Researching book – how does the library benefit the old English literature researcher?

You are a Professor of English, but what do you do research on, more specifically?

”I research Middle and Early Modern English texts. My dissertation, for example, focused on the late medieval heretic writings. Right now, I am studying paratexts surrounding the main text, such as forewords and dedications. In addition, I ’m interested in material linguistics, which sees linguistic communication closely connected with its physical form, such as book.”

The library is probably important when studying physical books?

”That’s true, I study the book as an object and an old print year doesn’t make the item unimportant.  For my research, the Teutori and Feeniks library collections at the University of Turku have been very important together with the Åbo Akademi Library collections.  Since all books are not available in Turku, the interlibrary services are also close to my heart.” 

Do you also use library’s e-resources in your research?

”They are also essential, of course, since academic journals are mainly online.  I only wish that publishers also made older journal archives available electronically.

In addition to journals, various databases, bibliographies and newspaper archives are significant to research. For example, the 17th and 18th Century Burney Collection contains a large number of British and American newspapers and getting access to them a couple of decades ago would have been very hard for a researcher located in Turku. These kinds of resources make researcher’s life so much easier and broaden the scope for possible research topics. They also provide excellent topics for Master’s thesis writers. ”

Would you like to highlight some of the Turku University Library’s resources?

”I have cooperated with the history department in the investigation of old manuscripts found in the various libraries in Turku. I was greatly surprised by the university library’s versatile manuscript collection, which would deserve more attention. I hope that researchers would remember to use these materials so that they wouldn’t be left unexplored in the library stacks.”





17th and 18th Century Burney Collection

The 17th and 18th Century Burney Collection presents a large collection of historical English newspapers. The database includes 17th and 18th century newspapers, news pamphlets, proclamations and other material related to society.  You can make full text searches and save, print or send material by email.

Link to database

Library’s manuscript collection

The manuscript collection contains whole archives as well as single documents. The individual papers have been received in the book donations during the period of library’s foundation and this collection has never been purposely extended. Private archives have been accepted also later, but those not related to the University of Turku were also transferred to other archives.

The manuscript collection of single documents covers all walks of life: letters, speeches, sermons, memorial albums, lecture notes, school notebooks, shop receipts, account books, school reports, a collection of notes on various topics, etc. Main part of the collection dates from the late 18th century to the early 20th century, but also older items are included.

The collection has not been arranged by subject but has been packed into numbered holders seemingly randomly. In order to locate documents from the collection a list compiled by Veikko Laakso in 1972 is an essential aid.

Interviewer: Ilmari Jauhiainen
Facts: Anu Raunio and Liisa Hilander
Translation: Kristiina Hintikka
Photos: Krista Voitto

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Published date 11/13/2017 2:00 PM ,  Modified date 11/13/2017 2:24 PM