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The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris3 July 2020

UCL Library Committee

Library Committee met virtually on 25 June by Microsoft Teams. It was the probably the first time in the Committee’s long history that this distinguished body had not met physically in a committee room.

One of the items on the agenda was the termly Report from me as Pro-Vice Provost. The Report from the Pro-Vice-Provost  can be seen behind the link. I used the usual structure, reporting against the 6 KPIs of the current Library Strategy, but I fashioned the narrative to reflect the extraordinary events that we have all been experiencing.

The coronavirus crisis led to lockdown in UCL Library Services, with closure of library sites beginning on 17
March. With senior colleagues we quickly agreed a set of themes which would underpin our work:

1. Electronic-led resource provision to support research and education
2. Digitally-delivered teaching and skills support
3. Fully digital enquiry services, which require a proper enquiry management platform
4. Open Science as the model for the future
5. Optimization of learning spaces
6. Research collection strategy in a digital era

These values continue to underpin our work as we develop our service provision to embrace the principle of digital-first in both research and education. It is the move fully to embed digital delivery in our education offering which is exciting, supported by £1.38 million of new money to purchase e-textbooks and to upscale our work on ReadingLists@UCL.

I would like to use this opportunity further to underline the Library’s commitment to supporting colleagues in #BlackLivesMatter. I am, as many of you probably know, a Tudor historian who publishes on sixteenth-century England. I wish here to put on record my repugnance at the views on race expressed this week by another Tudor historian, Dr David Starkey. Starkey’s views are repugnant to me and are completely at variance with UCL’s position.

In Newsletter 12, published today, our colleague Amad Uddin has told us about his team’s experiences in re-opening the Student Centre. He says: ‘I feel proud that Library Services have been involved in the first pilot [in re-opening UCL spaces] as it’s crucial we get back to some sense of normality. We are pioneers, what we learn from this pilot, the good and bad, will help other buildings open in the near future as restrictions get eased.’

Stay well, stay safe and I hope we will all be able to meet again in UCL in the coming weeks.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

 

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris17 April 2020

Taking UCL forward

In TheWeek@UCL, UCL has described the crisis management structure it has put in place to plan for the coming months as we tackle the fallout caused by the coronavirus. UCL’s new decision-making structure is given here. It has adopted a 3-tier command structure of Gold-Silver-Bronze levels. Decisions are taken by the Provost and his senior managers at the Gold Level. At the Silver level, there are 2 workstreams which are looking at high-level issues concerning how UCL can function in the short-term (Aquamarine groups, which are looking at the period until September 2020) and Sapphire groups (which are looking at the situation from September onwards). These are supported by a number of Bronze Working Groups, which are currently in the process of being established.

How does the Library feed into this structure? Well, the Library has representation on a number of these committees and Working Groups. As of 20 April, this representation is as follows:

Paul Ayris

  • Aquamarine Silver 4 – Research. Chaired by Professor Alan Thompson (Dean of Brain Sciences)
  • Sapphire Silver 3E – Estates, Infrastructure and Place. Chaired by Paola Lettieri and Kevin Argent
  • Sapphire Silver 2 – Education. Chaired by Professor Piet Eechout (Dean of Laws)
  • Sapphire Bronze 3 – Education Infrastructure. Chaired by Professor Ivan Parkin (Dean of MAPS)
  • The Gold Integration Centre (GIC): Blue Team. The ‘Blue Team’, led by Fiona Ryland and Tom Rowson, has been created to ensure that developing plans are tested against a broad range of professional skills and experience. The ‘Red Team’ has been setup to provide additional tension and challenge, always considering other options and approaches.
    • The ‘Blue Team’ will not normally meet formally and/or regularly; instead it will be up to the chairs to engage when a particular piece of work would benefit from review or a professional view point

June Hedges

  • Aquamarine Silver 2 – Remote Teaching Term 3. Chaired by Professor Nora Colton (UCL Arena Centre) – Now stood down
  • Sapphire Bronze 2 – Education delivery. Chaired  by Norbert Pachler, Pro-Vice-Provost
  • Sapphire Bronze 1 – Education. Workstream: Teaching Resources. Chairs: Jo Stroud and Sam Smidt

Peter Dennison

  • Sapphire Bronze – Business Continuity Planning – Students

It is the work of these groupings at Silver and Bronze level which is fed up to UCL’s senior managers at Gold level and so helps shape UCL’s decisions for the future.

