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CILIP Rare Books & Special Collections Group conference 2015 (a late review)

Last September (2-4 Sept) I was pleased to be able to attend the CILIP Rare Books & Special Collections Group conference in London.  I had intended to blog about this straight away, but was struck down with appendicitis the following week, and have only now got the time to do so.

I had been invited to speak about the Cardiff Rare Books Collection, housed in SCOLAR and acquired from the Public Library in 2010. The theme of the conference was “Hidden collections revealed” and this covered topics from retrospective cataloguing, to private libraries, and embargoed collections to active promotion. The conference took place over three days and in three different venues – Friend’s House, Lambeth Palace, and the British Library. This allowed attendees the opportunity to have tours of the libraries in these places, although as places were limited not everyone got to see everywhere (myself included).

The first day began with an overview from Karen Attar (Senate House Library) on the (then forthcoming) Directory of rare books and special collections in the UK and Republic of Ireland. This is the third edition of the directory, previous editions appeared in 1985 and 1997. Attar is the editor and initially emailed potential contributors in 2014 asking for updates to their previous entries, or for new entries if they had not appeared before. The team in SCOLAR were able to compile an extensive update to the Cardiff entry to reflect all the changes and acquisitions we have had since 1997. Overall the book will be important to make people aware of different collections across the UK.

Following on from this David Prosser (RLUK) talked about the survey of hidden collections that took place in 2010. There were 77 respondents to the survey, it seemed that smaller libraries didn’t have the time or the manpower to respond. The survey also revealed that there were degrees of hidden, some were uncatalogued, some had card catalogues or printed catalogues. Modern problems of digitised materials were also highlighted. How long will these be available on line? Apparently 20% has already been lost to the web, creating a 21st century black hole of material.

The second session of the day focussed on uncatalogued material, and a variety of projects designed to combat this problem. Dunia Garcia-Ontiveros (The London Library) discussed a project they had been running from 1999, which had been revitalised when she took up her position there in 2007 and ensured that records were upgraded with material in hand. Previously they had just been importing records to improve what they had, since 2007 they have been able to add local detail such as provenance, bookplates, annotations etc. The project has highlighted the significance of not only what they knew they had, but all the extras associated with it.

Next, Darryl Green (St. Andrews) talked about the Lighting the Past project at St. Andrews. The initial stages of the project revealed that only 25% of their special collections were catalogued, as opposed to the 50% they had previously thought. Quantifying this to the institution meant that there were 150,000 uncatalogued rare books, and at their former rate of cataloguing this would have taken them 75 years to complete. They looked at a variety of ways to deal with this problem and this resulted in Lighting the Past. Student workers have been employed for the first phase of the project – giving them employment and training in specialist skills. The second phase will involve Rare books cataloguers upgrading records to full DCRM(B) standards.

Another project in Scotland was discussed by Elizabeth Quarmby Lawrence (Edinburgh University), they had difference circumstances to St. Andrews, and their approach was to have two paid internships, for two days a week for nine months (Feb-Oct 2014) – this offered opportunity and experience for the individuals. Training started with easier material and progressed onto more difficult material. The internships were a rounded experience, and included working on blogs, events, student liaison, and exhibitions. The training scheme was a great success, and one of the interns has now been employed in the rare books cataloguing department.

LambethPalace2aThe second day of the conference was at Lambeth Palace (where our former colleague Ken Gibb now works). The third conference session was about being open for research and had sessions from libraries that are not necessarily open to the public. Martin Cherry (Freemason’s Library) talked about the history, and the use and access to the Library and Museum of Freemasonry which was first established in 1837 by the Grand Lodge. Originally access was restricted to Freemasons but is now open to all.

Next we heard about military libraries from John Pearce (Deputy Librarian, The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst).   Defence libraries are not regimental museums, they deal with material on the MOD, technical material etc. So why are there rare books in defence libraries? These are historical training manuals, and operational requirements, acquired for specific purposes at the time of publication – and now useful for the history of military education. With these libraries there is a restriction to access, as they are ‘behind the wire’ – but they do have a web presence to a certain extent, and they are beginning to digitise some material at Sandhurst.

To close this session we then heard about the Association of Pal Mall Libraries from Kay Walters (The Athenaeum), Sian Prosser (Royal Astronomical Society), and Renae Satterley (Middle Temple Library). The Association of Pall Mall Libraries was set up so that solo librarians could get to share knowledge and resources. The libraries range from private members clubs to societies, and the library collections range in size from 2K – 100K; some are research resources, some historical assets. There is a mixture of qualified and nonqualified staff running the libraries.

