Echoes From the Vault, Re-echoed

2016-03-09 16.25.31
Playfair Terrace, referenced in blogpost

Writing my paper for the IAML Congress which takes place in Leipzig later this month, I decided to reference a recording that I made with Dr Jane Pettegree for my blogpost on St Andrews’ Special Collections blog, Echoes From the Vault.  I can hardly believe it’s two years since I wrote it!  However, it was my research into the Copyright Music Collection at St Andrews, that led ultimately to the AHRC-funded research network that I’m currently leading.

So, maybe it’s not inappropriate to revisit the blogpost here, today?


Experimenting with Animation

Could you use a couple of absolutely miniscule videos to tell people about the Claimed From Stationers’ Hall research network?

Educationalists don’t entirely agree with the concept of learning styles these days, but in my librarian-as-educationalist capacity I have learned that people do value having access to a variety of formats when it comes to learning about new stuff.  The other day, I was experimenting with a newly-discovered facility for creating very short animated videos.  (Yes, I spend my weekends in odd ways.)

I can see potential uses for, but the major hurdle is deciding which template to use.  Although you start by deciding the purpose of your video, it isn’t immediately apparent how many screens each template offers you, nor what the images are going to look like! Maybe it’s because I was playing around with the free version.

[PS a few days later – I now know that starting a video from scratch means you get to choose how many frames to use, and you can also choose which templates to use, though you lose the chirpy little animated people.  Moreover, you can upload your own music.  THAT makes things much more fun!]

Anyway, my playful Sunday evening resulted in two short videos about the Claimed From Stationers’ Hall network.

  • My first attempt was Claimed From Stationers’ Hall: a Research Network, which explains how the network came into being.
  • Next came  Out of the Stacks,  which is about the repertoire itself, and its value.  Trust me, the videoclip is as short as can be and takes only seconds to view!  I managed to get my own images into this one, which was a bonus.
  • I’ve a feeling I can only create a few videoclips a month for free, so you have my assurance I won’t be cluttering this blog with Biteable videos!


Why “Not worth a mention”?

Wonderful! A lovely read, especially for followers of the Claimed From Stationers’ Hall network!

MusiCB3 Blog

You may have wondered why our latest exhibition, in and around the Anderson Room, celebrating the work of female composers has the odd title of “Not worth a mention“. The idea for the exhibition came about through a chance conversation with a music librarian at another Legal Deposit library. Looking for some music that had been entered at Stationer’s Hall to show a researcher, the first score he plucked from the shelf had a piece by a little known nineteenth century composer, a Miss Heward. Researcher was delighted and wondered if the library had anything else by her. Librarian went confidently to the catalogue, and was puzzled to discover that there was NOTHING by Miss Heward, not even the piece he held in his hand. Perhaps it had been missed out of the electronic catalogue during the migration from cards? But no, there was no evidence of it…

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Stationers’ Hall, Stationers’ Hall Court

Stationers Hall coloured image Thomas Shepherd 1831

The image I’ve been using?  I now have my own engraved, coloured antique print.  It dates from 1831, was drawn by Thomas H. Shepherd, and engraved by W. Watkins.  I treated myself to the print after our successful workshop last week.  You must admit it looks lovely in colour!

Project Workshop 26th March 2018

RCSWell, the arrangements are all in place.  We have delegates, a board room to meet in, catering and other practicalities taken care of, and even lunchtime entertainment for our guests.  I’m happy to say that we’ve made contact with ALL of the historical legal deposit libraries, and all but two of them will be represented at next Monday’s workshop, along with big data and digitisation experts and other interested scholars.  I won an AHRC networking award last year, and here we have it – networking really bearing fruit. I’m so excited!


Bigger Picture What Did Happen - March 2016TWO YEARS … To think that it’s two years ago since I presented this slide at the IAML (UK and Ireland) Annual Study Weekend: things have moved on quite a bit since then!

TWO HUNDRED YEARS … Lastly, I can’t resist sharing this – a snapshot of what was registered at Stationers’ Hall OTD (on Charles Nicholson Flutethat day) 26th March 1818.  It really is a typical cross-section of music publishing at the time!  Just look – three arrangements of contemporary or near-contemporary operatic works for domestic consumptions (let’s not argue about who had the copyright in what! – see the posting on this blog last month!), and flute duets by one of THE big names of the time, virtuoso performer and arranger Charles Nicholson:-

Bishop’s Overture and Songs in Zuma, Book 1; Burrowes’s arrangement of Airs from Il Don Giovanni [Mozart], Books 1-3; Paer’s Numa Pompilio Overture; and Nicholson’s Four Concertante Duetts for Two Flutes.







Tracing Early Legal Deposit Music

Causewayside, National Library of Scotland, where UK legal deposit is administered.

Asked, in connection with another project, where the legal deposit music is in Britain, it seemed a good idea to summarise the current position.  What follows is a very broad outline, but it might prove helpful to anyone trying to track down an old British piece of music! 

The British Library has always received legal deposit materials from the start, has the most complete collection and all are catalogued.  The collection began as the Royal Collection, then formed the basis of the British Museum collection, from which the British Library evolved.

For the remainder of the legal deposit libraries, remember that historically, some form of library committee decided which music to keep. This varied widely:-

  • Bodleian Library, University of Oxford – has always received legal deposit materials, from the start right up to the present. Mostly all catalogued, though historical entries aren’t all full, in-depth records, having been digitised from old records.
  • Cambridge University Library – has always received legal deposit materials, from the start right up to the present. Not all historical materials are catalogued.
  • Aberdeen University Library – was a legal deposit library up to 1836. A very incomplete collection, but what survives is catalogued – not all catalogued online.
  • St Andrews University Library – again, a legal deposit library up to 1836. A more comprehensive collection, but only items post 1800 are catalogued online, and the paper catalogue records for the earlier items appear to be missing.  Interestingly, the historical music collection was very much a working one, frequently borrowed by professors, students, and friends of the professors.
  • Edinburgh University Library – a legal deposit library up to 1836. A very patchy collection, but items that ended up in the Reid Music Library, established in the 19th century, are at least now listed on a spreadsheet.
  • Glasgow University Library – a legal deposit library up to 1836. A more comprehensive collection, and catalogued online.
  • National Library of Scotland – evolved from the Advocates Library in Edinburgh, and is a legal deposit library to this day. Historical music is catalogued in the Victorian paper catalogue; probably not as complete as the British Library, for various reasons.  More modern materials are catalogued online.
  • Trinity College Dublin. Although a legal deposit library since 1801, there is little historical music copyright material to speak of, because it wasn’t collected. Still a legal deposit library.
  • Sion College, London, was historically a theological institution, with a legal deposit library prior to 1836. All holdings have more recently been transferred to Lambeth Palace Library, London, and little music survives. Not catalogued.
  • King’s Inns, Dublin – another historical legal deposit library 1801-1836, but music appears not to have been catalogued to any extent, except very popular publications which must have been added to stock individually as they made their way to the library.
  • National Library of Wales. Was not a legal deposit library until the 20th century. (Unlike the National Library of Scotland, it was a new establishment in 1907, not growing out of an earlier institution.

Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries – find out about today’s legal deposit system.

Introduction to Legal Deposit – a helpful introduction from the National Library of Wales.

Acknowledgement: image –, CC BY 2.0,