Image of Lady Mary’s Letters

Letters of the Right Honourable Lady M–y W—y M—-e

We have a real book blog treat for you this Monday morning. A well-researched, stylish blog about the incomparable Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (also know as “Lady President”) and her Turkish Embassy Letters.

This is the eight in a series of blog posts that celebrate the “Book Blogs” created by students in Professor Siân Echard’s “The History of the Book” course during the spring 2015 term. For this assignment, students in the class were asked to choose an item (book or otherwise) from RBSC, research its history, and introduce it to a public audience through a blog or wiki.

Fatima Hamado has done a beautiful job with her book blog, providing biographical background on Lady Mary and thoughtfully discussing the Turkish Embassy Letters and their place within the social and cultural contexts surrounding them, as well as taking a close look at RBSC’s particular copy.

http://thefemaletraveller.weebly.com/

I hope you enjoy this terrific read!

 

Librarian teaching students

Librarian Julie Mitchell helps students with their research skills.

 

In this digital age, one of UBC Library’s priorities is continual support to staff who serve a growing international base of new faculty and students.

Library staff have benefited from career development in the areas of public service training and leadership programs, and have access to annual professional development awards programs. Helping staff hone their intercultural knowledge, attitudes, and skills is another integral part of the Library work environment.

Understanding intercultural differences

All library staff were invited to participate in an intercultural fluency training program during Summer 2015, led by Alden Habacon, Director of Intercultural Understanding Strategy Development at UBC. Sponsored by the Library’s Diversity Inclusion Team (DIT), Habacon distinguished the need for all Library staff to communicate and act intentionally as they work with culturally sensitive collections and distinct communities, within and beyond the campus. An understanding of differences, empathy and compassion are a focus of the program. “The emphasis needs to be on not just doing good, but doing more good – effectively and appropriately,” he notes.

Creating opportunities

The Library acknowledges that individual employees and teams have unique ways in which they learn, contribute, and thrive. These diverse perspectives and backgrounds ultimately enrich our environment when growing and collaborating together. Members of DIT underscore that “our commitment to making UBC Library a campus leader on diversity means actively creating diversity-focused opportunities for engagement.”

Setting a precedence

The program’s curriculum will be used in training other service-oriented campus units, including UBC REC and Security. Putting an academic library at the forefront of intercultural fluency training sets a baseline standard for the University and signifies shifts into the civic realm. Our future sees people gravitating to libraries as a public square, Habacon says, a realm for human touch and dialogue. Staff training in intercultural fluency, therefore, is key to building positive experiences for users as diverse as at UBC Library’s.

More than 50 Library staff across all branches participated in this training program, which consisted of presentations, interactive break-out sessions, and open discussions. More workshops are planned for Fall 2015.

Image of a Cuneiform tablets

Receipt by a temple official of “one sheep and one lamb on the thirteenth day of the month” for rent.

When I introduce folks to our collections here at RBSC, I love to pull out some materials that might be considered more obscure or outside of our usual collecting area, just to hear people say, “I can’t believe we have that right here at UBC!” Possibly the objects that get the biggest reaction are our cuneiform tablets. That’s right, we have five cuneiform tablets, each one small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Recently, our good friends over at UBC Library’s Digitization Centre, in collaboration with the From Stone to Screen project, have digitized our tablets so that they can be studied from anywhere in the world. DI has also published a very interesting blog post about the history of the tablets and the complicated matter of determining their provenance. Enjoy, and the next time you stick a receipt in your wallet, think about what people 4,000 years in the future might make of it!

Made in partnership with Rare Books and Special Collections and the From Stone to Screen project, the cuneiform tablets are among the most ancient objects Digital Initiatives has ever digitized! The tablets are part of Ancient Artefacts collection, which also includes Egyptian papyri.

Receipt by a temple official of “one sheep and one lamb on the thirteenth day of the month” for rent- Can you believe those prices?! Puts Vancouver to shame.

Considered today to be one of the most significant cultural contributions by the Sumerians, cuneiform is one of the earliest known systems of writing. The RBSC tablets were created during the 20th century BCE, between 2029 – 1973 BCE, over 4,000 years ago. Cuneiform translates to “wedge shaped” from the Latin word “cuneus” meaning wedge and refers to the shape of the writing. The marks were often made with a reed. It replaced the pictorial style of writing from the 31st century BCE to about the 1st century CE.

