Thursday, December 4, 2008

Short Historical Report

I've decided to wrap up this blog (well over a year after my last entry) with copies of my final projects. Of course, this is all my work- and you can't copy it or own it, or if you choose to use it, you must credit me.

Short Report on St. Paul's Cathedral Library"Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice"
(Reader, if you seek his monument, look around you).
~ Engraving on a memorial to Christopher Wren, St. Paul's Cathedral Architect

Introduction: A History of the St. Paul's Cathedral Library

St. Paul's Cathedral has long been reputed for being not only a place of worship and public assembly, but also as a place for learning. Dating back to the late 1100's, many of St. Paul's canons were scholars of law and theology, studying elsewhere in Europe but returning to St. Paul's. Though the earliest book-lists are dated 1245, it is evident that prior to that point in time, the cathedral itself was a “site of intellectual stimulation”(Keene, Burns, and Saint 27). Doctors, lawyers, teachers and theologians surround the church's long history. A theologian by the name of Peter of Cornwall, while visiting St. Paul's to hear a sermon “was amazed at its number of distinctions, flowers of words and copious authorities” indicating that the church and its canons were well-read and highly educated (Keene, Burns, and Saint 27). As such, the importance of learning, research and study surrounding the cathedral is quite evident through the history and personal accounts of those who visited St. Paul's much earlier than the Great Fire of 1666 (and Wren's rebuild). The first mention of the cathedral holding divine and secular works for the city of London occurs in the twelfth century. Individuals who were responsible for the collection were masters of the local schools, and Master Durand was the first individual to gain responsibility for the first recorded collection. His successor (Hugh) was charged with creating a list of the books and placing one copy of this list in the cathedral treasury (Keene, Burns, and Saint, 413).
Little is known about the holdings of the original collection, but one may surmise that St. Paul's held mainly title-deeds and documents outlining the property ownership of bishops and others who were involved with the cathedral, in addition to religious and ecclesiastic works. Through the years that followed 1245, the most detailed and thoroughly researched inventory lists include not only book holdings, but all of the property in the church- altars, furniture, etc. Dean Ralph Baldock created the most detailed inventories of the cathedral's properties beginning in 1295, and continued to create lists through 1313, while he was bishop of London. The later lists include “a miscellaneous collection of about 150 volumes” ranging from medicine and law to scholastic theology. However, if one were to “judge from the library catalogue of 1458, the cathedral kept the theological books but rejected most of the legal works” (Keene, Burns, and Saint 414).
Two friends by the names of Walter Sherrington and Thomas Lisieux (prebendaries from the mid-to-late 1400's) made contributions to the library collection. Sherrington through book donations and Lisieux through his intricately detailed records of cathedral holdings. (Notably, Lisieux's lists are incredibly organized and still a valuable guide to cathedral holdings that have been lost over the years.)
After 1458 the collection grew as a result of donations from not only Sherrington, but also John Somerset (Henry VI's physician), and Thomas Gascoigne (theologian and polymath) to name only a few. Between 1458 and 1540, the cathedral's library collection nearly doubled (Keene, Burns, and Saint 417). During this time most antiquarian and valuable books were still held in the cathedral treasury, while books in the library were chained. Library books were also available for loan for a term of up to six months, “but only if approved by the dean and chapter and upon the giving of sufficient surety” (Keene, Burns, and Saint 416).
As the years passed, parts of the library seemingly vanished according to certain catalogs that were kept in the 16th and 17th centuries. A few individuals are known to have taken off with parts of the collection, including one Sir Robert Cotton, who (it is surmised) would remove the ex libris from books and manuscripts he took from the library, to prohibit readers from knowing the previous owner was in fact St. Paul's Cathedral Library (Keene, Burns, and Saint 418). Books were also moved to various locations for safe-keeping due to the Reformation and different civil wars. Portions of the library's collection were sent to Sion College, and also to William Dugdale at Lambeth Palace, who had volunteered to sort out various legal items that were (at that time) sent from other cathedrals to be housed at St. Paul's (Keene, Burns, and Saint 419). And of course, in 1666 the Great Fire of London “destroyed tens of thousands of volumes at St. Paul's” though many of those are notably books that were stored in the crypt for booksellers. Though they were lucky to remove some books from the cathedral before the fire ravaged the building, most of the items that were salvaged were religious and legal documents belonging to the church. Of the library's holdings, what survived the Great Fire of London were those items that were not in the cathedral during the blaze. Thankfully some of these items are still owned by the library (though the archives are at Guildhall), and a document lists the twenty-four printed works and three manuscripts that survived the fire (Keene, Burns, and Saint 420).
It is evident from Wren's design of the cathedral that he intended for a library space to exist in the post-fire building, even if his designs did not include the word “library” in them (Keene, Burns, and Saint 420).. When the rebuilding of the cathedral was completed, individuals began donating their own collections to become St. Paul's Cathedral Library. Humfrey Wanley, William Beveridge, but most notably Henry Compton (Bishop of London from 1675-1713) all donated books. Compton's contribution was substantial in size, but likewise in quality. As such, his donation was greatly appreciated by the church, and a painting of Compton still hangs above the fireplace in the library today.
Through the years that followed, the collection continued to grow. It can be assumed that at some time visitors to the library were charged a fee to enter, and that including the library on a tourist's walk-about would permit a view of the geometric staircase, which is truly a work of art and physics not to be missed. In 1862 William sparrow Simpson began a conservation effort of the 8,000 decaying books within the collection, re-binding about 3,400 of them (Matthews 265). Simpson also implemented an acquisitions policy, adding a large number of items relating to the cathedral, the history and City of London to the collection, and created a catalogue of holdings. His contributions and efforts are evident even today in the library (Matthews 265).
Physical Aspects of the Library
The St. Paul's Cathedral Library has been in existence for over 300 years. A spiral geometric staircase of 90 individual steps built by Dean Kempster leads two revolutions up to the Triphorium level of the church. Though unsure what the original purpose of this Triphorium area was for, upon walking through the hallways to the Trophy Room that houses Christopher Wren's Great Model. The oak and plaster 1:25 scale model represents the “cathedral Wren yearned to build, totally symmetrical, its portico a double rank each with either giant columns. The walls would be a single storey [sic] throughout, so that the dome dominated” (Saunders 60). The room in which the Great Model stands was originally meant to be a Library or Reading Room (according to current Cathedral Librarian Jo Wisdom). This is evident in the appearance of the pilasters reaching up the walls. The sculpted pilasters illustrate quill pens, books and ink pots climbing towards the ceiling. Windows that begin very high up on the wall also point toward Wren's intent that these rooms serve as reading rooms, in order for appropriate lighting to come through the glass, and also to place high bookshelves beneath the windows themselves. The ceiling of the Trophy Room is incredibly high, and some believe the ceiling design of this room was created to encourage the flow of ideas and studies to rise-up to the height of the curved tent-like ceilings (Wisdom).
The current Cathedral Library collection is housed in a room that has been working as the theological library of St. Paul's since 1720 (Saunders 111). Wooden bookshelves surround all four walls, complete with a second level (accessible by staircase), and some glass encased shelves in corners of the room. Much of the woodwork on the ornate shelves was created by Jonathan Maine (Saunders, 111). Once again decorative pilasters climb the walls between shelves, this time decorated with more deeply cut iconography (wheat, grapes, human skulls, books) representing the Holy Communion and also the familiar Latin phrase Mimento Mori, or “Remember death”. (These symbols were created to remind theological scholars of their motivation for studies, their mortality as well as the quest for knowledge while remembering the quest for eternal salvation.) Roughly six large desk-areas exist in the middle of the room, providing ample working space for the librarian and volunteers. One or two of the desks may be from Wren's period, though most of the furniture within the current library is much newer, from the 19th century (Wisdom).

