Searching Library Hub Discover Pilot service

Whether you want a quick and simple search, or something more complex and specific, the newly launched Discover pilot service, part of the new Library Hub service, will meet your needs. The Discover pilot allows you to easily and quickly cross-search the catalogues of (currently) 49 UK HE, specialist, and national libraries, with another 62 waiting to load, and many more on the way to contributing.

If you take a look at the new Library Hub Discover pilot interface, the first thing you’ll see is the large single search box:

Although the search box looks simple, it’s hiding some useful advanced functionality which is built-in to the database and can be accessed by using specific commands in the search box.

These include the ability to search within specific fields:

  • title:
  • author:
  • publisher:
  • subject:
  • keyword:
  • held-by:

This last allows you to limit your search by library, and requires use of our library codes.

You can also use Boolean operators & | and – (AND, OR, and NOT). The NOT search is something that users have mentioned as desirable in Copac feedback, and we’re pleased to be able to include it in Library Hub Discover.

You can also use wildcards, fuzzy searching, and phrase searching. For more information on how to use all of these options, see https://libraryhub.jisc.ac.uk/discover/help

We will also be building these detailed search options into the interface as an advanced search form, along with facets for result refinement. Interface development is ongoing and we would appreciate comments as the work continues, using the Feedback option on each screen.

Compare

These search options will also be available in the Library Hub Compare interface, which will allow libraries to undertake collection analysis and benchmarking through searching or batch upload of standard or local numbers.

Visualisations of search results will be available to enable easy interpretation of collection comparisons, plus export facilities to support further analysis.

This Compare functionality will be useful to libraries wishing to manage their acquisitions, deaccessioning, and physical space, individually, regionally, consortially, and nationally.

During the pilot stage Compare will be evolving to replicate the functionality of the existing CCM Tools service.  The full Compare service will be launching at the end of July and additional functionality will be developed based on feedback from users. Join us at UKSG where we will demo the new Discover and Compare interfaces at the Jisc stand (nos. 52/ 53) on Monday 8th and Tuesday 9th April at 5pm. More details are available on our Events page.

Agreements with Data Suppliers – Statement from BDS

For the NBK Programme to fulfil its stated aim of providing a comprehensive view of the UK national collection and for libraries and researchers to get the most value out of using it, the database must be (as far as possible) an accurate and up-to-date reflection of all the holdings of university, national and specialist libraries in the UK. Many of these libraries rely extensively on commercial data suppliers to provide timely, high-quality metadata that they do not have the time or resources to create themselves. MARC format records are labour-intensive to create and have a commercial value that may be undermined if Jisc was to make them freely available via the Library Hub Cataloguing service

We have, therefore, been in discussion with a number of suppliers about the use of commercially-sourced bibliographic data in Jisc’s Library Hub services and are pleased to announce that we have come to an initial agreement with Bibliographic Data Services Ltd (BDS) about the terms of use of their data.

BDS have released the following statement:

“In recognition of the investment undertaken by Jisc to support academic libraries via the National Knowledge Base (NBK) programme, BDS has agreed to support this initiative by allowing data created at BDS, and already held in member libraries’ catalogues to be made available to the NBK user community for resource discovery purposes in a non-MARC format.

BDS data will not be held in the (NBK) Library Hub Cataloguing module and will not be shared with WorldCat, but is available via direct subscription to BDS services, or through arrangements in place with book suppliers.”

We are in discussion with other suppliers and Dawson Books and Askews & Holts Library Services have also indicated that they are content to take the same position as BDS on the supply of their data into the Jisc Library Hub Discover platform.

Our intention is to try and get clear confirmation from all relevant data suppliers to UK libraries and then to present the agreements reached and the methods of identifying provenance as clearly and concisely as possible.

Whilst these initial agreements represent good progress, Jisc and data suppliers are still looking to maximise prospects for introducing efficiencies into the library data marketplace and are continuing discussions to see if there is a more transformative model that can be agreed that is protective of commercial interests whilst at the same time enhances data provision for the NBK library community.

Watch this space!

Library Hub pilot services: Discover and Cataloguing live

We are very pleased to announce that the launch today of the first two Library Hub pilot services, Discover and Cataloguing.

