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Managing a curious collection: a brief overview of the challenges of the Fred Hoyle papers / Katie Birkwood
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Managing a curious collection: a brief overview of the challenges of the Fred Hoyle papers / Katie Birkwood

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An introduction to the challenges of looking after a collection of modern personal papers at St John's College Library, Cambridge.

An introduction to the challenges of looking after a collection of modern personal papers at St John's College Library, Cambridge.

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  • at the Pontificia Academia Scientiarum
  • at the Pontificia Academia Scientiarum
  • at the Pontificia Academia Scientiarum
  • http://www.archivists.org/glossary/term_details.asp?DefinitionKey=69
  • http://www.archivists.org/glossary/term_details.asp?DefinitionKey=69
  • http://www.archivists.org/glossary/term_details.asp?DefinitionKey=69
  • http://www.archivists.org/glossary/term_details.asp?DefinitionKey=69
  • http://www.archivists.org/glossary/term_details.asp?DefinitionKey=69
  • http://www.archivists.org/glossary/term_details.asp?DefinitionKey=69
  • BS5454:2000
  • BS5454:2000
  • BS5454:2000
  • BS5454:2000
  • BS5454:2000
  • http://www.filmpreservation.org/preservation-basics/vinegar-syndrome
  • http://www.filmpreservation.org/preservation-basics/vinegar-syndrome
  • http://www.filmpreservation.org/preservation-basics/vinegar-syndrome
  • http://www.filmpreservation.org/preservation-basics/vinegar-syndrome
  • http://www.filmpreservation.org/preservation-basics/nitrate-degradation http://www.flickr.com/photos/feichtnerc/5451012941/
  • http://www.filmpreservation.org/preservation-basics/nitrate-degradation http://www.flickr.com/photos/feichtnerc/5451012941/
  • http://www.filmpreservation.org/preservation-basics/nitrate-degradation http://www.flickr.com/photos/feichtnerc/5451012941/
  • http://www.facetpublishing.co.uk/title.php?id=705-0&category_code=830
  • http://www.facetpublishing.co.uk/title.php?id=705-0&category_code=830
  • http://www.facetpublishing.co.uk/title.php?id=705-0&category_code=830
  • http://www.facetpublishing.co.uk/title.php?id=705-0&category_code=830
  • http://www.facetpublishing.co.uk/title.php?id=552-0&category_code=830 http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/information-management/legislation/data-protection.htm
  • http://www.facetpublishing.co.uk/title.php?id=552-0&category_code=830 http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/information-management/legislation/data-protection.htm
  • http://www.facetpublishing.co.uk/title.php?id=552-0&category_code=830 http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/information-management/legislation/data-protection.htm

Transcript

  • 1. MANAGING A Curious Collection A brief overview of the challenges of the Fred Hoyle Papers Katie Birkwood, Hoyle Project Associate, St John’s College Library, Cambridge Seminar in the History of Material Texts , Faculty of English, University of Cambridge Thursday 24 February 2011
  • 2. BATTRICK BEAR
    • Who was Fred Hoyle anyway?
  • 3. BATTRICK BEAR
    • Who was Fred Hoyle anyway?
    ‘ Battrick Bear’ was Fred Hoyle’s nickname with his children and grandchildren.
  • 4.  
  • 5. Fred Hoyle c. 1963
  • 6.
    • 20 th -century polymath
    Fred Hoyle c. 1963
  • 7.
    • 20 th -century polymath
    • Astrophysicist
    • Sci-fi author
    • Radio personality
    Fred Hoyle c. 1963
  • 8.
    • 20 th -century polymath
    • Astrophysicist
    • Sci-fi author
    • Radio personality
    • Hill walker
    • Chess player
    • Music lover
    • Librettist
    Fred Hoyle c. 1963
  • 9.
    • 20 th -century polymath
    • Astrophysicist
    • Sci-fi author
    • Radio personality
    • Hill walker
    • Chess player
    • Music lover
    • Librettist
    • Controversialist
    • Yorkshireman
    Fred Hoyle c. 1963
  • 10. WHAT WILL I FIND TODAY?
