Calibration time

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Novatron techinicians with the monitors

Novatron engineers with the data loggers to calibrate

Today two engineers from Novatron Scientific are visiting the Collection Care unit in Deansgate to calibrate our environmental monitors.
The regular maintenance of our environmental control system is essential to the well-being of our collections. The system’s sensors must be therefore recalibrated periodically in order to ensure accuracy of reading.
Over fifty data loggers are positioned all over the John Rylands Library, with an average of 10 within the new stores and reading room, and 40 in the original building, positioned strategically between the 1920s extension and the original Victorian areas.
Those monitors accurately measure and monitor the temperature and humidity of all the areas of the building containing collections. Real time data is seamlessly transferred through a transmitter and stored to a local PC in the Collection Care studio.
The reason of monitoring the environment is that unsuitable environmental conditions can be damaging to books and costly to the library. By monitoring environmental conditions, problems can be identified and dealt with through a variety of environmental controls.
Commonly used bands for relative humidity are 40%–60% or 45%–65%. RH should not exceed 65% as mould, mildew and pests are more likely to occur. Temperature is directly linked to RH and so can aggravate damage by that means. An increase in temperature also increases the rate of degradation in objects. Recommended guidelines for temperature are of around 17–21º C. Stores can be kept at lower temperatures to slow down degradation of objects (say around 12–15º C).
It is important to maintain stable temperatures rather than allow them to fluctuate, as this causes greater damage to the collections.

Calibration in progress

Calibration in progress

Safeguarding the Digital Legacy Award – we won!

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At a ceremony held last week in London, we were proud to receive one of the biennial Digital Preservation Awards for our Carcanet Press Email Preservation Project. These prestigious awards are administered by the Digital Preservation Coalition, which does fantastic work to highlight the crucial role of digital preservation in ensuring that today’s digital memory is safeguarded for the future. The awards – which have been running for ten years – raise awareness of digital preservation and celebrate the work of organisations which have made significant and innovative contributions in this area.

The University of Manchester Library’s project tackled the daunting challenge of capturing and preserving the email archive of Manchester’s world-renowed publishers Carcanet Press, whose authors range from established international award-winning poets to up-and-coming new writers. To date we have succeeded in preserving over 200,000 emails generated by the Press and 65,000 attachments, representing the correspondence of 14,000 individuals and covering a twelve-year period. This huge body of digital material will provide a rich resource for the researchers of tomorrow.

Fran Baker (2nd from left) and Sandra Bracegirdle (3rd from left) receiving the award from digital preservation experts Maureen Pennock (of the British Library) and Paul Wheatley

Fran Baker (2nd from left) and Sandra Bracegirdle (3rd from left) receiving the award from digital preservation experts Maureen Pennock (of the British Library) and Paul Wheatley. Photograph courtesy of the DPC.

Our project won the award for Safeguarding the Digital Legacy – which celebrates the practical application of preservation tools to protect at-risk digital objects. The award applications are assessed by an international judging panel, but organisations which are DPC members also have the opportunity to vote for their preferred finalists. On receiving a digest of comments from those who cast their votes for us, we were delighted that several other organisations felt our work would be of practical use to them when tackling email preservation in their own institutional settings.

We were up against stiff competition in our award category as all the other entrants have also done valuable and innovative work: the University of Feiburg and Rhizome have preserved and made accessible a ‘found’ digital artwork based on 1993 computer technology; the Archives and Records Council Wales’s ‘Cloud and the COW’ project established a framework to ensure the preservation of Wales’s digital heritage across multiple institutions; and ‘Inspiring Ireland’, by the Digital Repository of Ireland and partners, was an ambitious project aimed at preserving and sharing Ireland’s digital cultural treasures with an international audience. You can learn more about all the finalists for the awards on the DPC’s website.

The Carcanet Press Email Preservation Project team comprised me (Fran Baker), Dr Phil Butler, Caroline Martin and Ben Green, with Sandra Bracegirdle (Head of Collection Management) as our project sponsor.

You can read more about our work in several earlier blog posts, including one which focuses on our experiments in data visualisation and one which includes our reconstruction of Elizabeth Gaskell’s inbox (circa September 1854).

All the Digital Preservation Awards finalists and judges. Photograph courtesy of the DPC.

All the Digital Preservation Awards finalists and judges. Photograph courtesy of the DPC.

Mid-way through #Movember!

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We’re at the mid-way point with our #jrlphotoaday support for #Movember and have had a great response to the images on social media, from members of the public in the library and from staff too.  We have displayed a huge range of different styles of facial hair all from images within our collections.

