Friday, 1 August 2008

British Museum

Saturday, August 2


After a 30 minute back massage in the Gabriel Wharf area, I journeyed on the Northern Line to Tottenham Square Court stop to see both the Petrie Museum of Archaeology and the British Museum. When I arrived at the Petrie Museum, I discovered that it had closed 2 hours earlier at 1 pm. The time was 3:15pm. So, I then walked over to the British Museum, which was about 15 minutes away. When I arrived at the British Museum, there were so many people that I just cringed, but though, "I'm here, so carry on!" I came mainly to see the Egyptian collection again. I saw it both 3 years ago when I planned a 20 year reunion with two friends from Michigan State University, and also 23 years ago when I came over with a Michigan State University Overseas Studies Art Program. It was very nice to see my "favorite things" again at the British Museum. I am such a Egyptophile, or what ever you call one who is fascinated with ancient Egypt. Years ago I had visions of studying Egyptology as a career. I spent about 1.5 hours walking around and gazing at all of the magnificent sculptures and mummies and papyri (oh, my!). I was in my element; I was in Egypt heaven! Future travel plans involve a trip to Egypt and see the actual ruins and pyramids, and related stuff.

Here is a photo of a head fragment from a full-scale monolith sculpture of an Egyptian pharaoh I saw up close.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a digital camera, or I would have included more photos of the awesome Egyptian collection.

Overall, the visit to the British Museum was the “icing on the cake” for my overseas trip. As I was leaving, it struck me that I didn’t see the Rosetta Stone. They must have moved it, because I remember it near the big sculptures last time I visited.

When I the museum, I returned to the tube at Tottenham Court Road and traveled down to Embankment to see Cleopatra’s Needle. It was a sight to behold. But unfortunately, there was scaffolding at the base, so there wasn’t a clear view of the lower part of the obelisk. I did manage to get some segment shots of the Needle. From there, I got back on the tube and returned to the ranch (King’s College dorms).

Barbican Art Library Revisited

Friday, August 1


I emailed Children's Librarian Amanda Owens, but didn't receive any reply right away, so I decided to just get in the tube and go down to talk with a librarian about the Art Library. When I arrived, I starting talking to a man behind the counter who looked familiar. It was Jonathan Gibbs the IT Librarian our group met during the Friday, July 10 group tour. We spoke for awhile about the Art Library and he said that he didn't know any specifics about the Art section but gave me the email for the Art Librarian who was on holiday for 2 weeks. I thanked him for the contact and went over to the Art Library to analyse its contents.

While walking through the stacks, I found/discovered a rack of daily newspapers, and 7 shelves of magazines, which consisted of Art Monthly, Art Review, The Artist, The Burlington Magazine (British art and art gallery information), Crafts, Frieze (Contemporary Art & Culture), Practical Photography, Film Review (movie reviews), Empire (, The world's biggest movie magazine, and variious other magazines on fashion, health, literature (Literary Review), nature , news, sports, etc. Next, I looked through the book stacks and found them sectioned-off as: Reference, Art History 700, Town Planning 711, Garden Design 712.6, Architecture 720, Churches 726, Houses and Castles 728, Sculpture 730, Coins and Medals 737, Pottery and Porcelain 738, Jewellery 739.27, Drawing Skills 741, Cartoons 741.5, Posters 741.67, Crafts 745.5, Calligraphy 745.6, Fower Arranging 745.92, Needlework 746, Fashion and Style 746.92, Interior Design 747, Glass 748, Antique Furniture 749, Painting Skills 751, Impressionism 759.054, American Art 759.1, British Art 759.2, World Art 759.3, Prints 760, Stamp Collecting 769.56, Photography 770, Entertainers 791.092, Cinema 791.43, Screen Plays 91.437, Radio 791.44, Television 791.45, Theatre 792, Music Hall 792.7, and Ballet and Dance 792.8. I also noticed a display of mixed-genre books by the edge of the balcony and stairs, between Theatre and Ballet & Dance.

An interesting thing I noticed was the Magazine Swap box. It's a red, plastic storage crate with a sign on it that reads:
Magazine Swap: Do you have any magazines at home?
Want to give them a good home? Then drop them in
the boxes for others to read!
Also seen was a variety of records, agendas, financial statements, and notes of city government, trusts, and other reated committee documents. These items were all in an upright folder-type open storage unit near the newspapers.
After viewing the whole of the Art Library, I went back to the desk where Jonathan Biggs (IT Librarian) was sitting and talked a little more, than left to get some lunch in the Barbican restaurant.

Tate Britain

Friday, August 1


After checking my email for any responses the Tate Britain, the Barbican, and the British Library, and not receiving one from the Tate Britain, I set out to ride the tube over there to possible make some contacts and ask questions. I took the Jubilee Line (North) to Westminster, changed to the District Line (West) to Victoria, change to the Victoria Line (South) to Pimlico. Followed the street signs (thank goodness for them!), and successfully managed my way through the streets to the Tate Britain. After checking my book bag at the Cloak Room and received claim tag #13, I proceeded to the library where I met Sophia Easey, Serials Librarian. She was very receptive to answering questions and also gave me other contact information, other than hers (3 emails and a website).

From my questions, she gave information about the collection, its focus, maintenance involved, and all members on staff. I had a chance to look around and saw people on computers. Sophia added that the library is actually separated into 4 sections; they include the library, the archives, the reader services, and the gallery records. Regarding maintenance. she added that the reader services looks after, or takes care of the books. Gallery Records contains info on all museum items, new developments and plans, and all exhibition materials.

Our meeting was very enjoyable and was told to email her if have any further questions.

