CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSN 0307-7284
New Series No. 52
Lent/Easter 2003

Edited by Aidan Baker and Kathryn McKee


CONTENTS


EDITORIAL

This issue takes as its theme rare books, special collections, and archives: their management, conservation, cataloguing, librarians, and users. This is an area in which there is a huge amount of activity in Cambridge libraries at the moment.

Karen Begg outlines the National Preservation Office's procedure for carrying out a conservation survey, as undertaken recently at Sidney Sussex. Karen Davies tells us more about the JANUS project, an exciting initiative which aims ultimately to provide a single gateway to the varied archive resources of the institutions of Cambridge University. Catherine Ansorge and Sophie Bridges describe an ongoing project at Oriental Studies to make their rich collections of archival papers available to a wider group of researchers (an illustrated version of this article appears in the online CULIB). Rebecca Rushforth gives an outline of Trinity's work to make the James Catalogue available online. Allen Purvis and Stewart Tiley describe the recataloguing project at St John's, discussing the cataloguing standards and access points appropriate for a College collection, and setting the range of materials covered in their historical context. Ann Keith looks at another sort of special collection, one which appeals particularly to the student community, describing the unusally fine music collections at Christs. Turning to ways of further publicising rarer materials, AnneMarie Robinson gives us an insight into the life of an exhibitions officer and Jill Whitelock describes the ideas behind the Whipple's new gallery, where library exhibits encourage the use of special collections in teaching. Our news section focuses on Girton's new Library and Archive project. We finish with a completely different perspective on the subject, as Peter Hocking tells us about his work with an extraordinary special collection in Australia.

Special collections librarians have been so hard at work that we have no space left for hobbies! Our regular feature on what librarians do in their spare time should return in the Michaelmas issue.

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PRESERVATION ASSESSMENT AT SIDNEY SUSSEX COLLEGE: AN ACCOUNT OF A SURVEY UNDERTAKEN IN 2002 USING THE NATIONAL PRESERVATION OFFICE SURVEY METHOD

The management of a special collection, like any other, is a complex combination of financial and human resources. Risks must be assessed, disasters avoided and readers accommodated. It makes sense to ensure that such special resources remain stable and usable for as long as possible, but conservation and preservation may be frustrated by under funding or neglect, especially in collections that have grown unchecked, or are poorly stored or catalogued. Improvements are likely to raise practical and funding issues and will need careful planning. Knowing where to start presents a challenge.

The National Preservation Office (NPO) at the British Library has devised a method of assessing the state of preservation at a given time of any collection of library, archival or mixed material. The method, known as a Preservation Assessment Survey (PAS), has a sound statistical base and was extensively piloted during its development. Simple to administer, it can inform an institution's preservation policy and will almost certainly add weight to any applications for external funding. PAS findings are also added to the British Library's national database that will eventually provide a broader picture of preservation needs and priorities.

Sidney Sussex College was the first Oxbridge institution to use the PAS and this article explains why the method was chosen and how it works. Detailed survey findings are excluded but the relevance of a PAS for policy making becomes clear. The account may help managers decide if the method could aid their own collection development and will certainly illuminate the financial and manpower aspects of such surveys. More than anything, it will demonstrate that, even in difficult physical conditions, collections can be surveyed and assessed with a view to planning realistic improvements.

How does the PAS work?

The survey is based on a random sample of 400 items from the collection being studied and can be repeated to allow comparison over time or between collections. There are four main stages. Firstly, the sample is generated. This can be done electronically from an online catalogue, or systematically, after mapping the collection and undertaking a shelf count. A stratified sample that combines both methods can also be used. Unshelved items, for example, those in drawers, boxes or in piles on the floor, are included according to their 'shelf equivalence'. The second stage is the collection of data during which assessments of the preservation, usability, value and condition of each item are made using a two-part questionnaire. The data can be entered onto an Access database either directly, or later, from completed survey forms. Data analysis forms the third stage, during which each item is assigned a 'score' and placed in a preservation priority band. Summary statistics are also compiled and a series of 'what if?' reports prepared to give an indication of the likely effects of making changes, for example to a cleaning programme, in environmental conditions or in the provision of secondary protection of fragile materials. The last stage is the preparation of a comprehensive report by staff of the National Preservation Office.

The PAS at Sidney

Founded in 1596, Sidney has had over four centuries to accumulate all manner of artefacts. The PAS was used to survey those of its special collections that are in the day-to-day care of the College Archivist and stored in the College's Muniment Room. These comprise books, manuscripts, photographs, historic and modern archive material and other realia, and had attracted attention primarily because of a chronic shortage of storage space. The material in the Muniment Room and its stores had become so overcrowded that many items were inaccessible and routine housekeeping had been compromised. The PAS was considered an appropriate way of assessing the situation and informing plans for change.

Preliminaries

The NPO recommend that two staff, at least one of whom has appropriate experience for item assessment, allot time to work together on a PAS. In preparation, I attended a 'hands on' training day at the British Library that included mapping and assessment practice in underground book stacks, and clarified many practical issues, such as how to deal with part filled shelves, with collections of magazines and boxes of papers. It also brought together professionals from different backgrounds and demonstrated differences in the approach of conservators, librarians and archivists. Reconciling these to ensure consistent responses to the PAS questionnaire was invaluable experience for the real thing.

Mapping the shelves

There is no single catalogue of the Muniment Room collections and the sample had to be generated systematically. Drain survey plans showing shelf layout provided the basic maps of the irregularly shaped ground and basement rooms. I marked the location of unshelved material on these and reached a total of 698 shelves (or shelf equivalents). A random sample of 398 items, enough to fulfil statistical requirements, was obtained by taking an item from certain shelves according to NPO instructions.

Data collection

This took much longer than originally planned. My archivist colleague, who had originally intended sharing the assessment work, was unable to offer more than occasional assistance and I had to fit the data collection around other responsibilities. Progress was also hampered by physical conditions that made many items difficult to access. I entered some data straight onto a portable computer, but because of poor working conditions, and the occasional need to check catalogue records, I completed paper forms for the majority of items and keyboarded the information later. What should have taken around two months to complete stretched into six. The NPO and local colleagues offered advice and support throughout, but the 'quick look' actually took a lot longer than anticipated and reinforced the need to clarify manpower issues in advance.

Data analysis

Many summary reports are included on the NPO software and can be completed locally. In practice, however, most users leave this part of the process to the NPO, which has a wealth of relevant experience.