You can still get involved by visiting the Library and taking a selfie with our statues of John and Enriqueta Rylands, who are wearing moustaches for the month.

Maria with one of our statues!

2014-11-05 11.28.29

Follow us today @TheJohnRylands and search #jrlphotoaday.

 

 

 

 

 

Movember at The John Rylands Library

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Preparing the moustache-sewing thread in the plastazote

Preparing the moustache: thread sewn in plastazote

Adhesion of plastazote to the moustache

Adhesion of plastazote to the moustache

Moustache propped and ready to go!

Moustache propped and ready to go!

The Collection Care department in The John Rylands Library has the main purpose of looking after the preservation and conservation of the collections within the University of Manchester Libraries.
Our team of conservators cover a variety of tasks, including the maintenance of adequate standards of temperature and relative humidity within the historical building, the preparation of the books for exhibitions within the marvelous spaces of the library, the organization of loans and, of course, the active conservation of books.
Collection Care oversees the preservation of any historical object in The John Rylands Library, including the marble statues of Enriqueta and John Rylands in the historic reading room, which have now grown some lovely moustaches, as inspiration for those taking part in Movember.
Movember is organized by the Movember Foundation, a leading global organisation committed to changing the face of men’s health. To date, 4 million moustaches have been grown worldwide, and now even John and Enriqueta have grown them!
The Collection Care team has contributed to the preparation of the moustaches and even had a risk assessment in place for the day the moustaches were going to be applied to the statues!
Linen thread was sewn through the width of a small piece of plastazote (inert dense foam, with numerous applications to protect historical objects), then lined with double sided tape on one side and attached to the back of the moustache.
Our Collection Care manager, Caroline Checkley-Scott couldn’t help having a trial at fitting the propped moustache.
The Collection Care team is very happy to get involved in such important event, ensuring that adequate materials are used for the moustache-fitting of John and Enriqueta.

Caroline Checkley-Scott testing the fitting of the moustache

Caroline Checkley-Scott testing the fitting of the moustache

 

John Rylands looking dapper in his moustache

John Rylands looking dapper in his moustache

 

Enriqueta supporting Movember

Enriqueta supporting Movember

Let The John Rylands Library inspire your Mo!

Noblewoman St Wilgefortis, or Uncumber, grew a moustache & beard to avoid marriage to a Pagan king. Her father was so furious he had her crucified. Women who want to get rid of their husbands still pray to her for help! Be warned!

#jrlphotoaday continues with a distinctly moustachioed theme! Every day throughout November, The John Rylands Library is sharing images from our collections to inspire and motivate all those taking part in Movember 2014.

From the full and thick to the perfectly trimmed, we’ll be sharing moustaches on Instagram and Twitter. Keep an eye out for famous moustaches of World War I poet Wilfred Owen and William Shakespeare!

You can also get involved by visiting the Library and taking a selfie with our statues of John and Enriqueta Rylands, who will be wearing moustaches for the month.

Take a selfie with one of our statues!

enriquetta-rylands-moustache

Follow us today @TheJohnRylands and search #jrlphotoaday.

Movember is a leading global organisation committed to changing the face of men’s health. You can find out more about the charity on the Movember website.

The photo a day campaign supporting Movember will run from 1 – 30 November.

Noblewoman St Wilgefortis, or Uncumber, grew a moustache & beard to avoid marriage to a Pagan king. Her father was so furious he had her crucified. Women who want to get rid of their husbands still pray to her for help! Be warned!

Photo a day special update #18 – #31!

Happy Halloween! Join us on The Ride Through The Murky Air! This 19th century illustration shows a witch and passenger flying through the air on a broomstick. Trick or treat?

Happy Halloween! Join us on The Ride Through The Murky Air! This 19th century illustration shows a witch and passenger flying through the air on a broomstick. Trick or treat?

Bookworm alert! The final photo in our celebration of Manchester Science Festival. We held a Family Fun Afternoon where visitors enjoyed making bugs and pests from craft materials! Check out the Events at the The John Rylands Library web page for more details on upcoming events.

Bookworm alert! The final photo in our celebration of Manchester Science Festival. We held a Family Fun Afternoon where visitors enjoyed making bugs and pests from craft materials! Check out the Events at the The John Rylands Library web page for more details on upcoming events.

The final photo in our series of Chinese paintings to mark the Asia Triennial, Manchester, Harmonious Society exhibition at The John Rylands Library. This beautiful 18th century painting depicts Chinese musicians with musical instruments.

