Congratulations! You are going to spend some time abroad. However long that might be, you may ask yourself:
This guide is designed to give you some ideas for how to make the most of your time aborad while staying connected to the things you love about the libraries at Brown (well, maybe not the 24 hour study room).
Here are some basics to keep in mind:
Some additional important practicalities:
Preparing to visit a library
If you are planning to spend some time abroad, doing research in a special collection, it is important to prepare in advance. Here are some tips:
1. Try to identify, as much as you can, the exact items you wish to consult. Use footnotes, bibliographies, catalogs of manuscripts, websites, and whatever tools it takes. It is always best to know in advance just what you need to see.
2. If there are proxies of these documents available (editions, facsimiles, microform, online digital copies, etc.), look at these in advance and make whatever notes you can. This will save time in the library, and you will have a better idea just what you need to look for in actual item.
3. If the library has a website, go there and check the calendar to be sure the library is open when you plan to go. (The Vatican Library, for example, is generally closed from mid-July through mid-September, and the registration office is open only at certain times, so it is important to know such things before arriving.)
4. Also check for rules. Does the library require letters of introduction? They may require such a letter from an advisor, or your home library. What tools are you allowed to bring into the reading room?
5. Contact the library well in advance to let them know you are coming, and what you intend to look at. You do not want to arrive to find that the book or manuscript you wish to consult is on exhibit in some far away city.
6. If you are reading old documents, be sure you have the skill to do so. A medieval manuscript looks little like a modern edition of the same, and even if you know Latin very well, you may not be able to decipher a medieval or early modern script without some basic knowledge of paleography. The same applies to modern languages.