9th June marks International Archives Day, which was first launched by the International Council on Archives (ICA) in 2007 under the auspices of UNESCO, to raise awareness of archives and their valuable role in all our lives, and to bring to the public’s attention “unique, extraordinary and rare documents”. So I want to flag up a great blog I found recently about mediaeval manuscripts by a guy called Eric Kwakkel – http://medievalbooks.nl/. The themes might seem academic but the posts are written in an accessible way and cover some fascinating topics, such as the purpose of margins in mediaeval manuscripts and volumes, how books were stored, how much the mediaeval booklover might have paid for his manuscripts and the equivalent of texting in the Middle Ages. My favourite, although it is a sad tale, concerns the tiny strips of 15th century paper in the archive of the mediaeval Holy Spirit orphanage in the Dutch city of Leiden. Each strip bears a name and two pin holes, because they were the name tags fastened to the clothing of the foundlings entering the orphanage. A contemporary booklet provides background on some of the orphans and their heartbreaking stories.
My thoughts, views and musings about what's happening in the world of archives and records management, information and heritage