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‘An arts person will procrastinate’

Researchers at the John Rylands Research Institute at the University of Manchester are applying for grants using techniques borrowed from science. James Field reports.

The John Rylands Library is a neo-Gothic building on Deansgate, Manchester, that houses more than a million printed volumes, manuscripts and archival items. Among them are a copy of the Gutenberg Bible, the personal correspondence of Victorian novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, the email archive of the poetry publisher Carcanet Press, and many thousands of ancient Hebrew, Chinese and Persian texts.

On the mezzanine floor of the library’s beautiful reading room is the most visible sign of the John Rylands Research Institute. The centre, which merges what was once a disparate collection of activities at the library, only officially opened in October, but a few PhD students and postdocs have already taken up residence in the book-filled alcoves.

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