Closing the reading room for just one week gave staff the opportunity to complete a number of useful projects, all designed to make the collections easier to order and easier to retrieve….
To facilitate access to our business records held offsite, Mike and Tara developed a listing of the collections held there and produced detailed end of bay notices. This also included the production of a complete A-Z list of companies held there each with their manuscript catalogue references and storage locations. This mapping and identification will greatly help staff with retrievals and has increased our knowledge of the collections contained within the store. Several collections are linked via their being subsidiaries to a large company; as is in the case of Furness Withy & Co Ltd (FWS) which has several others under it including Houlder Brothers & Co and Prince Line Ltd (PLS).
This project will put the team in a better position to be able to arrange the collections into the desired alphabetical sequence, effectively streamlining our important maritime business records held offsite, which includes British India Steam Navigation Co Ltd (BIS), Dreadnought Seamen’s Hospital (DSH); Peninsular & Orient Steam Navigation Co Ltd (P&O) and Royal Mail Steam Packet Company (RMS).
Martin and Katherine also surveyed a large part of the business records for the Data Protection Review. Several hundred records were checked for personal information, such as Pension applications, pay rolls and expenses and share holdings and the closure period calculated and updated where necessary, according to the Data Protection Act (1998). Also included were records of the former Dreadnought Seaman’s Hospital, including admissions registers detailing complaints and treatments, plus notes on patients’ recovery and in some cases actual patient clinical records. Not necessarily the most exciting thing and Archivist ever has to do, but very necessary and very important and working out closure periods was good mental arithmetic!
Library staff carried out important work on our printed collections, again mostly at our offsite stores. This work included:
- identifying duplicate modern printed works in our reserve collections
- auditing our large collection of periodicals and journals
- surveying the holdings of parliamentary papers and comparing these with what is now available in electronic format
- upgrading our Aeon ordering system to improve functionality for staff and users
-auditing all the editions of Samuel Pepys diaries that we hold offsite and moving them onsite
Greg took a closer look at some of that Pepys material…
On 1 January 1660 Samuel Pepys (1633–1703) began writing every few days the diary which has made him famous. The result is properly acclaimed as an astonishingly vivid and disciplined exercise in self-analysis, a historical document of the first rank, and a literary classic. It is no secret that Pepys had numerous connections with the Royal Navy, London and even Greenwich, so it is not surprising that the Caird Library has an extensive collection of printed works relating to him. A quick search in the online library catalogue [www.rmg.co.uk/librarycatalogue], returns 115 titles related to him, of course chiefly different editions of his celebrated diary.
The very first edition that we have is a two volume biography edited by Lord Braybrooke and published in London by Henry Colburn at New Burlington Street in 1825. (Lib Item ID: PBE9954) ‘Memoirs of Samuel Pepys’ was deciphered by the Rev. John Smith from the original short-hand manuscript in the Pepysian Library of Magdalene College, Cambridge and a selection from his private correspondence.
Our very last acquisition is ‘Memoires of the Royal Navy 1690’ with a new introduction by J.D. Davies. This book was published by Seaforth Publishing in 2010 and it is a facsimile of the 1906 Clarendon Press edition, which itself was a typeset in the style of the original 1690 version. (Lib Item ID: PBH5763)
During the closure week, the Library Team concentrated on making all these volumes more accessible by bringing them onsite and preparing them for a future re-cataloguing project.
Closed week? Hmm, not really…