IHR Library Workshop Series: Emerging Research in Libraries & Information Science
Friday 19th August 2016 1pm-4pm Wolfson Room II
The Institute of Historical Research Library will be hosting a half-day workshop examining current and emerging research in Libraries and Information Science on Friday 19th August from 1-4pm.
The workshop will provide an opportunity for current researchers to showcase their research and provide a platform for engaging debate on the future of libraries and the discipline more broadly.
The first set of presentations will focus around the theme of the ‘Changing Face of Libraries‘ with presentations examining cataloguing and the changing role of the librarian in an academic library.
Following this, the second set of presentations will address ‘Impacts of Technology‘ and will include presentations on the effect of the internet on user behaviour, open access, and the development of utilising robotics and artificial intelligence in libraries.
A major project is underway to introduce a new generation library discovery catalogue and management system for the Senate House Library and School of Advanced Study’s libraries. As part of that important project we need to undertake some essential maintenance all day on Tuesday, 16th August 2016 requiring the Library Catalogue, and other related services to be offline whilst the work is being carried out. This means you will not be able to:
Search the catalogue
Access e-resources (e-journals and databases) authenticated via the catalogue
Login to the UoL-open Wifi network
General information about our holdings will continue to be available during the upgrade on COPAC and the Search25 Library Resources. We aim to have all online services, including access to e-journals and databases, back up and running by 9:00am Wednesday, 17th August, 2016. This is the final phase in a number of critical steps to move us from the existing system to Sierra & Encore Duet. We apologise for this disruption, and for any inconvenience this may cause.
Anne, Countess of Pembroke (Lady Anne Clifford) by William Larkin, oil on panel, circa 1618
This post has kindly been written for us by IHR Digital intern Katherine Cassidy.
As a history undergraduate endeavouring to write my dissertation, Connected Histories has been a vastly useful resource for conducting my primary source research. In short, the website has collated a number of major digital resources regarding documents dating from the early modern to 20th century Britain and put them in one place. These sources include large databases such as the Victoria County History and British Newspapers 1600-1900. For students like me – who may have never conducted historical research to the scope required for a dissertation – it provides a convenient starting point to build up material and knowledge.
My research specifically centres on the autobiographical writing of sixteenth and seventeenth century women and their concepts of self-identity, in the hope that looking at the writing of these women would provide us with greater insight of the perceived role of women in the larger early modern society. Fortunately, Connected Histories has a wealth of resources related to this period. Researching for specific people within a large dataset can sometimes prove difficult, especially when the person is relatively obscure or hasn’t left behind a large volume of records. The search features provided on Connected Histories can help with issues like this through the ability to refine your search in order to narrow your results and find the documents required. This allows you to filter your results by date, source types, resource and access.
However, it is important that when researching through Connected Histories, you bear in mind the type of sources you are looking for, this is particularly crucial when looking for individuals. Take my research of the seventeenth century heiress Lady Anne Clifford as an example; when searching ‘Anne Clifford’ in Connected Histories, most of the results that appear relate directly to the individual I am looking for. However, under the Proceedings of the Old Bailey Online results, a different Anne Clifford is on trial in the Old Bailey accused of grand larceny and ultimately sentenced to seven years transportation. The high born Anne Clifford I am searching for would most certainly not be found in a London court accused of theft, so in this instance it is easy to dismiss the result. However, this shows it is importance to consider the context of these documents to ensure that the subject of the document is actually the right person.
Ultimately, Connected Histories is a fantastic resource for historical research, especially for those with an interest in early modern England. It has certainly provided my own research with new lines of enquiry which I would have previously not considered, such as the VCH’s historic maps and information, which provide greater context of the surroundings in which my subjects lived.
We start this week with London Lives: Poverty, Crime and the Making of a Modern City, 1690–1800 by Tim Hitchcock and Robert B. Shoemaker. Heather Shore and the authors discuss a book which shows us how hard life was for poor or even less well-off Londoners in the 18th century (no. 1967, with response here).
