Minutes, 24 November 2011

Rare Books in Scotland business meeting

Thursday 24 November 2011, University of Glasgow Library


  • Robert Betteridge (NLS)
  • Graham Hogg (NLS)
  • Brian Hillyard (NLS)
  • Steven Kerr (Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh)
  • Julie Gardham (Glasgow University)
  • Joe Marshall (Edinburgh University)
  • Helen Beardsley (Stirling University)
  • Lara Haggerty (Innerpeffray Library)
  • Jack Davis (Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Glasgow)
  • Lindsay Levy (Advocates Library)
  • Karen O’Brien (Edinburgh Central Library)
  • Clare Padgett (Edinburgh Central Library)
  • Helen Vincent (NLS)
  • Anette Hagan (NLS
  • David Weston (Glasgow University)

1. Apologies

  • Ellen Peacock (Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland)
  • Jill Evans (SCURL)
  • Duncan Chappell (Glasgow School of Art)
  • Marianne Smith (Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh)
  • Keith O’Sullivan (Aberdeen University)
  • Jane Hutcheon (Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh)
  • Victoria Peters (Strathclyde University)
  • Veronica Fraser (RCAHMS)
  • Iain Milne (Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh)

The business meeting was opened at 11.00 by Graham Hogg (GH). GH thanked Julie Gardham (JG) and Glasgow University Library for hosting the event.

2. Minutes of previous meetings (28 April 2011)

The minutes of the meeting of 28 April 2011 were approved. GH thanked Helen Vincent (HV) for taking the minutes of the last meeting.

3. Matters arising, not covered elsewhere on this agenda

There were no matters arising.

4. Forum update

4.1 Organisation and Forum membership
GH noted that RBiS membership is constant.

4.2 Workshops
There have been no workshops since the last meeting.

4.3. Web pages
There were no new web pages to report. GH is aware that the web pages need to be updated with previous minutes.

5. Future forum activities

5.1. Meetings
Lara Haggerty (LH) confirmed Innerpeffray as a venue for the next business meeting in April or May 2012. The visit will include a tour of the Library. LH and GH will liaise to find a suitable date.

A venue for autumn 2012 is still required. GH noted that he would be grateful for any offers of future venues.

5.2. Workshops
There are no workshops scheduled at the moment. GH will circulate a message to find if there is demand for the cataloguing and bibliographical format workshops to be run early in 2012.

HV reported on 'Making our connections', copies of which were circulated to those present, and suggested that a workshop on exhibitions could be organised. The group expressed its support for this and HV and Joe Marshall (JM) will liaise and arrange a workshop for 2012.

GH raised the question of whether there would be another ESTC matching workshop. Brian Hillyard (BH) suggested that the next workshop be in the west. Robert Betteridge (RB) said he would be happy to lead another workshop and JG thought that it may be possible to run it at Glasgow University Library. A spur to this was BH’s question of whether Leadhills Miners Library wished to join RBiS. GH would investigate this. BH went on to give some background to the Leadhills Library, which was founded in 1741 and holds a significant number of 18th century books. The Library is keen to promote itself and reporting their holdings to ESTC would be a useful way to do this.

HV gave a brief report on the CILIP Rare Book Group Conference, including Liz Brannigan’s paper on conservation. This raised the possibility of running a workshop demonstrating how to make card cradles for exhibiting books following a business meeting in the morning.

GH noted that there were now four potential workshops that could be run.

JM asked if the British Library preservation courses could be held in Scotland. HV responded that the British Library would like to offer more northerly meetings (i.e. York) but currently have enough demand to keep hosting them in London. GH noted that these courses are not free which would make it impractical for one to be run for RBiS members.

6. Report from CERL Annual General Meeting 2011

Anette Hagan (AH) gave the following report.

