CULIB – Cambridge University Libraries Information Bulletin

ISSN 0307-7284    Edited by Kathryn McKee, Mary Kattuman, Lyn Bailey and Kate Arhel

Issue 81, Michaelmas 2017: Research



This issue takes as its theme 'Research'. Librarians spend much of their time assisting researchers and providing the resources needed for research, together with the finding aids and reference tools to facilitate the use of those materials. Increasingly researchers turn to online resources to meet their information needs, and Charles Matthews, who was Wikimedian-in-Residence at the Moore Library for part of this year, gives us a fascinating insight into the possibilities of the semantic web and his perspective on online data and how it may be mined. Librarians also undertake research themselves. Research into our users' needs helps us to measure our effectiveness, check that we are meeting our objectives, and make practical improvements to services. Janet Chow shares with us her experiences of carrying out a highly effective user survey within a College Library, setting out its aims, methodology, analysis, and what was then done with the results. If you want to know how she achieved a high response-rate and won a trip to Belgium, read on! Continuing the theme of best practice in librarian-led research, Meg Westbury tells us about the Research in Libraries Community of Practice recently established in Cambridge. Research can be a lonely activity, so a support group like this is a really positive development. The Office of Scholarly Communication provides research training and support for the wider research community within the University, and Katie Hughes gives us an overview of the training offered in Open Research, guiding young researchers through the complicated processes involved in publishing their findings, and ensuring that they meet open access requirements, together with issues such as copyright and managing online profiles. Our final article considers the role that special collections can play in academic research partnerships, drawing upon presentations and discussions from the recent Discovering Collections Discovering Communities (DCDC17) conference, which I was lucky enough to attend.

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I had a plan for the summer all worked out: improve the Wikipedia articles on Tennyson and Sir Hans Sloane. That was life's tempo as a volunteer. And then in April I had a job offer, one of those which proverbially can't be refused.

So I started, for what turned out to be a complex task spread over five months, on 18 April, in Cambridge. I had a strenuous walk to work, to begin with, to the Moore Library. I had become a Wiki¬median in Residence, a job description that could cover many things.

I was employed by ContentMine, a Cambridge start-up based in Cambridge's Mill Lane. That workplace, Makespace which is a community workshop worth an article in its own right, is adjacent to the building I worked in 30 years ago as a pure mathematician; just as the Moore Library is on the new West Cambridge maths campus, opposite the Newton Institute.

This context all takes time to explain, but my work was for the WikiFactMine project, around Wikidata, a relatively new Wikimedia site contributing to the semantic Web. I have been editing it for three years now, as a volunteer. In my new role, I gave weekly impressions on a blog "Engaging with Data", hosted at

In retrospect, the blog documents if lightly a few things, including some training I carried out. Partly, too, it reflects an intellectual journey, which gives me my title. Some years on Wikidata have clarified for me the online meaning of "semantic".

I like to explain that Wikidata, although it contains some hundreds of millions of statements, is "small data". This for me is the "light". What I mean is that each statement can contribute, and be scrutinised, as having its own discrete meaning. It might be a person's date of birth. That information may be supported by a reference, or supplemented (by a place of birth, or name of mother). Historians may ask which calendar is in use. But no analytics are needed, to get the point about the content.

In sharp contrast, ContentMine is in the business of text mining, these days often referred to as "text and data mining" (TDM). That is a well-established field: certainly more so than the semantic Web, which has had 15 years of getting rather sedately off the drawing board, piece by piece. TDM is adjacent to machine learning, which in the form of one aspect of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now widely discussed. On 30 May I blogged about my personal connection to a big AI advance (AlphaGo) for the game of go, my major interest before I became involved with Wikipedia. A documentary about it came to this year's London Film Festival.

