CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
Number 1 (October 1995)
Welcome to this first number of the University Library's Readers'
Newsletter, which we aim to publish about once a term. It will be
available in all parts of the Library, including the dependent libraries
and will also be circulated to members of the Friends of the Library.
The University Library's international renown is multi-faceted, based
on its extraordinarily rich collections of both manuscript and printed
materials, the dedication and helpfulness of its staff and its huge
open-access collections (possibly the largest in Europe), not to mention its
cheese scones! Through the medium of this Newsletter, we plan to
inform interested readers and friends about new developments, major
acquisitions and improvements to services.
As a new Librarian coming back to Cambridge last October after
fifteen years away I had an unparalleled opportunity to look afresh at a
library that I was familiar with. As a result, and with the hard work of
a great many members of staff, a number of changes to our service to
readers are being introduced this term. Perhaps the most significant is
self-service photocopying, a feature common in most libraries for
many years but, for complex reasons, only relatively recently
introduced into the legal deposit libraries. By means of a new system
of direction signs, to be introduced over the next couple of years, and a
new Readers' Handbook, we hope to make the Library easier to use.
The new Handbook sheets are now available, and thanks to the
generous sponsorship of Cambridge University Press, we are able to
offer readers a special binder for these sheets at a nominal price of
50p. This Newsletter is also punched to fit the binder, for those of you
who wish to keep these publications together. Other changes that you
will notice are the conversion of the Catalogue Room annexe into an
IT Resources area, where CD-ROM services, datasets, etc. can be
consulted, and a revised arrangement for the Pre-1978 Catalogue
which will, we hope, make it easier to consult.
The Medical Library, Scientific Periodicals Library and Squire Law
Library are also part of the University Library System, and the
Newsletter will contain information about developments in these
libraries too, the most important recent one being the move of the
Squire Law Library into the magnificent new Law Faculty Building on
This first issue of the Newsletter is, in the nature of things, somewhat
experimental, and we welcome any comments or suggestions about the
contents or the presentation. Please send them either to me or to the
Editor, Ray Scrivens (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org).
The University has received a donation of £3 million from Mr Tadao
Aoi, owner of the Marui chain of department stores in Japan. This
donation, to improve facilities for users of East Asian material in the
University Library, will allow us to create a new reading room and
provide a major increase in stack space. Attached to the reading room
will be offices for the Library's specialists in Japanese and Chinese and
the new stack will allow collections which are currently dispersed to be
brought together again. The extension, to be known as the Aoi
Pavilion, will be attached to the west end of the Anderson Room and
will be similar in concept, and provide architectural balance for the
Rotherham Building, opened in 1994. Work is expected to begin in
the spring of 1996 and take approximately eighteen months to
complete. The first floor will be devoted to a reading room and
offices, whilst the ground floor and basement will provide storage. For
the first time, scholars will also have full access to the important Meiji
microfilm collections, which contains 160,000 volumes spanning
Approval has also been given for the building of a new basement
bookstack to the west of the Library. This will be the first stage of a
major extension which is planned, eventually, to extend to the full
height of the building. We hope, also, to be able to create a new
exhibition centre, off the Entrance Hall, and to remodel the Entrance
Hall itself, with a new Admissions Office, to make the whole area
more attractive and efficient.
If all goes according to plan, building work should start early in 1996,
with a completion date of late 1997.
Self-service photocopying is being installed in the University Library
during October: four photocopiers will be available in a new
Photocopying Room situated at the end of South Wing 1 corridor, and
a further two for copying unbound periodicals will be located behind
the Periodicals enquiry desk in the West Room. When you are making
copies please take particular care not to damage any of the Library's
All of these photocopiers are controlled by rechargeable cards, which
will be available from a dispenser in the Photocopying Room. The
cards can be recharged using either coins or banknotes to a maximum
value of £10. Charges for self-service photocopying will be 7p for A4
and 10p for A3 - lower than the present charges for operator service
copying, which will remain unchanged.
