iPres Delegate Visit to the University of Edinburgh

DX7 Synthesizer Keyboard

As part of iPres 2022 hosted in Glasgow on 12-16 September, the University of Edinburgh will welcome a cohort of conference delegates to tour the Main Library and St. Cecilia’s Hall.

As part of the tour, specialist curators will provide an overview of materials from across collections that reflect many examples of Technology Heritage in the care of the University. Items will include manuscripts like Makhrūṭāṭ Iblawniyūs (Apollonius’ Cones), an early 18th century copy of a Codex Arabic Script and Godfrey Thomson’s mechanical calculator from the 1930s.

This display of items has been assembled to represent technology and innovation: ideas or objects that revolutionized how people work, interact, behave, or understand the world around them.

Heritage collections – regardless of format or medium – provide a vital insight into how human society has evolved over the years. Carefully preserved and documented artefacts, artworks, papers, and books have the power to reveal pivotal moments in history and the nature of change itself.

Computer systems and later the internet have drastically changed research, education, industry, social interaction, governance, and all other aspects of life since their use became widespread in the 90s and early 00s. Digital technologies continue to shape the world we live in, new platforms and devices becoming part of the fabric of everyday life almost overnight!

As we face the challenges of preserving these new technologies and objects created using them, it’s useful to look back and learn about what heritage collecting over the centuries can teach us about preserving change.

We hope to share the story of the University and its relationship to Edinburgh, Scotland, and the wider world through the heritage collections in our care.

To get a wider perspective on the diverse and wide-ranging collections held by the University, delegates will then be shepherded to St. Cecilia’s Hall for a tour of the instrument collection. Delegates will get an insider look at innovative musical instruments, including a Yamaha DX7 Synthesizer Keyboard!

We hope to share a sliver of the story of the University of Edinburgh and city itself with our guests on the 16th September and also to welcome other guests in future to explore the heritage of technology.

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About sthomson

Sara Day Thomson is the Digital Archivist at the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Research Collections. Her background includes research and development in digital preservation and web and social media archiving.