ArchivematiCamp 2017

ArchivematiCamp UK was a 3 day annual conference held at the University of York. It’s purpose is to bring together organisations and institutions who are either interested in using Archivematica for the long term preservation of digital records, or those who are testing or who have Archivematica in a production environment.

This year’s camp was very well attended, with approx. 40 attendees from across Europe (Netherlands, Budapest, Belgium, Germany) as well as from Brazil. Attendance from HE institutions across the UK was strong aswell with representatives from Universities of Westminster, Lincoln, Newcastle, UCL, ULCC, Kings College, Hull, York, St Andrews and Lancaster.

Given I’d been asked to be a Camp Counsellor for the conference, to assist with keeping the conversations flowing and help with questions and answers, I presented on the first day on the University of Edinburgh and Archivematica. I also presented, at the start of the second day, our current and aspirational workflows for the preservation of digital content, across the record lifecycle. Both sessions were well received and prompted some lively discussion on the issues of metadata transfer, use and synchronisation.

The content of the conference itself covered a variety of topics such as the technical architecture and deployment of Archivematica on different platforms, customisation of Archivematica and automation tools that have been developed by other institutions, which have been shared and can be downloaded, modified and adopted by others, the work Artefactual are carrying out as part of the JISC shared service project as well as recent work undertaken by York and Hull Universities on ensuring Archivematica can be used for preserving research data.

Discussions were had at various point in the conference on how we as a group, a community can enhance the project (by sharing user stories and being more transparent about our situations and objectives) and its output for mutual benefit, and where current models for governing and managing the development of the system can be adjusted to ensure it becomes a more embedded product in the digital preservation sector. There is a UK Archivematica User Group, which is open to institutions across Europe and beyond, who are actively exploring or implementing Archivematica as part of their digital preservation workflow. Anyone interesting in joining that can contact me or Jen Mitcham at the University of York. Archivematica can only be successful as an open source project if institutions continue to support and develop it and ensure that the product is fit-for-purpose and delivers benefits that enable institutions to foster relationships and ensure digital preservation remains at, or near, the top of their agenda.

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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

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

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New journals available for History, Classics and Archaeology

The Library has recently started subscriptions to 3 new journals following requests from the School of History, Classics and Archaeology. So welcome to the Library…

Journal of Greek Archaeology

This is a new English-language journal specialising in synthetic articles and in long reviews and the journal is produced by staff at the University. The journal covers Greek archaeology both in the Aegean and throughout the wider Greek-inhabited world, from earliest Prehistory to the Modern Era.

The Library has subscribed to the print edition which can be found on the 4th floor of Main Library but the online version is also available. This is a brand new journal so only one volume is available just now. Read More

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Pop-up IT Support Desk pilot scheme

A new Pop-up IT Support Desk, situated on the ground floor concourse of the Main Library, will run from 12pm to 6pm (Monday – Friday) with late opening until 7.30pm on Wednesdays between 27/03/17 and 19/05/17. This will replace the regular Mobile Device Clinics during this period.

Read More

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Library open during New College Quad closure 8-22 April 2017

Due to building works, access to New College Library via the New College Quad will be closed between Sat 8th to Sat 22nd April. However alternative access to New College Library will be provided via the door to left of the archway on Mound Place.

New College Library – temporary side entrance

Due to concerns about fire exits, Stack II will be closed to public access for this period. A collection service will be operated for library users. Please make enquiries at the Helpdesk. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Access to the School of Divinity is available via the Ramsay Lane entrance – see map.

Christine Love-Rodgers, Academic Support Librarian – Divinity

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Library selects new reading list system




Procurement Project
Over the last few months, Library & University Collections, with support from IS Applications, has been carrying out a procurement project to select a reading list system. This was necessary as the contract with our existing supplier, Talis, is coming to an end in July and, in order to comply with procurement regulations, we were obliged to look at all viable systems on the market.

Following a thorough and rigorous evaluation process which involved representatives from all key stakeholder groups, including academic staff and students and colleagues from across ISG, the contract was awarded to the highest scored supplier; Ex Libris with their reading list system, Leganto.

Benefits of Leganto
Leganto offers an intuitive interface for both Course Organisers and students, providing more opportunities for students to engage with their resource lists and for Course Organisers to liaise more easily with the Library in the provision of course materials. Leganto will also allow the Library to be more efficient in its support of a growing resource list service.

Resource Lists for 2017/18
The project team is working on implementing Leganto and will migrate existing resource lists to the new system, so that when Leganto is launched in June, resource lists will be ready for review and for students to use well in advance of the start of Semester 1 2017/18.

