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ICHRE Summer Conference, 21-22 June 2017

By Helen Biggs, on 14 June 2017

images from the IOE student union archive

What: A free, two-day conference, held by the International Centre for Historical Research in Education, in association with the Friends of Newsam Library

Where: Cruciform Building, UCL

When: Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22nd June

This year’s ICHRE conference will cover a variety of themes and topics, including the social histories of universities and the history of education in China and East Asia.

Three members of UCL Libraries’ Special Collections, Archives and Records team will be taking part in the conference:

  • Colin Penman, Head of Records, will be delivering the conference’s keynote speech on Redundant women: UCL’s place in the history of women’s higher education
  • Jessica Womack, IOE Archivist, will be speaking on Socialising the IOE: the Student’s Union, and beyond the lecture theatre
  • Kathryn Hannan, IOE Archivist, is taking part in a panel discussion on Teaching history of education through primary sources.

To find out more about this event, and to register for your free place at the conference, click here.

Treasures Day 2017: Warhol, convicts, and Beethoven’s fish

By Helen Biggs, on 9 June 2017

Despite the weather doing its very best to soak visitors, staff, and precious manuscripts, this year’s Treasures Day, Treasures of the Written Word, was a complete success. After shedding their dripping coats, brollies and bags, guests were treated to a range of delights, with 20 different displays on show throughout the afternoon, as well as a live demonstration of SCAR’s conservation work.

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The conservators’ table included some rather familiar looking building plans

Visitors came from as far afield as Newcastle, and as close as the security desk at the front of the Roberts Building. Some popped in as they passed us on their way to another Festival of Culture event and some came back repeatedly to make sure they got a chance to see everything on display. One guest even brought with him his own 17th Century German astronomical manuscript, for which he received an expert opinion from a Warburg professor who also happened to be visiting our event at the time.

Popular exhibits included a 16th Century Italian Mahzor from our Hebrew and Jewish Collections, and the 1966 issue of the multimedia magazine Aspen edited by none other than Andy Warhol, held in our Little Magazines collection. But given that a live reading of 1984 was running concurrently at Senate House, it’s probably not surprising that the most in-demand item was George Orwell’s notebook containing manuscript notes for the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Our collections may be largely historical, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have anything new on show. Dr Tim Causer, Senior Research Associate at the Bentham Project in UCL’s Faculty of Laws, has just had his first book launched by UCL Press. His edition of Memorandoms by James Martin, drawn from manuscripts held in the Bentham collection, challenges the myths and fictions around the earliest Australian convict narrative. For Treasures Day, Tim joined us to show his own opus next to the original manuscripts he used in his work.

Memorandoms_of_James_Martin

Memorandoms by James Martin is now available at UCL Press as a paperback, hardback, or free Open Access pdf download.

As a member of SCAR I, of course, don’t have any favourites among our collections, but I was immediately enamoured with the brief note from the great composer Ludwig Beethoven we had on display. It doesn’t offer great insight into his compositions, but does give some insight into his taste in fish, as he instructs his “Kitchen Procurator” that “decent pike … alone is to be preferred to all the rest” before asking about the price of the local farm butter.

A huge thanks to everyone who braved the storm to come and see us, to all the UCL staff who helped us run the event, and especially to Tabitha Tuckett, Rare Books Librarian: Academic Support and Events, for the amazing job she did in organising and delivering another successful Treasures Day.

Volunteers’ Week – A Reflection

By Vicky A Price, on 7 June 2017

Volunteers-Week-Logo_colour-300x140

Today is the final day of Volunteers’ Week, and I thought I’d take the opportunity to write the final blog post of the series.  All week we’ve been saying an emphatic THANK YOU to every single person who has offered their time and expertise over the past year to UCL’s SCAR department, and asking them to write a guest blog post to showcase some of the incredible skills and expertise they’ve offered to a range of different projects.

I’m not a volunteer with SCAR myself of course, so I can’t write my own ‘Day in the Life’ style post, but I can bring you some highlights from the week:

Volunteers making visitors welcome at our Treasures Day

As part of UCL’s Festival of Culture SCAR put on an annual event; Treasures of the Written Word.  UCL staff, students and members of the public were invited to view some of the department’s most intriguing and precious items and learn about them from the department’s experts.  Volunteers helped to welcome guests, keep record of numbers, explain details about some of our collection items (especially if they had been volunteering on projects with which the items related) and generally make the event run smoothly.