The Library Hub Discover service is a resource discovery interface, giving users free access to search and discover holdings of a subset of the library catalogues contributed to the National Bibliographic Knowledgebase. This pilot uses the initial elements of our new interface designs.

The Library Hub Cataloguing service allows eligible libraries to search and download MARC records for use in their local catalogue. This service is available through a web interface and Z39.50 connection, both of which will require authentication. Access is available to current Library Hub contributors. To request access, please complete this form.

Both of these services currently contain limited data and functionality, and we will be making regular changes and updates during the pilot phase, up to the full service launch on 31st July. For more information on what is available in these pilot services, please see our About and FAQ pages.

We know that the community has been eagerly awaiting the outputs of the NBK project, and are keen to share these early services with you. Feedback gathered during the pilot phase will lead into the full service development.

We are grateful for the work of our service delivery partner OCLC, and all of the support from the library community, and look forward to sharing more exciting service developments with you over the next few months.

Driving Transformation with the NBK – where have we got to and where next?

This coming Monday (February 4th 2019) we are intending to make two new NBK pilot interfaces available. Discover will give users free access to search and discover holdings of library catalogues that have been contributed to the NBK; this will initially have limited data coverage and will offer an early view of the new interface. Cataloguing will allow eligible (logged in) users to search for and download MARC catalogue records. These two functions will be soft-launched as the first Jisc products to emerge as part of a remodeled offer that we will be referring to as ‘Library Hub‘ – which will, in due course, provide a portal to the various Jisc services that support the library community in the UK (see the previous blog post by Siobhán Burke for more details). More information about how to access the new services will be announced at launch early next week.

Where have we got to?

In terms of overall progress, the availability of the Jisc Library Hub Discover and Cataloguing interfaces will effectively signal the start of the countdown to the retirement of Copac and SUNCAT at the end of July this year. For those in the community that have grown accustomed to those services reliably being available whenever libraries and their users need them, there may be some trepidation about talk of ‘retirement’, particularly in an era when it has become commonplace to hear about ambitious IT projects foundering under the pressure of real world implementation. We hope, therefore, it is reassuring to see these pilot services being launched (and then further developed) well in advance of them taking over from their venerable predecessors.

In terms of what users can expect at this stage from the data that is currently in the system: Discover will be going live with a limited number of library catalogues, with the remainder to follow shortly; we will be gathering feedback as we continue to release further functionality and load more contributors’ catalogues. Cataloguing will contain data that can be used for shared cataloguing and will include the majority of the catalogues we have received, the rest will be loaded as soon as possible. At launch, Cataloguing allows for download of a subset of MARC fields; thus, you may find that you are not downloading the full version of the record. We have endeavoured to ensure that all of the core bibliographic fields have been included, to provide you with useful and useable MARC records.

We’re excited to say that we have now received data from over 100 institutions across the spectrum of academic, specialist, and research libraries and this places us comfortably into territory that is comparable with the numbers contributing to Copac/SUNCAT. This is hugely significant. Those services built up that number of contributors over two decades and it is clear that the NBK has managed to replicate that position in just two years because it is understood by large parts of the community to be the logical next-generation successor to both of those trusted pieces of national data infrastructure.

Once the Discover and Cataloguing interfaces are launched, the Library Hub team will also be turning their attention to the development of the Library Hub Compare tool which will supersede the Copac Collections Management Tool and the SUNCAT Serials Comparison service by the time of full service launch in July 2019.

Where next?

Given that the NBK looks like it has the support and momentum to achieve its goal of aggregating library data at greater scale than has been possible before, this may be a good moment to remind ourselves what the NBK programme is aiming to achieve and why it’s going to be worth the effort and worth taking the time to build it in a sustainable and scaleable way.

Better visibility of library data

We want to work with all academic libraries in the UK to ensure that their collections are as visible as possible for a range of purposes. Whether the use case is for high-end research, for undergraduate study, to showcase institutional resources, to demonstrate collection strengths, for inter-library loan, to increase use of special collections … whatever the reason, every type of library will benefit from sharing their data with the NBK. If we have your data, as well as making it available through Jisc Library Hub interfaces, we can ensure that it is in a format that makes it easy for web-scale search engines such as Google to harvest it and make it discoverable to users who aren’t starting their searches using library tools. We will also work with our service delivery partner OCLC to make the data available via WorldCat.