CERL continues to be involved in wider European initiatives and projects while preserving its identity by offering unique services such as the CERL Thesaurus. As far as NLS is concerned, we are contributing to some of the CERL services, but there is some room for improvement. NLS has 14,000 files uploaded into the Heritage of the Printed Book database (HPB), hosted by OCLC, and are hoping to send an update of all our pre-1830 files for uploading soon. Work on integrating information from the Scottish Book Trade Index and from the 'Spread of Scottish printing' web page into the CERL Thesaurus is being undertaken by the Data Conversion Group in Goettingen, who deal with technical matters on behalf of CERL. NLS has also contributed 5000 manuscript records to the CERL Portal, which is hosted by Uppsala University Library. Another service NLS could contribute to is Material Evidence in Incunabula (MEI), which gathers copy-specific information from incunables.

In order for CERL to work more efficiently, Working Groups on different topics were established. AH has joined those on CERL-LIBER-The European Library (TEL), HPB, Portal, and Toolkit. CERL is keen on involving other colleagues in the working groups, so AH would welcome expressions of interest from RBiS members.

Feasibility report for a CERL Research Toolbox
It was decided that CERL would incrementally develop its services so that the interdependence of its services and tools becomes clearer, rather than integrate the existing CERL resources into one virtual research environment.

Heritage of the Printed Book (HPB) database
A user study will be undertaken by CERL in order to be able to make informed proposals based on user needs for improvements to its interface, usability, and publicity in partner libraries.

Early European Books (EEB) / ProQuest
ProQuest is paying for the use of the CERL Thesaurus to enhance the searchability of their records and to use metadata, and also contribute updates to the Thesaurus. 

EROMM (European Register of Microform and Digital Masters)
EROMM has launched a freely accessible interface with nine million records.

Cultures of Knowledge project
Cultures of Knowledge is a collaborative, interdisciplinary research project based at the University of Oxford. Through a variety of methods they attempt to reconstruct the correspondence networks central to the intellectual developments of the early modern period.

One of its groups, based at the Bodleian, is Early Modern Letters Online (EMLO). The EMLO group is developing a union catalogue of 17th-century learned correspondence, a public beta version of which will be launched on 16 December 2011. The group is seeking closer partnership with CERL libraries to pool metadata.

7. Rare book librarianship training

BH, who is tutoring the Dundee module, reported that the course is underway. It is a 20 credit course which can stand alone as part of CPD but which also forms part of larger archives course offered by Dundee University. There were initially nine students but this has now fallen to six. Despite the course being established in Scotland through RBiS there is only one Scottish student doing the module. Registration for the second running of the course, which begins in January 2012, is open now. The course will be run again next September. It is expected that, with the experience of the first two sessions, some changes will be made to the course in the summer 2012. AH will tutor the course beginning in January. HV noted that the course makes reference to resources in Scottish libraries such as the Glasgow Incunable Project.

JG asked if the course text could be made available to RBiS members. There was some discussion relating to the fact that the text copyright belongs to Dundee University. BH is to ask Caroline Brown at Dundee University about providing copies of the course text.

Karen O’Brien (KO'B), a student on the course, was able to offer her perspective. She felt that the provision of a full reading list in advance would have been useful. BH expects this to be available in time for the next session. GH gave his thanks to those involved in the course’s production and hoped to see more Scottish students registering.

8. Reports from other libraries

Stirling University: Helen Beardsley reported on the forthcoming exhibition on Robert Leighton and his library: the first for 25 years. It will run from December 2011 to February 2012 and it is hoped it will raise the profile of the collection. RBiS members are invited to a wine reception on 15th December, between 5.30pm and 7pm in the Stirling University Library.

Glasgow University: JG reported that the Library is taking part in at display to celebrate the King James Bible at the Mitchell Library until 14 January 2012. The Incunable Project is ongoing. An archivist has been hired to catalogue the papers of Edwin Morgan. The library will host a symposium on the Euing broadside ballads on 12 April 2012. The Euing collection has been digitised as part of the English Broadside Ballad Archive hosted by the University of California Santa Barbara.

David Weston reported that following his retirement he will be Honorary Librarian at Glasgow University and plans to work on oriental material.

Advocates Library: Lindsay Levy reported that the decanting of Abbotsford Library to the Advocates Library has been completed and that she is working full time on the collection now. Abbotsford fundraising has almost reached £15 million, the visitor centre will open in the spring 2012 and there are another 18 months of work left to do on the house. As a result of the interest raised by the project, enquiries relating to the library have gone up.