The Records department share stories from UCL's past.

UCL Records department share stories from UCL’s past.

We were a well oiled team and despite the abysmal weather the mood was upbeat and the event went without a single hitch.  Thank you so much to all that gave their time to help out, it was hugely appreciated.

Potential new volunteer recruits making contact with us

The Volunteers’ Week blogs were meant to be a way of saying thank you to volunteers rather than a way of finding new volunteers – but it looks like we might have found some new recruits from our readers as well!  This is wonderful and is a real testament to the power of volunteers’ enthusiasm for the roles they carry out at SCAR.

Looking to the Summer and the projects it brings

As the academic year comes to a close we will be saying goodbye to many of our student volunteers, who will be travelling home to families or simply taking a well earned break.  We hope as many as possible return to us in the Autumn to continue as volunteers, but for those who are moving on to new places of study or work (or new volunteer placements elsewhere) we’d like to say thank you.  It’s been a real pleasure having you spend time with the department and you can rest assured that the projects you’ve helped us with have benefited immeasurably from your involvement.

We will also be developing some new volunteer roles that will start over the Summer holidays, as this is also the season when some people have more time to offer.  UCL Records department, for example (pictured at the Treasures of the Written Word event above) will be looking for people to help with a project to better store and keep historic student records and there might be new opportunities to volunteer with our Poetry Store and Little Magazines collections (these are still in the pipeline!).

So watch this space for updates from new volunteers and projects – we can’t wait to see what the future holds!

Volunteers’ Week – A Day in the Life

By Vicky A Price, on 5 June 2017

Volunteers-Week-Logo_colour

Today is the penultimate day of Volunteers’ Week , during which we are saying an emphatic THANK YOU to every single person who has offered their time and expertise over the past year to UCL’s SCAR department, without whom many a project would have been difficult or even impossible to complete.

There is a wide range of roles that volunteers can take up within SCAR: helping with events, sorting through new collections, enhancing cataloguing, assisting in exhibition preparation, helping with our media and online communications.  Throughout Volunteers’ Week we intend to share a snapshot of some of these roles with you.  Each week day from 1st June to the 7th June, a guest volunteer writer will bring you a ‘day in their life’.

The third installment is from Marieta Pirc, who has given a great deal of time to helping with the Institute of Education’s archive:

Marieta Pirc – UCL IOE Archive Volunteer

I joined IOE (UCL) Archive team three years ago as a volunteer and never thought I would still be here enjoying myself.  Coming from a financial background (very monotonous), this is a different experience for me.  Each assignment is something new and interesting to digest.

Selected copies of 'The New Era', The World Education Fellowship's journal.

Selected copies of ‘The New Era’, The World Education Fellowship’s journal.

My current project is recording the contents of ‘The New Era – in Home and School’ journals, currently for the years 1925 to 1962 (the journal was founded in 1921 and we have issues up to 1994).  These publications gave teachers and other educational professionals from all over the world a way to communicate and exchange their ideas on helping with children’s education.  There are articles on how children learnt and played in schools in the UK, Europe and as far as Russia and Africa. Contributions are not only from teachers but also from child psychologists and other medical professionals.  The New Era also worked closely with UNESCO to help children around the world.

It is a great feeling knowing that these publications (now available via Explore and on the UCL IOE Archive catalogue) are available to be enjoyed by anyone all over the world. Volunteering at UCL, for me, it’s not about updating my CV but learning, discovery and working with a professional and knowledgeable archive team.

Volunteers’ Week – A Day in the Life

By Nazlin Bhimani, on 5 June 2017

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We continue with  Volunteers’ Week during which we are saying an emphatic THANK YOU to every single person who has offered their time and expertise over the past year to UCL’s SCAR department, without whom many a project would have been difficult or even impossible to complete.

There are a wide range of roles that volunteers can take up within SCAR: helping with events, sorting through new collections, enhancing cataloguing, assisting in exhibition preparation, helping with our media and online communications.  Throughout Volunteers’ Week we intend to share a snapshot of some of these roles with you. Each week day from 1st June to the 7th June, a guest volunteer writer will bring you a ‘day in their life’.

