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Archive for the 'Winter 2015' Category

Service with a smile

ucylr221 December 2015

Using the printers“I’m sorry to bother you” is not a phrase we in the Main and Science Help Team particularly relish hearing from students. Believe it, or not, the stereotypical image of the Librarian ensconced in an ivory tower, thumbing through The Collected Works of Proust, shushing anyone who dares to disrupt their solitary quest for enlightenment, still endures.

In order to contribute to the improvement of the student experience, we’ve worked hard to develop a friendly, approachable and helpful service available at the point of need by emerging from behind our traditional library counters and working amongst our readers. Since, having largely abandoned the customary uniform of tweed sports jacket with patches on the elbows, we risk merging, chameleon like, with students, we’ve adopted the UCL Library Services lanyard as a way of raising our profile. We’re also adept at spotting and approaching students who look as if they need help.

As a result, we’re pleased to say that our interactions with customers are now more likely to be: “Hi, you look a bit lost. Can I help? Ah, you’re looking for the Collected Works of Proust. Follow me and I’ll show you where we keep them. No, no problem at all. It’s what we’re here for. In fact, it’s a pleasure.”

Jason Hobart, Head of Science Help Team

Doing more with your data

ucylr221 December 2015

Research Data tag cloud

UCL Library Services is working towards a number of goals to improve our Systems & Processes, as part of our Library Strategy (2015-18). One of these goals is to improve our research support by extending support for research data management.

A new website dedicated to Research Data Management is now accessible at www.ucl.ac.uk/research-data-management. It has been created to help UCL researchers and research students plan ahead for data management and comply with research funders’ expectations on data management and sharing.

It gathers essential information on funders and UCL‘s policies, Data Management Plans and support available at UCL for all disciplines and types of data. There are how-to guides dealing with topics such as data storage, long-term preservation, Intellectual Property Right, sensitive & personal data, ethics, formats and DOIs. You will also find a list of training resources (slides, checklists, activity sheets…) to learn more about data management and share information with colleagues and students. Key definitions and FAQs have been gathered in a Research Data Management blog.

What are Research Data?

Research data are the original sources or material that you have created or collated to conduct your research project. The response to your research question is based on the analysis of these research data.

“Data include but are not limited to: laboratory notebooks; field notebooks; primary research data (including research data in hardcopy or in computer readable form); questionnaires; audiotapes; videotapes; models; photographs; films; test responses.”

Check the whole UCL definition of research data on our website.

Why should I care about Research Data Management?

Good practices in managing your data help you to

  • comply with legal, ethical, institutional and funders’ requirements,
  • anticipate problems, minimize risks & save time,
  • ensure the long-term preservation of your data and their visibility (if appropriate).

Both the website and the blog are intended to grow over the next months and years. Don’t hesitate to send me your suggestions and feedback. Email Myriam Fellous-Sigrist.

I am in charge of coordinating a range of activities and guidance designed to help UCL researchers and research students manage their research data. As part of my activities I give presentations in departments and review Data Management Plans (if you send them at least 1 to 2 weeks before your submission deadline). Don’t hesitate to contact me!

Myriam Fellous-Sigrist, Research Data Support Officer

Jeremy Bentham’s recipe for Turnip Pudding

ucylr221 December 2015

Recipes written by Jeremy Bentham are just some of the delights to be found in our Bentham Collection, and earlier this year students in the UCL Centre for Publishing worked with the Transcribe Bentham initiative to produce a cookbook

Many of the recipes in the manuscripts contain some rather grisly ingredients, but here’s a nice seasonal one that’s suitable for vegetarians, and by substituting the cow’s milk with almond or hazelnut milk it would even be suitable for vegans.


Turnip pudding 4/4lb
Turnips 6lb – – – 1
peasemeal 2lb – 11/2
milk 1 quart 2
water 1 quart
treacle – 1/2
carraway seeds 1/4
labour 3/4

The turnips to be boiled & mashed then mixed with the other ingredients & baked.

