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  • Divinity Library re-classification survey: and the winner is…

    St. Augustine in his study by Vittore Carpaccio, 1502

    Last month the Library conducted a survey among members of the Faculty on which authors and sections of the Library to prioritise for re-classmarking (re-classification is a significant means of improving the accessibility and usefulness of the Library’s collections for readers).

    Recipients of the survey were asked to choose five authors from a list of fifteen, the most popular two of which would be made a priority for improved classification. The two authors with the most votes were: Augustine and Gregory of Nyssa. The full results were as follows:

    Author Votes Augustine 10 Gregory of Nyssa 8 Aristotle 6 St Catherine of Siena 6 Plato 6 Hildegard of Bingen 5 Dietrich Bonheoffer 3 Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche 3 Hannah Arendt 2 Martha Nussbaum 2 Edith Stein 2 John Henry Newman 1 Karl Rahner 1 Mary Baker Eddy 0 Charles Darwin 0

    The two sections of the Library which received the most votes for improved classification were: Old Testament and Christian Theology . The full results were as follows (please note that Islam has been 95% re-classified so was omitted from the list)

    Section Votes Christian Theology 3 Old Testament 3 Patristics 2 Philosophy of Religion 2 Reference 2 Bible in general 1 History before 1600 0 History after 1600 0 Judaism 0 Liturgy 0 New Testament 0

    Thank you to those who responded to the survey – the results will inform classification priorities in the Library during the coming months.

    Please contact the Library ( if you have any questions or further suggestions on the classification of the Library.




    Timestamp: 16 January 2019 - 9:57am
  • Cambridge Elements

    Today marks the official launch of Cambridge Elements!

    Cambridge Elements provide a completely new format for publishing scholarly material: succinct and significant, peer-reviewed research that combines the best features of books and journals.

    From today, Cambridge Elements will be available to purchase via Cambridge Core through a range of options: as a complete collection, in subject or series clusters, title-by-title, or as part of an Evidence Based Acquisition (EBA) agreement.  To find out more about accessing and purchasing Elements, visit the librarian information page, or download the price list.

    So, what’s the hype all about?

    Cambridge Elements offer an original approach to scholarly publishing: incisive, rapidly published, and peer-reviewed like a journal, Elements also benefit from the careful commissioning and series editing you would expect from a book series, with enough space to develop a theme in greater detail than is possible in a journal article.

    Additionally, Cambridge Elements were conceived from the start for a digital environment, and will benefit from a range of additional features, such as video abstracts, embedded audio and video files, impact metrics, and a host of citation and annotation tools.

    Want to know more?  In this video, Phil Meyler, Publishing Development Director for Science, Technology and Medicine at Cambridge University Press, explains why we are launching Elements, and what makes them different.

    Timestamp: 16 January 2019 - 9:46am
  • “We had a lovely time of it and did good work” – Captain E. D. Ridley and the Battle of Loos

    MS Add. 7065

    26.9.15 – Dear Mother, The great battle began yesterday and we are now full of wild rumours.

    On the 25th of September 1915 the Loos-Artois offensive began as an attempt by the British and French armies to break through the German defences and force a withdrawal from the Noyon salient. It would mark the first time that Kitchener’s’ ‘New Army’ engaged en masse and the first time that the British would attempt the use of poison gas against the enemy.

    Edward Devonport Ridley, Captain in the 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards, is writing home to his mother on the day after the engagement begins. The 3rd Brigade, of which he is a part, is moving up to Vermelles. His troubles at this point are a hornet’s nest near his bivouac and a surplus of equipment being sent from home. “Please” he writes “no more periscopes”.

    MS Add. 7065

    The Battle

    September 27th 1915 – The soldiers of the Grenadier Guards, camped at Vermelles, are handed orders

    The C.O. tells all ranks that the battalion will probably have to take Hill 70 to-night.  Remember you are Grenadiers and that if the attack is ordered the German Redoubt is to be taken and held at all costs.

    What happens next is, by most historical accounts, one of the bloodiest battles of the war and a substantial defeat for British forces. Prior to the British attack, 140000 kilograms of chlorine gas was released into the area with mixed success. In many places it was blown back over the British lines and the troops, equipped as they were with substandard or unusable gas masks, were subjected to not only ferocious enemy fire but the terrible effects of chlorine poisoning.

    The British press, however, sends a different message. Interspersed with the letters and diaries are newspaper articles that show the view of the war that the British public was receiving. The contrast between these and the grim reality shows how much value was placed on propaganda in keeping the war effort going.

