Readers' Newsletter


Watch this DSpace

The University Library, in association with the Computing Service, is embarking on a major project to provide the University with an institutional digital repository, ‘DSpace@Cambridge’. This repository will provide a home for the increasing amount of material that is being digitised from the University Library’s own printed and manuscript collections. Its scope is, however, much more ambitious, as it also has the ability to capture, index, store, disseminate and preserve digital materials created in any part of the University. These will potentially include scholarly communications (articles and pre-prints), theses, technical reports, archives of departments and the University as a whole, and other textual material, together with different formats such as multimedia clips, interactive teaching programmes, data sets and databases.

Dspace@Cambridge will involve formal collaboration with Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Libraries, and will be based on ‘DSpaceTM’ (, a system created jointly by MIT Libraries and Hewlett-Packard Laboratories. The project is due for completion in July 2005 and is funded by a grant of £1.7 million from the Cambridge-MIT Institute ( In the first stages, the project team will be identifying a small number of ‘early adopter’ communities to provide content and test the system before it is made available to the University at large. Each user community will be able to customise the DSpace system to meet its individual needs and manage its own data submission process.

DSpace is already a functioning system and so the DSpace@Cambridge project is intended not merely to oversee its implementation in Cambridge and its adaptation to local requirements, but also to develop its functionality as a means of preserving digital content. This will enable the University Library to make its own special contribution to the development of DSpace, utilising the expertise in digital preservation that it has acquired during the last four years through its participation in the Cedars ( and CAMiLEON ( digital preservation projects.

In parallel with the Cambridge-MIT Libraries partnership, another six universities (Columbia, Cornell, Rochester, Ohio, and Washington in the United States, plus Toronto in Canada) are developing collaborative arrangements with MIT to implement DSpace for themselves, thus creating the first federation of DSpace institutions. MIT and Hewlett-Packard have also released the DSpace system, which observes internationally-recognised protocols and interoperability standards, as open source software, so that other institutions worldwide may use it freely.

The DSpace@Cambridge project will be overseen by an advisory board with both UK and US representation: in addition to providing guidance on the Cambridge-MIT project, the board will ensure effective liaison between the project and other digital repository developments in the UK and elsewhere. To reinforce this initiative, the University Library and MIT Libraries are planning a further CMI-funded project to organise a two-year programme of seminars for UK higher and further education and cultural heritage organisations that will promote institutional strategies for digital repositories.

For further information and contact details, see the DSpace@Cambridge website (

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Details to note

Architectural details of Giles Gilbert Scott’s 1934 University Library building are featured on a newly-issued set of four note-cards. The images are taken from a series of around forty photographs commissioned for the current exhibition ‘Speaking Volumes: 600 Years of Cambridge University Library’, which runs until 15 March. The photographs were taken by Mark Scudder of the Library’s Photography Department using a 300mm f 2.8 spherical lens, and bring into focus aspects of the building which are often overlooked. One card features the statuette of a scholar in cassock and bands above the public entrance, beneath which most of the Library’s users must have passed many times without giving it a glance. Another depicts a stone figure representing one of the Four Winds of Heaven, from a quartet designed by E. Carter Preston, which stands high on the south-east corner of the tower and has not been easily examined by the naked eye since it was positioned almost seventy years ago. The cards are sold, with envelopes, in packs of four costing £1.50. They are available from the Entrance Hall desk throughout the week, and from the Friends of the Library’s volunteers, who sell a wide variety of note-cards, postcards, paperweights and bookmarks in the Entrance Hall between 11.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. on most Thursdays in the year.

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South-west corner to open this term

During this term the new rooms in the south-west corner of the Library will open. On the third floor will be an enlarged Official Publications Reading Room, with a Microfilm Reading Room on the floor above and accessible via Official Publications. On the first floor will be a new Digital Resources Area, which will contain over 60 workstations with access to all the Library’s networked electronic resources as well as provision for the use of stand-alone CD-ROMs. Adjacent to this area will be the Inter-Library Loans Department, which will be moving from its current location off the Catalogue Room. For the first time, users of materials borrowed from other libraries will have a dedicated reading area, with staff support close at hand, and will not have to use these materials in different reading rooms, depending on their format. Further details of these areas will be given in the next issue of the Newsletter.