The most generous gift: Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie, and Great Ormond Street Hospital

ucylr221 December 2015

Peter Pan statue

Statue of Peter Pan & Tinkerbell at Great Ormond Street Hospital taken by Grazia Manzotti

Early in 1929, Sir James Barrie was asked to join an Appeals Committee to try and buy some of the estate of the Foundling Hospital for Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). He replied that on principle he never lent his name to appeals, but he would see whether he could do something for the hospital. A few months afterwards he gave the copyright of Peter Pan – both the book and the play – which proved to be one of the most generous donations ever to the hospital.

These arrangements should have expired in 1987, fifty years after the death of Sir James Barrie. But special measures were made in the Copyright Designs & Patents Act (1988), so that a single exception was made for the ongoing benefit of GOSH. At the time, Audrey Callaghan (wife of James Callaghan) was Chairman of the Hospital’s Special Trustees, which owns the copyright. The hospital has a right to royalty in perpetuity in the UK. This applies to stage productions, broadcasting and publication of the whole or any substantial part of the work or an adaptation of it in the UK. This right does not apply to derivative works such as sequels, prequels, spin-offs or to extracts. The play is in copyright in America until 2023, and in Spain until 2017. This applies to stage adaptations of the story. However, the copyright has expired everywhere else so, apart from the play in the US and Spain, it may be considered to be in the public domain.

GOSH continues to enjoy an ongoing association with Peter Pan. The book has gone through edition after edition in many formats, and continues to do so. The hospital commissioned Geraldine McCuaghrean to write a sequel to Peter Pan. Published on 5 October 2007, Peter Pan in Scarlet offers readers of all ages the opportunity to return to Neverland. Its publication ensures that GOSH will benefit from Barrie’s legacy for many years to come.
Barrie’s play was first produced in December 1904 with Nina Boucicault in the title role. Its success was immediate. It has run in London (and elsewhere) ever since, broken only by the war years 1939 and 1940. Peter Pan has also attracted eminent actors including Wendy Craig, Dorothy Tutin, Fay Compton, Anna Neagle, Glynnis Johns and Sarah Churchill, to name but a few.

Peter Pan has often been performed in the hospital. At the suggestion of Sir James Barrie, a special performance was given by Jean Forbes-Robertson in December 1929. Only the nursery scene was performed. It took place in Helena Ward, to the great delight of a large gathering of patients and nurses. Gerald du Maurier narrated the story in his own words and Sir James Barrie was in audience.

A statue of Peter Pan stands at the entrance to GOSH, blowing fairy dust at all visitors, young and old. It was sculpted by Diarmund O’Connor and was unveiled by Lord Callaghan in 2000. Tinkerbell was added to Peter’s uplifted arm in 2005. Tinkerbell is London’s smallest statue.
A Peter Pan collection is maintained at GOSH by Christine De Poortere. The ICH Library holds biographical and related material on J M Barrie, and the hospital’s website posts further information on Peter Pan. He also has his own facebook page, as does Sir James Barrie.

John Clarke, ICH Librarian

Embroidered Minds: William Gowers & the Morris Family

ucylr221 December 2015

Epileptic Wallpaper with wires, Sue Ridge

Epileptic Wallpaper with wires © Sue Ridge

William Morris, the designer and social reformer, lived and worked in Queen Square from 1865-81.

Embroidered Minds, a collaboration between artists, writers, doctors and academics, is investigating connections between the Morris family and William Gowers, a 19th century neurologist at the National Hospital, Queen Square.

In this exhibition, which was launched to coincide with the commemoration of the centenary of the death of William Gowers, the collaborators have embroidered work by William Gowers with their own.

The exhibition will run in Queen Square Library, 23 Queen Square until 26th February 2016

As part of Explore your Archive national campaign week (14-22nd November), Queen Square Library held another open day to showcase the National Hospital case notes held in Queen Square Archives, to staff and students in Queen Square.