Some summary statistics and a first draft report arrived within days of returning the completed database. The final report took account of special local conditions, for example, differences in damage according to type of item and storage location. It also distinguished between material from the College archives and the historic library, and calculated the proportion of items in each of five preservation priority bands ranging from very low to very high. Particular preservation needs were indicated, the stability of collection assessed and the possible effects of change were explored, for example, in cleaning, environmental conditions and usage. The NPO was also happy to look at issues of special interest to Sidney and the final report included a print out of much of the most useful data.

What next?

The NPO report gave a general overview of the collection and indicated preservation needs and priorities. I had been asked to draw up an action plan for improvement and I did so, using the NPO report as its basis and incorporating the advice of conservators, bookbinders, librarians and other specialists. The plan distinguishes between immediate, medium and long-term priorities and indicates estimated costs and other resource requirements. It acknowledges the importance of the existing link with the Cambridge Colleges' Conservation Consortium, and the need to seek external funding for certain projects. Its proposals are intended to support a comprehensive policy for managing the College's special collections and are being considered by the College Council.

Concluding remarks

The PAS offers a sound methodology, every stage of which is accompanied by clearly written guidance notes. There were few ambiguities and staff at the NPO took a keen interest in progress. The software cost is currently £250, plus VAT, and includes training and report preparation, but the manpower cost is much higher, and reflects local conditions. An NPO team can be hired to undertake the whole exercise in around a fortnight and, while this will cost more, it may represent better use of resources than an in-house survey. The impartiality and expertise of the NPO gives authority to the method irrespective of who collects the data, and this can influence both an institution's willingness to invest in conservation and preservation activity and its success in applying for external funding.

On a more personal note, I learned a great deal about the history of Sidney Sussex College and the ways in which collections can develop over long periods. While many items had arrived as bequests or gifts and are now rarely used, others are known to be of national importance because of their historical, legal or religious relevance. Examples include Sidney's manuscripts, rare books, photographs and the rather macabre death mask of Oliver Cromwell. Perhaps inevitably, the survey included lesser-known or forgotten treasures ranging from a rare copy of a particular set of classical texts, to a crumbling College register and a hand made US flag, made from silk and given to the College by some US servicemen in 1919. The latter raises questions about textile conservation and reminds us that conservation and preservation requirements vary according to provenance and type of resource as well as conditions of storage and use.

Further reading

Foot, M. M. Building blocks for a preservation policy. London: National Preservation Office, 2001.

Hughes, S. Preserving library and archive collections in historic buildings. London: Resource, 2001 (Library and Information Commission Research Report 118)

Walker, A. and Foster, J. Preservation assessment survey for libraries and archives: user's guide. London: National Preservation Office, 2001.

Karen Begg
Hughes Hall

For more information contact Karen Begg

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JANUS: A NEW INTERNET RESOURCE SET TO REVOLUTIONISE ACCESS TO UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGE ARCHIVES IN CAMBRIDGE

Archive collections held within the University and the Colleges illuminate an enormous variety of subjects (education and College life, social organisation, religion, gender, charitable giving and land holding and developments in the wider world of British culture, the arts and sciences)and attract researchers from within the University and all over the world. Now, thanks to a collaborative project between University and College archivists, that archival history has become a great deal easier to find with the launch of Janus on 11 October 2002.

Janus is a web server( http://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk), centrally located within Cambridge University Library, providing a single point of networked access to catalogues (or descriptions) of Cambridge archives, with additional research tools. It has two aspects: public and private. Researchers can locate catalogue information by browsing or searching online; their findings complemented by glossaries and administrative histories peculiar to the Cambridge setting. Archivists contributing catalogues from institutions large and small, now have the secure means to create, validate and upload EAD (Encoded Archival Description) files to the Janus database. For the first time, the facility exists to publish and access descriptions of a substantial and growing number of collections, which were previously hidden from view.

The catalogues on Janus describe records dating back to 1135 and as recent as the year 2002. Although the site is still in its early stages it already includes an impressive wealth of information. The University's own archives shed light on Cambridge as a centre of academic excellence; represented for instance in the archives of the Cambridge Observatories dating from 1818-1999. Alongside operational records relating to buildings, finances, observations and instruments, the records include diaries of George Biddell Airy (who went on to become Queen Victoria's Astronomer Royal) and a body of correspondence featuring James Challis' observations of Neptune before its official discovery in Berlin in 1846.

Collections of personal papers held at Girton College and Lucy Cavendish College illustrate developments in women's education in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries respectively: the Emily Davies papers reflect the work which she and her contemporaries accomplished for women in both educational and political fields and, in particular, her role in the foundation and early years of Girton College; personal papers of Anna Bidder and Margaret Braithwaite (the first President and Vice-president of Lucy Cavendish Collegiate Society) reveal something of how this experimental educational establishment for women was founded in the 1960's.

There are also catalogues describing the papers of some of the most significant public figures of the twentieth century. Political life and government policy are documented by the papers of Britain's first female Prime Minister, Baroness Thatcher, and those of Enoch Powell and Richard "RAB" Butler (collections held at Churchill Archives Centre and at Trinity College). Intellectual advances are represented by the papers of Ludwig Wittgenstein, the most influential figure in twentieth century western philosophy, whose papers are held at Trinity College. There are Second World War collections from Churchill Archives Centre including hand-written notes of Winston Churchill's wartime Cabinet meetings from the papers of Lawrence Burgis, and first-hand recollections of working with Churchill from Private Secretaries 'Jock' Colville and John Martin, and secretary Jo Sturdee. At King's College, the papers of Roger Fry, painter and art critic scion of the Bloomsbury Group, offer an insight into his influence on the changing London art scene in the early twentieth century.

The constituency of Janus is potentially every archive catalogue in Cambridge, whatever its subject matter and new catalogues are being added each week. Since the launch in October an additional 33 catalogues have been added from both existing and 'new' partner institutions.

In providing 24-hour on-line access to catalogues, Janus will facilitate considerable savings in time and money for historians and researchers who can now identify key resources before visiting Cambridge. The catalogues on Janus are consistent with one another as they use the latest professional standards for archival description, ensuring that the data is inter-operable and fully searchable. Through this means, Janus will help University and College archives offer better services to their users, reach a wider potential audience and hopefully in time also attract entirely new user groups. Peter Fox, University Librarian, said: "The University Library is delighted to host the Janus website. It's a wonderful resource for the research community in Cambridge and beyond and lays important foundations for closer co-operation between the University and its constituent colleges."

The Janus Project has recently been awarded a grant of £3000 from the East of England Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (EEMLAC) to help fund the next phase of development. This will include enhancements to allow for profiled searching, and seeking wider feedback on the usability of Janus from researchers and contributors.

