About Helen McGinley

Library Executive II in the Department of Early Printed Books and Special Collections in the Library of Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin.

Much ado about MOOCs

Massive Open Online Courses are a 21st-century phenomenon and have become a popular means of learning, especially in the current worldwide lockdown situation. They are ‘massive’ and ‘open’ because there are no limits to the number of participants and no qualification requirements. With the development of technology, they are a natural progression from correspondence courses. Continue reading

A Bibliographical Alphabet

Due to the current situation, we are all working from home, so we are unable to show you new images from our collections. However, we are keen to maintain our online presence, so do follow us on Twitter and enjoy looking back at previous blog posts. We are also available by email – epbooks@tcd.ie – but obviously there is a limit as to what research we can do to answer your enquiries. We will do our best, of course!

Bibliography, in the sense of the history and description of books, uses a number of words which are not common in everyday life, so we thought some of our followers might find this A-Z useful. Words in italics are further explained under their initial letter. Continue reading

A moving experience

Due to some necessary, very noisy, works being carried out in the Old Library building, the Early Printed Books and Special Collections reading room is moving to a temporary home in the Map Library, in the basement of the Ussher Library. The work is scheduled to begin on Monday 4th November and last for at least two weeks.

Gall.UU.3.53

We will take with us all material which is on hold, and there will be Stack and Santry deliveries to the Map Library, although the former may take slightly longer than usual. A small number of books may be unavailable for the duration but we hope this will not apply to many. If you have books on hold and will not want them again, we would be very grateful if you would let us know before 4th November, either by phone – 01 896 1172 – or email – epbooks@tcd.ie – to minimise the amount of material being moved.

Unfortunately, we will be unable to facilitate any classes during this time.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and look forward to welcoming you back to our usual reading room when the noise has abated.

A reader’s-eye view

By Maggie Masterson, Pollard Fellowship recipient

Without question, the highlight of my year in the M.Phil. in Children’s Literature has been time spent in the Early Printed Books reading room, researching the Pollard Collection of Children’s Books. The students on my course are lucky enough to have a tour arranged by our lecturer, but don’t let a lack of formal orientation stop you from finding your way up there. Marvelous things await your visit. Continue reading

And when I looked … a book was therein

Sometimes it’s obvious that a book has a story to tell before you even look at the text. The volume at OLS X-1-60 is a good example. As soon as it is lifted from its protective storage box, the hand-made brown velvet case begs to be stroked. The initials TW are embroidered on the top; the pink felt lining protrudes; and the cardboard backing shows through where moths have made a meal of the felt. Continue reading

300 years on a desert island!

First edition, 1719, shelfmark VV.i.31

Robinson Crusoe is 300 years old today! Actually, the gentleman himself is older than that, as he was already a young man at the start of the book, but The life and strange surprizing adventures of Robinson Crusoe of York, Mariner was first published on April 25th, 1719. It was followed, later the same year, by The farther adventures of Robinson Crusoe; being the second and last part of his life, and of the strange surprizing accounts of his travels round three parts of the globe. (Rather appropriately, the first edition of the latter was printed at the Ship in Pater-Noster-Row, London.) Continue reading

Banned books in Trinity College

This post was written by Assumpta Guilfoyle and Louise Kavanagh, both in Collection Management, TCD Library.

On preparing an exhibition on banned books, we knew a certain amount about censorship in Ireland. After a bit more research on the topic it became clear that the banning system failed our now-renowned Irish writers, and denied the Irish public the right to read the very best of literature. The Censorship Board did not set out to ban so many books, but they ended up doing just that. We kept reminding ourselves that it was the 1920s, a Catholic country that was trying to revive its national identity, it was a complex time both at home and abroad. Benedict Kiely, banned, said a prohibition was ‘the only laurel wreath that Ireland was offering to writers in that particular period’. Continue reading

Judging books by their covers

The saying says ‘never judge a book by its cover’, but sometimes the cover is so attractive you feel you just have to pick up the book. Of course, it’s always a disappointment if it doesn’t live up to its promise! A trend on Twitter in the past couple of weeks has been to post a book cover each day for seven days, with no explanations, and to challenge someone else each day to join in. Glucksman Library Special Collections & Archives at the University of Limerick invited us and I accepted. Here are the covers which featured in my responses: Continue reading