Welcome to New College Library 2017 #edwelcome

divinity-libraryA big welcome to all students starting and returning to the University of Edinburgh, at the beginning of Welcome Week 2016. We’re looking forward to meeting you. To help you get started with Library & IT services at the University, check out this ‘Useful Information for New Students’ page : www.ed.ac.uk/is/new-students. Don’t forget to collect your University card from the Main Library in George Square.

You can find out more about New College Library at http://www.ed.ac.uk/is/new-college-library and about library resources for Divinity at : http://www.ed.ac.uk/is/subject-guides-divinity. 

I’ll be running library tours that are open to all UG and PG students on Friday 22 September at 1.15pm and on Friday 29 September at 1.15pm – as well as meeting many of you in the introductory Welcome Week sessions.

Christine Love-Rodgers – Academic Support Librarian

Student interns in Stack III this summer

Over this summer, our three student interns, Thomas, Holly and Mila have been hard at work behind the scenes in New College Library’s Stack III. Their task was to work with the X Collection, a collection of large (folio) early printed books. Over the years this collection had gathered a layer of dust, which our interns carefully removed with a museum book hoover. Having our interns handling each of these books was also a great opportunity to learn more about them, and to understand how the collection was composed in terms of date, language and place of publication. These details were logged using methodology adapted from projects on collections in National Trust Houses.

We’re delighted to say that that our interns have tackled three full bays of the X Collection, and cleaned and logged over 1600 books. We now know that the collection (as logged so far) is almost entirely pre-1800 in date, predominantly in English and Latin and pretty equally split between European and UK imprints. All this information will help us to develop future projects to catalogue this collection online.

It was a pleasure to work with our student interns, and through their enthusiasm to rediscover these collections. Hope to do it all again next year!

Christine Love-Rodgers, Academic Support Librarian – Divinity.

With thanks to Margaret Redpath, NCL Library Services Manager and Karen Bonthron, ECA/NCL Helpdesk Team Lead

Confessions of a work placement student

A guest post from MSc Book History and Material Culture student Holly Sanderson

Entrance to the Library from New College Courtyard

As part of the Master’s degree in Book History and Material Culture at the University of Edinburgh, each student is required to undertake a ten-week work placement at a cultural heritage institution. I have long focused my academic interest upon aspects of divinity, especially liturgical and devotional texts, and as such, it was a pleasure to learn that my placement would be at New College Library. Now, with just one workday left until the placement’s end, I am taking the opportunity to reflect upon my time here – the treasures found, tasks undertaken, and skills learnt.
The projects I’ve been working on fall into roughly three areas: collections assessment, collections care, and exhibitions. I’ve handled several different collections, including the Chinese collection donated to New College Library in 1921 by the Rev. James W. Inglis, the Portraits collection from the New College archives, and the Norman Walker Porteous Papers. I’ve also been working with a sequence of very dusty unaccessioned material and a sequence of uncatalogued pre-1800 books. I was on the lookout for any items with copy-specific features and/or interesting provenance that could heighten potential research value. Collections care is another important factor in library management, and when handling each item I would assess its condition, making a note of particularly bad damage and tying any fragile items with cotton conservation tape. One particularly interesting item I came across was a photo album collected by Bishop Whipple from Minnesota. After spending most of the day sifting through albums of British ministers and notable men, it was a surprise to encounter portraits of nineteenth-century North American Indians!

Images from Bishop Whipple’s Photo Album

Anyone who has visited the library will be able to understand why my romantic sentiments were only encouraged by the stunning neo-gothic building that is New College. However, as the placement progressed, I came to realise the problem with my original perspective: not only was it impractical, it was selfish. My bibliophilic daydream made room for me only, hoarding rare books like a dragon with its gold, when the true importance of cultural heritage lies in it being openly accessible to all. Enabling public access to special collections can generate significant environmental, economic and social benefits: it boosts the economy, aids social inclusion and cohesion, advances understanding and education, and can even contribute to wider agendas such as health outcomes, the environment, and urban planning.

The importance of cultural heritage to humanity is perhaps recognised most clearly through its destruction. Consider ISIL’s treatment of Palmyra and Mosul, or the Taliban’s destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan in 2001 – both attempts to destroy a community’s sense of shared history and identity. However, heritage is mostly lost not by wilful destruction but by simple neglect, demonstrating the constant need for good collections care and management. Any loss of heritage highlights not only its importance but also its irreplaceability. This, I have come to realise, is one of the clearest arguments for the importance of collections care and management as a profession: preserving our history to pass on to future generations.