The site was named 'Janus' after the god of gates and doors in Roman mythology. The god Janus has a distinctive appearance in art and is often depicted with two faces. Some sources claim that the reason Janus was represented in this way was a reflection of the concept that doors and gates look in two directions. In this way, one of the god's faces could look forward, while the other looked backward. By embracing new technology, Janus looks forwards, while the content of the site looks back. The site's logo is based on a Roman coin (dated to the early second century BC) held by the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

Developing Janus has been a collaborative project between Natalie Adams (Churchill Archives Centre), Ellie Clewlow (Gonville and Caius College), Jacky Cox (University Archives), Karen Davies (Lucy Cavendish College), Martin Oldfield (Technical Consultant) and Jonathan Smith (Trinity College). It has been funded by contributions from participating institutions: the University's Fingland Fund, Churchill College, Downing College, Gonville and Caius College, King's College, Lucy Cavendish College, Queens' College, St John's College, Selwyn College, and Trinity College, the Fitzwilliam Museum, and the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate.

For further information, please visit the Janus site at http://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk or contact the developers by e-mailing janus@lib.cam.ac.uk

Karen Davies
Archivist
Lucy Cavendish College

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ARCHIVE COLLECTIONS IN THE ORIENTAL STUDIES FACULTY LIBRARY

There is a project currently underway to list and conserve the collections of archival papers held in the Faculty of Oriental Studies Library. These collections have come to the library from various sources, often accompanying a bequest of books, but consist largely of the personal papers of scholars, travelers, archaeologists and enthusiasts with interests in some part of the oriental world. Mainly they are from the 19th and 20th centuries and some also have, accompanying the collection of papers, photos, slides and even artifacts.

There are several reasons for setting up the project. First, as the papers lay for many years in the library's basement store so that many researchers to whom the papers would be of interest did not know of their existence. Second, the conditions under which they were stored were not ideal and something obviously had to be done to improve their conservation to ensure their survival into the future. Third, if researchers did request to look at the papers, there were no proper procedures set up by which the papers could be easily identified in a listing or catalogue nor could they be made available in proper reading room conditions.

All of these factors led to an initiative to raise funds, some from within the Faculty and others from outside sources, to set up a project to process these papers. This began in April 2001 and is on course to finish in July 2003.

So far 17 collections have been catalogued and indexed using current archival standards (ISAD (G), the NCA rules and the Getty thesaurus). Processing has involved discarding duplicate and ephemeral material, sorting and arranging papers, and housing them in acid free envelopes and boxes for permanent preservation. Advice on how to store and publish the catalogues was sought from the Faculty's computing support services and XML, a mark up language, was chosen because it is non proprietary and well suited to the structured data in archive catalogues. A programme was written to transform the catalogues into HTML for presentation on the Faculty's website and to build indexes. As an initial step, an introductory guide to the holdings was written and posted on the website where it may be found easily by researchers using a search engine like Google. In addition, handlists have been produced for consultation in the reading room.

The collections mainly comprise the personal papers of individuals. They are rich in diaries, correspondence and photographs reflecting first hand experience of the Middle East and Asia. Particular collections that have attracted interest include the papers of Frederick Green (1869-1949), an Egyptologist who worked on the important excavation at Hierakonpolis and discovered the decorated tomb, and Bertram Thomas (1892-1950), an Arabian explorer who became the first European to cross the Rub' al Khali (Empty Quarter).

Bertram Thomas in Oman, 1929.

But some of the meatiest material is concentrated in the collections about the study of Pali and Buddhism. The papers of Isaline Horner (1896-1981) meticulously document her travels in India and Sri Lanka and the papers of Thomas Rhys Davids (1843-1922) and Caroline Rhys Davids (1857-1942) are a Who's Who of oriental scholarship. Both collections are also full and surprising portraits of family life, touching on subjects as diverse as bringing up children, women's suffrage, military history, colonial administration, mountaineering and golf.

Letter with engraved letterhead of a Sinhalese woman, 1866.

Collection level descriptions are available now on the Faculty's website ( http://www.oriental.cam.ac.uk/archives.html). Full catalogues and indexes, illustrated with selected images, will be posted on completion of the project. It is hoped that the result will be a concise and attractive resource of enduring use to researchers.

Catherine Ansorge, Librarian
Sophie Bridges, Archivist

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THE JAMES CATALOGUE PROJECT AT TRINITY COLLEGE LIBRARY

A hundred years ago M. R. James, the great cataloguer, medieval scholar, and author, published The Western Manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge: a Descriptive Catalogue. James' work is the essential guide to the manuscript collection of Trinity College, and has been called his 'masterpiece among the early catalogues'. It is still a vital aid to scholars and is likely to remain so. James' breadth of learning was remarkable: the manuscripts described range from the eighth to the nineteenth centuries; contain works not only in Latin but in Greek, Old English, Middle English, French, Italian, and a number of other languages; and cover subjects as diverse as technical alchemy, biblical exegesis, medieval computus, early modern European politics, and heraldry, to name just a few.

The aim of this project is to make James' Catalogue, long out of print, more widely accessible, in a convenient format. To that end the entries have been scanned in; these images have been turned into text using optical character recognition software; and the resulting files then tagged up in XML, using a subset of tags taken from the MASTER (Manuscript Access through Standards for Electronic Records) DTD. Following this, Greek characters were automatically converted to Unicode and an XSL style-sheet was then written to convert the XML files into the HTML that appears on the reader's screen.

Important annotations from the unbound copy kept in folders in the Wren library have been incorporated into the text. Most of the major corrections are refinements of James' judgments in the light of more recent scholarship, or additions made by those who are expert in the field. Significant errors in James' text are unusual: not so, however, typographical mistakes. These have been corrected where the correct reading is obvious (or where they have been altered in the Wren copy).

Very basic entries have been added for manuscripts which have been acquired or recovered since James' time, and for binding-fragments which have since been separated from their parent-manuscripts and given a separate classmark. These are often very brief, or have relied heavily on specified printed material.

Further to the correction of errors and the addition of some information, an attempt has been made to add bibliography (appended to each entry), as aid for those who want to do research on a particular manuscript. A search engine has also been added, which should be of considerable use in finding particular texts, ownership inscriptions, and types of manuscript. As yet, complicated searches, specifying in which part of the record the search-string is to be found, or combining various criteria, cannot be carried out, but it is hoped that such a facility can be added in due course.

This project is entirely practical in its aims, and is intended to facilitate research on Trinity College manuscripts and their texts through making James' Catalogue more accessible, and in a versatile form. The 1500 or so entries made by James have been increased by additions to around 1700. The limits of time and the size of the project have necessarily acted as constraints on ambitions; we have tried to give usefulness precedence over polish.

