The earlier Exeter Working Papers originally appeared as limited issue publications from the 1970s to the 1990s. These are now out of print except for The London book trades 1775-1800. They aimed to make generally available biographical information on book trade personnel gathered in the course of research. In a revised form they were subsequently included on the website of Devon Library Services. They were migrated to the present website in 2005 where the information is constantly being updated and extended. More detail on the development of the website is given below. The information is issued in digital format under a Creative Commons license, meaning that you are free to copy, distribute, transmit or adapt a reasonable proportion of the content, provided that you attribute Exeter Working papers in Book History to Ian Maxted with a link. You may not use the contents of this work for commercial purposes. The on-line content is covered by copyright legislation in the same way as printed material. Libraries and similar institutions may supply to users copies of a reasonable proportion for private study and research under the fair dealing clause of the copyright legislation.
In 1977 I moved to Exeter to work for
Services as Westcountry Studies Librarian. The Westcountry Studies Library in Exeter, Devon's main local studies collection, had recently been formed from a merger of the Exeter City Library and Devon County Council's local studies collection. Duties included book
selection, cataloguing and reader services with an advisory role on provision
throughout the county. This was a considerable research collection with 70,000
monographs, tens of thousands of maps, prints and photographs and extensive
periodical and newspaper collections. In the 1980s it received about 35,000 enquiries a year
and had a staff of three full-time employees. It was a time when the Manpower Services Commission
was funding work creation projects. In Exeter a project with three staff was set up in 1977 to initiate the cataloguing of the collections. A project with up to twelve staff running from 1977 to 1978 indexed the Exeter Flying Post, a local newspaper, from 1763 to 1885. A third project that same year with three staff started listing and conserving the illustrations collection. At one point in 1977 I was managing more than twenty staff. A later project provided local studies resource packs for schools and branch
libraries, including in 1987-88 a two-year project with a staff of up to
twenty-three, involving the microfilming of source materials for conservation.
Work was also undertaken on special collections of non-local material, including in 1985 a
bilingual exhibition on the English view of Napoleon which appeared in France as part of Devon's
twinning programme. A version of the catalogue has been archived on the web. About 2,000 pre-1800 printed items, including unique ephemera, were reported
to the English Short Title Catalogue project at the British Library.
1987-2005: Devon Library Services:
Studies Librarian. County Local
A restructuring of the library service took me away from the public into a more administrative post. This involved co-ordination of local studies library provision throughout
including policy formulation, participating in the Information Services Team,
production of publicity and user guides, talks, staff training and displays. A
monthly regional booklist and web newsletter was prepared which was used for
book selection for eighty service points across the county and was cumulated into a union catalogue of titles
in the county's main local studies collections. From 1985 to 2005 it was also used to produce the annual Devon bibliography. From 1997 a version of this d-Base database was
mounted on the Internet together with 5,000 other web pages, edited and largely
written as part of the County Local Studies Librarian's role. This web site was further extended during
2002-3 by the NOF-digitise project “Etched on Devon’s
Memory” which digitised 3,500 topographical prints. The content management
system adopted for this project was extended to the remainder of the local
studies collections and the content was transferred in 2015 from Devon County
Council to the South West Heritage Trust. Much attention was given to
education, research and lifelong learning with talks to university, college and
school groups and occasional broadcasts as well as attending conferences and
advising organisations on setting up local resource centres. The local studies
service was represented on the committees of local, regional and national
bodies, such as the Local Studies Group, Newsplan South West Implementation
Committee (chair 2002-2005), the Centre for South Western Historical Studies
at the University of Exeter, the Devon
and Cornwall Record Society and the Devon History Society. From April 1998, after local government restucturing split off Plymouth and Torbay as unitary authorities, the
service formed part of the Lifelong Learning Division of the county's Education
Arts and Libraries Directorate and sought to work cross-sectorally to improve
networked access to the county's heritage collections. In 1999 I curated for Exeter Museums and nine other collections in Exeter a millennium exhibition with the title "From
script to print to hypertext: two millennia of Devon's
written heritage". This cross-sectoral and cross-domain project was
runner-up in the Library Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the accompanying
catalogue was commended for the Alan Ball Award. I initiated the discussions
which led to the formation of the TSW Film and Television Archive in 1993. In 1998 I was on the working group of the
Baring-Gould Heritage Project to publish on microfilm Sabine Baring-Gould's
manuscript collections of folksongs which are scattered in several collections in Devon and beyond.
