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INSTG012 Historical Bibliography Print Techniques Workshop at the UCL Art Museum by Nikki Gregory

AnneWelsh28 November 2014

ArtMuseumFollowing Simone’s post about our class visit to St Bride’s Printing Library, I thought I would share our experience learning about different print techniques using materials from the UCL Art Museum

The practical session on the methods of printing led by Curatorial Assistant and print artist J. Yuen Ling Chiu (@yuenlingchiu) was an hour’s worth of hands on experience with printed pictures. Have you ever looked at a print and wondered how it was made? Well wonder no further with this module session.

We started by each choosing a printers tool which was used to make one or more of the printed images displayed around the room. After a few minutes of studying the images, we were asked to guess which tools were used to make each of the prints. Firstly we looked at some woodcut prints, made with a ‘u’ tool, which is used by scraping lines in the wood. This imprints very defined straight lines which are tapered at the ends where the tool enters and leaves the wood. The ink is then rolled onto the remaining sections of wood to create the print. This is known as relief printing. We also looked at copper engraving and etching (in which acid is used to cut into the metal).

One of the forms of etching I found most interesting was the aquatint, where a cloud of blue dust is thrown into the air and left to settle onto a piece of copper sheet. Wax is then placed on certain sections, before the sheet is dipped into acid which burns through the dust to leave white flecks on the print. The print is then built up with layers of wax and acid to for the picture.

Another interesting technique is mezatint, where the surface starts very black, and layers of white are created on top using a tool which had grooves running along the edge, ending in little teeth. These teeth were used to ‘smoosh’ (technical word!) the dots together by rocking the tool from side to side.

After this quick induction we were set loose on a new set of prints, discussing which method of printing was used to create each print. On the whole I like to think we got more than half of them right between us.

If this doesn’t convince you that Historical Bibliography is a good optional module to choose, then the seminars on collation and quasi-facsimiles will top the balance! I am looking forward to the remaining seminars that this module has to offer.

Editorial Note: UCL Art Museum is closed for refurbishment until April 2015, but its programme of teaching and public engagement is continuing off-site. We are very grateful to J. Yuen Ling Chiu and Dr Andrea Fredericksen (UCL Art Museum Curator) for delivering this regular session for INSTG012 in the Haldane Room this year. You can find details of the Museum’s ongoing programme of events on its website. Staff also contribute to @UCLMuseums on twitter, UCL Museums and Collections facebook page, and the Museums & Collections playlist on UCLTV on YouTube. — Anne Welsh, INSTG012 Historical Bibliography Module Coordinator.

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Nikki Gregory (@NikkiG434) is a full-time student on the MA Library and Information Studies.

Image: Anne Welsh.

Note: the appearance of the byline on this post is auto-generated, indicating that it was posted by Anne Welsh. Apart from the editorial note, Nikki Gregory is the sole author of this piece.

INSTG012 Historical Bibliography Visit to St Bride’s Printing Library by Simone Charles

AnneWelsh14 November 2014

Simone printing

On Monday 13th October, 2014 as part of our Historical Bibliography module, half of the class visited St. Bride’s Printing Library on Fleet Street, while the other half visited the British Library. As I was part of the group that visited St. Bride’s, I felt compelled to write about the experience there as it clearly impacted on the learning objectives of the course.

St. Bride’s Library, which opened its doors to the public as a printing school in 1895, is part of the St. Bride Foundation. On arrival we were met by our facilitators, Bob and Mick, who both had no hesitation in describing and demonstrating some of the collections. We were shown excerpts of the Catnach, Kindersley as well as the Gill Collections, all of which were unique in their own right.

Of particular interest to me was the Catnach Collection as his broadsides are forerunners of tabloids in the United Kingdom. From the plain and simple to the gory, this collection is quite remarkable and is well preserved along with the other collections.