The third installment comes from the two volunteers, Ashley Zuelke and Teodora Lazar, working on the Lauwerys Collection at the Institute of Education Library.

Ashley Zuelke:

Ashley at the Stacks SmilingRalph Waldo Emerson once wrote: “If we encountered a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he read.” At UCL Institute of Education (IOE) Special Collections and Archives we are building a picture of Joseph A. Lauwerys and his life by listing all of the reading material in his personal library. I am one of two volunteers sifting through 28 double-stacked shelves full of books, academic journals, newsletters, meeting proceedings and more collected by Lauwerys, a Belgian-born scientist who became a leader in comparative education studies instrumental in the establishment of the (IOE) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Lauwerys’ life spanned 79 years, from 1902 to 1981, and the fraction of the books we have listed thus far illustrate how world wars and subsequent multinational collaboration and scientific advancements shaped his perspective. On a given day working with the collection, one comes across material published in more than eight languages on subjects ranging from chemistry theory, to morality, to educational systems in Chile.  We note the details of each piece and scan them for marginalia, to see what he found important.  Lauwerys’ collection considers all levels of education. Some of the earliest pieces appear to be his own textbooks. He also kept some publications of his speeches and journal articles, especially those published in multiple languages. In addition to writings on science and educational theory, he kept items like yearbooks from the USA and memorial programmes for colleagues.

Volunteering to work with this collection appealed to me because of my undergraduate degrees in journalism, international relations and comparative politics and the fact that my parents are retired educators. I am pursuing a Master’s of Science at UCL in business analytics and management to challenge myself in a more quantitative environment and to be prepared to help organisations make sense of large amounts of data and take action. Listing items in this collection has given me an affinity with Lauwerys, who was grounded in scientific thinking, but obviously honed qualitative and diplomatic skills as well throughout his life, embodying the spirit of what his contemporaries called “permanent education.”

Issues Lauwerys faced in his lifetime are not that different from conversations occurring today. His collection considers what technological change means for teaching; how education can advance shared democratic ideals and equality; and how to promote lifelong learning and job training. In international comparative fields like Lauwerys’, themes emerge that there may be clear distinctions among different countries, but ultimately, we all strive for similar values and ends; there is more that unites than divides. One item in the collection, a published keynote address given by Lauwerys, sums this up for teachers, ending with the words: “Similar ideals animate teachers everywhere, in every country and continent…We can learn much from one another because we are all trying sincerely to do the same kind of job and because we all believe that, through education, the world of the future can be made better than the world of today.”

Teodora Lazar:
Theodora at the Desk SmilingI am Teodora, one of the volunteers listing all of the reading material in Joseph A. Lauwerys’ personal library. I cannot tell which reason influenced me to work with the IOE’s Special Collections and Archives more: my studies in Art History and Material Studies which, by default, bring me closed to any piece of heritage and culture, or my passion for volunteering, which constantly challenges me to step beyond my comfort zone. But I know for sure that the mixture between these two reasons always manages to get me closer to who I want to be.

After all, it may seem that all we as volunteers at the IOE’s Special Collections and Archives is to work with books, but few words incorporate as much meaning and deep substance as a ‘book’ does. Taking a peek into Lauwerys’ personal collection I got to recognise multiple languages by just a few words written on the title, I discovered letters, newspaper pages and dedications from authors and, most of all, I now open every book with the hope and curiosity of finding something important.  They’re not just  books…

 

It goes without saying that the valuable work that Ashley and Teodora are doing will benefit future researchers.  So a BIG thank you, Ashley and Teodora! We hope that the experience you gain from this will help you too in the future.

 

Volunteers’ Week – A Day in the Life

By Vicky A Price, on 2 June 2017

Volunteers-Week-Logo_colour

Today is the second day of Volunteers’ Week , during which we are saying an emphatic THANK YOU to every single person who has offered their time and expertise over the past year to UCL’s SCAR department, without whom many a project would have been difficult or even impossible to complete.

