(English) Artists’ books cataloguing day

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Many thanks to Karen F. Pierce (@Darklecat) for writing this post on our recent WHELF event:

On Monday 12th February a group of WHELF cataloguers and special collections staff gathered together in Cardiff to learn all about artists’ books – what they are and how to catalogue them.

So, how does one define an artists’ book?  Anne Evenhaugen on the Smithsonian Libraries blog suggests that:

An artist’s book is a medium of artistic expression that uses the form or function of “book” as inspiration. It is the artistic initiative seen in the illustration, choice of materials, creation process, layout and design that makes it an art object.

Sarah Bodman

Sarah Bodman

We began the day with a talk from Sarah Bodman (@SarahBodman), Senior Research Fellow at UWE, Bristol.  Sarah brought a suitcase full of examples of artist’s books for everyone to handle and look at, to get a feel for the different kinds of expression these items can take.  She talked us through different printing mediums and different styles of showcasing ideas, and included a brief history of artists’ books from ideas that were formulated by Stéphane Mallarmé’s Un Coup de Dés Jamais N’Abolira Le Hasard, 1897 (published 1914) which was a seminal influence on artists’ books and concrete poetry, and also Matisse’s Jazz (1947).  Many key works inspire or spawn other works, such as Ed Ruscha’s Twentysix Gasoline Stations (1963), which has had many homages such as Tom Sowden’s Fortynine Coach Seats (2003) amongst others.

Some artists want to engender participation from observers/readers – so, Tom Mosely has created books that he invites people to tear the paper in; and Ann Tyler included images of knives and tools which readers had to lift to read the text of Billy Rabbit: An American Adaptation (2007), thus becoming symbolically complicit in the story.

Sarah’s presentation was a great introduction to the day, and helped to show people how diverse artist’s books can be.

The next presentation was from Doreen Barnaville, Cardiff Metropolitan University, talking about the collection of artists’ books they have, how it came about and was built up, and how they engage their students with the books.  Their collection is a working collection and students are encouraged to handle the books, and take part in workshops.  Some of the books in their collection they have had for years and used to be housed in the main library collection before anyone really realised what they were, and how special they were.  They now have an active collecting policy, and add to their collection each year.  Those doing the buying try to get as much information from the artists themselves where possible, which can be added to the catalogue record.

Image of artists book by Ron King

Figure II: ‘Hick Hack Hock’ by Ron King, Circle Press

Alison Harvey (@AlisonHarvey_), Cardiff University, then spoke about Ron King and the Circle Press collection housed in CU.  The collection was gained due to collaborative work between CU and Cardiff Met, as Ron King was very particular about where he wanted his works to be housed.  One of the first projects to take place was an exhibition held in CU Special Collections that was curated and set up by art students from Cardiff Met.


Following on from this was a presentation about Shirley Jones and the Red Hen Press.  Shirley Jones is a Welsh artist and several institutions in Wales house her work.  Kristine Chapman (National Museum Wales) spoke about their collection that has been built up over the years since about 1999, and the relationship they have engendered with her; In contrast, Lisa Tallis (Cardiff University) then spoke about the complete set of work that Shirley had donated to CU as an alumni, including proof copies of some of her books.  These proofs were brought out for attendees to peruse, and to be able to see the various stages that Shirley goes through when creating her art.

Attendees at the event looking at examples of artists books

Attendees looking at books and enjoying the day

After lunch we reconvened to get ‘technical’.  Maria White (co-author of “Artists’ books: a cataloguers manual” ARLIS guide) spent the afternoon giving us guidance on how to actually catalogue artists’ books.  After having spent the morning hearing about these items, and seeing physical examples, we had a good idea of how difficult cataloguing them might be!  Maria talked us through all the relevant MARC 21 fields, and gave some suggestions of where to find further information that we might need, for example from exhibition catalogues, and artist’s and publisher’s websites.  Key problems that might be encountered were – not knowing the name of the artist, not having a title for the work, and having the work in a form difficult to describe.  If you are very lucky there might be an ISBN but this is unlikely if the artist has published it themselves.  Maria did say that most artists would be very happy if you contacted them to get more information about the work.  For a start you would be informing them that their work was held in your library, and they might find that information valuable and informative.  It is also important for the person buying the work (which probably wouldn’t be the cataloguer), to get as much information as they can at the point of purchase, this is most easy if the purchase is at a book fair where you are likely to be buying directly from the artist themselves, rather than through a specialist book shop.  Picking up associated ephemera, to include with the book, and even taking notes from a conversation with the artist can be extremely helpful to the cataloguing process.

