Now they tell me…

For those planning on going to the British Library, it looks like they’ll be allowing photography in the Manuscripts room soon. If I can quote from the personalized email that I received:

Following the initial roll-out of self-service photography in several of our Reading Rooms in January, we are pleased to tell you that this facility will be extended to the following Reading Rooms in March 2015: Asian & African Studies
 Business & IP Centre
 Manuscripts 
 Maps 
 Rare Books & Music

Our curators have been working hard behind the scenes to identify material that can be photographed. With over 150 million items in our collections this is a huge task that will take some time to complete. From 16 March 2015 a significant amount of additional material will be available for photography for personal reference purposes and curators will continue to identify more material appropriate for inclusion.

Items which cannot be photographed include (but are not limited to): those that have not yet been assessed as appropriate for photography; restricted or special access material; items at risk of damage; and items where there may be data protection, privacy or third party rights issues. This will be a small proportion of our overall collections. Of the material ordered across all of our Reading Rooms in 2014, more than 95% of those items would now be available to photograph.

You may use compact cameras, tablets and mobile phones to photograph material and any copies made must not be used for commercial purposes. As with our current copying services, copyright, data protection and privacy laws must always be adhered to.

Before using your device to take photographs, we kindly ask that you view our Self-service Photography Video. This video outlines the new policy, along with information on copyright, data protection and collection handling.

A handout, available in the Reading Rooms, explains this facility and if you need further advice or assistance, please speak to our Reading Room staff.

Best wishes,
Reader Services

Boy I could’ve used that three years ago.

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8 responses to “Now they tell me…”

  1. Ben Trotter says :

    I was delighted recently when I discovered at the *Archives diplomatiques de France* at La Courneuve that I was free to photograph manuscripts as well as microfilms. It certainly saved money and expedited my work.

    • jostwald says :

      Hey Ben. I’ll be doing much microfilm photographing of my own at the SHD (Archives de Guerre for us old-timers) this summer, so I suppose I should start practicing.
      AAE even apparently has Wifi now – but shouldn’t there be some French-langauge equivalent for wee-fee?
      At least they had the decency to wait until Minitel was dead.

  2. Andrew Tumath says :

    While I didn’t get round to checking the Add Mss 6151x volumes, it seems that the 95% referred to in the email mentioned above doesn’t include (at least some of) the Blenheim papers. These remain out of bounds for camera-equipped researchers: Add Mss 9100 & 9107 both came back to me with yellow (no photography) markers.

    • jostwald says :

      That’s unfortunate, and annoying.

      Don’t know if this helps, but Harvester Microfilm has scanned a bunch of volumes from the Blenheim Papers; they’re available at several US libraries, and possibly abroad.
      Add MSS volumes on Harvester microfilm (62 reels):
      Reels 1-23
      Add MSS vols. 61101-61158
      61160-61166
      Reels 21-41
      61167-61171
      61190-61194
      61211-61212
      61214-61219
      61221-61223
      61228-61236
      61239
      61244
      61247-61248
      61254-61256
      61283-61297
      61303
      Reels 42-62
      61306-61315
      61319-61321
      61363-61373
      61378
      61380-61402
      61408
      61411-61413

      (Note: none of the Dutch correspondents were scanned, which is why I’ve dedicated many a research dollar acquiring them.)

      I have about 198 volumes from the Add MSS scanned in total; I’m willing to swap for particular docs if that helps.

      • Andrew Tumath says :

        It’s a great (and also kind) suggestion. As it happens, I’ve long wondered if a primary source exchange site could possibly work, but found myself bogged down in questions like: would it be one doc for one doc? Or on the basis of a word count? Images or transcripts, or both, with weighting applied to transcribed documents because they require quite a bit of work? I’m quite sure you’ve already thought of this yourself – what were/are your thoughts on it?

      • jostwald says :

        I’ll make a post and throw the question open.

  3. Andrew Tumath says :

    An update from the British Library on the Marlborough manuscripts: they ARE eligible for photography, after all. The particular collections that I requested do not have online catalogue markers, meaning they could not be assigned a green (yes) or red (no) photography label. As a result, they were delivered to me with the yellow (no) photography label. I have been instructed that should this occur in the future, I am to request a manual review of the manuscript collection, and in the vast majority of cases a thumbs up will be given.
    It is, therefore, open season at the BL.

  4. jostwald says :

    Thanks for the update. Now if only there was a way to get all those manuscript documents transcribed…

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