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National prize for Darwin letters project

The Darwin Correspondence Project, whose British base is in the University Library, the home of the largest single collection of Charles Darwin’s letters, has been awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in recognition of an outstanding contribution to the intellectual, economic, cultural and social life of the nation. The Project, founded in 1974 by Frederick Burkhardt and Sydney Smith, aims to publish over 14,500 letters written by and to Darwin. Of the projected 32 volumes, the thirteenth, covering the year 1865, has just been published by Cambridge University Press. Pioneering work to publish the correspondence in electronic form is also being undertaken. A database including a calendar with a summary of every known letter and a biographical register of correspondents is already available on the web (

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Library website re-launched

At the end of November the University Library website was re-launched. The new site has a different look and feel from the old site, with the emphasis on quick and easy access to every page. Information about the Dependent Libraries is also more readily available, with a new Dependent Libraries page and integration into the main website of key information about them.

The new site provides quick access to key areas, such as the Opening Hours pages and the Newton Catalogue, through a navigation bar at the top of every page. The search facility that has always existed on the site has now been highlighted by the inclusion of a search box on the homepage and there is now a site map to help people to find their way around the site.

There are also several new or re-structured areas of the site. Library News and Information provides links to historical and current information about the Library, including Readers’ Newsletters, Annual Reports and Library Syndicate minutes. Using the Library and New Readers Guide details how many books people can borrow, what services the Library offers and information about each of the Reading Rooms in the Library. Detailed information about the material the library holds can be found on the new Library Collections page, while the Projects and Collaboration page indicates the University Library’s involvement in the wider library community.

The Electronic Resources pages have experienced the most changes with electronic journals, databases and CD-Roms now on searchable lists in an easy access format. For the first time there is an opportunity to look at the full list of electronic resources available.

Further changes to the site can be expected over the coming term with more pages and extra functionality added. The Library website can be found at

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OCLC/MARC Link begin guardbook catalogue conversion

Conversion of the guardbook catalogue has begun, and the first records are expected in early 2003

In the Readers’ Newsletter for January 2002, it was announced that the contract for conversion of the University Library guardbook catalogue (General Catalogue) would be put out to competitive tender. The tender was awarded to a joint proposal from OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) and MARC Link. Work has already begun on the project, and catalogue records for material in the guardbook will begin to appear in Newton during 2003. The project is funded chiefly by generous donations from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Newton Trust, and aims to complete the guardbook conversion by 2006.

Due to concerns for the physical security of the guardbook volumes, the pages are being scanned, to avoid despatching the catalogue volumes overseas. MARC Link/OCLC will work from scanned images of the pages. Staff will follow the pattern of work established by the Greensleeves Project, searching bibliographic databases for catalogue records which match the guardbook entries. If no matching record can be found, the guardbook entry will be keyed to create a brief record. A detailed profile has been developed which will allow MARC Link and OCLC to add local notes and University Library classmarks to the matching records. Greensleeves Project staff at the University Library will be involved in checking the records supplied to ensure that the correct profile is maintained during the life of the project.

The guardbook volumes will be converted in alphabetical sequence, omitting those volumes already converted by the Greensleeves Project. The records will be loaded to the Voyager system in batches over the next 3 years, and by New Year 2006, the entire contents of the guardbook catalogue should be available on Newton.

Readers who have questions about the project are asked to contact the project manager, Mrs Vanessa Lacey (email, telephone (01223) 333009).

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New electronic access to three million journal articles

The Library has dramatically increased the number of full text electronic journals available to staff and students by agreeing to a site licence to the full content of Reed-Elsevier’s ScienceDirect service from January 2003.

ScienceDirect provides access to the present year plus four years’ back file for over 1,700 titles and more than three million articles. Although the list is dominated by major scientific titles such as The Lancet, Brain Research, Tetrahedron, Virology, Physics and Chemistry of the Earth and the Current Opinions and Trends in … series, the social sciences and humanities are also represented by Economics Letters, Financial Services Review, History of European Ideas, Journal of Medieval History and Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science. An additional licence for the full text content of the eight titles in the ‘Cell’ family of journals (Cell, Developmental Cell, Immunity, Neuron, Molecular Cell, Cancer Cell, Structure and Current Biology) has been signed and these titles will also be available through the ScienceDirect interface.

Access within the University is via either IP address recognition or ATHENS personal account. Authentication via personal ATHENS account is required for off-campus use, but it is also advised as it enables personalization options including setting up your own search or journal issue alert profiles or a favourite journals list.