Maria had also brought along a load of examples, and after her initial presentation we were all given a couple of these examples to have a go at cataloguing (using paper templates).  As we were sat in small groups around tables we were able to discuss the items in our groups which helped us as we put together our catalogue records.  Maria said she found it very interesting listening to all the discussions, and hearing the issues and thoughts that were being generated.  There were a whole range of different books to work on, and some were swapped between groups.  Some were easier than others, and some needed a bit of input from Maria.  After we had all completed several records (or at least discussed several items), the discussion and feedback was opened up to the whole group and we were given the ‘answer’ sheet – i.e. MARC records of all the examples, that Maria had created.  The groups took turns at discussing individual items, highlighting any problems they had, or anything they found interesting.  It was extremely valuable being able to see what the record for a book could look like after having a go oneself.  By not using computers we had mostly not been able to check on websites for further information, although a couple of people had used personal devices to do so.   It was evident that sometimes you really have to go outside the item to get basic details, such as the title –which is a very different approach to when cataloguing mainstream textbooks.

Book with a green knitted cover and sausage-shaped Wuthering Heights

Unusual examples from Sarah Bodman’s collection

The whole day proved to be very interesting, informative, and even challenging at times, but it was wonderful to be able to handle the books that both Sarah and Maria brought with them, and which brought the session to life.  Colleagues from different WHELF Institutions were able to share information about their collections and how they are working with them.  As there were some spare places we were joined by library staff from Bristol, Canterbury and Cork which also widened our discussions.

Many thanks to WHELF (@WHELFed) for sponsoring this event, and for Cardiff University Special Collections (@CUSpecialColls) for hosting it.


Posted in events

(English) “Collaboration and the Academic Library” Shared LMS chapter

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WHELF Shared LMS Programme Manager Gareth Owen and Tracey Stanley, Deputy University Librarian at Cardiff University, have just had a chapter included in a new volume “Collaboration and the Academic Library” published by Chandos Publishing. The editor of the volume is Jeremy Atkinson, an active past member of WHELF.

The abstract for their chapter is

The Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum (WHELF) have undertaken an ambitious programme to procure and implement a single Library Management System and discovery interface for all Higher Education institutions across Wales and the National Library of Wales.  The paper describes the steps taken to create the conditions for a complex collaboration at a national level, and the benefits identified and achieved from this.  It also covers the opportunities for deeper collaboration which have been established, which have potential to transform service provision across Wales.

The book is available to purchase as a paperback or for institutional subscription.

Posted in Whelf shared LMS

(English) Sue Hodges’ Contribution to Academic Book of the Future

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Sue Hodges is Former Chair of WHELF and Former Director of Libraries and Archives at Bangor University. Sue contributed to the Academic Book of the Future project and her article has now been added to the project’s BOOC – an ever-developing collection of online content hosted by UCLPress.

You can see the BOOC here (it’s completely open access) and Sue’s article “The Alchemy of Academic Libraries and Scholars: Learning From the Past“. Comments and discussion around the content are encouraged on the site.

Posted in e-books, open access, WHELF

(English) WHELF Archives and Special Collections colouring book

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Black and white line drawing of Aberystwyth Old College - a page from the Colour Our Collections book 

Join us 5-9 February 2018 for a worldwide colouring extravaganza on social media!

Led by the New York Academy of Medicine Library, who first launched the campaign in 2016, libraries, archives, and museums around the world are sharing free colouring sheets based on materials in their collections. Users are invited to download and print the sheets and share their filled-in images on social media, using the hashtag #ColorOurCollections (because the campaign launched in America most institutions are using the American spelling of colour!).

So, for this year the members of the WHELF Archives and Special Collections Group have gotten together to create a colouring book based on the Year of the Sea.

Download the book here [PDF]and let us see your creative skills!

Post images of your coloured pages on social media with the hashtags #lliwioeincasgliadau or #colorourcollections and tag us in @WHELFed.

And don’t forget to check out which other institutions around the world are taking part using the #colorourcollections hashtag or visiting the website of the New York Academy of Medicine

Happy colouring!!

Colour our Collections image


Posted in archives & special collections

(English) Teachmeet: Be brave and bold in your teaching

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Bookings are now open for a TeachMeet on the 6thFebruary, 10-2pm, in Committee Room 1 in the Glamorgan Building at Cardiff University. This has been organised by colleagues at Cardiff University as part of the activities of the WHELF Learning and Teaching Group.

