Still places available at Searching Research Literature and Managing Bibliographies 27 March

1.Vitae-Researcher-Development-Framework-subdomains-graphic-2011There’s still time to book a place on Searching Research Literature and Managing Bibliographies course run by the Institute for Academic Development for College of Humanities and Social Sciences postgraduate students. Go here to book a place (link only works for eligible students).

I’ll be co-tutoring on this course, with a mixture of presentations and hands on practical computer-based sessions.

Aimed at first year HSS PhD students, this course offers  information and techniques to equip students with the essential skills for PhD research.  We cover search tips and strategies for databases, good practice in literature searching and managing bibliographies using Endnote.

New College Library Edinburgh rare books to be added to Early English Books Online #EEBO

EEBO LogoPhotographers are occupying my office again today  for digital photography of a number of rare books from New College Library’s collections, to be loaded onto Early English Books Online (EEBO).  Available to University of Edinburgh users, EEBO contains digital facsimile page images of virtually every work printed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British North America and works in English printed elsewhere from 1473-1700.  We’re delighted that New College Library’s collections will be shared with the world in this way.  The earliest book to be filmed is Hemmingsen, Niels, The professions of the true church, and of poperie compared,  Oxford, J. Barnes, 1585 . Most of the other examples are seventeenth century works, such as Austin, William, Hæc homo, wherein the excellency of the creation of woman is described, 1639.

Divinity Student book recommendations now available

All these books (and more) were recommended by Divinity students and are now available to University of Edinburgh Library users – more details on the library catalogue. 100+ book recommendations from Divinity students have been received over the last four months, via the student recommendation form on the Library website.

Historic Papal politics : Platina’s Lives of the Popes

Platine historici liber de vita Christi ac pontificum omniu : qui hactenus ducenti et vigintiduo fuere. New College Library, Inc. 66

Platine historici liber de vita Christi ac pontificum omniu : qui hactenus ducenti et vigintiduo fuere, 1481. New College Library, Inc. 66

Bartolomeo Platina, (1421-1481) was a writer and member of the College of Abbreviators in Rome, a body of writers in the papal chancery who prepared the Pope’s bulls, briefs and decrees before they were formally written out by scribes. Deprived of his office and imprisoned by Pope Paul II, he left a lasting vengeance for his enemy in his Vitæ Pontificum Platinæ historici liber de vita Christi (1479). As well as being a polemic against his enemy, Platina’s Lives of the Popes was an invaluable early handbook of papal history which had an enduring influence on historical opinions.

New College Library holds this 1481 edition of Platina’s Vitæ Pontificum in the Incunabula Collection, catalogued online as part of the Funk Cataloguing Projects. A manuscript note records the original owner as F. Sargent, the donor of other rare and valuable items to New College Library.

Scotland’s last saint : St John Ogilvie

Martyr in ScotlandThe 10th of  March is celebrated as the feast day of St John Ogilvie in the Roman Catholic Church. The only post-Reformation saint from Scotland.  John Ogilvie (1578/9–1615) was born and brought up as a Calvinist in Strathisla, Banffshire. After studying at the Protestant University of Helmstedt in northern Germany, he became a Catholic, and after further study took his vows as a Jesuit priest in 1601. Ogilvie volunteered for missionary work in Scotland, and arrived in Leith in 1613. Ogilvie’s work was to administer the sacraments to Catholics, bring doubters back to the fold, and seek new converts throughout  Edinburgh, Glasgow and Renfrewshire. It On 4 October 1614 he was betrayed and captured while walking in a Glasgow street. The authorities’ narrative of his trial and execution was printed as A true relation, of the proceedings against Iohn Ogiluie, a Iesuit … (1615), available  to University of Edinburgh users via Early English Books Online. While other Catholics suffered trial and imprisonment at this time, “Ogilvie was the only Catholic in Scotland ever to be judicially sentenced and executed for his religion” (1).

In the nineteenth century John Ogilvie was rediscovered with the publication of Scottish historical sources, leading to the publication of a number of works on his life. New College Library holds  Jean Ogilvie, ecossais, jesuite : torturé et mis à mort pour la foi  by James Forbes, (Paris : 1901) and Martyr in Scotland : The life & times of John Ogilvie by Thomas Collins (London: 1955). John Ogilvie was beatified in 1929 and canonized in 1976.