My Hard Rock Cafe London Adventures

Thursday, July 25


During the mini-break, I decided to venture over to the Hard Rock Cafe (HRC) London Shop to see what kind of shirts they had. I was primarily going for my brother who requested 2 polo type shirts. When I was there, I looked around and only saw two colors in the polo shirt style. I looked through the sizes and was told by an employee that sizes available in the polo style I was looking at ares only S or XL. I wasn't too happy with that answer because I wear a M. But I was told the other style polo, the taupe color, came in all sizes and they were expecting another shipment of that color the next day, Friday. I thought that I would return tomorrow to see what new stuff they received and so I continued looking around for interesting t-shirts for myself. I must have gone on a good day and time, because there wasn't a large crowd.

I had planned to return on Friday, but other things came up, plus working on my blog. On Saturday, I started out again for the HRC, but decided to find the Hard Rock Cafe Uk Ltd on Cavanaugh Pl, northwest of the original HRC, that I noticed on the Internet when I searched for Hard Rock Cafe London. When I got there, I located the listed address, but found an Interior Design studio instead. A little perturbed, I turned around, got back on the tube and went to Green Park station and then walked up Old Park Lane to the Hard Rock Cafe London shop. This time a long queue had formed outside of the shop. I was hot from the 91F degree weather, so I turned around and went back to the dorm.

On Sunday, I traveled again through the tube to Green Park and up to the Hard Rock Cafe Shop again. This time I waited about 15 minutes in the queue that was half the length compared to Saturday's queue. Immediately upon entering, I went to the polos, grabbed an L and XL and a t-shirt and stood in the register queue. When my merchandise was being rung up, I was asked if I was interested in purchasing a HRC members card, 15BPS or $30.00. I and was told that 10BPS would be applied to the card upon Internet registration. I went for it. And I'm glad I did, because I joined Dr. Welsh at the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner and didn't have to wait 15-20 minutes for the next available table by waiving my HRC members card. we were taken down to the lower level dining area that must have been for members only. I feel so privileged!

Tate Modern

Friday, July 25


During my mini-break in London, I ventured over to the Tate Modern for a little peek at all the wonderful art. I wandered through 4 of the 7 levels viewing artwork that I've seen and studied in various books.

First, I walked through Poetry and Dream: Surrealism and Beyond on the 3rd floor. Some of the artists I viewed included:
-Alberto Giacometi. Walking Woman, (1932-3/1936, cast 1966)
-Christopher Wood. Zebra and Parachute, (1930)
-Joan Miro. A Star Caresses the Breast of a Negress (Painting Poem, 1938)
-Pablo Picasso. Dora Maar Seated, (1938)
-Jackson Pollock. Naked Man with Knife, (1938-40)
-Pablo Picasso. The Three Dancers, (1925)
"The startling violent image of 3 interlocking figures dderived from a lost work of Jose Clemente Orozco showing the sruggle between Cain and Abel." (archetypal myths explored in Jungian psychoanalysis)
-Joan Miro. Woman and Bird in the Moonlight, (1949)
-Jackson Pollack. Birth, (1941)
"He was fascinated by 'primitive' art for its expression of fundamental human fears and ideas"
-Alexander Calder. Mobile, (1932) -Metal, wood, wire and sring
"Calder's subtle balance of form and color resulted in works that sugessted an animated version of paintings by friends such as joan Miro and Marcel Duchamp"
-Edward Burra. The Snack Bar (1930)
"Violence and sexual tension seem to beat play...Burra was an acute observer of the everyday, often exaggerating it into caricature in orderto comment of society"
-Max Ernst. Celebes (1921) headless female nude torso and upright left arm (hand and forearm are red)-associated with both Dada and Surrealism, developing a range of techniques inteded to reinvent culture "...derived from a Sudanese corn-bin transformed i to a sinister mechanical
monster." Ernst often re-used found images, adding or removing elements to create new realities.
-Max Ernst. Dadaville (1924). Painted plaster and cork laid on canvas. The vertical strips of cork represent the Daa city and the painted plaster is the background and sky (left, top and right sides).
-Francis Bacon. Three Figures and Portrit (1975). NOTE: I love Francis Bacon, it's so bizzare!
-Mrowslaw Balka. 480 x 10 x 10. Soap and stainless steel (more like soap on a rope!)
-Franz Kline. Meryon (1960-1). -large-scale absract paintings in black and white
-Jackson Pollock. Smmertime: Number 94 (1948) - 9'(H) x 3'(W) dripped paint, black swirls with red, blue, yellow, green, gray, and purple.
-Mark Rothko. Untitled (1950-52) -primarily yellows, with red, and blue on a vertical canvas
-Monet. Water-Lillies, Nympeas (date: after 1916). I remember this from school books.
-Matisse. The Snail (1953) 5' x 5'. I remember this from collage, and I created a Francis Bacon collage resembling this piece.
-Joan Miro. Message from a Friend (1964)
-Georges Roualt. The Three Judges 91936). I always refered to this painting as the 3 Kings!
-Wassily Kandinsky. Lake Starnberg (1908). "was one of the pioneers of abstract painting which he believed was capable of expressing a higher spritual and emotional reality."
-Alberto Giacometti. Standing Woman (1948-49)

On Floor 5:

-Piet Mondrian. Composition C (No. 111) with Red, Yellow and Blue (1935). "[he} believed that all complex forms could be reduced to a 'plurality of straight lines in rectangular oppoition' and considered that his paintings embodied eternal truths of nature."
-Lazlo Maholy-Nagy. K VII (1922). oil on canvas. "the 'K' in the title stands for construction, and the paintings ordered, geometrical forms are paradigmatic of [his] technocratic Utopianism."
It includes grays, black, yellow with a vertical red line in center of painting.
-Piet Mondrian. Composition B (No. 1) with Red (1935)
-Sol LeWitt. Six Geometric Figures (Wall Drawings) 1980-81. This piece encompassed the entire room; quite interesting.
-Ellsworth Kelly. Red White (1966) -a red distorted B on a while backg. -Frank Stella. Six Mile Bottom (1960), metallic paint on canvas. A geometric painting.
-Donald Judd. Untitled (1980). Steel aluminum and perspex (blue plaster). "Judd's 'stacks' reflect his interest in integrating art with architecture, creating dynamic inerplay between the viewer, the object and the room in which it is displayed." Loks very similar to a piece in hte Detroit Institute of Arts.
-Umberto Boccioni. Unique Forms of Continuing Space (1913, cast 1972). Bronze.
-Roy Lichtenstein. Whaam! (1963)
-Georges Broque. Clarinet and Bottle of Rum on a Mantlepience (1911)
-Pablo Picasso. Bowl of Fruit, Violin and Bottle (1914). Cubist painting, table top scene.
-Raymond Duchamp-Villon. Large House (1914, cast 1961).
-Diego Rivera. Still Life (1916). "[He] lived in Paris and painted in Cubist style between 1913 and 1917. His work resembled Jean Gris' style of constructing objects from complex planes."

