Research at British Library

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Research at British Library

Postby dks » Sat Jan 13, 2007 3:55 am

I wasn't exactly sure where to post this...so, if this is not the right place, I'm sorry up front, Saturn...

But I had to share my experience at the British Library during my recent Europe trip...

I had to interview for a reader card, which was quite highbrow, let me tell you...I found out later that another grad student got their card in half the time I received mine, so apparently I didn't seem as scholarly as they did. :lol:

Once I got the card, I was then able to start perusing the BL's sites with my reader registration number--a vast and incredible playground of information...they had so many sites and so many reference starting points...I was overwhelmed and I finally asked for help...they were very friendly and I found two articles I had been searching for ceaselessly over the past few months, but could not find anywhere...minimum wait time for material is an hour there, so I had to order what I wanted and go back the following Monday to see if they indeed had it...and sure enough--bingo--they are certainly not one of the largest reference libraries in the world for nothing--they had what I needed...and then some...I was able to peruse two Atlantic Monthly volumes from the nineteenth century...they give you the books in special boxes and it was like opening a fragile gift...the books are so old they are literally falling apart :!:

I was able to copy from one volume myself but the others were too damaged and delicate; I had to order the scans of those and they were sending them in the post--almost $50 later--I'd ordered all copies I needed and I almost skipped out of there...I was able to get the very article written by Charles Cowden Clarke entitled "Memiors of an Old School Fellow--Recollections of Keats."

I was also able to get the article written by Severn entitled "On the Vicissitudes of Keats's Fame." I found another gem in another Atlantic Monthly volume (all hardbound books--very rare and old) by Severn--it was on various sketches of Keats...I was happy indeed and I think my directing professor will be pleased. I hope to turn out a satisfactory paper...the pressure is overwhelming, but being able to read those articles firsthand was a treat indeed! If any of you ever get the chance to go there and do some research--you won't be disappointed...they were exceptionally informed and helpful. I was mightily impressed...I still have yet to receive my materials from the scanning department...any day now... :?
"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of Imagination."
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Postby Credo Buffa » Sat Jan 13, 2007 5:36 am

Very cool Denise! One of the great things about academia is the access you get to interesting material. I'm most likely going to be spending a lot of time at the Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin doing research for my thesis and, though it's open to the public and (thankfully) doesn't require an "interview" process like yours, there's still some pretty rare and exciting material there.

Let us know if you come across anything interesting in your reading.
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