Tag Archives: magazines

Cuttings remarks

Westminster Music Library's newspaper cuttings collectionRegular readers of this blog may recall Hold the front page, in which I described my work sorting through and analysing Westminster Music Library’s Edwin Evans Press Cuttings Collection. At the time of writing that particular blog entry, I had made my way through approximately 20% of the collection.

Now, over a year later, the task is complete, and I am in some position to report on my findings.

My specific task has been to create an elementary catalogue of this collection, alongside recording some basic details against each person’s entry: discipline, gender, etc.

While the eventual aim of the entire project – the creation of a fully searchable digital archive of this collection – remains unchanged, this was deemed a suitable preliminary task to assess the collection’s value and potential. It seems remarkable that, for all the years that the collection has been in the Music Library’s possession, it had not been catalogued until now. The reasons for this, one may suppose, relate to its relative inaccessibility and its sheer size – both of which are motivating factors in the decision to create a digital record of this underappreciated collection!

In my initial blog post a year ago, I offered some statistics on the content of the collection which may have been of interest to those wishing to understand the shape of the classical music culture of the early 20th century.  The final breakdown of discipline and gender of subjects included in the Evans Collection is mostly unchanged from my initial report, but the most up-to-date version is summarised here for those interested:

  • A significant majority (66%) of subjects are Performers. Of these Performers,
  • 37% are singers
  • 29% are pianists
  • 17% are string players
  • 5% are conductors
  • 12% are ensembles
  • Just 2% are wind players of any sort!
  • Composers represent 26% of subjects, while “Others” come in at just 9%.
  • 57% of all entries are Male, 32% female (the remaining 11% accounts for non-individuals such as ensembles and festivals).
  • 38% of all subjects are featured in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (log in with your Westminster library card).

If you’re anything like me, a chart of percentages and statistics fills you with delight, but these data do indeed serve a useful purpose. The Evans Collection may be used to draw comparisons between historical music circles and today’s, to the interest of music fans and great benefit of historians. For example, over one-third of all performers reported on were singers, as opposed to a mere 0.2% being woodwind or brass players! (Speaking as a French horn player myself, I am grateful to report that today’s classical music culture is much more balanced in favour of wind players: trombonist Christian Lindberg, for example, or clarinettist Julian Bliss, are well-known names.)

My work with the Edwin Evans Press Cuttings Collection is, regrettably, finished for now. As previously mentioned, a digital archive of the collection is the goal, but for now, even with the publication of this catalogue, it is hoped that this will go some way in increasing the collection’s accessibility to all interested parties.

The newly-created catalogue is now available online, via the Westminster Libraries web pages – take a look.

Edwin Evans' Press Cuttings Collection online


Happy 90th Birthday Ma’am!

IMG_3177To mark the auspicious occasion of Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday, Maida Vale Library has assembled a display with a selection of books and magazines for loan. Westminster Libraries also have a host of other titles which we’ve brought together in a book list in honour of the Queen’s birthday.

Of course, The Queen is unique in that she also has an official birthday as well as a real one. During the week of 6-11 June 2016 the library will be decked out in red, white and blue when it hosts a packed week of activities and events for local children. Details are still being firmed up at the moment, but will be released as soon as we have them on our Events page and on posters, so keep your eyes peeled.

In the meantime from all of us, a very “Happy 90th Birthday Ma’am!”


“It worked online – at home!”

This was what someone had to say about Library Press Display, one of our amazing online resources, available to all members of Westminster Libraries. Last week I showed him how it was possible to get different magazines and newspapers using our website and that you don’t even need to be in the library to use them – they can be accessed at home as well.

Online newspapers for members of Westminster LibrariesLibrary Press Display has to be one of my favourites. It allows you to read the papers as they look that very day – the current copy. Not just one or two newspapers either, but papers and some magazines from around the world in a huge variety of languages – also on the day they are published!
I loved it from the moment I saw it but didn’t believe that we could have access to anything that amazing; would they really allow our library members to access all this? Yes, they would and yes, they do.

Of course as the visit by this particular customer proves, using this or any other online resource doesn’t have to mean the end to all your visits to your local library so do continue to drop by.

Library Press Display is one of several online newspaper resources useful for anything from finding recent articles and looking at today’s stories to historical research. Just go to: www.westminster.gov.uk/online-resources-by-subject.


Summers in Mayfair Library

Cllr Steven Summers visits Mayfair LibraryCouncillor Steven Summers, Cabinet Member for the Community, visited Mayfair Library last Saturday.

During his visit to the library Cllr Summers met with staff and talked about the services provided by Westminster libraries to its users.

He was also very interested in the excellent online services on offer such as Zinio digital magazines. While he was there, Cllr Summers also took time to listen to the views of local residents and library users.


Read all about it!

Online newspapers for members of Westminster Libraries… two key anniversaries in 2014 and how you can find out about them.

Our New Year’s Day post unearthed some of the less-evident anniversaries coming up in 2014 (though somehow we missed out the Big Brownie Birthday – sorry Brownies!), but of course there are two other big ones this year, relating to the two World Wars:
The centenary of the start of the First World War and the 70th anniversary of the Normandy Landings.

A great way to get a feel for historical events as they happened at the time is to delve into contemporary newspaper reports. It’s just amazing how many newspaper resources there are available online for members of Westminster Libraries. They are not just useful for the current (eg: Library Press Display) or recent (over the past ten years or so, as with Newsbank) news. They also provide an unparalleled insight into the past 200 years or so – and you can access them with just your library membership number!

Try these:

  • UK Press Online
    Look for both text and images from the time whether it’s 1914 or 1944. This database allows you to browse through the paper day by day, as well as searching for articles on particular subjects.
    A place to start: Browse Wednesday 29 July 1914
  • Illustrated London News
    Another publication which contains a great number of images from the time; both photos and drawn illustrations.
    A place to start: Search for ‘his majesty’s land ships’
  • Picture Post
    Again an illustrated publication but concentrating far more on photographs, this is a great place to start when looking back at the Normandy Landings.
    Start by searching for just the word ‘Normandy’ within 1944
  • Times Digital Archive / Guardian and Observer archive
    These newspapers will provide more reading material than the other publications but fewer pictures. Don’t be put off – it doesn’t make them any less interesting.
    Suggestion: Look through just how things were unfolding by searching for the word ‘Normandy’ between June and July 1944.

We’re sure that if you start with our suggestions you won’t be able to resist delving deeper into this amazing historical archive we have at our fingertips – who knows what gems you’ll find?