Rare Books in Scotland business meeting
Thursday 27 November 2014, National Library of Scotland
- Helen Beardsley — Stirling University Library
- Robert Betteridge (minutes) — NLS
- Ines Castellano — National Museums Scotland
- Duncan Chappell — Glasgow School of Art
- Jill Evans — SCURL (business meeting only)
- Veronica Fraser — RCAHMS
- Julie Gardham — Glasgow University Library
- Anette Hagan —NLS
- Graham Hardy — Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
- Lara Haggerty — Innerpeffray Library
- Elizabeth Henderson — St Andrews University Library
- Graham Hogg — NLS (business meeting only)
- Marian Kirton — Edinburgh Napier University Library (business meeting only)
- Elizabeth Quarmby Lawrence — Edinburgh University Library
- Andrea Longson — Advocates Library (business meeting only)
- Joe Marshall — Edinburgh University Library
- Andrew McAinsh — Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
- Kirstie Meehan — Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
- Christine Megowan — St Andrews University Library
- Iain Milne — Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
- Gabriel Sewell — St Andrews University Library
- Keith '’Sullivan — Aberdeen University Library
- Marianne Smith v Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
- Helen Vincent (chair) — NLS
- Lyn Wall — Museum of Childhood.
Apologies for Absence
- Thomas Connelly – NLS
- Paulette Hill — Historic Scotland
- Daryl Green — St Andrews University Library
- Ross McGregor — East Ayrshire Leisure
- Karen O'Brien — Edinburgh Central Library
- Kerry Watson — Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.
The business meeting was opened by Helen Vincent (HV) at 13.30. Those present introduced themselves and HV read out the list of those sending apologies. HV welcomed Lyn Wall and Gabriel Sewell to their first RBiS meeting.
2. Changes to minutes of previous meeting
- Marianne Smith had been incorrectly noted as being of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh rather than the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in the apologies
- 2. 'RBiS' to read 'CERL'
- 4.2.5 'materials handling' to read 'environment'.
3. Matters arising, not covered elsewhere on this agenda
4. 10 years of RBiS: launch of tumblr
Christine Megowan (CM) has created a tumblr for RBiS.
CM gave a demonstration, explaining that the intention is for the site to give a snapshot of collections and be short on text (150 words per entry) but heavy on images. There is no need to have a tumblr account and images can be submitted via the site. Graham Hardy had already submitted some images. CM said that she could add images for members if they email them to her. It is possible to link to other sites.
The tumblr was launched and all were encouraged to post to it. HV thanked CM for her work.
5. Future forum activities
Glasgow University Library will host the March RBiS meeting, which will include a tour of the incunabula exhibition at the Hunterian.
St Andrews University Library will host the Autumn meeting, which will be a joint meeting with SUSCAG.
Andrea Longson offered the Advocates Library as a potential venue for the spring 2016 meeting.
Daryl Green led cataloguing and bibliographical format training for the volunteers at Innerpeffray Library. There was not enough demand for the proposed ESTC training workshop that had been scheduled for 5 September 2014 at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.
Helen Beardsley asked if there were any plans to hold a workshop on exhibitions. HV asked if Joe Marshall (JM) would like to host a workshop at Edinburgh University Library. JM thought that this could be based around the Making Our Connections Project that he and HV had been involved in.
Julie Gardham (JG) asked about the possibility of an image rights management workshop. HV reported that NLS appointed Fred Saunderson (FS) as its intellectual property officer. Duncan Chappell (DC) reported that he had attended a workshop led by FS. Anette Hagan said she would distribute a pdf of a talk given by FS. Members were encouraged to send HV ideas of what they would like to see in an image rights management workshop.
Lyn Wall offered to give training on lending and couriering.
Elizabeth Henderson (EH) asked about the possibility of serials training from CILIP. HV replied that there was still no information on this.
6. Rare book librarianship training
Dr Melanie Wood, Special Collections and Archives Librarian at Newcastle University Library is tutoring the current session.
7. National Strategy for Scottish Public Libraries consultation
Information had been circulated to members prior to the meeting and HV encouraged members to respond to ensure that rare book input to the consultation was received. The large collections at the Mitchell Library and Edinburgh Central Library were noted. The deadline for submissions was December 5; EH, GS and HV would work on an RBiS submission.
HV circulated a report of a symposium on the digitisation of Scottish books organised by Dr Kylie Murray and held in Oxford in September. HV, JM, EH, DG, Rachel Hart, Robert Mclean from Glasgow University Library had attended.
There was a general discussion in response. JM noted the usefulness of such a project but raised the question of where to start with a national bibliography? EH asked what would be considered an early Scottish book: Scottish author, Scottish imprint, Scottish provenance? HV noted that researchers are now interested in digitisation of manuscripts more than printed books. EH asked if there would be an academic advisory board and pointed out the need for a pilot project. HV said that researchers often have a different understanding of how digitisation in libraries works: the symposium helped the academics attending understand that libraries don't necessarily have the funding streams necessary and digitisation is not just about acquiring a scanner. DC wondered about the possibility of using crowd sourcing. HV thought that hiring someone to do the work provides better results and concluded by saying that Kylie Murray would circulate her report.
8.2 Forum members
National Library of Scotland
John Scally is in post as National Librarian and Chief Executive. There have been displays on 'Waverley' and for RLS day. A student intern from Edinburgh University has been putting provenance information into the catalogue. Repairs to the fabric of the buildings at George IV Bridge and Causewayside are ongoing. The Glamis Castle copy of the Aberdeen Breviary has been acquired by NLS and a digitised version is now on the NLS website. The Blairs College Library collection has been transferred to Aberdeen University Library. AH is curating an exhibition on plagues and pandemics and asked members to contact her if they have any relevant objects in their collections.
