Friday, 12 October 2018

The Antique Pattern Library

is one of those under recognised, under utilised, and under  appreciated resources available on the internet. The same might be said of the Gutenburg Project and resources like the Internet Archive Open Library - to name just a few.
I went to a meeting yesterday where a project to recognise the bicentenary of Queen Victoria's birth was being discussed. It has been talked about by the group before - largely in terms of how the project will be handled. Yesterday we talked about it slightly more specific terms and I spoke to the group about resources. 
    "What's it called Cat?" someone asked starting to scribble something down. I repeated myself.
    "Where did you get all that from Cat?" someone asked. I explained about internet resources.
I also explained that, while everyone in the room has access to the internet, not everyone has equal access. Some people still have no idea how to use the internet - at least for that sort of thing.
I hope I am more conscious of that than most people because I have watched the Senior Cat learn to search on line. He still looks to me for search terms. It's not the way he was brought up to research something. He still thinks in terms of book titles and subject headings rather than key words - and yes, there is a difference. All the same he does pretty well - better than many people I know. 
But, what are these sites?
The Antique Pattern Library is just what it says it is. There are  out-of-copyright resources there on all sorts of craft subjects. The earliest goes back to one item in the 17th C and then  another in  the 18thC before many in 19thC.  It is being maintained by volunteers but it is the sort of project which should really be getting a grant from UNESCO - even if it just to cover the sort of expenses involved in maintaining it. The Internet Archive has more very early material.
Anyone with an interest in history will find these materials fascinating. The way the materials are presented is so very different from the way such things are presented now. The language sounds "quaint" and is often moralistic in tone. What matters most though is that there is a great deal of information there, information which is still relevant. 
And, as the Senior Cat has said more than once, we can learn a great deal from what is there. We can learn not just about the past but about the present as well. We can learn to do things.
I think that matters. If you like to make things or you are simply interested in  history then these sites should come with a warning,
    "These sites require time to be fully appreciated."
Please look. They really are fascinating. 

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