Despite this wealth of materials, the aspect of the visit that peaked our interest the most was that of the printing press room. This room which could most certainly also be described as a small museum, has working original models of hand presses used between the 18th and 19th centuries. These include the Columbian Press (1822), the Albion Press (1828), and the Stanhope Press (1830). The Library is also home to an immaculate wooden Compositor’s Box from Oxford University Press.

Additionally, we were shown some wood engraving techniques whereby blocks of wood were engraved with various illustrations, placed between text and hand pressed during the Victorian era. Our visit then closed with each of us hand pressing selected designs given to us by Rob and Mick.

Having read and researched 19th century newspapers from Trinidad and Tobago over time, I never actually thought of the actual process that went into printing. This visit to St. Brides was truly an enlightening one and can serve to be a true asset to anyone wishing to delve into the field of Rare Books and Special Collections Librarianship or to become knowledgeable in the history of the printing press on a whole. For further information on the library please visit http://www.sbf.org.uk/library or follow them on twitter (@stbridelibrary) or facebook.

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Simone Charles (@libraryesque) is studying for her MA LIS, specialising in Bibliography, Book History and Cataloguing.

Note: the appearance of the byline on this post is auto-generated, indicating that it was posted by Anne Welsh. Simone Charles is the sole author of this piece.

Visit to the Royal Astronomical Society Library by Maddie House

AnneWelsh24 October 2014

RASEditorial Note: We are grateful to Sian Prosser, Librarian of the Royal Astronomical Society for hosting this Induction Week visit. – Anne Welsh, Programme Director MA Library and Information Studies.

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During our induction week, some of the new LIS students were lucky enough to visit the Royal Astronomical Society Library. The Society was formed in 1820, and gained its Royal Charter in 1831. The Society’s aim was, and still is, to promote the study of astronomy and related disciplines. The Society has been collecting books, manuscripts and other works since its inception, which form the basis of the Society’s collections today. The Society’s home is at Burlington House in Piccadilly, where it is neighboured by the Royal Academy of Arts, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Linnean Society, among others.

 

We were shown round the beautiful building by the Society’s Librarian, Sian Prosser. She told us about the history of the collections and the challenges of managing the Society’s archive and rare book spaces. We were shown the wonderful wood-panelled reading rooms which house some of the collections. The Society holds regular talks and events in these rooms of the library. One of the highlights for me was seeing the Rare Book Room which holds, among many other treasures, a piece of wood from the apple tree in Isaac Newton’s garden. Sian very kindly laid out some unique items from the collection for us to see, including Astronomicum Caesareum by Peter Apian, published in 1540. The book contains many brightly-coloured, moving discs which can be used to calculate the position of planets. There was also a first-edition of Copernicus’ De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres), which revolutionised astronomy at the time of its publication in 1543.

 

After a look at the treasures, we sat down to talk shop! It was fascinating to hear about the role of the librarian in an well-established organisation such as the Royal Astronomical Society. Sian talked to us about the challenges of being a sole practitioner in terms of planning and managing your workload, but also about the opportunities that can be gained by broadening your skill set, taking on new challenges and establishing new professional knowledge and networks: in this case, by learning about the distinguished history of the Society and getting to know current members. She told us about some of her potential plans for the future, which include some retrospective cataloguing (the Library holds 300 current periodicals as well as over 3000 ceased journal titles), liaising with other astronomy libraries and archives internationally to map shared collections of journals and to perhaps plan for digitisation of some titles, and extend the Society’s already impressive outreach activities around its collections. She also mentioned that as a sole practitioner, having a professional support network of librarians to talk to (both in the other libraries at Burlington Place and in the wider world) was very helpful – something to bear in mind as we continue to build our professional networks! In all, it was a fascinating and inspiring visit to a beautiful and unique institution. Thank you very much to Sian for inviting us!

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Maddie House (@thevonfresh) is studying part-time for her MA LIS, while working in an academic library.

Image: Anne Welsh. Used with permission.