The day provided an opportunity for attendees to handle original case notes of some of the most eminent people in the history of neurology. This year there was a focus on shell shock patients and Sir William Gowers (as this year marks the centenary of his death)

Sarah Lawson, Librarian, Institute of Neurology, Queen Square Library

Lazy Susan stars in museum film

ucylr221 December 2015

Egyptian History of Art book coverLazy Susan: Portable Toolkit’ is a stone sculpture which functions as an object handling desk. I am currently touring the sculpture to various archives and museums, to film a series of short (1-2 mins) object presentations by museum professionals.

The sculpture was made in 2014 for the commissioned exhibition ‘Pots before words’ at Gallery II, University of Bradford. The exhibition was a collaboration with Special Collections at the University. I was invited to research and make work in response to The Jacquetta Hawkes Archive, held in the University archives. The work made for Gallery II engages with the life and work of British archaeologist Jacquetta Hawkes and is centred on Hawkes’ study of prehistory, pottery and a humanistic approach to Archaeology. This new series of object presentations are an extension to the Gallery II commission.

The marble platform will play host to a series of female curators, archivists and archaeologists and the chosen artefacts of their profession. The work explores the tensions between the subjective and objective in the interpretation and display of archaeological evidence. Objects will be re-animated by the hands of female archaeologists and archivists. The film will focus upon the performative (un-choreographed) gestures for display and interpretation created by the object handler.
Earlier this year, the portable display began at Special Collections at the University of Bradford. In the spirit of its origination from within the Jacquetta Hawkes Archive, the sculpture will continue to several institutions which hold strong connections to the role of women in material sciences, with a focus on archaeology and prehistory.

Most recently I visited UCL Institute of Archaeology, to film a presentation by Amara Thornton. Amara presented books from her own collection, along with archive material from Special Collections at UCL Institute of Archaeology. The presentation highlighted the life and work of Annie Quibell and Agnes Conway Horsfield. The Institute Library seemed like the perfect context for the presentations and I was pleased to be able to set up ‘Lazy Susan’ for filming in the Kenyon Room. With thanks to Amara Thornton, Katie Meheux and Ian Carroll, for their support of the project.

The first phase of the film will be screened in 2016. I am continuing to add to the film with further presentations – to highlight UK collections using ‘Lazy Susan: Portable Toolkit’.

More details on the project are on my website.

Kate Morrell, Artist

An adventure in Open Access

ucylr221 December 2015

Supporting research in area studiesIn early September this year I had the pleasure of opening a parcel containing a slim volume: a newly published book I had written under the title “Supporting research in area studies: a guide for academic libraries”. It was an attempt to capture some of what I had learned over many years at UCL SSEES Library, and before that at Chatham House Library. I hoped it would both fill a gap in the professional literature of librarianship in relation to area studies, and encourage librarians to think more internationally about collections, systems and services. I did a little publicity, there was a flurry of interest and congratulation, and then all went quiet. Slowly it started to appear in academic library collections, and in due course I hoped there would be a few kind reviews in professional journals, but I knew I had to be patient and put it out of my mind. But this is a tale of the unexpected pleasures of open access, and I had a surprise coming.

Two months after that parcel arrived, in early November, I was sitting in the audience of an international academic conference on area studies organised as part of the SSEES centenary. One session was of particular interest to me as it was dedicated to new methods in research, but the very last thing I was expecting for a slide to come up on the screen dedicated to a section of my book. When I had recovered from my surprise I asked the speaker how he had come across it. The answer, of course, was that he had found the pdf of my manuscript in UCL Discovery when he was searching for something on digital humanities in area studies. One chapter included material on precisely that subject. As a long time believer in open access I had negotiated the right to place my manuscript in an institutional repository, and this was the result. Making the text open access had opened up the content to an audience who would never have seen it otherwise. As I see the download figures from all over the world it is clear that the print and the open access versions are not in competition, but together are expanding the potential readership well beyond what I could have hoped for otherwise.