NLS: GH reported that NLS is currently undergoing a restructure of senior staff. There will be a new Special Collections Reading Room on level 15 at George IV Bridge in April 2012 which will replace the existing arrangements. He is currently accessioning a collection of the German publisher Tauchnitz.

HV reported on the Shakespeare exhibition 'Beyond Macbeth' which she is co-curating with Dr James Loxley of Edinburgh University. The exhibition features items from NLS and Edinburgh University Library's collections and opens in December.

BH reported on a visit from Matt Kibble of ProQuest who is interested in digitising pre-1701 books for Early European Books. ProQuest is initially working in the national libraries in Copenhagen, Florence and The Hague, but also in the Wellcome Library in London due to its large collection of early medical books with continental imprints. The scans will be freely available in their country of origin. ProQuest is digitising en masse until duplication becomes a problem. At that point they will seek out unscanned titles in individual libraries.

BH also reported that the application to receive UNESCO recognition of the Edinburgh Calotype Club albums had been unsuccessful. He noted that the application referees had not been approached and that UNESCO had not been in touch with suggestions on how to improve the application.

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Glasgow: Jack Davis reported that one third of the collection is now catalogued online. He is working on a nine-month project to improve online access via the Scottish Health Libraries Catalogue. This has so far involved 18th and 19th century texts but he expects to be able to work on earlier material soon. Work on the project has been intermittent, due to funding.

Edinburgh University: JM reported that there have been some staff retirements, including Andrew Grout. The merger with Edinburgh College of Art has added a fine collection of art and architectural books to the library's collections and EU will be recruiting a cataloguer to record them. A grant from the Wellcome Trust has been received to catalogue science books. In the summer Henry Snyder from ESTC instructed a group of volunteers on reporting 18th-century holdings to ESTC: 4,500 books were reported, including 400 unrecorded items. The Centre for Research Collections now allows readers to use their cameras, without flash, to photograph material in the reading room. The new procedure is so far working well. Readers must sign a copyright declaration and promise not to publish without consent.

Edinburgh City Libraries: KO'B reported that a collections manager was appointed in October to look at special collections in the Library. Funding has been acquired in association with the National Museum of Scotland to conserve a Japanese scroll in the library's collections.

Innerpeffray Library: LH reported that the library has celebrated the 400th anniversary of the birth of their founder David Drummond, 3rd Lord Madertie with a display that includes a 1613 King James Bible. They are currently raising funds to create a space to house a donation of 400 first editions from the United States. A third of the required £200,000 has been raised so far. An application is also being made to the HLF to raise money to be able to take the donation on tour. The creation of a new space will also allow for displays. Researchers from the School of Humanities at Stirling University are to study and digitise the library’s borrowers register, which provides information dating from 1747, in order to analyse readership in Perthshire.

Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh: Steven Kerr reported that the RCSE will be commemorating the 100th anniversary of Joseph Lister's death and hosting a symposium for current surgeons.

Jill Evans (JE) submitted a written report from SCURL, which was made available to those attending the meeting. SCURL congratulated RBiS on the achievement of developing a distance learning module and wished all learners well.


HV reported that the papers of the 2011 CILIP Rare Books Group conference should be published soon and that the 2012 conference would be held in Oxford and be on the subject of advocacy, both internal and external. The group felt that RBiS would prefer to continue to participate at CILIP conferences at a UK level in order to maintain contacts with colleagues outside Scotland.

GH closed the meeting at 12.30 and once again thanked JG and Glasgow University Library for hosting the event. Lunch was provided by Glasgow University Library. In the afternoon Cristina Dondi, CERL Secretary and Jana Hentschke of the CERL data processing group at Goettingen, Germany displayed the Consortium’s tools for provenance and bibliographical research. This was followed by a guide to the Glasgow Incunable Project by JG.

Robert Betteridge
28 November 2011


Rare Books in Scotland meeting minutes

Speak me