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Topic: The British Library in London - An endless source for books
Message: Posted by: calexa (Feb 5, 2005 08:05AM)
You live in London, UK? You like books? You love magic? But you don´t know if a particular book suits you? Why don´t you go and visit the British Library?

The British Library is, together with the National Library in Washington and the Bibliothéque Nationale in Paris, one of the three biggest libraries in the world - the collection contains more than 150 million (!!!) books. Every book which is printed in the UK can be found here, every year the library gets 3 million more books.

There is only one problem: if you want to study the books there, you need a "Readers Pass". You get the pass for free, but you must provide a reason why you want the pass - no problems for students and people with a research theme, but maybe a problem for people without a good reason. But a lot of reasons are accepted, so give it a try!

But don´t think that you can simply go to the library, search for a book and copy it. You can buy copycards there, but this is very expensive - it´s not worth the effort: a 5pounds-card allows you to make 22 copies, a 90pounds-card about 520 copies. This librariy is very good for references, but not for breaking copyright laws!!!

Message: Posted by: IanKendall (Feb 5, 2005 09:27AM)
There is another hurdle to overcome.

A couple of years ago I worked at the National Library of Scotland, which is our main depository and one of seven copyright libraries in the YooKay. It is a legal requirement for all publishers to send a copy of all books they produce to each of the seven libraries for cataloging within one year of the publishing date. Having said that, and seeing the backlogs, it could be a few years before it actually arrives on the catalogue for the public.

There is, however, a drawback (for magicians, at least). If the information included in the book can be shown to be privalidged information (ie, not for public consumption) the publisher can waive the requirement. For this reason many magic books are not logged with the Libraries. I noticed that there are no Martin Breese books in the library, for example.

There were some gold bricks, though. On the Ganii forum at the time I posted about finding the first edition of Discoverie that is there, as well as the original Ransay manuscripts. Run a search for Discoverie of Witchcraft on the Genii forum site if you are interested.

Take care, Ian
Message: Posted by: Snidini (Feb 9, 2005 07:29PM)
Interesting stuff to know and thanks for the info Magixx. I tried many, many years ago (70's) to "delve" into their vast banks of printed material by requesting a rare book to view and read on premise. I was denied the opportunity and was told..."it doesn't exist in our library". The book I was looking for was the Seventh Key of King Solomom. I had read a book about the seven keys of this powerful king and found the info very enlightening. At the end of this British published book, was the info I needed to be able to go to the Brit Museum and ask for it; numbers, title and all. It still puzzles me to this day why I was denied viewing of the rare book.

Message: Posted by: IanKendall (Feb 10, 2005 02:25AM)
Snidini - most of the Libraries now have web catalogues (I know the Scottish library does). If you are still looking for the book, log onto http://www.nls.uk and try their catalogue (even to see if it is there). If we have one, the chances are that the British has one as well (and remember there are five others to try).

However, if the book is very old, there is a chance it's not on the e-cat yet. For example, Scot's Discoverie is not on the NLS e-cat, I had to trawl through the Catalogue 1 on microfiche...

Take care, Ian
Message: Posted by: Snidini (Feb 10, 2005 02:53PM)
Thanks for that info Ian. I will certainly look into URL you posted and look around. Cheers mate.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Feb 11, 2005 12:30AM)
All of the really old books are in the public domain, that is, they are not protected by copyright, so if you find a book, such as Hocus Pocus Junior that you do not have a copy of, you can copy it without fear of being a lawbreaker.

The first edition of that book is available at Lybrary.com or Learned Pig. I'm not sure which one. But the first edition is missing some of the material in the second edition.

There are also other sources of really old magic books, and they won't cost you major bucks.
Message: Posted by: IanKendall (Feb 11, 2005 01:59AM)
The big problem with this is that no library will let you photocopy old books because of the potential damage caused by the bright light and handling. I was able to take a few digital photographs of Discoverie, but I had to beg to get permission!

Good luck with your search!

Take care, Ian
Message: Posted by: Vision (Feb 11, 2005 04:48AM)
I blagged a card at the British Library, a LOT of hassle. In the end I just couldn't be asked to get any books. *sigh* A good hour wasted to convince the people that I really needed that card :)

Not THAT much mentalism in there, not at that time anyway.

Daniel Young
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Feb 14, 2005 12:36PM)
On 2005-02-11 02:59, IanKendall wrote:
The big problem with this is that no library will let you photocopy old books because of the potential damage caused by the bright light and handling. I was able to take a few digital photographs of Discoverie, but I had to beg to get permission!

Good luck with your search!

Take care, Ian

There is no need whatsoever to do this. This copy of Dicoverie is available on microfilm from University Books in Ann Arbor, MI. You can go to any library at any university in the US, and presumably, the UK and request photocopies of each page, directly from the microfilm. Look the book up in Toole Stott, get the Short Title Catalogue number of the book and ask for the pages.
Message: Posted by: Wizardwannabe (Mar 23, 2005 07:27PM)
Just so you know the library in Washington is not called the National Library - it's the Library of Congress. Washington guidebooks never fail to point out that it's the world's largest library. I think it may be the second or third largest but still .... Anyway, it supposedly has a copy of every book ever copyrighted in the United States so I'm sure it has tons of magic books. It also has Houdini's personal library. I'm not sure but I think the library at Brown University in Providence has an extensive collection of conjuring literature.