libraries & archives

Cardiff Central Library: defend it or lose it!

February 1, 2015 1 Comment
Cardiff Central Library: defend it or lose it!

1    What has been lost “It’s hard not to feel utterly despondent at the current plight of public libraries. Along with the NHS and the BBC, our libraries are some of the few truly remarkable British institutions left. So often absolutely ordinary in appearance, a good library should offer escape routes down the most extraordinary […]

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Cardiff libraries: a Council dispossesses its people

January 25, 2015 24 Comments
Cardiff libraries: a Council dispossesses its people

Cardiff is a thriving place. Big new developments are announced almost monthly. Recent ones include the new BBC Cymru Wales building near the station, the electrification of the Valleys railway lines and the massive Embankment complex. But while the Council pours resources into stimulating and supporting commercial growth, it leaves some of its basic public […]

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The Library of Birmingham

December 2, 2013 1 Comment
The Library of Birmingham

The city of Birmingham is famous for reinventing itself.  No sooner are buildings thrown up than plans are hatched to raze them and start again.  A good case is the central library.  The ‘old’ library, an inverted concrete pyramid of stupendous brutality opened in 1974, has been abandoned in favour of a brand new block […]

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Introducing electronic legal deposit in the UK

November 6, 2013 0 Comments
Introducing electronic legal deposit in the UK

One of the greatest of Lynne Brindley’s achievements during her twelve years in charge of the British Library was to remain steadfastly true to the Library’s aim, shared with the other UK copyright libraries, of extending the law of legal deposit to encompass publications in digital form. This article casts a retrospective and sometimes rueful […]

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Emily Dickinson’s reticent volcano

November 1, 2013 1 Comment
Emily Dickinson’s reticent volcano

It’s taken a long time for Emily Dickinson to come out. During her lifetime (1830-86) only ten of her roughly 1,800 extant poems were published, some of them without her knowledge.  After her death her manuscripts lay disregarded by all but a few.  It was not till 1955 that anything close to a complete edition […]

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Tangible intangibility

October 12, 2013 1 Comment
Tangible intangibility

‘Tangible intangibility’: the present and future of research libraries The Charles Holden Lecture, Senate House, University of London, 10 October 2013       First of all, I’d like to thank the Friends of Senate House Library for inviting me to give this year’s Holden Lecture. Charles Holden, of course, was the architect of the […]

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Archives, libraries and the Heritage Lottery Fund

June 28, 2013 0 Comments
Archives, libraries and the Heritage Lottery Fund

As government funding for memory institutions has declined – catastrophically in the case of regular capital finance for buildings, ICT infrastructure and collections purchase – the importance of the Lottery, and especially the Heritage Lottery Fund, as a funding source to those bodies has risen. What is the relationship between the HLF and those memory […]

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UNESCO Memory of the World: what is its value?

June 8, 2013 0 Comments
UNESCO Memory of the World: what is its value?

Statutory protection for historic documentary collections in the UK is weak, with the exception of some highly specific categories of archives under the Public Record Acts. Similarly, non-statutory schemes that aim to identify such collections and grant institutional approval to them are rare, in comparison with programmes by national or international bodies to protect by […]

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Llyfrgellwyr: dal yma

April 29, 2013 0 Comments
Llyfrgellwyr: dal yma

Dyw hi ddim yn hawdd ar hyn o bryd i bobl sy’n gweithio yn y rhannau hynny o’r sector cyhoeddus sy ddim yn ‘wasanaethau hanfodol’.  Er bod dyletswydd statudol ar awdurdodau cyhoeddus i ddarparu gwasanaeth llyfrgell ‘cynhwysfawr ac effeithlon’ i’w cyhoedd, dros y blynyddoedd mae’r gwasanaeth hwnnw wedi edwino – a hynny er gwaetha’r ffaith […]

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