Then we turn to Wolfgang Palaver, Harriet Rudolph and Dietmar Regensburger’s edited collection The European Wars of Religion: An Interdisciplinary Reassessment of Sources, Interpretations, and Myths. Dave Papendorf thinks the editors should be praised for contributing an original volume so in touch with modern debates in early modern history (no. 1966).
Next up is Gold and Freedom: The Political Economy of Reconstruction by Nicolas Barreyre, as Charlie Thompson recommends a book which cleverly uses a growing and interesting area of historical research to richly contextualise and shed new light on the high politics of Reconstruction (no. 1965).
Finally we have Nick Toczek’s Haters, Baiters and Would-Be Dictators: Anti-Semitism and the UK Far Right. Paul Blanchard believes this book provides a useful and timely study of some overlooked elements of the British far right (no. 1964).
The IHR will be hosting 15 visiting historians from Taiwan who will participate in a joint conference with historians based in the UK over three days at the end of August and beginning of September (Wednesday 31st August-Friday 2nd September).
The conference, on aspects of the history of Britain and Western Europe, will bring together both younger and established historians. Sessions will cover a wide variety of subjects in political, cultural and intellectual history including Women’s History, the British Empire in Asia, Britain and America in the 18th century, Victorian social and political history, twentieth century British cultural history, and sessions on the modern history of Germany and France.
Plenary lectures from Professors Martin Daunton, Pat Thane, Joanna Innes and Richard Drayton will examine recent British economic history, the relationship of history and policy in the UK, the ‘linguistic turn’ in British history, and the rise of Global History respectively. The conference will offer an opportunity for two groups of historians, whose contact has been limited thus far, to come together and compare approaches and ideas.
If you would like to attend the conference or any part of it, please contact Gemma Dormer (IHR Events Officer- firstname.lastname@example.org) to book a place (as spaces are limited). Please confirm the following information:
Name: Day/session you would like to attend:
Please note that the IHR will provide all refreshments at break times, but delegates wishing to attend the conference will need to provide their own lunch.
On 4 July, a group of 24 Friends of the IHR and interested members of the public gathered for a guided tour of the Tower of London. Every summer the Friends organise a visit to some place of historical interest and this year proved an exceptional outing. Once assembled at the Middle Drawbridge, the party split into two groups, for simultaneous tours, and off we went.
Starting with Dr Alden Gregory at the helm, my group went first to the Queen’s House, nestled in the southwest corner of the Tower grounds. Dr Gregory, a Buildings Curator with Historic Royal Palaces, began by dispelling the myth, perpetuated by the Beefeaters, that the house was a wedding present built for Anne Boleyn. Dendrochronology suggests the house was built around 1539-40, after her death, and we know instead that it served as the lodging for the Lieutenant of the Tower. Today, it is the private residence of the Constable of the Tower of London. After noting the restoration work to the timber framing and casement windows to revive the original, pre-Great Fire Tudor appearance, we ventured inside and into the Bell Tower. This empty stone chamber was once adjacent to the Thames, and the cell of Sir Thomas More.
We then made our way upstairs to the Great Hall. The room was originally twice as high until a mid-level floor was installed in 1607, and the excessively timbered ceiling was only rediscovered and revealed in the 1960s during repairs to a water leak. The most impressive features, however, are a large wall monument and a portrait bust of King James VI. Not just a hall for eating and entertaining, the space also served as an interrogation room for notable prisoners (though the torture took place elsewhere).
The Great Hall and wall monument in the Queen’s House
Most famously, Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators were questioned here; the red, white, and black marble and alabaster wall memorial is fixed as a testament to the triumph of the inquisitors and condemnation of the accused. It dates to 9 October 1608, making it perhaps the oldest commemorative interior plaque of its kind. To its right, the bust of the king served to intimidate prisoners as they entered the hall and to represent the royal presence during interrogations.
