Librarians' visit to Glasgow one for the books

07 October 2002
THE party of UCT librarians who attended an international conference in Scotland in late August arrived back in Cape Town with plenty of fond memories, a generous collection of business cards and the satisfaction of having won one of the colloquium's most prized awards.

Kate Murray, a Masters student in librarianship who works as an assistant in the Manuscripts and Archives Department, received the award for best poster presentation at the annual gathering of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), held this year in Glasgow. It was the first time that the prize had been made to an African institution.

Murray's winning display recounted, in graphic form, UCT Libraries' inaugural digital imaging project in which 310 photos from its Bleek and Lloyd Collection were scanned and converted for exhibit on the Internet. The photographs are found in an album belonging to Dorothea Bleek, who travelled to southern Africa in the early part of the 20th century to identify and record – via photographs and her diaries – the languages of the San.

The Bleek and Lloyd Collection, held in Manuscripts and Archives, is also listed in UNESCO's Memory of the World Register, marking it as a compilation of global significance.

Working alongside UCT Libraries' Lesley Hart, Janine Dunlop and Margie Struthers, Murray used a selection of road signs – they're internationally recognisable, she explains – to highlight not only the successes of the project, but also its problems. “It's pretty exciting,” she says succinctly of the IFLA laurel.

Murray had a cohort of UCT staff on hand in Glasgow to congratulate her on the honour, including Director, Joan Rapp, as well as Diana Hurter, Johann Maree and Ingrid Thomson. Thomson noted that she only made it to the conference after being named as the first recipient of the new Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA)/EBSCO Travel Grant.

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