The (Copy)Right Stuff – a not-so-brief overview of our copyright training day

Outside our organised training programme, we graduate trainees also have access to the wide variety of staff development courses on offer. At the beginning of November, a few of us opted to go on a training session on Copyright law and issues. This full day of training was a great insight into the complexities of copyright law, covering what copyright is, the legislation surrounding it and various licenses that cover copyright. We (Rhiannon P and Rhiannon H) were tasked with writing this blog post, and we decided to not only give an overview of what we learnt, but how we are using the training in our day-to-day work at the Bodleian Law Library and the Old Bodleian, respectively.

The first thing that was made clear to us was that copyright is an incredibly multifaceted and complicated subject, especially in the context of academia. This was not an exaggeration as this full day of training felt as if it was only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what you can and cannot do according to copyright law. However, I did feel that when I applied the training to the work I do in the Law Bod, which is mostly scanning and uploading chapters or articles online to Weblearn or ORLO for students, it was a perfectly reasonable introduction.

Copyright is one of five Intellectual Property Rights, with the other four being patents, trademarks, designs and confidence, and is governed as such. Most intellectual property has some copyright belonging to someone, but depending on the context depends on who owns the copyright and how long the work stays in copyright for. For example, copyright does not cover facts or ideas, only what has been expressed in a material form. One piece of material may contain more than one copyright. For example, a piece of music may have one copyright attached to the music itself, and one attached to the lyrics, and these could belong to two separate people. On the topic of ownership: although this is the case more often than not, the author of the work may not always own the copyright. For example, if the author produced the work in their capacity as an employee, then their employer is the first owner of the copyright for that piece of work.

The training also introduced us to a subsection of UK copyright called Crown Copyright that has different requirements for the ownership, transference and the duration of copyright. The legislation summarises Crown Copyright as ‘where a work is made by Her Majesty or by an officer or servant of the Crown in the course of his duties’ (Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 Chapter X ss 163). Luckily for us, we were provided on the training course with two handy charts depicting every possible outcome regarding the duration of copyright for both Crown and non-Crown copyrighted materials.

One of the main questions to ask when using copyrighted material is this: is the use you’ve made of the material be construed as fair to the copyright holder? Usually, using a substantial part of someone else’s work to make money or otherwise profit is considered unfair. However, when it comes to non-commercial usage, there are various exceptions and exemptions to the vast and complex system of rules. These come under the heading of ‘fair dealing’.

The most important of these fair dealing exceptions in an academic library context is the educational usage exemption. This is separate from a CLA (Copyright Licensing Agency) licence, and does not require reporting to an authority. It allows students to copy ‘a reasonable proportion’ of a text for educational purposes. This is usually interpreted to mean up to 5% of a text, or else one chapter or article, whichever is greater. Things get tricky with some items (and resources like databases), since 5% of a five page pamphlet or a single photograph probably can’t be considered ‘a reasonable proportion’ – but how much should be allowed, in that case?

Judging this can be difficult, but this course thankfully did provide some clarity on an issue that we have been dealing with at the Old Bodleian Library quite often: copying material from online databases. Databases have their own right which lasts for fifteen years, but the course confirmed that material contained within them can still be copied in the usual way using the educational exemption or the CLA licence.

‘A reasonable proportion’ of all the material held within a database is of course potentially a much larger amount of material than would normally be available to be copied, but it is safest to stick to the one chapter or article rule wherever possible! It is also important to remember that databases allow access only to members of the institution, so it may not be appropriate to offer scans to non-members. This information has really helped us on a day-to-day basis at the Old Bodleian, when dealing with requests from University and Library members to provide scans of material from online databases, such as a recent request for copies of letters from The Times digital archive.