St. Paul's Cathedral Library Today
The library that exists today at St. Paul's looks very much as it did originally, beautifully carved bookshelves and volumes that are held fast with binding tape to avoid further damage. According to the current librarian, there are approximately 13,500 volumes housed within the cathedral library, at least two-thirds of which date prior to the 1800s. Only one book that survived the Great Fire is housed in the library at this time, and it is a Pre-Reformation choir book from the 13th century. The fittings within the library are mostly from the 19th century, though one or two may be from Wren's period.
Items are organized on the shelves by size, which brings into question the process of finding books. Though manual listings of items still exist (and are used often) to find books, the library has integrated a computerized catalogue as well. To keep costs low, the library imported electronic records from other collections, and at this point in time these records still need to be tweaked a bit. (The data needs to be “cleaned up” to be sure it accurately reflects what is currently in the collection, as well as indicates where it is located on the shelf.) The manual listings utilize the English Short Title Catalogue. This card catalog lists the author, and a press-mark that displays a “number of the section, the letter for the shelf, and number for the position on the shelf (i.e. 8.F.12, or section 8, shelf F, 12th book on the shelf)” (Hitchcock 15).
Though not included in the normal tour of the cathedral, one may visit the library if prior arrangements are made with the cathedral librarian. Only working three days per week (part-time) the library is often staffed by one volunteer who helps to pull books for individuals who come in asking to perform research. The library is currently involved in cathedral publications, education and conservation of their holdings. Though the cathedral library does not currently have a “Strategic Plan”, they do observe Objectives, or planning areas, to guide the work of the library. St. Paul's Cathedral Library strives to provide an information resource for the cathedral and the wider public, and to preserve and exploit early books and manuscripts (Wisdom). The preservation efforts in place at the library at this time include careful monitoring of the building structure, including keeping an eye on a suspicious corner of the ceiling that has experienced water damage over the years. In addition to observation, the library also runs two domestic humidifiers to help keep moisture from damaging the books. Relative humidity is recommended at about 44-55% for items within the library, and a temperature of around 68 degrees Fahrenheit is monitored with several thermometers strategically placed among the shelves. Though these steps serve as precautionary measures, the library has had its fair share of obstacles regarding preservation of the collection. The library's previous librarian would often bring plants into the library as well as cloth rugs, both which are not recommended for use around rare books. The current librarian has come across items hidden in corners that were regrettably put away damp, and were ruined by mold. Wooly bears, or the larvae of the tiger moth have also been known to exist among the collection. To prevent these infestations, the library has set up insect traps in hopes to avoid any damage caused by paper/adhesive-seeking bugs (Wisdom).
The current St. Paul's Cathedral Library exists and is open for “all who an make good use of the collection” (Wisdom). Because the items within the collection are so delicate, and perhaps because the cathedral is familiar with losing items due to disasters or theft, items are not available for-loan at St. Paul's. Though not open everyday, nor looked after by a librarian daily, the library at St. Paul's is clearly an important treasure that only few have the pleasure of visiting. St. Paul's has long been associated with learning and books, be it booksellers in the churchyard, collecting public records and muniments, or Wren's design of the library itself. A visit to the library of St. Paul's Cathedral will lend a better understanding and new insight into the long history and relationship between books and St. Paul's.

Works Cited

Hitchcock, Jeannette M. "Some London Libraries." Pacific Bindery Talk 11 (1938): 12-16.

Keene, Derek, Arthur Burns, and Andrew Saint. St. Paul's: the Cathedral Church of London 604-2004. New Haven & London: Yale UP, 2004. 1-537.

Matthews, Walter R., and W. M. Atkins. History of St. Paul's Cathedral. London: Phoenix House Ltd., 1957. 1-380.

Saunders, Ann. St. Paul's: the Story of the Cathedral. London: Collins & Brown, 2001. 1-218.

Wisdom, Jo. Personal interview. 30 July 2007.

Photo Credit
The Library of Dean and Chapter is Situated At Triforium Level Behind the South-West Tower in a Chamber Designed for It by Wren. St. Paul's Cathedral Library, London. The Library. St. Paul's Cathedral. 4 Sept. 2007 .

Monday, October 27, 2008

Final Project: Digitisation in the United Kingdom

I've decided to wrap up this blog (well over a year after my last entry) with copies of my final projects. Of course, this is all my work- and you can't copy it or own it, or if you choose to use it, you must credit me.

A Research Study of Four Digitisation
Projects in the United Kingdom

Mandy R. Simon
LIS 587
Dr. Teresa Welsh
September 15, 2007

“The pressing and increasingly urgent need for advocacy and awareness-raising and to raise the profile of digital preservation among a much broader community” was the main reason for the creation of the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) in the United Kingdom. This coalition was created to investigate the needs and situation concerning digital preservation efforts in the United Kingdom. From this statement, it is understood that the goals of digitisation are to increase awareness as well as preserve information into another accessible format. By digitising collections, not only would information be preserved, but also it would be widely available to a world-wide audience. In 2003, the DPC conducted a survey assessing the attitudes towards digital preservation activities by various individuals and organisations in the United Kingdom. From this survey, the DPC published a report entitled Mind the Gap: Digital Preservation Needs in the UK which serves as a foundation for understanding digital preservation efforts throughout the region. “When you digitize materials that normally have restricted availability, you automatically increase access to these resources” . Though digital preservation does not physically preserve the item, it does allow individuals to have access to the item with less opportunity for wear-and-tear or handling of the actual book/manuscript, thereby increasing the physical longevity of the item as well.

Purpose of Study
As the main goals of digital preservation are to provide wider access as well as retain information in a sustainable format, it is evident that the United Kingdom and its treasures of historical manuscripts and books would be a prime area to begin a national digitisation effort. Though this has not happened as of yet, the DPC works to raise awareness of the risks associated with the failure to address digital preservation challenges, engage senior policy and decision makers who are involved in awarding funding for preservation activities, identify a list of key recommendations for further digital preservation action and identify who might take these forward. Though the Mind the Gap report identifies many obstacles and issues associated with the problems of digitisation projects, there are four key digitisation efforts underway that will be outlined in this paper. The four projects are separate entities, and all of the organisations work in different ways to achieve the same overall goal: to digitally preserve precious items and allow people from all over the world to view them. The purpose of this study is to compare the digitsation efforts, each varying in processes and results, and demonstrate that, though the organisations may operate differently, their efforts are worthwhile and succeed (as best they can) in achieving the overall goals of the institutions and digital preservation. In the following pages, Guildhall and the City of London's COLLAGE digitisation program, the British Library's Turning the Pages program, The National Archives of Scotland's image library digitisation program, and the National Library of Scotland's John Murray exhibit will all be explicated and discussed in regards to their efforts to digitally preserve their collections.

