Borrowing Books during the Early 19th Century

In our fifth and final assignment for the semester, we utilized a tool called Kumu. Kumu is a tool that builds and presents diagrams that shows connections between concepts, people, etc. For this assignment, we used Kumu to connect books and library borrowers. In order to find the information, we used the Dissenting Academies Online. The Dissenting Academies Online is a website that has a wide variety of information about dissenting higher education during the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries.

For the purpose of challenging myself, I chose a slightly different time from the tutorial given to us to see if I could accomplish this assignment on my own. I decided on the dates between August 1, 1825, to July 31, 1826, in order to cover the length of a school year. I stuck with Manchester Academy because the Dissenting Academies Online website gave me a lot of listings to work with.

The process of searching the virtual library on the Koha Online Catalogue and using Zotero to scrape the data needed into Google Sheets tested my patience. I was overwhelmed with joy when I completed the mapping process, I must say. By doing this, we are able to look back at a time period and easily see who borrowed a book, at what date, and how many times, if applicable.

On my map, the yellow dots indicate the borrower. The turquoise dots indicate the books they borrowed from the library. The thicker the line attached to the dots, the more times they borrowed that particular book. The yellow dots on the outside which are not connected to anyone else simply means that one person borrowed a book or books that no one else during that time borrowed.

Kumu provides a fun way of searching for a certain person and enables us to learn their book loan history. Whether they borrowed books for school education or personal curiosity, we can learn a lot about their habits. By clicking on any of the dots on the map, you can learn either about the book borrower or the book itself.

This assignment was my absolute favorite. I’m a very visual person and Kumu is the type of visual tools I enjoy looking at and using.


1. About the Dissenting Academies Online

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