As per CERL's mission statement our focus is on early printed books and manuscripts, and supporting researchers in their study of these materials. It has long been recognised that providing a historical context for the books, such as information relating to book production, their reception and provenance, is a key requirement.
In this seminar, the focus will be on the context for historical book collections offered by other exponents of European cultural heritage. The theme is offering research services through hybrid collections (i.e. books PLUS art, or museum objects, or archival materials, or all of the above).
Galleries, Museums and Archives will present their approach to offering integrated research services. We will be talking about the benefits to research, about branding the library/collection and enhancing its visibility (separately from the larger institute, or in combination with it). We will address issues such as arranging access and engaging with the researchers (a population possibly distinct from the larger institute’s regular audience). And we will look at running the library in terms of collection building in the context of the larger institution (or quite separate collection policies?) and training/recruiting specialist staff.
Book collections, archival collections and physical objects each contribute pieces of the jigsaw, ultimately revealing a view on our shared European past.
9:00 Registration and coffee
9:30 am Opening by Saskia Scheltjens, Head of Research Services, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, and Ulf Göranson, CERL Chairman
10:00-12:00 Session 1
Chaired by Wim Hupperetz, University of Amsterdam
Richard Ovenden, Bodleian Library, Oxford
‘Gardens, Libraries and Museums: working together at Oxford’
Richard Ovenden will reflect on the current initiatives to develop closer working between the Botanic Gardens, University Museums and Bodleian libraries at Oxford, and the broader issues over the similarities and differences between these organisations in a digital world.
Geert-Jan Koot and Saskia Scheltjens, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
‘Highlights and Challenges of the Rijksmuseum Research Library’
Geert-Jan Koot will illustrate the richness of the Rijksmuseums collections, including those held in the library. Saskia Scheltjens will outline the construction of the Rijksmuseum Research Services and the specific challenges that the Rijksmuseum is facing in terms of providing integrated access to collections and the services it wishes to offer its users.
Catherine Yvard, National Art Library, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
‘The V&A: an ace library, with quite a nice museum attached’
This paper takes the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum as a case study to examine the relationship between the book collection and the rest of the museum’s collections. Two systems, one a MARC catalogue, the other a collections management system, have so far been existing side by side, with little crossover. Medieval manuscripts, early printed books, artist’s books, rare bindings and many other visually appealing holdings have been described bibliographically, but few can be viewed in the V&A’s Search the Collections catalogue. IIIF is however offering new avenues for the museum to give access to its diverse collections in a more integrated manner.
Anne-Elisabeth Buxtorf, INHA
'Making new with old, the salle Labrouste challenge'
During 2016, and having surpassed a number of obstacles, the library of the National Institute of Art History (Institut national d’histoire de l’art - INHA), was established within an exceptional area designed during the Second Empire by the French architect Henri Labrouste (1801 -1875). The reopening of this reading room is the fruit of a large-scale renovation project involving several French institutions. It is also the culmination of a long process and a long-term project: for France to have an illustrious and unique library of art history both for academics and museums. Opening a new but notorious reading room, moving all the collections (20 km) - some of them out of the Musée du Louvre-, updating its services and catalogues… The library faced various challenges. What did we achieve? What did we unexpectedly learn? What are the next steps? The presentation will share some key points of this recent experience.
12 noon – 13.30 Lunch, plus visit to the Cuypers Library Hall
13:30-15:00 Session 2
Chaired by Pierre Delsaerdt, University of Antwerp
Marike van Roon, Special Collections University of Amsterdam
‘Towards Allard Pierson in 2019: integrating the Allard Pierson Museum and the University of Amsterdam’s Special Collections’
Both organisations are already in adjacent, connected buildings, but still function as separate entities. The coming years are going to see a merger of the two organisations, aiming to make efficient use of staff, facilities and collections to support (academic) users and the general public in the best possible way.
Kathrin Pokorny-Nagel, MAK–Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst/Gegenwartskunst
‘Understanding the future means know the past. Rare Books for public access at the MAK Vienna’
Its unique mission of working with books and graphic artworks as a symbiotic whole is what so strongly distinguishes MAK Library and Works on Paper Collection from other art libraries. In its collection, preservation and research of scholarly writing—from the Middle Ages to the present—it communicates the three pillars of the institution’s museological foundation. Beyond publications pertaining to literature, to art and to arts and crafts, it also encompasses a graphic art, photo and rare books collection set up with the idea of building a collection of models.
