Rare Books in Scotland business meeting
Thursday 9 November 2017, Glasgow Women's Library
- Helen Beardsley — Stirling University Library
- Robert Betteridge — National Library of Scotland: Minutes
- Ines Castellano-Colmenero — National Museum of Scotland
- John Crawford — Leadhills Miners Library
- Dawn Evers — Historic Environment Scotland
- Julie Gardham — Glasgow University Library
- Trish Grant — Glasgow Life
- Steven Kerr — Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
- Wendy Kirk — Glasgow University Library
- Elizabeth Quarmby Lawrence — Edinburgh University Library
- Stuart Harris-Logan — Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
- Andrew McAinsh — Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
- Bridget McCall — Glasgow School of Art
- Karen McAulay — Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
- Helen Vincent — National Library of Scotland: Convenor
- Almut Boehme — National Library of Scotland
- Beth Dumas — St Andrews University Library
- Jill Evans — SCURL
- Veronica Fraser — Historic Environment Scotland
- Lara Heggarty — Innerpeffray Library
- James Hamilton — Signet Library
- Briony Harding — St Andrews University Library
- Elizabeth Henderson — St Andrews University Library
- Karen O’Brien — Edinburgh Central Library
- Keith O’Sullivan — Edinburgh Central Library
- Jane Pirie — Aberdeen University Library
- Christine Love-Rogers — New College Library
The business meeting was opened by Helen Vincent (HV) at 13.00.
2. Minutes of previous meeting
- The minutes were agreed with no amendments.
3. Matters arising, not covered elsewhere on this agenda
HV reported that Rare Books Edinburgh 2018 is going ahead and that the National Library will be participating. Steven Kerr (SK) noted that the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSE) would also be taking part.
4. Future forum activities
The National Museum of Scotland will host the next RBiS meeting on Thursday 17 May 2018.
The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh will host the autumn 2018 meeting.
Edinburgh and St Andrews University Libraries are yet to follow up on plans for a serials cataloguing workshop. Elizabeth Quarmby Lawrence (EQL) noted that as EUL is not cataloguing any particular collection of serials and that serials turn up only occasionally within other collections, they are not considered a priority.
Julie Gardham (JG) reported that Daryl Green is still interested in running a workshop on foreign union catalogues and fingerprints. The issue of paying for the expenses of his visit was raised and Dawn Evers (DE) said that she would investigate possible funding opportunities at HES. It was thought to be best if Daryl's training session could be organised to coincide with any planned visit to Scotland.
Alasdair MacDonald could lead a workshop on authority control.
The CILIP RBSCG cataloguing workshop was well attended and the group could be approached if there was interest in holding one in Scotland.
HV suggested that an image rights workshop could be held at the National Library and run by the Library's Intellectual Property Specialist.
Andrew McAinsh (AMcA) reported on the continued lack of posts to the group's Tumblr account and noted that Tumblr does not have the same reach as a platform like Twitter. The purpose of the group's social media presence was discussed and it was agreed that a move to Twitter would allow for better promotion and engagement from, and with, the wider rare book community. Trish Grant (TG) suggested that the Mitchell may have people interested in working on social media. AMcA agreed to begin tweeting from the Rare Books in Scotland account and to monitor results.
5. Discussion topics
5.1 Modern Special Collections
There was a broad discussion across this theme: intellectual property rights and reaching agreement with the donor at the time of accession; collection care and handling an issue as lots of relatively modern material is fragile, e.g. paperbacks or items with staples; the question of a cut-off date was discussed but the variation in dates reflects the variety of collections held; when to keep things together as a collection or whether to separate by format: acquisitions of private papers often come with a collection of books which, unless the previous owner is of some standing, are not of interest in themselves; importance of reserving the right to discard with sensitivity to the donor's expectations and potential damage to institutional reputation; importance of a collection development policy to provide guidelines; access to born digital artists' works. Stuart Harris-Logan (SHL) noted that the Royal Conservatoire only takes born digital music if the composer provides all files (i.e. the work in progress) relating to a finished piece. Such files are emailed to the library's readers in a non-editable format. Public institutions are obliged to provide access unless there is a data protection issue. The differences between archives and printed collections can make it difficult to produce a single standard form to cover the accession of both. Cataloguing of printed Special Collections is often done as for normal accessions with the option to add extra fields if needed — with the acknowledged downside that this can create a mix of records in DCRMB and RDA.