 

 

Zoological Society of London Library Visit by Sophie Rose

AnneWelsh17 October 2014

ZSL

Editorial Note: We are grateful to Ann Sylph, Emma Milnes and their colleagues for hosting this Induction Week visit to the Zoological Society of London Library. – Anne Welsh, Programme Director MA Library and Information Studies.

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On Thursday 25th September two members of the Library and Information Studies course visited the Library at the Zoological Society of London and were given a tour by former UCL DIS student and Assistant Librarian Emma Milnes. The Library is used for research by staff, MSc students studying at the ZSL, members of the public and animal handlers.

 

When the Society first formed in 1826 it comprised a collection of living animals, a collection of preserved dead animals for studying and the bibliographic library. When the Natural History Museum decided to gather a large collection of stuffed animals the ZSL decided there was no longer a great need for this collection and disbanded it.

 

The Library uses the Library Management System EOS to manage the catalogue and the bibliographic classification Bliss. The team working in the Library and Archive comprises one archivist, a librarian, assistant librarian and library assistant. They are currently undertaking the mammoth task of cataloguing the  retrospective library card catalogue with a team of volunteers who also help with the preservation of books.

 

On 1st September the Zoological Society marked the centenary of the death of the last ever passenger pigeon and we were shown some of the artwork collection depicting this breed. This pigeon was once the most common bird and experienced a dramatic extinction over only a few decades following a rise in hunting and deforestation.

 

We also toured the stacks in the basement, the large journal collection and were allowed to handle the oldest book in the library. The library also displays a rare life-painting of the dodo. The online catalogue can be accessed at http://z10300uk.eos-intl.eu/Z10300UK/OPAC/  . If you wish to visit the library, you should contact the friendly team.

 

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Sophie Rose (@surfarose) is studying for her MA LIS.

Image: Sophie Rose, used with permission of the Zoological Society of London Library.

Note: the appearance of the byline on this post is auto-generated, indicating that it was posted by Anne Welsh. Sophie Rose is the sole author of this piece.

 

University College School Visit by Joanne McPhie, Emily Delahaye and Catherine Ascough

AnneWelsh10 October 2014

Screen shot 2014-10-10 at 09.08.27

Editorial Note: We are grateful to Rebecca Hemming and her colleagues for hosting this Induction Week visit to University College School. – Anne Welsh, Programme Director MA Library and Information Studies.

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In the leafy streets of Hampstead nestles the University College Senior School, first conceived as a feeder school for the newly established University College in London in 1830. The school continues to be influenced by those early days, with an emphasis on a good liberal education and a tolerant approach. We chose to go on the University College School visit on Thursday of Induction Week as we knew very little about this kind of library. We weren’t disappointed – the staff at the library answered all our questions and told us about their work, leaving us with no doubt that school libraries are a very interesting and dynamic sector to work in. Our visit was to see the well-appointed two floor library and we were welcomed by a team of dedicated librarians, led by Rebecca Hemming, the Head of the Library.

The collections of the library are a mix of fiction and non-fiction and their primary purpose is to support the curriculum. The main part of the library houses the non-fiction collection, compiled to compliment the school syllabus and provide extra resources. The main reading room area houses the fiction collection, split into sections for the younger and older pupils so that students can easily find books of an appropriate level. The library also has a wide selection of print journals as well as subscriptions to online access. While most of the journals where tailored to general study it was also good to see Private Eye and Le Monde on the stands.

We were particularly impressed by the different means the librarian and her team used to foster a love of reading in the pupils. Teenage boys can be reluctant readers, so at the UCS Library they have imaginative methods to overcome this. An example of this was a display shelf full of books covered in coloured paper, with intriguing sentences written on them about the stories they contained. This is to try and encourage the students to not be judgemental about a book’s cover, as this is covered up, and instead take a gamble on a book that piques their interest from its description. The library is currently in the process of adding greater detail to the catalogue records for their literature collection, by adding the blurbs of the books, so that when students look up books online, before coming to the library, they can find something that appeals to them.

