Everyone knows that libraries lend books. Some people know that you can borrow books not in the local library via an inter-library loan. A few people know that you can borrow books from the national library this way, or get photocopies of journal articles.
Sometimes it’s worth pushing the envelope a bit. Today I’ve rolled the dice to see what I can get. I’ve placed an order for volume 1 of Abbeloos 1872 edition of Bar Hebraeus Chronicon Ecclesiasticum. Will it arrive, I wonder?
The book itself is the most recent publication of this 13th century Syriac text, which has an entry on all the important figures of the Syriac church up to that time. It comes with a Latin translation. No translation into any modern language exists, yet it is the foundation of all our knowledge of Syriac literature. It’s pretty old, now, and hard to get hold of. It’s a prime candidate for reprinting and for Archive.org.
There are a few copies around; it isn’t that rare a book, although copies never seem to come up for sale online. Abbeloos died in 1906, so the book is out of copyright everywhere. But the problem is whether any library will allow anyone to take a book of that age home; whether any library that holds it will lend it. I don’t know; but let’s see!
Usually I ask for books which I can borrow. I don’t believe that anyone will lend me this book for use at home. But possibly some liberal university will loan it “for use in library only”. This isn’t helpful, of course, unless I can take my scanner into the library and do the necessary there. I’ve asked for permission; we’ll see if that is forthcoming.
Why stick to the well-beaten path, after all? Let’s go for the burn!
PS: See the comments; it turns out that volume 1 is on Google Books, albeit inaccessible outside the USA.