The catalogue is now available on the library website http://www-lib.trin.cam.ac.uk. For further information on the project, please contact Joanna Ball or Jonathan Smith

Rebecca Rushforth
Trinity College Library

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UPPER LIBRARY CATALOGUING AT ST JOHN'S COLLEGE LIBRARY

For several centuries the early printed books located in the 17th century library at St John's College have remained peacefully on their Jacobean gothic shelves. Only with the aid of the annotated catalogue of another library (more specifically from the Library of Advocates, Edinburgh) could anyone locate a particular volume. No doubt they might have remained that way for some time yet, but in August of 2001 a major cataloguing project was initiated to provide access to, and encourage the use of, this significant bibliographical and historical resource.

Consisting of 2 full-time cataloguers the Upper Library Cataloguing Project was given 4 years to complete the description of the holdings on the first floor of the Old Library on the University's Union Catalogue. Estimates were that this would mean the cataloguing of some 35,000 items. Bibliographic records were to be to AACR2 and DCRB standards. The Library at St John's was anxious that its holdings of early printed books be considered as 'unique artifacts as well as bibliographic resources', and so, taking into account the guidelines for cataloguing of rare books published by CILIP, formats were developed for the description of provenance, bindings and other copy specific information (e.g. imperfections, misbindings, illuminations). Name headings were also included in records for former owners, donors, binders, etc., helping to increase the accessibility of this type of data. Whilst establishing itself the project was grateful for the chance to consult staff at the University Library about their practice in dealing with rare books.

The project has been in progress now for just over a year and a half, and is roughly a third of the way through its task. Records are mostly downloaded from CURL and RLIN, and amended according to local requirements, although some cataloguing from scratch is required due to the obscurity of some of the Library's holdings. Work commenced on the continental and 19th century material in the collection, in anticipation of a download of bibliographic records for English material from before 1800 from the ESTC. Well over half of the records for the continental material has been completed, and recently the promised ESTC records have arrived in full MARC21 format on Voyager, many thanks to staff at the ESTC and also at the University Library. Therefore there are 18,000 suppressed catalogue records currently swilling about on Voyager's cataloguing system, which have no holdings information attached and belong to St John's, but fairly soon these will start to be amended, with provenance, binding and holdings information added, and unsuppressed.

Cataloguing is an activity that allows the development of intimate knowledge of collections, and in the case of St John's these are particularly fascinating, spanning, as they do, several centuries. Watching the development of printing beginning with the incunabula of the 15th century, it is possible to see the incremental steps in the progress of the printed book, from one of the first printed classical works produced by the successors of Gutenberg, through an edition of Euclid with the first printed mathematical diagrams, the beginnings of printing in England, the first proper bibliographical work in print, the first polyglot works, and the first printings of Modern Greek and Anglo-Saxon, to the development of printing in New England and the engraved plate bearing the first accurate illustration of the Great Mosque at Mecca. But the collections are of interest beyond the bibliographical.

Many of the incunabula are finely illuminated, some for particular patrons such as Lorenzo de Medici. Other owners liked fine bindings, the Library holding examples bound for Louis XIII, Elizabeth I, Lady Mildred Burghley (wife of William Cecil), Henry Prince of Wales, and his little brother Charles Duke of York, later Charles I, who cannot have been more than 12 years of age on receiving one gilt emblem book in the library's possession. Many volumes are autographed by alumni of the College such as Roger Ascham, John Dee and William Cecil, Elizabeth I's tutor, astrologer and chief minister respectively, or William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson, the leaders of the abolitionist movement. Others are inscribed by figures of more random celebrity, e.g. Ben Jonson, Walter Raleigh and Philip IV of Burgundy, later I of Spain, husband of Joan the Mad and father of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Some volumes combine several features, most notably the College's Great Bible, which on the strength of its likely provenance from Thomas Cromwell and its intricate hand colouring, has made a television appearance on Simon Schama's History of Britain.

This intimacy and knowledge of the collections puts cataloguers in a good position to identify items of particular interest which might be used to promote the collections, whether as part of exhibitions or electronically. As part of the recent re-design of the Library's website (http://www.joh.cam.ac.uk/Library) the on-line special collections information was developed, with the provision of a searchable version of the annotated James catalogue of St John's manuscripts and other catalogues of post-medieval and oriental manuscripts, and as part of this development an Early Printed Books page was created which incorporates images of selected items. The cataloguers performed the selection, reflecting on several criteria, including bibliographical interest, historical significance, provenance, relevance to the College and Cambridge, and, perhaps most importantly, whether they looked nice. It was also considered desirable that a short narrative could be constructed around each image as a caption, locating it in a context, and emphasizing the depth and appeal of the collection. As the project progresses it is hoped that this section will be updated and developed as a promotional tool.

Since its inception the Project has had to make the move from the old Union catalogue system to Voyager, and consequently from UKMARC to MARC21, ensuring the correct migration of rare books data. The issues raised by the implementation of rare books cataloguing on Voyager has led members of the project to become involved in the initiation of an ad hoc rare books cataloguing committee, initially amongst the College libraries, the first meeting scheduled for March 20th, 2003. A forum of this sort should ensure the fostering of co-operation and support upon which successful rare books cataloguing relies.

Stewart Tiley & Allen Purvis
Upper Library Cataloguing Project
St John's College

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MUSIC COLLECTIONS AT CHRIST'S

During the past twenty years, Christ's College has received four large donations of music (all given by old members or their relatives) and a smaller collection of vocal, keyboard and orchestral music by the late twentieth-century Italian composer Valentino Bucchi.

Of the large donations, two are collections of chamber and keyboard music with some vocal scores, in a variety of editions spanning about fifty years, roughly from 1900 to 1950; these collections fill about forty foolscap box files. In both collections the chamber music comprises a very wide and useful range of duets and standard trios, quartets and quintets, all complete with full scores and instrumental parts. The duets concentrate on one particular instrument with piano, in one collection the cello, in the other the viola and much of this repertoire is salon music, featuring long-forgotten composers such as Macbeth and Schvarz, as well as original compositions and arrangements of well-known orchestral and keyboard pieces. The keyboard music in these collections is chiefly standard repertoire (Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn etc.) in editions of variable quality but covering a wide range of ability and including several books of Associated Board examination pieces. Both collections include several books of progressive studies and exercises for cello or viola.