I really enjoyed myself, because Art is my bag. I love it, especially the abstract and modern styles. One room of interest was the Russian Propaganda Poster Rooms. When I was in there looking around, I thought of a former co-worker who taught WWII and the Russian Revolution at a high school. I bet he would love this stuff!

When I left the Tate Modern, I walked by the South Bank watching all the people go by, as well as the scenery on the northern side of the Thames. It was in the evening and it was nice to see the lights shining on buildings and bridges, and the stars illuminating in the sky. And then it was back to my little cell at King's College dormitory.

Back to London for Mini-Break


I traveled on the rail a day ahead of scheduled because of the alternative accommodations in Dalkeith, Scotland. I figured that I didn't need to pay another 68 BP to stay an extra night. So I went back to London.

On the train, I was joined by an elderly woman who i shortly discovered was from Glasgow and going to England to visit her daughter. In our conversation, Dublin, Ireland and Trinity was discussed. The woman told me that there is a section in Trinity by the stairs that one can get a print-out of their genealogy by entering their surname. I said that would be neat to do, since my mother was part Irish. She said it was worth the trip while I was in the UK. I agreed, but decided that I had better focus on research during the mini-break.

Back in London, I did focus on research. My main emphasis was to get a better understanding of Bibliometrics. I looked in my Basic Research Methods For Librarians book I brought from home and a research book from fellow LIS group member. This led me nowhere, so I Googled Bibliometrics and found some definitions, but not the process of conducting this research method. I gave up and said that I would go to the bookstores at home and/or the university library to find more information. From there, I started planning what libraries and contacts I needed to visit for more research information. I even went to the Hard Rock Cafe London 2 times to get shirts for myself and my brother.

A Day in Glasgow, University of Strathclyde and "The Bridge"

Tuesday, July 22


Our LIS group met in front of the Dalkeith Palace at 8:15am to leave at 8:30am in mini-van bound for Glasgow. When in Glasgow, we went into the Livingstone Building of the University of Strathclyde. We met up with David McMenemy and he took us up to the room for a presentation. He provided information on the University and related facts about education in Scotland through a prepared presentation. David started with the history of Strathclyde's prior names: Anderson's Institute, 1776; Anderson's University, 1828; Glasgow and West of Scotland Tech, 1887; and now, University of Strathclyde, granted as a Royal Charter in 1964. Currently, there are 25,000 students on campus, with 15,000 undergraduate students and 10,000 graduate students. 2007 marked 60 years in teaching library skills at Strathclyde and that its the largest MSc (Master of Science in Library Science) course subject in the UK.

Other statistics were given. There are 4515 public libraries in the UK per 2007 census count; Academic libraries total 846, and there are 180 university libraries (these include universities, community college, and partnerships). However, there are no statistics collected for public school libraries. Note: This is odd, because you would think that all libraries would be counted. I believe they need to improve upon their statistical counts. David did mention that not very much research is done on school libraries, primary through Level A (upper high school level). One other comment that David made, which is a disturbing thought, is that librarians are not seen as a real profession in Scotland, or the UK! They are viewed as bookstore clerks, and very undervalued as a profession.

Laws surrounding the creation and maintaining of state run libraries was discussed. In 1850, all UK public libraries were legally obliged to provide "a comprehensive and efficient library service for everyone..." The Public Libraries and Museum Act of 1964 (England and Wales) states "An Act to place the public library service provided by local authorities in England and Wales under the superintendence of the Secretary of State, to make new provision for regulating and improving that service and as to the provision and maintenance of museums and art galleries by such authorities, and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid," (see Public Libraries and Museum Act of 1964 link below). And in 1973, the Local Government (Scotland) Act, which states that the act replaced the old Scottish counties, burghs, and districts with "a uniform two-tier system of regional and district councils," (see Local Government [Scotland] Act of 1973 link below). Then David discussed the "Impact of Devolution," noting the Scotland Act of 1998, that all libraries governed by devolved Parliaments included public, school, academic and health libraries were impacted.

Some other key issues he brought up about libraries included, a significant drop in borrowing figures; how to attract non-users (a marketing and administrative question); the Digital Divide (some can't afford broad-band cable Internet access); deprofessionalism; and, how to measure library services effectively (a marketing/administrative question/goal).

Our second speaker was Christine Rooney-Browne, a PhD Library Sciences candidate at the University of Strathclyde. Her presentation was on "Overlooking the Real Issues: Measuring the Social Value in Public Libraries," which is the basis of her research. She began with Intellectual Freedom, Cultural Diversity, and the Digital Divide for low-income people. Christine explained "Social Value" : how people impact with and what they get out of accessing libraries. Furthermore, she state that public libraries are thought of as more than book issuing points. They serve to break down barriers and give access to the learning impaired.

Next, Christine discussed how her research has measured performance of libraries. First, there is the economic value, which is quantitative, and is performed by governmental audit. Secondly, there is the social value, which is qualitative, and is gathered by social impact audit. She stated that the results are impressive and show their value; short-term and long-term value on society. Christine briefly spoke about Usherwood's 1996 book, "Scotsman from Lumber River," and explained that it had "meaningful evolution."