Jisc Library Hub as catalyst for improving data quality and efficiency

If the community supports the concept of the Jisc Library Hub becoming a central ‘clearing house’ for the aggregation of library data, there is enormous potential for decreasing duplicate practices across the sector and to improve the quality of data that circulates around the data ecosystem/marketplace. As well as talking to libraries, we have also been in discussion with key suppliers of bibliographic data and there would appear to be appetite on both sides to use the Library Hub initiative to take a fresh look at the most efficient way that libraries can acquire high quality catalogue records whilst ensuring that the creators of those records are fairly and sustainably recompensed for their work. With a central view across the data, not only are the Library Hub team in a good position to negotiate with suppliers on behalf of the community, they can also work with individual or groups of libraries to deliver enhanced data back to them.

e-Book, e-Journal and Open Access Data

In addition to aggregating library catalogue data, the Library Hub will increasingly look to aggregate (or link to) other useful sources of data. We are already working with partners such as HathiTrust and the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) to include their data into the system. We are in discussion with OCLC to see to what extent they can share data about eBooks that they create on behalf of publishers. As part of the ongoing negotiations referred to above, we may also be in a position to work with university purchasing consortia to insert clauses into national procurement frameworks that specify levels of quality and conditions around the reuse of data that is supplied alongside e-Book materials. This is aligned with the recommendations from a recent report that we commissioned from Ken Chad Consulting Ltd. – Ken Chad Report Summary. [Clicking on the link will download a Powerpoint slide deck – 192kb]

Trustworthiness and currency of data

The quality and comprehensiveness of data is a core requirement of Library Hub services but another critical factor is the currency of data. In future we want to work with the community to ensure that wherever possible we are harvesting their data using an automatic workflow on a weekly basis so that the Library Hub becomes the most trusted resource possible in terms of the accuracy of current holdings data. Ideally, we want to go further than that and also work with libraries to access their circulation data which then provides opportunities to dig into intriguing analytics around the usage of resources. Looking at sector-wide patterns (in conjunction with data from other Jisc services such as JUSP and KB+) and feeding that data back to libraries could help inform acquisition policy and collection development strategies. Linking resource usage to student achievement is a very ambitious goal but would provide valuable business intelligence for institutions.

Collection management and data-driven decision-making

If the community supports Jisc Library Hub to become the trusted and comprehensive source of data for the sector that it aspires to be, it will essentially be building itself a new level of collection management capability that will enable libraries to make important and far reaching decisions about their collections. By having a clear, current and comprehensive view of library holdings (and e-Journal and e-Book collections), they will be able to make confident data-driven decisions about resources, especially where low-use collections appear to be providing excessive redundancy in the context of regional or national availability; or where digital surrogates or versions provide more effective provision than their print equivalents.

And finally ….

The Library Hub team at Jisc (working closely with OCLC colleagues) have been incredibly busy over this last phase, maintaining a high standard of current Copac service delivery as well as working towards this exciting milestone in the NBK work programme. The services we are launching on Monday are the next step along the way. We’ve still got a long way to go but if we stay focused on the opportunities and the benefits that we can deliver by all working together, it may be possible by the end of 2020 to deliver the kind of transformation that was imagined by the National Monograph Strategy way back in 2013.

 

Our roadmap for transforming Jisc’s Library Support Services

Jisc has been working on a transformation programme to develop a more effective, efficient and cohesive set of library services to meet the needs of its members and deliver a number of benefits.

The programme includes seven separate Jisc services: Copac Collection Management Tools; Copac; Jisc Collections; Knowledge Base+; JUSP; SUNCAT and Zetoc; as well as the RLUK shared cataloguing service. The transformation will redevelop these services in a number of phases, delivering them in a fresh, streamlined and sensible way. Rather than visiting eight separate and distinct services, users will encounter only three sites which will encompass all the existing service functionality. The three new service areas have been formally named under a new collective offer, Library hub, with individual names reflecting the functions that each area delivers. The new names, indicating the consolidation of current services, are listed below.

