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Dissertation Information for Barbara McCrimmon

NAME:
- Barbara McCrimmon

DEGREE:
- Ph.D.

DISCIPLINE:
- Library and Information Science

SCHOOL:
- Florida State University (USA) (1973)

ADVISORS:
- Martha Jane Koontz Zachert

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
- Harold Goldstein
- Richard A. Bartlett
- Ronald D. Blazek

MPACT Status: Fully Complete

Title: THE PUBLICATION OF THE BRITISH MUSEUM'S GENERAL CATALOGUE OF PRINTED BOOKS 1881-1900

Abstract: A study was made to ascertain the dominant factors, social, personal and institutional, which resulted in the publication of the General Catalogue of Printed Books in the British Museum Library, beginning in 1881, after forty years of resistance by the officers and the governing board of the Museum to the requests of literary men that it be printed. The period of concentration for the study was 1874 to 1884, with detailed investigation of the background from the time of the Royal Commission on the British Museum, 1847-1849, through the 1870’s, and with elucidation of the steps by which the publication project was carried to completion in 1900.
Social factors were traced in political activity, especially of the men who led the government of Great Britain from 1868 to 1885. The central figures were Gladstone and Disraeli, with their Chancellors of the Exchequer, Lowe and Northcote, and the officials and clerks of the Treasury who assisted them. The reforming spirit of the times was found to have affected the British Museum in several ways; the removal of patronage from the Civil Service necessitated new regulations that affected the Museum staff adversely; removal of the “taxes on knowledge” resulted in the proliferation of newspapers, the storage and binding of which taxed the resources of the Museum; and the broadening of the educational opportunities of the populace made librarians eager for bibliographic resource tools, much as catalogues of great libraries, catalogues of national literatures, and a universal catalogue.
Personal factors were dominant throughout the study. Individuals acted according to their characteristics and reacted with each other in ways that were crucial to the catalogue project. Friction on all levels hampered reforms and reactionary philosophy perpetuated outdated policies. Yet a surprising unanimity of outlook among men of opposite party and personality also forwarded new projects when the time was ripe. Within the Museum the opinions of the Panizzi held sway as long as he was alive, but Sir Edward Bond as Principal Librarian and Richard Garnett as Superintendent of the Reading Room were determined to publish the catalogue, against Panizzi’s wishes, and when he was gone they quickly got approval to initiate their plan. They began with the printing of entire volumes of the General Catalogue in 1881, and in 1884 began the printing of the entire catalogue from A to Z. Bond and Garnett cooperated well, but they were hard pressed to obtain the necessary assistance of the Keeper of Printed Books, George Bullen, who gave priority to the completion of Panizzi’s transcribed catalogue, and to the publication of his own catalogue of the library’s English books printed before 1640.
The institutional factors were found to center in the Board of Trustees, whose dominance of the Museum affairs was sometimes challenged by the Treasury. The officers of the Museum often struggled among themselves for influence of the Board’s decisions. These dissensions at times held back progress, but in general the institution was strong enough to withstand both external and internal pressures and to move steadily forward in its social context.
For the study the general history of the era and pertinent library history were investigated. Official records of the British Museum provided the basis for the detailed observations and the conclusions.

MPACT Scores for Barbara McCrimmon

A = 0
C = 0
A+C = 0
T = 0
G = 0
W = 0
TD = 0
TA = 0
calculated 2008-01-31 06:03:58

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Students under Barbara McCrimmon

ADVISEES:
- None

COMMITTEESHIPS:
- None