A warm welcome…..

The aim of the University Library blog is to connect the University of Lincoln community with information related to them locally within the institution and the Library, but also regionally and nationally.  We would like to promote and communicate a variety of initiatives, resources, developments and interesting stories that are meaningful in both the local University and wider community.

 

Black History Month 2021

For Black History Month 2021 the Library has created a new reading list about the black history of artists and art movements.  In addition to books we already have in the Library, we have also purchased some new titles which should arrive very soon.

The reading list also includes some online resources and we would welcome new resources to add to the list.

Picture of three artist books
Selection of books from the reading list

The Lions of Lincoln Cathedral Library

Welcome to a visual feast of the king of the beasts, as seen in manuscripts and printed books of Lincoln Cathedral Library. Some of the images are realistic and some less so but still evidence of our long term fascination with the magnificent animal found at the top of the food chain.

Oldest Lions

illuminated initial showing a group of lions on a background of intertwined blue vines
Lincoln Cathedral MS 147 f.96r

One of our oldest lion’s is the 12th century decorated initial in  a manuscript of Peter Lombard’s Sentences (specifically, Psalm 52), described by Rodney Thomson as ‘white lions on square, coloured grounds edged with green’. Can you see them? Look closely!

medieval illuminated letter D, with a red lion in the centre of a green letter
Lincoln Cathedral  MS 193 f.27v

This lonely lion in a 13th century initial from Ivo of Chartres’ Decretum is much easier to spot!

Another 12th century depiction illustrates genealogies of the Counts of Flanders and Kings of France with a lion rampant.

a medieval drawing of a lion
Lincoln Cathedral MS 98 f.120r

It’s interesting to compare the medieval lions to each other!

Early Modern Lions

a woodcut of a lion
Conrad Gesener, Historiae Animalium (1551-1558)

Swiss physician Conrad Gesner is often considered to be the father of modern zoology. His three volume History of Animals was the first comprehensive reference work on the subject, covering quadrupeds, fish, and birds.   Illustrated throughout with fine hand-coloured woodcuts, this work attempted to include all the available information on each animal.  Although it was intended to be factual, there are many wondrous and mythical creatures scattered throughout each book, including a unicorn. This was the first attempt by anyone to describe the animals and their habitats accurately.  If you are visiting Lincoln please do not miss the new exhibition space at the Cathedral. An animated version of Gesner’s rhinoceros will be there in 2022!

painting of a shirtless man, sitting on a rock reading a book. A lion sleeps at his feet.
Illustration of St Jerome and the lion (undated drawing)

The story of the church father Jerome and the lion is a delightful story of a saintly scholar coming to the rescue of a limping lion, removing a thorn from his paw. The lion repaid his kindness by remaining by his side until his death around 420 CE and appears in many paintings with St Jerome. The cathedral owns a beautiful drawing of this story, a hand-coloured illustration with no provenance but visible pin holes where it has been displayed in the past.

The earliest printed book held in the Cathedral Library is a copy of Jerome’s Epistles printed in 1468.

Lions of the Nineteenth Century

illustration of two lions, one crouching facing left, and a lioness surrounded by three cubs
Oliver Goldsmith, A History of the Earth and Animated Nature (1857)

Oliver Goldsmith’s History of the Earth and Animated Nature was first published in 1774, describing the history of the earth, geographical features and many species of animals in eight volumes. The Cathedral has a two volume abridged version, which appeared in 1853. It is mentioned in George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, read and enjoyed by Maggie Tulliver.

a black and write print of a man tying prone with a lion pouncing on his back
David Livingstone, Missionary travels and researches in South Africa (1857)

Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone (1813-1873) was not enamoured of the artist’s impression of him being attacked in by a lion, which was published in ‘Missionary travels and researches in South Africa; including a sketch of sixteen years’ residence in the interior of Africa’ in 1857 and tried to have it banned. The attack took place in 1844 during a journey to Mabotsa, Livingstone survived the encounter but the lion did not.

The cathedral library also holds a letter from Livingstone addressed to Col Winyard in 1862, detailing the trials and tribulations of travel in Africa at that time, which featured in Lincoln’s Black History Trail in October’s Black History Month, as part of the University of Lincoln’s Reimagining Lincolnshire project. You can learn more at https://reimagininglincs.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk

Lions Today

Throughout the cathedral’s history, lions have sparked the imagination and interest of the people who illustrated, wrote, and collected its books. We hope you have enjoyed getting to know the lions of Lincoln Cathedral Library.

Images shared with the permission of the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln Cathedral. Blog written by Claire Arrand with help from Hope Williard.