Literature Review and Methodology
Literature reviewed for this study includes articles/reviews outlining the various locations as well as first-hand user experiences visiting the websites and physical sites offering digital versions of collections. The National Library of Scotland's John Murray Exhibit and the British Library's Turning the Pages exhibit both have separate digital programs for their on-site locations. Their on-site locations include the digitised works displayed through computer kiosks with touch-screen technology so visitors may peruse the works on their own. The John Murray Exhibit in Scotland also includes physical copies of the works displayed behind glass, along with other physical items relating to the time period and/or individual who wrote the work. The British Library's digital Turning the Pages Exhibit compliments those items housed in the Treasures room. Computer kiosks are strategically placed throughout the British Library's high-traffic visitation areas, so tourists and visitors may experience Turning the Pages technology while visiting the physical location. Both programs help to promote their respective website traffic, directing patrons to go to the institutions' websites from home to witness the same technology on their own computers. Methodology for retrieving this information also included personal and email discussions with curators and directors of digital projects being carried out with certain institutions, in addition to scholarly literature outlining various aspects and highlights of the digitisation processes, overall goals, objectives and end-results. When human subjects were not available for consultation regarding their digitisation objectives and projects, research relied heavily upon the informational background portions of the institutions' websites, articles outlining user and institutional experiences, and personal experiences by the author. The goals of preservation were outlined by articles such as Digitisation 101 by K.M. Dames and the Mind the Gap report published in 2006 by the Digital Preservation Coalition in the United Kingdom (the latter article overviews the report and also assesses the needs of digitisation for institutions within the UK).

Research Questions
The major question considered for this study is: “Do the following four institutions carry out digitisation efforts and projects with the overall objective of preserving physical items and increasing availability/access to a wider patron population?” In addition to this question, informal questions were addressed to two individuals regarding specific processes and handling of projects: Nat Edwards, John Murray Archive Program Manager, at the National Library of Scotland, and John Simmons, Image Library Manager, at the National Archives of Scotland. Questions directed to the John Murray exhibit at the National Library of Scotland included the following: “What is the name of the software program used to digitise the items in the John Murray collection for the touch screen technology? What file-type is used upon the initial digitisation (.pdf, .jpg, etc.)? Is this an exclusive software program developed by the library, or an outside vendor? Is the program on the NLS website that allows visitors to peruse the Gallery the same program that is used in the exhibit for the touch screen technology? Given the "multiple points of access" ideal that was integrated into the planning of the exhibit, how does the National Library of Scotland plan to integrate this into their website? Right now there is an effort to digitise 15 thousand additional items from the collection. How will this be accomplished? Who handles the physical digitisation process? What is the digitisation goal of the John Murray collection? And, is there a roundabout figure per year that the library hopes to digitise or is that dependent upon funding?”
Questions directed John Simmons at the National Archives of Scotland included: “Of the three major digitisation initiatives for the NAS: the Registers Archive Conversion Project, the Church of Scotland Records, and the Image Library Project. Are any of these initiatives working together to have a cohesive organisation process, or are they being carried out separately? How are items being selected for digitisation? Is there a particular numbered goal for the digitisation of these items (i.e. a certain number of items per year, etc)? Or, is that number dependent upon funding? What type of software program is used for digitisation of these documents? Who carries out the digitisation processing? Will these items be organized on the website or available on the Online Public Access Catalogue? And, will they be available for patrons to access outside of the archives (from home)?”
Both sets of questions were returned to the author electronically, and answered to the best of the individual’s ability based on their personal experiences heading the digitisation projects. Their answers are integrated into the background information written about the organizations below.

COLLAGE: Guildhall Library & the City of London
Guildhall Library's roots begin in the 1400's, when the people of London began compiling and collecting items related to the City of London. The collection originally held theological books and manuscripts, as well as public records. “Guildhall houses the greatest collection devoted to London. It includes History, English local history, Parliamentary matters, early law reports, family history, etc. Many guilds (about 95 companies) gave their collections over to Guildhall Library, including Clock and Watch-making guilds, Livery Guilds, Blacksmiths, etc.” In addition to these documents, the Guildhall library houses a multitude of visual printed items such as paintings, prints and maps relating to the City. In an effort to increase the availability of viewing these works, Guildhall Library partnered with the City of London to digitise over 30,000 of these works of art. The effort was entitled COLLAGE, an acronym for: 'City of London Library & Art Gallery Electronic'. The items that have been digitised are now available to peruse and purchase prints on the COLLAGE website, The City of London's Libraries and Art Galleries Department assisted in the effort to continually digitise the collection which includes the entire Guildhall Art Library, along with thousands of caricatures, maps, drawings and paintings. A user may now access and view these items easily by visiting the website and perusing the database of digitised works. Users may also wish to purchase reprinted versions of the items within the database, or digital copies of the items as well. With inexpensive costs, users may not only view but also maintain their own copies of works (many of them original and owned only by Guildhall) to enjoy. If a user would happen upon this website, unknowing of the holdings or collection, one may search using the following subject headings or “suggested themes”: Abstract Ideas, Archaeology &Architecture, History, Leisure, Military & War, Natural World, Politics, Religion & Belief, Society, or Trade & Industry. Searchers may also perform searchers by clicking on Engravers/Publishers, People or Places. Users may also specify works between a certain time period, or utilize a keyword search to find works of their interests.

(Image is a screenshot of the COLLAGE website search page,
illustrating suggested themes and further search options for users.)

With COLLAGE’s beginnings in 1994, Barry Cropper, Assistant Director of the Corporation of London, was the individual who began handling the idea of this massive digitisation project. The Corporation of London's Libraries and Art Galleries department agreed to fund the project and invested over nine-hundred-thousand pounds which was (at the time) “the largest non-mainframe IT project in the Corporation's history.” The project would be carried out through two phases: the actual digitisation and cataloguing of images, and then implementation of the public delivery system (or search mechanism) for the website. “The Corporation also employed eight temporary staff to index, photograph and digitise material at an average rate of 150 works of art per day.” The storage system that functions as the working database for the COLLAGE website is offered by iBase, a company that specializes in digital media storage. The first part of the digitisation project included using iBase's “image and digital media asset management software, suitable for building an image database, online image or picture library system, or a secure searchable archive.” Between 1994 and 2004, the project grew into an enormous task, and issues regarding copyright, technical issues, processing images, and training staff to utilize and work on the project was straining. However, the end-result has improved other aspects of the Library itself. Staff are more knowledgeable of the collections' holdings, marketing and public interest have improved, and revenue is generated by print and digital sales of the items, to name only a few of the improvements.
Clear search methods and organization of the website itself allows users to not only view the artwork that makes up the Guildhall collection, but may also own a piece of that collection by purchasing a copy of it. The website that is maintained by Guildhall Library and the City of London provides instantaneous access to individuals who may not otherwise be able to physically visit the collection. “Resource discovery is the primary driver for the project,” and the ten year digitisation effort has not only increased access but also awareness of the resources available through the Guildhall's website. The information and works provided on the COLLAGE website also limits the overall physical handling of these items, thereby increasing longevity and availability of the item from a preservation standpoint. Though a taxing and expensive endeavor, the overall goal of increasing access to materials and preserving the physical items has been achieved by COLLAGE.