One can speak of machine learning as "dark" in the semantic sense. That seems somewhat preferable to the language of "big data", which has become a buzzword rather than being strictly limited to power users of advanced analytics on large datasets. But in any case I can use the game of go to illustrate what kind of darkness matters here. When a computer plays go or some other game, its output is transparent to us, but the thought process leading to it remains opaque. When Jack Good, a colleague of Alan Turing at Bletchley Park, wrote in January 1965 on go in the New Scientist (Turing knew the game from Princeton mathematicians), he made the point that stronger players could not always articulate why the correct move was right. Clearly that makes learning the game harder: what we'd like are robust principles based on comprehensible starting points. Absent those, strategy is reduced to obscurity.

Getting back to the field of data, let's agree that data can be used to take decisions, and what once was called statistics has become a sophisticated technical field. "Sophisticated" carries a negative connotation, and here it is correct to identify it with the opaque quality of decisions coming out of big data, or machine learning. Dark, because the decisions taken may not have a clear rationale that we can all share.

Statistics, it should also be noted, may also not be just number-crunching. Around the year 1800, what it referred to was not purely numerical. For example, the "Statistical Accounts of Scotland" of that period were more like the gathering of general database content. The narrowing of the meaning to numbers was an early debate in the British Association for the Advancement of Science, a generation and more later. Retracing these steps perhaps helps with perspective: Scottish ministers sending in descriptive information about their parishes to the "Statistical Accounts" were doing something we still recognise, though these days they'd be asked to use an online form. And they would have known exactly what they meant.

The idea that every piece of data is of significance can be seen as potent. How would this work out, in mining the scientific literature, the main business of ContentMine? Early in my tenure, I was interested in rather direct measures of scientific innovation. For example, the discovery of penicillin as an antibiotic brought together a fungus species with the class of antibacterial drugs. If the web metaphor is taken more literally, from the spider's point of view, statements that species and pharmaceutical classes are linked by the findings of a scientist are like finding a new shortcut on a web. Just one factual thread, that is, can bring closer together two bodies of knowledge on topics that were thought be unrelated.

To implement this circle of ideas in the form of a metric, that would drop palpably when a science paper innovated, still seems to me an attractive project. I did realise that one would have to build up the state-of-the-art in science first! Wikidata would be a fine place to do that, and the "data entry" involved is no small or simple task. At least detecting innovation can be seen as one guiding light, when it comes to constructing a semantic Web of science, from its literature.

I went on from there, encountering the research literature, for example, on "relation extraction", which technically speaking is the area to which populating Wikidata with science facts belongs. The metric application began to look five years off. Relation extraction is currently done via machine learning, and, in simple terms, that makes it harder to know if the machine is really reading the science facts correctly. The light and the dark do not together make for comprehension.

In fact with my colleagues we have been addressing human input for refereeing that comprehension (semi-automation). That is one key idea in fact extraction, if you want to minimise the "noise" caused by machine error. Another, in the background here, is the ability to use an existing database to support machine learning (distant supervision, in the jargon). Neither of these major approaches is apparently in anything like satisfactory shape: Stanford researchers have been doing work on the latter.

By the time my summer job had finished, I had had my lightbulb moment, such as it is. Which is to focus on an annotation system capable of putting both those improvements over a common denominator. It would be premature to say too much more.

At least, I have now some sort of chiaroscuro operating for me in this field of endeavour. The semantic direction is coming up fast, with the rapid developments around Wikidata. The black-box aspects of machine learning remind us of technology being a good servant but poor master. There is power behind the elbow of the quick advance of open scientific bibliography (WikiCite, in particular, with which ContentMine has been involved), and systematic sifting of the scientific literature.

Charles Matthews
formerly Wikimedian in Residence at Cambridge

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I was invited to write a personal account of my experiences in organising and conducting the latest St John's Working Library User Survey, which happens quadrennially in the Lent Term. It was the second time I have undertaken this survey project. It is a linear process, involving clarifying the current Library problems and aims on which feedback is required, then designing the questionnaire, administering it online, and then analysing and interpreting the data, and finally, the formulating the Library's own response to user perspectives. At the outset, I realised the importance of having clear aims for the survey, which in St John's case, is to investigate the extent to which users consider the Library meets their varied needs, and where and how it could provide better services to users.