New service area Current service
Discover & Compare Copac Collection Management Tools
Copac
RLUK shared cataloguing service
SUNCAT
Zetoc
Collections plus Jisc Collections
Knowledge Base+
Analytics JUSP

Benefits to you

The transformation programme is intended to bring about key benefits that will improve our offer both in the short term and into the future. The developments will save users time in using our services, making the experience simpler and more intuitive. Detailed benefits and what the programme will deliver are below:

  1. We will simplify our service portfolio so that it is easy to understand, provides clarity about what our services do and how they support your work.
  2. We will implement a modern and consistent design across our services delivered to accessibility standards, providing the same experience for any user, making it easier to move between services.
  3. We will enable you to exploit data held within Jisc’s services to support you to do your job more efficiently and effectively
  4. We will extend automation over manual processes within and across our services, enabling users to exploit the data within more efficiently.
  5. We will coordinate and consolidate our service communications, including our training provision, which will be made simpler via the clear and consistent offer.
  6. The transformation of our infrastructure will ensure that our services can more easily accommodate and support changes in our sector into the future.

 

How will TLSS deliver the benefits?

The TLSS programme involves several different and wide-ranging projects, including both individual and overlapping, cross-service projects. These are listed below:

Of these, the user experience re-design of the service interfaces is the one that will have the most immediate impact to using the services.

User experience and redesign

Over the last year, we have been working with user experience consultants to plan and progress a way forward that will deliver the coherent vision mentioned above. As part of that process, we have had input from service users, as well as extensive research into the services and workshops with service teams.

The conclusion of our planning work produced a roadmap for delivery which will see the consolidation of the seven services listed above into three distinct service areas described by their functional areas and shown below:

  1. The Discover and Compare functional area incorporates four of our Discovery services, plus the RLUK shared cataloguing service, which will essentially bring together the outputs of the NBK project with the alerts function from the Zetoc service.
  2. Buy and Manage, or Collections plus as the interface will be named, will merge the KB+ service functionality with the upcoming Jisc Collections e-commerce site.
  3. Analyse usage data, or Analytics, although currently only includes JUSP, the expectation is that over time, other usage or data related services could be incorporated with a wider scope than e-resources data, for example.

Phased delivery and next steps

The new designs and interfaces will be delivered in phases through 2019 and 2020. The first phase will see the release of the Discover interface and more detail on that will be coming in February 2019.

Why are we doing TLSS?

The origins of this programme stem from an extensive review of our library support services in 2015, which had input from 80 UK academic library staff as well as UK stakeholder groups SCONUL and RLUK. The review was instigated as it was recognised by Jisc that its offer was found to be fragmented, complicated and service-driven, rather than being driven by the needs of service users. Also, we were keen to ensure that our services remained valuable for our members in an environment where libraries face both fundamental challenges and opportunities. The review outlined a number of recommendations, which have formed the basis of this programme. A summary of the review, Jisc library support services: enhancing efficiency and effectiveness, is available on the Jisc website: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/reports/library-support-services-enhancing-efficiency-and-effectiveness.

