS Society)
  • Julie Gardham (Glasgow University)
  • Anette Hagan (NLS)
  • Elizabeth Henderson (St. Andrews)
  • Brian Hillyard (NLS)
  • Jane Hutcheon (RBGE)
  • Lindsay Levy (Advocates Library)
  • Sheila Millar (East Lothian)
  • Joseph Marshall (EUL)
  • Anne Morrison (Edinburgh Central Library)
  • Keith O' Sullivan (Aberdeen University)
  • Marianne Smith (Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh)
  • Helen Vincent (NLS)
  • Pat Whatley (University of Dundee).

1. Apologies

  • Marion Beaton (Mitchell Library)
  • Sandra Cumming (Dunimarle Library at Duff House)
  • Colin Duncan (Inverclyde Libraries)
  • Lara Haggerty (Innerpeffray Library)
  • Graham Hogg (NLS)
  • Marian Kirton (Napier University)
  • Ron Livingstone (Aberdeen Central library)
  • Christine Love-Rodgers (New College)
  • Iain Milne (Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh)
  • Andrew Nicoll (Scottish Catholic Archives)
  • Karen O' Brien (Edinburgh Central Library)
  • Carol Parry (Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow)
  • Ian Riches (National Trust for Scotland)
  • Enda Ryan (Mitchell Library).

The business meeting was opened at 13.30 by Brian Hillyard (BH), who chaired the meeting in the absence of Graham Hogg. BH thanked Joseph Marshall (JM), Rare Books Librarian at Edinburgh University Library, and his colleagues for hosting the event. The group was earlier welcomed by John Scally, Director of University Collections, and given a tour of the Centre for Research Collections (CRC) by JM.

2. Minutes of previous meetings (25 March 2009)

BH thanked Helen Vincent (HV) for taking the minutes of the previous meeting. As the minutes (from 25 March 2009) had not been consulted by all at the time of the present meeting, BH asked the group to consult them so that they can be formally approved at the next meeting.

3. Matters arising, not covered elsewhere on this agenda

BH recalled that at the last meeting Ian Riches had spoken about developments at the National Trust for Scotland. BH noted that to date there are no further updates to add to this matter.

500 years of printing
BH informed the group that the archive of material relating to the 500th anniversary of printing in Scotland has not yet been processed and that there is still time to send material to have added to the archive. The commemorative publication from the Scottish Printing Archival Trust, '500 Years of Printing in Scotland', is now available. The booklet retails at £4.00 (or at £5.00 including postage): for ordering see  http://www.500yearsofprinting.org/. BH brought along a number of complimentary copies for distribution at the end of the meeting.

BHnoted that there is no progress to report on the Scotland in Europe cataloguing project.

BH informed the group that the VD17 symposium will be held in Munich next week. Anette Hagan (AH), who has taken over the lead responsibility for Rare Books cataloguing in the NLS, will attend the conference. AH briefly explained the purpose of the VD17 project: to contribute catalogue records of German items printed in the 17th century held outside German speaking areas. BH invited AH to report to the group at the next meeting or, if appropriate, through the group's email list.

4. Forum update

4.1. Organisation and Forum membership
BH reported that there are 71 members on the list.

4.2. Workshops
The Latin for RB Librarians workshop was held on 22 July 2009. The workshop was limited to 10 persons and was fully subscribed. BH noted the possibility of running the workshop again next year.

4.3. Web pages
The Latin for RB Librarians word list will be made available on the RBiS web pages.

5. Future forum activities

5.1. Meetings
BH reported that the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh is provisionally booked for 6 May 2010. Stirling University will host the following meeting in November 2010, when refurbishment there is complete.

5.2. Workshops
BH asked Joseph Marshall (JM) about plans for an EUL disaster planning workshop. JM replied that it will hopefully be held next Spring.

