Rare Books in Scotland business meeting
Thursday 29 May 2014, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
- Helen Beardsley — Stirling University Library
- Ines Castellano — National Museum of Scotland
- Duncan Chappell — Glasgow School of Art
- Thomas Connelly [minutes] — National Library of Scotland
- Beth Dumas — Edinburgh University Library
- Michelle Gait — Aberdeen University Library
- Daryl Green — St. Andrews University Library
- Graham Hardy — Royal Botanic Gardens of Edinburgh
- Claire Harrison — Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
- Elizabeth Henderson — St. Andrews University Library
- Paulette Hill — Historic Scotland
- Steven Kerr — Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
- Robert MacLean — Glasgow University Library
- Andrew McAinsh — Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
- Christine Megowan — St. Andrews University Library
- Ian Milne — Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
- Fiona Mowat — Edinburgh University Library
- Carol Parry — Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
- Jane Pirie — Aberdeen University Library
- Elizabeth — Quarmby Lawrence Edinburgh University Library
- Angela Schofield — Advocates Library
- Helen Vincent [convenor] — National Library of Scotland.
Apologies for Absence
- Veronica Fraser — Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland
- Mark Glancy — National Museum of Scotland
- Lara Haggerty — Innerpeffray Library
- Wendy Kirk — Glasgow Women’s Library
- Marion Kirton — Napier University Library
- Lindsay Levy — Advocates Library
- Keith O'Sullivan — Aberdeen University Library
- Marianne Smith — Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.
The business meeting was opened by Helen Vincent (HV) at 1330. Those present introduced themselves and HV read out the list of those sending apologies.
2. Minutes of previous meeting (Thursday 5 December 2013)
One correction was noted to 6.1: the St. Andrews University Department of English never held membership of CERL.
3. Matters arising, not covered elsewhere on this agenda
4. Future forum activities
4.1.1 A 10th anniversary meeting was discussed, to be hosted at the National Library of Scotland. This would include visits to the new Special Collections Reading Room.
4.1.2 The possibility of a joint meeting with SUSCAG was suggested, and it was proposed that this could be arranged at St. Andrews University Library for early Summer 2015.
4.2.1 The Latin workshop hosted at NLS by Brian Hillyard (BPH) and Anette Hagan (AH) had 6 attendees and feedback was that the workshop was both positive and helpful.
4.2.2 Lara Haggerty (LH) has requested that the Cataloguing and Bibliographical Format workshop be ran at Innerpeffray for the volunteers there; this could possibly be opened up to other attendees. Daryl Green (DG) volunteered to run the session.
4.2.3 There is an identified need for and ESTC training workshop in the West of Scotland. This would need to be hosted in a library which reports to the ESTC so that actual practical work can be done during the session; both Glasgow University Library and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow were suggested, and RCPSG offered to host. Robert Betteridge (RB) will make contact and arrange.
4.2.4 There is a requirement for a workshop on DCRM for non-book materials — NLS will not be taking the lead on this, and there is currently no pre-made teaching material to work with. Elizabeth Henderson (EH) noted a particular need for DCRM for serials training. There were no volunteers for leading a group, and it was suggested that this may be best organised through the CILIP RBSCG. Elizabeth Quarmby Lawrence (EQL) raised DCRM for manuscripts, and noted that the documents are no longer available in print (as the Library of Congress has ceased printing them). It is believed that the electronic version of these documents is still available – Christine Megowan (CM) will locate them and circulate to the group.
4.2.5 Isobel Griffin (Collections Care Manager at NLS) recently provided environmental controls training to the volunteers at Innerpeffray Library. She is willing to provide this for other groups/institutions.
4.2.6 On the subject of digitisation training, Andrew McAinsh (AMcA) mentioned attending an ARA seminar at the National Records of Scotland; there is not much else available. AMcA noted that he is happy to disseminate what he learned to others who are interested. After gauging demand, it was agreed that HV would contact the ARA with a view to seeing if they would run this seminar again given the demand for it; AMcA will provide HV with contacts.