One of the many notable aspects of the role of the librarians at UCS is the extent to which teaching information literacy and providing subject support is a central part of the job. Two of the three full time staff are dual qualified with teaching and library qualifications and lead information skills sessions in the library teaching space dedicated to introducing the students to resources like JSTOR or coaching them on how to evaluate websites. The school has its own virtual learning environment includes a section for the library which has been modified by the library staff to create Subject Guides and modules on topics such as citation and referencing. There is also a certain amount of liaison with individual departments, working with the teachers to obtain resources that support the curriculum. It was interesting to see the services and support that UCS librarians provide is akin to Subject Liaison roles in a university context.

We really enjoyed the visit to UCS library – some of us were already planning on taking the Services to Children and Young People module next term, and this has definitely helped confirm that choice.

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Emily Delahaye (@EmilyDelahaye),  Joanne McPhie (@JoanneMcPhie) and Catherine Ascough are all studying for their MA LIS.

Image: University College School website.

Note: the appearance of the byline on this post is auto-generated, indicating that it was posted by Anne Welsh. Apart from the editorial note, Catherine Ascough, Emily Delahaye and Joanne McPhie are the sole authors of this piece.

Lambeth Palace Library Visit by Verity Parkinson

AnneWelsh3 October 2014

Lambeth Palace by Tavian Hunter

Lambeth Palace by Tavian Hunter

Editorial Note: We are grateful to Lambeth Palace Library for hosting this visit and also for allowing its Collections Librarian, Dr Naomi Percival, to attend our Open Day next Wednesday and share a placement host’s view of the work placement process that forms such an important part of the MA LIS  – Anne Welsh, Programme Director MA Library and Information Studies.

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After talks and activities ranging from “what to expect from the dissertation process” to “design a poster about the Information Multiverse”, the LIS Induction Week was rounded off with a choice of visits to libraries. I went to Lambeth Palace Library, home to the records of the Church of England and one of the oldest public libraries in the country. It certainly looks much more impressive than your average public library; we entered via Morton’s Tower, a Tudor gatehouse. The Houses of Parliament are visible across the road, and we could hear Big Ben striking. Our visit, however, happened during a period of building work, so we may not have seen it in its full glory. The main part of the library is usually housed in the palace’s great hall (a former feasting hall dating from the seventeenth century), but when we arrived the books had all been moved out, leaving only the bookcases that lined the walls. The cork tiles on the floor are going to be taken up, under-floor heating installed, and a new stone floor laid. This is mainly for the benefit of the books – the draughty hall and the proximity to the Thames mean mould and damp can be a problem – but will hopefully make it more bearable for the people as well.

Our hosts, Naomi Percival and Hugh Cahill, told us about the history of the library and its current function. Originally conceived as a “theological arsenal” – a collection of writings to help refute the religious arguments of opponents – its collections now focus on the history of the Church of England. This covers a very wide range of material: one item we were shown was a geometry textbook written by a polymath Archbishop. This diversity of material means the library’s users aren’t solely the researchers of Church History one might expect, but also people researching local and family history. A lot of users are studying the book as object, so the library also has a large collection of books on bibliographic subjects. When new acquisitions are catalogued, information on provenance is included in the record due to this interest among readers.

Hugh Cahill shows a small group of MA LIS students around the grounds. Photo by Tavian Hunter

Photo by Tavian Hunter

Around five to ten readers use the reading room each day, a figure that has not decreased despite the recent growth of online resources made available by the library. Most of the outreach work done by the library is online, due to the security issues of holding events at the Palace. These include the library’s blog, twitter (@lampallib)and facebook, and online exhibitions. The hall has been used as an exhibition space and hosted several popular exhibitions in recent years, such as the 2011 King James Bible Exhibition.

