WITH THIS ISSUE of Biblionews I am returning to my editorial duties after taking a “sabbatical” during 2006. The first thing I want to do is thank Neil Radford most sincerely for looking after the journal over that period, and for doing so with the utmost efficiency, especially in respect to getting the issues out well on time. He set a cracking pace there that I will have to try to keep up with. Last year turned out to be a more difficult and time-consuming year than I could have bargained for, so I am all the more grateful to Neil, for without him I am not sure whether Biblionews would have appeared at all. And without John Newland’s expert setting up of the issues there would most certainly have been none.
Readers will have noticed that since 2005 changes have occurred in the way material in the journal is presented: the typeface of item titles, the locating of authors’names directly beneath article titles instead of at the end in the manner so long traditional in Biblionews, inter alia. These are changes negotiated between Neil Radford and John Newland, of which I heartily approve.
With this issue a further, very significant change has to be made. In the March 2005 editorial I said that “a member of staff at the Bodleian Library in Oxford emailed me in puzzlement about the volume number ‘3’ on the cover of that issue. It should, of course, have read ‘Volume 30. No 3 & 4’.” But that later turned out to be wrong. It was an enquiry from Ms Mardi Cook, Serials and Electronic Resources Librarian at the University of New England’s Dixson Library, about a putatively unreceived issue that set me rechecking, and I found that though the preceding double issue (341st & 342nd issue) for March & June 2004 was correctly given as “Vol. 29, No 1& 2”, the next, also double, issue should not have been Vol. 3 or even Vol. 30, but still Vol. 29, No 3 & 4. I realised then that the error in sequence had occurred at the point of the changeover in the computer preparation of the journal and, had I done my editorial checking properly at the time, I would have noticed that rather gross error. Mea culpa! This has, of course, thrown the volume / number bibliographical reference to issues out of kilter for every subsequent issue. I have consulted with Neil Radford on the matter and he has pointed out that (a) with three different ways of referencing issues—by issue number, by vol. and no., and by month and year—we have a surfeit, so the second one could drop out without significant loss and (b) all our past and present indexes of Biblionews (for which he is now responsible and has provided the one for 2006 in this issue) reference only by issue number anyway, so there would be no loss or confusion there. Therefore, as from the present issue, Biblionews issues will be referenced on the cover and elsewhere only by the issue number and the month and year, no longer by volume and number. (Libraries especially, please note!)
The main article in this issue is Alasdair Taylor’s account of a collection of Scottish Gaelic story books within his much larger Gaelic collection. Alasdair co-authored the article “Scottish Gaelic Publishing in Australia” in the 300th issue of Biblionews of December 1993 (“Special issue devoted to Australian publications in Celtic languages”). And I suppose I should confess now that I am the “very much alive and well” father referred to early in his text.
Through a consideration of the recently accessed letters and other material – what the Germans call a Nachlass—left by the late Blanche Milligan, Mark Ferson has provided us with an overview of a significant phase in the history of the bookplate in Australia.
Doug Mackenzie has written up for us an account of his contribution to the December Show & Tell meeting held by the Society in Sydney last year, a volume not without relevance to his home state of Tasmania. An account of other contributions to that meeting will appear in our June issue.
It is pleasing that, apart from my own small item on “Leporello”, there are two others in our Notes & Queries section—an enquiry from Neil Radford, and an eLetter from Nigel Sinnott—after the excellent reviews from Colin Steele.
I would like to encourage Society members, and readers who are not members, to feel free to contribute to Biblionews. While we are always grateful to get long articles like Alasdair’s, we are glad, too, to receive short items such as those provided previously by our Immediate Past President, Janet Robinson, e.g. “Early Books in My Life” in the 337th issue. In years gone by the Notes & Queries section was used by members to ask for information about books, e.g. that they wished to obtain for their collections, or about authors, booksellers etc., as Neil Radford does in this issue. I urge members to make use of this opportunity too.
Sydney members please note that Society meetings will be held in 2007 at 2.30pm on the first Saturday of March, June, September and December, no longer in Turramurra, but, thanks to the mediation of Professor Mark Ferson, in the more central venue of the Royal Australian College of Physicians, 145 Macquarie Street, Sydney (where parking is fairly restricted).