Peter Guy

It occurs to me that I failed to mention another bright light in the Oxford Brookes firmament, the late Peter Guy. He was a lecturer in the Department of Book Publishing but left before I became a student there. He was for many years the Hon. Secretary of the Wynkyn de Worde Society and a great and joyful influence in the lives of many publishers and others.

<a class="addthis_button" href="http://www.addthis.com/bookmark.php?v=250&amp;pubid=ra-4ee39d86551cfb83"><img src="http://s7.addthis.com/static/btn/v2/lg-share-en.gif" width="125" height="16" alt="Bookmark and Share" style="border:0"/></a><!-- AddThis Button END-->

Comments

Planning for 2015 Already

I visited my alma mater (well, one of them), Oxford Brookes University, yesterday. I was a part of a focus group (such a terrible expression) for the 150th anniversay preparations in 2015. It traces its origin to the foundation of Oxford College of Art in 1865. The meeting was in Headington Hill Hall, an attractive building in beautiful grounds. In my days at what was then Oxford Polytechnic, the Hall was the lair of the Robert Maxwell who plundered his employees' pension funds to fuel a life of excess.

I remember Oxford Polytechnic very fondly, especially for the quality of the teaching staff. My tutor, Tom Colverson, was a most wonderful, kind, generous, helpful and knowledgeable man and is remembered fondly by all his former students. We also had an excellent editorial lecturer, Laura Cohn (her father was the distinguished architect and designer, Wells Coates). The printing lecturers, Ray Clench and Tony Watts, and the binding lecturer, Ivor Robinson, were all great. From all I've heard, the University has continued to offer a very high standard of education.

All universities like to claim they're forward-looking, but the fact that Oxford Brookes are already planning ahead to their 150th anniversary in 2015, shows they really are. I hope I'll be able to contribute to the celebrations in some way.

<a class="addthis_button" href="http://www.addthis.com/bookmark.php?v=250&amp;pubid=ra-4ee39d86551cfb83"><img src="http://s7.addthis.com/static/btn/v2/lg-share-en.gif" width="125" height="16" alt="Bookmark and Share" style="border:0"/></a><!-- AddThis Button END-->

Comments

Information Resources for Independent Researchers

 

Anyone who is no longer affiliated with an academic institution but who is attempting to carry out research, in almost any discipline, is at a great disadvantage. I am probably more fortunate than most, having a reader’s ticket the Leeds University Library and Alumni Plus membership of the Senate House Library, University of London. The latter gives me access, at home, to various online databases (but, sadly, not to many of those I really need). I also have a British Library reader’s ticket. Some years ago, when there was a special offer, I bought life membership of Questia, another very valuable resource. I have also spent money I cannot afford on becoming a Friend of the Institute of Historical Research, a wonderful  reference-only collection and on a subscription to the British Newspaper Library. And I subscribe to ancestry.com. I used to belong to the wonderful London Library but couldn’t afford the escalating subscription. Some of these databases are accessible at the various libraries but I can afford neither the time nor the money to go into the centre of London every time I need to look something up.
 
So what am I complaining about? It is principally that there are so many online resources which I need and cannot now access. In my case, I am particularly anxious to access such things as Early English Books in Print, Eighteenth Century Collections Online and the Burney Collection. Without these, it is extremely difficult to research my books. This is not to criticise either the companies who control these resources or the libraries who give limited (if any) home access. The former have a duty to their shareholders to maximise their profits and the latter are tied by their commercial agreements with the former. 
 
For some years, I studied various Open University courses just to gain access to their online databases. I had to give this up for three reasons: (1) I could not afford the time to complete the courses; (2) I could not afford the fees; and (3) it did not seem right to be using the University in this way.
 
What is the answer? I don’t know, although it does occur to me that when one tots up all the different subscriptions I pay every year, it comes to quite a sum. Is there no commercial (or, even better, not-for-profit) organisation which could bring these resources together at a reasonable price?
 
<a class="addthis_button" href="http://www.addthis.com/bookmark.php?v=250&amp;pubid=ra-4ee39d86551cfb83"><img src="http://s7.addthis.com/static/btn/v2/lg-share-en.gif" width="125" height="16" alt="Bookmark and Share" style="border:0"/></a><!-- AddThis Button END-->
Comments

Show more posts

Login