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Showing posts from February, 2016

The Minster Library - Fragments of the Past: Part 2

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In the second of his four blog posts, Jeff Berry investigates the practice of removing illuminations from manuscripts.
It is easy to think that, once the early craze for reusing manuscripts in bindings had passed, these manuscripts were treated with more respect. While that might be true (then again, it might not), different problems ensued for the manuscripts. Chief among these was the tendency to view them as objets d'art rather than historical records. This resulted in many illuminated manuscripts being cut up to be sold as leaves, such as the famous 'Otto Ege Portfolios' where some fifty illuminates manuscripts were systematically broken down and recompiled into portfolios; each manuscript less useful or valuable as a whole than as a collection of parts. In some other cases, only the illuminations themselves were removed to be admired in isolation while the text, thought to be less interesting or attractive, was left behind.

Consider this pastedown from a thirteenth-ce…

Cairn.info - a great French Language resource

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Tony Wilson introduces a new resource covering French language, history, culture, and much more...


The Library recently subscribed to Cairn.info. This resource offers access to a comprehensive online collection of French language publications in the social sciences and humanities.

Journal articles from major French, Belgian and Swiss publishers can be accessed by students and researchers. You could be forgiven for thinking that this resource would only be of interest to French Language students or those interested in French History, culture and society but coverage is much broader than that. You will find journals covering subject areas as diverse as Economics, Psychology and Geography.

If you want the latest content you can refine your results to see content that has only been online for the last few weeks. Should you find a journal that is really relevant to your research, you can set up table of content alerts. Like many resources, you can create your own account in Cairn.Info wher…

The Minster Library - Fragments of the Past: Part 1

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In the first of four posts, Jeff Berry, one of our Minster volunteers, considers the insights into the past that early recycling gives us.

It was common practice in the early days of print for bookbinders to use parts of earlier manuscripts as strengtheners in their bindings. To modern sensibilities, the idea that these unique manuscripts were destroyed simply for their physical properties is an appalling one. It is worth considering, however, that such use represents in many cases both an instinct for efficiency and economy - after all, why use fresh vellum when used vellum will do just as well? - and a growing sense of the primacy of the text itself. In some cases, once a manuscript was in type, the manuscript itself was considered redundant, and reusing it in bindings was simply common sense.

These fragments may still be found in various books, and provide a tantalizing glimpse of information which is now lost forever. All manuscripts are on some level a puzzle. As unique, handcraf…

"An invaluable resource" - your thoughts on the Minster Library

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Joanne Casey finds out what you think of the Minster Library, and details recent improvements.


In February last year, we ran a survey to find out how visitors to the Minster Library feel about the services offered. We're taking this opportunity to report back on what we learnt and how we've reacted to it, and to encourage you to provide further feedback on our services.

What you liked…
The range of the collectionsThe unique resourcesThe staffThe chance to study in a fascinating building "The Minster Library is an invaluable resource" "Exceptionally generous and attentive staff!" What you'd like to see changed…
Borrowing arrangementsDocument production timesCharges for reprographicsWifi provisionOpening hours
What we've done...
Services provided by the Minster Library now match those offered by the University Library as far as possible; so, staff and students can now borrow up to 50 items, on the same flexible loan model that the rest of the Library u…