 

 

 

 

 

As part of my work at the Law Bod, I often operate under the CLA licence that we hold and it was great to gain a more in depth knowledge of how this works. As a higher education institute, the University of Oxford also holds an HE licence from the Copyright Licencing Agency (or CLA) which alongside the legislation allows us to scan or copy up to 10% or a full chapter or article of any published edition. We also have to keep a record of the scans we make using this licence to show the CLA when they come knocking at our door to make sure we have complied with the licence. I know in the Law Bod we keep a spreadsheet of the scans we make and as far as I am aware, I have not yet forgotten to record a scan!

Ultimately, we all have a responsibility to make sure that we’re abiding by copyright law in our academic libraries, and not just because of potential legal repercussions! It’s especially important because the Bodleian is a Legal Deposit Library, which is entitled to a copy of every book published in the UK and Ireland, in order to preserve books for the future. It’s our job to protect the items in our collections, and that includes respecting the rights of authors and copyright holders, while also making sure that we can serve our readers and help them to get the most from the libraries. This course was a necessarily short, but lucid and practical, introduction to the many issues that arise in academic libraries regarding copyright.

Image 1 reproduced under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 licence original by Gordon from Flickr https://flic.kr/p/2auPHBU 

Image 2 copyright belongs to the CLA https://www.cla.co.uk/

Reinventing Libraries- Part 1 of E Developments Graduate Trainee Session

On 20th November 2019, the graduate trainees attended a session on E Developments at the University of Oxford’s Libraries. The first talk was given by Sally Rumsey, Head of Scholarly Communication and Data Management. She covered open access regarding academic research.

The Oxford Research Archive (ORA) was established in 2007 and aimed to provide open access research to researchers. Its establishment was viewed as important after the research charity Wellcome Trust released a position statement in 2005 in support of open and unrestricted access to published research. They would fund research, but it had to be made freely available.

Before 2012, it was only Sally and one assistant who were the main team behind ORA. The digital repository was established in 2007 and had been plodding along with a mere 100 research articles to process each year. Then 2012 hit and in Sally’s words ‘all hell broke loose’. Suddenly, the team were receiving over 1200 articles to process into ORA, as well as their first budget of £800,000!

So what happened to cause such a barrage of  information? The 2012 Finch report was published by the UK government which recommended that all funded research had to be made freely available. The rise of the Internet since the early 1990s appears to have been underpinned by a desire to provide easily accessible information and research. At the time, Tim Berners Lee was honoured at the Olympic Games in London as the inventor of the World Wide Web, where as part of the ceremony he tweeted ‘This is for everyone’.

Was online academic research for everyone? If you tried to access articles on publisher’s sites, they would generally attempt to seduce you into signing up for a subscription fee (and this still happens!). The average cost for a subscription is certainly not cheap as chips. Needless to say, this did not provide an incentive for the public to want to gain reliable and good quality information. The Finch report highlighted this issue and recommended that everyone should be entitled to gain access to information. It was clearly time to tear those paywalls down.

In 2014, the big cheese, the Research Excellence Framework announced a policy which required researchers to deposit publications into their institutional repository within three months of acceptance. This led to ORA beginning to request academics to Act on Acceptance in 2016. This means that when an academic has a paper accepted for publication, they must deposit the final peer-reviewed version into ORA within three months of acceptance.

As you may imagine, publishers have had to slowly come around to the idea of open access. The author pays model as highlighted in the Finch Report is becoming increasingly popular. The author or institute pays a fee to the publisher in order for their research to be published. This enables the research to be freely accessed. According to Sally, you can have a fully open access journal where all contributors are paying to publish. But then, there are hybrid journals which have an author pays model but also a subscription fee for readers. This has been labelled by critics as ‘double dipping’ as the publisher benefits twice.

And it’s not just money that’s another issue with publishers and open access.  Academics may end up forfeiting their rights to their own work if they are not too careful. Sally said that publishers started to put restrictions on what could and could not be used when researchers wished to use their work elsewhere. SHERPA/RoMEO is a handy online database which has records researchers can assess, so they can find out what exactly they are permitted to do with work published in various journals. Although SHERPA/RoMEO is undoubtedly a useful source, the publisher’s policies can be so confusing that Sally’s team often have to decipher the terms in order to work out what the researcher can actually do.

