The A.G. Leventis Foundation is generously funding a post for a scanner operator (the A.G. Leventis Scanner Operator) to work on digitising items from the Library's collection. The first two-year post (2019-2021) was renewed for another two years (2021-2023).
June - September 2019
Aaron Fordwoh was appointed and started work on 10 June. A new scanner was bought for the project from the John Casey bequest, and Aaron has started working on some of the tract volumes which have not previously been digitised. Some of these have presented interesting challenges, as when they were originally bound, any oversized pages were folded along the edges to fit the standard binding size - the folded edges have become very fragile along the folds over the years. It is very helpful to digitise them now before they disintegrate completely.
September 2019-June 2021
The areas of collection prioritised for this project are now as follows:
- The diaries, notebooks, sketchbooks and published works from the Robert Wood collection (27 volumes): http://archives.ulrls.lon.ac.uk/Details/archive/110018917 (copy & paste the link into the browser)
- The travel diaries of Theodore and Mabel Bent (25 volumes): http://archives.ulrls.lon.ac.uk/Details/archive/110018900 (copy & paste the link into the browser)
- Tract volumes held by the library. Selected items (around 150 out of 5,395) from these were digitised in 2015. There are many remaining tracts to digitize, bound into 483 volumes.
Our scanner operator, Aaron Fordwoh, made solid progress on this work until the global pandemic and national lockdown forced us to close the library on 19 March 2020. Initially Aaron was able to do some work remotely improving the metadata and page numbering for the scanning already done. From May 2020 we took advantage of the government furlough scheme for this role, and intend to use the money saved to extend Aaron’s contract by two months to make up much of the time lost.
From late July Aaron was able to work in the library again and resume the scanning project. To date, the following scanning has been done:
- 3.83 TB of data
- 256 Volumes, 2,398 chapters (208 tracts, 48 manuscripts)
- 130,692 pages (116,817 tract pages, 13,875 manuscript pages)
- Appoximately 65,346,025 words
We are very grateful to have received an additional two years of funding from the A. G. Leventis Foundation to support our digitisation initiative. We were delighted that the timing of the award meant we could seamlessly continue to employ Aaron Fordwoh as our digitisation officer, making good use of his expertise with our digitisation equipment and familiarity with the collection.
When we started this digitisation initiative, we identified three areas of the collection as our immediate priorities. These were:
- The diaries, notebooks, sketchbooks, and published works from the Robert Wood collection (27 volumes): http://archives.ulrls.lon.ac.uk/Details/archive/110018917
- The travel diaries of Theodore and Mabel Bent (25 volumes): http://archives.ulrls.lon.ac.uk/Details/archive/110018900
- Tract volumes held by the library. Selected items (around 150 out of 5,395) from these were digitised in 2015. There were many remaining tracts to digitize, bound into 483 volumes.
We are on track to have completed these by the end of September, except for one of the Wood volumes that is an awkward shape and cannot be scanned by our equipment. For this volume Aaron is in the process of collaborating with the digitisation suite in another local library, so that the digital collection can be complete.
We are also in talks with Senate House Library about moving to a new online platform to share the digitised works. When this is in place it will allow us to make digitised materials openly available more quickly that we currently can and will automatically link with our catalogue.
In October we will then move to start digitisation in other areas of the collection. The areas we have identified for the next stage are:
- Theses awarded in classical subjects by the University of London and deposited in the library – before the London Colleges started their own repositories these theses were deposited here. Many are not available elsewhere and are frequently requested by researchers both nationally and internationally.
- Selected works from our Rare Books rooms: these rooms contain around 2,000 works published prior to 1850. They are all out of copyright, and over half of them have not been digitized by other libraries.
Since our last update, the following scanning has been added to the collection:
- 3.56 TB of data
- 238 Volumes (263 tracts)
- 3,178 Chapters
- 161, 513 pages (156, 663 tracts)
Digitised volumes are now starting to be made freely available to all via links in the library catalogue, or at the following location: