Books and Borrowing 1750-1830

News and Updates

The Books and Borrowing team have been very busy this week! In between our usual tasks of data entry, data normalisation, research, teaching and administration, we have been doing the preliminary judging round for our Creative Writing conference. The next stage in the competition is for our celebrity judge, Daisy Hay, to make her decision, after which we will notify everyone who entered the competition of the results. Thank you to everybody who did enter – we had a wonderful time reading the various submissions, and were delighted by their range, breadth and variety. It was fascinating to see how differently people had approached the competition, and lovely to see how our materials had prompted such exciting, original and accomplished pieces of creative work. And we are of course very grateful indeed to Daisy for judging the competition.

Judge of our Creative Writing Competition, Dr Daisy Hay

Judge of our Creative Writing Competition, Dr Daisy Hay

Our digital expert Brian has been working very hard at building the Advanced Search functions for our new digital resource (to be unveiled in April), while Matt and I have begun the extensive task of assigning genres to every work in our system, and of collecting all the different editions of books in our system into umbrella categories of works. We’d made the decision to do this towards the end of the project to give ourselves the best possible chance of getting it all correct. This has involved the generation of very large numbers of spreadsheets (doesn’t everyone love a spreadsheet?) and some very nerdy conversations. Should it be Tacitus’s Works, or Works of Tacitus? What do you do with Hume’s History of England with Smollett’s continuation bound together? Are they the same work, or two different ones? Do we want to use title case, or library case? Do we trim definite and indefinite articles or keep them? Do we cut everything after the semi-colon in a title such as Evelina; or, The History of a Young Lady, or do we keep it? And so on.

I have been liaising with members of our Commercial Services team at Stirling about such matters as conference catering, room capacity, promo codes for accommodation, and all the things that make conferences run smoothly (or not!) as we gear up for the Reading and Book Circulation conference in April. We’ve also been putting the finishing touches to our conference programme (details on this blog next week), and getting excited about all the brilliant papers people have offered. We’re delighted that we’ll be joined by some of our librarian and archivist partners for our round table, who will be talking about the borrowers’ registers held at five of the libraries in the ‘Books and Borrowing’ project, and that we can now announce the titles of our two keynote lectures. Professor Andrew Pettegree  of the University of St Andrews will speak on The Universal Short Title catalogue: Big Data and its Perils and Professor Deidre Lynch of Harvard University on The Social Lives of Scraps: Shearing, Sharing, Scavenging, Gleaning. We can’t wait!

photo of Keynote Speaker Professor Deidre Lynch

Keynote Speaker Professor Deidre Lynch

photo of Keynote Speaker Professor Andrew Pettegree

Keynote Speaker Professor Andrew Pettegree