Wherefore art thou…a right to own my work?!

This can mean that if a researcher innocently posts their work on sites like Academia.edu and ResearchGate, a publisher may take action since they are seen as going against the copyright agreement. The savvy academic will get around this by choosing to remove the terms they don’t like from the agreement with a black marker before signing it. We may assume that this would incite the publisher to come after the badly behaved academic with an iron fist, yet Sally says that often publishers will merely shrug. The Creative Commons, a non-profit organisation, also allows academics to retain control of their research since it enables users to choose a free copyright licence in order to share their work. ORCID is also another way of being able to share research without infringing copyright law. Researchers can apply for a unique identifier which they can use to get credit for their own work.

So what is the future for open access when it concerns academic research? Research Data Oxford (RDO) is a data management plan which provides guidance for each stage of the research process. RDO is a multi-disciplinary effort, involving various teams across the university including Sally’s, but also legal and ethical teams. In this way, researchers can be guided through the minefield that is online publishing.

The Reproducible Research Oxford (RRO) initiative will also come into play in January 2020. This is managed by a group of academics who believe in ensuring that research is bullet proof and good quality- which means that the methods academics use in their research should be made freely available too! Through this, RRO aims to lay the groundwork of a culture of research reproducibility at the University.

Finally, there is the Plan S  initiative. Plan S requires that by 2021, scientific publications which result from research funded by public grants must be published in compliant Open Access journals or platforms. This may sound like a policy but it isn’t. Plan S is guidelines funders may choose to use, but don’t be fooled that it’s entirely optional. Supporting funders include The Wellcome Trust, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organisation and the European Union.

Hopefully, with more policies and initiatives like the ones discussed in this post, the world of academia will be able to continue to adapt to the idea of open access and digitized research. Many thanks to Sally Rumsey who gave the original, interesting talk on which this post is based on. Next week will feature the second talk given by Matthew Popham. It will be all about Digital Developments at the Bodleian Libraries, so stay tuned! Also coming up very soon is a post about the Copyright Training staff can receive.

Useful Links:

For a general history of open access in academic research https://osc.cam.ac.uk/open-access/brief-history-oa

To read the Finch report https://www.acu.ac.uk/research-information-network/finch-report-final

For more on the double-dipping phenomenon https://www.enago.com/academy/hybrid-journals-are-publishers-double-dipping/

To check out SHERPA/RoMEO http://sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/index.php

Follow the link if you are interested in obtaining an ORCID http://ox.libguide.com/orcid

To find out more about Research Data Oxford http://researchdata.ox.ac.uk/

For more information on Reproducible Research Oxford https://rroxford.github.io/

To find out more about Plan S https://www.coalition-s.org/

Picture Credits:

‘This is for Everyone’- Tama Leaver https://www.flickr.com/photos/tamaleaver/7674657708/in/photolist-cGbCmC-cF54aq/ image was cropped and resized

‘SHERPA/RoMEO’- Dasapta Erwin Irawan https://www.flickr.com/photos/d_erwin_irawan/36487105886/in/photolist-XAeXow image was unaltered

 

 

UK Web Archive “Mini” Conference

Based at The British Library and officially a collaborative effort between all six legal deposit libraries, UKWA has been at work since 2005, although their scope and reach have expanded since then and have records going back to 1996, even if their team is still small for such an encompassing endeavour. To put that in perspective, the World Wide Web only came into existence as a publicly accessible network in 1990. Jason Webber, the team lead, tries not to worry too much about those intervening six years, although you can tell that if anyone had that data he’d want UKWA to incorporate it.

In 2013 UKWA made their first full annual trawl of everything that could be considered a UK public website. That’s millions of websites, billions of individual assets, and hundreds of terabytes of data every year, and it’s growing all the time. They don’t get anything private, no emails, nothing from behind a log-in, and the rise in streaming is proving a challenge, but everything they do get is captured to look and work just as it did when it was live. Jason is keen to make it clear they do their best, but there may still be bad links here and there in the vast amount of data they process, and some websites, retail especially, are too much to handle in their complete form. “We collect a representative sample of the UK web space” is the line they’re comfortable with for now.

