Friday, 5 February 2010

Save the Palaeography Chair at KCL!!

As an essential part of archivist’s training, let alone a godsend for the reader in search rooms who wouldn’t understand without the guide and advice.

Please see below at what Daniel J DiCenso says on the front of the Petition.

The Chair of Palaeography at King's College in the University of London is the only one of its kind in the UK, and is of fundamental intellectual significance to a broad and interdisciplinary scholarly community as well as to the wider community beyond universities. Many other classical, medieval and early modern disciplines depend on the accurate deciphering of manuscripts and documents and their proper understanding, while the study of writing offers a gateway to the comprehension of our own history, writ large. We therefore urge the Executive of KCL to reconsider their proposal to cut this prestigious Chair.


  1. "The most humane way to put down 20 academic positions ..." - oh sorry, my citation may not entirely be correct.

    Isn't that de la Mare's chair?
    The chairs for "Historische Hilfswissenschaften" (Codicologie, Numismatik, Siglenkunde - sorry, I simply do not have the correct English phrases at hand, you know what I mean) simply and silently were left alone, phased out, a generation of professors retired, the "great reform" fully hit - and today you have students in a historic seminar who NEVER had held an original source in their hands, and have difficulties reading printed (!) material of the 17th century - a shame!

    I am not too optimistic about the future, I see under-funded stately archives (Staatsarchive, in Bavaria), see communal archives that make you cry and have to use church archives in villages or small towns in a state of neglect and disrepair ...
    Yes, I wish you people luck with this petition and all. It may make me sound like an old right-wing lederhosen idiot, but I wish through all of Europe a gentle kind of change would sweep, a little more love for the own history, a little more care for the remains of our history and culture. Not only bla about "excellence" - if I have to hear the word "Leuchtturm" once again I will throw something, up maybe -, not only money for "business" "managers" and other educated ignorati, not another senseless "technology cluster" of whatever useless crap - sorry.
    In the local university library here are only 50 % of the positions for librarians left, compared to 15 years ago - I use that damn library for more then 25 years, I even have worked for it and on the catalogue (as Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter); the Franconica departement today consists of only one professional and some part-timers, they can not skip this departement because it is an official part of the library's task.

    Sorry I do not have to climb a soap box here. And what happens in the Franconian province is surely not of interest for you. But the tendency is frightening. And abandoning this chair fits right in.

  2. Thank you for an excellent comment It is sweeping Europe, there have been job cuts in my local library for near on 5 years. Bright, intelligent people who can make a difference are being lost by the foolishness of money markets. It doesn't help to provide a better place next time so this (collaspe, recession call it what you will) doesn't occur again.