The Friends Programme is fundraising initiative which, once a year, allocates money to projects within UCL. Last year it agreed to fund the retrospective cataloguing of four of the Library's most substantial Special Collections: the the rare Joyce, rare Orwell and Bentham Collections and the College Collection.
Retrospective cataloguing is the process of creating computer records for material (usually old and rare) which, until now, has only been listed (if at all) in card catalogues. The new records considerably increase the accessibilty of such material to researchers.
The collections of James Joyce, George Orwell and Jeremy Bentham comprise many first and early editions of the authors' major books, as well as commentaries on their works and biographies.
The College Collection is a vivid record of the history of UCL from its foundation in 1826 to the present day. It can be broadly divided into three types of material:
A fourth category, comprising photographs, plans and archives, will not be included in the project.
The Collection includes fascinating (and prescient) contemporary debates about the narrow exclusiveness of university education in the early nineteenth century - an exclusiveness which the foundation of UCL was an attempt to redress. Of particular note among the biographies and works by UCL academics are the works on English language, literature and poetry by William Paton Ker, the poetry and plays of Alex Comfort and the biographies of Alfred Edward Housman. Highlights in the Sciences include titles on human evolution, genetics and eugenics by Francis Galton and J.B.S. Haldane, works on sanitation and public health by Edwin Chadwick and pioneering volumes on married life and birth control by Marie Stopes.