The event which myself and Hannah attended on November 4th was described as a “mini” conference, and with only maybe 30 to 40 delegates it’s not an inaccurate name. The whole UKWA team consists of eight people, four technical and four curatorial staff. This small staffing means that for all their efforts there are still difficulties accessing the archive, and, along with legal deposit restrictions, that there’s a major limit on what’s possible in terms of Big Data analysis and research. Most collected websites are only accessible in legal deposit libraries. The website for BUDDAH (Big UK Domain Data for the Arts and Humanities), as presented by Prof. Jane Winters from the University of London, summarises the current situation in most fields best:

Despite the limitations, improvements to the user interface are a top priority at UKWA. There’s hope that as the archive “becomes history” and its relevance grows that increased interest will see increased use and development. The achieve was able to save a database of Conservative party speeches that was otherwise removed from public domain back in 2013 while the privately organised Internet Archive was blocked from doing so (UKWA had its legal obligation to gather the data to protect it). 90% of UKWA is no longer live, so instances like this are likely to occur more often in the future – their Brexit collection is already seeing higher traffic than previous curations and holds evidence of the notorious bus-pledge on the Vote Leave campaign’s website.

More events of this kind are planned and it’s evident the UKWA team want to see the project grow. Presentations by researchers at the mini-con showed the breadth of what the archive can be used for. Public assistance also helps – archiving a website is an option for anyone and can be done easily and rapidly at https://www.webarchive.org.uk/en/ukwa/info/nominate Sites like this one with a “.uk” domain are atuomatically included, but anything else requires nomination. Don’t hold back – as the team made sure we were aware, every website matters.

CILIP New Professionals Day

 

Rhiannon and Evie (Old Bodleian trainees) recently attended the CILIP New Professionals Day, held at CILIP headquarters in central London. The day was a worthwhile introduction to CILIP as a network of Library and Information professionals, and a great way to find out more about potential career paths and job sectors – and of course there were some freebies in there!

It was really useful and
reassuring to meet other new professionals who were all at very different stages in terms of their roles, their interests, and their educa-

freebie lanyard, post it and pencil – always a winner!

 

tion. From a historian who is completing his masters while working as a Roving Support Assistant at Coventry University, to a former zoologist who is now Local Studies Librarian at Cheshire County Archives, there were so many different backgrounds and career paths amongst the attendees. It was very helpful to chat to people who have recently completed a library qualification, and to get their opinions on different universities, the Postgraduate Diploma versus the full Masters, and which modules they most enjoyed.

The talks were generally very interesting
and gave plenty of insight into the vast scope of the Library and Information field, covering sectors and employers ranging from corporate banks to humanitarian organisations, with employees and former employers of the NHS, Civil Service, and Microsoft represented.

One of the most exciting talks was about the role of the prison librarian, which debunked many misconceptions surrounding the job, and gave an honest and fair assessment of the challenges and rewards of working in a prison library. We were also surprised and gladdened to hear about the many charities and organisations providing support and funding for prisoners who want to further their literacy and education. It was gratifying to learn what an incredible difference prison libraries can make to children whose parents are in prison, by encouraging parents and children to engage with books and learn more together.

Evie also enjoyed the talk about Library and Information professionals working in the Civil Service, finding it inspiring to learn about the pivotal role of LIS professionals in researching, organising, and collecting data for important governmental reports and projects, such as the report into the Grenfell Tower fire. Again, the talk worked to counter pre-existing assumptions about working in the Civil Service as an LIS professional, and offered an intriguing introduction to the sector as a potential avenue for our future careers. The speaker was clearly a passionate individual with a love for the Library Services and this was particularly inspiring.