The final session of this day looked at collections that were ‘under wraps’ and included my own paper Collating and curating for the public: the Cardiff rare books collection which demonstrated the change in priorities at the Public Library, which went from actively acquiring rare and manuscript materials at the beginning of the 20th century for the public to use, to ‘hiding’ them away in stores and discarding them by the start of the 21st century.

In this session Helen Potter (FOI Centre, National Archives) discussed closed records at The National Archives, and issues surrounding the right to know vs right to privacy. There are a number of reasons why records might be closed, which might be to do with specific individuals (personal case files, e.g. prisoner files, naturalisation 1938-1945, criminal prosecution). Or the files might be closed because they are distressing and disturbing (rape, assault, mental distress). They are currently operating on the following principle – ‘release what we can, protect what we must’.

ChelseaArtistsbooks1aAfter lunch, there were guided tours of Lambeth Palace library, and then the rest of the afternoon was devoted to a variety of visits to special collections within London. Participants could sign up to two visits, and there was a bit of tube co-ordination required! I chose two places that were next to one another, and coincidentally not that far from Lambeth Palace either! My first visit was to the Print Rooms at Tate Britain; we were shown prints by a variety of artists, and some of Turner’s sketch books. We also got to see Beatrix Potter’s drawings for The Tailor of Gloucester. My second visit was to Chelsea College of Arts to see their Artists’ books collection – it was interesting to compare their collection with the one at Cardiff Metropolitan University that I had visited earlier in the year.

The final day took place at the British Library Conference Centre, and the first session looked at promoting collections. Adrian Edwards (Head of Printed Heritage Collections, British Library) talked about the potential of exhibitions to bring hidden collections into the lime-light, and focussed on a specific example of the ‘Comics unmasked’ exhibition which was held in 2014.

British Library2aHe highlighted that the objective of exhibitions are wider than what you see in the gallery. For example with this collection initially the material was spread over different sites and wasn’t catalogued consistently, if at all. However, due to the exhibition many comics got catalogued – the power of the exhibition gave leverage to the cataloguing priorities. They were able to convince the data quality team to see the cataloguing of the comics as a training opportunity – serials, complexities etc. Now all the material is available on one site, is used more, and the rare material has been moved to higher level of secured storage. In addition staff expertise has improved; some have given papers at academic conferences.

Next was Lara Haggerty (Innerpeffray Library). Innerpeffray library is five miles from the nearest town, and a bus only comes once a week, the library is essentially in the middle of nowhere. It was the first free public lending library in Scotland, set up in 1680. Originally in the loft of the chapel it started with 400 books. In 1968 they stopped lending books, there was a decline after the First World War, and there were other libraries in nearby towns, and the library began to disappear from people’s awareness.

By 2001 things were not looking too good: “We can no longer open the door and hope”

In 2009 Lara Haggerty was appointed as Library keeper and marketing manager, the 31st library keeper there has been. She created a business plan to raise visitors by 100% – quite a challenge!  She highlighted that they were selling something different, a unique experience for the visitor.   As part of this they have partnered up with local businesses, and they now hold events, like gin tasting in the library (!), and “How far would you walk for a book” walk, etc.

The final talk of this session was by Katie Sambrook (Kings College London) who talked about the Foreign and Commonwealth Office library collection at King’s College London. There are 100,000 items in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office library collection, mainly books, but manuscripts as well, covering 16th-21st centuries, with the heart of the collection from 1750-1950. There were difficulties for the library when it was situated in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, with security, couldn’t bring in lap tops, etc, so it was transferred to an appropriate academic institution. They have needed to catalogue all items from scratch, book in hand, and have about half done at the moment. They think that the catalogue is the best way of advertising the books, but have also promoted the collection by an exhibition space and online. They have used targeted promotion, picking a country or area, and found that even just a poster on library gates brought people in.

The last three talks were in a session that looked at going ‘beyond the library’, firstly Katharine Hogg (Foundling Museum) talked about the Gerald Coke Handel Collection at the Foundling Museum. Gerald Coke was a banker and in the 1930s started to collect Handel material – he chose Handel because he was first published in England and at available prices (Mozart was too expensive!). He was a generous collector and let scholars use the material even though he kept it at home, and he did have a house catalogue. The collection came to the Museum with an endowment, and although not quite a lending collection now, a database of the collection is now online.

