Visit to the Centre for Research Collections

On Day 2 of KEW, we welcomed the participants to the Centre for Research Collections (CRC). The CRC is the main point of access for the University’s heritage and cultural collections. The afternoon was designed to give an overview of the work we do, and explore some of the specialisms that go in to providing access to both physical visitors and remote enquirers.

We started the visit with a chat about how we provide access to the collections and what this involves for the CRC User Services team, including the workflows and processes we use. The diagram below illustrates the workflow from point of request for rare books, manuscripts and archives:

CRC workflow

The group then had an opportunity to see some recent acquisitions as Joe Marshall, Head of Special Collections and the CRC, talked them through the decision-making process when considering what purchases to make. A particularly intriguing item is this Batik divination manuscript on bark from Sumatra:

CleLIBGXIAEhQj-Now we just need to find someone who can read it!

We had a quick break mid-afternoon to watch a 1968 documentary film about the Main Library. The film was directed by Eric C. A. Lucey and provided students with useful information about how to navigate the building just after it opened. We used this as a starting point for a discussion about how the building has developed over the decades. You can watch the video on the University’s Media Hopper website. It’s amazing how much online discovery has improved students’ access to library resources but interesting to see how some things don’t change!

The rest of the afternoon was spent at conservation and the Digital Imaging Unit, looking at how we balance the preservation of the collections with user access, and the exciting experiments with new technology that the DIU photographers have been doing.

Fran Baseby

CRC Services Manager

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Student and Community Engagement

How can libraries, archives, and museums reach out to students, get people interested in their collections, and engage with the wider public? Sometimes it takes doing something completely unexpected. Student Engagement Officer Serena Fredrick and Learning and Engagement Curator Sarah Deters shared how they are working to engaged people with the vast arrays of items housed at the Centre for Research Collections.


This presentation explored the concept of ‘engagement’ and how its meaning may differ between institutions; what are the different types of audiences institutions may focus on; and how funding opportunities may impact the types of activities an institution may provide.


An interactive session ended the presentation with participants creating their own event around one of the University’s more gruesome artefacts – a letter written in the blood of the notorious killer, William Burke.


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Welcome to KEW!

And we’re off!  The Knowledge Exchange Week is now officially underway!

Welcome poster

It was my pleasure to extend an official welcome and greeting from Edinburgh University Library to the fifteen delegates from across Europe.  As a highly ranked and prestigious world university, we are privileged to have world-class facilities, libraries, services, collections, and staff.  We are looking forward to sharing these with the delegates this week, and in learning from them and their experiences, as together we exchange professional knowledge.

If you wish to follow the week remotely, then we’re using the hashtag #EdLibKEW

Stuart Lewis (
Deputy Director of Library & University Collections

Less than one week to go!

With less than a week to go before our first ever Knowledge Exchange Week begins, we are getting excited about meeting all of our participants.

Our programme for the week has now been finalised and you can find it online here.

During the week, you will be able to follow everything that is going on by checking the blog for daily updates and following #EdLibKEW

Launch of our first Knowledge Exchange Week


Library and University Collections is delighted to announce its first Knowledge Exchange Week to take place 20 June -24 June 2016.

The programme is aimed at Library and Cultural Heritage Professionals from all backgrounds and career stages and we are inviting applications from the Erasmus partner universities and other academic institutions across Europe.

If you would like to discover more about the University of Edinburgh’s library and collections and share your own experiences with international colleagues then please follow the link below for further information.

Applications will be accepted during the period 5th February- 5th March 2016