Resource Lists Survey 2018 – now open!

Tell us what you think about resource lists

In 2017/18 we implemented Leganto (our new resource lists platform). One year on, we’d like to find out how we’re doing.

What do you like/dislike about the service or system? How can we make the service better? Is the Library meeting the needs of you and your students in the provision of course materials?

We’d be grateful if you would take 10 minutes to complete a short survey to help us improve our service.

The Resource Lists survey is available here: https://edinburgh.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/resource-lists-survey-2018

If you would like to arrange a Resource Lists demonstration, workshop or refresher session, or if you have question about the service, please email Library.Learning@ed.ac.uk

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Marking up collections sites with Schema.org – Blog 2

This blog was written by Nandini Tyagi, who was working with Holly Coulson on this project.

This blog follows the blog post written by Holly Coulson, my fellow intern at the Library Metadata internship with the Digital Development team at Argyle House. For the benefit of those who are directly reading the second blog, I’ll quickly recap what the project was about. The Library Digital Development team have built a number of data‐driven websites to surface the collections content over the past four years; the sites cover a range of disciplines, from Art to Collections Level Descriptions, Musical Instruments to Online Exhibitions. While they work with metadata standards (Spectrum and Dublin Core), and accepted retrieval frameworks (SOLR indices), they are not particularly rich in a semantic sense, and they do not benefit from advances in browser ‘awareness’; specifically, they do not use linked data. The goal of the project was to embed schema.org metadata within the online records of items within Library and University Collections to bring an aspect of linked data into the site’s functionality, and resultantly, increase the sites’ discoverability through generic search engines (Google etc.) and, more locally, the University’s own website search (Funnelback).

In this blog, I’ll share my experience from the implementation perspective i.e. how were the documented mappings translated into action and what are the key findings from this project. Before I dive into implementation of Schema, it is important to know what Schema is and how does it benefit us. Schema.org is a collaborative, community activity with a mission to create, maintain, and promote schemas for structured data on the Internet, on web pages, in email messages, and beyond. Schema.org vocabulary can be used with many different encodings, including RDFa, Microdata and JSON-LD. These vocabularies cover entities, relationships between entities and actions, and can easily be extended through a well-documented extension model. I’ll explain the need for Schema better through an example. Most webmasters are familiar with HTML tags on their pages. Usually, HTML tags tell the browser how to display the information included in the tag. For example, <h1>Titanic</h1> tells the browser to display the text string “Titanic” in a heading 1 format. However, the HTML tag doesn’t give any information about what that text string means—” Titanic” could refer to the hugely successful movie, or it could refer to the name of a ship—and this can make it more difficult for search engines to intelligently display relevant content to a user. In the collections for example, when the search engine would be crawling the pages, they will not understand if a certain title refers to a painting, sculpture or an instrument. Using Schema, we can help the search engine make sense of the information on the webpage and it can list our website at a higher rank for the relevant queries.

Before: No sense of linked data. Search engines would read the title and never understand that these pages refer to items that are a part of creative work collections.

Anatomical Figure of a Horse (ecorche), part of Torrie Collection

Anatomical Figure of a Horse (ecorche), part of Torrie Collection (before)

Keeping this in mind we started mapping the schema specification in the record files of the website. There were certain fields such as ‘Inscriptions’ and ‘Provenance’ that could not be mapped because Schema does not support a specification for them yet. We are documenting all such findings and plan to make suggestions to Schema.org regarding the same.

Implementation of mapping in the configuration file of Art collections

Implementation of mapping in the configuration file of Art collections

This was followed by implementing changes directly in the record files of the collection. There were a lot of challenges such as marking up images, videos and audios.  Especially from images point of view, some websites used the IIIF format and others used the bitstream which required making wise decisions in how to mark up such websites. With a lot of help and guidance from Scott we were able to resolve these issues and the end result of the efforts was absolutely rewarding.

After: Using the CreativeWorks class of Schema the websites have been marked up. Now, search engines can see that these items refer to creative work category such as art, sculpture, instrument etc. They are rich in other details such as name of creator, name of collection, description etc. These huge changes are bound to increase the discoverability of collections website.

