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Leeds Central Library's Rare Books Collection

Information on the project funded in 2004 through the Full Disclosure programme

Leeds Library and Information Services are applying for funding from Full Disclosure to employ a cataloguer for six months. The cataloguer will create quality electronic catalogue records for 2,400 rare and valuable books housed in Leeds Central Library, and add them to the system online catalogue of stock.

The books that are the subject of the bid were all published before 1800, the earliest published in the 15th century, and fall into the broad subject areas of British history, literature, religion and philosophy. Some of the books do not appear in the British Library online catalogue, or in any British University online catalogues of stock. Some books are by celebrated authors such as Jean Jacques Rousseau, John Milton and David Hume. Yet others display fine bindings and illustrations.

The books are currently only accessible to researchers who visit the Central Library personally and request books from the departmental staff. There is no longer an up to date card catalogue of this stock. Creating electronic catalogue records and adding them to Leeds Library and Information Service's online catalogue will greatly increase the accessibility of these books, which in turn will increase use.

The project will complete the retrospective conversion of the Central Library Research Department's rare and valuable stock published before 1800 and will mean that all the Department's special collections stock published before 1800 will be accessible to potential users via the internet.

Lead Institution: Leeds Library and Information Service

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