    Newspaper Cuttings in MS Add. 7067

    In a Letters from the Front section from October 14th 1915 a journalist describes “The Grandest Scene” as the Guards advance over three quarters of a mile of open ground through “Hell’s own shell fire” to provide the British Army with a glorious and miraculously casualty light victory.

    Sir Frederick Ponsonby, in his history of the Grenadier Guards during the First World War (RCS Case.c.378-380), states that “the enemy’s machine guns were cleverly placed and most effective”. For a soldier on the ground, the sentiment may have been more extreme, as Ridley himself describes “The worst shell fire I have ever had in the open; it was followed by passing through a shattered town full of gas and under the devil of a fire”.

    The Aftermath

    “Our losses I can’t tell (…) But compared with what we killed, and how much we captured, they are small.”

    List of fatalities taken from MS Add. 7067

    02.10.15 – I consider that the English offensive has failed, with terrible loss to us and practically none to the enemy. Sunday last was a debacle. Don’t publish this.

    British casualties in the main attack were 48,367 men. Subsidiary attacks cost 10,880 more. In the 4th Battalion 11 officers and 342 men were marked as casualties in one day of fighting and many more walked away with minor injuries.

    28.9.15 – We had an awful time. We have lost half the men and 2/3rds of the officers engaged.  If the Bosch had been ready for us, we should have been annihilated.

    Captain Edward Devonport Ridley survived the Battle of Loos and all the other brutal engagements that the 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards fought in the First World War and his diaries and letters home from August 1914 to June 1918, along with various additional items, provide one man’s detailed and honest insight into the ‘War To End All Wars’.

    The collected diaries and letters of E. D. Ridley are held in the Manuscripts Reading Room as MS Add 7065-7070.

    Blogpost written by Ian Fulford.

    Timestamp: 15 January 2019 - 11:55am
  • STEM Graduates Showcase

    Are you a postgraduate student researching a STEM subject? Are you interested in learning more about tools that can help you research more efficiently and effectively? Then the upcoming STEM Graduates showcase is for you! On Thursday, 31st January, Eleanor and Veronica will be joining colleagues from other STEM libraries to introduce you to a variety of research support tools and resources that can help with the following:

    Streamlining academic work;
    Managing academic outputs;
    Industry and the world of work.

    The session is free — and we will be providing free lunch to all attendees — but we do ask that you book a place in advance (so that we can order the right quantities of food, if nothing else!). To book, click here and follow the instructions to book a place. The session runs for two hours (12pm-2pm), but you can drop in for any part of it, rather than staying for the full two hours if you prefer. The showcase will take place in the E-learning suites in the Clinical School building on the Addenbrooke’s site.

    We look forward to sharing resources, tools and lunch with you!

    The post STEM Graduates Showcase appeared first on Medical Library.

    Timestamp: 15 January 2019 - 10:25am
  • 2019: Looking forward…

    Following on from Margaret’s post last week looking back over 2018, this week MusiCB3 looks ahead to some of the musical anniversaries and events of the coming year! January  The Anderson Room display cases are showing off some the the … Continue reading →
    Timestamp: 11 January 2019 - 5:31pm
  • Ukrainian bookplates : the January 2019 Slavonic item of the month

    Among recent Ukrainian arrivals was a fine three-volume catalogue of bookplates in the V. Stefanyk National Academic Library of L’viv.  Over 12,000 ex-libris from the 20th and 21st centuries were presented to the Stefanyk library by the politician and academic Stepan Davymuk … Continue reading →
    Timestamp: 11 January 2019 - 3:21pm
  • Cartooning the Data Champions

    Clair Castle, Librarian at the Department of Chemistry, describes how during her secondment to the Office of Scholarly Communication (OSC) as Research Data Coordinator, she collaborated with Clare Trowell, Data Champion and Marshall Librarian at the Faculty of Economics, to design some cartoons to use to advocate for the Data Champions Programme.

    I have been collaborating with the OSC on various RDM (Research Data Management) activities since it was established in 2015. I was fortunate enough to be appointed on secondment to the OSC from May to October 2018, as Research Data Coordinator. One of my main responsibilities was to manage the Data Champions Programme (with which I was already involved in my department).

    Data Champions are volunteers who advise members of the research community on proper handling of research data. In this, they promote good research data management (RDM) and support Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Re-usable (FAIR) research principles.

    Data Champions form a network across different schools and departments of the University of Cambridge as well as affiliated institutes. The Data Champion Programme is open to all University members interested in research data handling, for example researchers (from PhD students to PIs), data managers, IT professionals, librarians, and data scientists.