National Library of Scotland: The John Murray Exhibit
Through a partnership between the Heritage Lottery Fund, the government of Scotland, and other donors, the National Library of Scotland acquired the John Murray archive for over thirty-two million pounds. Evidence of Scotland's long history with literature and publishing, the John Murray exhibit holds such priceless letters and manuscripts from the likes of Jane Austen, Darwin, and Lord Byron to name a few. The exhibit itself needed to be physically displayed in a way that would best benefit its users and visitors, so the National Library of Scotland began creating an exhibit that would adequately reflect the value of the collection. In addition to the physical display of the items they hold, the National Library has chosen to digitise all of the items that are physically on display and offer touch-screen computer technology for visitors to read, zoom in on text, scan or transcribe the letters and manuscripts. The individual leading the John Murray Exhibit digitisation project is Nat Edwards, John Murray Archive Program Manager. The software utilized in the digitisation project for the items on physical display is “a purpose-built Macromedia Flash interface that uses XML data, which can be easily updated by the Library. Digital resources themselves are in standard cross-platform formats (ie JPG, MP3 etc).” Though the library has digitised all works on display, they are also working diligently to provide the same digital versions of items in a searchable format on the National Library of Scotland's website, Though the projects have the same goal regarding preservation and increased access and availability, the software program that is utilized to digitise items on the Libray's website is not the same as the physical display digitisation project. Though the content is the same (the items are virtually the same items that are scanned in when they are on physical display at the library), the software program used for digitisation of the website images is quite different.
According to Edwards:
“The exhibition programme includes a series of AMX instructions, embedded in the XML script, which communicate with electrical hardware in the exhibition (e.g. triggering lighting effects) – so it is very “site specific”. The website is designed to be accessible on a number of different browsers and platforms and therefore The website is currently a very scaled down version of what will eventually be available – a sort of holding arrangement. It is intended that there will be different points of access for digital content (eg interpreted/thematic content, a search interface and direct access via 3rd party applications). The Gallery is a taster which will hopefully evolve considerably.”

The process of digitising (or physical image capture) is handled by the National Library of Scotland's Digital Library team. A third party supplier then transcribes the item, and it is then checked by library staff. “Mark-up of the digital objects is carried out in-house, although different items are prioritised and will be marked up in different ways.” The Library currently has 5,000 images captured and are undergoing the first portion of the transcription and marking up process. The end-goal of the Library is to digitise 15,000 images over the first 4 years, and then review the process and project. Though they are currently handling the process in-house at this point, when they review the project, they are open to finding a third party collaborator or vendor to help digitise on a greater scale. The overall goal of this project is simple: create availability to users on a global scale to witness the items in their valuable collection. Due to the limited amount of physical exhibition space at the National Library, digitising these items also permits a larger portion of the collection to be seen when it may have have otherwise never been displayed or accessible by library visitors and patrons.

British Library: Turning the Pages Exhibit
Perhaps the most popular of the digitisation projects in the United Kingdom is the Turning the Pages exhibit at the British Library. In 1996, the British Library began thinking about how they could digitise their treasures and make them available to the wider public. Partnering with Armadillo systems (a media consultant that focuses on cultural heritage), they worked together to create a digitisation project that would change user expectations regarding viewing digitised objects. The partnership was built on a “methodology of approaching bibliographic projects that encompasses thinking about the book in 5 ways: the book as object, the book as content, the book as icon, the book as window into the past, and the book as gateway to future learning.” With this philosophy in mind, Microsoft tech-whiz Bill Gates volunteered to assist by providing his own copy of Leonardo DaVinci’s Codex Leicester (which he purchased in 1994 for 30.8 million dollars) to be the guinea pig for the project. The results have been dramatic and impressive. The British Library offers kiosks in the building that permit patrons to view high-definition images of books and manuscripts held in the British Library's Treasures Room and Archives. By placing one's hand on the screen and dragging it across in a page-turning motion, the pages magically turn on the screen. The software also offers zooming capabilities, transcription and even a mirror to read DaVinci's backwards print. The same software capabilities are available on the Library's website. Though users do not have the touch-screen technology on their home computers, a website visitor may use their computer mouse to mimic the page-turning motion and view the digitised items.

(Above: Screenshot of Turning the Pages technology accessible through the British Library’s website)
There are several reasons that this project has gained such high international recognition and praise. The program is different, and the “clarity of the reproduction and the technology that enables the pages to be turned” make it so. This is a result of combining digital images and animation, which adds a completely different feel and experience for the user. The British Library's Creative Projects Manager, Clive Izard, says, “there has been a conscious effort to expose the Library's collection to the broadest possible audience.” Though the goal may be increased access, it is evident that much of the Library's focus is providing technology that best supplies the user with an experience that is detailed and realistic. With a collection that includes Lewis Carroll’s original Alice in Wonderland and original sketches of Leonardo Da Vinci, it makes sense that the Library would want to retain the artistic details and quality of the original works. With the launch of the new Microsoft Vista operating system, Turning the Pages 2.0 has also launched on the website, providing users an even more realistic experience while paging through the digitised works online. The new operating system (through Microsoft Vista) “offers users a 3D feel and see-through windows, improved security and connectivity.” To stay informed of the ease-of-use or usability of the British Library's online Turning the Pages exhibit, staff works with an outside user-experience research consultant firm called WUP (Web Usability Partnership). By continually testing the project and software, as well as questioning users about their experiences, Turning the Pages can remain at the forefront of the digitisation revolution. The website itself was designed for the user, and providing them with the best experience possible via virtual means. Using WUP, the British Library can discover “how users achieve their goals, the usefulness and relevance of the content, and assessment of behaviours and attitudes.” The key to web usability is to continually test the program as time passes and software changes.
The British Library's Turning the Pages exhibit places itself ahead of the race to digitise their collection, by providing state-of-the-art technology (animation) and continually adapting to software updates and web usability testing. These efforts combined with the objective to create the best possible experience for the user, perfectly illustrate the proper goals of a digitisation project: providing wider access and preservation of the original physical objects.

National Archives of Scotland:
The National Archives of Scotland is another United Kingdom organization that is working diligently to digitise public records and other items of interest to their users. Admittedly their collection is utilized most often by family historians and genealogists. However, many of the image holdings in their collection include treasures of sorts. A partnership between several organizations (the National Library of Scotland, The National Archives of Scotland, National Museums of Scotland, The National Trust for Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland) has been headed up by John Simmons (Image Library Manager, National Archives of Scotland). The goal is to create a collaborative online image library of their holdings. Though the goal is to create a collaborative library, right now the projects are all being carried out separately as the digitisation process begins. The National Archives of Scotland has already selected 1,000 items for digitisation. Each organization in the partnership will be selecting 1,000 images for the first unveiling of the image library collection. From that point onward (beginning with a sum total of 5,000 digitised items), organizations will aim to digitise 250 to 500 images per month to continue collection development. Criteria for selecting images to be digitised by the National Archives of Scotland are outlined by Simmons who says, “The selection criteria used were that the image should: be visually interesting; be historically important; be a NAS treasure; require little or no conservation treatment; be likely to be commercially popular; be copyright cleared; attract the Scottish interest market; reflect the diverse range of subjects of Scottish life, topography and industry; contain famous people or reflect famous events.” Right now, the NAS digitisation project is being “developed as a business to business service targeted at picture buyers”19 which also influences the images that are selected for digitisation. In the future, Simmons believes “that the NAS will likely select images that tie in with upcoming events, anniversaries, exhibitions and that can related to complementary material in other partners' collections.”19
All images located online will be made available at 400 dpi/ppi to provide a better viewing experience for the home user. The digitisation process is carried out in-house by the Digital Imaging Unit. When possible, the Archives uses existing electronic images created for another purpose by an external party in order to further preserve the physical object, and not expose it to the digitisation process (further handling for digitisation purposes). Simmons says, “The project will be delivering a shared branded externally hosted website called, hosting high resolution images and image metadata full searchable by keywords, themes for reuse and periods for direct download to the customer. There will be an e-commerce facility to allow online payments for images. The image library will facilitate the licensing of images for reuse, but also allow non-commercial users to purchase an image for a basic flat fee.” Though the website is not current active, the National Archives of Scotland predict that this project will not only provide further access to a wider audience, but may also generate some revenue from individuals wishing to purchase prints of the digitized images. This objective (generating revenue) is yet another way the projects may thrive and continue to exist as the institutions take on the digitisation processes as continual (and potentially un-ending) projects.

