Cambridge University Library

Readers' Newsletter No. 7


Medical Library opens new computer room

[Photo] A new era in the provision of electronic information services began at the Medical Library in July when its purpose-built computer room became operational. The room, which is the result of a shared initiative by the University Library, the School of Clinical Medicine, and The Wolfson Foundation, has been named the "Wolfson Technology Resource Centre" in recognition of the substantial financial assistance given by the Foundation. The Wolfson Foundation's grant of £50,000 was one of a number made to members of the Consortium of University Research Libraries (CURL) to help them to integrate computer-based study facilities with traditional print-based library collections.

The Medical Library at Addenbrooke's Hospital, has long been heavily committed to utilising electronic information resources as an essential element in its services. It was the first library in Cambridge to offer access to online bibliographic databases and the first to run a CD-ROM database in-house, and has been developing networked information services throughout the past two decades.

The new Centre occupies the space formerly used to house the library's collection of printed indexes and abstracts, which has been reorganised. It provides spacious air-conditioned accommodation for up to 36 networked workstations and associated peripheral equipment, and also incorporates an office for technical support staff. The computers currently installed are a mixture of PCs and Macintoshes, each of which offers users a wide variety of networked applications. These include core library services such as bibliographic databases, full-text electronic journals, multi-media books, and Web resources, together with supporting features such as word-processing, spreadsheet, scanning and database software. Training courses, held in the Clinical School's IT Teaching Laboratory, are provided on a regular basis by library staff and other experts.

Reader recommendations for books, periodicals and datasets

The Library welcomes recommendations from readers for new books, periodicals and datasets, and almost all recommendations for books which are still in print are approved. Recommendation forms are available in the reading rooms and can be handed in there or sent to the Accessions Department. Fuller details are given in leaflet C1 of the Readers' Handbook - Book recommendations and new accessions.

British and Irish books are received by legal deposit under the terms of the Copyright Act and it is not normally necessary for readers to recommend them. Enquiries about these should be made in the Reading Room in the first instance.

Recommendations for items which involve a continuing financial commitment, such as series of monographs, periodicals or electronic datasets, or which are particularly expensive in themselves, are considered by the Library staff at a regular series of meetings. Although most of these are approved it is not always possible to accept readers' suggestions. Recommendation forms can be used for these publications, as well as for books, and it is often helpful if the recommendation is accompanied by a publisher's prospectus and an explanation of its importance. These forms can be handed in at the Periodicals Desk in the West Room or in the Reading Room.

Tenth volume of Darwin correspondence published

Cambridge University Press has recently published volume 10 of The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, which was prepared by a staff group based in the Manuscripts Department of the University Library.

The letters in volume 10 cover the year 1862, the year Darwin turned 53. Aside from the ongoing reaction at home and abroad to Origin of species (then in its third year in the public domain), a reader browsing through the volume will find Darwin discussing, for example, his (immensely original) experimental research into the meaning and causes of the degrees of sterility to be found between species and between varieties and even between individuals. Or one may follow the story of Henry Walter Bates. Excited about nature and exploration by Darwin's Journal (of the Beagle voyage) and, in the 1840s, recognising that there was little or no chance of making a living in science in Britain, Bates set off for South America where he spent eleven years collecting exotic Amazonian natural history specimens for the collections of wealthy Europeans. [Down House] On his return he made contact with his great hero, whereupon Darwin encouraged and assisted him to produce an account of his travels along the lines of the book which had originally so inspired the young man. Throughout 1862 Bates followed Darwin's advice and when Naturalist on the River Amazons was published (early in 1863) Darwin declared it one of the best books of natural history travels he had ever read. The letters in this volume are full of interest from a myriad of aspects. This was the time when the whole modern prehistoric story - the antiquity of man - was pieced together. This was the year when the fortunes of the Union in the American Civil War began to turn (Darwin was passionately anti-slavery). The wonderful thing about the correspondence of Charles Darwin is that it is precisely because he isolated himself in his home in Down House in Kent for the rest of his life after his round-the-world voyage that his letters are of such great interest: for others, much of the information conveyed in these letters would have been exchanged in conversation, in a corridor at a meeting of one of the scientific societies perhaps, at a dinner table, or while riding along in a carriage. In these volumes it is faithfully represented, with detailed explanatory footnotes, potted biographies of everyone mentioned in the letters - everyone from the Prime Minister to the local publican - appendixes, and photographs (some of which, particularly those of Darwin's children, have never before been published).