Image courtesy of http://lotr.wikia.com

I would like to thank Christine Love-Rodgers, and all of the staff at New College Library, for allowing me to see behind the scenes and get to grips with the everyday tasks that ensure these collections can be accessed, enjoyed, and preserved. Gone are my fantasies of green leather-topped desks, lamplight, and spending every day surrounded by mountains of fifteenth-century manuscripts, but I have found the reality that has replaced these daydreams to be just as exciting.

Holly Sanderson

April 2017

Window to a Sixth-Century Scriptorium

A post from guest curator Elijah Hixson, PhD student, School of Divinity

This month’s student led display at New College Library features the facsimile Codex Purpureus Petropolitanus, which is on display at the entrance to New College Library.  This Codex is one of the three manuscripts to be discussed in the next Biblical Studies seminar “Window to a Sixth-Century Scriptorium: Three Luxury Gospel Manuscripts and the Scribes Who Made Them” on Friday 10 March.

Codex Purpureus Petropolitanus (N 022) [facsimile] Four Gospels; Sixth century (Possibly Syria?).
[Facsimile] Athens: Miletos, 2002
New College Library (Special Collections):
Ho Porphyrous Kōdix tōn euangeliōn Patmou kai Petroupoleōs; Folio Z.142

Codex Purpureus Petropolitanus (N) is a sixth-century luxury manuscript of the Gospels. It is one of only a handful of “purple codices”—manuscripts written with inks made from melted silver and gold on parchment that had been dyed purple. The purple colour indicated the luxury status of the manuscript, making it fit for the use of the Emperor, perhaps even the emperor Justinian.  In this particular manuscript, the scribe usually writes with silver, but he or she writes references to God or Jesus in gold to set them apart from the rest of the text. See, for example, the four letters in gold, 4 lines from the bottom of the first column on the right page. These four letters are abbreviations for the words “God” and “Son” in the text: αληθως θ(εο)υ υ(ιο)ς ει (“Truly, you are the Son of God”).

The facsimile is open to Matthew 14:26–36. This opening is an excellent example of how much the conditions in which a book is kept can affect its appearance. These two folios remained together for around 1,300 years. They were numbered consecutively, relatively recently in their history (see the numbers 82 and 83 written in the centre of the top margins). At some point after they were numbered (probably around the year 1896, but not before 1820), the folio on the left was separated from the rest of the codex.

Codex Purpureus – left folio

When the folio resurfaced in Athens in the 1950s, its purple dye had faded, its silver ink had tarnished, and the folio had crease marks because it had been folded up. The folio on the right remained protected within the majority of the codex, and only the silver letters around the edges of the page were exposed to air and tarnished. which was sold to Russia in 1896, and it remains in St. Petersburg to this day.

Codex Purpureus Petropolitanus is cited as N in most modern critical editions of the Greek New Testament. Its text is an early form of the Byzantine textform found in the majority of Greek New Testament manuscripts. Most scholars think it was made in Syria (possibly Antioch).

Elijah Hixson, PhD candidate, School of Divinity

New College Library books recommended by students

Inherit the Holy Mountain: Religion and the Rise of American EnvironmentalismStudent recommendations are in at New College Library! The recently purchased Inherit the Holy Mountain: Religion and the Rise of American Environmentalism, edited by Mark Stoll, is available as an ebook via DiscoverEd.

Worship on the way : exploring Asian North American Christian experience

Other student recommendations in the library include: Worship on the way : exploring Asian North American Christian experience by Russell Yee, at BR563.A82 Yee.
Continue reading

Find treasure in New College Library

We’re welcoming Divinity postgraduate students today for library treasure hunt activities to help them get to know New College Library.

Follow the clues to discover New College Library's treasure

What is this? Biblical Studies students can follow the clues to discover New College Library’s treasure

Students on the five postgraduate programmes have already had access to brief video tutorials for Biblical Studies, Religious Studies, Science and Religion, Theology in History and World Christianity.

Further programme specific treasure hunt activities aim to encourage students to find material relevant to their courses in a variety of print and online locations.