Hannah Manktelow, a PhD student, talked about her research discovering provincial Shakespeare with the British Library Playbill collection. The collection contains playbills from the provinces as well as London, and much of what we know about theatrical history comes from playbills – when/where/who/what. The bulk of playbills date from 1780-1880. As there are 75,000 provincial playbills, to manage the project she picked five provincial towns – Newcastle, Nottingham, Norwich, Bath and Brighton. She decided to focuss on England for a national representation. She has been looking at where Shakespeare was performed (theatres, portable venues, etc); Who performed (a resident company, London stars, touring company. Bath received double the amount of stars than Newcastle – closer to London and very fashionable); and also when – what percent of the theatrical season.

One discovery has been that regional Shakespeare was more avant-garde, and had the first black perfoBritish Libraryarmer in Othello, he was very famous, but not accepted to play in London until the end of his career.

The final talk of the session and the conference was by Mark Byford, a private collector of rare books. He has been a collector for 12-15 years, and has a focus on Tudor and Jacobean books, but not a limit on subjects. There are about 1000 books in his collection. There is no catalogue of his collection, but he does allow people to visit to look at, or to take out, books. Access is dependent on collector/owner, personal contacts, but Byford believes he knows his books better than a librarian would (possibly).


Overall the conference was fascinating, lots of wonderful collections were talked about and we got to visit some great venues, and see some collections we wouldn’t necessarily get the chance to.  The only downside for me was that because the conference was spread over three venues there was no central ‘conference venue’ or accommodation.  As a non-Londoner there was a bit of stress in trying to work out a) where to stay, and b) how to get to each venue each day.  In addition there was no one place where all attendees were together outside of scheduled events (i.e. no conversations at breakfast, or hanging around the bar together at the end of the evening event).  But it was an interesting way of holding a conference, and I managed not to get lost more than once!


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Unexpected opportunity for a cataloguer: exhibiting Arthur

This week sees the ‘unveiling’ of an exhibition in SCOLAR our special collections department on the subject of Arthur: King of the Britons.  I’m really excited about it because I have had an integral part in the curating of it.  This is one of those ‘unexpected opportunities’ that I didn’t actually manage to talk about in my presentation at the CILIP CIG conference on 11th September because I over ran and had to skip it!

The opportunity came about for two reasons.  Firstly, my job now involves working on the Cardiff Rare Books Collection one day a week, alongside our Rare books cataloguer.  I was familiar with the collection anyway, due to taking part in the listing of material prior to acquisition from the public library.  Secondly, over the last couple of years I’ve taken a few evening classes with the University’s adult education department, purely because they sounded really interesting (one of which was on Arthurian myths and legends). In conversation with the tutor, Dr Juliette Wood, I’ve mentioned at times to her various items in the collection prior to them being catalogued, because I thought she would find them interesting or useful for her teaching and/or research.   She has a book coming out this autumn on the holy grail, and one way or another we decided it would be really great to have an exhibition on Arthurian material, and the head of SCOLAR agreed that we could do so.  SCOLAR has about four exhibitions a year, sometimes tying in with anniversaries or topics of current interest.

Arthur in the centre of his roundtable (from Malory, 1634)

Stage 1: We met up in SCOLAR to discuss what kind of themes we would focus on, and what kind of items we wanted to use.  I had identified some items that I thought might be relevant, and made a list based on our catalogue.  For me, one of our prize exhibits was going to be the 1634 copy of Thomas Malory’s Morte d’Arthur.  Produced by the London printer William Stansby (1572-1638) this version was based on the earlier editions by Wynken de Worde and William Caxton, and was the only edition available for two hundred years.

Juliette was able to suggest a whole host of authors, and books, that might be of interest.  Working with a specialist in the subject was really interesting, as she has such depth to her knowledge.  Yes, I could have pulled out lots of books about Arthur, but I wouldn’t have known any of the intricacies, the historical foibles, or the really pertinent texts to use.

Part way through setting up

Stage 2: Using my scribbled notes from the discussion with Juliette I was able to search our library catalogue and identify a further list of items of interest.  Next time we met up I had retrieved a large selection of items from the collection.  Using paper slips to indicated the seven themes we had decided upon (we had seven cases to fill) we were able to go through items and add them to our proposed cases.  Throughout this process we were trying to be aware of what would be visually appealing.  A book might be a key text but if it has no illustrations and a modern binding it risks being of little interest to the majority of observers.  Luckily we had a wealth of material to choose from in SCOLAR and could mine various collections within it such as the Cardiff Rare Books collection, the Tennyson collection, and the Salisbury collection etc.  At times we had almost too much to choose from and also had to be wary of being repetitive and not include too many examples by the same illustrator for example.