One of the most important things we took from the talks was the understanding that a career does not have to be a linear trajectory ‘up the ranks’ in one sector or organisation – it is always possible to transfer skills as an LIS professional from one sector to another, always branching out to new opportunities in different environments, or to build on your experience in one area and specialise further. The event also gave me a better understanding of what sectors might not appeal to me, as well – business and corporate sector information work, as an example. It was helpful to learn more about CILIP and their role as a supportive network for people in the field, and to find out about the events and qualifications available to CILIP members as they progress in their careers, such as their Chartership programme.

After the New Professionals Day, both of us feel much better equipped to articulate our own priorities and desires for the LIS careers we would like to build, and more informed about the realities of some key sectors within the field. We are excited to share this with our fellow trainees who weren’t able to attend!

 

 

Nadia Azimikorf – St. John’s College Library

Hello, I’m Nadia, and I’m this year’s St. John’s College trainee. I graduated in July with an English Literature degree from the University of Warwick, and have been working at St. John’s since the start of August. I’ve really enjoyed my first few months as a Library trainee, although I can’t quite believe how quickly the past few months have flown by. During my undergrad degree, I worked and volunteered at my university library in a range of capacities, and I also have some (very limited) experience of working in a public library. These roles nurtured my love of books and libraries, something which has continued to grow during my trainee year so far.

Working in a college is a truly unique setting, and I am thoroughly enjoying the experience. The start of my trainee year coincided with St. John’s move into a brand new Library and Study Centre. While this definitely felt like being thrown in at the deep end, it meant that I quickly familiarised myself with the new Library and how it works, as my first jobs included creating new stack signs and a new Library guide (complete with reading room maps). Since the start of term, I’ve been getting more comfortable with usual library jobs – staffing the main desk, fully processing new books and donations, creating book displays, giving tours of the new building, supervising special collections readers, and so on. I like having mini projects to do alongside the daily running of the Library – my main one this week is writing a new special collections blog post on St. John’s current exhibition.

A favourite from the current exhibition – a 1603 edition of Abraham Ortelius’ Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. This double page shows a hand-coloured map of Iceland, complete with sea monsters and brown polar bears.

 

I’ve also been attending the Bodleian training sessions, getting to know the other trainees, and attending the various (library and non-library related) events that are always going on in Oxford. Moving through the rest of the year, I’m excited to learn as much as possible, and get as much out of my year as I can.

Julia Dallaway – Wolfson College Library

Hello! I’m Julia and I’m this year’s Graduate Library Trainee at Wolfson College Library.

Looking out of Wolfson College onto the Harbour Lawn

I started this trainee programme in September thinking I was already very familiar with Oxford as both a city and a university, having just graduated from here this summer with a BA in English Language and Literature. Yet I soon discovered a stark contrast between the medieval cottages and hallowed traditions of Worcester College, where I previously studied, and the 1960’s architecture and ‘egalitarian ethos’ of Wolfson College, where I now work. The collegiate system of Oxford University allows each college to develop a unique atmosphere, so I had to adjust to Wolfson’s quirks as I settled in. Meanwhile, the Bodleian-run training sessions I attended in Osney introduced me to a beautiful corner of Oxford I’d never encountered as a student!

Before I started my role at Wolfson, Sally (my wonderful predecessor) told me that being a trainee in a college library—as opposed to one of the larger Bodleian or faculty libraries—has real advantages, which has proved true in my time here so far. I feel involved in almost every part of the running of the library. As part of a team of only two librarians, I am in charge of processing new book acquisitions (invoicing, classifying, cataloguing, and labelling them) and ensuring the Common Room is stocked with the latest periodicals, as well as daily library tasks including re-shelving books and answering reader queries.

Starting the trainee year was definitely a case of being thrown in at the deep end. In my first week, I was watching the Librarian give induction talks and tours to new students; by the end of my second week, I was giving these inductions myself! Giving talks to groups of sometimes 15 or 20 students pushed me outside of my comfort zone (especially when the projector didn’t work!), but I was pleasantly surprised to witness myself developing a public-speaking persona capable of this challenge. I loved getting to know the names and faces of new students and, as Wolfson is a graduate-only college, getting to hear about the weird academic niche that each student is researching.