    • Challenge 1: the diversity of the collection
  • 11. WHAT WILL I FIND TODAY?
    • Challenge 1: the diversity of the collection
    The collection contains lots of material you would expect in an archive of ‘papers’ – correspondence, draft articles and books, diaries, and the like – but also lots of other things…
  • 12.  
  • 13.
    • Hoyle’s library
  • 14. Nearly 700 printed books
    • Hoyle’s library
  • 15.  
  • 16.
    • Photographs
  • 17. Hoyle meeting Pope Pius XII, May 1957
    • Photographs
  • 18.  
  • 19.
    • Audio visual materials
  • 20. Audio tape, audio cassettes, VHS recordings, film reels
    • Audio visual materials
  • 21.  
  • 22.
    • Personal artefacts
  • 23. Walking gear, glasses, chess pieces, calculator, telescope and more
    • Personal artefacts
  • 24. WHO PUT THAT THERE?
    • Challenge 2: cataloguing and arranging
  • 25. WHO PUT THAT THERE?
    • Challenge 2: cataloguing and arranging
    An archive is an ordered, organised collection, not just a heap of old things.
  • 26. WHO PUT THAT THERE?
    • Challenge 2: cataloguing and arranging
    An archive is an ordered, organised collection, not just a heap of old things. An archivist will both describe the contents of a collection and arrange that content in a meaningful way.
  • 27.
    • Original order is a fundamental principle of archives.
    Society of American Archivists, A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology
  • 28.
    • Original order is a fundamental principle of archives.
    • Maintaining records in original order serves two purposes. First, it preserves existing relationships and evidential significance that can be inferred from the context of the records. Second, it exploits the record creator's mechanisms to access the records, saving the archives the work of creating new access tools.
    Society of American Archivists, A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology
  • 29.
    • Original order is not the same as the order in which materials were received.
    Society of American Archivists, A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology
  • 30.
    • Original order is not the same as the order in which materials were received.
    • Items that were clearly misfiled may be refiled in their proper location. Materials may have had their original order disturbed, often during inactive use, before transfer to the archives; see restoration of original order.
    Society of American Archivists, A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology
  • 31.
    • A collection may not have meaningful order if the creator stored items in a haphazard fashion. In such instances, archivists often impose order on the materials to facilitate arrangement and description.
    Society of American Archivists, A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology
  • 32.
    • A collection may not have meaningful order if the creator stored items in a haphazard fashion. In such instances, archivists often impose order on the materials to facilitate arrangement and description.
    • The principle of respect for original order does not extend to respect for original chaos.
    Society of American Archivists, A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology
  • 33.  
  • 34.
    • The Hoyle Collection arrived in ten large filing cabinets, the contents of which were transferred into archival boxes.
  • 35.
    • The Hoyle Collection arrived in ten large filing cabinets, the contents of which were transferred into archival boxes.
    The last remaining Hoyle cabinet, now used for other purposes.
  • 36.  
  • 37. The Hoyle Collection decanted into its 150 archival boxes
  • 38.
    • These boxes may look neat, but the contents was closer to ‘original chaos’ than ‘original order’
    The Hoyle Collection decanted into its 150 archival boxes
  • 39. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
    • Challenge 3: specialist knowledge
  • 40. Hoyle Papers 2/5/2
  • 41.
    • I have little idea what this means.
    Hoyle Papers 2/5/2
  • 42. Hoyle papers 2/5/2
  • 43. Hoyle papers 2/5/2
    • But fortunately there’s usually contextual information that helps to explain.
  • 44. WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN?
    • Challenge 4 : interpreting collections for diverse audiences
  • 45.  
  • 46. Photographs, artefacts and documents from Hoyle’s childhood exhibited in October 2009
  • 47.
    • The collection is rich in interesting and attractive display items.
    Photographs, artefacts and documents from Hoyle’s childhood exhibited in October 2009
  • 48.
    • The collection is rich in interesting and attractive display items.
    • The challenge is to combine and explain them in ways that engage audiences.
