These are the links to the Aberystwyth modules. They don’t run them every year (and these links are for Oct 14-March 15), but they will give people an idea of what they cover, and some contact details:
Introduction to rare book librarianship
Advanced rare book librarianship
The second module covers cataloguing, but you have to do the first module first!
Hello Karen, everyone
That’s interesting! Describing bindings, annotations, decoration and provenance were all I was concerned with last year when I was enhancing the existing basic catalogue records for the incunabula in the Brotherton Library at the University of Leeds. Some of you may have read my small contribution in the recent Historic Libraries Forum Newsletter.
My route into the world of rare books has a little convoluted. I studied medieval languages / history, worked for the International Medieval Bibliography, and then for another academic information service, the British Education Index. So I have come to rare books as an information professional with an academic background in history.
I’d be interested to hear more about the modules run by Aberystwyth, and see that Katrina has mentioned them in her email.
I’ll introduce myself a bit more here. First off I should put my hand up and admit I am not actually a full time rare book cataloguer – although I do get chance to catalogue rare books.
I’m a cataloguer at Cardiff University, and once a fortnight (once a week when I am less busy) I spend a day working on our rare books collection (as do my colleagues). A few years ago we acquired a large collection of about 15,000 items from the Cardiff Public Library. As most of us in the cataloguing department had little experience of working on rare books, and as the collection was far too large for us to complete alongside our regular work anyway, a full time rare books cataloguer was appointed – but the rest of us were given the opportunity to work on the collection too.
We had a day’s training on rare books standards (several months before we actually started on the books)
Once the rare books cataloguer was appointed they were able to provide practical guidance notes, and help introduce us to actual cataloguing – which was quite different in some aspects to the ‘normal’ cataloguing we do. This person then checked our records and highlighted errors etc.
So we have learned ‘on the job’ – and it is very helpful to have an ‘expert’ around to ask questions. I find one of the problems I have is knowing how to describe things – such as bindings, or marginalia/provenance etc. I think that comes with experience.
We have also found that only working on the books once a fortnight – does mean that it is easy to forget things (especially if one misses a few sessions), but having guidance notes helps.
As I have really enjoyed doing rare book cataloguing I have subsequently taken the two stand alone distance learning modules in Rare book librarianship that Aberystwyth University run – and I have found these very useful for giving me a lot more background knowledge.
Have other people fallen into rare book cataloguing by accident?
Dr Karen Pierce
University Library Service
PO BOX 430
30-36 Newport Road
Tel: (029) 20875680
Dr Karen Pierce
Gwasanaeth Llyfrgell y Brifysgol
PO BOX 430
30-36 Heol Casnewydd
Ffôn: (029) 20875680