There is a wide range of roles that volunteers can take up within SCAR: helping with events, sorting through new collections, enhancing cataloguing, assisting in exhibition preparation, helping with our media and online communications.  Throughout Volunteers’ Week we intend to share a snapshot of some of these roles with you.  Each week day from 1st June to the 7th June, a guest volunteer writer will bring you a ‘day in their life’.

The second installment comes from Chris Fripp, who has been volunteering with SCAR for about six months:

Chris Fripp – Research Volunteer

As a master’s student on the UCL Library and Information Studies programme, I’ve become really interested in scholarship associated with the history of the book. Following a workshop I attended with UCL Special Collections in the autumn of last year, I contacted Helen – Senior Library Assistant (Exhibitions and Outreach) – to ask about the possibility of undertaking some voluntary work with the department. I was looking to gain some practical experience in rare books handling, and thought I might be able to provide support in some way.

Since joining as a volunteer, I’ve been involved in an exciting new project to help create the forthcoming UCL Special Collections advent calendar for 2017. My task has been to conduct research on a series of rare nineteenth century dictionaries, looking specifically for seasonal words and definitions to present to an online audience during the Christmas countdown. When searching for the best definitions, the bigger the anachronism, the more interesting the former tends to be.

Webster, The people’s dictionary of the English language (London, [1869?])

Webster, The people’s dictionary of the English language (London, [1869?])

Normally I arrive at the Reading Room at the beginning of the day to collect the requested materials I wish to consult. The dictionaries are typically found in a fragile condition, so the use of book supports and snake weights help to prevent any further damage being done to the bindings and textblocks. One example, Webster’s The People’s Dictionary of the English Language, is illustrated with attractive copperplate engravings (figure 1), which adds a fun element to the project. I’ll be attending the forthcoming Treasures of the Written Word day on June 6th to answer any questions people might have about the dictionaries or volunteering in general. I hope to see you there!

Volunteers’ Week – A Day in the Life

By Vicky A Price, on 1 June 2017

Volunteers-Week-Logo_colour

Its the start of Volunteers’ Week today and we would like to say an emphatic THANK YOU to every single person who has offered their time and expertise over the past year to UCL’s SCAR department, without whom many a project would have been difficult or even impossible to complete.

There is a wide range of roles that volunteers can take up within SCAR: helping with events, sorting through new collections, enhancing cataloguing, assisting in exhibition preparation, helping with our media and online communications (the list goes on!).  Throughout Volunteers’ Week we intend to share a snapshot of some of these roles with you.  Each week day from today to the 7th June, a guest volunteer writer will bring you a ‘day in their life’.

Our first blog is from Calum Cockburn, who recently started to help us improve our understanding (and therefore cataloguing) of some of our manuscript fragments.

Calum Cockburn: Manuscript Fragment Volunteer

Part of MS Frag/Lat/7, a twelfth century manuscript fragment

Part of MS Frag/Lat/7, a twelfth century manuscript fragment

My work as a volunteer involves studying and transcribing Special Collections’ manuscript fragments, checking their catalogue references, and identifying the texts they might contain. My current project is MS Frag / Lat / 7, a twelfth-century Latin manuscript, composed of six loose folios, apparently taken from different parts of the book. The manuscript is full of wonderful details: two columns of Latin text, with many unusual scribal abbreviations; long-fingered manicules pointing to specific lines; large decorated initials; blue and red paraph marks and rubrication; many examples of later fourteenth- and fifteenth-century annotations and stains on both flesh and hair sides, suggesting that at one time it was well-used.

The texts the manuscript contains have proven difficult to identify – not least because the surviving pages are not always consecutive – though at least one appears to be a copy of a treatise on vomiting and stomach purgations by Pietro d’Abano, an early medieval Italian astrologer, professor of medicine and infamous compiler of magic texts.

Excitingly, the manuscript is also the subject of the latest in a series of workshops jointly run by Yale and UCL: ‘Digital Editing and the Medieval Manuscript Roll / Fragment’ (DEMMR/F). This two-day event happening in the first week of June will use the manuscript fragments housed in Special Collections as a means of training attendants in palaeography and manuscript studies (their original purpose when they were first bought by UCL almost a hundred years ago), and at the same time consider the issues around creating digital editions of such texts.

