News of a wonderful find at the University of Reading Special Collections. While cataloguing a collection of fragments, Special Collections librarian Erika Delbecque spotted something exciting ... a leaf from the Sarum Ordinal printed by William Caxton in 1476 or 1477 - the only copy of this part of the book known to survive! The … Continue reading “I suspected it was special as soon as I saw it …”: Reading’s Caxton leaf
Sound recordings offer us extraordinary insights into the past. To take just one example from my own experience. I had read the text many times, but I never fully understood the popularity or impact of J.B. Priestley's Second World War radio broadcasts until I heard him speak. His homely, warm Yorkshire tones contrasted with the … Continue reading Save our Sounds!
Mystified by medieval books? I'm very impressed by a new series of online tutorials offering a fun and free introduction to these wonderful objects: how they were made and how they were used. Books and the dissemination of knowledge in medieval Europe was created by medieval book expert Erik Kwakkel. Any excuse to share an … Continue reading Meeting Medieval Manuscripts
From a Book of Hours to a Book of Bits. This blog post by medievalist Elaine Treharne chronicles the shocking destruction of a Book of Hours. Sold at auction in 2010, this unique volume has since been split up and sold in pieces, a practice known as book-breaking or biblioclasm. A practice that goes on … Continue reading The Broken Book
This post from the Special Collections librarian at the Jerwood Library, Trinity Laban, is inspiring. It tells a story of hidden, neglected special collections which were a burden and a concern for library staff. The writer shows how making the collections visible and making the case for their support changed everything. It's particularly interesting that … Continue reading Making the Case is Key for Music
Are you struggling with increasing numbers of users, demand for digital, crumbling collections, unsuitable storage space, intellectual property conundrums, born-digital collections, lack of skills, pressure of public sector cuts and recession ...? You are not alone! Two essential new reports reveal the challenges faced by UK special collections and archives and give us the evidence … Continue reading Too Many Collections, So Little Time?
"My vision then of a future manuscript catalogue would be of something that links together a wide range of resources ... anchored by the record of the physical manuscript itself ..." This vision is outlined by Andrew Prescott, Professor of Digital Humanities at Kings College London, in The Function, Structure and Future of Catalogues, now … Continue reading Manuscripts Online! And in the Public Domain …
Delighted to see the British Armorial Bindings database online, thanks to the Bibliographical Society of London and the University of Toronto. Building on the work of the late John Morris, continued by Philip Oldfield, the database aims to offer a "comprehensive catalogue of all the coats of arms, crests, and other heraldic devices that have … Continue reading British Armorial Bindings: Heraldry Online
Special Collections at the University of St Andrews have been running a weekly series: 52 Weeks of Fantastic Bindings, highlighting the gorgeous bindings of their rare books and manuscripts. I mentioned this great series before, but, now that the 52 Weeks are over, I think it's time to mention it again! The series is worth … Continue reading 52 Fantastic Bindings – what next?
The latest issue of Rare Books Newsletter (91, January 2012) is entirely devoted to reviews of recent books of interest to Special Collections. Find out what librarians, academics and other experts made of publications about manuscripts, early printed books, the historic book trade, bookbindings, a private press and a national library: Alston, R.C.. Inventory of … Continue reading Books about Books Reviewed