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Readers' Newsletter

Number 2 (January 1996)


New system for Readers' Tickets

Our present Polaroid system for making Readers' Tickets is twenty years old. In its time it was the best technology available, but now there are alternatives. Having considered the options, we are planning to introduce a new system called EMOS.

Our old system, which EMOS will replace, requires several separate operations to make a ticket. Currently, producing a ticket involves: printing a piece of cardboard with the reader's name; printing a bar-code; getting a signature; taking a Polaroid photograph; gluing it all together; and, finally, laminating it all into a plastic cover. This takes several minutes. Then there is a substantial amount of filing and paperwork, after the reader has left.

The EMOS system uses a video camera, linked to a PC, to produce a digital image of the reader's face. This is printed directly onto a plastic card along with the bar-code and the reader's name. The card is physically similar to a credit card, and it only takes a few seconds to produce.

The EMOS card has a magnetic stripe on it and it can be used to control the newly introduced self-service photocopiers. Readers will be able to recharge their cards in the machines near the copiers.

Benefits for readers

The main benefits EMOS will bring to readers are as follows:-

Benefits for the Library

The main benefits EMOS will bring to the Library are as follows:-

We are planning to introduce the system early in 1996. If you have any questions about the new system, please contact Tony Harper on 33010 or e-mail ach@ula.cam.ac.uk

Digital imaging service

The Photography Department at the University Library offers a comprehensive digital imaging service. This service has recently been extended with the addition of a digital camera and CD writer, making possible the archiving of large image files and data. Scanning and printing from readers' own artwork or computer files is also undertaken, and the images may be saved in a variety of formats to suit either Macintosh or PC-based systems.

One of the most popular services offered is photo restoration. Photographs that over the years have become faded, creased or damaged can be restored to their former glory using computerised retouching. We take your photograph and digitise it into the computer using either a flatbed scanner or digital camera leaving your original unharmed. The image is then manipulated to repair any damage and enhanced by adjusting the brightness, contrast and colour balance as required. The finished result is output using a dye sublimation printer which produces photorealistic prints.

Just as the music CD has largely replaced the vinyl record, digital imaging will eventually replace silver halide-based photography. For further information, including an estimate of cost, please ask in the Photography Department or telephone 33108.

Digital photo restoration: Before restoration work

Digital photo restoration: After restoration work

The Stefan Heym Archive

The name of novelist Stefan Heym, unfamiliar to many in Britain, is a household one in his native Germany. Although several of his novels have been published in this country, none is currently in print. In Germany, however, Heym's fiction is regularly reprinted, he appears frequently on television and radio and receives widespread press coverage.

The dramatic upheavals of Heym's life mirror those of the century. Born in 1913 into a Jewish family, he was at 19 Germany's youngest literary exile from Nazi oppression. After settling in America in 1935 and enjoying early literary success with his bestseller Hostages, he served in the Psychological Warfare Division of the United States Army, and was at the spearhead of the Normandy invasion. During the McCarthy purges Heym returned to Europe and settled in East Berlin. In the 1950s Heym had a high profile in East Germany, and his books and newspaper columns exerted considerable influence. In the 1970s and 1980s his outspokenness gradually brought him into increasing conflict with the GDR authorities, his works were banned and he lived in constant fear of imprisonment, but unlike many East German writers he steadfastly refused to emigrate to the West. After the collapse of the Berlin Wall Heym was found to have the largest secret police file in the GDR. In 1994, with seemingly boundless energy, he successfully stood for the Bundestag, and as the oldest member of the House at 81, he gave the new session's opening address.

[Stefan Heym]
Stefan Heym as a US army sergeant, 1914

The Heym archive, acquired by the Library in December 1992 through the good offices of Dr Peter Hutchinson, University Lecturer in German and Fellow of Trinity Hall, reflects the rich diversity of the author's life. It includes the manuscripts of all Heym's fiction, along with plot outlines, preliminary character studies and sections discarded from the finished novels. The many editions of his printed work include translations in such diverse languages as Chinese, Hebrew and Tamil. But this is not only a literary archive. From the war period comes a priceless collection of local newspapers, hurriedly produced by the American Army for the German civilian population. Even scarcer is a collection of propaganda pamphlets and a mini-newspaper entitled Frontpost, dropped over German lines as the American Army advanced. Furthermore, the archive is a major resource for those interested in the history and cultural life of the GDR, encapsulating in many respects the social and intellectual history of the country. Heym's prominence in the period leading up to German reunification is correspondingly reflected in essays, press cuttings, and audio and video tapes.

An award from the Leverhulme Trust earlier this year enabled an archivist to begin work on the detailed sorting and cataloguing of the archive. Her task is daunting, for in addition to the material already mentioned the archive includes an enormous collection of approximately 35,000 letters. Four hundred audio cassettes and 100 videotapes must also be monitored and described.

