- Activities and Conferences 1978-1992
- Report 9th Conference, Zürich, Switzerland, 1994
- Report 10th Conference, Berlin, Germany, 1996
- Report 11th Conference, Kraków, Poland, 1998
- Report 12th Conference, København, Denmark, 2000
- Report 13th Conference, Helsinki, Finland, 2002
- Report 14th Conference, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2004
- Report 15th Conference, Paris, France, 2006
- Report 16th Conference, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2008 (written in French)
- Report 17th Conference, Tallinn, Estonia, 2010
- Report 18th Conference, Barcelona, Spain, 2012
- Website of the 17th conference, Tallinn, Estonia, 2010
On the initiative of Ib Roenne Kejlbo, the Maplibrarian of the Danish Royal Library, and under the aegis of LIBER, a Roundtable Conference was organized for senior and junior staff members of Map departments. After some deliberations discussions were to be focused on cataloguing problems, ISBD(CM) in particular, problems regarding micro-copying, conservation problems, and training and education of map librarians. The conference would be restricted to 25-30 persons … “and it is hoped that the participants will be both experts and staff members of map departments who have just recently started their work there”. There were then still many map-departments who had to run with inexperienced staff!
As the conference -which took place between 26-28 April 1978- was organized on a rather short notice many maplibrarians couldn’t attend because they had obligations around the same dates elsewhere. But those who could attend (some 18 participants from 8 countries) were more than satisfied about this try-out. The organizers coaxed LIBER into publishing two papers about conservation and micro-copying in the Liber Bulletin. The basic feeling about the conference was well voices by Mrs. Wilkes of the National Library of Scotland. She was glad to be able to report that not only the new world (America, Canada, Australia) could organize their mapcurators, but that now also Europe had proven that it could organize them as well. At the same time she proposed an exchange of staff between Scotland and Denmark “in order to broaden our ideas and to help solve problems”.
What struck participants most was the friendly and informal atmosphere, which made it easier to exchange professional opinions and experiences. In this the staff of the Danish Royal Library has set a precedent which has been followed ever since as best as possible. They also held a little inquiry afterwards about how feelings were about forming a regular maplibrarians group and what the topics to be handled should be. The results showed that obviously the group’s programme would have to be attuned with that of the IFLA, Geography & Map-library Section. However, in contrast with the latter, it was felt that the LIBER group should not be limited to libraries only, but that especially archives and map-producing agencies should be included as much as possible. Because of conference-expenses, as one wished also the smaller institutions to attend, a 2-year conference-cycle was wished for. To spread the knowledge which was exchanged during the conference as wide as possible it was felt that all papers should be published in the Liber-Bulletin and reports of the meetings in the relevant national and international journals. Though the informal atmosphere was cherished at the same time the need for wider participation was felt. To unite these last wishes would mean tension in future. Most of the wishes and ideas voiced then are still valid today and the topics of this first conference are incorporated in the present programme of actions.
As a result of this first meeting the then LIBER-President Mr. Humphries thought it to “be worthwhile considering the setting up of a group for map librarians within LIBER …”. His wish was fulfilled in 1980 in Paris where formally a ‘Groupe des Cartothécaires’ within LIBER was established. Though the organization was a bit haphazard, due to the short time available and the building up of an administrative organisation, it was a success because of the enthusiasm of the organizers and participants. Prior to this conference an ‘Inquiry about map accessions’ was held. The inquiry was concerned with the number of (professional) personnel available and the (dis)advantages of the sources of information (catalogues, lists, bibliographies etc. both for new and antiquarian maps) which were consulted for acquisitions. The 35 participants from 9 countries (plus an observer from Canada!) discussed this inquiry and the topic of reproduction (photocopy, photography and micrography). The conclusions of the inquiry were that there was insufficient personnel and that the sources of information, except for the too few national bibliographies, had to be used with care and precaution.
Another attraction of this conference might have been the possibility to visit the big exhibition in the Centre Georges Pompidou under the title “Cartes et figures de la terre”. Many probably still treasure the grand 479 page catalogue which went with it.
Thanks to the expedient way in which Monique Pelletier of the Bibliothèque National à Paris processed the papers they were soon after published in a special issue of the LIBER Bulletin.
