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The fragile histories of disability community

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  • keith armstrong
    FYI This a copy of a letter sent to the British Library. It concerns issues about the disappearance of part of the fragile histories of disability community.
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 10, 2000
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      FYI This a copy of a letter sent to the British Library. It concerns
      issues about the disappearance of part of the fragile histories of
      disability community. I would welcome your comments. Keith


      23rd, May
      2000
      The Director,
      Reader's Services
      The British Library
      96 Euston Road
      London NW1 2DB

      Dear Sir,

      British Library : Publications removed from the British Library.

      My main experience with the vast majority of library staff has been
      helpful and supportive with current research I am undertaking .I am
      currently writing a history of the disability community and have been
      working through your "On-Line" catalogue, however, yesterday, I
      discovered references to publications "discarded" by the library.

      I have a few questions that would assist my research:

      w Are these items archived in alternative formats such as
      microfilm or CD ROM?

      w Are records kept of the details of all discarded
      publications?

      w If records are kept, is the list available to readers at the
      library?

      w Is there a breakdown of these discarded items by subject area
      and
      date of removal?

      w When did the library start to discard catalogued publications?

      w What is the criteria for discarding publications?

      w On whose authority within the library are publication
      discarded?

      w Is the policy of discarding publications still continuing?


      Some of items listed as "discarded" that I have found are described
      below:

      Ÿ United States of America, Department of State and Public
      Institutions.
      Presidents Committee on Employment the Physically Handicapped.
      Employ the handicapped 10th observance of National Employment
      of the
      physically handicapped, October 3-9 - 1954

      & Former Shelf Mark AS 107/54.
      cont....

      Ÿ Departments of State and Public Inst. Presidents Committee on
      National Employment of the physically handicapped week: Membership
      Directory 1950-57

      & Former Shelf Mark AS 107/42.

      Ÿ United States of America, Departments of States and Public
      Institutions, Civil Service Commission operations manual for
      placement of the physically handicapped (3rd edition) 1944

      & Former Shelf Mark AS 175/8.

      Ÿ Some problem in the education of handicapped children
      Mackie, Romeiue P.,

      & Former Shelf Mark AS 202/16.


      Thank you,.


      Yours sincerely






      Keith Armstrong
    • Cindy Glaze
      Keith, Although I appreciate your frustration at not getting the materials you needed in a timely manner, I would like to comment on standard practices of
      Message 2 of 3 , Aug 12, 2000
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        Keith,

        Although I appreciate your frustration at not getting the materials
        you needed in a timely manner, I would like to comment on standard
        practices of libraries. This is not meant to be a flame, but an
        informational post.

        > Dear Sir,
        >
        > British Library : Publications removed from the British Library.
        <CLIP>
        > w When did the library start to discard catalogued publications?

        Libraries started discarding materials as soon as the printing press
        made materials readily available. Before that, if a library had two
        copies of something they could sell it or donate it to another
        library and be assured that SOMEBODY would want it. As soon a printed
        material started being more accessible, it started piling up. If the
        no longer useful material was not discarded, useful material would
        soon be piled under and inaccessible due to lack of room.

        >
        > w What is the criteria for discarding publications?

        If you have multiple copies, if information is dated, if it is such
        bad condition that it can no longer be used, if it is readily
        accessible via InterLibraryLoan from a more appropriate repository
        for the information and if it is simply duplicating information found
        elsewhere and there is no longer enough room to store it.

        > w On whose authority within the library are publication
        > discarded?

        Generally the Library Director deligates the job to librarians who
        are specialists in that department.

        >
        > w Is the policy of discarding publications still continuing?


        I sincerly hope it is. If not, than the British Library would soon be
        unusable as materials became stuffed to the rafters and beyond.

        >
        >
        > Some of items listed as "discarded" that I have found are
        described
        > below:
        >
        > Ÿ United States of America, Department of State and Public
        > Institutions.
        <CLIP>

        Please note that some of the items you are looking for are government
        documents of a foreign nation. The friendly foreign nation has
        agreements to share via ILL but the documents have little use to the
        citizenry of Britain. Only specialized researcher such as myself and
        you would be interested. These researchers can often get the material
        by ILL, especially since they are usually attached to a university
        library which does ILL on a regular basis.

        >
        > Thank you,.
        > Yours sincerely
        > Keith Armstrong

        I hope that you are soon able to get the materials you need. Some of
        it may even be available on-line from the US government printing
        office. I hope this helps you understand this admitidly frustrating
        process.

        Bright Blessings,

        Cindy Glaze
      • keith armstrong
        Cindy, Many thanks for comments about my letter to the British Library. The British Library (BL) is a bid different to ordinary libraries because it is
        Message 3 of 3 , Aug 13, 2000
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          Cindy,

          Many thanks for comments about my letter to the British Library.

          The British Library (BL) is a bid different to ordinary libraries
          because it is consider as a library of "record". Many smaller
          libraries happily dispose of their "under used stock" in the belief
          that the BL was looking after at least one copy. In that respect
          it is very similar to the Library of Congress.

          In the article I co-wrote with John Ezard that was published in
          last Friday's Guardian, I also pointed out that currently with loss
          of more than 80,000 discarded (only copy) publications the library
          now fails 25 requests pa. under the ILL lending scheme, whereas
          they could have met the requests before their cull of books.

          My main concern is that disability related publications that fail
          to meet their current acquisition policy. Even if copies are still
          available in the USA, it still represents a delay in precise research
          time. One of the more recent causalities that I found in a second-
          hand
          bookshop (stamped "British Library withdrawn") is "Disability -
          Controversial Debates and Psychosocial Perspectives" by Dr Deborah
          Marks (Routledge 1999) and interesting and highly readable book. I
          am sure that Dr Marks didn't consider how controversial it would
          be on the date of publication.

          If you want to know more about this issue I suggest you read
          the following web pages.

          http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/letters/story/0,3604,353385,00.html

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,353331,00.html

          http://x63.deja.com/=yahoo/getdoc.xp?AN=657622796&CONTEXT=966179142.17
          07147266&hitnum=2

          http://x57.deja.com/=yahoo/getdoc.xp?AN=657697392&CONTEXT=966179574.19
          05197061&hitnum=0

          http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Aegean/8435/Strike.html

          I would welcome further comments from you on this

          All best wishes
          Keith

          --- In disabilitystudies@egroups.com, "Cindy Glaze" <cerridwyn@r...>
          wrote:
          > Keith,
          >
          > Although I appreciate your frustration at not getting the materials
          > you needed in a timely manner, I would like to comment on standard
          > practices of libraries. This is not meant to be a flame, but an
          > informational post.
          >
          > > Dear Sir,
          > >
          > > British Library : Publications removed from the British Library.
          > <CLIP>
          > > w When did the library start to discard catalogued publications?
          >
          > Libraries started discarding materials as soon as the printing
          press
          > made materials readily available. Before that, if a library had two
          > copies of something they could sell it or donate it to another
          > library and be assured that SOMEBODY would want it. As soon a
          printed
          > material started being more accessible, it started piling up. If
          the
          > no longer useful material was not discarded, useful material would
          > soon be piled under and inaccessible due to lack of room.
          >
          > >
          > > w What is the criteria for discarding publications?
          >
          > If you have multiple copies, if information is dated, if it is such
          > bad condition that it can no longer be used, if it is readily
          > accessible via InterLibraryLoan from a more appropriate repository
          > for the information and if it is simply duplicating information
          found
          > elsewhere and there is no longer enough room to store it.
          >

          snip
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