Published ephemera in archives was acknowledged to be difficult to find as it is not normally catalogued to item level, as was the problem of interoperability of archival and printed book cataloguing systems. HV noted the drive towards interoperability in future systems. Having a catalogue note or URL that points to the archival description was considered to be a useful option, as was the correct identification of material types to highlight printed items in archival catalogues. The question of born digital ephemera and how to archive from the web was discussed, including the difficulty of harvesting Scottish content from foreign domains.
Valuations are often done in-house but sometimes insurers will only accept an external valuation. Auction records and American Book Prices Current (a subscription service) are considered better indicators of value than listings on eBay or Abebooks as they record what was actually paid. It is often possible to arrive at a valuation by comparing with similar editions. There is a mismatch between market and insurance value, the latter sometime being double. It was reported that despite being provided with a valuation, insurers may come up with their own value for a substantial claim. The terms and conditions of any loan should include a costing for any valuations. JG passed around a copy of Matassa, Freda:’Valuing your collection: a practical guide for museums, libraries and archives’ (London: Facet Publishing, 2017).
5.4 Appraisal, retention, rationalisation and disposal
There was discussion of transferring general collections to Special Collections and of what to keep, move or discard. SCURL policy is that the last copy of anything of Scottish interest should be retained. OCLC GreenGlass can be used to ascertain the number of copies of a title, with the caveat that OCLC has problems with duplicate records. Driven by the need to weed general stock, COPAC is working towards a similar tool. Some collections are considered legacy collections, i.e. one that may not be acquired under present policy but which now has significance to the institution. Important to have a de-accessioning stamp so that stolen books cannot be faked. There are RBSCG guidelines on disposal. Security and disposal could be a future training workshop.
6.1 CILIP RBSCG / ESTC / CERL / SCURL / IFLA RBSC / CIGS
CILIP RBSCG — CILIP RBSCG – HV reported that the annual conference 6-8 September was on collections at risk. Fiona Courage is stepping down as RBSCG chair, Sarah Mahurter to succeed her. CILIP website is moving to a new site so there will be some down time, links won't work. Communicator is being replaced (the monthly emails to members). There will be a CILIP Ethics workshop in Glasgow, Wednesday 22 November. There was a New Professionals Day at John Rylands Library, Tuesday 2 November.
Anette Hagan had nothing to report.
Report of CERL meetings at Amsterdam 25-27 October 2017 by Anette Hagan.
Executive Committee meeting
CERL Internship and Placement Grants 2018 (1,000 €): Member libraries are being asked whether they have any particular opportunities for internships that they would like to publicise as part of the CERL call for internship applications. If so, they need to write to a member of the grant sub-committee before the end of November 2017. (Luisa Buson email@example.com, Cristina Dondi firstname.lastname@example.org, Adrian Edwards email@example.com).
There are three grants for 1,000 Euros each to be placed in a CERL member library for one month.
Heritage of the Printed Book (HPB) database currently has circa 6.6 million records.
A proposal to make the HPB available for free was discussed. Reasons for this step are: It is already being made available to individual researchers (e.g. Professor Jane Stevenson's about British authors published abroad); libraries who contribute their catalogue records to the HPB make these records available free via their own OPACs. There is growing competition, e.g. from USTC. Behind the existing paywall, the HPB is not used very much, and making it freely available will increase its visibility. The 'new narrative' suggests that contributing to the HPB and thus sharing and exposing your records to a much wider audience should be chargeable, not accessing the database.
Incunabula Short Title Catalogue (ISTC): This database has been transferred from the British Library to CERL and is now freely accessible (Incunabula Short Title Catalogue). A new CERL leaflet advertising ISTC has been published.
