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  • Popular ebook titles, Easter Term 2017

  • Polish in the University and in the UL : the July 2017 Slavonic items of the month

    This week has seen the very welcome news that the pilot Polish Studies Programme, launched in 2014, has succeeded in attracting funding which will ensure that Polish will remain in the University academic programme in perpetuity.  To celebrate this wonderful … Continue reading →
  • Jane Austen 200

    This week, the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death has been marked in many different ways, including a statue unveiling, and a first look at the new plastic ten pound note featuring Austen, which has already attracted comment over its … Continue reading →
  • ‘With a zeal and skill beyond praise’: the first woman to work at the University Library

    The portrait of Anne Jarvis, first female University Librarian 2009-16, was unveiled on the 7th July. Inquiring into the identity of the first female member of staff has revealed, more than 100 years earlier, a pioneer in women’s education and teaching, with a sideline in librarianship.

    Alice M. Cooke (Owens College Union Magazine New Series No.13, Vol.II, March 1895, classmark L985.c.57.1)

    In the period 1903-7, Alice Margaret Cooke (1867-1940) led a team cataloguing the library of historian Lord Acton (1834-1902), given to the University Library at his death by John Morley MP. She came to Cambridge at the recommendation of Adolphus Ward, Master of Peterhouse, from Owens College Manchester (later part of the University of Manchester) via the University of South Wales and Monmouth, Cardiff.

    As a student at Owens College, she had been the first woman awarded the prestigious Jones Fellowship in History in 1890 and in 1893 the first to graduate MA and gain employment as a lecturer. She had also cut her teeth in librarianship cataloging Earl Spencer’s Althorp Library, the nucleus of the collection of books and manuscripts for which Mrs Enriqueta Rylands built the Rylands Library in 1899.

    Lord Acton was Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge from 1895 until 1902. His library contained around 60,000 volumes ranging from the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries, mainly on the ecclesiastical and political history of Europe since the Reformation. The library was partly inherited and partly collected by Acton, with the strong foreign component influenced by his family history. At his death, books lined every room of his homes at Aldenham Park in Shropshire and Tegernsee, Bavaria.

    His personal papers, too, were extensive: thousands upon thousands of his working notes, mostly on small slips of paper, arrived by purchase from the second Lord Acton shortly after the Library itself, although the Acton family correspondence, reaching back to the seventeenth century, did not arrive until the 1970s (and was augmented by a further tranche received under the government’s Acceptance in Lieu scheme in 2015).

    Acton Library books awaiting the attention of Alice Cooke and her team, 1903 (classmark: UA ULIB 12/1/3)

    The sheer scale of the task was daunting, but armed with a classification scheme drawn up by Ward and soon assisted by further female colleagues (among them Anabelle R. Hutchinson, late of Newnham College), Cooke steamed ahead. The working space in the University Library, then housed in the Schools buildings in the centre of Cambridge, was cramped. While they waited for shelving to be erected and electricity installed on the ground floor at the west end of Scott’s Building, as the south range of the west court was called, books were piled up on the floor, including that of the neighbouring Arts School, normally used for University lectures and meetings.

    Alice Cooke’s periodic reports to the committee overseeing progress, the Acton Sub-Syndicate, tell of duplicates and rejects set aside, pamphlets catalogued, bound and labelled, quantities of incomplete and imperfect sets identified, appeals made for the return of books loaned by Acton to his friends, lists circulated to booksellers of desiderata to fill gaps, and nuanced revision to the overall classification scheme necessitated by growing knowledge of the contents of the library (‘gained’, as she gently put it, ‘during the process of turning over the books and pamphlets’[1]).

    Alice Cooke’s memoranda of outstanding work, 1907 (classmark: from UA ULIB 7/1/20)

    The work of cataloguing the Acton library continued up to the First World War, but the lion’s share had been achieved by the time Alice Cooke left in 1907. ‘It is impossible to speak too highly of her work in selecting, arranging and cataloguing the books in that great collection’ said Professor Sorley of the Acton Sub-Syndicate. ‘Her method, her constant and unflurried activity, and her command of every detail, have been remarkable, and have earned the respect of everyone acquainted with this department of the University Library’[2].

    Alice Cooke combined librarianship with teaching History at Newnham College for the last two years of her time at the University Library and it was to Newnham she returned as Director of Studies in 1922. Between times, as lecturer and then reader, she had established the Medieval History Department at Leeds University. During World War One she patrolled the streets of Leeds as a policewoman. She retired in 1927 and spent the last years of her life back in Manchester, an invalid, in the care of a community of Catholic nuns.