It will be about two years before description of the contents of the archive is completed, and access to items of a personal nature is restricted. Nevertheless, scholars from Austria, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway and the United States have already travelled to Cambridge to work on the collection. Articles on the Library and the Heym archive have appeared in several German newspapers, and the archive also featured in a French television documentary on Heym made earlier in 1995.

Anyone wishing to know more about the archive and its contents is invited to contact the Library's German specialist, David Lowe (network 33094) or Heym archivist Karen Attar (network 33151).

Engineering Virtual Library

The University Library is participating in a project to develop a gateway to Internet resources in engineering for the UK higher education and research community.

The Edinburgh Engineering Virtual Library (EEVL) is a two year project established as part of the Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib), funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee on behalf of the Funding Councils.

As its name suggests the project is co-ordinated from Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh. Apart from Cambridge, other partner institutions are: University of Edinburgh, Napier University, Nottingham Trent University, the Institution of Electrical Engineers and Imperial College London.

EEVL will create a World-Wide Web interface and a structured catalogue of quality resources. Initially the EEVL project will concentrate on information relevant to those working in six subject areas:

The EEVL Development Team expect testing and evaluation of a pilot database to be underway by January 1996, and a full service available in August 1996.

Further information on the EEVL project is available via the URL: http://www.hw.ac.uk/libWWW/eevl/eevl-home.html or by contacting Cambridge's member of the EEVL Development Team, Michael Wilson (network 34744) or via e-mail at mlw1003@cus.cam.ac.uk

SCONUL vacation reading card scheme

Most university libraries in the United Kingdom and Ireland allow access to undergraduates from other universities during vacation (normally defined as the vacation of the receiving library). In the past, Cambridge undergraduates had to obtain a SCONUL reading card from the University Library, but this scheme has now been abandoned and a Cambridge undergraduate will now be given vacation access to another university library, during that university's vacation, on presentation of a Cambridge University Library admission card.

Graduate students wishing to use another university library are advised to take letters from their research supervisors to introduce them to the library they wish to use. Access for graduate students is not normally restricted to vacation periods.

IT developments in the University Library

Since the first issue of the Readers' Newsletter in October 1995, there have been a number of developments in the range of IT services available from the University Library.

IT Resources area

Perhaps the most visible development in IT services is the creation of the IT Resources area off the Catalogue Room. There are now ten workstations in this area with dedicated access to selected electronic IT resources. One machine offers network access to the prototype new British Library Catalogue. Seven machines allow users to consult various CD-ROM titles, consisting of bibliographies, catalogues and reference works. Two machines are available for making connections to sites on the World-Wide Web (WWW). One is set to point to the Library's WWW home page (URL: http://www.cam.ac.uk/Libraries/). The second offers access to hundreds of library catalogues available on the UK academic computer network, JANET, and the international network of networks, the Internet. Documentation for all these services is available by the work-stations and the Reading Room provides a help desk for users’ questions.

World-Wide Web developments

Statistics from the central WWW server for October show just how popular the Library's web pages are. Just under 10,000 consultations were made of the Library's home page and its sub-directories in that month. An amazing 25,000 consultations were made of the library catalogues on JANET and the Internet through the Library-sponsored Hytelnet pages (URL: http://www.cam.ac.uk/Hytelnet/). Electronic services are beginning to change the perception of the services academic libraries should offer.

The main addition to the Library's WWW pages is a section of material relating to the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit (URL: http://www.cam.ac.uk/Libraries/Taylor-Schechter/). Cambridge University Library houses 140,000 fragments of Hebrew and Jewish literature and documents rescued from the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo. These cover every aspect of life in the Mediterranean area a thousand years ago and are of outstanding academic importance.

CD-ROMs and datasets

A number of important CD-ROM titles have recently been added to the University Library's datasets server. These include Dissertation Abstracts International, covering over 1,000,000 theses from North America and Europe, and Index to Theses, dealing with higher degrees in Great Britain and Ireland. An important initiative has led to the full text of newspapers also being made available on the server. The following titles are accessible in the IT Resources area: The Times, Sunday Times, The Observer and The Guardian. Catalogue records for all the Library's networked CD-ROMs are being made available online in the Library's Main Catalogue and in the Cambridge Union List of Serials.

Recent acquisitions in the Music Department

The Library has acquired a number of important sets of partbooks of motets and madrigals published in Italy, Belgium and France in the sixteenth and seventeenth century from the library of Geneviève Thibaut, Comtesse de Chambure. The most interesting is Gagliano's Il quarto libro de madrigali of 1606, which has not been published in modern times. There are also a set of chansons and two sets of motets by Orlande de Lassus beautifully printed by Le Roy and Ballard in 1571, and the tenor part only of a collection of Tredecim missae printed in Nuremberg in 1539. These were purchased with assistance from the Friends of the University Library.

[Livre de
chansons nouvelles]
An initial from Livre de chansons nouvelles by Orlando Lassus. Paris, 1571.