4.2.7 2014's MLA Conference will be focussed on digitisation and digital preservation. Mark Glancy (MG) will circulate more information as it becomes available.
4.2.8 A workshop on exhibitions has been discussed previously, but has not yet come to pass. Joe Marshall has expressed interest in hosting this — EQL will follow this up with him. PDF version of the report 'Exhibiting the Written Word' (PDF) (3.9 MB; 32 pages).
4.3 10 years of RBiS: Promotional anniversary
The intent is to create a promotional image set using images collected from member institutions; this will be accompanied by a press release and used to promote the organisation. This should show RBiS's collective strength and outward looking approach. This will be done using Tumblr (an image-based social media tool) to collect a set of images covering rare books in member institutions — it will not require a lot of textual input. CM has created a Tumblr account specifically for this and has started to mock this up. The site was demonstrated to the group at the meeting.
- The project will have a low threshold for contributing. Tumblr can be set up to be used as a 'group' account or, if individual members are uncomfortable with using Tumblr, the images and brief accompanying text can be emailed on to HV or CM.
- Each institution will be expected to provide 1-5 images with very brief descriptive text (c.100 words each) showing what's special about it. Tumblr also supports the use of hashtags, which can be added by the member institutions, or by other Tumblr users who repost images
- The image uploads can be scheduled to happen at specific times so that new material can be released e.g. daily/weekly/monthly dependent on further planning
- These images can be re-used in a variety of ways –the intention is to use a CC licence. NLS has been using CC-0 for low-resolution images, but it may be more appropriate to make use of CC-BYNC (non-commercial reuse and requires attribution) for this project
This project will not continue beyond RBiS's 10 year anniversary — it will be kept as a discrete project. CM will email out a call for images once the project is up and running; the launch is likely to be either at, or after, the Autumn RBiS meeting. The project was agreed as a good use of our time and effort by the assembled group.
5 Rare book librarianship training
5.1 The module taught at Dundee had previously been taken on by NLS staff, but due to staffing changes it looks likely that they will not be able to take this back on; Melanie Wood of Newcastle University Library will take up this role.
5.2 The Rare Book section of IFLA is having an off-site study day at the IFLA World Congress. DG will be speaking on using Rare Books in classes and teaching. HV will be speaking on the experience of teaching the module at Dundee.
6.1 SCURL / CERL / CILIP RBSCG / ESTC / other
6.1.1 SCURL Report
[to be appended]
6.1.2 CERL Report
Edinburgh, St. Andrews, and Glasgow Universities have joined CERL as a new Scottish Group. St. Andrews Department of English under Andrew Pettegree has cancelled their membership. The library of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh has applied to join NLS as a new cluster library. Joining procedures are ongoing.
NLS hosted the Executive Committee meeting of the Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL) on 17-18 March, which involved 18 librarians from the Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, the UK, Estonia, Austria, Denmark, Germany, France, and Belgium. We organised a workshop about CERL databases for NLS's cluster libraries and potential members on 18 March. NLS has added some 250,000 pre-1830 printed books to CERL's Heritage of the Printed Book database and more than 8,000 names from our Scottish Book Trade Index are being added to the CERL Thesaurus.
The next CERL seminar (Oslo, 28 October 2014) will have the theme 'Brokering the investigation of full-text search for early printed material: the state of the matter'.
The Bibliographic Society database and the British Book Trade Index have been included in the CERL Thesaurus.
CERL has decided to act as a hosting service for small book-related databases or websites. Please contact Anette Hagan (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like further details.
In December 2013 the CERL Secretary Cristina Dondi (University of Oxford) was awarded a European Research Council Consolidator Grant to lead a project on the 15th-century book trade. The grant is worth €2,000,000 over five years. As a result, three postdoctoral research positions and one DPhil student will be appointed. Different AHRC funding schemes are available to place PhD students in libraries to catalogue incunabula in the CERL database MEI (Material Evidence in Incunabula). Dr Dondi will investigate the possibility of applying to AHRC funding schemes to catalogue other UK libraries' incunables in MEI and thus support satellite projects.