4th Digital Curation workshop on the changing role of libraries regarding data stewardship and data curation: This has been postponed until spring 2018; date and place tbc.
Coordinating Committee membership: the number of members is not fixed. CERL member libraries can put forward candidates for election at the AGM for the following term. Committee members usually serve for three years to start with, but can stay on for several periods of three years. There are no formal re-elections.
JG talked about CERL membership. Cluster membership allows up to 16 institutions to join together and share the cost of membership. Are any other libraries interested in joining? Benefits noted included: being part of the wider European research community and being able to benefit from CERL's own research.
HV reported on the Congress: RBSC events very successful – dialogue with Indigenous Matters – 'reciprocity' model from indigenous community interaction useful for engaging with other minority/ hard to reach /excluded groups. Kristian Jensen presented on ethical collecting policy development at BL. There was a session on promoting collections from museums to merchandise. Global Vision statements are useful evidence of cultural heritage being valued by many sections of library profession. Next event is the mid-term on 'New tools and strategies for access to and dissemination of digitised rare and historic materials and born-digital Special Collections', at Oslo in April; CFP coming out shortly; after that the RBSC session at the 2018 Congress in Malaysia is also on digital humanities and competencies for special collection librarians, also collaborating with the Genealogy and Local History section on 'Citizen Science'. Competencies progress slowly.
CIGS AGM, St Cecilia's Hall, Edinburgh, 28 June 2017.
From General Reid to RDA: Cataloguing the printed music collections of Edinburgh University.
Following a short meeting to elect the committee and office bearers, Alasdair MacDonald (Edinburgh University Library) gave a talk on the development and cataloguing of the Reid Library collection at the University of Edinburgh. Starting with the 1807 bequest to found a music school, the talk covered the various iterations of the catalogues of the music collections and the individuals who created them, finishing in the current period which has seen the adoption of RDA for printed music and projects to complete the cataloguing of the University's antiquarian music collections in the Centre for Research Collections. Alasdair and Elizabeth Quarmby Lawrence will be presenting an extended version of the talk at the 2018 IAML Study Weekend in Edinburgh on Saturday 7 April 2018.
Slides and notes from CIGS events are available on the CIGS SlideShare site.
RDA Update 20017, National Library of Scotland, 4 August 2017.
Gordon Dunsire (Chair, RDA Steering Committee) gave a presentation covering the implementation of a new governance model for the standard; the 3R project to redesign the RDA Toolkit for release in April 2018; and meetings with specialist cataloguing communities. The online toolkit is frozen as of 2017 and will be re-configured in line with the IFLA Library Reference Model. Examples relating to practice included a printed book attributed to a fictitious character and how the identity of the author should be managed.
Gordon's presentations are available from the presentations page of the Gordon Dunsire website.
CIGS Committee meeting, National Library of Scotland, 10 October 2017.
As a long standing member of the Scottish rare books community, new Committee member James Mitchell will take over from Alasdair MacDonald as CIGS / RBIS liaison.
Proposed CIGS events for 2018 (dates TBC)
- Resource discovery
- Linked data 2018
- RDA and the future of cataloguing
- CIG autumn conference
- National Bibliographic Knowledgebase—may be part of RDA /Future of cataloguing
6.2 Music in Rare Books and Special Collections Working Group
Karen McAulay (KMcA) reported that an email has been sent with a link to a survey. Almut Boehme asked that members' attention be drawn to the IAML (UK and IRL) conference in Edinburgh 6-8 April 2018. We hope to have a session on Special Collections but that still needs confirmation.
6.3 Members' reports
The Library's historic collection of Scottish civil court papers is part of a substantial new collaborative digitisation project in partnership with the Advocates Library, the University of Edinburgh and the National Records of Scotland. The manuscript collection has been remapped for the first time since 1890 (and in the process grown from circa 100 items to over 300) and a new catalogue of the archives and ephemera has been created. It is hoped that both of these will be available online by early 2018. The Library has embarked on a collaborative project with the Centre for the History of the Book at the University of Edinburgh and will be providing internships for students on the Centre's MSc course having already hosted a field trip and provided a seminar. The Signet Library collections will feature in an evening event during the Edinburgh Rare Books Festival of 2018. The highlight of 2017 was the Library's month-long exhibition of the work of photographer Josef Koudelka in collaboration with The Times and Magnum Photos. A new Special Collections room has been created to house some of the Library's oldest and most vulnerable books. In June, the Library was privileged to host a visit from the Roxburghe Club. A new computer catalogue will be in use at the Library from early 2018 which will signal the start of a major effort to remap the entire collection and complete the upload of entries onto the ESTC.