Réunion de cartothécaires européens, Paris, 20-22 octobre 1980 by Monique Pelletier
Now that the group was established it didn’t take long before the next conference in Great-Britain was being organized. Many will have relished the fact that a preliminary notice was distributed one year in advance, making planning easier. The aim of this conference was three-fold: to introduce participants to the working of the British Ordnance Survey, to show a variety of map-repositories and to discuss problems of conserving and housing maps. Donald Moore, National Library of Wales, and Monique Pelletier did all they could to make an as interesting as possible conference and succeeded in getting some 28 persons from 6 countries to attend. They visited map-collections in Southampton, Cardiff and Oxford and had a fruitful exchange of views about conservation in Cardiff. Within 2 years the proceedings were again published in the LIBER Bulletin.
Report concerning the conference by Monique Pelletier.
Soon colleagues in The Netherlands were to know what the mapcurators group meant, thanks to the efforts of Monique Pelletier. To create continuity she started to make lists of correspondents in each country who would be kept informed of developments. This time discussion were to focus on cataloguing and automation and special problems of maps in archives. For some reason the attendance in 1984 suddenly was overwhelming, 54 persons from 12 countries. Maybe it was because the Netherlands boasted two unified automated cataloguing systems, of which one was specifically designed for maps? Or was it the fact that many antiquarian maps could be encountered there, the country having been predominant in map-producing in the 17th and early 18th century. However, most of the conference-time was spent with the topics on the agenda. Besides the automation of catalogue-titles it was the first time graphic indexes, which were distilled from a title-database, were shown. During the LIBER-meeting it was decided that the office of National Correspondent (NC) should be constituted. Some countries, a.o. Spain, have 2 NC’s due to regional differences of organisation. It was also decided that these NC’s would provide to the next meetings a national report concerning the developments in the 2 years before. This would give a good overall insight in European developments. Up till now this has proven a very valuable device for keeping up-to-date over a whole range of issues. Jim Elliot was able to publish the papers in 1986
Welcoming speech by C. Reedijk, Chief Librarian, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague.
Introduction by Monique Pelletier, Bibliothèque Nationale Paris, Président du Groupe des Cartothécaires de LIBER
The present Secretary provided every corresponding member with a ‘list of correspondents’ in the hope that it could be updated with every circular that went out. Unfortunately this has proven impossible up till now. The next year another questionnaire was distributed, this time concerned with mapcuratorship in general. It focused mainly on the degree of national organisation, education, future conferences and news-distribution. There were some 44 responses from 13 countries, showing a terrible lack of training-facilities.
In 1986 in Vienna, Austria, some 66 participants from 13 countries threw themselves again at the topic of conservation and storage, resulting in 14 papers giving practical points of view. The problems mapcurators have with this topic is shown in the fact that there is a lot of literature about restoration, but hardly any about special storage-equipment. This means that most collections create local solutions, on the premises themselves or in collaboration with local manufacturers. It will take still some time before the maps in most collections are stored properly in special map-furniture, but there was a lot learned during this conference.
To show again the broadmindedness of this group concerning its membership it was agreed during the LIBER-meeting that in future mapcurators of central and eastern Europe could participate in its conferences. Furthermore an ‘Archives Liaison Committee’ and a ‘Workinggroup for the Education of Mapcuratorship’ were constituted to create more permanence.
There was also a post-conference session concerning national bibliographies with the IFLA/ICA Joint Inter- Associational Working Group on Documentation in Cartography.
This time the publishing of the conference papers was very difficult. But after a lot of negotiations they were finally published in 1990 as the last issue of the LIBER bulletin.
Begrüssung von Magda Strebl, Generaldirektorin, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek
Grussadresse von Franz Kroller, President of LIBER, Universitätsbibliothek Graz, Direktor
Einführung durch Franz Wawrik, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Kartensammlung-Globenmuseum, Wien
Ergebnisse der Tagung durch Helga Hühnel-Fischer, Elisabeth Zeilinger, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Kartensammlung-Globenmuseum, Wien
Based on an example of Monique Pelletier the Board sent out in 1987 an ‘Inquiry into map-use and user-habits in Europe’. For such a small group this was an ambitious project. Therefor it was very satisfying to report that there were almost 3,000 responses from the clientele of some 100 mapcollections. During that time there was also a request from Spain for information about mapcuratorgroups and their activities, showing that experience gained elsewhere was actually being exchanged.