Work on cultural diversity included participation in the BBC Islam Season in
2001, and the “Dewey Decibel” project which formed part of Resource’s Diversity
Festival in 2003.
My work also brought me into contact with more national activities in the field of local studies libarianship. I was a member of the Library Association (later CILIP) special interest groups for rare books and local studies from 1968 to 2005 and became a committee member of the CILIP Local Studies Group in 1982, serving as chair from 2000 to 2005. My work at a local and regional level led me onto the National Newsplan Panel from 2000 to 2005. My work with CILIP local studies group found me as CILIP observer on the Standing Conference on Museums and Archives over the same period and also as the representative for public libraries on the BRICMICS map librarians’ group. This last role included much discussion with Ordnance Survey on the archiving of the national digital map database in a form accessible to local studies libraries across the country. I also advised on a project run by
Advised CILIP on legislation affecting electoral registers in 2002.
Winner: Dorothy McCulla Memorial Award for contribution to local studies librarianship 1997.
On advisory group for the NOF-Digitise Sense of the South West consortium 2002
On advisory group for the NOF-Digitise historical directories digitisation project based at Leicester 2002.
History of the book
[This section is in draft]
Course of thirty three-hour lectures for the B21 paper on historical bibliography in the former syllabus of the Library Association at
1970-76. West London College
Co-operation with the English Short Title Catalogue project at the British Library, organising a seminar at
in 1984. Exeter
Founder member and on the advisory committee of the British Book Trade Index Project to which data on 3,000 Devon and
personnel was contributed. In connection with BBTI organised a seminars on
provincial book trades at Cornwall
in 1987 and 2002. Exeter
Consulted by the Bibliographical Society on plans to revise Plomer's series of biographical dictionaries of printers and booksellers.
Contributed 26 new and revised articles to the New dictionary of national biography, chiefly on book trade personnel.
Comprehensive history of the book in
Devon from the earliest times
to the end of 20th century published on the internet (see below).
Worked on the book trade in Lower Normandy for the Prosopographie des gens du livre project,
Extended and updated the
Devon bibliography following austerity
cuts to Devon Library Service in 2015.
Some talks and papers
Where published, details are in the list of publications below, including several given to the Book history conferences edited by Robin Myers and Michael Harris and published in the Publishing pathways series and the annual Seminars on the British book trade):
1983: LA Local Studies Group Post Conference Seminar, Torquay. Indexing in local studies. In connection with this a local studies thesaurus was developed, a draft is on the internet.
1991: LA UmbrelLA 1,
Conservation in local studies collections.
1992: Association of Private Libraries AGM,
. Conservation. Exeter
1993: LA UmbrelLA 2,
Comparative local studies librarianship. Manchester
1994: Centre for South Western Historical Studies,
, annual symposium. Thomas
Flindell and his community of readers University of Exeter
1995: Hungarian LA Local Studies Group,
. Co-operation in local studies
provision in Sopron . England
1996: LA Medical Libraries Group conference. Cider and evidence-based healthcare in 18th century
1997: LA UmbrelLA 4,
Local studies libraries as rare book collections. Manchester
1997: Stiftung Weimarer Klassik. Kolloquium: Friedrich Justin Bertuch (1747-1822): Verleger, Schriftsteller und Unternehmer im klassischen Weimar. Bertuch and
2001: Map Users Group,
Map collection policies in public libraries Liverpool University
2002: Seminar on the British Book Trade. 20th,
Publication of printed images of Exeter Devon.