Electronic journals

Electronic journals A major development in the provision of full text electronic journals since the last newsletter has been the launch of the BIDS JournalsOnline service as part of the BIDS Web interface. BIDS JournalsOnline currently offers around 50,000 full text articles from more than 400 academic journals published by Academic Press, Blackwell Science and Blackwell Publishers. A wide range of subjects from the sciences, social sciences, and the arts and humanities are covered - a complete list of the journals included is available at

Access to the full text service is password controlled. Passwords are issued by Reader Services staff in the University Library and dependent libraries.

Access to articles in journals published by Academic Press will also continue to be available through the IDEAL service. Access to IDEAL does not require a password if you are within the "cam" domain; just click on the direct IP login prompt at

Members of the University have the opportunity to be directly involved in shaping the future of electronic publishing by participating in the SuperJournal project. This project focuses on the evaluation of full text electronic journals and the features that make them useful to the research and teaching community. Cambridge is one of just seven universities nationwide to be involved and have access to the SuperJournal titles. Three subject clusters of journals are currently available:

SuperJournal registration details are available from the Reading Room at the University Library, the Medical Library or the Scientific Periodicals Library.

SuperJournal is a project in the Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib) funded by the Higher Education Funding Councils through JISC.

Questions concerning electronic journals or any comments may be directed to Michael Wilson, Scientific Periodicals Library (

Online Book Request System

The pilot Online Book Request System (OBRS), initially restricted to books in the class 9000-9999, was launched on Monday 3 March (see Readers' Newsletter No.6 for details) and immediately proved very popular with readers. In the light of the considerable success of this trial, the scope of the OBRS has recently been enlarged to cover additional classes of books fetched to the Reading Room and West Room: Lit, M900-M999, 1850-1999 and the great majority of post-1849 S3-figures (excluding bb size, S696 and all volumes in series). It is hoped in due course to extend this service to further classes of material and other departments within the Library.

Simplified access to other research library catalogues

COPAC is a new nationally accessible online catalogue, owned by the Consortium of University Research Libraries (CURL) and based at the University of Manchester. It provides centralised access to the holdings of some of the largest university research libraries in the UK and Ireland. COPAC is normally available 24 hours a day, every day, and access is free of charge.

The COPAC database currently contains approximately 3.5 million records and is growing continually as new material is added. These records represent the merged online library catalogues of the Universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Oxford and Trinity College Dublin. These libraries are all members of CURL. A schedule to add the records from a further 14 CURL library catalogues is in place, and around half of these libraries will have had their data loaded by the end of 1997.

The CURL libraries are all large research libraries, and their collections provide coverage of all subject areas, spanning science, technology and medicine, as well as the humanities and social sciences. They also have many specialist collections, older documents and particular strengths, such as foreign language materials, which make COPAC a very valuable resource for the researcher.

In COPAC, records for identical bibliographical items held by one or more of the CURL libraries are brought together. Location information at the end of each record lists all the libraries holding that item, and in this way researchers are presented with a single, straightforward point of access to the material they are looking for.

There are two easy-to-use interfaces available for searching COPAC:

You can search using title words, author and organisation names, subject words, date and language. You can display search results and, in the text interface, records can be e-mailed to your local system in a format which can be accepted by personal bibliographic software, such as ProCite.

Online Help is provided to assist you whilst you are carrying out a search. Printed user guides are also available, giving information and advice on the use of each of the COPAC interfaces.

The Templewood Papers: a major source for inter-war history

[Samuel Hoare] Among the many projects to enhance access to the University Library's special collections for which the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has provided non-formula funding over the past two years, the documenting of the archive of Viscount Templewood has proved to be one of the most exciting. Templewood (born Samuel Hoare) enjoyed an illustrious political career in the 1920s and 1930s, and was widely regarded as a future prime minister, by Neville Chamberlain among others. For many years he was a friend of Winston Churchill, but a disagreement over colonial policy towards India in 1931 caused a rift in their relationship which was never fully healed. As the 1930s progressed Hoare became a prominent advocate of the policy of appeasement towards Mussolini and Hitler (his name is immortalised in the infamous Hoare-Laval Pact) and with the outbreak of war his political career foundered.