We’ll make our usual announcements in May/June asking Course Organisers to send us their Semester 1 reading lists. Training sessions and new guidance will also be made available in due course. Please keep an eye on the Resource List blog for updates:

More about Resource Lists @ Edinburgh
The Resource Lists service provides online reading lists (we call them, ‘Resource Lists’ to reflect the range of materials made available to students). Students can access their resource list via their course in Learn or Moodle, providing easy access to key readings in a consistent and reliable way.  Academic teaching staff will save time by using the Resource List service to manage the provision of course reading materials. There’s more information about the Resource List service on the ISG website:

More about Leganto
The Leganto reading list system is supplied by Ex Libris who also provide DiscoverEd and the backend Library management system we use, Alma. Leganto is a new system, but there is a growing list of UK libraries using it including, Imperial College, Kingston University and Abertay University. We’re looking forward to working with Ex Libris to deliver a reading list solution that best meets the needs of staff and students at the University of Edinburgh.

Find out more about Leganto:

If you have any questions about Resource Lists @ Edinburgh, please contact

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How to make good use of the NDL Digital Collections for Japanese Studies

The National Diet Library of Japan has released an online training course on how to make good use of their NDL Digital Collections for Japanese Studies outside Japan. The course is delivered as a video in Japanese with English subtitles.

This course provides an introduction to the features of the NDL Digital Collections and how to search its contents from outside Japan. The content of this course is based on a presentation made at the EAJRS Conference in Bucharest held on September 16, 2016.

Anybody can take the courses without registration. Go to Please ignore the button labelled “This course is fully booked”. Move down to the bottom of the page and click the button labelled “take a course without registering“.

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DataVault Update March 2017

Following on from the Jisc Research Data Spring the universities of Manchester and Edinburgh have been continuing to develop DataVault.  Both institutions are currently planning local implementations, whilst working together to continue develop the software.

On 28th March, the project team met in Edinburgh to discuss their implementations and tasks for the next couple of months.

Tasks on the DataVault development list:

– BagIt Libraries, resolve issues with BagIt libraries: removing empty directories, renaming files, creating manifests in memory

– Stand alone packager, to package deposits external to the DataVault web application

– Verification of deposits, e.g. checking that the number of files and filesizes are correct

– Deposits via API, for browser upload, requires further investigation into authentication and chunking of files

– User Roles/Groups/Sharing Archives, definitions of roles and implementation within the DataVault

– Closing Vaults, in what circumstances are vaults closed?

– Integrations with Pure and Dropbox

We will also be moving our documentation and issue tracking into the DataVault GitHub repository

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The Boston Globe Archive on trial

I’m happy to let you know the Library has trial access to The Boston Globe Historical Archive (1872-1985) from ProQuest. This resource delivers unique coverage of both New England and American history, covering a period of great change in Boston itself and the United States.

You can access this online archive via the E-resources trials page. Access is available both on and off-campus.

Trial access ends 23rd April 2017.

The Great Boston fire of 1872. The infamous 1893 Lizzie Borden axe murder trial. The failed 1919 police strike. Mid-twentieth century decline and renewal. These stories and more, as well as accounts of everyday life in historical New England, can be found in the digitised pages of The Boston Globe (1872-1985). Read More

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19th Century Collections Online: the Corvey Collection of European Literature, 1790-1840

Following consultations with English Literature and French Studies, the Library has just purchased a large digital collection of European literature called the Corvey Collection of European Literature, 1790-1840.

As part of the Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO), this unique collection of monographs includes 7,717 works in English, 6,504 in French and 3,640 in German published in Britain and on the Continent during the Romantic period and the early Victoria era. Sourced from Castle Corvey near Höxter in Germany, the Corvey Collection is one of the most important collections of works from the period in existence, with particular strength in especially difficult-to-find or even previously unknown works – by women writers in particular. The collection’s vast archive of materials documents the nature and scope of literary publication in England and on the Continent during the Romantic period and the early years of the Victorian era. Scholars can research and explore a range of topics, including Romantic literary genres; mutual influences of British, French and German Romanticism; literary culture; women writers of the period; the canon and Romantic aesthetics.

The resource will soon be added to the Databases A-Z list as well as for Databases by Subject for English Literature, French Studies, German Studies, and History. At the moment, it can be accessed from the database entry for another NCCO collection that we purchased last year, Nineteenth Century Collections Online: British Politics and Society.

Related link: The Corvey Project at Sheffield Hallam University

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