In shaping the Library’s contribution to the Gold-Silver-Bronze command structure, I have set up a series of committees to feed into this decision making process. I described these in detail in my previous blog post here, 

Essentially, the Library’s new committee structure for the duration of the crisis will consist of 3 layers. The Decisions level will consist of myself as Pro-Vice-Provost and Professor David Price as Vice-Provost (Research) & Chair of Library Committee. There are 3 committee groupings working to identify Recommendations to guide the Library through the current crisis. These are chaired by Ben Meunier and by Martin Moyle. Ben chairs the grouping looking at current covid-19 issues and Martin oversees arrangements for service delivery during the lockdown. I have also asked Martin to chair a series of ad-hoc deliberative groups to tackle specific questions which arise from the pan-UCL Gold-Silver-Bronze discussions. The Library’s 3 committee groupings can be supported by individual Working Groups, as required, to undertake detailed work.

In the coming weeks, both I and members of the Library’s committee and Working Group structure outlined above will be reaching out to members of staff whenever we need your advice and would benefit from the detailed knowledge which you have for the services you are responsible for/work in.

The present coronavirus crisis presents the whole of UCL with enormous challenges in the coming weeks. Of course, we will come through this and we will do that together, supporting each other, caring for each other’s well being and having the success of UCL as a world-leading university in our minds.

Stay well and safe and try to gain some rest over the weekend. I will write again as things develop to keep colleagues informed of how UCL plans to see us emerge safe and well from this crisis.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris7 April 2020

Strategic developments

In these extraordinary times, UCL is developing new structures to continue its ability to offer services and to plan for the future. This is known as the Gold-Silver-Bronze command structure. The Gold team is chaired by the Provost and meets regularly to sign off decisions affecting the current running of UCL and our planning for the future. The Silver layer is divided into 2 main components – Aquamarine and Sapphire. Aquamarine Groups are tasked to plan for now until the start of the new academic year in September. Sapphire groups have as their remit longer-term planning for the period from September 2020 onwards. Each Silver group is supported by Bronze Working Groups who look at the details for each UCL service and help to shape the immediate and long-term future. The Library is represented on all appropriate groups looking at Education, Research and Skills development & Training. In many cases, this new committee structure will temporarily replace existing UCL committees for the duration of the crisis.

Here in UCL Library Services, I have been working with colleagues to develop a temporary committee structure of our own whilst we are in lockdown, which will support the new UCL structures.

The structure can be viewed by clicking the link here as New Committee Structures

Strategic and Operational responses to the coronavirus crisis will be taken by 1 of 3 committees, supported by Working Groups as necessary. 2 of the Strategic and Operational Groups/activities already exist – the Covid-19 Group and the work undertaken to transition the Library to lockdown in March. These are chaired/led by Ben Meunier and Martin Moyle respectively. I am also establishing a 3rd grouping, tasked with looking at New Service models to enable UCL to return onsite in London.

This new committee structure for the Library will make recommendations to me as Pro-Vice-Provost, and I will sign off all major decisions supported by the Vice-Provost (Research), who will henceforth chair Library Committee. Existing committees can be asked to feed into the new structure but some, such as the Library’s Senior Management Team, will be paused. These new structures will come into being on Wednesday 8 April and last until the Library is re-established on site in London.

In terms of the New Service Models grouping, I have agreed that it should be asked to prepare a number of briefing papers in the coming weeks. These are on the following topics:

  1. Electronic-led resource provision to support research and education
  2. Digitally-delivered teaching and skills support
  3. Fully digital enquiry services, which require a proper enquiry management platform
  4. Open Science as the model for research, education, evaluation, reward and engagement
  5. Optimization of learning space
  6. Research collection strategy in a digital era

These papers will help shape future developments in the Library and across UCL when we begin to emerge from the current lockdown.

