Yes, we’ve had a blog for the last couple of years, and I like the fact that the information put out there is then available for anyone to find, even if it’s several years later. I also find it useful to follow other Special Collections blogs for inspiration!

Our blog is:

It can be tricky to find time to post on it, so my posts in particular tend to be quite short. We try to do at least two posts a month, one by me, and one by the library’s graduate trainee, although I’ve recently had one written by a work experience student. Part of our feedback asks if people would be prepared to write a post about their research for the blog and this has happened a few times – mostly from Brunel academics so far.

I have no budget for conservation, although I keep a list of preservation supplies I need in priority order and when funding is available (usually once or twice a year) generally get the supplies I need from that. It can make it very hard to plan though, as there is no guarantee the funding will happen, and the amount of equipment we get through is very dependent on how many volunteers we have in. We put book tape on the books, and use archival boxes for the archival material in Special Collections. The volunteers do basic repackaging into melinex sleeves and remove rusty staples etc. Anything that needs conservation which we come across (usually when cataloguing or when it’s been requested) is listed on a spreadsheet and prioritised.

We don’t have temperature or humidity controlled stacks, although we do monitor the environment (we have an old-fashioned hygro-thermograph, plus a spot monitor), with the aim of improving things in the future. We also monitor for pests. We’ve been using the free environmental monitoring trial from the National Conservation Service for the last year, and I’m looking forward to seeing the report from that.


Katie Flanagan BA(Hons), MA, MCLIP
Special Collections Librarian
T +44 (0)1895 266139

From: CIG E-Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Karen Pierce
Sent: 16 April 2015 15:16
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CIG-E-FORUM] Cataloguing rare books

Dear all,

A couple of questions for you to think about.

How many people blog about their rare book collections? Do you enjoy doing the extra research an item might require for a blog post?  Is this part of your job role, or do you have to squeeze it in when you can?

Conservation issues – do you have funding for conservation?  How do you decide whether an item qualifies for conservation? Do you put everything in boxes? Do you have temperature controlled stacks?

I’d be very interested in hearing about what people do regarding conservation, is it your responsibility or someone else’s?


From: CIG E-Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Karen Pierce
Sent: 16 April 2015 15:00
To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: [CIG-E-FORUM] Cataloguing rare books

Dear all,

We’re moving into our final hour in the e-forum and now is your chance to bring up any other queries you have been thinking about over the last two days, or anything that yesterday’s discussions raised.

Please do join in!


From: CIG E-Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of O'Brien, Iris
Sent: 16 April 2015 14:05
To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Subject: [CIG-E-FORUM] Cataloguing rare books

Welcome back everybody!

If you have taken part in the cataloguing exercise and have any records you would like to share with us, please, post them to the list.

If you have any questions relating to rare books cataloguing in general, please, post them as well.

I included a rare books genre heading ( in my record no. 2 and I was wondering whether other institutions/ cataloguers were using them on a regular basis, too, or not.

Iris O'Brien
Early Printed Collections Cataloguing and Processing Manager
The British Library
St Pancras
96 Euston Road
Tel.: +44 (0)20 7412 7731
E-mail: [log in to unmask]

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