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SPRI Review 1999: Library and Information Service

Library and Information Service

Picture Library

Manager: Philippa Smith

This has been another successful year for the Picture Library, which has continued to expand and develop its collections. The Picture Library again received a large number of requests for material, in particular Shackleton photographs. The exhibition 'Endurance: Shackleton's legendary expedition' opened at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City in April, and subsequently moved to the National Geographic Society in Washington, DC. The Institute was the second major contributor of photographs to the exhibition, and Philippa Smith was able to attend both openings. The second of the two trips was particularly beneficial in that it enabled Mrs Smith to spend much time at the offices of the National Geographic Society and to obtain a greater insight into the work and photographic needs of both the magazine and book departments.

Other projects in which the Picture Library has been involved include the Dynamic Earth exhibition in Edinburgh, a British Consulate exhibition in Hamburg, work on forthcoming Shackleton Imax and television documentaries, several programmes for UK and overseas television channel,s and many books and magazines. All this has given the Picture Library a higher profile and continues to attract new interest. Material continues to be displayed in Waterstones Bookshop.

Conservation work has progressed very successfully. We were grateful to receive a grant from the Friends of the Institute towards the conservation of the Frank Hurley album, which has been treated and boxed. The Picture Library has generated sufficient income to purchase a custom built shelf/drawer unit to house the album, lantern slide, 35mm slide, video, film, and audio collection. We were also very pleased to receive a grant from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, which donated enough funds to cover the cost of new, 'safe' wrappings for the entire collection of lantern slides and negatives and also for us to be able to employ Lucy Martin on a temporary basis. Ms Martin has begun the major task of inputting all the old accessions catalogues onto the SPRI Picture Library database, and also oversees the conservation work. Angela Haines, Sally Stonehouse, Anne Todd, Anne Millar, Winifred Ware, and David Limbert have contributed sterling work helping with the wrapping of negatives, which are slowly beginning to look happy and safe in their new home.

The accessioning and cataloguing of new and old material continues, with the help of David Powell, Alisa Macqueen, and John Reid. Powell has been identifying and listing the various large and previously unsorted collections of mainly Arctic photographs, and Reid has assisted in the identification and listing of much Antarctic material. Mrs Macqueen continues with the retrospective cataloguing of material, and with the accessioning and cataloguing of many of the new slide collections. David Yelverton has spent much time identifying and listing Discovery images, and Sally Stonehouse has begun work on the listing and cataloguing of the expanding video collection. New collections have been received from Vitaly Nikolaenko (Kronotsky State Biosphere Reserve: Russian bears), Bill Davis (Russian Far East), Mrs Lewis (Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition), Emma Wilson (Kamchatka), Laurie Dexter (Arctic and Antarctic), Finlo Cottier (Arctic and Antarctic), William Mills (Antarctic), and further material from Charles Swithinbank. We are always most grateful for these new additions.

Other voluntary helpers to whom we are indebted are Liam Collingwood (work experience), Daniel Lambert, and Claude Cowan. Lambert was responsible for the design and setting up of the Picture Library web pages, and Cowan has been working on the web pages that cover various expeditions (and their photographs). So far, he has designed and put up pages for the BGLE and the Gough Island Survey, and work is currently in progress on a page for the British-Norwegian-Swedish expedition. Without all the helpers named above, the Picture Library could not have flourished in the way that it has, and we are most grateful to all of them.