LGBTQ+ health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic

Its near the end of LGBTQ+ History month so we are focussing on LGBTQ+ mental health and wellbeing research in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

LGBT+ 2021 History Month logo

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Exploring LGTBQ+ History in an Online Archive

February is LGTBQ+ history month in the UK and library blog is celebrating by featuring posts about resources for exploring LGTBQ+ lives in the past, present, and future. This first post in our series is about one of our online archives. We would love to hear your comments and questions about the posts: please tweet us @GCWLibrary, email us at library@lincoln.ac.uk, or tell us your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the post.

Adam Matthews Explorer (AM Explorer), is one of the library’s newer databases, and contains a huge range of online archives organised around a wide range of themes. Queer histories  A collection that might be of particular interest for exploring LGTBQ+ histories in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries centuries is Sex and Sexuality. The archive collects the research papers, notes, and interviews of people who have researched sex, sexual behaviour, sexuality from an academic and medical perspective, such as Alfred Kinsey and Norman Haire; and archival collections which focus on lived experiences of individual people.

Handwritten notebook page
Page from the Diary of Anne Lister (1791-1840)

You can do a keyword search within the archives represented in the collection (the take a tour page gives you a good overview of the collection as a whole) or browse specific parts of it. One particular part of the collection lets you explore the diaries of Anne Lister, a nineteenth century gentlewoman who wrote about her relationships with women and travels across Europe. An introductory essay offers some context and background on who Anne Lister was and her importance in lesbian history.  You can also explore the papers of the nineteenth and early twentieth century gay rights advocate Edward Carpenter. To explore twentieth century gay and lesbian history, you can explore the responses given by participants in the National Gay and Lesbian Survey.

Orange paper with typed letter to National Gay and Lesbian Survey Participants, 1996
National Gay and Lesbian Survey, Letter to Participants, 1996

The Sex and Sexuality archive also focuses on a wide range of collections from specific libraries,  such as the Kinsey Institute, which has collected a large library and archive of material relating to sex and sexuality–you can explore collections ranging from romantic and erotic pulp fiction to an archive of materials on cross-dressing in the nineteenth century and much more besides. You can also explore collections from the ONE Archive at the University of Southern California Libraries, including papers, photographs and letters which provide a firsthand view of queer lives, relationships and advocacy in twentieth century America. On the other side of the pond, archivists have collected a huge range of material from the UK’s National Archives relating to sex and sexuality–you can see some of the highlights here

Image of two white women wearing glasses standing on a hillside
Photograph (Sue Gaff and M Doyle) from Esther Herbert and Marvyl Doyle Papers and Photographs

Even if you have some experience researching for your studies, working with an online archive can sometimes be overwhelming! There are a range of ways to explore the collection in order to find material you are looking for or interested in. You can search for specific names or keywords–if you are searching for particular words and phrases keep in mind that our vocabulary around sex and sexuality has changed a lot (and continues to do so), so you might find it helpful to take a look at the research tools section for ideas. If you are interested in browsing specific topics, like gender identities or art and literature, there’s a feature that lets you browse by topic. And if you struggle to locate material that is relevant to your research or interests, do contact your subject librarian–we’re here to help!

GCW Library Contributes to History Day 2020

Library staff are participating in History Day 2020, a set of interactive events which allow students, researchers, and lovers of history to explore archival, museum, and library collections that tell us more about the past. Our contribution takes the form of two blog posts–links and more details below!

MS 95 f.6v – a fragment of a 15th century antiphoner (a book of the responses sung at different parts of a Catholic church service. The manuscript was subsequently used to cover other manuscripts)

In ‘Silencing the Music‘, Special Collections Librarian Claire Arrand and music librarian Hope Williard reflect on the delay coronavirus has caused for a joint research project with two undergraduate students, Valerie Arinda and Megan Lomas. Our project, ‘Distant Music: Uncovering the Music of Lincoln Cathedral Library’, will involve investigating Lincoln Cathedral’s incompletely catalogued manuscript and printed sacred music. Due to the pandemic, and the impossibility of conducting socially distanced or online research, the project has been put on hold, but we hope you enjoy reading about it, and getting a sneak peek at some of the cathedral’s musical treasures.

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How young adult literature is clapping back to misogyny

March is women’s history month and the library blog is celebrating by featuring posts from authors around the university about the lives and writings of women. The third post in our series is by Emily Hanson, administrator for the School of History and Heritage. Thank you for writing for us, Emily! We would love to hear your comments and questions about the posts: please tweet us @GCWLibrary, email us at library@lincoln.ac.uk, or tell us your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the post.