While the sheet music is of practical use to students and is on the open shelves, the vocal scores of standard operas and oratorios are in poor condition generally and, being almost all in obsolete late nineteenth and early twentieth century editions, are kept in reserve stock. An exception, however, is the set of Savoy operas, mostly in the standard Chappell edition of around 1911 and in good condition. These have been placed on the open shelves and, interestingly enough, are currently being regularly borrowed. When both these large donations were initially received, they were sorted alphabetically under composer, boxed and made available for loan under the old manual system. They are now being sorted, relabelled, repaired as necessary, bar-coded and catalogued on-line.

Little or no work has so far been done on another large donation, of works for orchestra, each comprising a full score complete with instrumental parts. At present this collection is uncatalogued and is contained in about thirty-five foolscap boxes. It is intended that the initial sorting, bar-coding and general preparation for cataloguing will take place during the summer vacation 2003. In 1993 Christ's accepted the music library of Professor Michael Tilmouth. Professor Tilmouth was a student at Christ's (where he was followed by his son Christopher) and subsequently followed a distinguished musical career, his final post being that of Professor of Music at Edinburgh University. After Professor Tilmouth's death in 1986, Mrs Tilmouth wished that his comprehensive music library should continue to be used by students on a daily basis and preferably in a location which had some association with his musical career. As the Pendlebury Library declined to accept the collection, she offered it to Christ's.

The working Tilmouth collection consists of more than 2,500 items, representing a broad span of music and music history from early times to the present day. It includes some 400 books on music (reference, history, biography, technique, analysis, source material), facsimiles of books and scores and a magnificent collection of about 2,000 scores of all types - anthologies, vocal scores, keyboard and orchestral scores, consort and chamber music. Professor Tilmouth's particular area of expertise was seventeenth and eighteenth century music and many of the scores of music of these periods are in his own editions. These include the complete works of Corelli, the complete keyboard works of Couperin and the complete consort music of Matthew Locke.

About three-fifths of the Tilmouth working collection has now been sorted, boxed, catalogued on-line and made available to students. The scores are catalogued in three main groups - individual composers (Mozart alone takes six boxes), miscellaneous composers, and genre (such as consort music, madrigals, keyboard). Some of these last - consort music, for example - are comprehensive collections, reflecting Professor Tilmouth's particular interests. Virtually all the chamber and consort works are in fine modern editions (many Professor Tilmouth's own) and include complete instrumental parts, giving the college chamber music groups a superb resource.

Besides the working collection in the undergraduate library, there are also two large boxes of hitherto untouched music from Professor Tilmouth's library, labelled 'Rare, in poor condition'. As no one knows what is in this part of the collection, its exploration promises to be exciting.

Ann Keith
Deputy Sub-Librarian/Rare books cataloguer
Christ's College

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UNFOLDING EXHIBITIONS AT THE UL

There is no such thing as a typical exhibition. It is that variety, that unpredictability that makes it so interesting. Of course, there are times when you could do without unpredictability; it would be nice if the panels arrived before the opening day for example, or that somebody had pointed out that misprint in the leaflet earlier…

Anyway, if all went to plan, then it would probably run as smoothly as what follows.

Every exhibition process begins with an idea. Sometimes it is an idea based upon a specific event, like an anniversary or the acquisition of an important collection. Sometimes people come up with an idea that reflects their own research interests, and want to use the Library collections to illustrate them. In any case, the timetable for exhibitions in the dedicated exhibition space is drawn up years in advance of actual display. The person who submits an idea is often the person who is lumbered with the job to curate it. It is important to have a narrator to bring consistency and expertise to the topic. It takes a lot of work, and sometimes stress, but people always find it rewarding and worthwhile. Finding an appropriate title is an amusing and sometimes frustrating task. Trying to make a catchy title sit comfortably alongside the often cumbersome explanation of the contents of the exhibition is no mean feat. My favourite so far is "Beauty and the book; gems of colour printing", which worked well because it fitted in so nicely with the key image on our poster and leaflets. "Speaking Volumes" is also good, evoking images of the books in the exhibition telling the story.

At the earliest stage, the curator and exhibitions officer form a case plan and discuss potential exhibits in each. Possible sponsors are discussed. We also consider who would be appropriate to act as 'Opener' for the exhibition; somebody perhaps with expertise in the area, relatively high profile, 'Cambridgy' preferably. Sometimes we don't have to look too far for the right person. Dame Gillian Beer opened our last exhibition on the history of the Library, Speaking Volumes. Previously we have had Bamber Gascoigne of University Challenge fame opening our colour printing exhibition, and in 2001 Sir Patrick Moore opened the exhibition on Isaac Newton. (My astronomy-mad Mum was thrilled!)

The next step is to contact a designer and printer to see if they can fit our exhibition into their schedule. A variety of designers are used to give each exhibition a distinct look. We brief them on what the exhibition is about, and who our target audience are. The designer produces an overall look for the exhibition that will manifest itself in the panels in the centre, and on the leaflets and posters. Having chosen books and manuscripts from the library to illustrate our story, we choose a variety of particularly attractive and relevant ones to have photographed and sent to the designer. Our conservation department are involved in exhibitions at every step of the way, and are shown any items we want to use, to ascertain their suitability and ability to endure six months propped open in a case. Very occasionally we borrow items from other libraries, but on the whole we try to avoid it, as insurance and transport can be complicated and costly to organise. At an early stage, we contact people for permission to reproduce items that are still under copyright, and permission to display electronic resources.

While the designers are working with the text and images sent to them, the curator gets busy scribbling labels for the exhibits, and we start work on the website. A press release is put together and sent to the press office, who mount it onto their website. All being well, the posters and leaflets are delivered from the printers about 3 to 4 weeks before the new exhibition opens, but are not sent out until just as the exhibition opens. We target local and national press, interest groups, scholarly journals, other local museums and libraries and have our leaflets and posters distributed throughout the city. All text is read, edited, re-read, passed on to others (usually my long-suffering colleagues in the Rare Books department) for editing, read, re-read again. Once in print, any errors are costly.

