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Reassembling a Forgotten Library: The Library of the Royal College of Science for Ireland

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Presentation given by Evelyn Flanagan, Special Collections Librarian, UCD Library, at the 5th International Summit of the Book 2016, Limerick City, Ireland, on 3rd November 2016.

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Reassembling a Forgotten Library: The Library of the Royal College of Science for Ireland

  1. 1. Reassembling a Forgotten Library: The Library of the Royal College of Science for Ireland Evelyn Flanagan, Special Collections, UCD Library
  2. 2. Institutional History - Royal College of Science • Established in 1867 • Incorporated the Museum of Irish Industry • Students for CUI and TCD attended • New building on Merrion Street in 1911
  3. 3. Revolutionary Ireland and the demise of the RCScI • 1916 – Easter Rising • RCScI predominantly Unionist institution • Lost influence during 1916-1923 period • Incorporated into UCD in 1926
  4. 4. About the R.C.Sc.I library • Comprehensive Victorian science library • 14,000 titles • Rare scientific monographs • Plates and illustrations
  5. 5. Past locations and storage conditions • Library moved to Belfield in the 1960s • Special Collections established in 1976 • Selected items moved to Special Collections • Some material not in good storage locations • Poor preservation and handling practices • Short catalogue records
  6. 6. RCScI library project • Significance of the R.C.Sc.I. library • Why a project was needed • What we discovered - subject coverage - cataloguing implications - conservation element - publicity
  7. 7. Wellcome Trust project €16,000 grant 4 month librarian post Consultant conservator Consultant digital media producer
  8. 8. Survey by librarian - methodology • 6 locations surveyed • Size of RCScI holdings • Subject divisions • Research value and rarity • Cataloguing requirements
  9. 9. Subject Divisions – JJL Store - Monograph JJL Store Monograph Subject Divisions Chemistry (12%) Earth sciences (10%) Physics (10%) Botany (9%) Geology (8%) Mathematics (8%) Agriculture (7%) Zoology (5%) Ecology (4%) Applied physics (3%) Mineralogy (3%) Astronomy (3%) Engineering (3%) Forestry (3%) Chemical Engineering (3%) Manufacture/Contruction (3%) Anatomy (2%) • Chemistry • Physics • Geology • Earth Sciences • Botany • Mathematics • Agriculture
  10. 10. Subject divisions – JJL store - Journals • Geology • Chemistry • Agriculture • Botany • Proceedings of academic societies JJL Store Journal Subject Divisions Geology (17%) Chemistry (15%) General science (14%) Agriculture (13%) Proceedings of academic societies (11%) Botany (10%) Mathematics (7%) Zoology (4%) Forestry (4%) Physics (3%) Mineralogy (2%)
  11. 11. Subject Divisions – Level 3 - Journals • Proceedings of Academic societies • General Science • Chemistry • Mathematics • Agriculture Level 3 Subject Divisions Proceedings of academic societies (18%) General science (15%) Chemistry (15%) Mathematics (11%) Agriculture (11%) Physics (9%) Geology (7%) Botany (4%) Engineering (4%) Other (6%)
  12. 12. Subject Divisions - Level 4 - Monographs Level 4 Subject Divisions Mathematics (46%) Physics (13%) Engineering (8%) Geology (6%) Applied physics (5%) Life sciences (5%) Plants (3%) Natural sciences (3%) Medical sciences (3%) Astronomy (2%) Agriculture (2%) Chemistry (2%) Zoology (1%) Printing (1%) • Mathematics (46%) • Physics
  13. 13. Subject Divisions – Old Newstead Monographs and JournalsOld Newstead Subject Divisions Chemistry (21%) Mathamatics (20%) Physics (14%) Geology (9%) Mining and mineralogy (8%) Agriculture (7%) Botany (5%) Social Science (5%) Anatomy (3%) Engineering (2%) Zoology (2%) Astronomy (2%) RCScI Exam Papers (1%) Other (1%) • Chemistry • Mathematics • Physics • Geology • Mining and mineralogy • Agriculture
  14. 14. Cataloguing requirements • Differs depending on location • Provenance notes needed • Some items not catalogued at all • Subject indexing needed
  15. 15. Conclusions of survey • Few comparable collections in UK or Ireland • Large scale cataloguing project needed • Consolidation of library beneficial • Journal runs produce challenges • Very important to history of science and education in Ireland
  16. 16. Recommendations • Digitisation programme • Exhibitions • Inform researchers and academics • Potential for interdisciplinary research • External collaboration
  17. 17. Conservation report • Conditions of various locations varied • Damage included detached spines, foxing, ‘damaging repairs’ • Shelving needed • Cleaning and boxing project needed • Employment of a conservator • Digitisation of rare and fragile material
  18. 18. Barcoding project • 12,000 monographs • Location on LMS to be changed • Bibliographic records to be enhanced • Ongoing project to scan barcodes • Scanned into Excel sheet • Whole collection to be updated at once
  19. 19. New location - UCD Special Collections refurbished in 2016 - RCScI books had been consolidated in store in 2010 - Collection moved to SC in 2016 - Appropriate environmental conditions - Appropriate shelving for outsize materials
  20. 20. RCScI videos Link to the collection high lights video on You Tube
  21. 21. Thanks • If you would like any more information on the projector the library please contact me Evelyn.flanagan@ucd.ie

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