ENG337 2021 – Studying English literature and handling original Dickens manuscripts 5

A “hands on” collaboration between IF with Julia King and the Manuscript and Rare Book Collection

In the spring of 2021, master’s students in English Literature from UiB’s Institutt for Fremmedspråk had the opportunity to participate in a collaboration between the department and the University Library’s Manuskript- og librarsamlingen. The course, called “The Once and Future Book”, allowed eight students to learn about the history of the book and how to use rare books in their research. Over the course of a challenging semester that was marked by the coronavirus pandemic, the students participated in traditional lectures about the history of books, bookmaking, reading, and publishing, alongside guest lectures from experts working at UiB’s spesialsamlinger. For the first time ever in this course, the students participated in a hands-on digitization project, allowing them to get firsthand experience of what working in a special collections library is like. Each student was assigned an object from the Manuscript and Rare Book Collection of unique and rare Charles Dickens manuscript material. They followed the object through the digitization process from the moment it was brought out of the vault through using the specialized scanners to take high-resolution photos of the manuscripts to creating exhibit labels and descriptions of their objects.
The final result is this student-made exhibit, which introduces UiB’s Charles Dickens collection to a wide range of researchers both in Norway and abroad.

Authors: Julia King, Sunniva Eirin Sandvik, Marianne Paasche.
Student contributors: Božena Bedulska, Guro Erdal, Aurora Goga, Sigrid Hammer, Christine Jørgensen, Tormod Lilleårstein, Sunniva Eirin Sandvik, Marie Wergeland.