One of the most prized components of the MAK Library and Works on Paper Collection is the assortment of illustrated books from the 15th to 18th centuries, which was compiled in the 19th century. Over the course of along-term project, all of these 2,936 little-known cimelia of book art were officially recorded in a database along with a description of their content.
Per Cullhed and Cecilia Winrow, University of Uppsala
‘Bookbindings and Provenances in Alvin’
Bookbindings and provenance records are rarely connected to images in library catalogues, making it difficult to evaluate the information on materiality behind the bibliographic record. Uppsala University Library completed a The ProBok project together with the Lund University Library in 2012 connecting these two entities, making it possible to see images of both bindings and provenance evidence. ProBok is a stand-alone database and as it is the library policy to minimize the number of databases, ProBok will be moved into the Alvin-repository in the near future. Alvin is a repository shared by many Swedish heritage libraries and museums and the migration of ProBok will open up a possibility for participating libraries to publish bookbindings and provenance on the Internet.
15:30-18:00 Session 3
Chaired by Claudia Fabian, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, München
Veit Dinkelaker, Bibelhaus Erlebnis Museum, Frankfurt
‘The world beyond the text - artefacts, media and interaction at the Bibelhaus Frankfurt’
The “Bibelhaus Erlebnis Museum” in Frankfurt combines within an interactive exhibition archeological artefacts, manuscripts, early prints and different sorts of other objects. The exhibition employs all forms of media, follows a hands on approach and emphasizes on participation. To illustrate the world of the Bible and the making of the scriptures it joins forces with the archives of the Israel Antiquities Authority within a unique partnership, along with loans from various German libraries and the network of the Protestant Church in Germany. A recent focus is the illustration of the reformation era as a crucial media event not only through valuable exhibits. The visitor may explore book craftsmanship or the impact of historical developments till today. The topic of migration is addressed by private loans of personal objects including bibles who came from overseas through immigration over the last decades and centuries - along with video-interviews of ex-patriots or descendants of migration. The aim is to connect the visitor to the rich history and presence of the bible as a key to culture and society.
Gudrun Bucher, Asch-Sammlung, University of Goettingen
‘Coins, Shells and Exotic Garments – virtual reconstruction of a late 18th Century University collection’
The so-called “Asch Collection” belongs to the early acquisitions of the Göttingen University. From 1771 to 1806 Baron Georg Thomas von Asch, highest ranking military surgeon in Russia, and resident of St. Petersburg did send various items of scientific interest to the Göttingen library and to the academic museum. In the late 19th Century, when the academic museum as such was dissolved the “Asch items” were distributed to six newly founded university departments whereas the books and manuscripts together with Asch’s letters to the library director stayed in the library. During the last three years a small research group founded by the DFG developed a metadata model with the following aims:
- Virtual reconstruction of the “Asch collection” by indicating provenance information
- Contextualisation of the different items by relating the objects to the corresponding provenance and other information, such as Asch’s letters, transportation lists, object labels (handwritten by von Asch and sent to Göttingen).
One of the main challenges was the mixed content of the collection now dispersed in natural science institutions as well as social sciences, archaeology and art history institutions. The research questions to the objects differ not only by content, but also structurally as the role of collection differs extremely in the various research fields. The paper retraces the problems and solutions we found and shortly presents the actual model. As there is a lot of research done on the ethnographic objects, an example from the Cultural Anthropology perspective will show which the anticipated benefits for research are and whether the model complies with these expectations.
Michael Little, National Archives, Kew, London
‘The Library at the National Archives : a door into a complex archive collection’
The Library at the National Archives acts as a research library to the National Archives documents holdings, one of the largest archive collections in the world. The library can often be a very useful starting point for research. Many of the books in the library collection are based to some extent on National Archives document material. In addition, some of the published material acts as indexes to the archive collection and some are actual transcripts of documents held. Here, we will aim to look at the close relationship between the published and the archive collection.
17:00 – 18:00 Summary and discussion, followed by drinks reception sponsored by Brepols Publishers