We have also bought the microfilm edition of The Venetian opera libretti from the University of California, Los Angeles. This remarkable collection includes virtually every opera produced in Venice between 1637 and 1769. The 1,286 libretti were assembled in the 18th century and at one time were in the collection of John Stuart (1713-1792), the third Earl of Bute. This collection complements the Bute Collection of 18th century Italian drama already in the University Library.

New photocopying services

Two new photocopiers have been installed in the Photography Department at the north end of the Library on the ground floor.

One is a colour copier that will produce copies from originals up to A3 in size, will reduce to 25% of original size or enlarge by 400%. This means that your original A3 copy can be enlarged to 16 A3 sheets which join together to make a mural or poster. It is capable of producing colour overhead transparencies and individual colours can be changed at will.

The other machine is a Minolta PS3000 digital copier linked to a laser photocopier. This is a 'book friendly' copier in that it copies from above the book which is simply laid on a cradle without the need to turn it over or hold it down onto a glass plate. The computer will then straighten out the curvature of the page before printing the copy.

New CD-ROM datasets

The Official Publications Department has recently taken delivery of four new CD-ROMs. The first two, EC Infodisk and UNBIS plus are designed to facilitate access to two depository collections held in the Department: the publications of the European Union and the United Nations. The former contains the official bibliographic database of the EU and indexes approximately 850 journals plus directives and other legislation. The latter comprises ten different databases and provides access to the output of the UN itself (1975 to date) and to the non-UN publications held in the UN Library in New York.

The second two CD-ROMs are British in scope: Hansard and JUSTIS Parliament. Hansard (Commons) 1988/89 to date, and Hansard (Lords) 1992/93 to date, contain the full text of the official report of debates in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. JUSTIS Parliament, 1992 to date, is the CD-ROM version of the House of Commons POLIS database. It provides detailed indexing of Parliamentary questions, ministerial statements, debates, bills, Parliamentary papers and selected non-Parliamentary, non-HMSO and EU publications.

These last two publications complement the long-established and invaluable CD-ROM UKOP. This titles contains bibliographic details of HMSO and non-HMSO publications from 1980 to date.

Readers will be able to consult these databases in the Official Publications Department; in addition, Hansard and UKOP will be available in the IT Resources area and the Squire Law Library.

Joys of open access

The University Library and its staff have been receiving favourable attention in the national press lately. In an article in The Observer of 19 November 1995, John Naughton told of a morning spent in blissful exploration of the Library's open-access bookstacks, describing the Library as 'the most accessible collection of literary treasure on this side of the Atlantic'. Although noting the hazards of being 'ambushed' by books whose existence he had never suspected while on the trail of the one he was seeking, he comes down firmly in favour of the delights of serendipity - 'the nearest thing to Paradise that this world has to offer'!

... and revelations of treason

Meanwhile, Dr Mark Nicholls of the Manuscripts Department earned himself a front-page spread in The Sunday Times of 5 November 1995 after his off-duty research among archives in the Bodleian Library led to his finding conclusive evidence that Sir Walter Raleigh, beheaded in 1618 on a charge of treason but long believed to have been innocent of the charge, was indeed involved in plotting a Spanish invasion of England in support of a rebellion against King James I.

Current and forthcoming exhibitions (Main Library)

In the Exhibition Corridor (outside the main Reading Room)
Roberto Gerhard: a centenary exhibition           5 February - 22 March
Recent accessions                                 April - June
In the Entrance Hall
Eye and ear: astronomy and the psychology of 
perception                                        9 January - 13 March
SET (Science, Engineering and Technology) 96      15 - 23 March
Albanian books: a private collection              April

The Friends of Cambridge University Library

Forthcoming meetings - Lent Term 1996
Saturday, 24 February 1996 at 11.30 in the Meeting Room (coffee will be 
served at 11.00)

Dr Flora Lewis 
'Books of Hours from Manuscript to Print'
Dr Lewis was the Munby Fellow, 1994-95.

Saturday, 16 March 1996 at 11.30 in the Anderson Room (coffee will be 
served at 11.00)

Dr Linda Washington 
'Bibliographic sources for British Military History'

Dr Washington is Head of the Department of Printed Books, National Army 
Museum, London
An extract from the manuscript notebook of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, architect of the University Library, showing some of his early sketches for the building. Purchased by the Friends of the Library 1995.

[MS Notebook]
From University Library manuscript Add. 9247.

Inter-Library Loans

On 1 November 1995 the University Library introduced revised charges for Inter-Library Loan requests. All requests (whether for books, periodicals or theses) now cost £2.00. The additional charges which were previously made for British and North American theses and for items borrowed from abroad have been abolished. There is, however, an additional charge of £2.00 if you request a renewal for an item already on loan from abroad.


If you have any questions, please e-mail library@ula.cam.ac.uk

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