National Chess Library closure

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Brian Towers
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Brian Towers » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:48 pm

Ian Kingston wrote:Apart from the copyright issue, there is also the practical problem that in order to get the pages to lie flat on a typical scanner most books have to be dismantled. Otherwise you ended up with a distorted or illegible inside margin for each page. This may not be a problem for books where there are duplicates (so that one can be sacrificed), but for single copies of old or valuable books it may not be an acceptable solution.
No longer true.

Something like 15 years ago Google came up with their Google Books Project (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Books) with the intention of scanning all the books in the world. The problem you describe was obviously one they had to solve as this article describes - http://computer.howstuffworks.com/google-books1.htm

Perhaps the ECF should forward a list of their oldest and rarest books to Google who might very well do the job for free as part of their project?
Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now.

Brian Towers
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Brian Towers » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:59 pm

Perhaps I should add that since Oxford's Bodleian Library was one of the initial partners anything in the Bodleian is likely to already have been scanned. Although the British Library wasn't an initial partner it became one later - https://www.cnet.com/news/google-to-sca ... ary-books/ - with books published between 1700 and 1870 targeted for scanning.
Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now.

Ian Kingston
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Ian Kingston » Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:13 pm

Brian Towers wrote: No longer true.
Yes, I'm well aware of what Google can do. I was working on the assumption that the ECF wouldn't have quite the same capabilities as a multi-billion dollar corporation.

Paul Cooksey
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Paul Cooksey » Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:28 pm

I have to admit the library does not excite me very much. But just for consistency which the position I always take, I feel the ECF should use its strategy document to decide what to do, or update the strategy document if this is a gap. I think it probably is a gap.

This statement: "Work with other mind sport organisations to raise the visibility and status of chess in the eyes of HM Government." is maybe a bit too low level to be a goal, and a more general goal about the maintaining and enhancing chess culture in England could be drafted which would then allow a sub-goal to include the library.

If that was the strategy, I think Tim Harding stated the right approach. I'd want the ECF to retain only those items that existing reputable bodies - the British library etc - do not already have, and are not willing to take. Any book available to researchers elsewhere I'd want to dispose of, not just duplicates.

I suppose an alternate strategy would be to develop a library at the office, or a virtual library, as a member service. But that does not seem justified to me. The level of interest seems low, and the cost prohibitively high.

I'd start to dispose of anything without historic value now. I see no point waiting for a full catalogue exercise to get rid of items the ECF knows it does not need to retain.

Tim Harding
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Tim Harding » Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:22 am

Ian Kingston wrote:
Brian Towers wrote: No longer true.
Yes, I'm well aware of what Google can do. I was working on the assumption that the ECF wouldn't have quite the same capabilities as a multi-billion dollar corporation.
Google used to have a motto "Don't be evil."

No longer true either.

When they started this scanning enterprise a few years ago, complex legal agreements were offered to authors but in practice non-US authors could not do anything about preventing Google from scanning their out-of-print books and putting up large chunks online for free.

Also many of the chess book PDFs they made available online in the early years are no longer there, because they did deals with reprint houses who now try to flog you hard copy reprints and the free PDFs mostly got removed. There is only a fraction available now of what I collected 3-4 years ago.

And some titles that were available to people with American IP addresses were never made available here - or at least they did not turn up in searches done from Ireland, though I got some when a Canadian friend sent me the URLs.

So I would definitely NOT recommend ECF to deal with Google.
Tim Harding
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Author of 'British Chess Literature to 1914', Joseph Henry Blackburne: A Chess Biography', and 'Eminent Victorian Chess Players'
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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Thu Dec 05, 2019 10:46 am

Returning a couple of years later to this thread, I was trying to find details of the ECF National Chess Library on the ECF website, failed, and used Google and found this news item from 20 July 2017:

The chess library
The library stock has now been moved from the store in Eastbourne to our new office on the first floor of The Watch Oak. [...]
I do recall some discussion on this topic on this forum, but cannot now find that.

Have there been any updates on this since (maybe there is something in the AGM minutes since then?)

I did find an index of images here:

https://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-cont ... s-library/

That appears to be some parts of the library organised by the years 1917 to 1922.

Mike Gunn
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Mike Gunn » Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:30 pm

The latest statement on the ECF library would appear to be the following item from the board's strategy statement presented to the AGM in October this year: "Work with De Montfort University Leicester to manage the transfer of the library from the Office to the DMU Special Collections facility."

John Moore
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by John Moore » Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:54 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 10:46 am
Returning a couple of years later to this thread, I was trying to find details of the ECF National Chess Library on the ECF website, failed, and used Google and found this news item from 20 July 2017:

The chess library
The library stock has now been moved from the store in Eastbourne to our new office on the first floor of The Watch Oak. [...]
I do recall some discussion on this topic on this forum, but cannot now find that.

Have there been any updates on this since (maybe there is something in the AGM minutes since then?)

I did find an index of images here:

https://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-cont ... s-library/

That appears to be some parts of the library organised by the years 1917 to 1922.
Chris, I have no idea how the library is organised but the image references seem to be just some random sequence of numbers. They are certainly nothing to do with the years 1917 to 1922 as you will see if you make the pictures a bit bigger.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Thu Dec 05, 2019 2:04 pm

John Moore wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:54 pm
Chris, I have no idea how the library is organised but the image references seem to be just some random sequence of numbers. They are certainly nothing to do with the years 1917 to 1922 as you will see if you make the pictures a bit bigger.
Oops. I got a bit too excited there. Thanks for spotting that. :oops:

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Thu Dec 05, 2019 2:08 pm

Mike Gunn wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:30 pm
The latest statement on the ECF library would appear to be the following item from the board's strategy statement presented to the AGM in October this year: "Work with De Montfort University Leicester to manage the transfer of the library from the Office to the DMU Special Collections facility."
Really? (Thanks for finding that.) I thought loads of money was spent reinforcing the floor/renting the space above the Office? What steps have been taken to ensure this new home doesn't go the way of the one in Hastings (at the University of Sussex, I think)? I suppose the answer is nothing is certain, and only a place sympathetic to the needs of the collection will really ensure it is viable. I suppose the location is more central.

Actually, it does look promising:

https://library.dmu.ac.uk/archiveslanding
"Special Collections - archives and rare books. The Special Collections Team care for the more rare and specialised parts of the Library collection, including archives, rare books and journals, and artefacts. [...] specialist holdings including collections on sports history, performance and art, history of photography, fashion and textiles, and the history of Leicester."
A taster:

https://library.dmu.ac.uk/specialcollec ... ngtheboxer
In 2018 DMU Special Collections was successful in its bid for a grant from The Wellcome Trust under the Trust’s Research Resources Awards In Humanities and Social Science funding scheme, which helps “collection and information professionals develop library and archive material for humanities and social science researchers”. DMU is a leading centre for the study of sport history and academics and students from the International Centre for Sports History and Leicester Castle Business School’s Business Management in Sport MSc have already been conducting research into the Ski Club collection since its arrival in March 2018. Cataloguing the collection in detail will develop the material for further research by making it easier in future to navigate, understand and search.
Imagine that being done for chess.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Thu Dec 05, 2019 2:18 pm

If Stewart Reuben is reading from the Caribbean, he might be interested in this:

https://library.dmu.ac.uk/specialcollec ... 15018334-2

"a film collection dating from the 1930s to the 1970s"

I think I am right that he has a collection of chess-related film/TV items (though he may have already arranged for it to go to an archive at some future point).

Do the ECF have a policy on what to do with items bequeathed to them?

(That can be a double-edged sword, you can get treasures but dross as well.)

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