Bringing rare photography to light
In the early 1840s, a group of Edinburgh gentlemen got together to experiment with a new photography process. The result was the world's first photographic club and the development of a technique regarded as the forerunner of modern photography.
Those Scottish pioneers are remembered next week when the National Library of Scotland takes their work into the digital age, with the launch of a website dedicated to the images created by the Edinburgh Calotype Club.
The Library has one volume of the club's album - among the earliest photo albums ever assembled - which will be on display during a series of illustrated photography lectures marking its acquisition. A second album is held by Edinburgh Central Library, which has collaborated with the production of the website, Pencils of Light, by making digital copies of its images available. In all, more than 300 calotypes can be seen online, covering portraits, and views of churches, castles and houses in Scotland, Belgium, Malta and Italy.
Pencils of Light can be seen in our Digital Library section.
19 November 2002
'Ask a Librarian' online
After a six-month trial earlier this year, the National Library of Scotland has launched a new electronic reference service.
From our 'Info for users' section, website visitors can now use the online QuestionPoint 'Ask a Librarian' form to send an enquiry to Library staff. We will then either provide the answer ourselves or, if there is more suitable material elsewhere, pass the query to another library for reply.
The service draws on the resources of a global network of subscriber libraries, most of them based in the USA, but with six in Britain, and others elsewhere in Europe, in Australasia and in the Far East. Depending on the question and where it has to be sent, a response may take a few weeks, but the enquirer can log in via our Web page to track the answer's progress.
11 November 2002