New acquisitions from the Poetry Book Society, ready for National Poetry Day
One treasure from the Stallworthy collection: an entirely handwritten poetry book, entitled Manuscript

Being a librarian has already had its funny moments, such as when I bumped into a Wolfson student at a local Tesco’s, who recognised me as his college librarian and promptly asked me where the tinned tomatoes were! There have also been creative moments, including my #LibraryTakeover of Wolfson College’s Twitter account for National Poetry Day, which encouraged students to come to the Library and pick up one of the poetry books I’d scattered around for the occasion. And there have been surprising moments: I’m currently enjoying labelling new donations to the Library—including large collections from the philologist Anna Morpurgo Davies and the poet and former Wolfson Acting President Jon Stallworthy—because of the obscure treasures I come across.

My future plans are still uncertain, as I’d love to return to academia. But I know that, at the very least, this year is teaching me an abundance of practical skills that could help me to get a part-time library job to support myself during my future studies. I also think that learning how to assist readers in finding relevant resources will make me a better researcher.

The year so far has already immersed me in the theoretical and practical training necessary for good librarianship, and I’m excited to keep learning. If you’d told me two months ago that I’d be using Aleph to catalogue new acquisitions almost from scratch, I wouldn’t have known what you were talking about!

Erin McNulty – Sackler Library

Hi, I’m Erin, the trainee based at the Sackler Library, although I’ll also be doing shifts at the Oriental Institute Library, as well as the Taylor Institution Library, where I spent several years studying during my French and Linguistics BA here at Oxford. I’ve recently graduated from my MPhil in Celtic Linguistics at Cambridge, and I’m really looking forward to working in an academic environment, learning new skills, and exploring librarianship as a career option over the course of my traineeship.

I’d never visited the Sackler before starting here, so it took some getting used to, but the library has some really diverse and interesting collections! From Art and Architecture to Ancient History via Classics and Egyptology, just to name a few, you’d never get bored of browsing the shelves here.

So far my duties have included assisting readers, lending, returning, and processing books, as well as the other usual duties in an academic library. In addition, I have been involved in preparing for and taking readers on both Open Day and Induction Tours, as well as collating the feedback. Improving signage and documentation around the library is also an ongoing project at the Sackler, to which I have contributed.

Recently, we assembled a book display celebrating Black History Month on behalf of faculty members. It was a lot of fun designing the display, which will be up in the Sackler for the rest of the month. A more in-depth look at the display will also be available on our blog (shameless plug).

The Finished Product

I have also had the chance to work in the Taylor Institution Library to help set up an art event for Ruskin students showcasing the Livres d’Artiste (Artist’s Books) held in the Sackler-Taylor archives that Madeleine has been working with. These books contain works in a variety of forms by some big names, including Picasso and Dali!

One exciting project I have been involved in is the Navigation and Wayfinding project, mentioned by some of the other trainees, which aims to improve the service we offer readers by making it easier for them to find their way around the libraries. This will involve various research techniques, data gathering and analysis, as well as prototyping and securing funding for possible solutions to potential problems we identify. I will be working in a team of staff from the Sackler and Taylor, including Chloe and Madeleine, to hopefully enact positive change in our overcomplicated libraries.

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed my time here at the Bodleian Libraries so far, and I am very excited to see what the rest of the year holds!

Daniel Haynes — Weston Library

Hello! I’m Daniel, the Quaritch graduate trainee at the Weston Library, which houses the Bodleian’s Special Collections. I’m based in the Rare Books and Early Modern Manuscripts department, which handles a range of projects, enquiries, and outreach. I studied English here at Oxford, and worked part-time in several Bodleian libraries after graduating in 2018, picking up a range of technical skills along the way and working with some incredible people. One month into the traineeship, I’ve got my own messy desk (very libraryish, I’m told), a mountainous card catalogue to sort through, three floors of underground stacks to memorise, and more analytical bibliography to learn than I can hope to remember — and I’m more certain than ever that I want a career in rare books.