(1) Mark Dilworth, ‘Ogilvie, John [St John Ogilvie] (1578/9–1615)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 28 Feb 2013]

Treasures of New College Library : The Longforgan Free Church Ministers Library

Longforgan LibraryThe Longforgan Free Church Ministers Library is a collection of handsomely bound volumes, particularly rich in patristic and theological texts. The rare books in the collection include Knox’s Liturgy (1611), the Babylonian Talmud and Athanasii opera (1600). Each volume is embossed in gold with the distinctive stamp of the Longforgan Library.  It is kept in its own custom made glazed shelving, now housed at the entrance to New College Library and in the David Welsh Reading Room.

The Longforgan Library was originally gifted to the Free Church at Longforgan, Dundee by Mr David Watson, son of the Rev Dr Charles Watson,  who was the owner of Bullionfield Paperworks at Invergowrie. The original deed of gift records that the books were given along with the bookcases and £100 invested in stocks and shares for the library’s upkeep(1). The library that was formally handed over to the Deacons Court at Longforgan Free Church (who acted as trustees) had its own printed catalogue in a bound volume, still in use at New College Library today.  Longforgan2

The next chapter in its history came in 1962  when ownership of the Longforgan Free Church Minister’s Library was transferred to New College Library. The move had been set in motion by the Revd James Torrance (who had been minister at Longforgan) and Professor T.F. Torrance (who was then curator of New College Library) (2).

Last week  we welcomed descendants of David Watson at New College Library, who shared details of the Longforgan Library’s original donor, and who were able to see David Watson’s lasting legacy here. The Longforgan Library is due to be catalogued online as part of the Funk Cataloguing Projects 2012-14.

(1) Gould, Four Churches of Invergowrie.  Dundee : 1997, p. 79

(2) Howard, John. In :  Disruption to Diversity. Edinburgh : 1996, p. 193.

Brepols Medieval Bibliographies on trial now

Brepolis-Medieval-BibliographyBrepols Medieval Bibliographies are now available on trial access to University of Edinburgh Users. Access is available on campus and off campus via the VPN. The trial ends on 5 April. See the eresources trials web page for more information.

The Bibliographie de civilisation médiévale aims to provide a comprehensive, current bibliography of monographs. The database currently comprises 40,000 titles from 1958 to 2003; i.e. the whole of the relevant elements from the famous bibliography in the Cahiers de civilisation medieval.

The International Medieval Bibliography is the leading bibliography of articles concerning the European Middle Ages (c. 450-1500), drawn from the regular coverage of over 4,500 periodicals and miscellany volumes. Not only does the IMB provide full bibliographical information to the entries from the publications, but it provides a comprehensive cataloguing and indexing system to assist the user in identifying all relevant entries.

Brepols Medieval Encyclopedias on trial now

Brepols Medieval EncyclopediaBrepols Medieval Encyclopedias are now available on trial access to University of Edinburgh Users. Access is available on campus and off campus via the VPN. The trial ends on 5 April. See the eresources trials web page for more information.

Based upon the most important encyclopaedia in the world for medievalists, the International Encyclopaedia for the Middle Ages and Lexikon des Mittelalters contain articles written by 3,000 authors covering all aspects of medieval studies within the period 300 to 1500. Their geographical scope covers the whole of Europe, part of the Middle East, and parts of North Africa to document the roots of Western culture and those of its neighbours in the Byzantine, Arab and Jewish worlds.

Key Church history resources on trial now at Edinburgh University


Brepols Dictionnaire & Bibliographie d’histoire ecclésiastiques are now available on trial access to University of Edinburgh users. Access is available on campus and off campus via the VPN. The trial ends on 5 April. See the eresources trials web page for more information and feedback links.

Covering the literature of church history from antiquity up to the 20th centuries , the Revue d’histoire ecclésiastique – Bibliographie indexes journal articles, books and reviews. Entries contain links to full text in Brepols publications such as  Dictionnaire d’histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques  and to some full text journal sources. They are published chiefly in French and English, and occasionally in German.

The  Dictionnaire d’histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques is an invaluable reference source on the history of the Christian church, with 70,000 entries covering individuals, ecclesiastical institutions, and church history by geographical region.