Now that our preparation work is done, it is time to dismantle our current exhibition and mount the new one. The IT department mount our chosen electronic exhibit on the centre PC. Conservation check the temperature and humidity levels of each case before the items are taken out, so we can get an accurate picture of the environment in which the items have been living. The cases are quite cumbersome to open, and special equipment and two sturdy bodies are needed to pull them out from the wall. We then place items in the cases, on mounts or book-rests made especially by the conservation department. All the while we are checking for readability the labels which conservation have now mounted. Often we have to change things around completely as things that have worked in theory do not always work in practice. Once the panels are delivered and hung, the spotlights have to be realigned to hit them squarely. If you have ever seen me hanging off the ceiling on the top of a stepladder for half a day, it is likely that that is what I am doing. Not a pretty sight. We then check the lux levels in the cases, that is the amount of light falling on the surface of the pages. Books and manuscripts can be damaged by even the smallest amount of light, which can cause ink to fade. The required lux level is very low, so we try and make the best use of our adjustable case lighting to make the exhibits as readable as possible. Nevertheless, we sometimes get complaints about legibility, and so we make magnifying glasses and large-print exhibition text available. The process of putting things into cases is much more time-consuming than one might expect, particularly because we have to monitor the lighting levels so carefully. Humidity and temperature readings of each case are also recorded just before we finally close the cases. The exhibits are now cocooned in their new glass homes for 6 months to be pored over and examined by the public. Hopefully everything will be in place before the Press day, a day before opening for the newspapers and television to visit and take photographs or roll camera. Sometimes they like to attend an opening and catch some pictures of our distinguished opener. The opening itself is resplendent with glitterati; the Librarian is present, as are members of the Friends of the Library, and anybody else who has helped with the preparation of the show. It is always at this stage that you remember somebody crucial who you forgot to invite, but by then the wine is absorbed and the canapés are already munched away. Far from this being the end of the story, the press have to be followed up to ensure that they follow through with their photographs and give us some publicity. The city council mounts our posters on their poster displays across the city and in the car parks. The phone starts ringing with people wanting more information, sometimes groups come in wanting tours. The process for the next exhibition has already started by this stage.

In the meantime, smaller exhibitions dominate the North Front corridor leading to the Tea Room. These give our members a taster of just some of the treasures that we have within the library collections; from the unexpected, like the collection of games displayed a couple of years ago, to the creative, like the display of Anne Stevenson poetry currently on show. These small displays sit rather unobtrusively in the corridors without the fuss generated by the exhibition centre; however there always seems to be somebody peering into them. A reader stopped on his way from the Tearoom back to his books some months ago as I was removing some items relating to the tercentenary of the city of St. Petersburg. He asked me to thank those who come up with displays for the corridor as he really enjoyed them. So, cheers to everybody who has contributed to exhibitions both large and small in the past, and who will be doing so in the future. Putting things on display is an opportunity to show people what we have, how we look after it, and why it is important that we continue to house and maintain these amazing collections. If it entertains people and makes them happy, then so much the better.

AnneMarie Robinson
Exhibitions Officer
University Library

The next exhibition in the University Library exhibition centre will be “Unfolding Landscapes: maps of Cambridgeshire from Elizabeth I to Elizabeth II” Open 30th April - 18th October 2003 9-6 Monday to Friday, 9-4.30 Saturday. Admission Free.

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BOOKS AND OBJECTS: THE WHIPPLE'S NEW RESERVE GALLERY

'I little thought when I bought an old telescope, for the sum of 10 francs from an antique shop in Tours in 1913, that I was embarking on the slippery slope of collecting.' (Robert Whipple)

Books and objects have always gone together in the history of the Whipple Museum and Library. The Library began with Robert Whipple's gift of his rare scientific books to the University in 1944, and became the departmental library for History and Philosophy of Science in Cambridge. Whipple also presented around 1000 scientific instruments to establish a Museum for which the books would form a reference collection. Whipple's collecting was remarkable for this practice of acquiring both scientific instruments and books illustrating their construction and use, and the Museum's new Reserve Gallery allows books and objects to be displayed together as part of a single collecting culture. For the Library, the Gallery is an exciting new space in which its special collections can be shown to the general public and explored by students in the Department as part of their course.

Following a special Valentine's Day preview, 'Love Objects', to members of the Department, the Reserve Gallery opened to the public in February 2003 and has already proved popular with visitors. The Gallery was developed with a grant from re:source and uses a method of display called 'visible storage', the aim being to show as many objects from the collections as possible. Most of the exhibits are in cabinets with traditional glass cases on top and a set of drawers underneath. A large sign encourages the more hesitant visitor: "Yes, you can open the drawers!" With more on display, there is less space for labels, so the Museum has developed new, interactive ways of learning, including a computer database with images and descriptions of the objects.

There are exhibits on a wide range of topics including 'Science in the Home', 'Mr Whipple's Collection', and a 'Chemistry Corner', highlighting the Museum's location in what was once the Laboratory of Physical Chemistry on Free School Lane. The Gallery also includes a handling trolley aimed at children, where they can use some of the types of objects seen in the Museum. A particular favourite is the organ tunic - the child puts on the tunic and attempts to attach velcro-backed organs of the human body to themselves in the anatomically correct locations.

Books from the Whipple Collection have always been included in displays in the main galleries of the Museum, but for the first time the Reserve Gallery offers the Library its own permanent exhibition space with which to showcase the range of its collections.

The two cases on top of the Library's cabinets exhibit items catalogued and conserved as part of the Whipple's work for the recent RSLP projects HOST (History of Science and Technology 1801-1914) and 19th Century Pamphlets. These include colourful cloth gilt and yellowback editions of the Rev. J.G. Wood's popular works on natural history, and items from the Sir Michael Foster Pamphlet Collection on physiology, as well as some of Foster's original handwritten catalogue cards.

Books and ephemera from the Library's Phrenology Collection are also on show, focusing on the Brighton phrenologist Joseph Millott Severn (b. 1860) and George Combe (1788-1858), the most influential British phrenologist and founder of the Edinburgh Phrenological Society (1820). The core of the collection was owned by the British Phrenological Society, and many of the works contain bookplates outlining the Society's library rules and recording dates of issue.

Robert Whipple amassed a large collection of the works of Robert Boyle (1627-1691),including the books on theology and natural history displayed alongside Boyle's better-known work, The Sceptical Chymist (1661). Whipple took particular care over this important collection, as evidenced by the careful annotations in his copies of the bibliography and handlist of Boyle's works (also displayed), which include the prices paid by him for the books, written in an alphabetical code.

Case 2 includes material from the Cambridge Scientific Instrument Company, of which Whipple was Managing Director, as well as books and instruments on the subjects of microscopes and time and time-keeping. The books on microscopes are 19th-century works for young readers. Two are by Mrs Mary Ward (1827-1869), Irish microscopist, astronomer, naturalist, artist, and the first woman to publish a book on the microscope. Ward illustrated all her own books, as well as those of other scientists, and an example of this aspect of her work is also shown.