Heading outside, the groups re-assembled, swapped tour guides, and Dr Jane Spooner, also a Buildings Curator, led our half of the party to the Byward Tower. Situated on the interior side of the main visitor entrance bridge, this thirteenth century fortification was a principal point for defence of the Tower. As with the Queen’s House, this area is normally closed to the public, and there was something very exclusive and satisfying about shutting the door behind us as we ascended the spiral stairs. At the top, Dr Spooner explained that in the mid-fourteenth century the space would have housed the King’s Exchange, part of the Royal Mint. The fine appointments that decorate the room—red striping on the stone walls, a large fireplace, and a tiled pavement—were befitting of this distinguished occupant.
Wall painting in the Byward Tower
Crossing the hall, past the wooden mechanism of the inner portcullis, we entered a slightly larger, timber-framed room, resplendent with a fourteenth century wall painting. The scene is brought to life with an array of expensive green, red, and blue pigments and gold leaf. It depicts on one side St John the Baptist and the Virgin Mary, and on the other St John the Evangelist and the archangel Michael, holding the scales weighing Christ’s soul in judgement. The figure of Christ on the cross, originally over the mantelpiece, was replaced with a Tudor rose in the sixteenth century when a new fireplace was installed. An imposing beam running the length of the room bears more green and gold painting, of birds, lions, and fleurs-de-lis. There is evidence that paintings of angels once existed on the north wall, as late as the 1950s, but almost no trace now survives.
The groups came back together a final time for some refreshments in the Great Hall of the Queen’s House. What a marvellous treat to sit where Guy Fawkes may have sat, though thankfully with some lovely tea and scones instead of an inquisitorial squad. There was just enough time left in the day to make a quick visit of the armouries or the crown jewels. The outing was a great success for all, and a particularly splendid introduction for those who had never been to the Tower, like yours truly.
Professor Lord Stern of Brentford at the EUI – 16 October 2015. Image: European University Institute from Italy [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Research Excellence Framework Review, an independent review of university research funding undertaken by Lord Nicholas Stern, was published by the Department for Business, Skills and Innovation on 28 July 2016. It will now move to a further stage of consultation in late 2016, with the results published in 2017.
The entire Higher Education sector is under review, not just academic historians, but as part of our work supporting the profession, the IHR Library has started to collect relevant material and websites relating to the Review for those interested in understanding some of the implications of the proposals.
The text of the Review is available via Gov.uk. The call for evidence drew over 300 responses from across the sector; these are summarised here.
The Times Higher Education Supplement provides an overview noting that ‘all research-active academics should be entered for the next research excellence framework, and the work of academics who have moved should be claimed by the institution where it was carried out’, but that the number of submissions would vary as a ‘function of staff numbers’. It suggests non-portability of outputs would take ‘the heat out of the traditional pre-REF “transfer market”. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/stern-review-submit-all-researchers-next-ref (limited paywall). There is also a live blog.
An initial analysis of ‘portability’ from the view of a ‘Fantasy REF manager’ by Adam Goldberg, ‘The Stern Review – Publications, Portability, and Panic’, Cash for Questions: social science research funding, policy, and development blog http://socialscienceresearchfunding.co.uk/?p=936 [28 July 2016].
Two members of staff from the IHR Library recently attended a workshop examining techniques in basic book repair hosted by Senate House Library’s Conservation department. SHL’s conservator, Alexandra Bruce, delivered a short presentation explaining the importance of investing in small book repairs and the practical benefits this can bring to institutions. It was noted that, ‘basic repairs carried out as soon as a book shows signs of damage can extend the life of the book at very low cost and prevent the need for more complex repairs or costly re-binding.’ In addition, undertaking basic repairs in-house allows for volumes to be returned to the shelves more quickly.
Practising hinge-tightening using EVA glue
The Conservation team then demonstrated a range of basic repair techniques, including hinge tightening, spine re-attachment, re-sewing pages, tipping in loose sections and consolidating corners. It was exceptionally useful to see the level of detail and range of different implements used according to which repair was being undertaken (including using a knitting needle to apply glue to the spine of a book!) After watching the demonstrations, we were afforded the opportunity to put these techniques into practice ourselves in a hands-on practical session.