When Christine further spoke about research, she said "to measure the unmeasurable, that the true value is accessed through statistics and inspections." In determining social value, she said to encourage communication, library services and stakeholders; assess outcomes using questionnaires; and, determine if services meet the organization's objective.

Then Christine spoke of the different stages of her research. Stage 1 is the qualitative research, where SIA methods are implemented, stakeholders are identified, and links are establish in library case studies. Stage 2 is the quantitative research, which include statistical reports. Stage 3 includes survey responses. And then there are the Findings. Two examples were given; the Newton Mearns library, in an affluent suburb, where the users demand multiple bestsellers (books) and fast, efficient service; and Barrhead Library, in a socially deprived area, where users demand a welcoming environment provides a gateway to information. And finally, Christine talked about outcomes, which included the following:

- Empower libraries, challenge user IB PLS economic value
- Communication, character and role of public libraries in 21st century
-Promote global understanding of social value
-Produce appropriate and realistic model for measuring impact of public libraries

And at the end of Christine' presentation, we found out that her title is: Student Contributor Liaison Officer for the journal, Library Review.

Our next speaker was Alan Poulter. He stated that he was a former cataloger at the British Museum. His presentation was on Forensic Readiness for Local Libraries in Scotland, or FRILLS for short. And the major application for FRILLS is the People's Network, which is an initiative to put in public access machines in all public libraries to offer free Internet access. The funding source for this initiative is windfall funding through the National Lottery. He also stated that there is a new direction, to offer IT training.

Next, Paul presented his Proposal Outline: to develop simple, low-cost technologies for basic forensic readiness. The Aims included: create typologies of computer misuse, how to reduce porn, and Bebo (computer harassment/chat), including acceptable use policies in English, not "legalese"; and, specify flex FR regime, focus on Windows, Explorer, and Office. He continued with Methodology, which includes interviews,literature reviews, dialog with department managers/supervisors, and work with pilot sites to develop FRILLS. And lastly, Conclusions, which involved two management issues: 1. lack of standards, 2. technical issues of logs stored off site.

Then, Paul talked about the Centre for Digital Library Research ( He stated research themes: catalogs, collaboration, collection description, digital libraries, and digital preservation. He even talked briefly about the BUBL link ( themes), that was in existence before the World Wide Web was born. It is a catalog of Internet resources organized by Dewey Decimal numbers. The Glasgow Digital Library was also discussed ( It is an organized digital library for teaching, learning and research. Paul finished his presentation by discussing access databases, university repositories, and terminologies of remapping automation, coll abortive tagging, standards and user issues.

After the presentations, we were treated to a wonderful light lunch and then we drove over, along with Davis McMenemy and Christine Rooney-Browne from the University of Strathclyde, to visit "The Bridge." The Bridge is a public library in a distressed area connected to a community center and to the John Wheatley College. It opened in 2006 and has modern construction and fixtures. It resembles a civic center, but with a library and a college attached. In the library, there was a banner that read "TEAM READ, Just don't sit there - get reading" just like at the Barbican Library; it was stated that it is a yearly national campaign to promote reading. This is where we met Stephen Finney, the Director of "The Bridge."

As Stephen began with his verbal presentation of the facilities, I looked around the library and noticed 6 large stacks in the general area and 7 smaller stacks in the children's area, all with new books. Also noted was an Arts and Crafts activities taking place within the library area. After scoping the place out, I returned to taking notes of what was being said.

It was mentioned that there are 30,000 items in the library collection and new books are added into the collection every week. They have a staff of 6 full time librarians who cover 15 libraries in the area and each have between 25 and 35 years of work experience. There are 4 entrances into the facility with no graffiti on any of the walls, which was amazing. It was said that the people really value this building, because graffiti is everywhere else.

Stephen then talked about "The Den," which was a small community room directly over the Children's Area of the library. It was designed like a tree house. We did not go into it, but it looked very neat and I was wishing that I was a young child so I could go in it! We then were lead down to the music studio, but it was in use so we couldn't go in. A group photo was taken in that area before we continued are journey up to the Studio Theatre, where dance classes and other related activities were held. One wall could even be removed to expand the food service area for special event catering. Near the Studio Theatre was the Pool area. It was quite large, with slides, and people seemed to being enjoying themselves while we looked on.

In all, it was quite a day filled with nice examples of library information and site visits.

Related Links

Public Libraries and Museum Act of 1964

Local Government (Scotland) Act of 1973

Scotland and Devolution

The Bridge

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

To the National Archives of Scotland

Monday, July 21



After having lunch at the Elephant House and getting pictures taken at the Greyfriar's Bobby, the LIS group hoofed it up to the Magnificent Mile, to Northbridge and Princes Streets, then we came upon the Balmoral Hotel (where I stayed for 2 days last year at the end of a one week Tauk tour).


I just had to go inside and rekindle the memories. I kept saying, "Ah, the Balmoral, I know her well!" I even had a nice chat with the doorman, who wore a spiffy kilt, about my stay there last year with Tauk. He replied in his Scotish broag, "Oh yes, Tauk comes here every year!" Dr. Welsh took a picture of him in his finery and then we all went across the street to the National Archives of Scotland.

We all went in the back entrance and met Margaret McBride and Pat (didn't get her last name). We were led through the Legal Research room, through more hallways, to the Lord Clerk's Cloak Room. we were told to leave all backpacks there. We all took a seat at the tables to hear margaret talk about the Archives. But first, she said that only pencils were allowed in the Archives to make notes, so everyone put away their pens and pencils were passed out.

Margaret began by saying that the NAS is a government agency, comprised of civil servants and archivists, and that it contained materials from publications, exhibiions, talks, and workshops. She also mentioned that the Keeper of Records, Linda Fabriani, also holds the tilte of Minister Europe, External Affairs and Culture , is the overall boss at the NAS.