I found it very helpful to consult colleagues on what the aims should be; collectively, they generated a number of key issues needing resolution. The survey targeted both Students and Fellows as the two main groups. In addition, we also included College Teaching Associates and Research Associates, both groups being active users of the College Library.

Following the clarification of key issues and problems was to decide on which aspects the survey should solicit users' perspectives. As user needs change with time, designing the 2017 survey questionnaire reflected some changes compared with the 2013 version, illustrating that as users' needs change, so do our means of conducting user surveys to understand them. To help inform a decision on what to change, it was useful to go through the 2013 survey report and again consult colleagues about which issues they thought were currently important and would remain so over the next four years. After careful consideration, a section on non-users was added to the survey in 2017. We thought it would be useful to know why this group does not use the College Library, what alternative libraries they use, and what could be done to encourage them, if anything, to use the College Library. A section on Library collections was also added to the survey, since the primary purpose of our Library is to provide up-to-date and relevant learning resources to College members.

Then attention focused on the design of questions – what and how to ask them. There are so many questions that a survey such as this can generate, that it is easy to lose focus and ask more than is needed. When I drafted the questions, I asked myself, 'Why do I ask this question?' 'What is the usefulness of it in addressing the initial problems and aims?' 'Does it yield relevant information?' The wording of the questions is crucial, too, as are the choice of answers provided, while using a Likert scale. Initial draft questionnaires were given to Library colleagues to check the layout and wording in order to avoid ambiguity. Their advice and comments certainly made the questions more robust. A final draft was then piloted on a small number of students.

The next task in the linear process was to put the survey online. This year I decided to use Qualtrics, which apparently is a more sophisticated online survey tool than the previous one I have used. I therefore had to learn the technicalities involved in the new system. To start with, I consulted a couple of College Librarians who have previously used Qualtrics, seeking their guidance. During the survey process, I phoned the Qualtrics Helpline and read their online manual for help and advice, all of which was really informative.

Once the survey was sent out, it brought much (albeit short-term) relief. I soon started to get concerned about the response rate. I was hoping to achieve at least 41% response rate – the same response rate in the 2013 survey (which was very high compared to normal response rates of 20 to 25 per cent). An initial sending of the survey was followed by three reminders (follow-up rounds), after which a remarkable 47% (541) of respondents completed the survey.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the survey was the analysis, reporting the findings, and then transitioning the findings to decision taking actions. Library user surveys are of little point in themselves, if survey reports are subsequently shelved and lead nowhere. I first wrote up the initial findings and reported them to the Head Librarian. A summary of the findings was first presented to the Library and Records Committee, followed subsequently by a full report of the findings and recommendations submitted to every member of the Committee to gain general acceptance of improvements to be made and actions taken. Thankfully, the survey report and its recommendations were unanimously accepted and their implementation endorsed by the Committee.

Appropriate decisions and actions have since been taken. As an example, the survey findings showed that a minority of respondents was not satisfied with particular sections of the Library collections. Thus, invitations were sent out to all Directors of Studies to invite them to review the current Library book stock for their respective subjects. A further example is liaison with the College Maintenance Department to improve lighting in certain parts of the Library which were seen as sub-standard.

Once the survey findings and recommendations had been formally accepted by the Library and Records Committee, the findings were shared with users. This was done by firstly, posting the full report on the Library website for all members to access. Second, a summary of major findings was posted on the notice board at the main entrance to the Library, and on the plasma screen in the Library, within easy vision of all entrants to the Library. In these ways the results of the survey were given visibility to users, and this is an important way of raising their interest and engagement in the Library as a hub of learning.

There is a pleasurable sequel to these experiences of mine. Somehow, my exploits in conducting this user survey found their way on to google, and when the Belgian Libraries Association were looking for a speaker to address their members in Brussels earlier this year, they found my name. A nice invitation followed for me to deliver a talk on the technicalities of conducting user surveys in academic libraries. Besides preparing my talk, the Belgian organisers requested a full conference paper, which I subsequently adapted for publication in the Journal of Librarianship and Information Science. All in all, conducting the 2017 St John's College Library user survey has been a memorable experience in more ways than none.