In Sweden 1988 the programme was centred on questions concerning map-use and user-habits. Besides many papers there were also two sessions devoted to workshops and a general discussion. This was also the first time we could exchange views and experiences with colleagues from Poland and Hungary. Unfortunately, because of changes within the main LIBER-body, the papers could only only be published in 1991, including a report concerning the inquiry.
The next conference took place in Paris in 1990 and was concerned with ‘new technologies and their impact on mapcuratorship’. The Board had hoped new production-methods of maps and their problems also would be discussed, but were still satisfied with the wide variety of automated cataloguing which was offered. Some 6 systems were discussed and/or demonstrated ranging from PC-catalogue through custom-made systems to general bibliographical systems. Next to the national progress reports there was also a report on education and training over the past 2 years. This time there was a considerable contingent of participants coming from Barcelona and Madrid. They hosted the next conference in 1992, which took place in Barcelona, under the theme ‘Diffusion and promotion of cartographic materials’. More specific it concerned itself with problems of lending, facsimiles, carto-catalogues, acquisition, and directories of map-collections. In this context it is pleasant to see that the 6-year ‘curs Historìa de la cartografia’, organized a.o. by the Institut Cartogràfic de Catalunya, devotes about a third of its curriculum to the description of mapcollections and the organisation of mapcuratorship of all the six countries involved. A secondary benefit is that lists of descriptions of map- collections are being published which hitherto haven’t been available. The Spanish organizing committee did a grand survey of Spain and laid this down in a 199 p. report.
The Barcelona-conference however served two purposes: the conference itself and the IFLA-conference in 1993 in Barcelona. Here we return to the start of this group when the idea was voiced to attune programmes with the IFLA, Geography & Map Library Section. Some sessions in 1992 were devoted to problems concerning retro-conversion. This will be the enigma for the 1990’s. Everyone wants to have automated cataloguing c.q. documentation systems. But how to convert the traditional fiche-catalogues to the automated systems and where to get the finances to do so! Developments in the European field were presented to the IFLA in 1993 for a global review. One of the questions we try to solve is how we can profit from those catalogues in Europe which already have been converted. Especially when these are concerned with older material or antiquarian maps there are possibilities. It was also decided to have a more permanent exchange of information between the IFLA and LIBER mapcurator groups.
Report 9th Conference, Zürich, Switzerland, 1994
Report 10th Conference, Berlin, Germany, 1996
Report 11th Conference, Kraków, Poland, 1998
Report 12th Conference, København, Denmark, 2000
Report 13th Conference, Helsinki, Finland, 2002
Report 14th Conference, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2004
Report 15th Conference, Paris, France, 2006
Report 16th Conference, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2008 (written in French)
Report 17th Conference, Tallinn, Estonia, 2010
Report 18th Conference, Barcelona, Spain, 2012
The mission statement of LIBER
The past few years Europe has been in turmoil. Unified and communal structures in central and eastern Europe are breaking down while at the same time Europe-1992 tries to break down boundaries between EC-countries and unify them more. These opposing developments create much uncertainty and tensions. It is felt that if western/southern Europe is not prepared to help central/eastern Europe a lot of our common cultural heritage may be lost. This may also be true for map-collections. LIBER tries to keep abreast of developments and tries to incorporate all of Europe’s research libraries into a single body. It is expanding its membership from central- and eastern Europe to the rate of these countries becoming member of the Council of Europe and thus abiding by its rules.
Though there have been contacts between western and eastern European mapcurators they were mainly on a personal or bi-lateral basis. I hope we can organize in the next 5-10 years a practical programme with which we can safeguard the eastern European collections as well as establish regular and open contacts with their curators, even though we know that our own means are not excessive. Furthermore the workinggroup will concentrate its programmes on education, retroconversion and services to the public, reflecting these on the programmes of the main LIBER-body and IFLA.
A vision for LIBER’s strategy 2003-2006
With thanks to Susan Vejlsgaard of the Danish Royal Library Map Room and Monique Pelletier of the Bibliothèque Nationale à Paris who both kept a meticulous archive during the gestation and first few years of this group.