With a list of literary works on modern museology and historiography and living in a non-English speaking country and not wanting to spend a fortune on buying books (ebooks) from Amazon, my best option seemed to be the University Library. In this blog post I will share my experiences – especially as I have a librarian degree hidden somewhere in the attic 🙂
But first, let me speak about more personal issue, a conference. I am a researcher of Hungarian motoring history for 21 years now. I would not say I am a professional, but I have written a couple of books, dozens of articles and I am now giving lectures on this topic. The latter, the university lecturing gig is about both international and Hungarian motoring history. When I created the content of my course, I found something very interesting: a motorised three-wheeler, built in 1888 by Edward Butler, an Englishman. His <a href=http://www.3wheelers.com/butler.html“”>Petrol-Cycle</a> included a spark plug and a spary carburetor. And this is when warning bells started to ring. There is a consensus in Hungary regarding the spray carburetor: it was first invented and patented by two Hungarian engineers, Janos Csonka and Donat Banki in 1893, but due to circumstances, their work is not acknowledged worldwide. However, the first patent by Butler was dated from 1887. I contacted the British Patent Office and obtained a set of copies of the original patent. Well, it looked eerily similar to the Csonka-Banki carburetor, but it was predating them by six years! I started to show the drawings around and though many thought me as a traitor, eventually I was invited to a conference, titled “Latest results in technology history research”, organised by the Hungarian Federation of Technical and Scientific Societies. It was held earlier this week and my presentation was quite sucessful – it seems I will be invited back for further conferences. Additionally, the long-held belief that Csonka-Banki invented the carburetor will slowly be dispersed.
In the meantime I started collecting books from the University of Leicester. It is not a smooth sailing. First, you need a library number – which is not the same as your library card number. And you need a PIN. Okay, I found those and logged in. Then for some reasons, the system logged me out. Ultimately I was able to find some volumes. Some of them were in available in electronic format, others were not. As a distance learning student I prefer e-books, but I know that I can also lend a lot of paper-based books easily. Well, not quite so. So far none of the books are available for lending. Okay, then let’s see the e-books. I clicked on “electronic version” in the library catalogue and it took me to another site – where I needed to log in with my username and password (my library number and PIN is not good here) Eventually I managed to log in and started reading. I was happy and wanted to put the book on my e-shelf. You need to log in with your e-mail address and password (remember, this is the 3rd login attempt and this is the 3rd login variation). And this is where the system refuses me. I can’t bookmark any of the e-books. I have no clue why it refuses my attempts, but this is where I stand today. But at least I can enjoy the literary works, so who’s complaining :)?