    Photographs, artefacts and documents from Hoyle’s childhood exhibited in October 2009
  • 49. SOME HOYLE-PROJECT AUDIENCES
  • 50. SOME HOYLE-PROJECT AUDIENCES
      • General public
      • Don’t assume prior knowledge
      • Explain the significance (scientific or historic)
  • 51. SOME HOYLE-PROJECT AUDIENCES
      • General public
      • Don’t assume prior knowledge
      • Explain the significance (scientific or historic)
      • Specialists
      • Amateur and professional astronomers, historians of science
      • Supply details and precision
  • 52. SOME HOYLE-PROJECT AUDIENCES
      • General public
      • Don’t assume prior knowledge
      • Explain the significance (scientific or historic)
      • Specialists
      • Amateur and professional astronomers, historians of science
      • Supply details and precision
      • Interested learners
      • Groups such as the University of the Third Age (U3A)
      • Keen to learn as much as possible and to hear about the personal side
  • 53. SOME HOYLE-PROJECT AUDIENCES
      • General public
      • Don’t assume prior knowledge
      • Explain the significance (scientific or historic)
      • Specialists
      • Amateur and professional astronomers, historians of science
      • Supply details and precision
      • Interested learners
      • Groups such as the University of the Third Age (U3A)
      • Keen to learn as much as possible and to hear about the personal side
      • Schools
      • Break everything down into constituent parts
      • Allow room for discussion and imagination
  • 54. SHOULD IT SMELL LIKE THAT?
    • Challenge 5: conserving and preserving
  • 55. SHOULD IT SMELL LIKE THAT?
    • Challenge 5: conserving and preserving
    Obviously, there’s no point doing anything with the collection if it’s not going to survive over time.
  • 56. PRESERVATION
  • 57. PRESERVATION
    • ‘ Passive’ management
    • Monitor & control
    • Atmosphere & climate
    • Packaging & storage
    • Appropriate handling
    • Pests
    • Plan for emergencies
  • 58. PRESERVATION
    • ‘ Passive’ management
    • Monitor & control
    • Atmosphere & climate
    • Packaging & storage
    • Appropriate handling
    • Pests
    • Plan for emergencies
    CONSERVATION
  • 59. PRESERVATION
    • ‘ Passive’ management
    • Monitor & control
    • Atmosphere & climate
    • Packaging & storage
    • Appropriate handling
    • Pests
    • Plan for emergencies
    CONSERVATION Active intervention Specialised conservators Repairs and remedial work
  • 60. PRESERVATION
    • ‘ Passive’ management
    • Monitor & control
    • Atmosphere & climate
    • Packaging & storage
    • Appropriate handling
    • Pests
    • Plan for emergencies
    CONSERVATION Active intervention Specialised conservators Repairs and remedial work Find out more from the British Library Preservation Advisory Centre
  • 61.  
  • 62. In the 1990s Hoyle communicated with colleagues primarily via fax
  • 63. In the 1990s Hoyle communicated with colleagues primarily via fax
    • Faxes are printed on ‘therma l’ paper, which darkens over time and with exposure to light and heat.
  • 64.  
  • 65. 1960s amateur film recordings of Hoyle and some of his colleagues
  • 66. 1960s amateur film recordings of Hoyle and some of his colleagues
    • Acetate film degrades over time when kept in conditions that are too warm and too humid.
  • 67. 1960s amateur film recordings of Hoyle and some of his colleagues
    • Acetate film degrades over time when kept in conditions that are too warm and too humid.
    • As it degrades it smells strongly of vinegar.
  • 68. Bonus fact: nitrate base film (used pre-1951) is extremely flammable
  • 69. Bonus fact: nitrate base film (used pre-1951) is extremely flammable
  • 70. Bonus fact: nitrate base film (used pre-1951) is extremely flammable (But fortunately there’s none in the Hoyle Collection)
  • 71. DIGITISATION?
  • 72. DIGITISATION?
    • Not a cure-all
    • Expensive
    • Long-term preservation uncertain
  • 73. DIGITISATION?
    • Not a cure-all
    • Expensive
    • Long-term preservation uncertain
    Widens access to contents Allows access to obsolete formats Can extend life of originals Can allow access to material too fragile to handle
  • 74. MEET THE FAMILY
    • Challenge 6: the joy of stakeholders
  • 75.  