2012. Metropolitan Library of Bucharest, Fifth international symposium. The book,
Europe, Mamaia. Sabine ng-Gould and folk song collecting. Bari
2013. Colloque sur la bibliothèque du chapitre de la cathédrale de Bayeux. Library of an 18th century bishop of
2015 Dictionnaires et répertoires des gens du livre en Europe et dans le monde: expériences et perspectives. Journée d’études internationale, 23 octobre 2015, Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, Paris. Booktrade biographical dictionaries in UK and Normandy.
Also: Day schools run by the Library Association or CILIP in the south west, in-house training, talks to local history societies etc.
Compiled website on manhole covers world-wide at https://manholemiscellany.blogspot.com
Photographer for the blog series Maxted travels with Modestine since 2005.
This account of the long-term development of the Exeter working papers website has been prepared in response to expressions of interest from researchers in the field of digital resources for the humanities both in America and France. It is presented in the form of a chronological record of the main stages of development over a period of more than forty years.
1969-1973. A proposal was made to continue the Bibliographical Society’s series of book trade dictionaries from 1775 to 1800 as a thesis for converting a diploma in librarianship from the University of Sheffield into an MA. The data was gathered on cards and a start was made on the compilation of entries for London as a typescript.
1974-1976. The MA was granted on the basis of the presentation of a ten per cent sample (A-BOW) of biographical entries for London plus an analysis of the structure of the London book trades in the period 1775-1800. Work was continued on cards for the remaining 90% of the entries (BOY-Z).
1977. Publication of The London book trades 1775-1800: a preliminary checklist of members. This contained 100% of the names gathered (about 4,000) with the omission of some ancillary trades. The data had been submitted in typescript but set by computer (with some errors in the character set specified). The tapes were subsequently lost.
1978. Much additional data had been gathered: on the London trade pre-1775 and post-1800 as well as the provincial trade. It was felt worth while to make this more widely available as soon as possible. To avoid delay it was decided to make use of self-publishing using photocopied typescripts. The ESTC project was then under way and advance copies were passed to the project as work progressed.
1980-1985. Publication of Working Papers 1-4 as photocopied typescripts, in the case of the Topographical guide address index microfiches were used, as the text was too lengthy to permit photocopying. In this period the British Book Trade index was proposed and the Exeter Working papers project has been closely involved with all stages of the BBTI.
1986. An Amstrad computer was acquired. While this was not a standard platform it was cheap, and it should be stressed that data management was undertaken without access to University or other research facilities or funding, so the principle has always been to keep digital data as simple as possible.
1987-1991. Publication of Working Papers 5-7 as word processed documents. The software used was Locoscript.
1989-1996. Publication of Working Papers 8-9 generated from databases. The software used was dBase III.
1997-2000. Data was converted from Amstrad to PC and the data in Working papers 1-4 was digitised, normally onto d-Base databases. It was possible to access an OCR file of The London book trades 1775-1800: a preliminary checklist of members which had been produced for another researcher. This introduced its own additional errors.
2001. Data was transferred into HTML format and made available on Devon Library Services website at http://www.devon.gov.uk/library/locstudy/bookhist/ under the title Exeter working papers in British book trade history. Working papers 10 onwards have only been produced in digital format. Work has normally been undertaken directly onto the marked-up text files either using Notepad, or sometimes Word, to avoid contaminating data with unnecessary coding.
2006. Data was removed from the Devon Library Services website following retirement in 2005. A blogger account was opened in December 2005 and the bulk of the data was transferred between December 2006 and January 2007 onto http://bookhistory.blogspot.co.uk.
2007. Coverage was extended to France following work on the Prosopographie des gens du livre for Lower Normandy. The website was rebranded Exeter working papers in book history to reflect this change.
2012. Coverage was extended to other parts of Europe to support work on the French book trades.
2013. A data format was devised to work across web pages, word processed files and simple flat databases. It is intended to convert the diverse forms of records into this format which can then be more easily accessible to workers on other projects.
This page last updated 30 November 2019