Anatomical Figure of a Horse (ecorche), part of Torrie Collection

Anatomical Figure of a Horse (ecorche), part of Torrie Collection (after)

I was very fortunate that Google Analytics and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) trainings were held at the Argyle House during my internship period and I was able to get insights from these trainings. They illuminated a whole new direction and lend a different viewpoint. The SEO workshops in particular gave ideas about optimizing the overall content of the websites and making St.Cecilias more discoverable. I realized the benefits of SEO are seen in the form of increased traffic, Return on Investment (ROI), cost effectiveness, increased site usability and brand awareness. These tools combined with schema can add significant value to the library services everywhere. It is a feeling of immense pride that our university is among the very few universities that have employed schema for their collections. We are confident that schema will make the collections more accessible not only to students but also to the people worldwide who want to discover the jewels held in these collections. The 13 collections website that we worked on during our internship are nearing completion from implementation perspective and will be live soon with Schema markup.

To conclude, my internship has been an amazing experience, both in terms of meaningful strides in the direction of marking up the collections website and the fun, conducive work-culture. Having never worked on the web development side before, I got the opportunity to understand first-hand the intricacies associated in anticipating the needs of users and delivering a perfect information-rich website experience to the users. As the project culminates in July, I am happy to have learned and contributed much more than I imagined I would in the course of my internship.

Nandini Tyagi (Library Digital Development)

Thanks very much to both Nandini and Holly on their sterling work on this project. We’ve implemented schema in 3 sites already (look at https://collections.ed.ac.uk/art for an example), and we have another 6 in github ready to be released. The interns covered a wealth of data, and we think we’re in a position to advise 1) LTW that this material can now be better used in the University website’s search and 2) prospective developers on how to apply this concept to their sites.

Scott Renton (Library Digital Development)

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Re-discovering a forgotten songwriter: the archive of Louisa Matilda Crawford

Daisy Stafford, CRC intern who catalogued the papers of Louisa Matilda Crawford, talks about her experience.

This summer I was offered the opportunity to undertake an archiving internship in the Centre for Research Collections, cataloguing the personal papers of Louisa Matilda Crawford, a nineteenth century songwriter. Other than her name and occupation, little information about Louisa was known. Through two months of close examination of her archive, I was able to stitch together a narrative of Louisa’s life. Here’s what I found…

Louisa Matilda Jane Crawford was born on the 27th September 1789 at Lackham House in Wiltshire. She was the daughter of Ann Courtenay (d. 1816) and George Montagu (1753-1815), an English army officer and naturalist. Louisa was related to nobility on both sides of the family; her maternal grandmother, Lady Jane Stuart, was the sister of Scottish nobleman John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute and Prime Minister to George III. Her father, meanwhile, was a descendent of Sir Henry Montagu, the first Earl of Manchester and also the great-grandson of Sir Charles Hedges, Queen Anne’s Secretary.

Papers of Louisa Matilda Crawford. Coll-1839 (picture from the seller’s catalogue)

Louisa had three older siblings; George Conway Courtenay (b. 1776), Eleanora Anne (b. 1780) and Frederick Augustus (b. 1783). Little direct information is known about Louisa’s childhood, but it must have been turbulent; in 1798 Montagu left his wife and family and moved to Kingsbridge in Devon to live with his mistress Elizabeth Dorville, with whom he had four more children. It is here that he wrote his two pioneering works, the Ornithological Dictionary; or Alphabetical Synopsis of Birds (1802) and Testacea Britannica, a History of British Marine, Land and Freshwater Shells, which saw several bird and marine species named after him, most notably Montagu’s harrier. The family’s disapproval of his relationship with Dorville ultimately cost him his ancestral home. On the death of his unmarried brother, James, the will stipulated that he would not inherit Lackham House, but had only “a rent charge of £800 a year subject to which the estates were left to his eldest son, George, for life.” The ensuing lawsuit between the pair resulted in huge debts which cost the family the estate; as Louisa wrote in The Metropolitan Magazine in 1835; “The thoughtless extravagance of youth, and the unwise conduct of mature age, caused the estates to be thrown into chancery” (vol. 14, pp. 308-309). Louisa reflected on seeing the native woods of her family home cut down upon its sale in a later poem (Coll-1839/7 pp.415-416):

Those brave old woods, when I saw them fall,

                Where they stood in their pride so long,

The giant guards of our ancient hall,

                And the theme of our household song;

I wept, that one of my Father’s race

                Could forget the name he bore,

And turn the land to a desert place,

                Where an Eden bloom’d before.