    Demonstrating the value of RDM

    The Data Champions have bimonthly Forum meetings where they have the opportunity to hear speakers on RDM related topics, speak about their own RDM activities, and network. At the May 2018 Forum meeting Dr Danny Kingsley (Head of the OSC) led a stakeholder analysis exercise to try and work out: a) why RDM is of value to different stakeholders, b) their possible objections to RDM, and c) what responses a Data Champion could formulate to these objections. The idea being that if a Data Champions was stuck in a lift with one of these stakeholders, or sat next to someone at a college dinner or a meeting for example, and are having a conversation about RDM, and that person raised an objection to it, this could be rebutted with a suitable response prepared in advance.

    Stakeholders included were:

    • PhD students
    • PostDocs
    • Early Career Researchers
    • Principal Investigators
    • Undergraduate students
    • Masters students
    • University administration (e.g. research grant administrators, librarians)
    • University committee structure
    • Vice Chancellor
    • Funders
    • Members of the public.

    We were divided into groups, each of which represented a particular stakeholder, and wrote down our thoughts on (a)-(c) as above on post-it notes. Unfortunately we ran out of people to write anything about the members of the public as stakeholders.

    I collated what was written on the post-it notes into a table and this was discussed at the following Data Champions Forum meeting in July. Ideas were invited from everybody about how we should feature this information for best usage and as practical resource for RDM advocacy.


    One idea from Dr Lauren Cadwallader (Research Data Facility Manager) was a cartoon design for use on small postcards or on posters and she asked if anyone could draw. It was at this point that Clare Trowell stuck her hand up – as she is also an artist!

    Drawing up a plan

    One of the main ideas behind the cartoons was that the Research Data Team wanted to create an ‘advocacy’ resource in the Data Champions’ Google Drive. Data Champions could then use them in posters, training sessions etc. that they would design themselves. The first use for the cartoons would be on postcards to promote the Data Champions Programme and the RDM services that the Research Data team offer.

    I arranged to meet Clare a couple of times for a cup of tea and a chat about what would be required, and to catch up on progress, and we established the following:

    • Timescale – Clare wanted to complete the project by the end of the Summer Vacation due to the term-time commitments there would be at Economics in the Michaelmas Term.
    • Licensing – We agreed on the Creative Commons licence CC-BY-NC-ND (which only allows others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially). Clare wanted to retain her copyright in her cartoons so she could use them for promotion on her personal website. She also wanted to prevent others from profiting from them as she did this work pro bono for the OSC. She was also concerned that without “No Derivatives” it might be possible to make disrespectful adaptations. She is not concerned about profiting from the designs herself.
    • Costs – postcards would be free to print by the University Library, where the OSC is based. Clare volunteered her services for free but we did remunerate her for the materials she used. I would be designing the postcard template as part of my usual role.
    • Workload – Clare felt that around 8 scenarios would be manageable for her to draw in the time available. I asked her to draw one more that could be specifically used to encourage people to become a Data Champion.
    • Cartoon content – we debated whether we should we have 3 or 4 ‘boxes’ in a strip. I would provide text statements for Clare to illustrate. We agreed to use speech bubbles to contain the text, as is traditional with cartoon characters when speaking.
    • Stakeholders – which should we focus on? We describe the cartoon characters we finally decided on below. We needed some of the 8 postcards to be appropriate for STEM or HASS disciplines, or both. They should therefore feature a variety of characters that could be used in different situations.

    The next step was for me to identify themes from the objections to RDM and the responses to them in the stakeholder analysis exercise and to translate them into scenarios for the cartoons:

    My summary of themes looked like this:

    • Fear of being scooped
    • Unable to share
    • Unwilling to share
    • Time and effort
    • Cost
    • Waste of time
    Meet the cast

    Literally as we were talking, Clare started drawing and we eventually came up with a range of characters that we took from the stakeholder analysis exercise results. We grouped post-docs and early career researchers together, and the PhD and Masters students together, in order to rationalise the numbers involved. We left out undergraduates and funders, as they aren’t a priority for advocacy at the moment.

    Clare also invented ‘Corporate Man’ (very popular with the Data Champions and the Research Data Team!) and two Data Champion characters. Clare tried very hard to be as diverse as possible, in order to represent the Data Champions inclusively. Her inspiration for the characters has tended to come from real-life people she has encountered.

    Here are some of the final scenarios I devised for Clare to illustrate. I found it was easier to include just three boxes in a strip – represented above by the number of columns. I had minimal space for text so I needed to be quite concise, as well as having to imagine scenarios that would be immediately understood. This was challenging but really enjoyable. I also received some useful feedback from Danny and Lauren at this stage.