 

Another rental receipt – Rock receipts are starting to seem very handy- what if you get audited 1,000 years from now?

By the 2nd century CE the script had been replaced with Phoenician alphabet, and all knowledge of how to read the script was lost until the 19th century.

Most of the found cuneiform tablets have not been translated, as there are few qualified individuals in the world. Luckily here at UBC, we have qualified individuals willing to translate the ancient script. Today we can say they were written in Sumerian. Where they came from? That’s another story.

Determining the provenance is not easy and is sometimes impossible.

Provenance is a tricky thing especially when the items in question are thousands of years old. It’s made even trickier by people lying in order to give an object a history it doesn’t have, or even those with good intentions but inadequate or misleading information.

Which is exactly what happened with the history of these tablets. Want to know the misinformation, lies, and mysterious history behind these tablets? Stay tuned for Part 2 next week!

 

LAW LIBRARY level 3: DU124.E74 M67 2015
Aileen Moreton-Robinson, The White Possessive: Property, Power, and Indigenous Sovereignty (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KD829.A2 L36 2015
Simon Douglas, Robin Hickey & Emma Waring, eds., Landmark Cases in Property Law (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2015).

LAW LIBRARY reference room (level 2): KE787 .L38 2015
Mark R. Gillen et al. eds., The Law of Trusts: A Contextual Approach, 3d ed. (Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publications Limited, 2015).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KJC5138 .D94 2015
Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou, European Consensus and the Legitimacy of the European Court of Human Rights (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KJC6094.A41992 U54 2015
Attila Tanzi at al., eds., The UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes: Its Contribution to International Water Cooperation (Leiden: Brill Nijhoff, 2015).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KJE5132 .F859 2015
Sonia Morano-Foadi & Lucy Vickers, eds., Fundamental Rights in the EU: A Matter for Two Courts (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2015).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KZ1256 .M37 2015
Pedro J. Martinez-Fraga & C. Ryan Reetz, Public Purpose in International Law: Rethinking Regulatory Sovereignty in the Global Era (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015)).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KZ1321 .W35 2015
Neil Walker, Intimations of Global Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KZ3410 .R38 2015
Steven R. Ratner, The Thin Justice of International Law. A Moral Reckoning of the Law of Nations (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KZ3760 .C36 2014
Hugo Caminos & Vincent P. Cogliati-Bantz, The Legal Regime of Straits: Contemporary Challenges and Solutions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KZ4017 .R96 2015
Cedric Ryngaert, Jurisdiction in International Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KZ6250 .J64 2015
Leslie Johns, Strengthening International Courts: The Hidden Costs of Legalization (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2015).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KZ6795.T47 D84 2015
Helen Duffy, The ‘War on Terror’ and the Framework of International Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KZ7230 .F57 2015
Martha Minow, C. Cora True-Frost & Alex Whiting, eds., The First Global Prosecutor: Promise and Constraints (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2015).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KZA1145 .O94 2015
Donald R Rothwell et al., eds., The Oxford Handbook of the Law of the Sea (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KZA1450 .C68 2015
Thomas Cottier, Equitable Principles of Maritime Boundary Delimitation: The Quest for Distributive Justice in International Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015).

Image of Virginia Woolf Note

Note from Virginia Woolf to Vita Sackville-West

We have a highly literary book blog post for you all today!

This is the seventh in a series of blog posts that celebrate the “Book Blogs” created by students in Professor Siân Echard’s “The History of the Book” course during the spring 2015 term. For this assignment, students in the class were asked to choose an item (book or otherwise) from RBSC, research its history, and introduce it to a public audience through a blog or wiki.

Rebecca Sheppard dives into our world renowned Norman Colbeck Collection of nineteenth-century and Edwardian poetry and belles-lettres, and comes up with a breezy and complimentary note written by Virginia Woolf to Vita Sackville-West, the author of The Edwardians.

http://wiki.ubc.ca/Course:ENGL419/Books/The_Edwardians

The novel saw a great deal of success for having been written as a “joke” by an author who hoped that “everybody will be seriously annoyed” by it. Rebecca’s wiki discusses Sackville-West, The Edwardians, and other works published by The Hogarth Press. Enjoy!

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