CMCAB October Meeting

The Jisc Collection Management Community Advisory Board met on 19th October 2018.  With apologies for the delay, a summary of discussions is provided below:
Board membership: Chris Awre from the University of Hull and Hannah Mateer from the University of Edinburgh were welcomed as new members of the Board.
Project and Service Updates: as of 19th October 165 institutions had agreed to participate in the NBK and are at various stages of the data ingest workflow.  Some contributing institutions not previously on Copac have also been uploaded to Copac where this has been deemed useful and straightforward.
There will be a soft launch of NBK services in January/February 2019, with pilot interfaces made available for user feedback, which will then be developed over the next few months. Consultants are working with the NBK team in developing designs as part of the broader Transforming Library Support Services programme.
SUNCAT and Copac will be retired in July 2019 so that users have plenty of time to move over while old and new services run in parallel.  The NBK team are working with SUNCAT staff on joint communications about the retirement of the service and are also developing a communications plan for Copac service retirement.
There is a separate sub project working on deduplication of serials data and SUNCAT functionality will be replicated to enable serials and UKRR workflows to be supported.
E-books: the NBK team are working with OCLC to investigate how their existing arrangements with e-book suppliers might be used to set up a data flow for the NBK.  Next steps will then be to clarify the ‘pain points’ in dealing with e-books (identified in previous Jisc research) and how the NBK can help, while dovetailing with work from other Jisc services such as JUSP and KB+.
For the latest update on the NBK (December 2018) see the NBK blog 
Data Ownership
An overview of the outputs from the consultant Ken Chad’s recently completed investigation into data licensing was provided to the Board.  Ken validated the NBK’s ‘value propositions’, as developed with the NBK team, in a scored matrix based on his discussions with the community.  More details about the recommendations from the report will be made available to the community in early 2019.
Community Data Groups
Reports and recommendations from the Community Data Groups were circulated to the Board.  This resulted in lively discussions about data quality, authority data, the supply of library metadata and data analysis skills for librarians.  Also discussed was the need for continued development of routes for community input and engagement with the NBK, for example through the creation of support mechanisms and user consultation.
An update on outcomes from the CDGs will be posted to this blog in the new year.
National Collection Management Initiatives
Following their collection overlap study, members of the White Rose Consortium (WRC) concluded that there was not enough overlap between their collections to inform decisions about withdrawals.  Following a second review of the data not much has changed in respect of member collections.  The team are looking into widening the group of libraries involved in a collection overlap study, with additional libraries using Greenglass. The hope is that this can then inform decisions about retention commitments.  In order to be confident about such commitments an analysis needs to involve more libraries.  Terms and conditions need to be agreed so that once outside the Greenglass process it is clear what a retention commitment means in practice.
UKRR recently undertook a survey into community interest in development of a UKRR model for monographs.  The Board will continue to follow developments with interest.  The NBK will support initiatives around collaborative collection management, including the use of retention flags and how these can be incorporated into future functionality.
The next CM@ event will be held on the 11/12th June 2019 at Royal Holloway.  David Morgan is leading on plans for the event and he and his colleagues are confident in delivering an exciting two-day event.  It was agreed that further discussion of the event will be postponed until the February meeting, when we will know more about the support David may need from Board members.
Date of next meetings: Thursday 14th February and Wednesday 17th July 2019.

NBK Progress and Priorities

We have been busy working on the National Bibliographic Knowledgebase (NBK) project over the last few months, and would like to update you on some key areas of progress.

Updated NBK Data Model

As part of an evolving strategy to optimise prospects for delivering the best possible functionality that the NBK can provide we have formally opted to design a live service delivery model that is reliant on a dual platform approach.

The above figure represents how we see data flowing into the various components and interfaces of the NBK system. The crucial innovation with this data model over the original conception for the system is the inclusion of an Elasticsearch indexing engine which will provide speed and flexibility for the discovery layer. The division of data into a cataloguing instance and a discovery instance also greatly simplifies issues around data licensing, rights & reuse. All data that is sent to the OCLC CBS system for inclusion into the copy cataloguing system will be of reasonable or good quality and will be rights cleared for the NBK community to download and reuse in MARC format. All data that is submitted for inclusion into the NBK will be included in the Discovery instance of the system and will represent a comprehensive view onto the holdings of NBK libraries.

NBK Interface Development (Feb / Jul 2019)

We are working towards launching some key components of a live NBK service in early February to replace the currently available beta interface but we are intending this to be a ‘soft launch’, as none of the NBK services will by that point be available in full. We are working with a design and UX agency to design the new resource discovery interface, and we hope to be able to show you these designs, along with the new service names, in the first week of February.

The full launch of the NBK services will be at the end of July 2019.

NBK Community Survey

The NBK Community Data Groups ran a survey over the summer and the response rate was excellent (99 institutions completed the survey).  The responses have provided us with a fascinating set of data which has already proved invaluable in informing our work. A headline summary of the results is now available on the CCM Blog. The slides feature visualisations of a selection of 21 questions that the extensive survey posed to the community.

Library figures

We now have 170 institutions who have agreed to participate in the NBK. Of those, 96 have sent data for inclusion in the database. You can see the most current list of contributing libraries here.