Part of the ‘Arthur and local archaeology’ case

Stage 3:  I wrote up a list of all the items we had chosen, assigned to their particular themes, and ensured I included full details of each book, especially classmark and location, in order to make it easier to retrieve them when we wanted them.

Stage 4: We met again to look at all the items and to doublecheck which illustrations, or pages, we would be displaying.  At this point we also chose a key image for each theme/case which would be used on the SCOLAR website, and I scanned these illustrations.

Stage 5:  Juliette took responsibility for writing all the captions – so I was let off the hook at this point! As she had the expert knowledge it made sense for her to do so.

Stage 6: With some proofreading and tweaking from all parties the captions were ready, and thanks to Alison Harvey, the archivist in SCOLAR who is used to curating the exhibitions and helping others do so, they were set up in text boxes that were the correct size for the plastic caption displayers.  Thus ensuring a unifying harmony in the display.

Arthur doll amidst ephemera

Stage 7: The setting up!  I don’t think either of us was quite prepared for how difficult or challenging we found this stage (even though we realised it wouldn’t be easy).  I’d expected this to be one of the fun bits (although I’ve enjoyed all stages); and it was fun and satisfying  but needed quite a bit of thinking too, as you can’t just plonk the items down randomly in the cases.  We had to assess how all the items in each case would relate to one another.  We also had to ensure that the books were displayed in a manner that wouldn’t damage them; some were more fragile than others.  We had a variety of foam wedges, snake weights, and plastic stands – but there were several occasions when we didn’t have quite the right size or type of stand that would have been ideal, so we had to be inventive!  In all, it took us about 4 1/2 hours to set up the seven cases and to do a bit of tweaking after asking the opinions of Alison and Ken (the rare books cataloguer).  Its really quite thrilling to see an exhibition come together in the flesh, after all the preparatory work.

Guinevere figurine

The exhibition will be running up to December and can be viewed 9-5 during the week; you can also see an extract on the SCOLAR webpages.  The books used are predominantly from Cardiff special collections, although Juliette supplemented the display with a few items, including some ephemera from her own collection.  Hence, we also have a lovely Arthur doll and an exquisite Guinevere!

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A summary of the ‘Conversations with Cataloguers in Wales’ event [Part 2]

After a comfort break the event continued and the second session of the day started with myself (Karen Pierce) and Ken Gibb talking about Discovering hidden gems: cataloguing the Cardiff Rare Books Collection.  Cardiff University (CU) acquired the collection in 2010 by purchasing it from Cardiff Public Library with financial assistance from the National Assembly for Wales.  The background to the collection, and how it came to be built up by the public library in the days when they were hoping to establish a National Library in Cardiff (they lost out to Aberystwyth) was explained.  When the public library put the collection up for sale this provoked a national campaign to attempt to keep the books in Cardiff, or in Wales in general.  There were many discussions and eventually the Heritage Minister intervened and the University was helped to acquire the collection.  Whilst negotiations were taking place a 10 % scoping report was commissioned, and this was undertaken by three cataloguers from CU.  As well as noting author, date and title, we looked at marginalia, provenance, physical condition, and subject matter.  A report was produced for CyMAL.  Subsequently, phase 2 of the project lead to creating a spreadsheet of all 14,000 items prior to the sale.  Once the books were purchased, they needed cataloguing.  Our cataloguing team didn’t have the necessary expertise, but we were able to get funding for a (3 year) Rare books cataloguer who joined us in the summer of 2011.  Ken (the person appointed!) undertook a 1% project to get an idea of how long it was going to take to catalogue the various subsections of books, and to establish the rules we would be using (DCRM(B), etc).  We believe that about 40% of the collection has provenance information, and our most exciting (provenance) find so far is the signature of John Dee (the Elizabethan astronomer and mathematician) in a copy of Thomas Aquinas.  Although still at an early stage in the project we have also found two volumes bound in 1597 for Pietro Duodo the Venetian ambassador to the King of France.  Additionally we have a copy of Dickens’ Christmas Carol bound in translucent vellum inlaid with mother of pearl; this rare style of binding was developed by the binder Cedric Chivers and won him a gold medal at the St. Louis Worlds Fair in 1907.  We also have a near complete collection of books published by William Morris at the Kelmscott Press, including a uniquely embroidered copy of The Floure and the Leaf.