Janet Chow
Academic Services Librarian
St John's College

Janet's article 'Realising the potential of user surveys for improving academic libraries : the case of St John's College, Cambridge' may be read online at:

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In January 2017, a group of library staff who had recently attended the LiT-sponsored workshop on 'Building a Research Support Community' (run by Chris Powis) met to discuss how to foster a research environment in Cambridge libraries. Out of those meetings was born the Research in Libraries Community of Practice (CoP), an information-sharing and education group devoted to best practices in conducting library-based research. As a CoP, the group does not have a pre-set agenda, but instead takes its direction from its members. And by research, we mean anything from small, evidence-based projects, aimed at improving one's workplace or solving a small problem, to formal research, across a long time period, with an eye to publication or a conference presentation. Many of the same steps and approaches apply to each.

Our first meeting was a review of research recently undertaken by Cambridge librarians, including Joyce Heckman, David Marshall, Helen Murphy, and Clare Trowell. It was easy to be inspired by the positive outcomes of such great projects, the presentations from which are on the group Moodle site (which any one can join, see below). We next decided to offer a series of informal workshops loosely corresponding to major sections of a research report or grant proposal. Monthly topics thereafter included writing proposals, conducting literature reviews and evaluating proposals. We also have had a guest visit from Leo Appleton and Wendy Morris, presenting their 'Library Superheroes' workshop on promoting research and evidence-based projects and a 'shut up and write' session for composing proposals. The September meeting was on thematic analysis, or what to do with the mountain of data you easily gather in even small projects!

The Moodle site for the group has an ever-growing set of materials to assist researchers, such as a proposal evaluation template, tips for constructing literature reviews and links to useful books and articles. The discussion forum is also quite active, with members regularly sharing information about good research resources and conferences. Any library staff member is welcome to join the Moodle site and should send a message to Claire Sewell to be added.

Overall, the goal of the group has been to encourage more projects amongst Cambridge library staff to gather empirical data to improve services in their libraries. We have advocated the adoption of good research practices for whatever size of project, such as writing a good proposal, thinking about ethics and performing a literature review, as this greatly improves the focus of the project and provides connection with library services outside of the Cambridge system. For library staff interested in presenting their findings at conferences and in articles, we have also discussed writing up findings formally and targeting appropriate journals. The CoP has been quiet this autumn, but we plan to resume meetings sometime in the new year.

Meg Westbury
Wolfson College

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Promoting Open Research is one of the core priorities of the Office of Scholarly Communication (OSC). In addition to our special events like Open Access Week or the recent one-day conference on Engaging Researchers in Good Data Management, the OSC provides a myriad of training to PhDs and early career researchers.

Publishing research is fundamental to progress in an academic career. In order to be hired and get promoted, a researcher needs to not only publish their work but also promote it. This can be a daunting task particularly when there are so many requirements to be met and different platforms to share on.

Having an article accepted for publication is exciting, but it usually comes at the end of a long hard slog. The last thing a researcher wants to think about is grant requirements and copyright agreements. Many sign on the dotted line, breathe a sigh of relief, and move on to the next project. Few realize that there are Open Access requirements that can impact future funding and promotion. The OSC was set up to help navigate the often-contradicting requirements set out by funders and publishers.

Our day-to-day responsibility is to help researchers meet their requirements and make their work openly available. For many researchers the Open Access requirements laid down by HEFCE and many funders are extremely confusing. They confuse us too!

The benefits of open accessYet, the benefits of Open Access are clear. Evidence collected over the years proves that articles published Open Access (i.e. not trapped behind a paywall) have higher citation rates than traditional subscription-based articles. Moreover, practitioners and policymakers now have access to your research. On a more egalitarian note, academics from universities who cannot afford the subscriptions that we enjoy at Cambridge, can now access the latest results furthering discovery.

