Ten Facts about Sherlock Holmes

Interesting Literature

1. Sherlock Holmes was originally going to be called Sherrinford. The name was altered to Sherlock, possibly because of a cricketer who bore the name. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who created Holmes (of course), was a fan of cricket and the name ‘Sherlock’ appears to have stuck in his memory. Doyle was also a keen cricketer himself, and between 1899 and 1907 he played ten first-class matches for the Marylebone Cricket Club – quite fitting, since Baker Street is situated in the Marylebone district of London. For more on the creation of Holmes, see the detailed ‘Introduction’ in  The Uncollected Sherlock Holmes .

sherlock22. The first Sherlock Holmes novel was something of a flop. The detective made his debut in the novel A Study in Scarlet (1887), written by a twenty-seven-year-old Doyle in just three weeks. Famously, Doyle was inspired by a real-life lecturer of his at the University of Edinburgh…

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10 Famous Quotations That Are Literary Misquotations

Interesting Literature

As Hesketh Pearson put it, ‘Misquotations are the only quotations that are never misquoted.’ To see if he’s right, we’ve compiled a Top Ten list containing what we think are the commonest expressions in English which are misquotations of their original literary idioms. How many of these did you know started out as something different? And do you think that they are still ‘misquotations’, if the phrases go on to gain a new life of their own?

Oh, and have we left off any good examples of literary misquotation?

1. Me Tarzan, you Jane. This line doesn’t appear in any of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ original books, nor in the films; it probably arose as a compacting of the dialogue exchange between Tarzan and Jane in the 1932 film Tarzan the Ape Man.

2. Abandon hope, all ye who enter here. This translation from Dante’s Inferno – the words are inscribed…

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The Harvard Library Owns Books Bound With Human Skin

101 Books

Some creepy stuff’s going on over at the Harvard Library, or at least it was in 2006 when this article was originally written.

According to The Harvard Crimson Magazine, at least three rare, extremely old books were bound by human skin. Yep. Human skin.

The three books—about medieval law, Roman poetry, and French philosophy, respectively—date back to as early as 1605.

Here’s the skinny on the medieval law book:

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UL Library Science Collection

The introduction of RDA (Resource Description and Access), the new cataloguing standard, has meant one of the biggest changes in cataloguing practice in recent years. RDA is intended to provide increased access to resources in ways which were difficult with previous standards such as AACR2. Older standards primarily dealt with print materials but the increase in digital output meant that things needed to change.

RDA is based on the FRBR (Fundamental Requirements for Bibliographic Records) model. This is a conceptual model which describes relationships between different entities such as the author, editor or subject of the item in hand.

Library of an Interaction Designer (Juhan Sonin) / 20100423.7D.0If all of this terminology leaves you scratching your head then don’t worry, you’re not alone!  Luckily, the Library Science Collection includes a variety of resources on RDA. We have works on the background of FRBR, the practical implementation of RDA and works on cataloguing specific types of resource

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When you start forgetting about having studied for a good three quarters of your life in an arrays of shitholes that delude themselves into an array of pompous names, you find yourself getting pissed off by the most minor and inconsistent incidents.

The WiFi in the halls is down, so you curmudgeonly head to the library to get some studying done, because good old fashioned books don’t mean no thing anymore, and you need the internet to read ebooks and download journal articles. But hey! Your uni library is awesome, you keep telling that to everybody and that, where you came from, the library was not even a floor of this one.

Of course, in this giantnormous library you cannot find a seat close to a power outlet for your life. Of course, the only desks close to power outlets are taken, and by people without any evident reason to be so close to a power outlet, unless they’re all cyborgs and at some point will surreptitiously plug their power cod in the wall. It’s like that guy that keeps sitting at the desk right in front of the photocopier, a thing that keeps making me me stop dead in my tracks and go upstairs to the other level because, in fairness, making photocopies wedged between a chair (plus its occupant) and the machine is just awkward.

So you settle for a desk as close as possible to any hole you can plug your laptop into (oh, and did I mention the horrible feeling of seeing a desk beside a window AND a plug, but the plug is broken? I die a little inside everytime I think about it), already dreading the moment when somebody will come over and have you unplug the cord because stepping over it apparently is not an option.

People whispering sounds like you’re trapped in a buddhist monastery, or being followed by an army of old ladies at rosary time or by a bunch of parseltongues gossiping.


All the glaring and scowling and heavy sighing in distress in the world won’t be enough this time, so you either stop being passive aggressive, go up to the nice ladies and silence them with anything at hand, or just turn the volume up and suck it. Ironic how you go to the library for some peace and quiet (and the internet connection of course) because your fine neighbor is so damn noisy that you start thinking walls are not that necessary anymore after all, and then you have to keep blaring music in you ears to cut out unwanted sounds.

The point of this apparently pointless rant is that I was surprised at how quick you get use to having this little luxuries around you, like having your own laptop, having an awesome library,  having classes that actually mattered to you career-wise, having teachers that don’t require students to worship them and address them with their multiple, useless titles. It’s almost a compulsion to whining about something, that same attitude that will let the guilt kick in after one of those tear-jerkers with terminally ill patients or seriously disabled people that keep rockin’, no matter what life throws at them every single day. It makes you really question you sense of morality, all this complaining about the lift being broken for two days, when for some people two steps with no wheelchair ramps is an actual problem.

And all of a sudden this became very serious and insightful. But it’s probably the sky suddenly clouding over that makes me shift towards the depressing and guilt-ridden side of life.

Five uses for a dictionary you never knew about

Tales of One City

You use a dictionary to look up meanings and spellings, and, well that’s about it, isn’t it?

Not with the Oxford English Dictionary it isn’t. Here are five ways to use the OED online you maybe didn’t know about. Log on with your library card and try them for yourself:

1. Find words the same age as you

Use the ‘date of entry’ field in the advanced search to see which word were first used in a given year. So, for example, if we look for 1985 we come up with a list including annus horribilis,snowboard and double click.

2. Finish that crossword

Use question marks instead of blanks in the search box and you’ll have the s?l??ion in no time!

3. Is there a word for…?

If you want to find out the proper word for a beer mat collector, or the term for believing yourself…

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Condition Assessment of the Jane Austen Manuscripts

Current Projects

By Keira Mckee

An important stage in the treatment of any object is for the conservator to thoroughly assess the object “as is” before any work gets underway, if any work is in fact needed. In the books conservation department, we fill out a condition and treatment report that documents the exact condition of a book, when received by the conservator, identifying all issues that may require attention. As times goes on, all work will also be logged in this same document so that a thorough report can go back with the book to the owner, and possibly inform future treatments if another conservator works with the book in the future.

I was asked by David Dorning to create a condition report for the sample of Jane Austen handwriting that the department has been commissioned to treat. You can read about the project here.

The full condition report is…

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