How young adult literature is clapping back to misogyny (and how this supports those most in need of advocacy)

I recently found myself writing a defense of young adult literature on my blog. I have always argued for the importance of high quality, relevant teen literature (or YA–Young Adult), not just for teens but for all of ages. At first glance, literature written from a teenage perspective offers the potential for representation that young people may not find elsewhere in traditionally published writing, alongside facilitating empathy for the modern teen experience. Beyond this, however, I argue that YA is a fantastic vehicle for exploring some of life’s most challenging experiences through the lens of those in a life phase where these experiences are new and deeply felt. In the context of women’s history, YA writing provides an excellent opportunity to empathetically ‘clap back’ to misogynistic issues faced by the young women of 2020.

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Google AND the Library

Google and the Library

Librarians can give you many reasons why our resources are considered preferable to those you might find on the open web – such as the resource’s reliability, relevance and the review process, to name a few.

While, yes, we librarians love to extol the virtues of the Library and would prefer our students, staff and researchers make use of our wonderful (and not inexpensive) print and electronic resources, we are aware that many people find using Google for their research easier and, dare we say it, quicker!

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In Defence of the Trashy: The Significance of Popular Romance Novels for Women’s History

March is women’s history month and the library blog is celebrating by featuring posts from authors around the university about the lives and writings of women. Our second post in our series is by Rebecca Norman, a third year student on the BA History course. She explains the topic of her dissertation and how it helps us understand the lives of lower and middle class British women. Thank you for writing for us, Rebecca! This post has been guest edited by School of History and Heritage administrator, Emily Hanson. We would love to hear your comments and questions about the posts: please tweet us @GCWLibrary, email us at library@lincoln.ac.uk, or tell us your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the post. 

When my grandpa found out I was writing my undergraduate dissertation on Denise Robins’ popular romance fiction, he commented that:

‘You don’t need to be paying to read that rubbish at University, your grandma has plenty on her kindle!’

Somehow, in his initial pride that his granddaughter was studying a ‘proper’ subject like History at university, he had not envisioned me carrying out a research project on what is widely regarded as ‘trashy’ fiction; but I’m about to finish off 10,000 words on the gender identities constructed and communicated in popular romance novels of the 1930s.

Continue reading “In Defence of the Trashy: The Significance of Popular Romance Novels for Women’s History”

1900: The Woman’s Exhibition

March is women’s history month and the library blog is celebrating by featuring guest posts from authors around the university about the lives and writings of women. Our first post in our series is by Emma Fox, a third year student on the BA History course. She explains the topic of her dissertation and offers advice to students beginning to think about theirs. Thank you for writing for us, Emma! We would love to hear your comments and questions about the posts: please tweet us @GCWLibrary, email us at library@lincoln.ac.uk, or tell us your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the post. 

For my dissertation, I have been writing about the Woman’s Exhibition held in 1900 at Earl’s Court. This was one of many commercial exhibitions held by London Exhibitions Ltd under Imre Kiralfy who was known in both Britain and the USA for his spectacles and shows. My dissertation explores the exhibition’s representations of women and if and how these appealed to the public.

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Google VS Library

Google vs Library image

A student told me yesterday that it is quicker to use Google rather than the Library.  It felt like I had to do a full-on sales pitch for the next hour extolling the virtues of the Library resources.  I felt I partially succeeded.  The student listened and decided they would like to investigate further.

So why use the Library resources when Google is such a handy option?

What’s the big deal about the Library?

To do academic research, your tutors will expect you to go beyond Google to find good quality, scholarly material.  Your search on Google does not go through a review process.  Anyone can publish on the web.  The Library resources are carefully reviewed and selected by Librarians based on their reliability, relevance to your studies and add value to your academic research.

Your Subject Librarian has organised Library sources into a Subject Guide to help you easily decide which databases and journals you need for your research.  Internet sources are not organised and there are too many pages for any search engine, like Google, to organise by subject matter.

Use the Library to find print and e-resources specific to your subject area and find a wealth of material including academic articles, news items, technical information, magazines, images, statistical data and more.  Many of the databases that the Library subscribes to are indexes to millions of articles from an array of different disciplines.

No one is saying don’t use Google.  Use it for information on corporations and other organisations, for news and current awareness, for researching a well-known event or individual or to find opinions on a topic.  Use Google ALONGSIDE the Library resources.  They can complement each other.

What about Google Scholar?

Again, it can be a great source when used in conjunction with the Libraries’ article and other databases but not on its own.  Yes, it has scholarly articles but it also includes other material that is untrustworthy and you may miss out on articles in full-text.

So….check out the Library Subject Guides and find out who your Subject Librarian is so that they can get you started on where and how to search effectively for your individual topic.  It might well save you the time you thought you were saving on Google.

Look at your subject guide here: https://guides.library.lincoln.ac.uk/?b=s

Find out who your Subject Librarian is here: https://guides.library.lincoln.ac.uk/asl