Within the next few months a new-style reader's ticket will be
introduced which will also carry a rechargeable magnetic strip for
photocopying, thereby eliminating the need to carry two separate
The operator service has been retained for those who do not wish to
undertake their own copying or who have special requirements such as
overhead projector transparencies or copying onto special papers. All
copying from material belonging to restricted classes, i.e. maps,
official publications, and other special collections which require
authorisation before being photocopied, will still be undertaken by the
operator service. The finished copies should be collected and paid for
in the old Photocopying Room, which can be reached by going down
the stairs outside the Rare Books Room, except in the case of copies
ordered in the Manuscripts and Rare Books Room, which should be
collected from those rooms.
The University reminds all users of self-service photocopiers (as well
as those making use of the operator service) that they must comply
with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988,
details of which are posted beside each machine.
The new Law Faculty building, which houses the Squire Law Library,
is at the centre of the Sidgwick Site, adjacent to the History Faculty.
Designed by Sir Norman Foster, the building promises to be one of the
most striking and innovative university buildings in the 1990s. The
Law Faculty will now have a new focus since the Squire Law Library,
five new auditoria, seminar rooms, common rooms, and administrative
offices will be in one building close to the Institute of Criminology, the
principal Arts Faculty buildings and the University Library, of which
the Squire is a dependent library. The building is four storeys high
with another two floors below ground level and is distinctive in the use
of durable modern materials, in particular natural stone.
Natural light is used to dramatic effect, especially in the library which
occupies the top three floors, where benefit is taken of the fully glazed
north facing elevation. Working areas are designed to have views out
over the gardens.
The new Squire Law Library has space for approximately a quarter of
a million volumes.
In Michaelmas Term 1995, copies of the programs for software
casebooks developed by the Law Consortium of the University of
Warwick will be sent to all law schools in the UK. The material will
initially cover six subjects and work on a further six subjects is in
hand. The disc will be available for general use in the Squire. The
hardware is quite simple and the program is user friendly.
Most of the work on the Ethernet connection from the Squire to the
main University Library building has already been completed and the
University Computing Service is providing guidance on the
development of computing facilities within the building. We start
from a low base in terms of existing machines, though we expect to
grow quickly. A number of publicly-available machines will be
available for word-processing and for accessing the Internet. World
Wide Web home pages will be established for both the Squire and
Faculty as soon as resources permit. In addition, an IP connection for
library users with their own laptops is under investigation. As soon as
the connection to the main University Library is completed, the
networking of CD-ROMs and the provision of online access to
databases and datasets will develop rapidly and the infrastructure will
be in place to allow the Squire to offer a high-quality service to its
users, regardless of whether they need traditional printed materials or
Many television programmes, and nearly every newspaper, talk about
the explosion of information available on computer networks. It is no
exaggeration to say that we are experiencing a revolution in the way
information is accessed and transported around the globe. This
revolution is just as profound as the Industrial Revolution of the
nineteenth century and will affect our lives in very many ways. In
terms of teaching and academic research, the potential of these new
networked services is enormous. It is this challenge that Cambridge
University Library is now addressing. In a University-wide IT
Workshop in March 1995, the University Librarian outlined his vision
and spoke of his commitment to ‘the development of IT-based
information services' from Cambridge University Library. In this
article, I hope to outline the major developments by which the Library
hopes to meet that vision in the short term.
EMICS mail server
The University Library's Automation Office has set up an e-mail
interface to its online circulation system for the issue and return of
books. Cambridge University Library is the only legal deposit library
in the United Kingdom which allows readers to borrow books. Users
can send a message to the e-mail address email@example.com with
the single word HELP as the subject or text of the message. The full
Help file is then mailed automatically by EMICS to the user. The Help
file is freely available, but readers must then register with the server at
an e-mail address before any further facilities can be used. The EMICS
mail server went live in March 1995 and, to date, over 500 users have
registered to use the services which EMICS has to offer. These can be
described as follows:
The ability to have warnings of books about to fall overdue is a new
service, which has not previously been available from the University
- which books do I have on loan?