The next presentation was by Kristine Chapman & Louise Carey talking about Cataloguing art books at Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales .  The National Museum Wales has seven sites, and have collections covering art, history, science and archaeology.  The library was set up in 1914, and moved to purpose built premises in the 1920s, but has outgrown its space, resulting in book collections also being kept in curatorial departments.  The art library contains a variety of material, from monographs on artists, to exhibition catalogues.  Although predominantly it is the Museum staff who use the library, it is also used by students and researchers too.  There is a trust system for loans as the library is unmanned, and slips are placed on the shelf where the item has been taken from.  The classification system used in the art library is the Metropolitan Museum of Art system which was first published in 1911.  The MMA itself switched to Library of Congress in 2002, and thus it is a system that isn’t being updated.  It is more in depth than Dewey for art, and is much better for exhibition catalogues; and for the Museum’s purposes it fits better with their spatial idiosyncrasies.  Unsurprisingly it is not that well known, so new staff are unfamiliar with its format, and inconsistancies can creep in; in addition, as it hasn’t been updated there are outdated geographical areas, and no keep up with technoligical advances.  Monographs are shelved by artist (or predominant artist where more than one featured), and exhibition catalogues by location and gallery.  Sometimes multiple copies of an item are shelved at different places depending on what the book focuses on, for instance an exhibition catalogue containing works of Gwen John (painter) and Lucie Rie (ceramic artist) is shelved in the ceramics collection, and under Gwen John monographs.  They are happy using the MMA system as it works well for the space their collection is in (which is pretty full!).

The final presentation for the morning was on a topic that most of us were probably unfamiliar with.  Miranda Morton’s talk, entitled Term Cymru: how do you say “Twitter” in Welsh? was about her work as a terminologist at the Welsh Government, where the two languages of Wales (Welsh and English) have to be treated equally.  As part of the translation service her work involves translating statutory guidelines and legislation into Welsh.  Within the European Union Welsh is not one of the 23 official languages, but is recognised as a co-official language – thus material from the EU isn’t published in Welsh, but if a query was posed in Welsh, a Welsh reply would be given.  As an example of how busy they are, the translation service provided 4,266 written translations in a 6 month period, with an average of 2,000 words per day per translator.  With tight deadlines and a number of translators, and material being required for different purposes, there can be problems with consistancy.  Additionally, there can be ambiguity over terminology,  specialist definitions for different sectors, and the use of colloquial terms in campaigns, which can all mean problems for the translators.  In 2004 a means to combat these problems was established with the setting up of Term Cymru.  A free resource, which is also available to the public, it is essentially a database of terminology with contextual explanations for some terms, and subject tags.    With 49,000 records to date it is due for some weeding and streamlining, but it is an extremely useful tool for standardising government terminology in Enlgish/Welsh.

After our stimulating morning we stopped for lunch, and many informal and interesting discussions took place in this break.

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The delights of the Private Press

Since October I’ve been spending approximately one day a week cataloguing books in SCOLAR – the special collections and archive side of the library service.  Although we employed a Rare books cataloguer earlier in the year, the rest of the cataloguing team are getting a chance to help out with cataloguing the Rare Books Collection.  To ease us in ‘gently’ we have started on Private Presses because they are relatively modern, most likely to be in English, and just not as complicated as something from the 16th century! 

I’m really enjoying the work, although there’s been a bit of a steep learning curve, even with these books; extra fields to add, new vocabulary to get my head round in describing things, and lots of attention to detail (even more attention to detail than normal!).  I’m finding the Presses fascinating, and want to go off and do bits of research on them all, though there isn’t really time.  Luckily there is time for a bit, especially when it can be tied into a blog – and we do have a special blog for SCOLAR which I am able to contribute to.  I’m hoping in the next couple of weeks to add a few posts on some of the Presses we have been doing, and will possibly sneak a few pics onto this blog as well.  I love the whole idea of the Presses, small run enterprises, interested in beauty, art and literature rather than mass production; giving poets and illustrators wonderful outlets for their art.  Although I do wonder at times who could afford them!  Often these books are printed on hand-made paper, which gives such lovely impressions of the cottage-industies behind them.