Louisa began courting Matthew Crawford, a barrister of Middle Temple, in 1817. Many of the papers consist of love letters and poems exchanged between the pair during this early period of their relationship, including three locks of hair, presumably Louisa’s. In 1822 the couple were married and Louisa moved to London, although their continued correspondence evidences that Matthew spent much of their marriage away working in the North of the country. It is then that Louisa began to earn an income through song writing and poetry, although the couple always struggled financially and frequently appealed to their wealthier relatives for aid.

Much of Louisa’s work appeared, often anonymously, in magazines and journals, was sold to publishers, and was set to music by composers Samuel Wesley, Sidney Nelson, Edward Clare and others. She frequently contributed both poems and prose, including several “autobiographical sketches”, to London literary journal The Metropolitan Magazine (which has subsequently been digitised by the HathiTrust and can be fully searched here). Many of her songs and poems related to historical events and persons; songs titled “Anne Boleyn’s Lamentation” (Coll-1839/7 p. 285) or “Chatelar to Mary Queen of Scots” (Coll-1839/7 pp. 381-382) are written from the point of view of famous queens. One poem (Coll-1839/3/1/9) tells the story of Frederick the Great (1712-1786), King of Prussia, who, in order to deceive his enemies as to his position during the Seven Years’ War, commanded that no light should be kindled throughout his encampment. However, a young soldier lit a taper to write a letter to his new bride. The second stanza reads:

His head was bent in act to write,

                The memories gusting o’er him –

When through the gloom of gathering night,

                Stood Frederick’s self before him!

Oh sternly spoke the Monarch then

                His doom of bitter sorrow

“Resume the seat – Resume the pen

                And add “I die tomorrow.”

Other poems in the collection are more personal, including reflections on her childhood and family, such as “The Home of Our Childhood” (Coll-1839/7 pp. 17-18) and “On the Death of a Sister” (Coll-1839/7 p. 394). Many verses are addressed to her husband Matthew; one poem (Coll-1839/1/2/5) dated 23rd July 1817 and titled “To Him I Love”, begins:

Oh! Doubt not the faith of a heart which is thine

Nor cast on its feelings a thought thats unkind

For believe me thine image whilest life shall be mine

Cannot fail to be cherish’d and dear to my mind

Like a miser I hoard in my hearts hidden core

Every look every word that from thee I receive

And never ah! never till lifes dream is o’er

Will the love which I bear thee be alter’d believe

Coll-1839/1/2/5. Poem addressed to Matthew Crawford titled “To Him I Love” in the hand of Louisa Matilda Crawford, 23 July 1817.

Matthew often responded with poems of his own, and seems to have played a collaborative role in Louisa’s writing. She frequently included stanzas of her work in letters to him, asking him to look over and edit them.

Louisa’s most successful song, “Kathleen Mavourneen,” was set to music by composer Frederick Crouch and enjoyed wide success in America where it was popularised by Irish Soprano Catherine Hayes on her international tours. Recordings of it still exist, and a version by Irish tenor John McCormack (1884-1945) can be found on youtube here. No original version of the song is amongst her papers, although there is a poem titled “On hearing Miss Catherine Hays [sic] sing “Kathleen Mavourneen!”” (Coll-1839/3/1/17). However, the song was frequently attributed solely to Crouch, or erroneously to Annie, Julia, or Marion Crawford.

Coll-1839/3/1/17. Poem titled “On hearing Miss Catherine Hays, sing “Kathleen Mavourneen!” by Crofton Gray” in the hand of Louisa Matilda Crawford, 1837-1857.

Louisa arranged her poems into small series, and the collection includes ten stitched booklets with titles such as “Irish ballads” and “Scotch songs”. Attempts to track down her work can be seen in correspondence with her publishers. In an undated later to magazine editor Mr Emery (Coll-1839/1/1/22) she requests copies of her published songs, writing; “I am not wanting them to give away, but to have them bound up in a volume since I find it impossible to keep single songs…I am going to beat up for recruits in all quarters where my bagatelles have been published, in order that I may have a little memorial to leave to those that will value the gift when I am gone.” A notebook containing 165 poems and songs neatly written in Louisa’s hand seems to be the result of these efforts.