Then Margaret started the powerpoint presentation slide show which told of their Mission: to preseerve, protect and promote the nations records. She explained the Organization: the NAS has thre locations, an IT staff, Conservation, and 30 to 40 archivists. Further, she explained the Records Services Divisions, which contains Government Records, County and Legal Records, Private Records (family, grants, etc.), and Outreach Services; the Corporate Services Division, which consists of Accommodation Services, Finance and Accounting, Information and Communication Technology, Conservation Services, and Reader Services.

Next, Margaret listed and gave a brief history of the three NAS buildings. 1) The General Register House (GRH; where we were taking the tour),: the foundation was laid in 1774 and later opened in the late 1780s, was designed by Robert Bottom and is registered as a historic landmark. 2) The West Register House (WRH; at Princes Street and Charlotte Square, west of the GRH), opened in 1971 and originally was a church. And 3) The Thomas Thomson House (TTH), which opened in 1995. It has modern architecture and an environmentally controlled storage. We were told that all materials go first to the TTH for storage, initial conservation, and electronic cataloging ( to know what shelf, bay, and building) prior to moving to the General Register House.

Additional information about the Thomas Thompson House (TTH) was given. In Record Storge, materials are stored in boxes and stacked 6 to 7 feet high. In Conservation, the British Standards, or BS5454, is used to maintain the "quality of the building." The archives contains digitized of Scottish wills dating from 1501 to 1901, and are available at local authorities. Also, historic seals are stored in acid-free bags.

Furthermore, functions of the conservation treatment were presented. They were "select public records worthy of permanent preservation; acquire other historical records of national importance, or which merits preservation; divert, desolve, or transfer records to other appropriate repositories, and make suitable arangements for the disposal of other material; to preserve to archive standards of all records selected for permanent preservation in the NAS; to promote public access to the information; to provide aadvice, guidance and support to owners and custodians of records held outwith the NAS; to take lead in development of archival and records management practice in Scotland; and, to display records.

Margaret mentioned that there are approximaely 70 kilometers in length of records dating back to 1870. These include State and Parlimentary records, Registers and Deeds and Sasines, Church Records, Wills and Testiments, Taxation Records, Valuation Records, Family and Estate Papers, Court and Legal Records, Government ecords, Business records, and Railroad Papers.

Resources the NAS offers he public is electronic and paper catalogs, as well as the OPAC. Several websites that were given include: (NAS) (SCAN: Scottish Archive Network) -contains over 45 archives (wills) (handwriting) -how to improve your paleography skills (schools)

Also mentioned was the Historical Search Room, which was built in 1847 and initially was the Antiquarium Room.

Users are only allowed to use pencil and can only bring needed items in a clear plastic bag into any of the Reading Rooms. But first, a Reader's Ticket is required to request any materials. Its a form of security pass. Users enter their surname, seat number, and reference number into computer to access materials. Also mentioned is that users are not charged any money to search for materials, although there is a charge for legal searches.

After the electronic presentation, we were allowed to view some old archived documents. Most of the items were in protective sleeves to pevent dirt and oil stains from fingers/hands. One particular item of interest to me was the Record of Inventories: 22 July - 11 September 1885, entry for Sir Henry Raeburn, died 8 July 1823. Within the Inventory, it stated that Sir Henry Raeburn died "domiciled" or without a will. His total estate was worth 5,000 British Pounds Sterling. Quite a large sum at that time. He was a Scottish painter of portraits and I have a background in art and remember his name from my past studies.

picture of Sir Henry Raeburn


After we finished looking at several items, we walked through the free access Adam Dome (a reading room with computers), and the Matheson Dome (a private area with a second and third level of books and a few computers), and the digitizing camera lab (with 7 cameras in the main room and more in the back room). During our tour, I asked Margaret what the oldest item in the collectiion was. After a short pause, she said that it would have to be the 1174 David I Charter granting lands to St. Cuthburt Church. It measures approximately 8" x 1.5" long.

When the tour was finalized, we all returned to the Cloak Room for our bags and then dispersed to our own accord. I joined Dr. Welsh in walking down Princes Street to do a little shopping and then decided to have dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe Edinburgh on George Street north of Princes Street. Of course we both had to get a shirt from the HRC Shop. The food was oh so good. After dinner, we walked back to the bus stop and went back to Dalkeith.

Link to Scotlands People Centre

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Related Links


Monday, 28 July 2008

Up and Away to Edinburgh, and to the NLS

Sunday, July 17

Once again, we had to drag ourselves down to the courtyard, this time by 8:45, so we could get on the bus by 9am for Edinburgh. The drive-up took a total of 10 hours, with a 40 minute lunch break after the first 3 hour segment (while watching Hook without any sound), then another 50 minute break after the second 3.5 hour segment(while watching Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King without any sound). The second break took longer because two girls from the Children's Literature group were late returning to the bus. Back in the bus, we drove the rest of the way watching some other movie. During most of the trip, I was thinking, "Why didn't I pay extra an take the rail to Edinburgh? It would have only taken 5 hours. What was I thinking?!

Monday, July 18

The next day (Monday, my group met at the nearby bus stop for our trip to Edinburgh. Upon arrival, we followed the map to our destination, the National Library of Scotland (NLS) on King George IV Bridge Street.


After entering the library, we were promptly greeting by Emma Faragher, Education & Outreach Program Officer. She began with general information the National Scottish Library (NSL) and then proceeded into the planned slide presentation on "Interpreting the John Murray Archives: Manuscripts and Accessibility." I found it difficult to hear and understand most of the Scottish speakers, but the following is what I gathered:

Emma began by saying that The John Murray Archives was purchased for £32.5 million in ( ) and contains over 150,000 items dating from 1768 to 1920. It contains materials in the fields of literature, science, politics, travel and exploration. The library receives funding assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Scottish Government, the John Murray Foundation, and other private donors. And has a team of curators, cataloguers and educators on staff.

Emma continued by discussing the planning all phases of the Archives. Whenn talking about displays, she stated that the planning stages are very careful, specifically for specially designed displays for the viewers. Everything has to be accessible! In the broad range of schemes, to educate the viewer is very important, and to have the materials available to the public to see. The NSL offers fun learning skills and they teach students how to do research.

