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The Lauriston Castle Collection of Scottish Chapbooks

Information on the project funded in 2004 through the Full Disclosure programme, including the final report on the project (see PDF files).

This project has been developed in close consultation with staff of the Department of Special Collections, Glasgow University Library, who are responsible for the Scottish Chapbooks Catalogue; and there has also been consultation with staff from Edinburgh Central Library, Stirling University Library, and the Advocates Library, Edinburgh.

The aim of the project is to widen access to Scottish chapbooks, one of the most important forms of early street literature and an under-utilised historic resource, through two routes: making all the Scottish chapbooks in the Lauriston Castle Collection easily accessible through the NLS web OPAC and also contributing these records to the Scottish Chapbooks Catalogue [SCC]. The NLS MARC records will be created to international standards and the specific requirements of the material, and will also contain all the extra information needed for adding records to the SCC without further consulting the original material: see below.

In addition to the direct added value derived from greatly enhancing the SCC, there will also be indirect added value: (1) helping the SCC to achieve critical mass will encourage other libraries to contribute to it (it is known that Edinburgh Central Library (150 chapbooks), Stirling University Library (200 chapbooks), and the Advocates Library (a huge collection of over 4,500 chapbooks from Walter Scott's library at Abbotsford) are considering contributing); (2) the availability of these new records in the SCC will assist other libraries to record their holdings in the SCC, and the availability of MARC records in the NLS's main catalogue (they will also be contributed to the CURL database) will be a source of records for other libraries' catalogues; (3) the methodology developed for adding MARC data to the SCC for editions not already recorded there will be useful for other contributors; (4) the provision that Glasgow University Library has undertaken to make (in response to the current proposal) for libraries to contribute records/holdings to the SCC remotely will benefit all potential contributors to the SCC; (5) the enhanced SCC will provide a good platform for a chapbooks digitisation project

Of these Lauriston Castle Scottish chapbooks it is estimated that no more than 900 and perhaps as few as 500 are accessible through the NLS OPAC, and the majority of these records derive from the Eighteenth-century [now English] Short-Title Catalogue [ESTC] database to which they were reported in the early 1980s. Subsequent to the ESTC records being loaded into the NLS OPAC, no further work has been carried out on these records, which transcribe title pages but lack genre/subject access points, description of contents, and details of first lines. The majority of the Lauriston Castle post-1800 Scottish chapbooks are not included in the OPAC because they had not been included in the previous card catalogue from which the post-1800 retroconversion was carried out. The main part of the project is therefore to add new records to the OPAC, but there is also an element of upgrading some existing records.

Lead Institution: National Library of Scotland

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