  • 76. Hoyle and his son Geoffrey in 1944
  • 77. Hoyle and his son Geoffrey in 1944
    • Hoyle Project stakeholders
    • Hoyle family
    • Hoyle’s friends and colleagues
    • Funding bodies
    • Library and College
    • Outside events organisers (e.g. Cambridge Science Festival)
  • 78.  
  • 79. We think this is one of Hoyle’s great-great-grandmothers.
  • 80. We think this is one of Hoyle’s great-great-grandmothers.
    • Different stakeholders can have conflicting ideas and demands.
  • 81. We think this is one of Hoyle’s great-great-grandmothers.
    • Different stakeholders can have conflicting ideas and demands.
    • They can also be enormously supportive and, in the case of family members and former colleagues, very informative about the collection.
  • 82. ©
    • Challenge 7: the legal bit…
  • 83. COPYRIGHT IS COMPLICATED
  • 84. COPYRIGHT IS COMPLICATED One collection will have scores of different copyright holders
  • 85. COPYRIGHT IS COMPLICATED
    • One collection will have scores of different copyright holders
    • Copyright rules vary considerably
      • Is the work is published or unpublished?
      • Is the author is known or anonymous?
      • Is the work literary, dramatic, musical, artistic or a photograph?
      • How will the copy be used (private research or publication)?
  • 86.
    • (This is not a guide to copyright law. Consult this book for good advice)
    COPYRIGHT IS COMPLICATED
    • One collection will have scores of different copyright holders
    • Copyright rules vary considerably
      • Is the work is published or unpublished?
      • Is the author is known or anonymous?
      • Is the work literary, dramatic, musical, artistic or a photograph?
      • How will the copy be used (private research or publication)?
  • 87. DON’T FORGET DATA PROTECTION
  • 88. DON’T FORGET DATA PROTECTION REDACTED
  • 89.
    • (The National Archives have some good advice about that)
    DON’T FORGET DATA PROTECTION REDACTED
  • 90. SEE IT IN THE FLESH
    • End-of-project extravaganza: Saturday 19 March 2011
  • 91.  
  • 92.
    • EXHIBITION AND TALK
    • ‘ A History of Fred Hoyle in 10 Objects’
  • 93. Object 8b: Hoyle’s boyhood telescope
    • EXHIBITION AND TALK
    • ‘ A History of Fred Hoyle in 10 Objects’
  • 94. L E A R N M O R E
  • 95. L E A R N M O R E http://www.joh.cam.ac.uk/library/special_collections/hoyle/ Fred Hoyle and the Hoyle Collection
  • 96. L E A R N M O R E http://www.joh.cam.ac.uk/library/special_collections/hoyle/ Fred Hoyle and the Hoyle Collection History of Science collections in Cambridge http://www.hps.cam.ac.uk/library/directory/
  • 97. L E A R N M O R E http://www.joh.cam.ac.uk/library/special_collections/hoyle/ Fred Hoyle and the Hoyle Collection History of Science collections in Cambridge Archival collections in Cambridge http://www.hps.cam.ac.uk/library/directory/ http://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk/
  • 98. L E A R N M O R E http://www.joh.cam.ac.uk/library/special_collections/hoyle/ Fred Hoyle and the Hoyle Collection History of Science collections in Cambridge Archival collections in Cambridge Archival collections in the UK http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/nra http://archiveshub.ac.uk/ http://www.hps.cam.ac.uk/library/directory/ http://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk/
  • 99. L E A R N M O R E http://www.joh.cam.ac.uk/library/special_collections/hoyle/ Fred Hoyle and the Hoyle Collection History of Science collections in Cambridge Archival collections in Cambridge Archival collections in the UK Picture credits http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/nra http://archiveshub.ac.uk/ Images from the Hoyle Collection are reproduced by permission of the Master and Fellows of St John’s College Cambridge. http://www.hps.cam.ac.uk/library/directory/ http://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk/ Image of a fire is based on an original photograph, ‘Campfire’, by feichtnerc on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/feichtnerc/5451012941/