Some outlying items in the collection initially seemed not to relate to Louisa at all, including a 17th century indenture on vellum, recording the sale of a messuage or house between waterman Thomas W Watson and master mariner Josiah Ripley of Stockton-on-Tees. However, a bit of biographical research revealed the answer. Many of these miscellaneous items reference Bayley and Newby, a firm of solicitors operating out of Stockton-on-Tees in the 19th century, which may explain the presence of the indenture. Matthew Crawford’s first cousin, William Crawford Newby (1807-1884) worked at the firm, and it seems that, since the couple were childless, their papers passed to him upon their deaths and thence on to his heirs. The latest item in the collection (Coll-1839/1/3/16) is a 1930 letter by William’s son, who writes:

I enclose a manuscript book written by Mrs Crawford including many well-known songs…Mrs Crawford was a Montagu of the Duke of Manchester family and died in 1857. She was married to Matthew Crawford a barrister. They had independent means which however they frittered away. My late father who was a 1st cousin of Matthew Crawford’s assisted them from time to time and their M.S.S. came to him on their death and through him to me. I am not anxious to part with them, but I am an old man and my family may not attach the same importance to their possession.

This would seem to account for how the papers came to be in the possession of the bookseller and for the few items relating to the Newby’s present in the collection.

Louisa died in 1857, the cause unknown, although Matthew refers to a long affliction of heart disease supplemented by attacks of Bronchitis in an 1846 letter (Coll-1839/2/6). Despite her obvious talent, and the clear enjoyment she derived from her work, she received little notoriety for her song writing during her lifetime and even less so after her death. Alongside gaining invaluable archival skills during this project it has been a pleasure to think that I have been able to increase the visibility of Louisa’s work and make her collection available to interested researchers. Although separated by over two centuries, I have come to know more about Louisa than any person living, and that is a great privilege.

You can see the catalogue of the papers on ArchivesSpace: https://archives.collections.ed.ac.uk/repositories/2/resources/86789

References:

Cleevely, R. J. “Montagu, George.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Online, 23 Sep. 2004, https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/19017. Accessed 19 Jul. 2018.

Crawford, Louisa Matilda Jane. The Metropolitan Magazine. Accessed 19 Jul. 2018.

  • “An Auto-Biographical Sketch. Lacock Abbey.” Vol. 12, Jan-Apr. 1835, pp. 400-402, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433081737904;view=1up;seq=412.
  • “Autobiographical Sketches Connected with Laycock Abbey.” 14, Sept-Dec. 1835, pp. 306-318, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433081737888;view=1up;seq=322.
  • “Autobiographical Sketches.” Vol. 22, 1838, pp. 310-317, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=umn.319510007530342;view=1up;seq=325.
  • “Autobiographical Sketches.” Vol. 23, Sept-Dec. 1838, pp. 189-194, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433081737839;view=1up;seq=203.

Cummings, Bruce F. “A biographical sketch of Col. George Montagu (1755-1815).” Zoologisches Annalen Würzburg, vol. 5, 1913, pp. 307–325, http://www.zobodat.at/pdf/Zoologische-Annalen_5_0307-0325.pdf. Accessed 19 Jul. 2018.

“Kathleen Mavourneen.” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathleen_Mavourneen. Accessed 19 Jul. 2018.

Pratt, Tony. Two Georgian Montagus: the manor of Lackham. Wiltshire College, second edition, 2015, https://tinyurl.com/y7tpp39h. Accessed 19 Jul. 2018.

Urban, Sylvanus. “Obituary – Rev. George Newby.” The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 26, 1846, pp. 100-101, https://tinyurl.com/yatonw6n. Accessed 19 Jul. 2018.

Written by Daisy Stafford, July 2018.

