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Cambridge University Library

 

The Library has recently received the collection of film books belonging to Professor Walter Schobert, former director of the Deutsches Filmmuseum. Although film studies are now a very important strand in the Library’s collection development policy, Cambridge started collecting film material at a relatively late stage, and this donation fills many gaps in our holdings. It consists of material in a wide range of languages, but German language materials predominate. There are several thousand volumes, and initial checking suggests that about 80% of titles are non-duplicate.

Inevitably such a generous bequest imposes additional pressures on the workflow of European Collections and Cataloguing. Professor Schobert’s library has to be checked and processed in addition to our normal routines, but without any extra resources. We are extremely fortunate that a retired member of library staff has volunteered to come in one day a week to assist two departmental staff with the initial checking and sorting. This he has been doing for four months, enabling us to make more rapid progress.

The books will be kept together as a special collection (classmark CCA-CCF.60) and housed in the Rare Books Department. They are in excellent condition. The 60 volumes which have been added to Newton so far give a clear indication of the richness and diversity of the collection. Initial searching of COPAC and Worldcat suggests that a significant percentage of titles were not previously available in British or North American libraries. Almost all do appear in the Karlsruhe Virtual Catalogue, but often in very few copies.

The scarcity of much of this material can in part be attributed to its age. There are many imprints dating from the 1920s and early 1930s. And alongside the many titles on directors and actors produced by mainstream commercial publishers, there are also many non-trade publications, which in consequence have not been widely disseminated in academic libraries. Thus a 1978 imprint Der frühe Ingmar Bergman, published by the Nordische Filmtage Lübeck, consists of 257 pages of critical essays, but seems previously to have been represented in no British or American library.

Once a greater percentage of Professor Schobert’s library has been catalogued, it is our intention to mount a library exhibition in order to publicise the material to our users.