Templewood's papers were presented to the Library in 1960, and comprise the political and personal archive of a man who had been Air Minister, Home Secretary and Ambassador to Spain, where he was credited by some with preventing Franco from joining the Axis powers. The Templewood Papers form one of the most detailed records preserved by any modern British politician, and the archive includes photograph albums, scrapbooks and cine newsreels chronicling his life from earliest childhood and schooldays to diplomatic negotiations at the highest level with many European countries and India.

A detailed catalogue and index are now available in the Manuscripts Reading Room to researchers who wish to study Templewood's career and the momentous events of the inter-war years in which he was involved. An online guide to the collection is available via the Manuscripts Department home page ( For further information contact Mark Nicholls of the Manuscripts Department ((3)33147;

Restructuring at the Squire

Over the last year attention at the Squire Law Library has centred around change and restructuring, with the ultimate intention of gradually relaunching the Squire on the 'world stage of law libraries'. There is still a great deal to do, but foundations have been laid over the last year, and while the striking new Law Faculty building provides the backdrop for an ambitious future at the forefront of legal research, the emphasis is turning now to managing the internal development of the library.

Two aspects that have received attention over the last twelve months are the staff structure and the collection development policy. The reputation of any library depends upon the quality of its collections, and collection building is a large operation that takes a great deal of staff time. Peter Zawada has been made responsible for reader services and staff supervision. He will also assist with collection development in the UK law jurisdictions and act as deputy librarian. Lesley Dingle, formerly law librarian at City University, has been appointed to assist with foreign language, EU and international law collection development.

ABELL - Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature

Since 1921, ABELL, compiled by the Modern Humanities Research Association (MHRA), has provided scholars with one of the most comprehensive bibliographies in the field of English studies, renowned for its breadth of coverage and ease of use. ABELL currently adds more than 10,000 references each year.

From summer 1997, this invaluable resource has been made available over the World Wide Web, allowing scholars to access records from the published volumes, using highly sophisticated search software. This makes it possible to compile specialist bibliographies for individual authors and themes reflecting three quarters of a century of scholarship.

ABELL's objective has been to provide an annually updated record of scholarly articles, doctoral dissertations, books and essay collections in the fields of English language and literature (and other related areas), published throughout the world. From the beginning, compilation has been handled by an international team of editors, contributors and academic advisers. Since 1978 Cambridge University Library has housed the UK editorial office and provides the project with access both to its collections and network facilities.

Since the first volume - recording 1015 items - appeared in 1921, coverage has expanded greatly and now includes selective reporting of film, biography and autobiography, travel writing, historical and cultural studies. A particular feature of ABELL is its coverage of book reviews - it is one of the few bibliographies in its field to offer this.

The records for 1960 to 1994 are currently available at workstations in the IT Resources area as a part of Chadwyck-Healey Ltd's Literature Online service. By January 1998, the content of all printed volumes from 1920 to 1995 will be easily accessible, allowing users to search more than 500,000 records quickly and efficiently.

The move to publication of ABELL in electronic format - complementary to the printed volume which will continue to be published - enhances the information the Bibliography has to offer and brings unprecedented access to a wealth of archive and current material, which will be updated regularly. This has created a highly versatile research tool for English literature scholars.

Further information about ABELL - and the MHRA's other activities - is available from

Bibliographical seminars for research students

Seminars on postgraduate research will be held in the Meeting Room, University Library on For further information contact Bill Noblett (3)33138, Colin Clarkson (3)33016 or Stephanie Macek (3)34880

Current and forthcoming exhibitions (Main Library)

In the Exhibition Corridor (outside the main Reading Room)

'Milestones in colour printing "1457" - 1870'

Until 31 October

'History in fragments: a Genizah centenary exhibition'

12 November 1997 - 28 February 1998

The Friends of Cambridge University Library

[Lithograph] Forthcoming meetings - Michaelmas Term 1997

The Saturday talks are free of charge to Members, but Friends wishing to attend the weekday meetings are invited to contribute £2.50 per head, in order to cover costs.

Wednesday 22 October at 17.45 in the Meeting Room (tea will be served at 17.15)

Mr Sebastian Carter
Aristotle and Jam labels:
printing books and ephemera at the Rampant Lions Press

Saturday 8 November at 14.30 in the Meeting Room

Annual General Meeting

Mr Roger Fairclough
The University Library Map Room from the 1950s to the 1990s

The afternoon opening of the Library is by kind permission of the Librarian. Tea will be served after the meeting.

Editor: Ray Scrivens ISSN:1360-9033

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