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The Anatomy of the Horse

Recently I digitised Carlo Ruini’s ‘Anatomia Del Cavallo’ (The Anatomy of the Horse, Diseases and Treatments) as part of our Iconics collection on our i2S V-shape cradle scanner. It is a lavishly illustrated anatomic manual on the study of horses and was the first book to focus exclusively on the structure of a species other than man. In Ruini’s estimation, the horse combines ‘great love of man’ with natural docility and is celebrated for its many ways to bring pleasure and assistance to man that it is commemorated everywhere in monuments, tombs, poetry, and painting.

Read More

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Completion of the Thomson-Walker Project

In this week’s blog our final Thomson-Walker Intern, Giulia, talks about the completion of the Thomson-Walker project and her experience of working at the CRC…

Giulia working in the studio

We did it! The conservation of the Thomson-Walker collection of medical portraits is finally complete! It took four years, five interns, dozens of batches of carboxymethylcellulose (CMC), several metres of lens tissue, and an indefinite number of acid-free paper sheets, but the 3,000 prints are finally free from acidic secondary supports, adhesive residues and tape hinges, and are now ready to be fully catalogued and digitized. At the beginning of my internship, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get through the final boxes in the collection. The previous interns’ fantastic work (you can read all about here, here, here and here) left me with 600 prints to conserve, from portraits classed under letter “P” to the ones under “Z”, with two jam-packed boxes labelled “S” in between. I really wanted to do my best to complete the project, since I was going to be the last intern to work on the Thomson-Walker collection, and also because I was determined to challenge myself, testing the workload I was able to carry out in a short period of time.

Print, after conservation, rehoused in a single crease acid-free folder

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New to the Library: The SHAFR Guide Online

Thanks to a request from staff in HCA the Library now has access to The SHAFR Guide Online: An Annotated Bibliography of U.S. Foreign Relations since 1600. This is a near-comprehensive, 2.1 million-word online annotated bibliography of historical work covering the entire span of U.S. foreign relations.

You can access The SHAFR Guide Online via the Databases A-Z list, History database list and other relevant subject database lists. You’ll soon also be able to access it via DiscoverEd.

The SHAFR Guide Online covers all eras in U.S. history from colonial days onwards.

It also includes four new thematic chapters—on economic issues; non-governmental actors; domestic issues, the Congress, and public opinion; and race, gender, and culture.

Created by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR), entries in the guide are drawn from many sources, from collections of government documents to biographies, monographs, book chapters, journal articles, web sites, and more.

Access The SHAFR Guide Online via the Databases A-Z list, History database list and other relevant subject database lists.

Access is only available to current students and staff at the University of Edinburgh.

Caroline Stirling – Academic Support Librarian for History, Classics and Archaeology

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New to the Library: The Listener Historical Archive

I’m happy to let you know that after a successful trial earlier this year the Library now has access to The Listener Historical Archive, 1929-1991 from Gale Cengage. This gives you complete access to the archive of this landmark BBC publication.

You can access The Listener Historical Archive, 1929-1991 via the Databases A-Z list and Newspapers & Magazines database list. You can also access the title through DiscoverEd.

Screenshot from front page of first issue, Wednesday, January 16, 1929.

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Resource Lists: Semester 1 Deadline 9th July

The deadline for sending your reading lists to the Library is fast approaching. Course organisers and tutors, send us your lists using the online form by end of Monday 9th July.

As well as converting your current reading list to an online Resource List using Leganto, we’ll check all current library holdings, process any new or additional purchases, provide e-reserve scans and move items to HUB/Reserve.

The ISG website also has details on how the Library is using Resource Lists to manage the provision of key reading materials.

Building your own resource list?

If you’re building your own lists for 2018/19, remember to use ‘Send List’ to send the list to the Library for review by 23rd July. There is a 10 step guide to using Resource Lists to help you get started.

If you’ve not used Resource Lists (Leganto) before or would like a refresher there is one final Resource Lists workshop on Wednesday 11th  July 2-4pm Book via MyEd

If you would like to arrange a school or subject based information session or workshop, please contact Library.Learning@ed.ac.uk 

Semester 2 lists

Deadlines for Semester 2 will be circulated in October. However, if you have a semester 2 list ready, we are happy to start working on it sooner rate than later.

