On 13 July, as Becci has said, the Graduate Trainees held our project showcase, where we shared the projects we have been working on this year. The other presentations from the showcase are available here, and some are also in this blog.
My trainee project was making a record of a collection of antiquarian books that are kept in closed stacks in the History Faculty Library. Most are from the 18th and 19th century; a dozen are older, and there are also some 20th-century books there because of their special provenance. The majority of the books are not catalogued electronically, though they are classified. The outcomes were:
- A spreadsheet document listing the books with information such as publication details, provenance and interesting annotations. This can, I hope, be used by HFL staff and Bodleian Special Collections staff, who are ultimately responsible for all the Special Collections material in the Bodleian Libraries, in making informed decisions about the future of the collection.
- An HFL Rare Books blog with a post for each title in the collection, which is intended for use by readers. It can be reached from the HFL’s website.
I was very pleased to be able to work with antiquarian books, as it is an aspect of librarianship I was interested in finding out more about (I still am, though I’m not sure I would want to work with them all the time). I wasn’t expecting to do so much with computers and Web 2.0, but I am glad that it turned out that way, as it gave me the chance to consider aspects of library marketing and outreach, and also to think about describing books using tags and categories.
The presentation includes photos of some highlights of the collection, which are listed below.
The images of individual books are:
- Hickes, George: Linguarum vett. septentrionalium thesaurus / Antiquæ literaturæ septentrionalis libri duo, Vol. 1 (a book interesting for its content alone)
- Henrici de Bracton de legibus & consuetudinibus Angliæ libri quinq[ue] (the oldest book in the HFL, unless it’s an elaborate hoax)
- Prynne, William: The history of King John, King Henry III. and the most illustrious King Edward the I (probably the oldest annotations in the HFL – can anyone read the words next to the price and date?)
- Jolliffe, J. E. A.: The constitutional history of medieval England from the English settlement to 1485, Vol. 2 (the other end of the age-range: 20th-century author’s working copy, rebound with notes for 2nd edition)
- Ellis, Henry, Sir, ed.: Registrum vulgariter nuncupatum “The record of Caernarvon” (annotations showing reader – probably Edgar Bennett – engaging with text. A recurring feature is transcription of Old Welsh place/personal names into Modern Welsh orthography)
- Madox, Thomas: Formulare anglicanum (belonged to the Greenfield Doggett family, who seem to have found an ancestor in the text)
- Thurloe, John: A collection of the state papers of John Thurloe, Esq., Vol. 3 (contains rubbing and fragment of a previous spine)
- Scotland statutes: The acts of the parliaments of Scotland, Vol. 11 (found with large patch of mould extending inwards from front cover. Now treated by conservators and safe)