Lesley Pitman, Librarian & Director of Information Services, SSEES Library

Special Collections out & about

ucylr221 December 2015

Dante at UCL Special Collections: celebrating his 750th anniversary

The Italian poet Dante Alighieri was born 750 years ago, and UCL Special Collections has been playing a leading part in the international celebrations. Events elsewhere have been taking place throughout 2015, and include the issue of a commemorative 2-Euro coin – an interesting choice for a poet who condemned financial corruption – and a recitation of Dante’s poetry from space by Italy’s first female astronaut, transmitted to earth for broadcast in an Italian cinema. Here at UCL Special Collections, events have been more modest but, we hope, commensurate with the remarkable international significance of UCL’s history with Dante.

That significance began with the activities of a nineteenth-century Dante enthusiast, Henry Clark Barlow. His collection of editions of Dante forms the core of UCL’s Dante Collection. From among its 5,000-odd printed volumes dating from 1477 to the late 1900s you can, thanks to the work of the Retrospective Cataloguing Team, now read Dante’s masterpiece, the Divine Comedy, in any of a vast range of translations from English to Japanese, or experience the impact of its illustrations by artists from Botticelli to Dali and beyond.

With a copy of almost every edition printed before 1600, including three produced in the 1400s at the birth of the new technology of printing, it is possible to use this rare-book collection to trace the fierce battle, nearly 200 years after his death, to claim Dante and his language, resulting eventually in the use of Dante’s Florentine dialect as the chief source for what became modern Italian. Written in the early 1300s, the Divine Comedy was again at the centre of innovation in 1502 when it was one of the texts chosen to pioneer the small-format book, from which point onwards printed books tended to resemble the modern paperback in format. Later again, in the mid 1500s, French printers used Dante’s poem to popularise miniature books intended to capture the newly emerging market of female book-owners.

To return to Henry Clark Barlow, his archive, alongside his books, also forms part of the collection. It reveals how, travelling around Italy, he played a key role in persuading Florence, followed by other cities, to celebrate the 600th anniversary of Dante’s birth in 1865, issuing regular editions of a special newspaper for two years before the events to increase excitement, and writing home to describe banners, festive costumes and lengthy civic dinners. Remarkably, Barlow promoted this celebration of an Italian hero while the formation of modern Italy was still underway. A politically fascinating account of the implications of Barlow’s activities was published later in 1921, the year of another 600th anniversary, this time of Dante’s death, and just one year before Mussolini came to power.[1]

Great endeavours grew from Barlow’s activities, including plans for an Italian national edition of Dante’s work and the establishment of Dante-following organisations in Britain, but one wonderful outcome for UCL was Barlow’s bequest, in 1876, both of his books to the library and of some provision for Dante studies at UCL. While avoiding festive costumes and street banners, UCL Special Collections has for some years been involved, together with UCL Italian Department and the Warburg Institute, in weekly lunchtime readings and talks on selected passages from the Divine Comedy. The tradition of such public Dante events dates back to the time of the medieval poet Boccaccio but was fostered in the 1800s by Barlow. In the spirit of this tradition, our events began for students of both institutions, were soon on popular demand opened up to other members of the University of London and then to the public, and resulted last year in the astonishing and delicious achievement of one participant who cooked the entire poem, from Inferno to Paradise, in biscuit form.

For the 750th celebrations, we were generously supported by the Italian Cultural Institute, and organised, in collaboration with St. Giles-In-The-Fields church, four days of events in November including a discussion on ‘Why Dante?’, a day of readings and lectures on the Divine Comedy, a talk and exhibition of UCL Special Collections’ outstanding collection of early and rare editions of the poem, a church service exploring Dante’s influence on the development of Christian thought since the late Middle Ages, and a showing of a 1911 silent film, recently restored by Bologna Archives, of the first part of the Divine Comedy: the Inferno. Videos of the events are due to be made available online, and of course ephemera from this year’s celebrations will be added to UCL Special Collections to record UCL’s continued role in the celebration and study of Dante.

If you missed our 750th anniversary events and would like to find out more about Dante, try our weekly lunchtime readings and talks.