The final photo in our series of Chinese paintings to mark the Asia Triennial, Manchester, Harmonious Society exhibition at The John Rylands Library. This beautiful 18th century painting depicts Chinese musicians with musical instruments.

Check out this atmospheric illustration from a 200 year old science paper ‘On the Expansion of Elastic Fluids by Heat’.

Check out this atmospheric illustration from a 200 year old science paper ‘On the Expansion of Elastic Fluids by Heat’.

Did you go sober for Stoptober? This extract from a Temperance scrapbook depicts the physical and moral consequences of drinking alcohol.

Did you go sober for Stoptober? This extract from a Temperance scrapbook depicts the physical and moral consequences of drinking alcohol.

Death and the devil creeping up.

Death and the devil creeping up.

African women from the Dahomy kingdom (present-day Ghana) in the memoirs of Archibald Dalzel, Governor at Cape-Coast Castle, one of the slave trade castles used by the Brits in 1700.

African women from the Dahomy kingdom (present-day Ghana) in
the memoirs of Archibald Dalzel, Governor at Cape-Coast Castle, one of the slave trade castles used by the Brits in 1700.

Morbid histology classes at The University of Manchester ‘Pathologial Department’ in 1900!

Morbid histology classes at The University of Manchester ‘Pathologial Department’ in 1900!

A sumptuous image mirroring Diwali with its colours and reflecting light. Illumination comes in various guises.

A sumptuous image mirroring Diwali with its colours and reflecting light. Illumination comes in various guises.

What a fantastic machine! Manchester at the forefront of science with Ernest Rutherford and Hans Geiger.

What a fantastic machine! Manchester at the forefront of science with Ernest Rutherford and Hans Geiger.

Cutting edge 17th century science! An Indian treatise on hydraulics & pneumatics showing fluid flow (we think!). If you know better or have any other ideas let us know.

Cutting edge 17th century science! An Indian treatise on hydraulics & pneumatics showing fluid flow (we think!). If you know better or have any other ideas let us know.

Illustration of Miao performers with masks and instruments. This art was produced for the Chinese market rather than the West.

Illustration of Miao performers with masks and instruments. This art was produced for the Chinese market rather than the West.

Here’s the penultimate page of Gaskell's handwritten manuscript, Wives & Daughters. Gaskell sadly died before finishing it. Gaskell’s House reopened to the public on 5th October.

Here’s the penultimate page of Gaskell’s handwritten manuscript, Wives & Daughters. Gaskell sadly died before finishing it. Gaskell’s House reopened to the public on 5th October.

Peacock wrote ‘Nightmare Abbey’ so here’s a spooky photo of our cloistered corridor at the #johnrylands from 1900

Peacock wrote ‘Nightmare Abbey’ so here’s a spooky photo of our cloistered corridor at the #johnrylands from 1900

Photo a Day #16

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It’s World Food Day! What are you feasting on?

It’s World Food Day! What are you feasting on?

Library acquires an autograph John Wesley letter, lost to public view since the 1840s

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Gareth Lloyd writes:

The Library has recently purchased from a private owner a significant handwritten letter written by the Methodist leader John Wesley (1703-91). The letter, which is dated 8 August 1788, was written to Walter Churchey, a prominent layman and solicitor of Hay on Wye.

Letter from John Wesley to Walter Churchey. English MS 1400/18.

Letter from John Wesley to Walter Churchey. English MS 1400/18.

Letter from John Wesley to Walter Churchey. English MS 1400/18.

Letter from John Wesley to Walter Churchey. English MS 1400/18.

The text of the letter was published in 1842 in an edition of John Wesley’s works by the historian Thomas Jackson and this copy was subsequently republished in the standard edition of Wesley’s correspondence edited by Thomas Telford, published in 1931. However, the autograph letter itself vanished from public view after its publication by Jackson and was unavailable to scholarship until its recent acquisition by the John Rylands Library.

In the letter (ref. English MS 1400/18), Wesley displays the broad range of interests for which he was well-known, critiquing Churchey’s poetic compositions and his ability as a translator. Wesley also reveals an in-depth knowledge of popular literary taste and the book trade, which is hardly surprising when one considers that he was among the most prolific writers, editors and publishers of the 18th century. An inventory of the contents of the Wesleyan Book Room carried out as part of the administration of Wesley’s estate, listed over 250,000 volumes awaiting nationwide distribution.

This letter provides valuable insight into the personality and attributes of a man who was described in the secular Gentleman’s Magazine as one of the “most remarkable men of the age”.

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