    Postcard design

    The cartoons were scanned (using a high quality flatbed scanner at Economics) from the hand-drawn originals to create digital images in PDF and TIFF format. These files were too large to send to me by email so Clare made a few trips to the OSC with a memory stick!

    I started off designing the postcards in Canva but this has quite a limited editing capacity (especially for cropping and resizing the images) so I moved on to using Inkscape. In contrast to Canva, this is free, open source graphic design software, which other members of the OSC had used previously. It has the advantage that anyone will be able to use this to amend the designs in future. I was given lots of advice and help but I really ended up learning as I went along due to the limited time available – a steep learning curve! Inkscape’s main output is in SVG format but images can be converted to PDF.

    The nice thing about hand-drawn cartoons is that they don’t have completely straight lines, but this made it a bit difficult to orientate the drawings on the postcards. I did the best I could but I quite like the ‘hand-made’ feel of the final designs.

    For the content on the reverse of the postcards I updated a version of the current Research Data postcard that the team were giving out at training sessions and other events. This provides links to sources of help and guidance on sharing research data, and to the Research Data Management website and social media accounts. It would now include a link to the Data Champions programme.


    The September Data Champions Forum meeting included a general discussion on the possible branding of the Data Champions programme. As part of this, Clare introduced her cast of characters and I shared a compilation of all the scenarios in a ‘comic strip’.

    I also printed off some prototype postcards so that everyone could see what they could look like. The feedback was positive and just a few final tweaks were suggested, including creating more space on the reverse for people to write a message and an address, so it can be actually posted, and adding the headline ‘Ask a Data Champion’.

    Cartoons as an advocacy tool

    The final designs were just about ready in time for the beginning of the new academic year when we knew Data Champions would be inducting new students and staff and doing RDM training in their institutions. I uploaded the designs to the Data Champions Google Drive, and numbered them from 1-9. Data Champions could then choose which they would like printed copies of and request the designs and amounts required via an online form. We sent them out in the internal post.

    The initial print run was 100 of each design, most of which were sent out to Data Champions upon request. We received requests for sometimes a small number of each design or larger numbers of a few designs. We needed to make a further print run of 50 each of a couple of scenarios: “Check out this course on research data management” and the “Data Champion Wanted” designs, as they proved to be particularly popular for use at induction and training events.

    The Research Data team now distributes the postcards at all RDM training sessions and, if there is a choice, they are apparently more popular with the usual, more formal research data ones, perhaps because of their more informal nature? I think colourful illustrations of people do tend to stand out more.

    At forum meetings we discussed the possibility of using the cartoons in the following contexts:

    • Producing short videos that could include role-play.
    • Interactive feature on a website (e.g. objections to RDM as a word cloud/speech bubbles, hover over an objection to RDM to see a rebuttal for it)
    • Memes on social media.
    • Insert postcard in the welcome packs for students or as a flyer, and on Powerpoint slides for use in foyers/on TV screens.
    • Using the #askadatachampion Twitter hashtag alongside cartoons.
    • Pokemon-like game – collect all the different cards!
    • Animation with cartoons, potentially for use on the OSC YouTube channel. See Powtoon and Adobe Character Animator which creates moving images from 2D drawings for ideas.

    Cartooning in the world of libraries and publishing is increasing; one example is the cartoon abstract of the Research Support Ambassador programme at Cambridge University paper written by Claire Sewell and Danny Kingsley. As well as drawing the cartoons for the Data Champion postcards, Clare has drawn one for use by the OSC to promote the digitisation of theses at the University. Cartoons and drawings offer an interesting alternative to the traditional, perhaps more formal ways of communicating.

    This project has proved to be an innovative and fun way for the Research Data team/the OSC to collaborate with its stakeholders, and to promote the Data Champions programme and theses digitisation. One significant outcome has been the role of the cartoons in the wider discussion of branding by the OSC that followed, and which is ongoing.

    There were challenging issues around the technical side of designing the cartoons but this can be improved upon in future. The Data Champions will soon have an impressive set of designs they can use to promote their RDM activities.

    I thank Lauren for steering me through the process and her and my OSC colleagues for imparting their Inkscape skills. I also thank Clare for being such a good collaborator and allowing us to use her talents to create these eye-catching postcards.

    NOTE: All the cartoons are available on the RDM website.

    Published 10 January 2019
    Written by Claire Castle, with contribution from Clare Trowell

    Timestamp: 11 January 2019 - 8:00am