The Book Blog

September 24, 2009

Willy Kelly at University of St Andrews’ School of History

Filed under: Conferences — fhartree @ 1:17 pm

Willy Kelly represents SCOB at a conference from 9 to 11 September on European printing in the sixteenth century, which was organised by the University of St Andrews’ School of History. The Universal Short title Catalogue project has been running for some ten years under Prof. Andrew Pettegree and its researches have resulted in one substantial publication so far, with another one due to appear soon. An encouraging feature of the project is the employment of a number of young researchers who can combine work towards an M.Litt. or Ph.D. with hands-on experience of early imprints in a number of areas and who have gone on to secure academic posts in this country and abroad. Two of those research students had the chance to speak formally about their particular areas of interest in company with older, established researchers.


August 10, 2009

Dr Linda Gunn – out and about

Filed under: Conferences,Events — fhartree @ 9:47 am

At the end of May this year I went to Alcalá de Henares near Madrid to present a conference paper on national identity in contemporary Irish drama.  Apparently, Spain is the country with the second most UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world (cities whose historic centres have the UNESCO World Heritage designation) and Alcalá is one of them.  As the project I’m currently working on (Intangible Cultural Heritage in Scotland) is also related to UNESCO, I was able to ‘kill two birds with one stone’– cultural identity and cultural heritage.

Alcalá is the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes, author of “Don Quixote”, and home to one of the most prestigious universities in Spain (dating from the 16th century) and – according to the tourist blurb – gives visitors ‘a glimpse of life in Castilia during the Spanish Golden Age’.  Some nice bars too.

VIII International Conference of the Spanish Association for Irish Studies 28th- 30th May 2009


I was also fortunate enough to attend the SHARP conference in Toronto this year and must point out (see Dave McCormack blog) that, in addition to visiting many Diners and hostelries, three of us did a conference session on the use of digital databases. Yes. Anyway, those crazy SHARP dudes made it a sell-out gig.


Before leaving Toronto I was told I had to go to UNESCO in Paris the following week! This was to wind-up some work we’ve been doing related to the Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Scotland (this is what my SHARP paper on ‘digital databases’ was on). Had to get all the Toronto washing done pronto on returning home – you can’t go to Paris with dirty underwear, can you?

July 6, 2009

Dave McCormack – SHARP 2009

Filed under: Conferences — fhartree @ 9:22 am

Saturday 27th June – That’s All Folks!


Early rise and out for coffee before a trip to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). AGO was designed by Frank Gehry  and houses collections of Canadian art, Inuit art, French Impressionists and contemporary exhibitions. A great visit and reduced student entry price is nice.

Lunch with Sarah and Linda at one of their haunts. Fran’s Diner on Yonge and College is all one would expect of an authentic North American diner. Excellent Eggs Benedict proved the point. A farewell to the girls and off to check out the Pride festival.

Head towards Dundas Square and encounter my first Michael Jackson shrine. Many devotees in what look like pretty poor ‘Jacko’ outfits standing in a circle and laying posters and banners. The news crews are there and it does seem a very solemn ceremony.

Home tomorrow.

Dave McCormack – SHARP TORONTO 2009

Filed under: Conferences — fhartree @ 9:21 am

Thursday 25th June – Second Day of Papers


Another rush hour stroll up University Avenue to the Kelly Library for coffee before heading across the road for the first of this mornings sessions. Alistair is up first, with David Wright of the University of Warwick . Another good showing from the SCOB bunch. Two excellent papers that spark great discussion during question time, even though by this point the temperature in the room is soaring.

Lunch with Linda, Sarah and Padmini at a very nice organic restaurant. Sarah particularly enjoyed her raspberry lemonade.

Attend the second morning session on the Geography of the Book, which is rudely interrupted for most of the session by torrential rain, dark clouds and thunderstorms, and another warm room.

Later in the afternoon I took a stroll to the Eaton centre, an extremely large shopping mall, and made my promised purchase of some underwear for Mrs. McCormack. It went well in so far as I located the store and bought the correct apparel, but with a sweating brow (from the heat) and being the only male in the shop it occurred to me that I did strike quite and odd look rummaging through the underwear. Not to worry, mission accomplished!

Went to The Keg sportsbar and restaurant for a beer and to take in some live baseball from just round the corner – The Toronto Bluejays are playing at home this week. So I know where I was when I heard the news that Michael Jackson had died. I’m sorry about Farrah Fawcett too.

Dave McCormack – SHARP TORONTO 2009

Filed under: Conferences — fhartree @ 9:12 am

Friday 26th June – Last Day of Papers


The sunshine is back again today, but not quite as hot as earlier in the week, either that or I am becoming slightly accustomed to the heat.

An excellent talk this morning from Katherine Wilson of City University of New York, discussing her research on Drama on Microform – humorous and very engaging. Many personal stories of interaction with microform from the audience!

Group photo outside the Kelly Library and then off to lunch with Linda, Sarah, Padmini, Rennie and Alistair at Bistro 99. A nice restaurant and good food. The service was so good that Sarah’s demands for a certain flavour of ice-cream meant that it had to be produced by the kitchen under threat of job losses. The ice-cream arrived and was enjoyed – a great relief for the kitchen.

Met with Sarah and Linda for dinner at a wee street they had identified earlier in the week. A residential street but full of all types of restaurants. As we strolled up and down trying to decide where to go Alistair came out of the restaurant he was having dinner in with an old friend to suggest an Italian across the street, as recommended by his friend. A great choice, we ate outside on the terrace in the warm evening and enjoyed a delicious meal.

I had a nightcap at The Village Idiot pub and then back to Chestnut.