BH updated the group on the ESTC "matching" workshops. Following a call by BH for expressions of interest, workshops will take place in Edinburgh and Aberdeen: A workshop will be held at The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh on Wednesday 18 November or Thursday 19 November [now fixed for 18 November]. A workshop will also take place at Aberdeen City Library on Wednesday 25 November, to be presented by Robert Betteridge (NLS). BH invited anyone interested in attending to contact him, and noted that ESTC at Riverside are eager to support the workshops.

BH and AH are hoping to run a CERL workshop early next year to improve understanding of the database and other CERL tools.

BH will send out an e-mail to establish whether there is an interest in a cataloguing and bibliographic training workshop, for a possible date in January 2010.

AH suggested a workshop on exhibition writing, including label writing. Helen Vincent noted there might also be interest in conservation aspects. Elizabeth Henderson expressed interest in training on how to write and check condition reports. In response BH mentioned the possibility of hosting such a workshop at the NLS and invited the group to discuss how individual institutions manage this task. Keith O' Sullivan (KO'S) added that the appointment of a new manager of conservation at Aberdeen University next year will open the opportunity for also facilitating a workshop there.

BH noted that the mounting of the Latin for RB Librarians wordlist on the RBiS web pages was in hand.

6. RLUK-NPO preservation training project

BH invited HV to speak about the RLUK-NPO preservation training project. HV noted that a survey to establish training needs had been forwarded to the RBiS list. HV informed the group that she had met with Jane Arthur, Preservation Training Coordinator at the RLUK/British Library and noted that Jane is interested in possible collaborations with RBiS to deliver training. RLUK-NPO will organise a salvage workshop at NLS later this year, the date to be confirmed. HV informed the group that the results of the focus groups held by Jane earlier in the year are available online through the British Library's Preservation Advisory Centre web pages. HV encouraged the group to read the report and complete the survey.

7. Rare book librarianship training issue

BH talked about the background behind setting up a module in rare books librarianship, including the research report carried out by AH and funded by the Scottish Confederation of University and Research Libraries (SCURL). This report was submitted on 29 April 2009 and is available through RBiS. BH informed the group that a call for expressions of interest in the teaching of a Rare Books module had been sent out and that he would be happy to receive further names of those interested in taking part.

Pat Whatley (PW), the Director of the Centre for Archive and Information Studies at Dundee University, spoke to the group about how the Rare Books module could fit within the structure of their distance learning programme. PW provided information on how modules are currently run, the number of credits awarded and the accreditation of courses. Caroline Brown (CB), also from the Centre for Archive and Information Studies, discussed how the module itself could be taught. CB explained that modules are a mixture of practical and theoretical, and taught in a structured way over 13 weeks, with 15 hours per week study time. CB gave an overview of how tutors interact with students through the teaching software Blackboard, and provided information about support for tutors, discussion boards, tasks and assignments, and study days. PW and CB answered a number of questions from the group. BH invited those interested to remain after the meeting for a demonstration of the Blackboard interface by PW and CB.

8. Reports from other libraries

BH gave a summary of the two-page New College Library report, made available to the group to consult in full after the meeting, or by contacting BH.

BH invited the group to report on any other projects:

Julie Gardham from Glasgow University reported on their library's project to re-catalogue incunabula and their ongoing Wellcome-funded project to catalogue the Thomson family medical papers.

Elizabeth Henderson (EH) from St. Andrews University Library talked about their library's plans to hire a Rare Books cataloguer for a specific two year project, inviting a question from BH about their plans for web "matching" on ESTC. EH confirmed that they intended to match records.

Keith O' Sullivan from Aberdeen University Library reported on cataloguing training in the library, and described their intention to provide all members of the cataloguing unit with the skills to devote some time to a retro-conversion project.

Lindsay Levy from the Advocates Library reported that their Carnegie funded project had come to an end.


BH thanked everyone for attending and once again thanked JM and Edinburgh University Library for hosting the event. BH also asked JM to pass on our thanks to John Scally.

Stephanie Breen
3 November 2009


Rare Books in Scotland meeting minutes

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