Bibliotheca Molinologica

July 16th 2019 by Lewis Murray

Now if you can pronounce that word at the first attempt, I am told (on good authority) that you are part of the ‘milling club’. Hence why I thought it would be an apt name for this piece, as only true mill researchers will appreciate the content of this blog!
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Hello and welcome back to this week’s blog, where I hope to not go off on any more tangents and discuss what I have actually been up to this week. For the content of this week’s blog, I am going to be discussing the challenges I am facing as a cataloguer in much greater detail, not just the challenges of being called Lewin.

As you all know, in my internship here at the Mills Archive, I am simplifying the way in which library books are being categorised digitally. One of the first problems I encountered with the online library system was the number of books under the topic heading of ‘industrial archaeology’. For those that don’t know, industrial archaeology, (as the great scholar: Google defined it), is ‘the study of equipment and buildings formerly used in industry.’ Now, I’m not afraid to say it, as a way to find books the term industrial archaeology doesn't help very much as almost all mill books could be categorised under the definition provided above.

Thus, one of the first challenges I have undertaken since working here is splitting ‘industrial archaeology’ into differing terms which better define what specific books are actually about. The terms agreed by the team, were; ‘the history of industrial processes’, ‘the development of technology’ and ‘archaeology’ as well as 'social history' and economic history'. These terms better describe almost all of the books previously categorised as industrial archaeology and will make it easier for you to browse through books using their specific subject focus.

Under the previous system, books such as ‘Industrial archaeology in Devon’ and ‘Anglo-Saxon watermill at Tamworth' would have been grouped together under the same category of industrial archaeology. The book ‘Industrial archaeology in Devon’ is about the history of industry in Devon whereas ‘Anglo-Saxon watermill at Tamworth’ is about archaeology- actually excavating a site where a mill used to be. As the library has grown from a couple of hundred books to several thousands, it makes more sense for them to be assigned different topic headings, which better describe what the books are actually about.

This is only one example with there being so many more books which had the same problem, requiring me to work my magic. So far I have managed to re-assign hundreds of books which had been designated as industrial archaeology to their new, more informative descriptions (thank me later). Thus, it’s fair to say the end is nigh for industrial archaeology as a broad topic heading of books in our online library catalogue!

So that’s it for this week’s blog, I hope you have all enjoyed this change of blogging style! Hopefully you will join me next week where I will share more of my journey at the Mills Archive!