Dave McCormack – SHARP TORONTO 2009

Filed under: Conferences — fhartree @ 9:11 am

Wednesday 24th June – First Day of Papers


Strolled up town to U of T campus and met the gang for coffee before the morning papers got underway. Melanie and Alan have made it after their flight ordeal, however Mel is still without her luggage.

The first panel I attend is Blurred Boundaries: The interaction among established and emerging media. The panel includes discussions on Canadian publisher McClelland and Stewart; Mass digitisation, including the Google Booksearch Program; and the role of radio in reaching homemakers in depression era America.

En masse, we attend Linda, Linda and Sarah’s session, with Padmini filling in for Linda Fleming, which Alistair chairs. Excellent. A really interesting panel of presentations explaining the applications of Web 2.0, which drew a fairly full house in the warm un-air conditioned room at the top of the Carr Hall.

Most of us met again at the reception in Brennan hall that evening. Sadly Alistair had to leave at a reasonable hour as he was speaking first thing the following morning.  A bunch of us strolled through the university campus and down to Chinatown for dinner. An enjoyable evening followed by a stroll home through Chinatown and the city.

Dave McCormack – SHARP TORONTO 2009

Filed under: Conferences — fhartree @ 9:10 am

Tuesday 23rd June – Bibliography Workshops


A bit late getting organised this morning, so a rush to registration and then over for the start of the workshops, where I finally find which of the three towers at the Faculty of Information the workshop is being held in, on the third attempt.

Wonderfully cool air-conditioned room full of eager librarians.  The morning session is for the whole group and really gives an introduction to the role of the bibliography, in terms of historical research, and how the bibliographic reference is constructed. A more in-depth view than I have ever studied, but very interesting and well presented.

Lunch is provided and we get going again for the breakout sessions. I am in this morning’s room, which is handy, listening to two of the previous speakers, Carl Spadoni and Judy Donnelly both of McMaster University, discuss publisher’s archives.

Finish up at 4.30 and head back to Chestnut for a freshen up before this evenings outing to Sin and Redemtion. Met with Alistair and Rennie in the palatial lobby of Chestnut and walked the few blocks to the restaurant. Sarah and Linda were already waiting and we were then joined by David Finkelstein and Simon Frost (who managed to order his meal in the nick of time). A jolly time had by all.

Dave McCormack – SHARP TORONTO 2009

Filed under: Conferences — fhartree @ 9:10 am

Monday 22nd June – Arrival


Flying today from Glasgow International through Newark, New Jersey and on to Toronto.

Whilst getting ready to leave my parents house in the early hours I managed to disturb a burglar in the process and scared him off with no real confrontation, but quite a shock. (It turns out that a mobile phone, a laptop, a camera and bike were stolen, but no other damage done and family seem secure. The cat bit the policeman investigating the crime.)

The flight was perfectly comfortable, with no delays, but I did dwell a bit on my dawn encounter.

Obviously, to cheer me up the captain flew round Toronto giving us all an aerial view of the city before a smooth landing.

I check into the very palatial 89 Chestnut Residence which offers wonderful views of the city and the CN Tower, get freshened up and head out for a stroll.

Pop into a bar for a beer and some chicken wings, unfortunately the hot wings I ordered must have been made with Guatemalan Insanity Peppers, a bit too hot for me!

July 1, 2009

Sarah Bromage – 3rd June 09, (Cilip) Annual Conference in Peebles

Filed under: Conferences — fhartree @ 11:09 am

Sarah_Peebles_001On a very sunny Wednesday in June I traveled down to Peebles with a friend from the Library Course at Strathclyde to attend the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (Cilip) Annual Conference in Peebles. Wednesday was Branch and Group day and the first sight through the door was the central branch of Cilip dressed as super heroes to inspire excellence in librarianship. Once we got over the fact that Wonder Woman and Tank Girl were among the delegates we settled down to enjoy the papers. This year the theme was Inspiring Excellence: your service, our future and included many papers which detailed the impact and advantages of new technologies in encouraging reader development. Of particular interest was the presentation given by Jane Mathieson who spoke about The North West of England Reader Development Network and their use of Web 2.0 in encouraging readership in this area. Also of great interest was David Potts who spoke of his experience of the The People’s Network and discussed the triumphs and failings of this scheme. On a personal note I particularly enjoyed his paper because of his fabulous Brummie accent and the fact that he used to manage the Walsall library in Birmingham, which is a library I know well. However, for me the most interesting panel was the last session of the day where Anna Burkey Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust and Karen Cunningham, Culture and Sport Glasgow talked about the work undertaken by Edinburgh and Glasgow in the area of reader development and in particular the one book initiative. So a good day was had by all and, as you can see by the picture, it was made all the better for the sun and idyllic setting of Peebles Hydro.

June 25, 2009

Linda Fleming gives a paper at the annual conference of the Australasian Victorian Studies Association

Filed under: Conferences — fhartree @ 10:12 am

In February, Linda FLeming  was funded by the British Academy to give a paper at the annual conference of the Australasian Victorian Studies Association, which this year was hosted by the University of Otago in New Zealand. Her paper entitled, The Radical Sensitivities of Marion Bernstein, was given in conjunction with Professor Ed Cohen of Rollins College, Florida. This presentation revealed new evidence about the life and writing of Bernstein, who has become well known to literary scholars and women’s historians interested in the evolution of feminist writing in nineteenth century Scotland. The conference was attended by representatives of departments of literature and Victorian studies from across Australasia, as well as those intrepid travellers who came from many parts of Europe and North America. All enjoyed the excellent conference facilities provided within the Museum of Otago in Dunedin, and for some first time visitors like LF, an introduction to the terrific hospitality afforded by the city known as the Edinburgh of the south!

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