“The book as world and the world as book” at the Warburg Institute


Alberto Manguel, picture by Fronteiras do Pensamento [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D via Wikimedia Commons

Last Friday 20th April the Warburg Institute in London organised an event that focused on books and readers in the Spanish speaking world, entitled The book as world and the world as book. The keynote of the event was a delightful -to say the least- conversation between the Warburg’s director, Bill Sherman, and Alberto Manguel, writer and Director of the National Library of Argentina. Coincidentally, Manguel’s book Packing my Library featured as “Book of the week” on BBC Radio 4 at the beginning of the month (the UL copy stands at C205.d.5241). Their discussion, of course, was all about books, writing, reading and libraries and also about Manguel’s experiences as a young man when he read aloud to an old and blind Borges. The book With Borges (a copy is held at Jesus College’s Quincentenary Library) offers memories of the encounter and of Borges’ life beyond his writings. The  Spanish edition of the work, translated by Eduardo Berti can be found at C202.c.5582. Alberto Manguel’s holdings at the University Library are reasonably complete, both in Spanish and English, and demonstrate his flair as a writer, editor and translator (click here to see all 62 titles). Continue reading

Individuality at a price: classification and Martin Luther

D. Martin Luthers Werke : kritische Gesamtausgabe.

D. Martin Luthers Werke : kritische Gesamtausgabe

No large academic library with significant holdings of open access
material would today ever invent its own classification scheme. Cambridge University Library’s individual and eccentric classification scheme, invented in the 1920s, has come to be viewed as a burden by the present generation of librarians. The British Library and the Bodleian, where most material is on closed access, don’t have to worry about classification at all. Most open access libraries in Britain and America will use either Dewey or Library of Congress. This means that just as they share cataloguing data, they can also share classification information. In the UL every time a title is added to the open shelves, we have to reinvent the wheel and classify from scratch, which limits our ability to streamline our processing of material. Continue reading