6.1.3 CILIP RBSCG Report
This year's conference will be held in Aberdeen at the end of August. The theme will be 'Building for Books' and will focus on new build libraries, refurbishments, etc. Melanie Woods is organising sponsorship — please pass any suggestions to HV. Next year's conference (2015) is likely to be held in London. After that, there is interest in hosting the conference in Scotland, particularly Glasgow. It has not yet been decided if one institution will take on the whole responsibility, or if some joint arrangements can be made. Robert MacLean (RMcL) will discuss with staff at Glasgow University Library and get back to the group.
HV noted that RBSCG can have affiliate members (non-CILIP members), which opens up some external options. Thomas Connelly (TC) pointed out that whilst this is true, affiliate members cannot hold office-bearer posts.
The recent cataloguing training day held in the Newcastle Miners' Museum received positive feedback from Scottish attendees.
Facet is publishing a 3rd edition of the 'Directory of Rare Book and Special Collections' — all RBiS member institution should have been contacted to contribute an entry. They may also be looking for volunteers to help track down smaller and more isolated special collections outwith the 'expected' institutional locations — please feed these in if you are aware of any.
Both RBSCG and Annie Mauger (CILIP Chief Executive) have contacted the British Library in regards to the closure of the BL-PAC; the training aspect of this service will be picked back up again, but the advice service will be completely dropped.
6.2 Forum members
6.2.1 Glasgow School of Art
Duncan Chappell (DC) gave a full report on the aftermath of the recent fire. The Mackintosh Library is almost completely lost. Historic Scotland are treating it in a similar fashion to an archaeological dig with the intent being to hopefully salvage smaller pieces, and to gain as much evidence as possible for the reconstruction efforts. The Archive seems to have survived relatively unscathed — there is water/smoke damage to some items, but they have all been saved and are now out of the building.
GSoA has no conservation team, so they are looking for assistance and advice for when the library is excavated. There have been lots of offers of donation, but these will not be taken up for at least a few weeks due to loss of storage, and uncertainty over what has survived. Decisions will be made on this matter and a wishlist circulated. In the meantime, if any member institutions are weeding or de-accessioning any volumes on art/design/architecture/etc, please keep them aside at present.
Duncan Chappell will use the RBiS mailing list to keep us up to date and to request any specific assistance required.
6.2.2 Edinburgh University Library
Arnott Wilson, the head of the CRC retires this summer — Joe Marshall (JM) will take over his post. There are no details available regarding JM's replacement yet. Edinburgh University Library has received a Wellcome grant (jointly with the NLS) to catalogue their materials relating to William Ronald Dodds Fairbairn (Scottish psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and a central figure in the development of the object relations theory of psychoanalysis). Edinburgh University Library hold his books, whilst NLS hold his papers (Acc.11258). EQL is currently 'on loan' to the Royal Botanic Gardens of Edinburgh to catalogue their rare books collections. Two interns (Beth Dumas and Fiona Mowat) have been working at Edinburgh University Library (two days per week for a nine-month term) cataloguing relatively straightforward material to DCRM(B) standards.
6.2.3 National Museum of Scotland
An exhibition on John Napier is currently running (Friday 28 March to Sunday 6 July), including a copy of his Mirifici Logarithmorum Canonis descriptio. The NMS entry for the 3rd edition of the 'Directory of Rare Book and Special Collections' has been updated. The Museum is to undergo a refurbishment of the science and art galleries — this is likely to create access issues which will impact on the NMS library. NMS collections have now been loaded to SunCat, and the focus will now move to getting the collections onto COPAC. It is also intended to establish if they have any material of interest to the ESTC. Mark Glancy will give a talk to the Edinburgh Bibliographic Society on 4 December, covering the organisation and development of the Museum's library. Some of the NMS's military material will be on loan for an exhibition at Edinburgh Castle. Gordon Yeoman (Exhibitions Conservator at NLS) recently provided a materials handling training session for NMS staff, which received good feedback. NMS have acquired the passport of Thomas Archer, the second director of the Industrial Museum of Scotland (predecessor of NMS) for their collections.