Getting more specific with The John Murray Archive, Emma informed us of their internal and external exhibits. Focus was put on the exhibit across the hall, where she pointed out that the manuscripts had special lighting issues which were addressed. The display height was furmulated to best serve children and adults for ease of reading. And issues with art, they found that viewers had different responses to it; most liked it, but some hated it. She further explained that objects in the exhibition design needed to be easy to understand, the labels easy to read, and that it was important for the visitors to use their own personal experiences to understand the objects.

Specifically concerning the manuscripts, it was intented for the viewer to read the content and to get the true value or understanding of its purpose. And since some of the handwritten manuscripts were difficult to read, next to it was an interactive computer that showed a legible copy of the manuscript. This made it easier for the viewer to read the content of the manuscript without squinting and spending a lot of time deciphering the handwriting. Some of the journal manuscripts date back to Emma discussed the risks involded with the exhibit being too text and label heavy, with a dry and unengaging atmosphere, and that they have had some "bored" visitors.

Furthermore, she discussed what makes The John Murray Archives an engaging archival exhibition. It includes materials displayed, object rich and label poor, information accessed via interactive, use of light and shadow to create atmosphere, meanings of display, and communicating the process of writing and publishing. Also explained are the learning outcomes of The John Murray Archives, which are increased knowledge and undersatanding; skills; attitudes and values; enjoyment, inspiration and creativity; and activity, behavior and progression. And it recieves its market research from visitor remarks, both verbal and written.

Next, we had the pleasure of meeting David McClay, Curator of the NSL . He stated that The John Murray Archive was the most impressive archive in the world, and most important archive available. He restated some of the information Emma presented earlier, and mentioned that there are 15,000 images in the JMA collection, including business records, etc. that are in the process of being digitized. Theres are 158 members in the group to improve/enhance exhibit content and set-up. The NSL is in partnership with the University of Edinburgh, the Zoo and Botonicals, and couple other institutions.

David restated that the manuscripts are the core of the collection/exhibits. And built in with the talks are the exhibitions, and related programming. And when restating that there are 150,000 objects in the collection, he also said that 45,000 of the total are books, photographs, and manuscripts. But when asked what the overall amount is, he stated that he doesn't quite know the total amount in the collection, because it keeps growing. He did say, though, that there is about 150 metres length of archive materials. David cited a book in the collection, "Seven Lives of John Murray," and said that we all should read it; that it is very good!

When David finished his presentation and answered several questions from our group, we all went across to the other side of the entrance to the John Murray Archive Exhibition. The display area contained an elaborate show of orignial letters, manuscripts, costumes, interactive kiosks, and split wallscreens where old-styled pictures of people and objects moved across the screens; one screen onto the second. The kiosks contained readable-text deciphered from the original hand-written letters so viewers could easily read and understand the documents.

After viewing the Archive Exhibition, we rejoined back into the presentation room for a quick summary and follow-up questions. Emma stated that the exhibit has been up since June 2007, and that most of the items in the display were specially produced for the exhibit, duplicating the originals. I do believe that we all enjoyed ourselves.

I enjoyed viewing this exhibition again. I had initially seen it last summer during a one week tour of Scotland through Tauk Tours, which ended in Edinburgh. I do believe the exhibit was successful because all of the objects and displays, and lighting and information all pulled together to set a stage of information building.

It was close to lunch time, so our group walked down to the Elephant House for a little nosh. The Elephant House was made famous as the birthplace of Harry Potter, where J.K.Rowling wrote her first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, in the US). From there we walked to the Grayfiar's Bobby, which is a statue of a Skye Terrier dog named Bobby.

(Read more about the Greyfriar's Bobby here,

map of Edinburgh, Scotland


Saturday, 26 July 2008

"To Be, Or Not To Be..." at the Shakespeare Library (Stratford-upon-Avon)

Friday, July 18


Our group assembled in the courtyard, along with the Theatre and Children's Literature Groups, for a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon. It was a 2 hour drive, with a 20 minute rest stop which ended up to be 40 minutes because 2 girls in the Children's Literature Group were late; the Children's Literature professor even stated that it was 2 from her group and that they did it before on another trip.

When we arrived, our group went directly to the Shakespeare Centre Library and Archives for a tour. We were greeted by Clare Maffoli and were given information on their workplace, specifically that the library was newly refurbished and that they had merged records archives with the library. Clare stated that they have two sections: the Local Collection, which includes information on the city, maps, and family history; and the Shakespeare Collection, which includes the life time of Shakespeare and his collective works, which is further sub-divided into: 1. the Collection of his birthplace, and 2. the Royal Shakespeare Company Archive Collection. Additionally, she told us that the Collections included programs, photos, music, theatre reviews, and related items.

It was explained that there are temperature/humidity controlled rooms in the basement that stores most of the old, valuable materials. There is even a flood control system in the basement to prevent damage. Clare mentioned that they use archive quality labels, covers, and related items in storing all of their materials.

First, we were taken through the Reading Room, where we noticed some people were accessing some materials. We were also informed that when viewing original books and materials, it is mandatory to wear gloves when inspecting the contents, to only use pencils when writing notes about the materials, and to only use weights to hold down pages when viewing books.

Statistics of library usage were given. On average, approximately 3,000 readers use the Shakespeare Library every year. This includes school children who need information for reports, such as streets in Stratford and how they've changed; local and "out-of-towners who are seeking family and/or burial information; new home owners who want to find some history of their house, such as historic pictures of the street, or plans (blueprints); and even A level students (high school), who are studying Shakespeare performance history, or need illustrations or portraits of actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company. Images in the library database date back to Shakespeare's time (approximately 1590 to 1613), up to more modern times, and that on average, 50,000 books, maps, and other materials are requested in any given year.