[1] Mary Bradford Whiting, ‘The Dante sexcentenary of 1865’ in Music & letters 1921 v.2 no.2 April pp. 172-182 or access via JSTOR

UCL Special Collections calendar


Both links above require a UCL login


Special Collections exhibitions

Queen of The Sciences: A Celebration of Numbers and the London Mathematical Society

Rare printed books and archival material illustrating the numbers 1 to 9, with exhibits from the London Mathematical Society’s collections

Main Library, UCL Gower Street, London, until February 2016

Dangerous Diaries: Exploring Risks and Rewards in Fabrication

A range of rare material, from medieval manuscripts to radio-active lab notes

Octagon Gallery, UCL Gower Street, London, until 31 January 2016

Fair Play and Foul: Connecting with Shakespeare at UCL

Main Library, UCL Gower Street, London, from February 2016

Uncovering UCL’s Jewish Pamphlets Collections

Five exhibits from recently catalogued material, including a micrographic illustration of Jerusalem

Main Library, UCL Gower Street, London, until December 2015

750 Years of Dante

A small selection of illustrated editions from UCL’s outstanding collection of rare editions of Dante’s Divine Comedy

Main Library, UCL Gower Street, London, from December 2015

Medical Treasures

Examples of the range of Special Collections’ medical material, from the first illustration of a leg amputation through Vesalius’ ground-breaking Renaissance anatomy textbook to more recent cartoons

UCL Cruciform Hub, Gower Street, London. Permanent.

What is paper? What is a book? What is the difference between a physical and an e-book? Student projects on the history of the book.

Research-based projects put together by students volunteering with UCL Special Collections, illustrating their tools, techniques, and thoughts on using rare books and archives alongside digitised and e books.

UCL Senate House Hub, 3rd floor Senate House, Malet Street, London, from January 2016

Dr. Tabitha Tuckett, Rare-Books Librarian

Hot off the press & straight on the web

ucylr221 December 2015

Temptation in the Archives book coverThe six months since the launch of UCL Press have been extremely busy. During this time, UCL Press has managed to launch eight open access books, two journals and managed an extremely successful Open Access conference with over 120 delegates (with assistance from UCL Open Access and UCL Discovery). The UCL Press team have also spoken at a number of events- Society for Young Publishers conference, Academic Book of the Future projects showcase evening at the British Library and the Futurebook conference, to name but a few- and contributed articles about the press to UKSG enews and Insights.

Lisa Jardine

We were also deeply saddened to hear of the death of Lisa Jardine, Professor of Renaissance Studies, Director of the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters, and author of UCL Press’ inaugural title, Temptation in the Archives. Professor Jardine was a distinguished scholar, and we are honoured to have published her final work.


The eight UCL Press books have managed to achieve in excess of 9500 open access downloads from over 100 countries. Titles published so far are varied and include:

We’re delighted to announce that our Spring list will include a number of titles from the Why We Post project, an ground breaking ethnographic study of social media in 8 countries worldwide. The series will contain 11 books, but Spring 2015 include How the World Changed Social Media, Social Media in an English Village, and Social Media in Southeast Turkey. The project’s output will also include UCL’s first MOOC (via Futurelearn), and a website focusing on the project’s findings. To keep up-to-date on UCL Press activities, visit our website or follow us on Twitter @uclpress


Amps journalJournals currently published by UCL Press include Architecture_MPS (Architecture Media Politics Society) which addresses the growing interest in the social and political interpretation of the built environment from a multi-disciplinary perspective and London Journal of Canadian Studies, an interdisciplinary journal specialising in Canadian history, politics and society. From early 2016, our rapidly growing journals programme will also include Jewish Historical Studies: Transitions of the Jewish Historical Society of England, which has been published since 1831.

Call for proposals

Spotlights series

Proposals for short monographs are invited from UCL authors wishing to make new or defining elements of their work accessible to a wide audience. The series will provide a responsive forum for researchers to share key developments in their discipline and reach across disciplinary boundaries. The series also aims to support a diverse range of approaches to undertaking research and writing it. We welcome proposals for books of 35,000 to 45,000 words from all disciplines that share any of these aims. The books will be published free in a digital Open Access form, and will also be available to buy in print at an affordable price.