If you have any questions or comments about the NBK, please contact nbk.copac@jisc.ac.uk

Community Data Groups: survey headlines

The NBK Community Data Groups ran a survey over the summer, as mentioned in their previous blog posts.  All the groups agreed that a better picture of how libraries interact with bibliographic data was needed, in order to provide an understanding of the current library data landscape and to support initiatives moving forward.
The response rate was excellent: thanks to the 99 institutions who completed the survey.  The responses have provided us with a fascinating set of data which has already proved invaluable in informing the work of the NBK team and the CDGs.
A Headline Summary of the results is now available.  Individual CDGs have been analysing subsets of the data and some plan to publish their conclusions and recommendations elsewhere.  Further communications about the outcomes of the survey and the work of the CDGs will be available in the new year.

Catalogue of the Leadhills Miners’ Library

Leadhills Miners’ Library is the principal collection of the Leadhills Heritage Trust, which manages the library. The library was founded in 1741 as the Leadhills Reading Society; is both the first and earliest subscription library to be founded in Britain; and is also the world’s first library for working people. Its stock peaked at around 4000 volumes in the early 20th century, and today its 2500 surviving volumes represent a history of working class reading from the early 18th century until the 1930s. The collection demonstrates the development of working class reading: initially focusing on religion, before expanding to cover secular non–fiction (including history, voyages and travel, and biography) and then fiction.

It includes 600 volumes purchased with grants from the Ferguson Bequest Fund between about 1870 and 1930, and is the largest surviving collection of its kind. The collection also includes local imprints, such as that of John Wilson of Kilmarnock, Robert Burns’s first publisher. The library functioned as a lending library until the 1960s and is now a closed reference and research collection.

The library is closely linked to the early lifelong learning ideology of mutual improvement and was the first library in Europe to make this connection, following the development of the idea in Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin in 1731. It therefore played a key role in the development of information ideology in Europe. The principal users of the library were lead miners, whose favourable working conditions and high levels of literacy gave them time to read. The foundation of the library was linked to a programme of reforms in the village, originated by the mine manager and Jacobite intellectual, James Stirling of Garden (1692-1770).

The Leadhills library banner (c 1820)

The Leadhills library banner (c 1820)

The Library’s collections also include the earliest library banner in Britain (c 1820), which featured on the Antiques Roadshow in June 2017, and the largest collection of Bargain Books in Scotland. These record the short term contracts made between the mine managers and teams of miners. The collection has recently been digitised. The Library also possesses the only known example of a library pulpit where the library president (preses) sat while presiding over the monthly loan and return meetings. Some examples of printed catalogues are also held, including the last major catalogue of the library collection itself, listing 3800 volumes and printed in 1904. A modern catalogue was compiled in the 1980s and has formed the basis for the records now available through Library Hub Discover.

Leadhills also holds a collection of library artefacts, including ballot boxes for voting on accepting new members, membership certificates and printing plates for printing off membership certificates, and a printing plate for printing copies of the Library bookplate.
The Library had its own building prior to 1791 but its location is not known. The current building was erected in 1791 and is one of the oldest public library buildings in Scotland. It is essentially a miners’ cottage without internal divisions and demonstrates the influence of domestic architecture on library design. It is shelved on three sides with the fourth, north-facing, long wall providing fenestration and a door. It is mentioned in the Old Statistical Account.
The Library is open to the public on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, May to September, 2-4 pm. Access at other times by appointment. Tours of the library and village are available for groups on request.
In the mutual improvement tradition the Library offers a monthly programme of lectures during the winter months and also occasional special lectures. Local community groups also meet in the Library.
John Crawford
Chair, Leadhills Heritage Trust
You can find out more about the library, including contact details, on their Discover information page.