The archives are the fastest-growing part of the library. One current issue is how to handle the growing volume of material that is in digital form from the outset, such as emails, and how these should be integrated with the archive’s systems. There is also the question of how much should be kept – should a copy of every email be retained? What about the Church of England’s twitter feed? For this reason, the library is selective about donations, and reserves the right to weed collections or refuse parts. Archival donations are often archives of people or organisations connected to the church. It helps the library if money can be donated along with the material to cover the cost of processing it, which can be a very large task.

At the end of our visit, we were shown rare and interesting items from the library’s collections: a book that had been in the great hall when two bombs came through the roof in 1941 (the cover and edges of the pages charred and flaking, but the text inside still legible), Bibles and Books of Common Prayer in languages from all around the world, and a beautiful, Nuremberg Chronicle, one of the books stolen from the library in the 1970s and returned in 2011. We were shown where the identifying marks had been scraped off to hide the book’s provenance.

It was a great visit to a fascinating library, and Hugh and Naomi were very welcoming: we even got goody bags! An excellent way to kick off the year, and I look forward to whatever comes next.

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Verity Parkinson is currently studying for her MA Library and Information Studies.

Images: Tavian Hunter (@rubytavian), also studying for her MA LIS this year.

Note: the appearance of the byline on this post is auto-generated, indicating that it was posted by Anne Welsh. Apart from the editorial note, Verity Parkinson is the sole author of this piece, with the images provided by Tavian Hunter.

My First Week at UCL by Becky Scott

AnneWelsh26 September 2014

UCL 2014 by Susan Greenberg

 

New beginnings are always a little daunting. Arriving at one of the world’s best universities to study at Masters level can make you feel more than a little awed by the task. When you add to that the fact that I haven’t studied in this way for ten years, you can imagine my nervousness as I waited in line to enrol in our department on the first day. But as I look back the end of Induction Week, I feel that anything is possible over the coming year.

My course tutors have both challenged me and supported me. Those first day nerves are gone now. I am already submerged in the language of Library and Information Studies. Reflecting on the Professional Knowledge and Skills Base, I know my strengths as well as the areas which I need to develop. Charlie has asked us simply “to read and to think” and as Librarians these are two things that are second nature to us. We love learning. We love helping others to learn. Reading and thinking are achievable tasks.

Of course I had fears that I wouldn’t fit in. We come from a diverse range of disciplines and, as Anne said, a range of different ‘cultural backgrounds’. But as each day passed, we got to know one and other and I have realised that we are all kind, welcoming and willing to help each other. Certainly, using the exercise to “find someone who…” stopped me being intimidated and helped me start conversations on Librarianship but many other topics too.

My classmates have guided me across campus to lecture theatres, helped me register with Senate House Library and even find the cash machine. They have made this week enjoyable and entertaining. Every day, I discover that I love studying at a London university. There are so many treasures to discover: museums, farmers’ markets and of course, libraries. Visiting the Royal Astronomical Society Library was a wonderful opportunity to explore a special collection but also to learn from the day to day challenges of an experienced practitioner.

In just five days, I have gone from fearing the dissertation to being open to all ideas which may be sparked in my seminars. I felt inspired by Henry and Fiona – two recent Department of Information Studies graduates – who shared their experiences of writing the dissertation and how they shaped their  ideas.

I write this as just one voice in the LIS class of 2014/2015 but we are all on our UCL learning journey. New beginnings may be a little daunting but they are also simulating, thought-provoking and full of potential.

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Becky Scott (@the_bookette) is working as a school librarian while studying for her MA LIS.

Image: Dr Susan Greenberg. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Note: the appearance of the byline on this post is auto-generated, indicating that it was posted by Anne Welsh. Becky Scott is the sole author of this piece, with the image provided by Susan Greenberg.

Visit to the Bodleian Bibliography Room

AnneWelsh16 March 2011

Slideshow of images and comments by students who attended last week’s visit to the Bibliography Room.

This was an optional field trip for the MA LIS, MA ARM and MA RAMI students who took Historical Bibliography (INSTG012) this year. From September 2011, it will be an option for the new MA Digital Humanities.

There is a full, reflective post on the UCLDH blog.