Aberdeen University Library
The Blairs College Library collection has been transferred from NLS to Aberdeen University Library. The Library hosted the 2014 CILIP RBSCG conference. A new exhibition officer is to be recruited. Exhibitions on: Newfoundland, William Elphinstone and Arctic exploration. The library took part in Book Week Scotland. Bookbinding workshop held and series of Collection Close-up events.
National Museums Scotland
There are plans for a possible exhibition on special collections. There will be an exhibition on Victorian photography in June 2015. Access arrangements to the library have been changed.
St Andrews University Library
Gabriel Sewell is in post as Head of Special Collections and Assistant Director of Library Services. Martyrs Church reading room now open. Staff are still in cabins and books in storage. Library has contracts with two conservators. There are plans to recruit a Preservation Officer who will be a qualified cataloguer and manage the outsourced conservation. Glasgow School of Art came to talk about disaster planning. The student cataloguing project has catalogued 14,000 books including 24 unique ESTC items. It has been popular with students and will continue until October 2016. The library offers a student book collecting prize. In addition, CM noted that an online version of 'Standard citation forms for rare book cataloging' has been approved by the BSC of RBMS.
Glasgow School of Art
The report on the fire has been released. Forensic archaeologists have been going through the library. Decision trees have been used to evaluate the status of different types of material. It has been found cheaper to replace non-rare items rather than repair them. Some objects are being uncovered and are in surprisingly good condition. 30% of books have been replaced by donation.
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
The College has purchased a new building and library accommodation is being considered. Andrew McAinsh reported that he had received a bursary to attend the CILIP RBSCG conference and had found it very useful. Volunteers are continuing their work. An oral history project with fellows is underway. The College took part in doors open day. A copy of Vesalius has been on display. The College took part in Book Week Scotland. Cataloguing is continuing steadily. SHELCAT is moving to RDA. The College is working towards museum accreditation.
There followed a discussion of accreditation for rare book collections raising the question of who would accredit? It may be easier to add onto existing archival accreditation due to the similar nature of collections.
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland
The merger with Historic Scotland is ongoing: new body to be known as Historic Environment Scotland. Currently looking at a library management system, assessing duplicate books and brainstorming for way ahead. The Commission has been gifted Whytock and Reid furniture design books.
Museum of Childhood
The Museum, which has recognition status, has a collection of 11,000 books of which a small number are rare books.
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
The Gallery put on the exhibition Between the Covers: Surrealist Erotica. There have been books in focus sessions and visits from university groups.
Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
Library stock is off site during the HLF funded works. New shelving will be going in in January. Title pages of the library's 18th-century books are being photographed. A Wellcome funded archivist will be working at the library.
Edinburgh University Library
Joe Marshall is in post as Head of Special Collections and Centre for Research Collections. There has been no appointment following the attempted recruitment of a new Rare Books Librarian. Tricia Boyd is acting Rare Books Librarian. The library is beginning the recruitment process to replace John Scally. It was noted that there is not much special collections experience among potential internal candidates. Storage space is becoming a problem as off-site storage is full. Official Publications are to be disposed of with NLS able to take what it needs to fill gaps in its collections. Cataloguing interns have finished 500 records. A new LMS is expected imminently. A 19th-century illustrated bindings collection has been acquired. Pop-up sessions have been used to publicise service.
Stirling University Library
There have been exhibitions of the Scottish political archive and books from Innerpeffray, in partnership with Innerpeffray Library. There have been displays on Bannockburn and sport. The Leighton Library has been fundraising.
Glasgow University Library
The library is planning for its incunabula exhibition. Only 30 incunabula left to check: 1000 catalogued and 930 on website with an expected finish date of March/April. Publicity for the project will centre on talks, events, project launch and an academic symposium. Wellcome Trust funded project to catalogue 250 books on syphilis ongoing. Plans are being made to celebrate the tercentenary of William Hunter's birth in 2018. The Scottish Theatre Archive has been promoted. There was a symposium on the R.D. Laing Collection. 9 emblem books were bought from a Christie's sale in June.
The Laigh Hall was opened for Doors Open Day. There have been small exhibitions including one on coats of arms. Planning is ongoing for changing the exhibition at Abbotsford. Chapbooks at Abbotsford are to be part of Scottish Chapbooks Catalogue.
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
The Cullen digitisation project will be launched next year. The College is a partner in the Wellcome Library's project UK Medical Heritage Library: uniting digitised collections.
There have been exhibitions on dictionaries and encyclopaedias. The Library is taking part in the Connected Collections Conference at Dundee University. A grant has been received to work with Stirling University on transcribing the borrowers' register. As part of Book Week Scotland, Alexander McCall Smith wrote a love letter to the library.
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
EUL's Elizabeth Quarmby Lawrence is cataloguing rare books. There was a box making workshop. The preservation assessment survey is ongoing. The Botanical Treasures book was launched as part of Book Week Scotland.
The Director is retiring. There are some new web pages. Helen Williams is teaching a book history module. Scottish Book Trust material is being used for a PhD. The WWI war poets display has been a success.
As of November 2014, mailing list membership still stood at 80, but there are now 37 institutional members, with the most recent being Edinburgh Museums and Galleries, in particular the Museum of Childhood, which has a collection of several thousand children's books.
There was no other business and HV closed the meeting just before 15.30, thanking her colleagues at NLS for their work in organising the tours and display earlier in the day.