It only remains for me to wish every colleague in UCL Library Services a happy and restful holiday in what is an extraordinary time. UCL is immensely grateful to you all for your commitment, patience and support in this most difficult of times. Please try to enjoy the forthcoming April break. I will share more news about developments after the Easter recess.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris20 March 2020

An extraordinary week

Main Library stairs

I wanted to write at the end of what has been the most extraordinary and challenging week I can remember in my professional life. I am enormously proud of the way all colleagues have worked together to support our researchers, teaching staff and students. The Library’s covid-19 Working Group, chaired by Ben Meunier, has worked tirelessly to identify how the Library should best respond to the crisis which confronts us. They have been absolutely brilliant in giving their time and energy, beyond all reasonable expectations. And that goes for all members of staff in the Library, who have worked as part of the team, to deliver the best possible continuing support for the UCL community. I read and hear so many stories of contributions and effort beyond the call of duty – it makes me proud to be a member of this library community.

Now, we are beginning to settle into new patterns of working remotely and digitally. All our libraries, with the exception of the Student Centre, are closed for the foreseeable future. I have today been holding meetings and having chats with colleagues both via Microsoft Teams and via Skype. It’s a new way of working, and one that we will all get used to in the coming weeks. But I would stress the importance of physical and mental well being. The regular covid-19 updates, both from the Provost and from the Library, will give guidance and advice on this crucial matter. It is important that we still feel that we belong to a community which works and celebrates together. The crisis in our midst will pass and, together, we will emerge strong at the other end.

As we move to our new ways of working, I wanted to share one very positive piece of news which bodes well for the future.

From January this year, the Library has been undergoing an Internal Audit, performed by KPMG. The subject of the Audit is the way the Library has implemented and monitored the new Library Strategy. The UCL Library Services Report is due to go to UCL’s Audit Committee at the end of the month. I am proud and delighted to say that it gives the Library top marks for its work in Strategy development, implementation and monitoring. Its conclusion is ‘We have reviewed the processes around Library Services Strategy at University College London (“UCL”) and have reached an overall assessment of ‘significant assurance’ (green), which exceeds management’s expectation of ‘significant assurance with minor improvement opportunities’ (ambergreen)’. This is a fantastic result. The ‘management expectation’ was not mine, but senior managers’ in UCL. To have achieved full marks in this Audit is outstanding.

I take the result of the Audit as a sign of great things to come. The current covid-19 crisis is challenging, but we can and will come through it united as a team. The Audit result for the Library shows what a tremendous team we have and what great achievements we can make in the future in one of the greatest universities in the world.

Stay healthy and safe.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

 

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s view

Paul Ayris14 March 2020

Coronavirus and UCL’s reponse

We are working in an environment of unprecedented challenge in the coming weeks as instances of covid-19 infections increase in number in the UK. UCL is taking its duty of care for its staff and students very seriously indeed, and the university is winning praise for its efforts in social media as a result. 

As you will have read, the Library has established a Working Group to oversee covid-19 preparations and actions, which is chaired by Ben Meunier. Ben and the team will ensure that all actions taken in the Library are aligned with UCL’s policy and practice as we tackle the enormity of the challenges which face us all in the coming weeks. Updates will be sent to all Library staff on a regular basis, as the situation is fast-changing. I have to be honest and say that things will get worse before they get better. UCL is preparing both for the short term and the long term in tackling this pandemic. For example, all UCL staff on clinical contracts have been released from academic duties so that they can devote their whole time to supporting the NHS and patients who are diagnosed with the coronavirus.

To support the efforts of the SMT Working Group, I have asked Ben to spend as much time as is necessary on tackling covid-19 issues for us, with as a principal concern the well-being of our staff. To enable this to happen, I have (with immediate effect) transferred line management responsibilities for the Library HR Team from Ben as Director of Operations to Martin Moyle as Director of Services. This arrangement will be reviewed later in the academic year, once the current emergency is past.

It only remains for me to tell everyone to read the bulletins on coronavirus being issued by UCL and from the Library and, above all, to stay safe and healthy.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

 

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris29 January 2020

The Sorbonne Declaration on Data Rights

27 January 2020 saw a number of global university networks assemble in Paris under the chairmanship of LERU (League of European Research Universities). The international Research Data Rights Summit was dedicated to a discussion of Open Data and national/regional legislative frameworks to support research data management, research data being the building blocks on which publications (such as journal articles) can be based. The meeting was called under the aegis of the Sorbonne University, the University of Amsterdam and UCL (University College London).

