The first lecture of this winter’s programme was on the topic of “Sir Charles Lyell: Making the archives of a public man of science public” on 16th October 2019 and was given by Dr David McClay – Philanthropy Manager, Library and University Collections at the University of Edinburgh. The good news from the preceding day (and luckily for the speaker) was the announcement that the required sum of just under £1 million had been raised, thanks to generous contributions from the Edinburgh Geological Society, individual fellows and more than 1100 other supporters. David re-iterated his thanks to the society and all those who had gifted contributions.
So, what next? Well the University Library and Collections have held several open sessions at which a few EGS Fellows have been present to view the notebooks. The University has also been reviewing the condition of the notebooks with an aim of carrying out a sample digitisation, which will be made available in the next 12 months. The full scanning will be a massive job, given there are 294 notebooks in the collection. One thing that the University may require help with is the transcribing of the notebooks – training will be provided and it is likely that volunteers will be needed. We will be keeping Fellows updated on any requests for assistance. In the meantime, the web link www.ed.ac.uk/giving/save-lyell-notebooks explains more about what will be happening in the coming months.