Regular readers of this blog will soon notice that, as a librarian, I don’t really have a preference for what we call electronic resources (online journals, databases, and so on) or printed resources (books, journals, etc). Journals, by the way, for any non academic people happening upon this blog, are collections of essays written by academics, published a few times a year, after being read and commented on by other people knowledgeable about the subject of the article. They are also sometimes called periodicals or serials.
Anyway, as I said, I have no preference for information in electronic or paper form, I just like things which are interesting to read, and well written. I do think it’s fantastic that these days, you can read entire journals and books online, either via your library if it pays for access to them, or via useful things such as Google Books, of which more in a moment, but I also have a lifelong love of books, as actual physical objects which you can curl up with and read, without having to plug them in to anything.
So my first blog post about an interesting item for the cabinet of curiosities is a pointer to something which you can either read extracts of over the internet, or in physical book format via the library collection (in Bangor).
Strange and Secret Peoples: Fairies and Victorian Consciousness, by Carole G. Silver, published in 2000 by Oxford University Press, is a book I happened across accidentally on Google Books, whilst searching for something else. According to the Oxford University Press website, it won the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Myth and Fantasy Studies in 2000. I was interested immediately, as it had a chapter on changelings, and I love myths about changelings (see also yesterday’s post featuring WB Yeat’s poem The Stolen Child).
Here is part of the book online: Strange and Secret Peoples on Google Books.
Google Books is a very useful resource on the internet. Books are online in one of 4 formats: no preview available (only the details of the book), snippet preview (a few more details about the book such as a contents list), limited preview (some sections of the book can be read online, but not the whole book) and full view (whole book is available online). If you are searching Google Books, it’s usually worth going to Google Books Advanced Search Page, and changing the search settings to limited preview and full view, so you just get back books which you can at least partially read online. I use Google Books a lot with people who come in with enquiries, as one of several places I search for useful information (along with our electronic resources and library catalogue), and am a big fan of the site.
Alternatively, if you’re at Bangor University, we have a printed copy of the book, so search the Bangor University Library Catalogue for strange and silver, and you will find that we have a copy of the book in the Main Arts Library on College Road, shelved at GR141.S55 1999, in the Lloyds Reading Room, which is downstairs and down to the left from the main issue desk. Actually, I have the book on my desk right now, because it looks so interesting, and I want to read all about changelings, and fairy brides, and mythic races, but I promise it will be back in the library next week.