The Sorbonne Declaration is signed

Following intensive discussion, 8 global university networks signed the Sorbonne Declaration on research data management and research data rights. These networks are: the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Coordination of French Research-Intensive Universities (CURIF), the German U15, the Group of Eight (Go8) Australia, the League of European Research Universities (LERU), RU11 Japan, the Russell Group (UK), and the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities. This Data Summit was unprecedented in its scale, with networks representing more than 160 of the main research-intensive universities in the world actively involved.

Research data is the new currency in the age of Open Science/Scholarship. This is an essential issue for the quality and transparency of research. It is also a crucial economic issue: funded largely by public money, research data represents tens of billions of euros worldwide. The objective is therefore to make these data accessible in order to accelerate scientific discoveries and economic development. For example, in Europe, according to a recent report produced by the European Commission, sharing and better managing research data would save 10.2 billion euros per year in Europe, with an additional potential of 16 billion euros of added value by the innovation generated. With the current global concern over the coronavirus, the sharing of research data can only help lead us faster to finding effective treatments. The Sorbonne Declaration is therefore set against the background of the growing importance of research data as a key scholarly output which can benefit society and address the global challenges which face humankind.

Zamansky Tower, Sorbonne University

The Sorbonne Declaration acknowledges a number of principles which underpin research activity in the age of Open Science/Scholarship, such as: research data should be openly shared and re-used as much as possible and it is the academic community which can identify the complex conditions for such re-use.

The university networks commit to a number of actions, such as: research data should be FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Re-usable); and changing reward schema to acknowledge FAIRness and Openness.

The Declaration calls on the global research community to build the necessary environment to encourage data sharing and makes a number of requests of funding agencies, such as to consider the full costs of research data management as eligible costs for funding; and of national jurisdictions, to ensure proper legislative frameworks to support openness and sharing, avoiding ‘lock in’ to commercial services.

Open Science/Scholarship is a force for good in the world, leading to better research methodologies and the global sharing of research publications. With the possibility to share research data, Open Science/Scholarship offers the potential to provide new routes for discovery and the creation of knowledge and understanding. This is what the Sorbonne Declaration aims to do – to create a scholarly landscape from which the whole of society can benefit.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris15 January 2020

Open Science and the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi

On 15-17 January, UCL Library Services is hosting a distinguished visitor, Dr Nabi Hasan, Librarian and Head, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi.

IIT Delhi is one of UCL’s key emerging partners in India – just as the visitors from Witwatersrand in South Africa, who joined us in November 2019, are for that region of the world.  As London’s Global University, UCL is developing a number of key partnerships and the Library is honoured to be asked to support UCL’s work in these endeavours.

The theme of Dr Hasan’s visit is Open Science. Although the visit is only one day old, a number of Open Science themes have emerged where possibilities for sharing and development have been identified. The first is in the UCL Press OA publishing model, which is of great interest to the IIT Delhi. The second is the response which UCL has made to delivering services which support research data management in an Open Science environment. The third is in the role of the Library as an institutional Leader to deliver Open Science practice and policies across the University.

Nabi also gave a presentation on the world of librarianship in India and on the work of his own library service in the IIT Delhi. Like UCL, IIT Delhi is a family of libraries – 20 in total. At a glance, the Central Library offers the following facilities and services which are available to 10,275 students and 685 Faculty members:

  • Reader Services Division
  • Collection Development Division
  • Technical Processing Division
  • Electronic Resources Division
  • Research Support Services and Outreach Program
  • Library App
  • Faculty Profiling System
  • Exploring International Library Collaborations
  • Exploring Semantic/AI/Query based services for Ask the Librarian, eNewsClippings, Faculty Publications, etc.
  • Exploring Robotic-based Closed Access Services
  • Interactive Website
  • Marketing of Library Resources, Services and Products
  • Text Book, Book Bank and Theses
  • Humanities and Social Science (HUSS), etc.

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable day. Many thanks to all colleagues in UCL Library Services, to UCL ISD and to RLUK (Research Libraries UK) who are contributing to the programme over the three days.

