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The Pro Vice-Provost’s view

Paul Ayris4 December 2016

Croatian research theses in DART-Europe

Croatia1DART-Europe is a research portal which indexes and provides access to research theses in Open Access from across Europe. Many universities now see Open Access as the default mode of collection building for PhD and other research theses, because of the large number of hits which such materials gain.

The DART-Europe portal has recently started the ingest of metadata for research theses from Croatian universities. The portal currently (4 December 2016) provides access to 259 full-text research theses from Croatia.

The National and University Library in Zagreb has posted about this development, facilitated by UCL Library Services, on its website and via social tools such as Facebook. Zagreb says: ‘The National and University Library in Zagreb (NSK) has set up a system for a regular contribution of data from the Croatian National Digital Dissertations Repository (Nacionalni repozitorij disertacija i znanstvenih magistarskih radova, DR) to DART-Europe, the central point of access to digital dissertations from Europe’s higher education institutions, thus enabling an increased visibility of the research of Croatian researchers.’

The DART-Europe portal, maintained and developed by UCL, currently provides access to 717,286 open access research theses from 601 Universities in 28 European countries. It is a fantastic achievement to have passed both the 700,000 mark for accessible research theses and 600 for the number of universities and their libraries involved in this pan-European service.

The Croatian theses can be seen in DART-Europe here. Congratulations to all UCL colleagues who have supported the continued growth of this portal.

Paul Ayris

Pro Vice-Provost and Director of UCL Library Services

The Pro Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris1 December 2016

SCONUL Design Awards 2016

1 December saw a team of UCL colleagues from the Library attend the SCONUL Design Awards 2016 at the Museum of London.SCONUL plaque There were two categories in the competition – for libraries under 2,000 and over 2,000 square metres. The UCL Cruciform Hub had been shortlisted in the under 2,000 square metres category.

The day started with a keynote address by Professor Alexi Marmot of the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment in UCL. Alexi gave a whistlestop tour of libraries all over the world and highlighted their leading characteristics. In terms of the future shape of library and learning environments, Alexi highlighted the following characteristics:

  • digital + spatial
  • maker spaces? hacker & bio-hacker?
  • lending services – IT, tools, music?
  • integration with the city, community, industry, entrepreneurship
  • co-workspace for graduates and others

DSC02332There were 3 entries in the smaller library projects category – the Cruciform Hub in UCL, the Heritage Quay in the University of Huddersfield, and Teeside University Library. For the larger library project category, there were 4 entries – the Brynmor Jones Library in the University of Hull, the John Paul II Library in the University of Maynooth, the Wellcome Library and Reading Room, and the Hive in the University of Worcester.

The theme of the day was clearly community engagement. The 2 winners were the Heritage Quay and the Hive; both had developed offerings which were rooted in the general community. They are impressive projects and worthy winners.

DSC02312 DSC02310For the smaller project category, the chair announced that ‘all shortlisted candidates are winners’ and we found out later in the day that the decision had been very close indeed, with UCL a contender right until the end.

I gave a 15-minute presentation to the audience (around 150 people) on the drivers for the Cruciform Hub and how it delivered UCL’s vision for the Student Experience in UCL 2034. I was able to show that the Hub had enabled us to test new ideas in delivering cutting-edge services, which we would use to shape our service going forward in developments like the 1,000-seat £67 million Student Centre and the new Learning Hub at UCL East in Stratford. The Cruciform is a gem, but it is only the start of how we can shape and improve the User Experience in UCL.


Congratulations to everyone who has been involved in delivering the Cruciform Hub. The many positive statements we received today underline what a success it is. And congratulations to the University of Huddersfield, who were worthy winners of the smaller project category today.

Paul Ayris

Pro Vice-Provost and Director of Library Services