- is a book currently on loan?
- can I recall a book on loan to another reader?
- can I have overdue notices, and warnings of books about to fall overdue?
CD-ROMs and Datasets
Cambridge University Library has set up a CD-ROM server and is
making available 23 bibliographic CD-ROM titles (as of 1 September
1995) to users in the Library. CD-ROM is an ideal format in which to
make available reference material and the full text of books and
journals. Results can be downloaded onto floppy disc and taken away
for later printing or for incorporation into a personal database.
One of the most popular titles on the server is the MLA Bibliography.
The MLA International Bibliography database contains citations to
critical documents on literature, language, linguistics and folklore.
Two of the most ambitious CDs, in terms of coverage, are from the
Cambridge firm Chadwyck-Healey. These are the Patrologia Latina
and the English Poetry databases. The English Poetry database
contains the full text of significant English poetry from A.D. 600 to
1900, being based on the New Cambridge Bibliography of English
Literature. The Patrologia Latina database represents the electronic
text of John Paul Migne's Patrologia Latina, the full text of the
writings of the Latin Church Fathers. The printed version of the
Patrologia stands in the University Library Reading Room at R144.2.
It is a nineteenth century publication and very difficult to use. The
Patrologia Latina CD, however, enables readers to undertake the kind
of keyword searching that would not be possible in the printed edition
without reading the whole set of volumes - all 226 of them! Do you
want to know the meaning of justitia (righteousness) in the thought of
Martin Luther by reference to the writings of the Early Church
Fathers? Then it is to the CD version of the Patrologia that you should
turn. Potentially, use of the CD could revolutionise research in
Surfing the World Wide Web (WWW)
Throughout 1995, Cambridge University Library has devoted
considerable resources to the study and use of WWW technology.
WWW is an invisible web of information servers which span the
globe. WWW is rapidly establishing itself in the academic community
as a means by which information can be made available to all
interested parties on the Internet, the world-wide network of networks.
The results of the University Library's work in this area will be seen in
Michaelmas Term when a series of web pages will be made available
on the University's central WWW server (URL:
http://www.cam.ac.uk/Libraries/). This is a significant development,
replacing the information which the University Library has hitherto
made available as part of the central University gopher server. These
new web pages will form the principal electronic gateway to
information about the Library's stock and services, both for users in
Cambridge and further afield in the United Kingdom and beyond. At
the time of writing (1 September 1995) the date of release for the
Library's web pages is imminent. The principal categories of
information to be made available are:
Section 1 includes the electronic text of the new Readers' Handbook,
and a Virtual Tour of the University Library building. Section 2
provides a central gateway to bibliographic services available on the
Internet, including the BIDS datasets and the OCLC FirstSearch suite
of databases, access to which is funded by the University Library for
all members of the University. Section 3 comprises an online Bulletin
Board for new services and developments in the University Library.
The final section consists of an electronic overview of over 100
libraries in Cambridge. The launch of Cambridge University Library's
web pages therefore represents a significant development in the
availability of electronic information in Cambridge.
- Cambridge University Library - Services and Facilities
- Cambridge University Library - Gateway Services
- News of current developments
- Faculty, Departmental, College and Other Libraries in the University of Cambridge
The one certain thing about Information Technology is that it is
constantly developing! Further developments and enhancements to our
IT Services are planned in the coming months. News of these
developments will be announced in the pages of this Newsletter. If you
have any comments or questions about IT Services from Cambridge
University Library, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Head of IT Services
As part of the non-formula funding for specialised research collections
in the humanities, the University Library has been allocated nearly
£1.75 million over five years by the Higher Education Funding
Council (England). The largest grant is for cataloguing and
preservation work on the Royal Commonwealth Society Library and
the related Rosenthal Africana Collection. The catalogues of some of
the Near Eastern collections, principally those in Arabic and Indic
script, will be converted to machine-readable form. The Taylor-Schechter
Unit has received funds to continue work on its world-famous
collection of Judaeo-Arabic manuscripts. Cataloguing and
preservation of a number of manuscript collections are to be funded:
Darwin papers; English legal manuscripts; Stokes, Kelvin and Clerk
Maxwell papers; Mayo and Templewood papers; music manuscripts in
the University Library and the Fitzwilliam Museum; Gerhardie papers;
Buxton papers; the Exhibita Files from the Vice-Chancellor's court; as
well as the Michaelides collection of papyrus fragments.