    Oldest surviving photograph of Library staff to feature a woman, solitary Miss D. Allen, typist, 1923 (classmark: UA ULIB 12/2/9)















    [1] Acton Sub-Syndicate minutes 1903-13, classmark UA ULIB 5/1

    [2] Horner and Haworth Alice M. Cooke: a memoir (1940)


    I.B. Horner and E.A. Haworth Alice M. Cooke: a memoir (Manchester University Press, 1940) classmark 9450.d.1217

    Fernanda Helen Perrone, ‘Cooke, Alice Margaret (1867–1940)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 13 July 2017]



  • Biomedical & Life Sciences ebooks and a free lunch

    The Moore Library are investing in a 6 month evidence based scheme which will open up access to Springer Nature Biomedical & Life Sciences ebooks published between 2015-2017 inclusive. This collection will be switched on from early August and will be available on the SpringerLink platform until the end of December, after which time the most popular titles will be purchased in perpetuity.

    To promote the collection launch, staff from Springer Nature are running a training session combined with a free lunch at the Moore Library in their ‘Glass Room’ on Friday 28th July.


    12.30 – 13.00 Springer Nature eBooks at the University of Cambridgepresented by Renee Reagon, Senior Licensing Manager

    13.00 – 13.30 Springer Nature ebook Metrics and what they say about the University of Cambridge’s usage and researcher activitypresented by Matt Peck, Account Development Manager UK & Ireland

    13.30 – 14.00 Q&A and Discoverability and marketing of Springer eBookspresented by David Corbett

    This session will be of particular interest to University of Cambridge Science librarians and academics/researchers, but will also be of general interest to other Faculty or College librarians. Please let Yvonne Nobis ( know if you are interested in attending all or part of the session.

  • Denis Mack Smith, 1920-2017

    We were saddened to hear last week of the death of Denis Mack Smith, CBE FBA FRSL, considered to be the greatest English historian of modern Italy. Born on March 3, 1920, he wrote extensively on the history of Italy … Continue reading →
  • New titles on Very Short Introductions Online

    New titles are regularly added to Oxford’s Very Short Introductions Online, the most recently published titles are listed below.

    Evolution (2nd ed.)



    Jewish History

    European Union Law

    Catholicism (2nd ed.)

    Shakespeare’s Tragedies

    Globalization (4th ed.)

    Clinical Psychology

    Organic Chemistry

    Intellectual Property


    This popular and accessible series offers concise introductions across a wide range of subject areas; Arts & Humanities, Law, Medicine & Health, Science & Mathematics & Social Sciences.

    You can browse by subject or search the collection of currently 525 titles, and you can search at the chapter level. You can create your own personal profile which will give you the option to save titles you are reading, copy, paste and annotate the text.

    The most popular VSI title amongst University of Cambridge users in 2016, attracting 3,609 “hits” was Rousseau.

    Some of the more recent titles are not yet available in iDiscover, these will be loaded in early August.


    Please contact the ebooks team on with any questions.

  • Are you an BNF / BNFC app user? – important information

    Following the recent launch by the publishers of the British National Formulary (BNF) and British National Formulary for children (BNFC) of a new, faster, easier to use and access app, NICE has confirmed that its BNF app will be withdrawn later this year.

    Aimed at prescribers, pharmacists and other health and social care professionals, the BNF and BNFC provide details of the medicines licensed in the UK and how they should be prescribed, including their side-effects, contra-indications and doses.

    The new app has been purpose built for iOS and Android platforms. This has enabled an intuitive design and enhanced features around search and interactions checking and updating mechanisms.

    For the first time adult and child BNF content is available through a single app, providing ease of use and saving space on users’ devices.

    The new app is fully portable and users don’t need to be connected to the internet to access it; this means the BNF and BNFC’s authoritative guidance is readily available at the point of care in a digital format to suit the needs of health and social care professionals.

    To encourage users of the existing NICE BNF app to migrate to the new one, NICE has announced that the existing app will no longer be updated.

    Professor Mark Baker, director of the centre for guidelines at NICE, said: “There are over 50,000 regular users of the current NICE version of the BNF app so it is imperative that the transition to the new improved app runs as smoothly as possible.

    “To make sure that happens we’ll be reminding users via a banner displayed at the top of each page of the current app that from 13 July it will no longer be updated and will be completely withdrawn later this year. Users will be signposted to information on the NICE website about the new app, including how to obtain it and the benefits it offers.”


    The post Are you an BNF / BNFC app user? – important information appeared first on Medical Library.

  • Water Music 300

    This month, Handel’s Water Music celebrates its 300th birthday, so we here at MusiCB3 thought we’d take a moment to slip anchor, and go on a little sailing trip for ourselves to see what we might catch. And may I … Continue reading →
  • Text & Data Mining LibGuide


    We are keen to help the research process where we may be able to make a contribution towards facilitating text & data mining in the University.  To that end we offer a new LibGuide on text & data mining in the growing number of guides in the Cambridge Libraries’ family of LibGuides.