Following the workshop, the IHR library is initiating the setting up of a ‘bindery’ where such basic repairs can be carried out. The Institute previously had a dedicated bindery located in the basement of the building before constraints on space necessitated that the bindery be closed. It is envisaged that repair work will commence in September in order to begin clearing a proportion of the backlog of books that are in need of repair and return them to the shelves as quickly as possible.
The ‘Old Bindery’ 1986
Materials and pressing boards in the new ‘bindery’
However, it should be noted that many of the volumes currently in repair require much more extensive work, with many in need of complete re-binding or specialist conservation. The expertise and time taken for such work means that this can be extremely expensive.
A selection of works in need of repair
Consequently, the Institute would greatly welcome support for it’s Library Conservation Fund to help preserve the library’s invaluable collections. Donations of any size would be greatly appreciated, with roughly £50-£70 funding a basic rebinding and £160-£200 facilitating restoration of a historic binding. For more information see:
The work comprises two volumes bound together, with Volume I published in Calcutta by A.G. Balfour in 1824 and Volume II published from the Government Gazette Press by G.H. Huttmann in Calcutta in 1826. However, it is noted that both works were ‘originally compiled by W. Blunt Esq. (formerly superintendent of police) to the year 1818; and continued by H. Shakespear, Esq (superintendent of police in the lower provinces).’
The Library’s accession registers record that the volume arrived into the Library’s collections in March 1925 after being transferred from the India Office in the House of Lords Library. The work is relatively rare with only three other copies in the UK, held at the British Library and SOAS respectively.
The volumes document regulations and administration in British colonial India. As the abstract notes, the work comprises ‘the Regulations enacted for the Administration of the Police and Criminal Justice, in the Provinces of Bengal, Behar and Orissa, from the Year 1793 to the end of 1823’. Consequently, the work serves as an invaluable resource in documenting not only colonial administration and the implementation of vehicles of power, but also the social history of life in these provinces. For example, the work records the names of witnesses at trials and a regulation of 1823 to prevent the ‘Establishment of Printing Presses without License; and for restraining under certain circumstances the circulation of Printed Books and Papers.’ Similarly, the work illuminates the economic history of the regions during this period, with many regulations concerning revenue collection, trade provisions and ‘what gold coin is to be considered a legal tender of payment.’
The IHR’s copy holds additional interest however, due to the signature in the top right-hand corner on the frontispieces of both volumes I and II. The signature appears to be that of Thomas Fisher, an artist and antiquary who worked in India House. As the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography records, ‘at the age of fourteen Fisher was given employment by the East India Company at East India House, Leadenhall Street, in the City of London. In 1789 he was appointed as an extra clerk, and in 1816 he was placed on the establishment in the newly created post of searcher of the records in the examiner’s department.’
In the 1820s and 30s, Fisher wrote extensively for the Gentleman’s Magazine, penning several memoirs of Anglo-Indians and missionaries. In addition, Fisher was a supporter of the campaign to abolish slavery in the British colonies and in 1825 he published ‘The Negro’s Memorial‘, or, ‘Abolitionist’s Catechism‘ a copy of which is held in Senate House Library’s Special Collections. It is likely therefore that the IHR’s copy of ‘An Abstract of Regulations…’ was of interest to Fisher for the regulations on slavery in colonial India documented within the two volumes. The work contains a regulation from 1811 entitled ‘Preventing the Importation and Sale of Slaves from Foreign parts’ which records that ‘the importation of slaves by land or by sea prohibited. Offenders liable to be criminally prosecuted.’ It is further documented that ‘Captains of Ships or Vessels (except the Company’s) importing at Calcutta, shall previously to landing their Cargo, execute a penalty Bond for Rs. 5000, not to sell slaves.’ (Vol. I, p 127, 1811 Regulation X)
Fisher died in London in April 1836 with his collection of drawings, prints, and books sold at auction at Southgates in 1836 and by Evans in May 1837 and dispersed.