 

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

 

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s view

Paul Ayris11 December 2019

Library Services staff shine at UCL Professional Service Awards 2019

The UCL Professional Services December Awards took place on Tuesday 10th December at Elvin Hall in the UCL Institute of Education. Fiona Ryland, Chief Operating Officer, presented the awards at a well-attended ceremony complete with mince pies and prosecco as well as the UCL Jazz Society.

In her introductory remarks, the COO stressed that the One PS vision is for all colleagues in professional services to feel part of one community across UCL (including staff based in central Professional Services Divisions, Vice-Provosts’ Offices, Faculties and departments). As the quality of the nominated entries showed, UCL has some outstanding people working for the university. The key focus for improvement is not the people but the systems, policies and environment within which we operate.  Fiona also highlighted the Improvement Board as an example of how UCL is gathering input from all staff to identify key issues and make a difference to how things are done at UCL.

The awards were based on the UCL Ways of Working, with 7 awards presented on the day. Library Services staff were well-represented in the shortlisted entries. Out of over 170 entries from across all UCL Professional Services, there were 40 shortlisted nominations and 4 of these recognised exceptional work by Library Services staff. And as the winners were announced, it was a source of great pride that not one but two members of Library Services staff won awards!

Personal Excellence Award winner: Breege Whiten (joint winner with Caitlin Broadbent in Brain Sciences).

This award recognises a person who demonstrates integrity, outstanding service and commitment to UCL.

Breege is a librarian, who also volunteers for a number of key roles within Library Services, such as Departmental Equal Opportunity Liaison Officer (DEOLO), and Customer Service Excellence (CSE) Champion, on top of the day-to-day management of her library team.  She takes all of her roles very seriously, and actively lobbies to make Library Services fairer, more inclusive, more communicative and more reflective. She has also led on a number of the customer service initiatives, which helped in Library Services’ recent, successful application for CSE accreditation.

Community Spirit Award winner: Noel Caliste. This award recognises an individual who demonstrates an example of doing amazing things beyond the boundaries of UCL and makes a personal impact in the broader community.

Noel has organised the logistics, planning and operations of UCL’s attendance at London and Black Pride during July 2019. This attendance was the largest and most visible representation UCL has ever undertaken at both LGBTQ+ Pride events. Without this enormous effort to produce new and inclusive publicity materials (e.g. BAME LGBTQ+ staff specifically represented in logos), essential refreshments and hospitality, create important health and safety overviews and overseeing responsibility for a group of 60 staff, students and supporters on the day itself, UCL would not have been represented at this event.

As a volunteer, leading UCL’s largest and most active equality Staff Network, his efforts in this event planning, management and delivery have been included in UCL’s entry to the national benchmarking tool of LGBTQ+ employers (the Stonewall Employers Index). This voluntary work has been undertaken around his full-time role and its value stands UCL on a greater footing in LGBTQ+ equality awards and in being increasingly acknowledged as a fully inclusive employer.

I personally have conveyed my congratulations to all successful colleagues and I do so again. Special congratulations to Breege and Noel for their work which has been recognised through these awards.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris20 August 2019

Medieval Mysteries from UCL Special Collections

Today’s meeting of the UCL Rare Books Club took a fresh and insightful look at UCL’s medieval scientific manuscripts. An outstanding scholar, Professor Charles Burnett from the Warburg Institute, gave a masterly personal commentary on many of the items on display.

Professor Burnett is here seen describing his favourite item on show, MS. Lat. 15, described in some detail in D.K. Coveney, Descriptive catalogue of the manuscripts in the Library of University College (London, 1935). It consists of 33 leaves and 1+2 fly leaves. The MS. is a palimpsest, which means that the original text has been erased and over-written. The original text is still visible on some folios.

