– notes, frequently asked questions and useful links from the archivist and curator of manuscripts at Balliol College, University of Oxford. Opinions expressed are the author's own.

and a partridge in a pear tree

A few numbers, recently collated, from the archives & manuscripts Sept 2015 – Aug 2016:

  • 2 million views (and more) of nearly 90,000 (and counting) images of archive & manuscript material on Flickr  – all as requested by researchers
  • 915 enquiries about the archives & manuscripts received by the archivist via  email/phone/letter
  •  380 visitors (approx) to the Historic Collections Centre at St Cross church during the Open Doors Oxford and Historic Churches Trust Ride & Stride weekend in September 2015
  • 150 medieval and early modern manuscripts (and counting) partially or completely photographed so far – all images online
  • 110 person-days of individuals’ research at St Cross using archives & manuscripts
  • 15 displays by the archivist of (all different) original material and facsimiles in St Cross and Broad Street, supporting teaching and other private events requested by  e.g. university clubs, literary societies, professional associations, Balliol and other teaching staff, senior members and alumni
  • 7 Unlocking Archives events – seminar on current research in the Historic Collections, now completing its 4th year. Topics & speakers. All talks illustrated with images of special collections material and with original material on display.
  • 6 Documents In Focus posters in the College Library during term time, each featuring a single item from the archives and manuscripts, aimed at current students
  • 5 seasonal displays by the archivist in the antechapel (with the lead pipe) of facsimiles from the archives and manuscripts – accessible to the visiting public as well as Balliol people, plus permanent blog posts of the material displayed
  • 2 major exhibitions, on Swinburne (curated by Dr Rikki Rooksby and the then Assistant Librarian, Fiona Godber) and Shakespeare (curated by the Librarian, Naomi Tiley)

College and university reports, logically, often concentrate most on what happens during the academic year, October-June, but of course Library and Historic Collections staff are working – making the collections available to students, researchers, the college and the public – all through the year. University Vacations can be even busier than term time in the archives, as students and senior researchers from institutions around the world are free to send research enquiries and travel to carry out research in person. That said, termtime never seems to be less busy…

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