The National Gallery Library and the Legacy of Sir Charles Eastlake

National Gallery Library
The National Gallery Library was established in 1870 with the purchase of the private library, consisting of some 2,000 volumes, of Sir Charles Eastlake (1793-1865), first Director of the National Gallery. It now contains around 100,000 printed volumes relevant to the study of the history of paintings in the Western European tradition from the 13th to the early 20th century.
Eastlake had been Director of the Gallery since 1855 and an avid book collector since his youth. He lived for a number of years in Rome as a practising artist, where he associated with German as well as Italian artists and art historians. During his ten years as Director of the National Gallery, he made annual trips to continental Europe, especially to Italy, chiefly to acquire paintings for the Gallery, but also along the way collecting books to add to his library. Being fluent in several European languages, he acquired books in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Dutch. In 1865 Eastlake died, still in post as Director, in the middle of one his tours of Italy. His widow Lady Eastlake wished to ensure that his pioneering work at the National Gallery would continue and be respected. After some negotiating, she sold the library to the Gallery, on condition that it be known as ‘The Eastlake Library’. She personally stamped every volume with a distinctive (E) stamp on Valentine’s Day 1870, which makes it very easy for us to identify the books. The Eastlake Library has been the heart of the National Gallery Library collections ever since its acquisition.

George Green, Catalogue of the Eastlake Library in the National Gallery

George Green, Catalogue of the Eastlake Library in the National Gallery (London, 1872)


As part of the process of acquiring the Eastlake Library back in 1870, a printed catalogue was compiled by a bookseller, George Green, and published in 1872. The original Eastlake Library numbers some 2,030 volumes covering a wide range of publications and formats: monographs, collection and auction catalogues, treatises, periodicals, technical and travel literature, pamphlets, offprints, as well as a few manuscript volumes, mainly transcripts of unpublished source materials. These reflect Eastlake’s broad-ranging interests in the developing field of art history, especially in relation to his concerns about attribution and provenance research, and in the history of artistic techniques. Although a working library for research rather than a rare books collection, the Library includes two incunabula, one of which is the famous Hypnerotomachia Poliphili printed in Venice in 1499. There are also numerous titles which are either unique or held in few libraries either in the United Kingdom or worldwide. A good number of the volumes are annotated by Eastlake himself, especially the guidebooks and catalogues which accompanied or derived from his travel to the European continent.
Giorgio  Vasari, Le Vite de' più eccellenti pittori, scultori, e architettori (2nd edition, Florence, 1568)

Giorgio  Vasari, Le Vite de’ più eccellenti pittori, scultori, e architettori (2nd edition, Florence, 1568)


There are standard biographical works of art history such as Vasari’s Vite de’ più eccellenti architetti, pittori, et scultori italiani, of which he collected both the first edition of 1550 and also the expanded second edition of 1568. There are also treatises on the theory and practice of painting and the arts: one example is a Spanish work of 1763 with chapters on geometry, human anatomy, animals and birds, and architecture.
Juan de Arphe y Villafañe, Varia Commensuracion para la Escultura y Arquitectura (Madrid, 1763)

Juan de Arphe y Villafañe, Varia Commensuracion para la Escultura y Arquitectura (Madrid, 1763)


In 1847 Eastlake himself published a pioneering monograph on technical art history, Materials for a History of Oil Painting. His interest in this emerging field is reflected in the presence in his library of publications such as a painter’s manual published in Leipzig in 1532,  a remarkably clean copy given that most surviving copies knocked around in painters’ workshops for generations until they fell apart.
Drey schoner künst-reicher büchlein (Leipzig, 1532)

Drey schoner künst-reicher büchlein (Leipzig, 1532)


He also collected manuscript sources in the form of transcripts or published editions. One of the most studied texts for technical art history was Cennino Cennini’s Il Libro dell’Arte, probably written in the late 1390s: the Library possesses the first English translation by Mary Merrifield with a very colourful frontispiece, published in 1844.
Cennino Cennini, A Treatise on Painting written by Cennino Cennini in the year 1437 … translated by Mrs Merrifield (London, 1844)

Cennino Cennini, A Treatise on Painting written by Cennino Cennini in the year 1437 … translated by Mrs Merrifield (London, 1844)


The National Gallery Library is open to researchers needing to consult items in the library’s collection which may not be reasonably accessible in other libraries. For more information, please consult our web pages.
Jonathan Franklin, Librarian
You can also find out more about the library on their Copac information page, and browse their records by selecting the Main Search tab on Copac and choosing ‘National Gallery Library’ from the list of libraries.