The contents are in handwriting thought to date from the 14th century and the text is accompanied by diagrams in red or red and black.  The MS. contains various texts, and the one most discussed by Professor Burnett was Johannis de Sacrobosco, Tractatus de Sphera. This main text constitutes one of the most famous fundamental tracts on astronomy and cosmography being circulated from the 13th to the 17th centuries. It is based on Ptolemy and discusses the terrestrial globe, the rising and setting of stars, and the orbs and movements of planets.  Johannis De Sacrobosco (otherwise John of Holywood, or Halifax), is thought to have been born in Yorkshire and he settled in Paris around 1220. He was a mathematician and astronomer. He wrote texts on arithmetic, astronomy and cosmography. He died either in 1244 or in 1256 (see the UK Archives Hub here). The manuscript was formerly in the Graves collection, no. 3496, bequeathed to the Library in 1870. John Thomas Graves (1806-1870) was a mathematician and Professor of Jurisprudence at University College London, whose collection included manuscripts dating from the 15th to the 19th centuries, relating mainly to mathematics.

My own personal favourite, being a church historian of the English church, was the Perspectiva Communis of John Peckham, formerly Archbishop of Canterbury 1279-92, being a treatise on optics. He was a prolific author of treatises on science and theology. This manuscript dates from the 15th or 16th centuries and is MS. Lat. 31, bound  (perhaps from the first) with two printed works, the Arithmetica of Jordanus Nemorarius, edited by Jacques le Fêvre (Johannes Higman and Wolfgang Hopyl, Paris, 1496), and the Geometria speculatiua of Bradwardine (Paris, 1495) (see AIM25 here). The manuscript also formed part of the library of John Thomas Graves, and was formerly Graves no. 3950.

The session today was well attended by UCL staff, students and external visitors. As Professor Burnett remarked, the medieval holdings of UCL Special Collections deserve a wide and appreciative audience.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris13 August 2019

R.D. Laing and UCL’s underground press material

13 August saw a public lecture from UCL Special Collections’ first Visiting Fellow, Professor Adrian Chapman. Professor Chapman is Professor at Florida State University and based in London. He has a PhD from UCL and two English degrees from the University of London. He has publications (academic articles and creative work) in the area of Literature and Psychology / Medical Humanities and a research interest in Rhetoric and Composition. His research is particularly centred on R. D. Laing (the radical Scottish psychiatrist) and his network. For the announcement of his appointment in Special Collections, see here.

Around 50 people, perhaps half of them from outside UCL, attended to hear Professor Chapman talk about the influence of R.D. Laing and his network on psychiatry, using as source material the matchless collections in UCL Special Collections from the underground press. Wikipedia says: ‘Ronald David Laing (7 October 1927 – 23 August 1989), usually cited as R. D. Laing, was a Scottish psychiatrist who wrote extensively on mental illness – in particular, the experience of psychosis. Laing’s views on the causes and treatment of psychopathological phenomena were influenced by his study of existential philosophy and ran counter to the chemical and electroshock methods that had become psychiatric orthodoxy. Taking the expressed feelings of the individual patient or client as valid descriptions of lived experience rather than simply as symptoms of mental illness, Laing regarded schizophrenia as a theory not a fact. Though associated in the public mind with anti-psychiatry, he rejected the label. Politically, he was regarded as a thinker of the New Left. Laing was portrayed in the 2017 film Mad to Be Normal.’

During his talk in UCL, alas cut short in the last few minutes by a fire practice, Professor Chapman gave a number of examples of Laing’s influence, as displayed in the collections on view, accompanied by recorded music of the period. Take, as an example, musical illustration no. 12: The Doors, ‘Break on Through (To the Other Side)’. (The Doors, Elektra, 1967). Like Dylan, Jim Morrison was, and continues to be, an icon of the ’60s. The Doors took their name from The Doors of Perception, a book about mescaline and the expansion of consciousness by Aldous Huxley, whose nephew, Francis, was a great friend of Laing. Aldous Huxley found his title in a line from William Blake, the English Romantic poet, who wrote that  ‘If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite’. According to a review in It 39, The Doors’ ‘Break on Through (To the Other Side)’ is ‘very natural, like breathing’. The need to break through convention and the ‘false self’ to a region where one can at last breathe freely – a liberated zone of playfulness, creativity and authenticity – was a desire shared by The Doors, the Laing network and the underground on both sides of the Atlantic (Programme Note from Professor Chapman).

Professor Chapman’s talk was received enthusiastically by his audience and marks a further step in the successful development of outreach and academic engagement activities by UCL Special Collections.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)