Funds have been provided to add to the online catalogue records for
two of the major microfiche sets, German Baroque literature and Early
American Imprints. The project for the creation of Japanese character
records is also to be supported.
Tony Harper, the new Head of Reader Services at the University
Library, began his career with Surrey County Library. After working
briefly as a children's librarian he spent the next nine years in medical
libraries, making good use of his university training in biochemistry
and bacteriology. He subsequently worked at Oxford Polytechnic as
Science Librarian for four years before moving to Bristol Polytechnic
(now the University of the West of England) to gain more
Tony writes of his new post at Cambridge: "The report of the Library's
Working Party on Reader Services struck me as brutally honest in
describing some of the problems facing a large and complex
organisation during a time of rapid technological change. However,
acknowledging that a problem exists is the major step towards solving
it, and I believe that as I learn more of what the needs of the readers
are we will be able to satisfy more of them, more often".
The Friends of Cambridge University Library is a society founded to
foster contacts between the Library and those interested in its
collections, its history, its current activities, and its future
development. The Friends' principal aims are to raise funds for the
purchase and conservation of significant additions to the Library's
collections, and to assist the Library to acquire such items by gift or
Besides the satisfaction of contributing to the Library's collections,
Friends receive several important benefits in return for their
subscriptions. A programme of meetings, outings, visits to Library
departments and talks on varied topics runs throughout the year, and
members are most welcome to attend regular, exclusive, private views
of new Library exhibitions. The Bulletin of the Friends, containing
articles and notes about both Library and Society, is distributed
regularly to members, who also receive copies of the Library
Syndicate's annual report to the University. Most Library publications
are available to individual Friends at a discount, and no fee for the
issue of a Reader's Ticket is payable by Friends who qualify in the
normal way for admission.
For a membership application form and any further details please
contact the Honorary Secretary, Mark Nicholls (telephone: 333147;
The University Library, through the Medical Library, is one of seven
UK partners collaborating in the OMNI project and the lead
organisation is the MRC National Institute for Medical Research.
OMNI is funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)
under the Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib). The aim is to
facilitate easy access to networked biomedical information, which has
been identified, described and evaluated. The emphasis will be on
discovering UK resources.
A basic service will be launched this November in London at the First
Annual OMNI Seminar "Integrating Medical Information on the
Academic Network - stop surfing and come aboard the OMNI
Launch". This event will be followed by a series of workshops for
OMNI contributors and end users. The paramount importance of the
OMNI project, which includes a catalogue of resources, browse and
search facilities, documentation and training, lies in the quality of the
Further information is available on the Internet:
Cambridge University Medical Library
Tel: 336756 Fax: 336709
A series of classes in hand printing will be held in the Morison Room on Tuesdays and
Thursdays at 17.00. The first class will probably be on 10 October.
Places on the course are limited, and anyone interested should first
contact either Nicholas Smith (Rare Books Room - 333122) or Colin
Clarkson (Reading Room - 333016).
Two seminars will be held during the Michaelmas Term:
For further information contact Bill Noblett (333138), Colin Clarkson (333016),
Stephanis Macek (334522).
- 19 October 11.00: Classics, English, History, Modern and Medieval Languages
- 2 November 11.00: Economics and Politics, Social and Political Sciences,
In the Exhibition Corridor (outside the main Reading Room)
In the Entrance Hall
- Robert Graves (Until mid-October)
- Discovery of X-rays (Mid-October until December)
- United Nations: 50 years (October)
- Henry Purcell (November)
If you have any questions, please e-mail
Cambridge University Library's Home Page.
© Cambridge University Library; last updated March 1998