However, some researchers are reluctant to make their work openly available. There can be many reasons for this. It can cost quite a lot of money to make an article Open Access. Some researchers are unwilling to share their data that they have painstakingly collected over a number of years. Others fear that another researcher or competing lab could scoop their findings.

In order to allay researchers' fears, the OSC offers training to PhDs and early career researchers to try to dispel the previously mentioned misgivings. In promoting Open Research and educating students on the requirements they need to meet, we hope to eventually change the academic culture around Open Research.

Different subjects have different needs. Training in Open Research works better if it is subject-specific. Our training is split into two different streams, one for Humanities, Arts and Social Science (HASS) students and one for students in the Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Maths disciplines (STEM). This term we experimented with a different schedule of training for the STEM disciplines. In an effort to minimize duplication, the OSC collaborated with librarians from the Moore, Engineering, and Medical libraries.

The material covered in both streams is basically the same, although we have added a session on book publishing for HASS students. The training introduces students to Open Access, laying out the benefits not just for the researcher, but also for the wider community. We discuss the requirements that need to be met and importantly which version is allowed to be posted in a repository.

Research life cycle diagramOur training tries to integrate itself within the research life cycle. We have a session dedicated to Research Data Management. Some HASS students may think they do not need this course because they do not produce "data" in the traditional sense. We have expanded the definition of data to include students who may be using archives or images as their data. The session gives a brief overview of data management plans and data repositories; it also covers managing digital information. For example, we ask student how do they organize their files on their computer? Are they able to locate resources they produced five years ago? How often do they backup their files? (Usually, not often enough!)

The training sessions continue through the research life cycle by discussing what type of research output best suits their needs. We then discuss how to determine which journal they should submit to by looking at journal impact factors and avoiding predatory journals. We breakdown the peer review process for articles (and for books) and go over what they can expect to hear back from the publisher and how they should respond.

We also cover issues revolving around copyright. Particularly now that students are required to upload a copy of their thesis to the university's institutional repository, Apollo. PhD students will need to assess what kind of third party copyright material they might want to include and ensure that they have the right permissions in place.

We round off the training with a session on managing online profiles. We discuss different repositories, social networking sites, and social media platforms where students may want to share their work. The session finishes by looking at Altmetrics and measuring the impact of a journal article.

Targeting PhD students and early career researchers is a way to help jump start the next generation of Data Champions. The OSC is certainly not the only one providing publishing and Open Research training to students. Many librarians are providing similar training across Cambridge University. Customizing the training to meet subject-specific requirements is best and collaborations are always welcome!

Katie Hughes
Open Access Research Officer
Office of Scholarly Communication

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This was the title of a fascinating session I attended at the DCDC17 conference in November. Three of the speakers were themselves researchers: Hannah Barker and Sasha Handley, historians from the University of Manchester, and Linda JM Thomson from UCL, and the fourth was Jessica Lutkin, Research Impact Officer from the University of Reading.

The REF (Research Excellence Framework) contains a new requirement for researchers to produce impact case studies, to demonstrate the impact of their research beyond the academic community. There is scope for libraries and archives to play a key role both in helping researchers to achieve greater impact and to evaluate it effectively. Obviously many projects will use the materials held by special collections in the course of their research, but potentially libraries could do more than simply providing primary sources.

The two case studies presented in the session highlighted very different ways in which cultural heritage organisations had contributed to research impact. Linda showcased a large-scale AHRC-funded project 'Museums on prescription' which sought to evaluate the effects of cultural heritage on older people who were at risk of social isolation. In this project museums participated directly in the study, providing regular activities for the research subjects. Hannah and Sasha described how they had put their historical research to practical use working with the National Trust to improve the interpretation provided to visitors at two different properties. Both parties gained by the collaboration. The NT wished to improve its visitor experience, to produce an emotional response and level of engagement that would encourage visitors to make return visits, while for the academics their research into social history reached completely new audiences, with opportunities for dissemination through groups, events and publications to which they would not have had access without the partnership with a heritage organisation. The impacts were measurable and could be included in the REF.

