“A message for the library [archives] apparatchiks of the 21st century”

Some of the most important books in the history of research remain unloved and un-taken off the shelves for decades or centuries. Dont throw them away; please. They will eventually come into their own and be what research is all about, or some of them will (and wevdont [sic] yet know which). Or to put it more positively: the University Library is my equivalent of the Hadron Collider (part white elephant, part cutting edge techonology)..and, oh, it needs money to keep it up to atomic speed.

From Mary Beard’s blog on the TLS.

As a classicist you rely to a large extent on published editions of records and other original materials, often themselves transcribed and copied, often many times over the centuries.  There’s a small (!) amount of material – ok generalising wildly – compared to the wealth of records from the 19th century onwards available to the historian. And yet I think Beard’s words resonate for records too, and contribute to the difficult and often unexplored issues around appraisal.


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