6.2.4 Royal Botanic Gardens of Edinburgh
As noted above, EQL has been cataloguing rare book material at RBGE. Julie Foster has been doing a collections assessment for RBGE, and only has one day of work left. A grant has been received which will pay for 2 staff to get training in boxmaking from Helen Creasey at The Scottish Conservation Studio based in Hopetoun House. RBGE will be celebrating the 15th anniversary of the opening of the library/herbarium building. A commemorative book is being proofed at present, and should be available during the summer.
6.2.5 Historic Scotland
Monthly meetings are ongoing with RCAHMS regarding the integration of the two bodies in spring 2015. They are already doing reciprocal loans and ILLs — the aim is to create a fully integrated library service. Presently there is uncertainty as to whether the services will merge into one building, or whether a smaller library will be kept at each location.
6.2.6 Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland
The Rare Books Illustration project which has been worked on with the Edinburgh Decorative and Fine Arts Society is now complete, after nearly 20 years. 8433 illustrations from 426 books have been identified and listed, making RCAHMS' rare book collection much more accessible.
6.2.7 St. Andrews University Library
Norman Reed, the current head of Special Collections is stepping down as of 1 July. He will spend one year as an honorary fellow, then fully retire after that. The post is currently advertised. There is currently a vacancy in the reading room team for an administrator — this is a 'blended' post mixing aspects of special collections work with that of the main library. After three years working from portacabins, St. Andrews finally has a new reading room situated within the Martyr's Kirk building. All collections material is stored offsite, with consequent restrictions on service. A very large grant from the Carnegie Foundation has been received for work on acquisitions. There is also lots of funding earmarked for conservation work, which has to be spent within three years.
CM has been kept on for a further two years to continue cataloguing. She will be moving on to working on the history of science. The mass cataloguing project (enlisting students to assist with creation of very basic catalogue records) has been running for around a year and approximately 10,000 books have been catalogued. The intent is to revisit these later and update to full catalogue records.
6.2.8 Advocates Library
The Advocates Library presently has no rare books cataloguer. Joe McLaughlin had been cataloguing Advocates Library collections held in NLS, but this project ended in November 2013. Work is to be done on the cataloguing the Abbotsford chapbook collections; various academics and Abbotsford staff are looking into this.
6.2.9 Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Training on making phase boxes for RCPSG volunteers has been received; they are moving very quickly through the McKenzie collection. RCPSG will be relaunching the 'Adopt-A-Book' scheme later in 2014. Instead of looking for one person to take on an entire volume, they will be looking for partial donations towards items. Volunteer-staffed digitisation work is continuing getting the College's collections of vaccination records online. Cataloguing work is continuing at an acceptable pace, but unfortunately their volunteer cataloguer has now moved to Stirling University. Presently over half (perhaps approaching two-thirds) of the collections have been catalogued. One of the volunteers has been working on putting the College's archive records onto Archives Hub. In order to work towards Museums accreditation, public opening hours are being put into place on a Monday afternoon. RCPSG will be taking part in Doors Open Day later this year, and intend to exhibit their copy of Vesalius' De Humani Corporis Fabrica. Blog and Twitter accounts are progressing well, with a steady flow of content and regular updates.
RCPSG took part in both the Festival of Museums and Museums at Night programmes with a successful evening lecture/workshop with Hugh Buchanan (an artist who specialises in paintings based in libraries and archives). RCPSG recently hosted the annual Incorporation of Gardeners lecture, 'Scottish Surgeons and Indian Botanical Artists', delivered by Dr. Henry Noltie from The Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. Malcolm Nicholson of Glasgow University has been running a series of presentations on the history of medicine at RCPSG. RCPSG has already contributed to the third edition of the 'Directory of Rare Book and Special Collections', but discovered some problems whilst doing so — it appears that RCPSG lack the printed catalogue of the library's holdings from 1799 (and possibly also 1788). If anyone has any information on these catalogues, please bring it to the attention of the RCPSG library staff.