Overall, the Trust was formed in 1847, with the purchase of Shakespeare’s birthplace and now comprise of four additional buildings. They are not connected to the government, they are a private charity, and apply for funding as a major source of operational expenses.

Regarding collection development for the library, Clare said they try to purchase things that will be used and that others (libraries) don't have. Currently, the collection consists of pre-1700 books up to modern day, with many foreign language texts, and periodicals are displayed in the Reading Room. She mentioned that they have a subscription to the William Shakespeare Bibliography, and also borrow materials from the British Library.

On staff, there are 12 members that have different duties. There are two librarians, various library assistants and subject specialists. The library also relies on volunteers for conservation, and various other duties. An former theatre director is assisting in the library, as well. And the staff utilizes the Copac library catalog (, which is a free access of merged online catalogs consisting of the major universities and national libraries in the UK and Ireland, to research and gather information on various related subjects.

Clare further discussed more about their Local Collection, stating that they have a community outreach program where they either go out and do talks at schools and such, or they have groups come in for special visits.

The next part of our tour took us down to the Strong Rooms in the basement area. These rooms are environmentally controlled with air conditioners and dehumidifiers. We were shown four of these rooms and told about their contents. Amusingly, I refer to them as the "vaults" because of the vault-like door that seals in the environmental control atmosphere, as well as acts as flood protectors (they have had floods in the past and lost much of the previous collection).

After all the meandering around reading and storage rooms, we were then led upstairs to the conference room to meet Jo Welding, User Services Librarian extraordinaire. She proceeded to give her overview of the collection, stating that the Trust was founded in 1847 with the intention to collect items to form a library and archive consisting of materials, history, etc. That the Royal Shakespeare Company took over the collection from the theatre in 1964. It contains 250,000 photos (mostly black/white), and will be digitizing the collection shortly, starting with reviews of Shakespeare plays. She continued telling us that she does all the displays for A level students on drama, production materials, and study performance history.

Jo then got to the good stuff. She proceeded to describe each book, photo, and playbill that was placed on the conference room table. They were all related to A Midsummer Nights Dream, Shakespeare's play. after discovering that we will be seeing "Taming of the Shrew," she said that she would get examples from that play. But we all said that A Midsummer Nights Dream was fine and so she proceeded. While talking about each piece, she stated that they tried to collect things that were on the shelves during Shakespeare's time, and that Lord Strange was one of Shakespeare's early patron. Incidentally, Jo pointed out how the herb thyme was spelled in a Shakespeare play; it was spelled "time".

When she finished, she pulled out the Shakespeare Folio, one of several that were printed in 1623, shortly after the death of Shakespeare's death as a memorial to him. She stated that their copy was close to the original copy, further stating that not all of the Shakespeare Folios, 229 copies in all, were printed in the same place, therefore, each having a slight difference about them. Also, that eight plays would have disappeared if they were not published, and that there are 32 total plays in the Folio. Incidentally, one Folio was auctioned off for £2.8 million ($5.6 million) in London. Our group was then told that the Royal Shakespeare Company has three Folios in there procession: one located in Shakespeare's birthplace which is imperfect, having many original pages missing; the second in the Trust; and the third Folio at the Theatre, having some facsimile pages in place of the originals. Oxford has a copy, and others are held privately.

After the wonderful presentation and inspection in the conference room, we were taken downstairs to Storage, entered 4 or 5 "Strong Rooms" and were shown the various materials stored there. Each contained specifically cataloged materials, such as books, videos, cassette tapes, 8mm film, photos, prints, and production records of plays, among other things. One item in particular, "The Lives of the Nobles," was pointed out and was mentioned that it had been repaired, but it's published date is unknown. All of these rooms (I call them "vaults" because of the vault-like outer door), contained rolling stacks to conserve space, with some additional metal shelving against the walls. When asked if there were any questions, one group member asked what classification system they used. Jo answered that they created their own specialized system, because they are a specialized library. And when in the storage area downstairs, we all got cold from the air conditioning (the environmental control system).

We ended the tour by returning to the Conference Room to get our belongings. Throughout the second part of the tour with Jo, I could help but be amused with Jo's spunk and excitement about the library and it's collection. She reminded me of Patsy from the BBC show AbFab (Absolutely Fabulous!, an exciting tour.

I then joined up with Dr. Welsh for some Indian food at the Coconut Lagoon, located down the street from the Shakespeare Theatre. The food was very good! We also walked by the Swan Theatre and tooks pictures, which was directly across from the Shakespeare theatre. The play we saw, The Taming of the Shrew, started and ended with a modernistic twist of the original play. Very enjoyable, but a little bizarre! It was after 11pm (23:00) when we all convened back to the bus after the play, where we were rushed back to the dorm, shortly after 1am (01:00).

Of note: The Buffalo Library of Buffalo New York, USA, has 80 copies of the Shakespeare Folio. They recently acquired the Durham copy of the First Folio.


(Related Sources)


Saturday, 19 July 2008

Off to the Bodlein Library - Oxford

Thursday, July 17


The group met in the courtyard at 8am, then took the Bakerloo Line to Paddington tube station. The we hopped on the 9:21 train to Oxford, which took about an hour in duration. We all then were directed to take the "hop-on, hop-ff" city bus that includes headphones and an audio guide to the route taken. We followed the route from the rail station and got off at the Bodlein Library.

When we arrived at the Library, we were guided to the Divinity Hall, where we received an introductions of the two guides and some historical background of Oxford University and all the colleges. Because the group was 15 people, we were split into two smaller groups. The group I was in was directed by Sydney Hicks. He gave us further information regarding the Divinity Hall, specifically stating that the room was used in a Harry Potter film where Harry was in the Infirmery. He also pointed out just where the bed Harry laid in was located. I will definately have to watch the movie again (I believe it is the Chamber of Secrets.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Greenwich National Maritime Museum

Wednesday, July


Today, after meeting in the courtyard at 8am, we set off on an adventure by foot to the boat launch next to the London Eye, on the Thames South Bank. He had to wait about 10-15 minutes for the boat (there is a boat every 20 minutes). We boarded the "Hurrican Cutter." It looks more like a katamaran than a cutter-type boat. Traveling to our destination takes about 30 minutes or so, with five stops along the way prior to the Greenwich Pier stop. The ferris wheel, or "Eye," was the landmark.