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NHS at 70: Explore the history of the NHS through our primary sources

70 years ago today, 5 July, the National Health Service (NHS) was established, one of a number of social and welfare reforms from the post-World War II Labour government (though initial proposals for the NHS came from the World War II coalition government). Launched just over two years after Aneurin Bevan, Minister of Health, published his National Health Service Bill, the NHS provided medical and healthcare services for free at the point of delivery.

On the NHS’s 70th birthday I have pulled together a small selection of primary resources, digital and physical, you have access to at the Library that will help you explore the history of the NHS.

What did the people think?

Mass Observation was a pioneering social research organisation founded in 1937. The aim was to create an ‘anthropology of ourselves’, and by recruiting a team of observers and a panel of volunteer writers they studied the everyday lives of ordinary people in Britain. This original work continued until the early 1950s and gives unparalleled insight into everyday life in Britain during that time.

Through our Library you have access to Mass Observation Online, which makes available the entire Mass Observation archive from that period and includes original manuscript and typescript papers (such as diaries, day reports, questionnaires, observations, etc.) created and collected by the Mass Observation organisation, as well as printed publications, photographs and some interactive features.

Mass-Observation. 1949. Meet Yourself at the Doctor’s. London: Naldrett. Available from Mass Observation Online.

In Mass Observation Online you will find a large amount of material detailing people’s opinions and experiences of the NHS from its earliest days. From Mass Observation’s own file reports and publications pulling together people’s comments, observations and experiences of the NHS to the original diary entries and questionnaire responses.

The material available allows you to read about people’s views on the NHS prior to it being launched and their opinions and experiences of the service in its first few years of existence.

When you are using Mass Observation Online the easiest way to find material regarding the NHS is by clicking on the “Popular Searches” button near the top right-hand side of page and then under the “Organisations” tab click on “National Health Service”. Read More

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A Prized Collection

We were recently rather excited to receive a significant accrual to an existing donation of records from Scottish Gymnastics. This includes over 100 books (some of them rare and inscribed), papers and photographs and an extensive collection of shields, trophies, medals, and other artefacts. A donation of objects like these in such a quantity is quite unusual for us and they make up by far the largest part of the Scottish Gymnastics archive. However the proportion of objects to paper records makes complete sense in the context of the organisation’s chief focus on local, national and international competitions.

The collection comprises a real mix of objects, including medals, shields, trophies and plaques, dating from the 1890s (when the organisation was new) right up to 2017. As well as objects which were given as awards, the collection also includes commemorative objects, particularly glassware, which were given to Scottish Gymnastics to mark their participation in particular events over the years.

Probably the most historically notable item in the collection is the Scottish Shield, an impressively decorated three-foot wide object bearing the Scottish Gymnastics logo and the names of the previous winners (picture below):

The shield was awarded as part of an annual competition between Scottish gymnastics clubs. The first winners, in 1890, were the Aberdeen Gymnastic and Rowing Club (the oldest of the Scottish gymnastics clubs). Jim Prestidge’s invaluable book The History of British Gymnastics also features this photograph of the shield in 1902, when it was won by the Dundee Gymnastic and Athletic Club (shield is on the far left).

At the time Prestidge was writing (1988), the Scottish Shield was still being awarded, and Prestidge states that it “is the longest serving Team Shield still in service”. It must certainly be one of the oldest gymnastics awards in Scotland, predating the famous Adams Shield (also featured in the above photograph, on the right) by nine years. We would like to find out more about the history of the Scottish Shield, so please do let us know if you have any information to share!

Artefacts like these form an important part of sporting heritage collections, but because of their unwieldy nature, they are often at risk of being discarded or forgotten, with institutions sometimes being reluctant to take them in. So it’s fantastic to now have this very tangible – and often downright beautiful – part of gymnastics history here at the Centre for Research Collections. The items are a valuable resource for understanding the material culture of gymnastics as well as giving precise information about individual, team and club achievements over time. It would be great to now see researchers begin to use this collection to its full potential.

The Scottish Gymnastics archives catalogue is currently being updated to include these new items. Once this is complete, the catalogue will be viewable here:

http://archives.collections.ed.ac.uk/repositories/2/resources/86677

Clare Button
Project Archivist

Sources

Prestidge, Jim, The History of British Gymnastics (British Amateur Gymnastics Association, 1988)

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