6.2.10 Aberdeen University Library
The University Library has a new University Librarian and Director of Library Services, Dianne Bruxvoort, originally from the USA. A website hosting the library's provenance database will be launched very soon; this is a transcription of hand-written provenance records. CERL will also be hosting this info. There is a current online exhibition of the library of Duncan Liddell, one of the early patrons of Marischal College. Previously there had been no catalogue of his books. This is linked to digital images for online display.
Planning and preparation for the 2014 CILIP RBSCG Conference continues to take up a lot of staff time and effort. The Wolfson Reading Room has been very busy, and there has been a noticeable rise in visitor figures after the opening of the new facilities. Aberdeen University Library will also be taking part in Open Doors Day 2014 later this year.
6.2.11 Stirling University Library
The new autumn exhibition focusses on the recently catalogued Left Book Club collection. The library has signed an agreement with Innerpeffray Library. This will allow university researchers to use material from Innerpeffray's collections. There will also be a regular display of Innerpeffray material at Stirling University Library. The Leighton Library in Dunblane has been suffering from some funding issues. They may look at putting on some charged-for workshops. There is also the possibility of a student placement at the library next summer, with a particular focus on fundraising.
6.2.12 Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
The HLF funded Lister project is well underway — this involves a renovation of the museum area and the library basement (which will be receiving new roller stackage). Lots of material has gone to offsite storage, including most of the periodical collections. It is hoped that the library service will be unaffected by these works, but some disruption will be unavoidable. A two-year archivist post will start in June, dealing with institutional records and uncatalogued material from this collection.
6.2.13 Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Are currently undergoing a major storage re-organisation. Stemming from this, an offer was made of a collection of 19th century German dissertation. This was not taken up by anyone present. The RCPE staff will be presenting a show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on 9 August entitled 'Edinburgh Medical Detectives'.
6.2.14 Glasgow University Library
GUL Special Collections have a new library assistant who previously worked at St. Andrews University Library. The Incunabula project is ongoing. 900 have now been catalogued, with 860 of these available online. The project will culminate with an exhibition entitled 'Ingenius Impressions' from February-June 2015. This is likely to involve 50-60 incunables on display, with a programme of events running alongside this.
A Wellcome grant has been received to fund work on research resources and medical history. This will support a six-month post to catalogue GUL's collection of syphilis related materials. This consists of around 250 items, and is one of the strongest collections on this topic outside of London. It is planned that an exhibition/events will stem from this in a similar manner to the above mentioned Incunabula project.
6.2.15 National Library of Scotland
The new National Librarian will be appointed very soon — this is waiting on ministerial approval from the Scottish Government. The NLS now has a new Trustee Board, which has been streamlined by the 2012 NLS Act. With the retiral of BPH, HV has been appointed as the new Rare Books and Music Collections Manager as of 1 May 2014. Interns from Edinburgh University have been working at NLS on the provenance project, providing workflow for us and useful experience for them. Upcoming exhibitions at NLS will include World War One (over summer), and the 1715 Jacobite Rising (over winter).
A smaller exhibition (for the NLS visitor centre) will be on display in September to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Walter Scott's 'Waverley'. BPH is currently working on the Crawford collections as a volunteer. The Special Collections Assistants team is at full strength for the first time in over a year and a half, which means that more capacity for RB related work is available. The Special Collections Reading Room has experienced year-on-year increases in reader numbers since the opening of the newly developed SCRR.
HV noted that Elizabeth Melville (earliest known Scots woman to see her work printed, in 1603) is to have a stone dedicated to her in Makar's Court, with a presentation given by Germaine Greer on the 21 June.
7 Forum organisation
There are currently 80 subscribers to the mailing list, though this does seem to include a few duplicates. There are now 36 institutions signed up to RBiS, with the most recent additions being Iona Abbey and the Glasgow Women's Library.
There was no other business and the meeting closed at 15.30, with thanks to Andrew McAinsh and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow for hosting the meeting.