The successful negotiation of acceptable terms for ScienceDirect is part of a wider strategy to provide the University with the electronic services it needs, while co-ordinating the management of the institutional expenditure on scientific journals.

As a significant first step in developing new co-ordinated management of journal expenditure, the University Library and the Schools of Biological Sciences and Physical Sciences have agreed in principle to co-ordinate (by joint funding and joint control) all the journal subscriptions in the biological and physical sciences currently paid by the University Library (including the SPL, Moore and Medical Libraries) and the departmental libraries in the two Schools. It is hoped that reductions in the number of duplicate subscriptions will meet the cost of the Elsevier package in the coming years and allow the purchase of additional electronic subscriptions for non-Elsevier journals.

ScienceDirect is available at:

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Friends of Cambridge University Library

Forthcoming meetings, to be held in the Morison Room, University Library:

Wednesday 12 February at 17.15
Anne Stephenson
‘Coming back to Cambridge’: a talk with readings from her poetry.
Admission to this special event is free and all are welcome.

Wednesday 26 February at 17.00
Tom Paulin
‘Hazlitt’s European tour’

Saturday 1 March at 11.30
Richard Sharpe
‘The medieval librarian’

Wednesday 12 March at 17.00
Richard Davenport-Hines
‘Bringing them to book: authors and criminals’

Wednesday 14 May at 17.00
Jean Chothia
‘Staging Shakespeare: the late Victorian-Edwardian debate’

Saturday 24 May 2003 at 11.30
Karl Miller
‘Literary journalism’

Saturday events are free of charge to Friends. Members wishing to attend weekday evening meetings pay at a special rate of £2.50 a head. Non-members are welcome at all talks; the admission charge is £3.50. All talks are free to junior members of the University of Cambridge. Tea is served at Wednesday evening meetings from 16.30.

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Anne Stevenson: making poetry

A draft of the opening stanza of Stevenson’s poem Willow song, written on the reverse of a shopping list. From C.U.L. Add. MS 9451.

The seventieth birthday of the poet Anne Stevenson, on 3 January 2003, is celebrated in an exhibition entitled ‘Making Poetry’ running until 15 March in the Library’s North Front Corridor. Stevenson, who was born in Cambridge of American parents, was educated in the United States but has lived in Britain for most of her life. She is the author of thirteen full-length collections of poems, including the Collected Poems 1955-1995 published by Oxford University Press in 1996. Stevenson’s poetry is distinguished for the clarity and power of its rendering of the natural world, for its deft portrayal of human relationships, and for the wit and rigour with which it refracts experience through an essentially Darwinian philosophy. Her achievements were recognised last year with the award of the Northern Rock Writers’ Award.

In 1997 Stevenson presented her literary papers to the University Library. This important augmentation of the Library’s holdings of modern literary papers includes drafts and fair copies of poems, essays, reviews, biography and fiction; much correspondence; a small number of diaries and pocket-books; and miscellaneous items such as agreements with publishers, proofs, off-prints and ephemera. The exhibition gives a rare chance to view material from the archive (access to which is usually restricted), and also includes items from the Library’s holdings of Stevenson’s published works.

Anne Stevenson will give a talk entitled ‘Coming Back to Cambridge’, with readings from her poetry, on Wednesday 12 February, at 5.15 p.m., in the Library’s Morison Room. Entrance is free. For further information on the Stevenson Papers, contact John Wells in the Department of Manuscripts and University Archives,

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The Sandars lectures 2003

This year’s Sandars lectures in bibliography will be given by Mirjam Foot, Professor of Library and Archive Studies at University College London. Professor Foot was previously at the British Library, most recently as Director of Collections and Preservation, and is President of the Bibliographical Society. Her lecture series is entitled ‘Description, image and reality: aspects of bookbinding history’; the individual lectures, all at 17.00 in the Morison Room, Cambridge University Library, are Bibliography and bookbinding history (20 March), ‘Make haste but slowly … and you will learn our art’: early bookbinding manuals (25 March) and Image and reality (27 March).

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University Library: provisional periodical subscriptions

The University Library has taken out a provisional subscription, for one year, to the following journals, and the level of use will be monitored in order to ascertain whether a longer-term subscription is justified. West Room pigeonhole locations are given in brackets for each title.

Anthropology of consciousness



Journal of environmental assessment policy and management

Journal of historical pragmatics

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Editor: Stephen Hills ISSN:1360-9033