While the number of research projects which actively seek to study how our services affect those using them may be limited, there are greater opportunities for libraries to participate in the evaluation of impact and to facilitate opportunities for researchers to share their research with a wider community. Jessica Lutkin's presentation focussed on the part libraries had played in the 2014 REF exercise and explored the possibilities for the future. She pointed out that evaluation of impact is something that librarians have been doing for some time. Libraries are well used to producing statistics to show parent bodies how much we're used, to support bids for funding, and to evaluate our services. For some academics assessment of impact, and indeed identifying and creating ways to disseminate their research beyond the academic community may be a new challenge. The REF potentially provides an opportunity for libraries to share their expertise in these fields, and take a more significant role in the research process.

An analysis of the 2014 research impact case studies showed that a significant proportion of them (greatest in the arts and humanities) directly mentioned archives, libraries, and museums. Researchers tended to focus on cultural and societal impact, rather than fields such as digital innovation, and in many cases libraries were included as relatively passive providers of resources rather than active partners. National institutions, largely those based in London, were mentioned far more than local ones, few researchers working with the collections based at their home universities, missing the opportunity to tap into the expertise on their doorstep.

The message I took away from this session was that librarians could benefit from being more visible and proactive in sharing expertise with the research community. Some researchers, of course, already engage with us highly effectively in teaching and learning activities, but there are others, particularly in the STEM subjects, who may not use special collections and aren't aware of what we can do. The challenge for librarians is to get the message out that the critical skills needed for creating and evaluating research impact are present right here in the researcher's own libraries. Here in Cambridge, many of us with special collections have experience of running major public engagement events for the big university festivals, and small-scale activities for local groups, alumni events, school parties, etc. We have exhibition spaces; we're used to providing interpretation of our own resources at an appropriate level of different audiences; and we know what works for particular sizes of group or ages. Researchers seeking to disseminate their research through activities for schools or adult education bodies in order to meet the impact criteria of the REF may be unaware of existing links that their own libraries have with local schools, U3A groups and the like, or the wealth of experience within their own institution. There are clear mutual benefits of working together. Libraries' educational outreach could be enhanced by the inclusion of cutting edge research direct from the academics undertaking it, providing new topics for exhibitions or activities, and indeed the library itself could achieve greater recognition within its parent body of the skills and services it provides. Researchers could benefit directly from the expertise that librarians can offer and their research could reach new audiences.

Kathryn McKee
Special Collections Librarian
St John's College

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A warm welcome to the new University Librarian and Director of Library Services – Dr Jessica Gardner. In the words of Chris Young, who as Acting University Librarian, handed over the baton as it were, "Dr Jessica Gardner's experience, knowledge, vision and warmth make her an exceptionally qualified candidate to lead Cambridge University Library." After a PhD on modern literary manuscripts in the Brotherton Library at the University of Leeds, Dr Gardner worked in Special Collections there. Later she moved to the University of Exeter where she was Head of Library and Culture Services and then to Bristol University as University Librarian and Director of Library Services. After her arrival in Cambridge, Dr Gardner finds herself at the helm of a couple of major projects – the creation of the Library Storage Facility which is going to help house our ever expanding collections, and the introduction of a new library management system which will help us meet the information needs of the 21st century. With the growing emphasis on Open Access and scholarly communications, she is keen to promote open access to research output and where appropriate research data. She looks forward to developing the community of libraries within Cambridge and would like to "help knit them all together into a combined network even when we are not responsible for running them all"

Congratulations to Mel Bach who is now Head of Collections and Academic Liaison (CAL) within the Collection Development & Description division (CDD). She was the Slavonic Specialist for many years in the UL.