 

Beethoven, Orwell and more on display – Tuesday 6 June, 12-4.30pm

By Tabitha Tuckett, on 26 May 2017

You are warmly invited to this year’s Treasures Of The Written Word on Tuesday 6 June, 12 to 4.30pm, in the Roberts Building Foyer. The event is open to all, and booking is not required: just drop in.

This annual event is a chance to see some of the treasures held in the library’s Special Collections, Archives and Records, and to talk to the staff who work with them. This year we’ll also have students and volunteers talking about their Connected Curriculum projects with the collections, and our popular conservation demonstrations. See below for the full programme.

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Highlights will include a letter by Beethoven, George Orwell’s notes for his novel 1984, miniature children’s books from the 1700s, one of the first printed anatomy text books with pop-up diagram from the C16th, illuminated Mediaeval manuscripts in Hebrew and Latin, some of the earliest European music notation to survive, model furniture belonging to archives on the history of school education, documents on the history of UCL itself, radical design from rare C20th magazines, newly discovered Bentham manuscripts describing a dramatic prisoners’ escape, and selections from the fascinating Huguenot Library.

volunteers with Bible

You’ll also be able during the first session to ask our students to look up your favourite words in early dictionaries, or find out whether your favourite area of London was anything more than fields in our C18th London maps. In the second session you can have a go at transcribing Jeremy Bentham’s handwriting, or at other times during the event hear how digitising rare materials can aid research.

Timetable

12 – 1.30pm

  • Rare printed books
  • Mediaeval manuscript fragments
  • Institute of Education rare books
  • History of UCL
  • Digitising rare materials

1.30 – 3pm

  • Orwell collections
  • Educating children – archives from the Institute of Education
  • Hebrew and Jewish collections
  • Bentham manuscripts
  • Transcribe Bentham

3 – 4.30pm

  • Mediaeval and Renaissance books
  • Archives and manuscripts
  • C20th poetry and small-press collections
  • Huguenot Library
  • Digital collections

12-4pm

  • Live conservation demonstrations

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Special Collections, Archives and Records team.

Room to breathe

By Helen Biggs, on 3 May 2017

The next time you visit the UCL Institute of Education Reading Room you may notice it’s looking a little roomier than usual. As part of our commitment to meeting the changing needs of our users, the IOE archives team have moved into an office of their own, allowing the Reading Room to accommodate more visitors.

As well as continuing to welcome individual researchers into the Reading Room, more space means that we will more easily be able to support students using archives and special collections for group projects. Having a little more elbow room also gives the Special Collections, Archives and Records team more opportunities for teaching and community education work.

20170503 IOE Reading Room

The IOE Reading Room continues to be open from 9.30am-5pm weekdays – appointments to view material can be made by contacting the team at IOE Archives Enquiries for archives and IOE Library Enquiries for special collections, although you can always drop by if you have any questions.

UCL Libraries is lucky to have not one, but two, reading rooms for our rare and unique materials – if you’re consulting items from our centrally held Special Collections and Archives, you’ll get to use our South Junction Reading Room, which opened late last year. Appointments to view these materials can be made by emailing UCL Special Collections – or check out our website for more information.

Reading London

By Helen Biggs, on 31 March 2017

This post originally appeared at Newsam News, and is reproduced here courtesy of Sally Perry.

What: A London-themed celebration of reading aloud, and being read to, for World Book Night

Where: UCL IOE Library

When: Monday 24 April 2017 5.30-7.00pm

To celebrate World Book Night 2017 and to coincide with UCL Libraries’ East Side Stories: Londoners in Transition exhibition we are holding our third read aloud event on Monday 24 April. Come and listen to fellow audience members read poems, stories or passages from their favourite books. Readings will include extracts from George Orwell’s Down and out in Paris and London which is included in the exhibition. If you would like to read aloud yourself in any language (for approximately 5 mins) you would be very welcome. A London theme for your reading is optional!

Sam Duncan (IOE Dept of Education, Practice and Society) and Rebecca Webster (Head of Archives, UCL Library Services) will introduce the session.

If you would like to come along (to read or to be read to) please use the link below to book a place. If you would like to read please email Sam Duncan (sam.duncan@ucl.ac.uk)

To book please click here.