A virtual version of the exhibition has been mounted on the Library's webpages at http://www.hps.cam.ac.uk/library/speccoll.html#Reserve, making it accessible to those not able to visit in person. As well as images and text, the web version takes advantage of hypertext links to include fuller information on Robert Whipple and particular areas of the Library's special collections.

The Reserve Gallery also has a seminar table and is perfect as a demonstration area or space for presentations of the rare books to groups from outside the University. As the Gallery is adjacent to where the collections are stored, fetching and supervision is simple. The Gallery is also bookable by members of the Department for teaching, and this has already led to increased use of the books and objects in lectures and seminars, bringing the collection around which the Department grew up into full use in its current teaching programme.

The Gallery is open to the public in school holidays Mon-Fri 2-4 pm, and at other times by request or prior arrangement. For further information, contact the Librarian (tel: 01223 (3)34547) or Assistant Curator (01223 (3)30906).

Dr Jill Whitelock
Whipple Librarian

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PEOPLE

At the Whipple, Sonia Hollins has retired from the post of Library Assistant after fours years' service, and has been replaced by Dawn Moutrey. Sonia will continue to work for the Department part-time, doing 2 hours a day in the Library, providing cover during the lunch hour and busy period at the end of the day, and also doing 2 hours a day in the Whipple Museum. Dawn had previously been working in the Library 3 hours a day, and is currently studying for the City & Guilds Award in Library and Information Service.

At the end of 2002, Ruth Banger retired from the Earth Sciences library, which she had run since 1985. Ruth loved her time at Earth Sciences, and has not yet made a full end of it: she is coming in to catalogue the offprints of Adam Sedgwick for the Department's web page. Her other main project in retirement involves updating a job she did twenty years ago. In 1982-1984 she catalogued some 13,000 volumes in the Wisbech and Fenland Museum Library, on cards; now, she is putting that catalogue on computer.

Ruth's successor at Earth Sciences is Libby Tilley, who moves up after six and a half years as Assistant Librarian. Most CULIB readers will know Libby from her work last year, training us all in readiness for Newton. She was in fact a teacher for some years, and her present commitments outside work include chairing the Parent Teacher Association at Chesterton Community College and leading family services at St Matthew's church. Libby's old job goes to Rhodah Mbuthia, coming to Cambridge after three years in the Curriculum Development Centre of the Kenyan Ministry of Education.

At the Casimir Lewy Philosophy Library, Elke Richterhas returned to Berlin. Rachel Harrison has now taken Elke's place as part-time assistant - working at the library in the afternoon and as a freelance editor in the morning.

Meanwhile, the Marshall Library of Economics has a new Senior Assistant in Trish Mossford. Trish was formerly at the University of East Anglia, commuting between Norwich and Newmarket, and in a previous life she ran an under-5s' club at a holiday camp.

Tana Silverland has replaced Karen Begg as Library Assistant at Sidney Sussex. Karen will be spending more time at Hughes Hall in her role as Under Librarian and also completing her dissertation for her MSc Econ in Information and Library Studies by distance learning from Aberystwyth.

Corpus Christi has appointed William Hale to be their new Parker-Taylor Bibliographer starting in April. William has worked previously for the early printed books project at Oxford.

Penny Granger is the new Library Assistant at Churchill College. Penny was formerly at Lucy Cavendish and spends her spare time working for a PhD in Medieval Drama.

Amongst the staff changes to report at the UL, Kate Sharp was appointed Research Assistant on the Royal Commonwealth Society Photograph Project at the end of January 2003, replacing Penny Jackson who left to take up a permanent post as Information & Lifelong Learning Librarian with Welwyn Garden City Public Library. Kate was joined in March by Sacha Girling who replaces Geeta Daya as Project Assistant. Geeta plans to travel around the UK and Europe before returning home to South Africa next year. Mark Muehlhauser of the UL's Near Eastern Department also left in January, this time for Oxford, and at present there are, regrettably, no plans to appoint another Arabic specialist.

Rosemary Jones, for many years one of the first members of staff encountered by new readers, retired from Admissions at the end of November. Paul Hudson has taken her place behind the camera and in the Entrance Hall.

Jo Phipps has been appointed to the new two-and-a-half-year post of Medical Information Services' Librarian at Addenbrooke's, with the responsibilities of managing the new circulation system and delivering user education as part of the medical Library's 'Quality Quest' training programme. Meanwhile, Michael Taylor from Music has taken over Jo's accessioning job in Official Publications.

Some recent departures represent radical changes of activity for the people concerned. Kathleen Lane left the Darwin Letters Project in March to take up a two-year research post at UEA, investigating the treatment of patients in acute and intensive care wards in a Norfolk district hospital. Sheila Cameron left English Cataloguing at Easter on a year's leave of absence to complete a degree in pastoral theology, taking up a residential placement with L'Arche Edinburgh, one of an international federation of Christian communities for the learning disabled. The editors are extremely grateful to Fiona Grant for taking over the production of CULIB during Sheila's absence. Fiona is also responsible for producing the online version of CULIB

Tim and Rhonda Arnold have also left Cataloguing and Accessions respectively, to enjoy a brief holiday in Europe before returning to the US. Lorne Noble, a Trinity Hall Graduate who has fond memories of using the UL as a student, has joined the Foreign Cataloguing team, having previously worked in a health sciences library. Magdalena Weglowska, an anthropology graduate of the University of Warsaw, has joined Accessions.

We are sorry to report that Heather E. Peek, former Keeper of the University Archives, died on the night of 30-31 October 2002.

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LIBRARY NEWS

This issue would not be complete without some mention of Girton's Library and Archive project. Girton has been busy working with the architects and engineers on the detailed design for nearly a year, and construction begins on site this July (2003). The £2.5 million project, funded jointly by the College and by appeal, has several key objectives: to provide appropriate accommodation for the College's Archive, and also for its Special Collections of books, to provide a much-enlarged IT suite for student use, new staff offices, upgraded facilities, and improved access to the Library.

Although the Library's primary provision is for undergraduates, it has amassed various special collections of books over the years, including, for example, the libraries of Mary Somerville, of Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon, and of Helen Blackburn, to name just three. For lack of space, these are currently dispersed in various rooms and corridors around the College.

The Library also has an important role as the repository of the College Archive. The unique Girton Archive is recognised as the most important British archive on women's access to higher education and second only to the Women's Library (formerly the Fawcett) on female emancipation. It occupies cramped accommodation with limited room for study. The temperature extremes experienced in the archive room are expensive to correct and damaging to the archive material. As a result of this inadequate accommodation, the College is currently unable to promote fully the academic potential of both this resource and also that of the Special Collections.