Details of the event:

This event is not aligned to a specific subject area or level. This will be an opportunity for Librarians to come together in an informal setting to share good practice, practical innovations and personal insights into their teaching. This is an opportunity to learn together.

All participants are asked to be prepared to deliver a 2 or 7 minute presentation. On the day, a virtual wheel will be spun and those chosen will be asked to deliver their 2 or 7 minute talk.

By the end of the day attendees should have an understanding of how to improve their confidence in teaching and have some new ideas to apply to their own work situations.

Full programme and a link to book:  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cardiff-university-library-teachmeet-being-brave-and-bold-in-your-teaching-tickets-42094072504?utm_term=eventname_text


Posted in Uncategorised

(English) Celebrating our Research Collections

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Andrew Green, former Librarian at the National Library of Wales, gave a talk last night at Swansea University on “Celebrating our Research Collections” to mark the 80th anniversary of the university’s first purpose-built building: the 1937 library. The focus of the talk was “prospects for collections – analogue and digital, national and local – in humanities, research and learning”.

Andrew Green seated on stage at Taliesin, taking questions from the audience

Andrew Green taking questions

Andrew’s talk focused on the value that special collections can bring to their institutions, in particular drawing out three key points:

Powerpoint slide: the text is given below in the blog post

Photo of Andrew Green’s “Three Propositions” slide

  1. Special collections are assets, to be cared for. They matter.”: caring for its special collections is a clear demonstration that a university respects research and excellence in it, something that will attract the best academic staff and students. Andrew also spoke of the need for retaining “excellent staff” and “energetic promotion” for special collections.
  2. Special collections are important for people outside the institution: archives and special collections are also important in how a university constructs its relationships with the wider community and accessibility to collections is vital.
  3. Special collections benefit from size and variety: there are economies of scale in bringing collections together, to benefit from shared resources and expertise.

Andrew highlighted examples of particular merit which showed the possibilities for investment in special collections by a university (or collaboration): the striking Ruskin Library at Lancaster University, the cross-sectoral Hull History Centre and the Keep at Brighton.

WHELF’s Archives & Special Collections group provides a supportive and collaborative network for staff in Welsh HE institutions. A key aspect of their work is to promote their special collections: you can view a selection of “WHELF’s Treasures” on this website.


Andrew Green’s blog can be found at http://gwallter.com.

Update: the full text of Andrew’s talk has now been added to his blog.

Posted in archives & special collections

(English) Open Access Week 23-29th October 2017

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It’s International Open Access Week. Take a look at the @WHELFed Twitter feed to see what events the WHELF institutions have planned for this week or search for tweets using the hashtag #OAWeek for wider news.

A summary of key resources, issues, policies and guidelines regarding open access can be accessed here

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Posted in events, open access

170928 Libraries Week UNI INFOGRAPHIC W - final (1)
Posted in Uncategorised

System Rheoli Llyfrgell a Rennir WHELF: mesur manteision cydweithio

Mae’n bleser gan WHELF eich hysbysu bod yr adroddiad canlynol wedi’i gyhoeddi: “Gwerthuso buddion ymagwedd consortiwm at system rheoli llyfrgell WHELF”.

Gyda chymorth ariannol gan JISC, comisiynodd Fforwm Llyfrgelloedd Addysg Uwch Cymru (WHELF) Cambridge Econometrics i gynnal gwerthusiad annibynnol o’r prosiect i gaffael system rheoli llyfrgell a rennir a’i rhoi ar waith yn y naw prifysgol yng Nghymru, ynghyd â Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru a llyfrgelloedd y GIG yng Nghymru  Mae’r adroddiad hwn yn darparu fframwaith awdurdodol ac annibynnol ar gyfer nodi a chofnodi’r manteision a gyflawnwyd.

Ategir yr adroddiad gan dair astudiaeth achos ardderchog o Brifysgol Caerdydd, Prifysgol Cymru y Drindod Dewi Sant a Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru.