Results/Summary of Findings
In each institution, the overall objectives match up with the original question posed at the beginning of this study: “Do these projects work with the overall goal to preserve the physical items as well as provide further access to their holdings and collection to a wider audience?” As stated above, the institutions go about the processes and presentation of their respective digitised collections in different ways, however they all benefit from achieving their stated objectives. Both COLLAGE and the National Archives of Scotland seek to generate revenue for their organizations by offering copies of the digital images to the wider public for purchase (and in the case of the Archives, also more affluent/business clientele). Both the National Library of Scotland’s John Murray Exhibit and the British Library’s Turning the Pages exhibit focus on the in-person user-experience, utilizing touch-screen technology that allows patrons to not only read the digitised items, but also examine them as best as possible with high resolution zoom technology, animation, and other features. Though all four institutions work towards the goal in different ways, and provide incredibly different search options and experiences, they all create digital versions of their collections with the objective of increasing awareness of their holdings for a public that exists across the globe, not just individuals residing within the United Kingdom.
Though the end-products, processes, holdings and organizations differ, the main objective of digital preservation and creating wider access is achieved by these four organizations within the United Kingdom. Though the Digital Preservation Coalition’s Mind the Gap report suggests that many improvements should be made regarding the Digital Preservation initiatives in the UK, it is evident that these four organizations are doing the best they can with the resources they have to implement preservation projects at their institutions. The report takes into consideration how different sectors approach digital preservation in regards to funding, regulated industries, and methodologies. As seen from the background information and answers to questions posed by the author, these institutions are diligently working to lessen the gap between where the digital preservation initiatives in the UK are, and where they should be.
Works Cited

2007. Screenshot of COLLAGE Search Page, London, UK. COLLAGE: Search. Guildhall Library and
City of London. 5 Sept. 2007

"About COLLAGE." City of London Libraries and Guildhall Art Library. 30 Aug. 2007

Corrected Proofs of Nineveh. 2007. Edinburgh, Scotland. Screenshot: John Murray Archive Online
Gallery. National Library of Scotland. 12 Sept. 2007

Dames, K. M., et. al., Digitizing 101. Library Journal (1976) part Net Connect (Winter 2007) p. 2-4

Edwards, Nat. "Re: Digitisation Questions." E-mail to the author. 15 Aug. 2007.

He, Am. "User-Testing Ensures Accessibility for Turning the Pages Website-- Helped by Microsoft
and WUP." Multimedia Information and Technology 33 (2007). 10 Sept. 2007.

Jones, Maggie, and Najla Semple. "Mind the Gap: Assessing Digital Preservation Needs in the UK."
Adriadne 48 (2006): 1-7. 8 Aug. 2007 .

Leslie, Fiona. "Bringing Collections to Life, Digitising Local Studies and Special Collections: the
COLLAGE Project." The Electronic Library 22 (2004): 261-263. Library Information and
Literature Full Text. Wilson Web. University of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign, Worthington, OH. 1 Sept. 2007. Keyword: COLLAGE digitisation

Ojala, Marydee. "Turning the Pages of Priceless Manuscripts." EContentMag (2003): 8-9. 5 Sept. 2007

"Online Gallery: Turning the Pages." British Library. 2 Sept. 2007

"Overview: iBase." IBase.Com. 2006. iBase Media Services. 14 Sept. 2007

Pinkowski, Jennifer. "British Library Contest Yields Rare Manuscripts for Digitization." Library
Journal (2007). 14 Sept. 2007 .

Rawnsley, Rupert. 2007. British Library Turning the Pages Website. Rupert Rawnsley's Weblog. 9
Sept. 2007 .

Simmons, John. "Re: Digitisation Projects." Email to the author. 6 Aug. 2007.

Simon, Mandy R. "Guildhall Library Visit." Mandy Does London. 10 Aug. 2007. 14 Sept. 2007

"The John Murray Archive." National Library of Scotland. 1 Sept. 2007

"Turning the Pages: About Us." Turning the Pages. Armadillo Systems. 14 Sept. 2007

Final Projects: Annotated Bibliography

I've decided to wrap up this blog (well over a year after my last entry) with copies of my final projects. Of course, this is all my work- and you can't copy it or own it, or if you choose to use it, you must credit me.

Annotated Bibliography
Items relating to St. Paul's Cathedral

Crotchet, Dotted. “St. Paul's Cathedral (Continued)” The Musical Times, Vol. 48, No. 768. (Feb. 1 1907), pp 81-89.
This ten page article outlines the history of the Cathedral again, paying close attention to Wren's design as well as how the design was created to house and be a centre for listening to music throughout the years. In addition to the architectural comments, the author also quotes another scholar of St. Paul's history, Charles Welch, who wrote an article entitled St. Paul's Cathedral and its early literary associations. Welch's article is said to mention that nearly half of the booksellers who were prominent in London in the 1550s resided within the cathedral churchyard, indicating that St. Paul's indeed has a long history of associations with literature and books in general.

Hitchcock, Jeannette M. "Some London Libraries." Pacific Bindery Talk 11 (1938): 12-16.
Written in 1938, Hitchcock (a rare-books librarian at Stanford University) outlines her experience meeting with Gerald Henderson, a sub-librarian of St. Paul's Cathedral. At the time this article was written, three volumes from the original library (pre-1666) were held in the Cathedral Library (though now we know that only one such item resides in the library as of July 2007). Hitchcock eloquently describes the physical surroundings of the Cathedral Library, as well as briefly outlining a history of the library beginning in 1707 and the types of items that currently (as of 1938) reside in the library. Also mentioned is the arrangement of books (by size) and also the process by which an individual would be able to track an item down via means of classification.

"The Library." St. Paul's Cathedral. Dean and Chapter, St. Paul's Cathedral. 10 Aug. 2007
Serving as the official website of St. Paul's Cathedral Library, this page outlines some of the holdings within the library (mainly historical, ecclesiastical and patristic literature). Information relating to access (hours, location, contact information) as well as a brief history of how the collection was created after the Great Fire of 1666 (donations from Henry Compton and John Mangey) exists on this website. An interesting fact that is listed here that one may not come across elsewhere is that though the Cathedral still acquires materials, the library currently only acquires items relating to “major works on the history of the Church in England, on Wren and the building of the Cathedral, the Church in the City, and ’alumni’ material.”

