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
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
The latest catalogue of librarianship books from Ashgate features a couple which should be of particular interest for special collections: Smith, C and Stead, L. (eds). The boundaries of the literary archive. August 2013. Includes contributions by archivists about practical issues in literary archives, such as confidentiality and use in teaching and marketing. The case … Continue reading New from Ashgate – Library Space and Archives in 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 …
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?
An impressive new work published by the Association of College & Research Libraries offers comprehensive coverage of all aspects of security for special collections: Guide to security considerations and practices for rare book, manuscript and special collection libraries, compiled and edited by Everett Wilkie (ACRL, 2011). The book offers definitive expert guidance on this vital … Continue reading Special, Safe and Secure
A new report, Exhibiting the Written Word, makes the excellent point that "there has been little reflection on the challenges of displaying the written word and how such displays differ from the display of art and museum artefacts". The report outlines the challenges e.g. book formats were not (usually) created to be shown in glass … Continue reading Exhibiting the Written Word
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
For images and helpful information about historic bindings, I highly recommend the 52 Weeks of Fantastic Bindings series of blogs from Special Collections at the University of St Andrews. Masses of beautiful and intriguing books, check out their biggest incunable or this lovely Tennyson edition. A great resource, and a weekly treat!