Today is my last working day as Project Manager for ‘William Hunter’s Library: A Transcription of the Early Catalogues’. It has been a personally rewarding year in which I’ve worked with a fantastic team at the University of Glasgow’s Archives and Special Collections. I want to thank them, especially the Project PI Julie Gardham, for their support throughout the project. I also want to thank my eight fabulous Project Assistants (Michelle Craig, Hannah Grout, Lucy MacIver, David McOmish, Jade Scott, Kate Smith, Jennifer Young, and Jasna Zwimpfer) who made the transcription work happen with speed, efficiency, and humour. Thanks also to our Steering Group who provided guidance and feedback throughout the project. Finally, thank you to the Wellcome Trust which provided the funding that made the project happen.
I hope that what ‘Team Hunter’ has accomplished over the last thirteen months will enrich studies about William Hunter for years to come but especially in his tercentenary year of 2018.
23 May 2018 is Hunter’s 300th birthday. As part of the celebrations surrounding this important event a new Digital Hunter Portal will be launched. The Digital Hunter Portal will bring Hunter’s collections together as they’ve not been since the eighteenth century. This will include the data gathered from the transcription project which will be presented in an exciting new way with transcribed eighteenth-century information matching modern online library catalogue records while giving researchers the chance to see the original entries from digitised pages from Museum Records 3, the Trustees’ Catalogue of Hunter’s books. A similar project at the University of Leeds used the same collections management system (Axiell’s EMu) to create the Leeds Burial Records resource that will be used to make the Digital Hunter Portal. The digital version of Hunter’s library might look and work similarly.
Team Hunter’s work is done and downloadable resources from the project are already available. You can download a Word version of the transcription of MR3, the Excel spreadsheet used to create it, and an author index from the University of Glasgow’s Enlighten repository: http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/151114/. The Excel spreadsheet will be used to populate EMu for the book section of the portal. It is hoped that researchers may also find the raw data to be useful for their own work. Both versions have been fully updated since their original upload in November.
The project team also managed to transcribe Museum Records 1 and most of Museum Records 2. MR 1 is Hunter’s Medical Catalogue that he kept with the help of many of his assistants. MR 2 is Hunter’s ‘Common Catalogue’ as he called it, that is a list of all of his books on other subjects. There is a lot of overlap between these two earlier catalogues and much crossing-out and cross-referencing. They are clearly working documents used different ways from MR 3. Further study of these earlier catalogues and how they relate to Hunter’s book collecting is needed.
Tercentenary Display, January to April 2018
A small display curated by Ellie King, a museum studies placement student who worked on the project from May to July 2017, will be the featured exhibition in the Level 12 foyer from January to April 2018. This will mark the start of the celebrations for Hunter’s 300th birthday. You can read a blog post by Ellie about her selections for the display here.