The Human Resources team saw the departure of Fiona Webley and Sam Laister. Kim Campbell has taken up the post of HR Coordinator and Camilla Jefferies, who moved over from the Department of Chemistry, is the new HR administrator. Elizabeth Goddard the new HR consultant has already been working on the induction program and has overhauled it. Adam Evans has taken up the post of HR Analyst.

Andrew Jackson has joined the LMS team as Programme Training Co-ordinator and will be managing the training for the introduction of Alma. Rosie Sharkey left for the Bodleian

Simon Betson has joined the Building Services Team. They bid farewell to Allegra Jaffe.

Maria Angelaki joined the Office of Scholarly Communications (OSC) as their new Research Repository Assistant. Mattias Ammon moved out of OSC where he was Project Coordinator, to take up the post of Research Support Librarian at the MML library. Digital Services saw the departure of Phil Jones.

The Manuscripts Department bid farewell to Mary Scott who had been their Graduate Archives Trainee and to Madelin Evans, their Assistant Archivist. Near and Middle Eastern Department saw the departure of Rosemary Maxton and Reader Services welcomed Jane Whelehan.

The Conservation and Collection Care department bid farewell to Rebecca Goldie who had been working as Book and Paper Conservator. Johana Ward has joined the Digital Content Unit as Picture Library assistant.

In the Development & Alumni Relations Office Lucy Brazg, will be covering for Laura Greenfield whilst she is on maternity leave and Ibi Olutoye had a brief stint as Management Accountant in the Library Office

Dr Young-Chan 'Justin' Choi who had been working part-time with the Korean collection, left to take up a postdoctoral position.

In April, David Lowe retired from the UL after a career in Cambridge stretching back more than 40 years. His language librarianship started here in 1979 when he was appointed as the German specialist. Over the years, he found that his linguistic talents were pulled in other directions, particularly with the retirement of the UL's French specialist, Valerie Hall, in 2000, and David's move to become head of the new department of European Collections and Cataloguing (ECC) in 2003. In 2016, ECC merged with English Collections to form Collections and Academic Liaison, so David spent his last year at the UL getting to grips with the English-language publishing world too. David leaves the University and its Library much the richer not only for the tens of thousands of books, in a great variety of languages, he carefully selected for purchase over the years but also for the crucial role he played in inviting and negotiating extraordinary donations of material to the Library, such as the peerless Chadwyck-Healey Liberation Collection. We wish him the happiest of retirements – it is certainly well deserved.

Trailwalker TeamOn a completely different and wildly adventurous note : on the last weekend in July four members of staff from the University Library, Simon Halliday, James Freeman, Agnieszka Kurzeja and Lee Pretlove, completed a 100km competitive walk the length of the South Downs Way! In doing so raising over £2500 for the organisers of the event, Oxfam and the Gurkha Welfare Trust. They were ably supported by a dedicated crew – Rebecca Goldie, Margaret Jones, Priyanka Pais and Madelin Evans. The weather conditions were atrocious and decimated the field, nonetheless the University Library team (drawn from seven different departments) finished intact and in 144th place out of over 400 teams entered, beating numerous military teams (they breezed past the Third Battalion of the Parachute Regiment!).

The organiser (Simon Halliday) says that in recognition of your generosity it will be some time before the organiser dares tout a sponsorship form around the library community again but having discovered the application, stamina and determination we possess he is already planning more arduous expeditions to be completed under the UL banner! (Image reproduced by kind permission of Simon Halliday)

Roberta Schiavone has left the Pendlebury Library for a music cataloguing position at the British Library. Robert Leonard has been appointed in August as the new Pendlebury Library Assistant.

Amanda Hawkes transferred from the Divinity Library to the Casimir Lewy Philosophy Library where she started working as a library assistant in August 2017. Jo Shortt Butler joined the Divinity Library in September 2017, working 20 hours per week, in term time only.

Senior Assistant Librarian, Simon Barlow, has been seconded from the Haddon for six months to the UL's Building Services.

Ryan Cronin joined the Engineering Library in May as Assistant Research Services Librarian and Sarah Burton returned to the Judge after her secondment with us.