‘…and I promise to obey all rules of the Library.’ [photo: Jo Maddocks]

At the Weston, subject specialists mingle with polyglots and techies; there are always exhibitions to prepare for, just as there are always researchers to assist; there are all kinds of lectures, seminars, and hands-on workshops. In short, behind the studious solemnity of its two Reading Rooms, the Weston is constantly moving (and not just because of Trinity College’s building works next door). It’s a truly phenomenal place to work.

From day one, I’ve had the opportunity to handle early printed material, such as Vesalius’ De humani corporis fabrica (1543) and Hooke’s Micrographia (1665) for an overseas author writing about ‘remarkable books’. Another research enquiry involved comparing bindings in our Edmund Malone collection (including rebound volumes containing the earliest Shakespeare Quartos!) to identify the trademark tools of the German binder Christian Samuel Kalthoeber. One morning, I was deep in the Weston’s labyrinthine underground stacks, wrapping up original Tolkien watercolours in polythene for transport to the Bibliothèque Nationale. This week, I’m hunting down Samuel Johnson’s signature in a book that the Bodleian may or may not possess. It’s surreal, and sometimes challenging, to be working with material as special as this in quite ‘normal’ contexts such as stamping, barcoding, wrapping, or photographing, and really reflective of the methodical, technical skills that form an essential part of working in special collections.

Blackwell Hall in the Weston, with the Centre for the Study of the Book above the open shelves. [photo: Paul Hayday]

When I’m not on training courses or learning cataloguing in the office, I’m moonlighting in the John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera, assisting the Librarian with item-level captions for her upcoming exhibition in the Treasury. Exhibitions at the Weston channel the wealth of academic expertise from all kinds of fascinating subject areas, and I’d love to curate my own some day.

In the meantime, my own traineeship project for the year is to lay the groundwork for digitising some 3000 fine bindings in the Broxbourne collection, from private press books to manuscript genealogies of the kings of England. I’ll be talking more about this, and the importance of widening access to collections in the digital age, in future blog posts. Until then, you can check on the progress of the project here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rhiannon Hartwell – Old Bodleian Reader Services

Hi everyone, I’m the other Rhiannon! What are the chances that there would be two in the same year? I’m a trainee at the Old Bodleian Library (also known as Bodley, after its founder, Thomas Bodley), alongside Evie. The Old Bod is a copyright library, so we don’t get first hand experience of loaning books to readers, but we get to do pretty much everything else!

 

The Old Bodleian library from the Old Schools Quad.

 

My days at work can include shifts on the Main Enquiry Desk, answering all sorts of questions from readers, ‘roving’ in the Lower Reading Room to re-shelve books and make sure everything is in order, spending time tagging and stamping books for our New Books Displays, or helping readers gain access to Interlibrary Loans, or books held at the Staffed Desk in the Upper Reading Room. A huge part of our day at the Old Bodleian is the deliveries each morning and afternoon from our Book Storage Facility in Swindon. We have to dress in fluorescent jackets to guide the delivery van into the Old Schools Quad, unload the boxes of books, and process them all so that readers can come in and pick them up to read (as long as they don’t take them out of the library, of course). Visiting the Book Storage Facility is one of the highlights I’m most looking forward to in our training programme over the next few months!

Before I was offered a place on the Bodleian’s Graduate Traineeship scheme, I volunteered in a community library in Cheshire, and worked as a room guide at a National Trust property in North Wales, after graduating my MPhil in Modern and Contemporary Literature back in 2018. The community library was very small, staffed mainly by volunteers, and had no acquisitions, so it was quite a different experience from the Old Bodleian – but the core elements of reader service and making sure that everyone who visits the library is made welcome and given the right support are all the same.

I’m really looking forward to the academic year ahead – even though everyone I work with keeps saying “wait till term starts!” very ominously – and all the opportunities this traineeship will bring.