    The aim of this guide is to make a start towards exposing the breadth of content (mostly library-subscribed) that may be of potential exploitation by Cambridge researchers wanting to use the techniques of text and data mining in their research.  The guide summarizes the main points in the Hargreaves exception and builds on and links out to professional bodies and information sources to provide librarians and University members with a beginner’s guide to first steps in TDM and considerations it is important to make.

    The guide provides a means of contacting us to clear any issues that…

    View original post 162 more words

  • A typographical trip to Lyon

    Early printing press in the Musée de l’Imprimerie

    The University Library has, since the 1970s, maintained an Historical Printing Room, where practical teaching on the history of printing has long taken place. We welcome large numbers of undergraduate and postgraduate students every year, along with school groups and professional printers, and work to engage academics within the University with our unique collections. As a member of staff who helps with visiting groups and classes, I was lucky last month to visit the French city of Lyon to participate in a four-day workshop (26-29 June) on the history of type. This was hosted jointly by the École Nationale Supérieure des Sciences de l’Information et des Bibliothèques (ENSSIB) and the city’s Musée de l’Imprimerie, the world’s largest museum dedicated to the history of the book. The workshop, led by Professor James Mosley (former Librarian of the St Bride Institute in London) involved both lectures and practical sessions, and attendees came away with a much-improved knowledge of the history of type design and production from the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries. Lyon itself has a lengthy and important history, particularly when it comes to books. Founded in 43BC by the Roman Senate the settlement originally occupied the Fourvière hill where a number of early Christians were martyred. Nearby there is now a very fine Gallo-Roman museum, housing the so-called ‘Lyon Tablet’ pictured at the foot of this page (a contemporary bronze copy of a speech given by the Emperor Claudius in 48AD, discovered in the city in 1528), a wonderful example of ancient script. Saint Irenaeus (d. 202AD) was Bishop of Lyon and the church which bears his name is one of the oldest in the city. It also has a connection with Cambridge: Codex Bezae (a manuscript of the New Testament written c. 400AD and the University Library’s greatest single treasure) resided there from the ninth to the sixteenth centuries, before its move to Cambridge (a gift by Theodore Beza) in 1581.

    Mme Gable demonstrating punch-cutting

    Printing with moveable metal type arrived in Lyon not long after its invention in Germany in the 1450s, with its first printer (Guillaume Le Roy) starting work in the early 1470s, and the trade flourished there in the sixteenth century with Sebastian Gryphius and Jean de Tournes. The workshop traced the development of type and letterforms from the invention of printing until its mechanization during the nineteenth century, covering the design of printing types, the relationship between letters used in other fields such as writing, sculpture and architecture, and the cultural, technical and economic factors that have had an influence on their development. We began with the evolution of scripts in antiquity, their rediscovery in the Renaissance and the early dominance of French and Dutch typefounders in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, before covering later figures like John Baskerville (University Printer at Cambridge, whose punches are now housed in the University Library) and the development of commercial types in the nineteenth century. A particular highlight was the session devoted to the traditional processes of making types with a punch, matrix and mould, with punch-cutter Mme Nelly Gable (of the Imprimerie Nationale), and the group enjoyed a session on type-setting, during which we set the text of a French poem, ‘La révolte des caractères’ by Guy Lévis-Mano.

    I thank the staff of ENSSIB and the Musée de l’Imprimerie for organising such a fascinating series of sessions for us, and Professor James Mosley for leading us through the mysteries of typography. It was a privilege to spend time in a wonderful city, sharing knowledge with a host of academics, librarians and printers, and coming away inspired to learn more!

    Part of the Lyon Tablet, a speech by the Emperor Claudius cast in bronze in the 1st century AD

  • Text & Data Mining LibGuide

    We are keen to help the research process where we may be able to make a contribution towards facilitating text & data mining in the University.  To that end we offer a new LibGuide on text & data mining in the growing number of guides in the Cambridge Libraries’ family of LibGuides.

    The aim of this guide is to make a start towards exposing the breadth of content (mostly library-subscribed) that may be of potential exploitation by Cambridge researchers wanting to use the techniques of text and data mining in their research.  The guide summarizes the main points in the Hargreaves exception and builds on and links out to professional bodies and information sources to provide librarians and University members with a beginner’s guide to first steps in TDM and considerations it is important to make.

    The guide provides a means of contacting us to clear any issues that may arise with site access when TDM is performed on publisher content, as appropriate to researchers’ rights and needs.  As everyone acknowledges, these are still early days in experience with the exception and so we hope and expect the guide to develop with your feedback and grow to become more useful over time. Just now the emphasis of the guide is more on the side of supply of library provided content for mining, and how we can help with that.  In the University the Research Data Management website and the Office of Scholarly Communication have the expertise to support researchers more broadly in their wider remits and maintain resources to support every stage of a research project.

    As we’re releasing this guide with Wimbledon in full swing, we thought a visualization from Tableau – the tool to inspire colleagues with the findings and insights from analysis on big data – of the genius that is Roger Federer might be pertinent …