Contact: Chris Penfold, Commissioning Editor, UCL Press


The AHRC/British Library Academic Book of the Future Project invites submissions for its BOOC (Book as Open Online Content), which will capture and publish outputs of the research project. The content will be published as a ‘live’ book on an innovative, online and open platform hosted by UCL Press.

Authors are welcome to discuss any aspect of academic publishing and its future; for example, peer review, the role of the editor, the academic bookshop of the future, copyright, libraries, open access, digital publishing and technology. Suitable content will undergo peer review before being published.

Formats may include, but are not limited to, videos, blogs, podcasts, short monographs and articles, and authors are invited from all areas of the academic publishing and bookselling communities. The BOOC will be launched in Spring 2016 and new content will be added throughout the year.

Contact: Sam Rayner, Principal Investigator of the Academic Book of the Future Project with abstracts of proposed content (500 word max.).

UCL Open Access conference

Open Access conferenceThe UCL Press team had a busy and eventful Open Access Week presenting and attending a number of talks and events at other universities, and culminating in UCL’s own Open Access conference. With around 120 attendees it was the best attended UCL Open Access conference so far, and delegates came from numerous institutions and a wide range of backgrounds – librarians, funders, repository managers, academics, students and publishers were present.

Focusing on the theme of ‘Publishing Options’, the speakers represented a range of Open Access activities and publishing models. Dr Alma Swan, Convenor for Enabling Open Scholarship, an organisation of university managers around the world that promotes the principles of open scholarship and open science, and a director of the Directory of Open Access Journals, gave a broad overview of Open Access take-up across Europe, including a fascinating insight into the different strategies used by universities to encourage their academics to make their published work available in institutional repositories. This formed the perfect backdrop to the talks that followed, each of them showing a different model of Open Access publishing.

Dr Martin Paul Eve, one of the founders of the recently launched Open Library of the Humanities journals platform, talked eloquently about the problems with the current publishing ecosystem and how Open Access can be achieved – without charging APCs to authors – by scholars, publishers, funders and libraries working together. OLH has had support from 112 libraries round the world in the first 10 months. This truly collaborative, not-for-profit model is also attracting much interest from journals wishing to join.

Ros Pyne, Research and Development Manager for Open Research, Nature-Springer / Palgrave Macmillan, described the ways that the company supports Open Access publishing, including significant investment in technology, over 550 fully Open Access journals, market research into the publishing needs of academics, and waiver schemes for researchers from low-income countries and those who can demonstrate no other means of securing funding.

Finally, Lara Speicher, Publishing Manager of the newly re-launched UCL Press spoke about the experience of establishing the UK’s first fully Open Access university press. UCL has been at the forefront of supporting OA initiatives for some time, and the addition of an Open Access press to UCL’s OA offerings to its academics has proved very popular, with well over 100 proposals for books received in the first 18 months or so. All books published by the Press so far have been downloaded in their hundreds – and thousands in two cases – within less than five months of publication.

These figures were commented on by many, including David Prosser, Executive Director of RLUK, who joined the speakers for the final panel session. He noted that usage figures in the thousands was significantly higher than typical expectations for print sales of scholarly books, demonstrating that the readership is there – when scholarly publications can be made freely available. The panel went on to discuss the ongoing challenges of how to achieve this as well as reflecting on some of the solutions that had been presented by the speakers.

Dr Paul Ayris, Director of UCL Library Services, and CEO of UCL Press, chaired the event and rounded off the afternoon with an announcement by LERU (the League of European Research Universities) calling on the European Commission to work with stakeholders to support the transition to Open Access by bringing sensible solutions to the fore. LERU asks universities, research institutes, research funders and researchers to sign the statement.

Alison Major, Marketing and Distribution Manager, UCL Press