The best and most cost-effective solution to these inadequacies has been to create a new building, operating as an extension of the Library. This will run from the end of the existing library building, at the front of College, across towards the Chapel, thus creating a small, new court. The design is master-minded by architects Allies and Morrison, and has been approved by the Victorian Society and English Heritage. It will offer a secure and controlled environment for housing both the Archive and the Special Collections, with conservation rooms and a reading room for researchers. Most interestingly the building's environment will be controlled largely by dint of its construction rather than the heavy use of air-conditioning plant.

A new link between the old building and the new will create space for a much-enlarged IT Resources area for students, new offices for library staff, and improved facilities and amenities for everyone, including full disabled access.

We wish Girton every success with this exciting new project, full details of which may be found on the College Library's website at http://www-lib.girton.cam.ac.uk/project/project.htm

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IN BIBLIOTHECA MONACHORUM

Benedictine monastery of New Norcia, 1995

Eighty miles north east of the modern, bustling city of Perth, Western Australia, lies another world and another time - the Benedictine monastery of New Norcia, founded by two Spanish Benedictines, Dom Salvado and Dom Serra in 1846. Here, monks still speak Latin, strictly observe "The Rule" and, for 150 years, have brought Christianity to the indigenous local population, and have provided support and education to the farming community.

Soon after the founding of the monastery, the library was established with books brought from Spain by Bishop Salvado. This collection has grown substantially over the years and, by 1992, when I became involved with the monastery, comprised between 50,000 and 60,000 volumes, some 2,000 of which had been published between 1507 and 1801, when printing was introduced to Australia. Further information about these works can be found in John Hay and David Bean's treatise, The early imprints at New Norcia: a bibliographical study of pre-1801 books in the Benedictine Monastery at New Norcia, Western Australia (Western Library Studies, 9) The Library, Western Australian Institute of Technology, Perth, 1986. The collection, therefore, in Australian terms, is both extensive and historically important. In addition, the monastery then had a substantial archives of local history, as well as a steel strongroom adjacent to the library, in which were housed their most precious and ancient works.

The monastery is built in a very Spanish style, with graceful columns and porticos, mainly painted white, and surrounded by palm trees; as one approaches from out of the very different Australian countryside, it is, indeed, an extraordinary sight. The Library, however, a beautiful area in the main monastery complex, has a typically Australian pressed tin ceiling of very ornate design; the shelving is of superbly carved wood and lines all the walls. The books housed there are entirely religious with substantial collections of hagiography, scripture, Roman Catholicism and monasticism ("The Rule"). I remember, too, seeing a complete collection of Migne.

In 1992, the abbot, Father Placid Spearitt, approached the Library School at Curtin University for advice on rehousing the library in view of the potential fire risk to the building, as temperatures often soared to in excess of 40 degrees during the height of summer. At that time, I was a lecturer in the School but had been a classicist prior to taking up librarianship. In view of this, and with regard to the large volume of works in Latin, I was appointed to chair the Library Sub-Committee whose task it was to recommend either fire-proofing the library or finding a more suitable location.

I recall many pleasant fact-finding trips to the monastery, often staying overnight in the guest accommodation; many hours perusing the extraordinary collection of pre-1801 tomes and generally becoming acquainted with this obviously priceless collection. On one occasion, in the steel strongroom, I was shown a book which appeared to have just come off the printing press. Noting the date (MDLXXXVI), I remarked on the quality of the reproduction, only to be told that it was an original!

It soon became clear that the cost of somehow fireproofing the building would be unfeasible and, so, an alternative site was investigated. During the previous year, 1991, the monastery had closed down its two large schools as well as a small modern administration building. The two large buildings, built a hundred years or so earlier in the same Spanish style as the monastery, required a vast amount of work to modernise and, in all likelihood, they were probably as much of a fire risk as the monastery itself. The small modern (1950's) building, however, was built of brick, was single storey and was separated from all the other buildings by large, former, play areas for the children who had been educated at New Norcia. This building, we decided, with its large open plan design and adjoining offices would be an ideal and safe repository for the monastery's collection. As it turned out, and if memory serves me correctly, the "new" library, in fact, became the site of all the non-religious books and of a new public library, for which a librarian was required.

In 1995, I sat on the monastery's selection committee for the new librarian; I don't have too many memories of that warm, sunny afternoon, probably as a result of the copious quantities of New Norcia's famous wine which had been served at lunch by the monks to both the selection committee and the candidates. I do remember however, one poor girl, obviously the worse for wear after the New Norcia red, presenting herself at the interview with a terrible gash of lipstick up one cheek and one leather knee length boot at half mast. The post finally went to an enthusiastic young man, a graduate of Curtin's library school, who was very much into computer technology. And, again, if I remember correctly, it was he who set up the first website, who initiated computerisation of the library's catalogue and who proposed having the library's historically extremely important collection available through the Australian Bibliographic Network.

After the decision to set up the new library and the appointment of the librarian, most of us in the Library School then spent many months, off and on, helping the librarian catalogue his bookstock onto the computer. Now, I believe, those far-off days of amateur enthusiasm have metamorphosed into a much more serious enterprise. Such was the enthusiasm generated by the revitalising of the library, that the monastery, in conjunction with the librarian, have for the past few years held a series of public seminars - the New Norcia Studies Day - usually concerned with local history or librarianship. I was delighted to note recently that the guest speaker at the last Library Lecture, held in September 2002, was one of our former students, Julianne Simpson, who had gone on to bigger and better things as a mediaeval historian and librarian at St Ildephonsus College, Oxford, where she was involved in an early printed books project.

Sadly, I left Curtin in 1995 to become the Haddon Library's Rare Books Cataloguer, and I gradually lost touch with the monastery and the friends I made there. Despite the beautiful buildings, the stunning library and its extraordinary collection, the most vivid memory I have is being addressed in Latin on my first day there, and being expected to converse in Latin. In some remote parts of the world, a classical education still has its benefits. Traditiones monasteriumque floreant!

Peter Hocking,

Formerly, Rare Books Cataloguer, The Haddon Library

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NEXT ISSUE

The Michaelmas issue of CULIB will be on the theme of government priorities and libraries. As the current issue is going to press, besides the general impact on all library services of policies such as lifelong learning and access to information for all via the People's Network, the debate over criteria for admissions to Higher Education rages, and the Legal Deposit Libraries Bill, extending legal deposit to non-print media, has gone into committee stage following its second reading. This looks like being another full issue! All contributions to Aidan Baker by 31 August please.


CULIB is edited by Aidan Baker (Haddon Library) and Kathryn McKee (St John's College), and is produced and distributed by Fiona Grant (University Library).