Lynton, Norbert. “A Wren Drawing for St. Paul's” The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 97, No. 623. (Feb., 1955), pp. 40+42-44.
This article discusses drawings of Christopher Wren's first model of St. Paul's Cathedral. Though it is questionable whether Wren himself penned the drawings, it is evident that many changes took place between the design of the model (which was to portray the new St. Paul's to be erected after the last ruins fell from the original church in 1668) and the design of the actual church that stands today. Lynton describes the differences between the model and today's church, but also draws parallels between Wren's other designs such as the Trinity College Library in Cambridge. The model itself stood in the St. Paul's Cathedral Library during the time this article was written, but now resides in the Reading Room.

Matthews, Walter R., and W. M. Atkins. History of St. Paul's Cathedral. London: Phoenix House Ltd., 1957. 1-380.
Yet another book written about the history of the cathedral, History of St. Paul's Cathedral is a detailed account of the building, re-building and the societal significance of St. Paul's within British history. Included in this account are details surrounding the configuration of the library, as well as the financial problems that existed in creating and re-creating the library after the Great Fire. Individuals who were integral parts of library history are also mentioned, such as Sparrow Simpson's re-binding of 3,400 books and William R. Inge's (a dean of St. Paul's in 1920) refusal to spend additional money on the library.

Reed, A.W. “Literary Research in London” The Review of English Studies, Vol. 2, No. 5. (Jan., 1926), pp. 62-69.
Reed begins discussing going about performing Literary Research in London, but quickly reminds the reader that literary research can become antiquarian research. He narrows down the definition of literary research to include biography, bibliography, philology (the love of words) and of course literature itself. Reed goes on to discuss his own opinion of how one would best carry out literary research in the city of London. In these guidelines he includes the importance of becoming a reader at the British Museum, acquainting oneself with the Public Records Office, Guildhall Library (for additional town/public records), the library at Lincoln's Inn, among others. He includes guides and references to literature that would assist a researcher in deciphering nearly illegible handwriting, public records legalese, etc. I include this article in this bibliography, as I believe it would have been a helpful guide to my own research while studying in London.

Robbie, H. J. L. “An Undescribed MS. of Donne's Poems” The Review of English Studies, Vol. 3, No. 12. (Oct., 1927), pp. 415-419.
This article discusses three of John Donne's manuscripts, the first is held by the University Library in Cambridge (at the time of publication of this article). The second Donne manuscript that is mentioned in the article is housed at the St. Paul's Cathedral Library. The manuscript contains several poems, satires, elegies and letters. Whether or not it is actually the work of Donne is debatable. Robbie mentions that a cathedral librarian believed that a symbol on the inside front page of the manuscript indicated that it was written by Donne, though others believe the symbol could represent a number of other potential authors as well. The third manuscript mentioned in this article is held privately by an individual, and not discussed at length other than to suggest that it too is a compilation of poems and writings by the author, possibly for one of his patrons.

Saunders, Ann. St. Paul's: the Story of the Cathedral. London: Collins & Brown, 2001. 1-218.
With beautiful photographs, engravings and artistic interpretations of St. Paul's Cathedral's long history, Saunders outlines the the church's medieval beginnings in the City of London and chronicles it's metamorphosis into today's St. Paul's. Chapters outline not only the church's medieval roots, but also Christopher Wren's early designs, the Great Fire of London, and the trials and tribulations that Wren faced while building the church. Saunders also writes of the celebrations and annual events held at the church, which helps identify St. Paul's as an almost eternal centre for unity among Londoners.

"St Paul's: The new church." Old and New London: Volume 1 (1878), pp. 249-62. 15 Aug. 2007
This article was accessed via the British History Online website, which houses hundreds of printed and electronic documents relating to the history of the British Isles as a free service. This particular article discusses not only the architectural history of St. Paul's, but also briefly discusses the library and its holdings under the chapter “Nooks and Corners of the Cathedral.” This piece descriptively outlines the physical beauty and intricate design of the church as well as the individuals who were prominent during certain time periods of importance to the church history.

Wisdom, Jo. Personal interview. 30 July 2007.
During a brief personal interview with the current librarian of St. Paul's Cathedral Library, Jo Wisdom shared just some of the daily workings of the cathedral library. Included in this interview, Wisdom made mention of preservation practices, obstacles and issues surrounding preservation of the collection (particularly in regards to environmental concerns), classification of the collection, and the main objectives of the St. Paul's Cathedral Library. Much more could be learned from Jo Wisdom, if time permitted. However upon further research of the library history, one could easily begin to appreciate the responsibility that coincides with being the lone St. Paul's Cathedral Librarian.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Barbican Library

The Barbican Library was another great library we visited that stands within the City of London's square mile. The Barbican Library has a long historical context.

In 1423 the Barbican housed a reference collection for those who could read-- lawyers, doctors, professionals, etc. That libray was split up when a royal figure decided to keep part of the collection (See previous post- Duke of Somerset).

The Barbican is a Lending Library, one of 3 lending libraries within the City of London. The lending policy was established after the 1964 Public Library and Museum Act. Prior to that time it existed as reference-only. They circulate roughly 500K items per year and are open 6 days per week. They service about 1200 people per day, and many of these patrons are individuals who work within the City of London. (The City doesn't actually have many residents, mostly businesses/companies, etc.) Much of the business that comes into the library occurs through the lunch hour while people are on breaks from their jobs.

After the WWII bombings, a new site was designed in the 1960s and erected in the 1970s. It was designed to be a unique international Art Centre. There were always plans for a library to be attached to the Barbican Centre, in order to serve student, business, and residential patrons.

Music Library
The Barbican Music Library is one of the two largest collections of music in London. They have a very extensive arts collection and aim to cover all types of music. They cater to a wide range (diverse) patron population (including amateur and seasoned musicians). The CD collection is probably the largest in London that is housed in one area. They own 17,000 CDs that are all available for perusal by the public. Our guide mentioned that they have seen about a 10% drop in CD circulation in the last year due to downloading MP3s. I think this is a bigger deal in the UK because most libraries (if not all) charge patrons to borrow any items that are not books (DVDs, CDs, CD-roms, etc.). Currently the Barbican Music Library charges only 30p per week for CDs, which is a competitive (cheap!) rate compared to other libraries. New CDs are not available to loan until they've been on store shelves for 3 months. I couldn't believe this!!

**The 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act does not cover CD's and DVD's in the verbage. The only items the act spells out as being freely available by public libraries are books, though the libraries don't charge for Audiobooks.**

CD Classification is split up into five sections: Classical, Anthology, Pop Groups, Pop Female and Pop Male. Most items have RFID tags, and all CDs have security cases as well.

The Music library also has a wide variety of Music Electronic Resources, which is also available at home. (This includes the Grover Dictionary of Music and International Index to Music Periodicals.)

One of the neatest things in the Music library is an upright piano that sits near the Enquiry Desk. It has headphones attached to it so patrons can "try-out" scores they are looking to lend before they take them home.

The books in the Music Library are classified by Dewey, the Scores are classified by Macolving and Reeves Scheme. Journals are bound each year so back issues are available in hard-copies within the library.

Listening Booths
There are 8 separate listening booths for patrons to listen to music on CD. There are no restrictions on time limits to use these booths. There are also 2 booths that house a special collection of Live Music called Music Preserved. This collection is not owned by the Barbican, but patrons do have access to listen to it if they wish- at the two special listening booths created for this purpose.

The Barbican Library strives to support financiers in the city. Their collection includes many different items, though they mentioned that they have a very male-oriented patron population due to their location.