Croesawyd yr adroddiad a’r astudiaethau achos gan Emma Adamson, Cadeirydd WHELF  a Chyfarwyddwr Gwasanaethau Dysgu ym Mhrifysgol De Cymru: ‘Mae manteision rhannu, a ddatgelwyd gan adroddiad Cambridge Econometrics ar y broses o roi systemau rheoli llyfrgell a rennir, Ex Libris Alba a Primo, ar waith yn llyfrgelloedd WHELF ledled Cymru, yn dystiolaeth glir ac annibynnol o’r gwerth a’r manteision sylweddol sy’n deillio o gydweithio: boed y rhain yn economaidd neu drwy arloesi neu ddatblygu ffyrdd mwy effeithiol ac effeithlon o gydweithio.

Ar ran WHELF, hoffwn ddiolch i JISC, Cambridge Econometrics ac Ex Libris am eu cymorth wrth gomisiynu’r astudiaeth bwysig hon o fanteision rhannu. Hoffwn ddiolch hefyd i bob un o’r 600 o aelodau staff yn y llyfrgelloedd a’u cydweithwyr ar draws sefydliadau WHELF a gyfrannodd at roi’r system rheoli llyfrgell a rennir ar waith ledled Cymru. Maen nhw wedi cydweithio i’n helpu i gyflawni manteision rhannu casgliadau WHELF: er budd dysgwyr ac ymchwilwyr ym mhob man.’

Mae’r adroddiad a’r astudiaethau achos yn amlygu amrywiaeth y manteision a gyflawnwyd gan WHELF, yn eu plith:

  • costau cyflenwyr is – arbedwyd £226,000 yn 2015-17
  • costau caffael is – arbedwyd £55,000
  • system o ansawdd uchel ar sail manyleb uchel ar gyfer yr holl sefydliadau cyfranogol
  • rhyngwyneb blaen a chefn hollol ddwyieithog sy’n galluogi staff a defnyddwyr i gael mynediad i’r system yn nwy iaith swyddogol Cymru
  • arbenigedd a rennir i ddatblygu nodweddion, hyfforddiant a gwelliannau
  • integreiddio gwell â systemau TG eraill
  • rhyngwynebau mwy hyblyg drwy ddarparu system yn y cwmwl
  • yr offer cofnodi a dadansoddi diweddaraf i resymoli llifoedd gwaith

Meddai Chris Keene, Pennaeth Dyfodol Llyfrgelloedd ac Ysgolheigaidd yn JISC, “Roedd yn bleser gan JISC gefnogi’r adroddiad annibynnol ar brosiect system rheoli llyfrgell a rennir WHELF – prosiect a gefnogwyd gan JISC ers y dechrau, drwy astudiaeth dichonoldeb yn 2012. Yn ogystal â dangos y gwerth amlwg y gellir ei gyflawni drwy gydweithio, mae’r adroddiad hwn hefyd yn darparu methodoleg y gall gwasanaethau llyfrgell eraill ei defnyddio”.

Meddai Graham Hay o Cambridge Econometrics, “Mae dulliau ansoddol o werthuso effaith rhoi system rheoli llyfrgell a rennir ar waith drwy gydweithio yn gymharol annatblygedig. Drwy ddarparu fframwaith strwythuredig ar gyfer nodi effeithiau mabwysiadu system rheoli llyfrgell a rennir newydd drwy weithio fel consortiwm, a dull dichonol o’u gwerthuso, mae’r adroddiad hwn yn ychwanegiad newydd at yr ymchwil sy’n bodoli yn y maes hwn. Mae’r dull a gyflwynir yn yr adroddiad yn darparu set o offer a fframweithiau y gall sefydliadau addysg uwch eu haddasu i gyd-fynd â’u hamgylchiadau penodol.” Yn ogystal, gellir mireinio’r dull wrth i ragor o wybodaeth, a gwybodaeth well, ddod ar gael dros amser, gan ganiatáu iddo ddatblygu a pharhau’n berthnasol yn y dyfodol.”

Mae’r adroddiad ar gael yma

Manylion cyswllt

WHELF: Gareth Owen, Rheolwr Rhaglen y System Rheoli Llyfrgell a Rennir, oweng12@cardiff.ac.uk  Ffôn: 02922510189

Jisc: Chris Keene, Pennaeth dyfodol llyfrgelloedd ac ysgolheigaidd JISC, chris.keene@jisc.ac.uk, 0203 006 6047.

Cambridge Econometrics: Graham Hay, Cyfarwyddwr Cysylltiol, CE, gh@camecon.com, Ffôn: 01223 533100

Posted in Blog LMS WHELF a Rennir, collaboration, JISC, Uncategorised, WHELF Shared LMS blog

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