We congratulate Emily Downes from FAMES Library on her new job in London, which she started in late July. Our new recruit is Fiona Mossman, who has been with us since the first day of Michaelmas term. Before joining us, Fiona worked in the Law Faculty Library at Oxford as a trainee.

The Classics Library said a sad farewell in July to Alicia Periel who had worked here for 15 years. We wish her well as she spends more time with her family and helps out in the family business. In September Sheryl Wombell joined us as our new Senior Library Assistant. Having been a history student at Wolfson, she knows the Cambridge set up well.

Congratulations to Jenny (née Sargent) and Neil Kirkham who married in July. Jenny is the Cory Library Manager at the Botanic Gardens and Neil is Assistant Librarian (Bibliographic Services) at Gonville and Caius Library.

The Modern & Medieval Languages Library has seen several staff changes in the past few months. Mirka Davis left in July 2016 after 17 years to pursue other interests, and Kasia Drabek replaced her in September 2016. Kasia subsequently left the MML Library to take up the post of Assistant Librarian at Girton College in September 2017. Philip Keates covered Charlotte Smith's maternity leave in 2015-2016 and relocated to Brighton in July to pursue his library career nearer his family. Charlotte Smith had a baby boy, Leonardo Jacoby, in August 2015 and opted to be a full-time mum to Leo from November 2016. Federica Della Grotta was appointed as Library Assistant in the MML Library from September 2016 and changed careers in July when she moved to London to take up a new post developing Italian podcasts for educational purposes. We welcomed our new Library Assistant Edward Carlsson Browne in September 2017. Marian Via Rivera joined the MML Library team as our Spanish & Portuguese librarian in April 2017. Stephanie Palek left in June 2017 to take up a post of Research Associate in a historical institute based in Marburg, Germany. We welcomed Matthias Ammon as our new Research Support Librarian in September 2017. Lastly, Hélène Fernandes will be going on maternity leave on Tuesday 24th October, and her duties as Teaching & Learning Support Librarian will be covered by Marian Via Rivera.

Rosie Austin (Homerton) welcomed Jack Herbert Rocastle Austin into the world on 5th July. Jess Taylor is covering her maternity.

Sarah Anderson has joined the team at the Ward Library, Peterhouse. Sarah was formerly the Assistant Librarian (Reader Services) at Gonville and Caius. Her post at Caius has now been filled by Lauran Richards.

Suzanne Tonkin is the new Librarian at Lucy Cavendish.

At Wolfson, Laura Jeffrey takes up the role of Information Skills Librarian.

Catherine Ascough has moved from SPS to become Library Assistant at St John's College.

Girton has said goodbye to Tilly Burn (temporary Archives Assistant) who has taken up a graduate traineeship in Oxford. Jenny Blackhurst is now Librarian and the team – Hannah Westall (Archivist & Curator), Helen Shearing (Senior Library Assistant) and Tilda Watson (Archives & Library Assistant) – has been completed by the arrival of Kasia Drabek from MML as Assistant Librarian.

Trinity Hall bids farewell to Dominique Ruhlmann, who retired on 22 December. Jenni Lecky-Thompson, moves from the Philosophy Library to take over as Head of Library Services at Trinity Hall.

We congratulate Colin Higgins, Librarian of St Catharine's on the completion of his PhD.

Summer saw the usual changeover of Graduate Trainees. For full information on the current year's intake see the catalog website at:

We finish with a farewell, a thank you, and an opportunity. Kate Arhel, who has been one of the editorial team and CULIB's web-editor for the past eleven years, is stepping down. We'd like to thank her for all her hard work, creativity, and dedication. She will be much missed. Her departure creates an opportunity for a new person to join the team. If you would be interested in helping us to prepare CULIB for the web, and in editing issues, then please get in touch. With a team of four, each editor only has to put together an issue every two years, though we all join in in suggesting topics, and commissioning articles from contributors. It's a great opportunity to network with a wide range of people within the profession and use and develop skills in editing both print and online.

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