They do have outreach services to homebound individuals, education area called "Basic Skills for Life", conversation ESL programs, 1-to-1 Internet Tutor Sessions, etc. This library was most like a library in the US.

The Barbican was one of the first libraries in the country to gain RFID technology, which they admittedly say has its advantages AND disadvantages.

There are 2 exhibition areas, and there is a stringent application/interview process to have artwork displayed in these areas.

The library also houses an Arts Reading Room which is often used for group meetings and writing workshops, as well as a Children's library.

The Children's Library at Barbican is one of the largest children's libraries in London. They have about 25K loan-able items in the collection, and cater to a patron population from newborn to age 14. Every fortnight Birmingham sends them CARTONS of books (100-300 books) and they must go through and decide what they want to buy. There is only one state school within the square mile of London, though the librarians have developed links and relationships with private schools in the area as well as neighboring boroughs. All computers in the children's area are equipped with internet filters, and they librarian also made some interesting comments about access. Apparently if a librarian believes the content or book a 12 year old is attempting to check-out, they will reserve the right to NOT lend it to that patron. I thought this was astounding- and so completely different from what our access policies are in the states.

The Children's library holds storytimes 3 times per week. They celebrate National Book Week in October and have schools come into the library to meet authors, illustrators, etc.

The National Book Trust has a program that provides families with bags of reading/literacy materials at birth, 18 months and at age three. They are given to every child by the Health Visitor who comes to the home of the child. The birth-bag of goodies includes board books, the older packages come with picture books.

I particularly enjoyed this visit because once again I felt that we were given the behind-the-scenes look at how a lending library operates and how library services differ between the UK and the US. I think taking a closer look at the access policies for minors in either country would be a really interesting study.

Guildhall Library Visit

Guildhall library was the first lending-library that we were able to visit, and I wish we would've visited this library earlier on in the trip. This library seemed closest to the one (in service-models, services, layout, etc.) I work in back home. Plus, the atmosphere here made it incredibly inviting to study.

Guildhall Library is located within the City of London, which is London's smallest local authority (you may remember me mentioning the "square mile" the City of London exists in). It is also Britain's smallest local authority, and there are 5 libraries within this square mile. Guildhall is home to a great Art Gallery, and since its creation there were always plans to include a library within the building. Guildhall is the largest of the City's libraries (local and publicly funded). There are actually no membership requirements or restrictions, which also makes this a convenient place for people to visit while they're vacationing to search for information.

The building itself is the 4th building to house Guildhall. It was first established in the 1420's about 100 yards away from the current building, adjacent to Lord Hall Chapel. It housed mainly theological manuscripts/items.

In the 1600's the Duke of Somerset decided he would take over the collection, and he basically took off with all of the items. That was the end of Guildhall library as it was. (Incidentally the Duke was executed later for things unrelated to theft of the collection.) The library owns only 1 item that existed within the medieval Guildhall library, and the rest of the collection has quite literally disappeared.

In the 1820's influential people decided to create a library that concentrated on the City of London. It opened originally to corporation members and guests. Donations to create the library came from sheriffs, high-class citizens, etc. The library itself became incredibly popular. Because of this popularity, in the 1870's Horace Jones (city architect that built Tower Bridge) decided to re-build the another library. He designed with with ecclesiastical appearance based off the Knave of Taxton church. This version of the library opened to the general public in 1875, and was one of the first libraries in the UK to welcome the "general public" into their institution. As such, it too became incredibly popular. The library started creating/developing general collections of business information, commercial records, directories, etc.

In December of 1940 The Blitz hit London, and incendiary bombs hit the library. Most valuable materials were moved, but additional losses occurred regardless. The library has been able to replace or buy many of the items that were lost back for their current collection. The building as it stands now was erected in 1974.

The Collection
Guildhall houses the greatest collection devoted to London. It includes History, English local history, Parliamentary matters, early law reports, family history, etc. Many guilds (about 95 companies) gave their collections over to Guildhall Library, including Clock and Watchmaking guilds, Livery Guilds, Blacksmiths, etc.

The collection has international importance as well as a strong local historical importance. The London Stock Exchange gave all historic records and company annual reports between 1880-1964 to Guildhall, which occupies two and a half miles of shelf-space. They also acquired Lloyd's marine collection. Lloyd's was an insurance company specializing in maritime risks from 1740 and onward. Shipping movements, casualities and over 350,000 cards from 1927 to 1974 record every voyage that was taken by sea around the world.

Book Selecting
Guildhall continues to purchase and acquire items, both modern and antiquarian. With a staff of about 44 people (including security, shelvers, etc.) the librarians carefully select items that will benefit the collection and their patrons.

The Enquiry Desk is typically staffed with 2-4 staffers, and they provide reference services to the patron population. They receive about 10-15 letters/emails per day with reference questions. Because much of the research required to carry out these services is difficult and time consuming, the first 20 minutes of research by a librarian/staff member is free, but each additional hour for in-depth research charges 50 pounds! Because many of the patrons who utilize the collections are businesses and companies who can afford this type of charge, no one seems to complain much about the bill. Often the reference staff will bring in a retired employee from Guildhall who is a "freelancer" to work on incredibly time consuming work.

The catalogue is run by TALIS, and can be viewed here.

If you are a researcher and planning to carryout research at Guildhall, you may search the online catalogue and then fill out a Request Slip. Then the patron must take the Request Slip to the Enquiry Desk, where the librarians will place it in a tube-suction system (much like those at US Bank drive-throughs). The request then goes to the storage area in the basement. For rare items one must hand-over an ID as well as sit at the table closest to the Enquiry Desk for close observation.

Computers/Electronic Resources
Guildhall is one of the only libraries (it seemed to me) that has free internet access on their computers. Due to the building's architecture, Guildhall has problems with WiFi and wireless access.

Guildhall has a wealth of online resources, many of which are available to the public from home. COLLAGE is a digitisation project created at Guildhall, where over 40K images from the collection have been scanned in and are available for purchase online.

A Guildhall librarian created a special classification system for their collection of London-related works in the 1930s that is still used today. For non-London-related works, the library uses Dewey, but they aren't necessarily shelved that way. If someone donates a collection, the entire collection is kept together, not separated.

I really enjoyed the visit to Guildhall. As mentioned earlier, I felt this was the closest representation of what a public library is like in the states, and I would have loved to have had more time to utilize their resources while there.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

My birthday and Good-byes

So it's our last day here, and I haven't kept up on the last few days of the trip. I think I've been gearing up and trying to squeeze so many things into the last few days that I just haven't had the time (or energy) to sit down and actually write out everything I've seen of late.

Yesterday was my birthday- the last 20-something birthday I'll ever have, so I celebrated with people from our program. I also ate bread and butter pudding, which is to-die-for. I'm certain I will miss the food here. Every meal I've had has been fantastic. I'll post some pictures here of people in my program. They're blurry (as some of the night ended up being) but you get the idea. It's not easy to get 10 or so people organized for a picture on Blackfriar's Bridge.

This evening (soon) I'll be handing in my access-card to the internet. I'm actually nervous about that. I hate being "disconnected" for too long, as most of you know.

But I'm very sad to leave here. The last two days have brought on absolutely gorgeous weather. I paid my respects at John Milton's grave (pictured above). I finally saw part of the London Wall everyone kept talking about. I walked around the Guildhall library and the Barbican Centre. Those two entries will be much longer and posted at another time.