Christine Love-Rodgers, Academic Support Librarian, Divinity

 

Thinking of donating books to New College Library?

New College Library bookshelf

New College Library welcomes donations of recent publications that support the current teaching and research of the School of Divinity. And donations of books which record the intellectual output of the students, staff and alumni of the University of Edinburgh and / or incorporate research using New College Library’s collections are also welcome.

Donations of books to New College Library are accepted by prior arrangement with the Academic Support Librarian, Christine Love-Rodgers. Please get in touch to discuss your donation, with information about the extent of the collection and the type of material it contains, such as a list of contents. Due to restricted storage space and staffing resource, we have to be selective about what we can accept and may decline donations.

In line with policy elsewhere in the University of Edinburgh Library, we will no longer be accepting donations over the New College Library helpdesk.  Please contact the Librarian about your donations before you bring them to the library.

Christine Love-Rodgers
Academic Support Librarian – Divinity, University of Edinburgh
*Working Mondays to Thursdays*
Christine.Love-Rodgers@ed.ac.uk
http://www.ed.ac.uk/is/new-college-library

Divinity Approaches to Research – Top tips for finding Bibles

 

Geneva Bible, 1599. New College Library B.r.417

Geneva Bible, 1599. New College Library B.r.417

The University of Edinburgh Library holds extensive and rich collections of Bibles. At New College Library, you will find of early Bibles from the Scottish Reformation, Bibles in languages from all over the world and current editions of study Bibles used for course teaching. However the sheer number of items we have in the collection can make finding details of the specific Bible you want on DiscoverEd seem challenging. Here’s 3 tips to help you:

  1. If you have the full details of the version and edition you want (e.g. New Oxford Annotated Bible (2010)) use the Advanced Search on DiscoverEd to narrow down your search using as many details as possible.
  2. A search for ‘Holy Bible’ will bring up many results from our digital collections of pre-1800 early books. To exclude these digital versions, refine your search down by ‘Books’ or ‘Physical item’
  3. You can also refine down a large result set by library location (New College Library), date and language.

Today’s question for postgraduate students on the Divinity Approaches to Research course is :

“At what shelfmark would you find the principal collections of Greek New Testaments at New College Library? Use DiscoverEd to help you find the answer, or come into New College Library to explore.”

[Example : BJ is the shelfmark for Ethics]

Tweet me your answer at NewCollegeLibrarian@cloverodgers or email me on Christine.Love-Rodgers@ed.ac.uk

A winner will be drawn on Friday 2 Oct from all correct answers received and they will receive a mystery prize!

Christine Love-Rodgers – Academic Support Librarian, Divinity

Divinity Approaches to Research – Library Resources for Islam

View of pages from the Qur'an of Tipu Sultan. Shows text in the centre, surrounded by gold and blue illumination. Tipu Sultan was the Muslim ruler of Southern India's Mysore province (now part of Karnataka) during the late eighteenth century. Edinburgh University Library Or.Ms 148
View of pages from the Qur’an of Tipu Sultan. Shows text in the centre, surrounded by gold and blue illumination. Tipu Sultan was the Muslim ruler of Southern India’s Mysore province (now part of Karnataka) during the late eighteenth century. Edinburgh University Library Or.Ms 148

New College Library holds book collections to support the current courses and research by the School of Divinity in the area of Islam. A wide range of online resources is also available, such as Early Western Korans Online, the Encyclopaedia of Islam and Oxford Islamic Studies Online.
For a full introduction to the range to Library Resources for Islam at the University of Edinburgh, please see the Subject Guide for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at:
http://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/library-museum-gallery/finding-resources/subject-guides/islamic-middle-east

Today’s question for Divinity postgraduate students on the Divinity Approaches to Research course is :

“At what shelfmark would you find the principal collection of books on Islamic Law at New College Library? Use DiscoverEd to help you find the answer, or come into New College Library to explore”

[Example : BJ is the shelfmark for Ethics]

Tweet me your answer at NewCollegeLibrarian@cloverodgers or email me on Christine.Love-Rodgers@ed.ac.uk.

Questions are also posted on the Learn course for Approaches to Research.

A winner will be drawn on Friday 2 Oct from all correct answers received and they will receive a mystery prize!

Christine Love-Rodgers, Academic Support Librarian – Divinity