Many of the books we have in our collection have been signed by the author, the illustrator, or even the printer, which adds another lovely slice of history to the book.  I’m hoping to do a blog on the signed books at a later point; so far the most ‘famous’ one I’ve spotted since we started cataloguing them, has been T. S. Eliot  – that was quite exciting, and I know there are many more in there.

The illustrations are often quite beautiful, engravings or woodcuts done specifically for the publication, and looking at the collection as a whole you get a good impression of the illustrative art movement from the end of the 19th century up to the 2nd World War.

I’m looking forward to continuing to work on the Presses, and to be able to blog about some of them in more detail.  As there are several of us working on them its not possible to handle everything, so I am relying on my colleagues to alert me to anything particularly interesting that they come across too!

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Thing 23: Mirror,mirror what’s in store? Time to create a Thing 24..

I hope it’s not cheating to do Thing 23 before I’ve tidied up the wasteland of missing Things left scattered around, but as I’m being computer frustrated (see previous post), it seemed wiser to get round to some reflection, and achieve one of the Things I’d set myself this weekend.

1. Reflect on the programme in general

Well, its been great!  I gave a presentation on my experience of cpd23 this week at the CLIC Social Media in Libraries event (my first Prezi), so had a good think and reflect about the course while I was putting my presentation together.  I identified some pitfalls   – Time problems, Lack of interest/relevance, Information overload; and I identified some gains – some more tangible than others (like a blog and a twitter account), but including encouragement, networks, practice in reflection.  Overall I’d say its been a really positive experience, and will continue to affect my professional life for quite a while to come.  There will come occasions when I need to use Tools that were introduced to me on this course that I may have initially regarded as of not much relevance (to me as a cataloguer), and I will be even more grateful to have learnt about them here.

As to what I want to do next, I think I shall want to play around with some of the tools some more, and try to learn how to use them better, or see new ways of applying them to my job.  Having done one Prezi, I want to use it again, and make each new presentation better than the last.

“Thing 24” – I think I would like to come back to this in a year’s time and see what has changed in my working practices, and how many of the cpd23 Things have been integrated or adapted.

2. Identify some gaps in your experience

We have a rather hideous appraisal form to fill in each year at work, in fact nearly every year they seem to change it, and it gets bigger and more complicated, and truly awful to fill in.  So I generally have a good idea about my experience gaps.

One of the gaps I would like to plug is my knowledge of the Library of Congress classification scheme (I feel very ashamed as a cataloguer to be mentioning this!).  I’m a Dewey girl!  I’m responsible for the cataloguing of books for the medical and healthcare libraries at Cardiff University, plus the Human Genetics Historical Library (housed in SCOLAR) – and they are all done in Dewey.  LCC makes me scream, but I am assuming that is because I haven’t been introduced to it properly, I haven’t even worked anywhere where I have had to shelve books in it.  But I am having to use it gradually more and more, as I help out with books for some of the other libraries, and when helping out with cataloguing the Rare Books collection.  Often I feel like I am wading through treacle trying to understand it, and just when I think I am getting there, I discover we have used a slightly different variant in-house and I’m lost again.  I’ve been hoping to go on a course for years, but they always seem to be in London, and quite expensive (especially adding travel costs), so as yet I haven’t.

I have however, started filling in one knowledge gap recently by signing up to a distance learning short course postgraduate module on Rare books, being held by Aberystwyth.  It seemed quite timely considering I am now spending about one day a week cataloguing rare books.

3. & 4. Personal Development Plan

As mentioned above we have a fairly detailed development plan in our appraisal forms, gaps have been identified, time scales set, etc etc.  So I am not going to reconsruct a new PDP.  What Iam going to do though is aim to regularly check my progress against my appraisal form, and identify where I am falling down before it gets round to next year’s appraisal (which is what usually happens)!  Make the plan an ‘action plan’ rather than a ‘Did I do any of the things I made up last year?’ plan.

5. Keep Blogging

I intend to.

I hope you keep reading!



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…and Doctors will wear scarlet

I contribute to another blog at work which showcases the rare books and archives held by SCOLAR (Special collections and archives) at Cardiff University.  At the moment I am mainly posting about the Human Genetics Historical Library, a project I have been involved in since 2007 (I am the only cataloguer for this collection).  Although in months to come I (and the rest of the team) will be getting chance to help the Rare Books Cataloguer, so I am hoping I may get to blog about books that are older than the 20th century!

My latest post is on one of the Darwin centenary books we have acquired.


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