There was a short distance to walk before arriving at the National Maritime Museum, where we were met by Hannah Dunmow. She was carrying the book, "Of Ships and Stars" by Buckler, and began telling the history of the Caird Library. It opened in 1897 and Sir James Caird was the sole benefactor, bequeathing his entire library collection.

Today, the Caird Library is the largest research library of maritime information. It contains books and information on piracy, astronomy, the Merchant and Royal Navys, various family histories, and other related materials. It also contains the follwing resources: Lloyds Captains Registry of ships, masters lists, merchantile shipping of 1857-1977, Lloyds List of Ocean Going Ships, microfilm, and other related materials. To date, there are over 100,000 maritime relatedbooks dating from 1850 to the present, 20,000 pamphlets, and numerous periodicals, such as the Mariners Mirror. In their rare books collections, there are approximately 8,000 books dating from 1474-1850, with books dated after 1850 that are classified as open access. There is onsite storage for the collections. There is on average 5 retreivals per day for books, and 20 per day for manuscripts, with a required 2 week notice for viewing.

It was stated that the open access collections were more used then the restricted collections. To use the library, patrons must be over 16 years of age, and there is no creditials required for accessing materials. Patrons just fill out a library ticket, read the rules, sign a usage form, and show a pictured ID showing residential address, such as a driver's license or passport. Patrons can then access online catalogs and archives. It was noted that a separate online catalog for manuscripts will be going live later this year. There are, on average, a total of 3,000 to 4,000 visitors per year. With 15,000 to 18,000 inquiries per year for various pictures, sculptures, books and other materials and access to 2,000 books and 5,000 manuscripts per year. While listening to our speaker, I noticed that there were computers in the initial access/reception area.

The library is staffed by six archivists, five in manuscripts and one in hydrography (charts), 3 additional specialists, one information specialist, and a head manager. It was stated that there are no library assistants; that they all work together on library service duties. Additionally, the library receives email and post inquireries, as well. Hannah concluded that the Caird Library is primarily a 2-D library (on paper), with more information on their website (listed above).

After some questions, we were led in a Meeting Room (Meeting Room 11, to be exact), to view samples. Two additional staff were on hand, Renee and Mike, to give us overviews of each selected book or manuscript. We received a handout which explained each book/manuscript, as well. It was a thoroughly enriching experience to see and hear the history of these selected materials.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

National Art Library, Victoria & Albert Museum

Tuesday, July 15


Today, the group assembled at 1pm in the courtyard, received instructions and ventured on to the tube (underground). We took the Jubilee line (West) one stop to Westminster, changed to the District line, went (West) four stops to the South Kensington tube stop, and then walked the connecting tunnel directly to the Victoria & Albert Museum. Once inside the museum, we went straight to the National Arts Library to meet our contact. After a few minutes, Francis Warrell came to greet us and took us first through the main center area with registration and computers, where patrons can search for books and utilize databases of museum objects.

We then walked quietly through to the special collections area. We passed by the Reproduction Area (copy machines), which Francis indicated that journals and books dated before 1930 can be digitally photographed. Next, it was to the Marshalling Area, in which we had to hike up stairs to reach (on the second floor, their Floor 1). This area has a Retrieval person to locate and pull requested books, set them on the counter through an opening in the wall, along with the triplicate slip filled out beforehand, and delivered to the table as indicated by the seat number. The seat number is garnered by the patron upon arrival to the art library. Francis also mentioned that staff can borrow up to 20 items for 3 months, but have to keep them in the building in case a patron requests them. Books in the stacks in this area are organized by form and subject. There are over 8,000 titles, which all volumes are bound for preservation and security. It was also stated that the oldest periodical dates to the Victorian era, between 1837 and 1901.

Next, we were led to the 2nd mezzanine floor, which was said to be former gallery space, now used as storage. There are a multitude of locked cupboards containing special collections, consisting of medieval manuscripts, printing presses, artists books, etc. Notably, their 20th century book collection is the largest in England. Also in the collection are Dickens' original book proofs, John Forester letters and folios, and other materials. It was explained here that the National Art Library was originated in 1837 at the somerset House and was resettled to the present Victoria & Albert location in 1857. It contains other books, manuscripts, sculptures, the 1851 exhibition catalog, as well.

The third room we were taken to was the West Room, which was in the midst of reconstruction for the 20th century gallery space, but the books on its second level will remain. This area will contain the Gilbert Collection, now at the Somerset House. Francis stated that there is additional storage in the crypt, and that students from Sotheby's come periodically to do restoration on numerous books that need mending.

We then followed our guide to the Staff Area, which is directly over the 20th Century Gallery. It is the workroom with desks and computers, and lots of paperwork piled up. This is where Francis explained their online access: circulation, ILL, etc.; off line access: inquiries, examples include Latin, prints and drawings, and general V & A questions. She also talked about the cataloging section with in the Staff Area, which is all retrievable. In the Acquisitions section, Francis spoke about gifting, which the library gratefully accepts all items, and also explained their exchange program of loaning to other museums. And that the library is a National depository, after receiving donations from the British Library.

Francis explained that they have a large collection of exhibition catalogs, stating that 75% come from abroad and are shelved by country/gallery/year/size. Then she concluded by saying that the art library is also known as the Words and Image Department.

Finally, we were taken to the final room where we met Jennie Farmer. She had a table full of various books displayed for explaining and viewing. After she talked about each book, we were invited to look through each one. It was a very interesting and exciting opportunity to do so. Especially viewing the collaged book from Detroit, Michigan; the Soft Book, which every page was rabbit fur; and also, the book made totally out of a student’s wooden chair.