I'm starting to wonder what life will be like at home. I'm turning over a few "new leaves" so to speak, so I'm anxious to see what my day to day will be when I get back. I recently got our draft work-schedule, which was a nice push back into reality. haha! I'm excited to see everyone and tell everyone the great experiences I've had here...but I'm also wondering when I'll get back here for another visit, and how many times I'll cross the Thames before I leave tomorrow morning.

So I leave here at 6am tomorrow. Flight finally lands in Cleveland around 6pm, and then I have to see if I can remember how to drive. It will be around 11pm in my head/body so I'm hoping I can get back to Columbus in one piece so I can size up the damage of my apartment with a clear head. Hahaha. (I know how jet lag works and it inevitably kicks my butt on the way home.)

Anyways, I'll see you when I get back....and will post info on the Barbican and Guildhall when I get back, too.

xo Cheers!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Maritime Museum Library and Pub walking

So today we had to be in the courtyard (our group meeting place) at 7:30am. Seeing as I do not function without coffee, I woke up at 6:15, threw on clothes, went and got coffee, checked email, then met the group. We then trekked across the waterloo bridge over to the other side of the river and took a 23 minute long boat ride down the Thames to Greenwich.

Now, our official tour didn’t start until 10:30am. The museum (and most shops) didn’t open until 10:00. So we had a little bit of time to get some breakfast (THANK GOD) and I could settle down a bit before we went in.

We went to the National Maritime Museum. What does this have to do with libraries? Good question. I was starting to wonder the same thing. In fact, I’m so incredibly worried about getting research done and getting all of the things I wanted to do finished in ADDITION to my final project and assignments for my other class at Illinois…well I’m just about fed up with group trips. I had too much fun investigating the city on my own while everyone was away on mini-break that I’m starting to lose my patience in big groups and also with pre-organized meeting times, tours, etc. All of the things I was really looking forward to seeing are already over with, so I wish we had these last few days as optional days or research days so I could get to work on my assignments or see the last few things I absolutely want/need to see.

At any rate, the National Maritime Museum also has a library, which houses pretty much any and everything pertaining to ocean/sea related items.

We walked up through the Museum into the E-Library area, which was a foyer with an Inquiry Desk (information desk) and about 12 computers. The computers have access to E-Journals, their catalogue, family history items, etc. The E-Library was created so people under the age of 16 could search for information, as the under-agers are not permitted in the library itself. Within the foyer “E-Library” area, they also place items on display, this time around they are displaying items from the Falklands Islands Dispute. Swords, paintings, documents, etc. Pretty neat.

We then walked through the rotunda to the Caird Library within the Maritime Museum. The shelves within were all guarded with glass doors, and locked. (Patrons are able to unlock the glass doors, they need only ask for a key.) Above the door to the library is a plaque stating Caird’s (the main benefactor in creating the library) motto “Strive and Endure” which is pretty depressing if you ask me. The shelving was based on Cambridge University’s shelving plan- and created in the 1930’s. There are about 25K books in the Reading Room, all Reference only. Of those books, about 8000 of them are Rare Books, pamphlets, charts, atlases, maps, etc. The Rare Books include anything that is from pre-1850. Many of these rare items are not on-site.

The library utilizes the UDC cataloguing system- Universal Decimal Classification- which integrates punctuation into the call numbers to further divide sub-headings into sub-sub-headings. Most of the patrons to the library are either Family Historians or academics. The library is currently creating a new archive to accommodate all groups (allow for better quiet areas for academics) and will be switching over to temperature controlled areas for the entire collection. This library (which is different from most of the others we’ve visited) acquires things on a regular basis, so they WEED constantly. They’re short on space and work diligently to keep it all organized and efficient for patrons, just as any library would.

The library was opened in 1937 by King George the VI. The building itself was originally an orphanage called the Royal Hospital School, which housed children of sailors and seamen who’d been abandoned for whatever reason. The Museum building lays on the grounds of what used to be the Naval College which is a separate building and was closed in 1999 (now it houses the Greenwich University).

This whole experience reminded me of the summer reading program at my library right now, as a lot of Maritime’s items are pirate-related. Here are some of the things I got to see and HOLD IN MY HANDS

The museum library has about 4 and a half miles worth of manuscripts. Their oldest piece is from 1322.

Spy Book: 1582
This book was compiled before the Spanish Armada for Queen Elizabeth by a real spy who was in Portugal, watching the Spanish fleets bring in goods/people, etc. It is basically military intelligence from long long ago. Very cool.

Waggoner: 1682
Pirate-owned atlas. Neat! Basil Ringrose (a real pirate) wrote this around American and South America. On a map within it, California is drawn as an island. Basil would attack Spanish ships, so even though he was a pirate, because the English weren’t too happy with the Spanish at that time, they eventually let him off the hook after he was tried for pirating.

Pearl- Royal Naval Log Book: 1720
This log book has two lines in it that detail when the English Navy captured Blackbeard…the real thing, Blackbeard the Pirate. Very neat! Interestingly, it appears that he was caught off the coast of North Carolina.

Merchant/Slave Log
Not very interesting, because the slaves were listed as “goods” and not much is recorded about them other than where they were going, how many onboard, etc. However, this book was written by a man (Newton) who later became a reformed Christian and wrote the song: Amazing Grace. Neat!

Admiral Lord Nelson’s love letters- 1801
These were neat because we got to see the love letters to his mistress—and then also the letter to his wife that basically says, “Look lady, I can’t help you- I don’t love you, we’re married and whatever, but buzz off.” But the letter to his mistress is pretty hot and steamy. Apparently Nelson was a paranoid guy too, so a lot of what he wrote is scribbled out and re-written…just in case someone intercepted it. He burned all the letters he received. I bet he didn’t think hundreds of years later we’d be reading about his affair! The library has literally 100s of these letters, as the mistress never held up her end of the deal and burned them, as Nelson burnt his. (I wouldn’t burn them either.)

Titanic: Walter Lords’ collection of memorabilia

Walter Lords, who wrote A Night to Remember, collected a ton of stuff from the Titanic, and upon his death, the Maritime museum acquired these items. Some things I was able to look at: a promotional brochure for White Star Liner, with a cross-section of the ship; photographs taken on the Carpathia of the survivors, how they were saved, and even a real photograph of the iceberg that sunk the Titanic (amazing); a 2nd class dinner menu, which was also a postcard that a little girl had in her pocket when the boat went under.

I also was able to see a lot of information on the Confession and Execution of pirates…pretty bloody stuff. Also saw the HBMS Bounty book, which had a broken spine, so they tied it together with a piece of the sail from the boat.

So all in all this was a neat little trip. I wasn’t expecting it to have so many interesting treasures.

After our visit to the museum, I trekked up the hill to the Observatory, which is the area where the prime meridian is located. Here’s a picture of me, with a foot in both hemispheres. Doubt that will ever happen again. Haha!

After our trek around Greenwich, I went to Leceister Square to retrieve my cell phone. Then I went back to the dorms, did some homework, and ended up going to a bunch of places from Covent Gardens, to the City of London and then back to our stomping grounds around Waterloo station. It was a great night- wonderful weather and I snapped some pictures of the pubs I went to, and the scenery along the way. I can’t believe that I’m coming home so soon….I’ll really miss these sights and I want to be sure I have enough pictures of them to remind me how much I love it here.