Royal Botanic Garden’s Library , Edinburgh – Government Information Group visit

Report on the visit by Sarah Louise McDonald, Sherrif Court Librarian

On the 7th of July GIG group members visited the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Library, Scotland’s national collection of botanical and horticultural literature. Scottish Working Forum for Official Publications (SWOP) and Edinburgh Libraries Information Services Agency (ELISA) members were also invited to attend.

The main entrance to the Library and Archive can be accessed via the main entrance off Inverleith Row, though my colleagues and I took a brief stroll through the gardens before meeting Lorna Mitchell, the Head of the Library and Archives, in the Herbarium foyer which set the scene nicely!

The collection houses around 4,200 journal titles and 70,000 books, the earliest of which dates from 1485 and is a record of herbal medicinal plants which belonged to the Regius Keeper. Books were bought at this time by the Botanical Society of Edinburgh but treated like personal possessions so it was common for them to be sold off to supplement members’ incomes. After the establishment of the library in 1873 they were bought, returned or donated to form part of the early collection. It was only in 1964 when the library moved to their current building that the accessions were all housed together, though even now some treasures may be hidden away in offices!

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Visit to the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh 7th July 2017 3pm

The CILIP Government Information Group have arranged a visit to RBG on the 7th July 2017 3pm-4.30.

This visit is open to all SWOP colleagues.

The Library at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) houses Scotland’s national reference collection of botanical and horticultural resources with more than 70,000 books, the earliest of which date from the 15th century. During this visit, attendees will have the opportunity to view some of the treasures from the Library and Archive collections, many of which have never been on public exhibition.

The visit will last for 90 minutes and will include tea and coffee on arrival.

Please reserve your place here 

Making connections

It’s all about making connections.image

Joining SWOP and the CILIP special interest group on government information (GIG)  can help you make these connections. It can give you opportunities to call on others expertise when you need it, widen your knowledge in a particular area, give free training and bursary opportunities, be inspired by others and share your challenges and solutions.

So SWOP you knowlege and expertise or attend the next GIG and see what you are missing.

Digital content in the National Library of Scotland

Review of NLS Digital content event by Stephanie Longmuir, Information Specialist, NBS:

“I recently spent a fascinating afternoon at the National Library of Scotland (NLS), with a tour of the building, with behind the scenes access to the collections, reading rooms and a presentation about a digitisation project.

Fiona Laing, Curator of the Official Publications collection, started the tour off in the NLS exhibition space, currently highlighting their holdings and interesting items relating to plague in Scotland. The information walls also displayed statistics about how big the library is, what collections they have and what the type of material they cover. More information can be found here: http://www.nls.uk/collections

Tour pic exhibition area

It is staggering in comparison with our library which includes approximately 30, 000 items relating to the construction industry!

We then went behind the scenes to one of the floors to see examples of items readers may request to view, how they are stored, organised, reserved and distributed as well as learning about current security, safety and conservation measures in place. We also discovered more about the role of a legal deposit library and how the agents obtain items. It was astounding to think this vast space held only a fraction of the entire collection.  After this we headed back up to one of the meeting rooms to find out more about a digitisation project from Jan Usher, a Social Sciences Curator. This project aimed to digitise the House of Lords papers between 1806-2000. The project remit had undergone several stops and starts and changes along the way, but they are nearly there, with a soft launch imminent.

The final part of the afternoon was spent exploring the vast digital collections which are available on their website. Some of the resources are only available to those who have registered as a reader ticket and an address in Scotland, but there are several worth exploring which are available as open access resources.

The visit was very useful to gain an understanding of current issues facing legal deposit libraries, as well as collating digital publications and websites.”

Stephanie Longmuir,
Information Specialist, NBS

Stephanie is a chartered and revalidated librarian who works as an Information Specialist at RIBA Enterprises in Newcastle upon Tyne. She works as part of a team of technical editors for The Construction Information Service, a specialist subscription product for architects, engineers and other construction industry professionals. This product is run as a joint venture with IHS who is based in Bracknell.

This visit was organised on behalf of the CILIP Government Information Group