Aberdeen University Library
The most important news, following Siobhan Convery's departure in March, is that Special Collections and the University's Museums are to merge as part of the new Directorate, Digital Information Services. Diane Bruxvoort remains as University Librarian but Brian Henderson, Head of IT, is Director of this new conglomerate. Neil Curtis, Head of Museums, will become Head of Museums and Special Collections. There will be a new post in Museums & Special Collections, Head of Academic Engagement and Research, to lead on liaison on teaching and research support for the academic community and other constituencies.
Glasgow University Library
The Library has been merged with IT as part of restructuring and there have been some changes of senior library staff. EMu collection management system due to go live next May. Karen Baston will be giving a talk to Edinburgh Bibliographical Society on 16 November on the project to transcribe early catalogues of William Hunter. Due to retirement the University will be recruiting a new head of conservation and preservation.
Stirling University Library (including Leighton Library)
As a result of the Hogg exhibition a Hogg family Bible has been donated to the University Library by Hogg's descendants in Australia. Michael Osborne has taken over at the Leighton Library. Repair work on the harling at needs to be undertaken. Researchers continue to investigate the collection. The 2018 annual conference of the Independent Libraries Association will be hosted by the Leighton and Innerpeffray.
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Refurbishment is ongoing but nearly complete. This will provide a permanent display space with cases and panels. By the end of the year the College will have a new collections website that will be able to bring different parts of the collections together in one place. The events programme has been busy, including a history of herbal medicine display that attracted a lot of attention on Twitter. There are 3.5 staff and Andrew McAinsh is now Collections Officer. The Digital Heritage Officer post has been made permanent and the College will be appointing an artist in residence to work with the collections.
There was a display on the theme of Highlander/Outlander. Alexander ‘Greek' Thomson drawings are on loan to the Whitehouse and the V&A Dundee and there have been a series of talks. Thomas Annan photographs also out on loan.
Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
The MacLaren Research Centre is now open. The British Society for the History of Medicine Conference (13-16 September) was accompanied by a display. The College has acquired the Robert Symon Garden collection and the personal papers of Charles Bell. There will be a commemoration of the centenary of Elsie Inglis' death. Lord Mulholland will be delivering the RCSEd Library Lecture entitled Cold Cases in Scotland on 11 December.
Edinburgh University Library
Current exhibitions are Incendiary Texts: Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation and Shored Against Ruin: Fragments from the University of Edinburgh Collections. Rationalisation has been undertaken on unprocessed donations and cleared considerable shelf space. Five thousand items have been sorted by interns and some sold to the book trade. Book cataloguers continue to work on the archive system and the Library is looking at how to integrate authority control. The Library has taken over more storage space at the Gyle.
Glasgow School of Art
Bridget McCall introduced herself as the trainee librarian at the School. There is a two year project to renovate the Mackintosh library and discussions continue on furniture etc. Historical dissertations have been digitised.
Leadhills Miners Library
The Library received some publicity through the Antiques Roadshow in June and the People's History Show in September. It is currently looking into ways to interact with researchers of industrial history. Miles Oglethorpe at HES has provided some useful contacts. Research is being done on the Bargain Books and funding is being sought for digitisation. A volunteer recruitment drive has been successful. Work needs to be done on the fabric of the building. John Crawford asks if there is any interest in a sub-group for small voluntary historic libraries and noted Leadhills' connection with Hopetoun. A re-accreditation letter has been received from MGS but it looks to be less onerous than the initial process.
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
KMcA's secondment project Claimed from Stationers' Hall is going well. The Conservatoire is celebrating 170 years. There is an exhibition of curios of the collection. A buccin has recently been added to the musical instrument collection.
National Library of Scotland
Curators are moving to specialised chronological job descriptions. Responsibility for modern Special Collections has been transferred to General Collections team. Curators now no longer work in the Special Collections Reading Room (SCRR) where the enquiry desk will now be staffed by Special Collections Assistants. The curators are still working evenings and Saturdays and are training the Special Collections Assistants to enable them to fulfil the enquiries role. SCRR Manager Thomas Connelly has left and Hazel Stewart is acting SCRR Manager.
Blake Milteer has taken over as the Photographic Curator. The summer interns were ‘Special Collections' interns and we have also hosted Edinburgh University CHOB and ECA interns.
Postgraduate inductions have been given in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Notable recent acquisitions include the first number of the Beano, a binding done for James VI circa 1580 and 'What led to the discovery of the source of the Nile' by John Hanning Speke, one of 12 copies with an extra eight pages, specially printed for the author.
Exhibitions: Enduring Eye about to close. It was a good integration of the Royal Geographic Society exhibition and Library material (partly because of great curatorial synergy as well as collections synergy – if we didn't have a dedicated Mountaineering and Polar Curator, but someone not so connected to the collection had researched it, it might not have been so good.) Muriel Spark to open; treasures displays were Images of India, Kulgin Duvall and Colin Hamilton; currently Reformation. Sgt Pepper display a great success.
Major projects at the moment include Europeana, the National Bibliography of Scotland (there was a stakeholder seminar yesterday) and planning for the new LMS.
As part of the Causewayside renewed programme the Maps Reading Room and workroom has been moved with a change in opening hours which reflects the shift to digital.
Planning for involvement in Walter Scott 250.
Cataloguing: incunabula nearly complete; Lauriston Castle will be complete; Sharratt collection just made available online.
Digitisation: ABS shelfmark continues; procurement of equipment to take large-scale digitisation in-house and upscale production; workflow work continues.
National Museums Scotland
The library catalogue will be added to COPAC in late November 2017. The library has taken on five new volunteers to assist with organising and listing the records relating to the Museum of Scotland which opened in 1998 and adding them to the institutional archive. The library will be taking another student – Daisy Stafford - from the MSc History of the Book and Material Culture course at the University of Edinburgh on a 10 week placement beginning in January. Daisy will be enhancing the catalogue records of the rare books that were originally in the Society of Antiquaries library (1487 – 1800) and adding our holdings to ESTC. NMS is currently one of 12 AHRC Independent Research Organisations (IROs) – including the V&A, National Gallery and Tate - investigating a shared repository service proposed by the British Library. The BL are offering to host and provide technical support for IROs to allow them to put research publications and data into a shared repository. The proposal will also include data preservation services. It is at an early stage, just gathering information on the type/format of content, but if there is sufficient interest it is hoped to go live late 2018. Torsten Reimer, Head of Research Service at the BL will be giving a presentation on the repository at the MLAG conference in December. Mark Glancy, Library Services Manager at NMS, will giving a case study on our repository at the conference. Booking details at: http://bit.ly/2gjGAVi. The William Speirs Bruce papers were the featured archive on the Archives Hub for August 2017 (http://bit.ly/2xOByXh). The Museum received a National Lottery grant of £1.07m towards the fourth stage of the Masterplan project to create two new galleries displaying our Ancient Egyptian and East Asian collections. The galleries will showcase 1200 objects, 40% of which have not been on display in over a generation. They are due to open in early 2019. Current exhibitions Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites (to 12 November) – tracing the rise and fall of the Jacobites and Scotland's early silver (to 25 February) – exploring the impact of silver during the first millennium AD.
We took part in Doors Open Day showing 249 visitors around the library, and speaking to many more who came to see Parliament Hall and the Courts. Our other news is that Andrea Longson, our Senior Librarian, will be retiring in the spring, so interviews will shortly be held to find her replacement.
There was no other business and HV closed the meeting at 15:00 with a vote of thanks to the host.