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UCL Ear Institute & Action on Hearing Loss Libraries


Information on the UCL Ear Institute & Action on Hearing Loss Libraries


Archive for the 'Library news' Category

A short history of the Action on Hearing Loss Library

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 29 October 2018

The Action on Hearing Loss Library, formerly the RNID Library, can trace its origin to a meeting held on 9th June 1911. The National Bureau for Promoting the General Welfare of the Deaf was founded by the wealthy banker Leo Bonn and a group of people interested in trying to draw together the various organisations that dealt with deafness and hearing loss to better promote the issues involved. The first annual report (1912) said “considerable headway has been made in the establishment of a library on deafness and the deaf.” Books were donated by many organisations and also by missioners to the deaf like the Rev. F.W.G. Gilby. The Arnold Library from the National Association for Teachers of the Deaf was accommodated in the Bureau’s offices for some years, before being sold by the National Association for Teachers of the Deaf to Manchester University, and the collection was open from 10am to 1pm on Saturdays.

The Great War held up the work of the Bureau which was reconstituted in March 1924 in High Holborn under the title the National Institute for the Deaf. We can see from the annual reports that spending on ‘Periodicals and publications’ in 1925-6 was £4 5s 11d, but already by 1931 this had risen to £74 9d. By 1932-3 the Institute was outgrowing its cramped offices, now in Bloomsbury St, and space was needed for a proper library, so in 1934 premises were purchased at 105 Gower St. At that time the Royal Ear Hospital was in Huntley St and in conjunction with the NID they set up an early hearing aid clinic.

The Second World War once again restricted the work of the Institute but with the help of their pressure in 1948 the first NHS Medresco hearing aid was made free, and importantly its batteries were also made free.  The same year the Honorary Librarian H.G.M. Strutt BA was thanked for “converting our collection of books and pamphlets into the nucleus of a modern library service for the deaf.”  The new library, which opened on March 10th 1948, on the second floor (we have always been up the stairs!) was open for 3 days a week and sent books out on loan, though the postage was paid by the borrowers. Early users then were mainly teachers of the deaf and trainees in deaf welfare.  “It is free, there are no fines and for the most part borrowers observe the regulations”.  Books were purchased for Manchester University’s Deaf Education students, and the first journals were now bound.

In 1951 the library received a boost by the addition of the collection of books & photographs made by the missioner to the deaf, Selwyn Oxley. The collection was classified under the Bliss System.  In 1957 the Australian Dr Pierre Gorman was appointed librarian.  Gorman, who was born deaf, was the first deaf person to graduate with a PhD from Cambridge University.  After Gorman left the UK he returned to Australia where he died in 2006.

By the 1990s the RNID (it became Royal in 1961) had outgrown Gower St and moved to Old St.  The future of the library was in the balance but Professor Tony Wright, then head of the Institute of Laryngology, negotiated the transfer of the collection management to UCL while the RNID maintained ownership and gave financial support to the collection.  For many years until her retirement in 2003 the librarian was Mary Plackett who knew the collection intimately having worked for the RNID since the 1960s.

See also NID/RNID Annual Reports and various NID/RNID magazines and journals for the details.

Asthma – 5 articles on treatment from 2018

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 1 May 2018

A post from our Clinical Librarian, Abir Mukherjee  @ClinicalLibUCLH

Here are five recent articles on asthma treatment from 2018:

  • Akhbari, M., Kneale, D., Harris, K.M. and Pike, K.C., 2018. G460 (P) Interventions for autumn exacerbations of asthma in children: a systematic review. Cochrane Reviews
  • Chang, Y.S., 2018. Non-pharmacologic Therapies for Severe Asthma. In Severe Asthma (pp. 123-129). Springer, Singapore.
  • Larsson, K., Ställberg, B., Lisspers, K., Telg, G., Johansson, G., Thuresson, M. and Janson, C., 2018. Prevalence and management of severe asthma in primary care: an observational cohort study in Sweden (PACEHR). Respiratory research, 19(1), p.12.
  • Licari, A., Castagnoli, R., Brambilla, I., Marseglia, A., Tosca, M.A., Marseglia, G.L. and Ciprandi, G., 2018. New approaches for identifying and testing potential new anti-asthma agents. Expert opinion on drug discovery, 13(1), pp.51-63.
  • Sobieraj, D.M., Weeda, E.R., Nguyen, E., Coleman, C.I., White, C.M., Lazarus, S.C., Blake, K.V., Lang, J.E. and Baker, W.L., 2018. Association of Inhaled Corticosteroids and Long-Acting β-Agonists as Controller and Quick Relief Therapy With Exacerbations and Symptom Control in Persistent Asthma: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA, 319(14), pp.1485-1496.

Chang (2018) identifies inhaler technique and adherence as the the key factors of successful management in severe asthma. He discusses factors to aid self-management such as patient education to maintain regular medications; a written action plan and awareness of environmental triggers such as inhalant allergens, smoking, air pollution, respiratory infections, and obesity.

Licari et al (2018) in their review provide a comprehensive and updated overview of the currently available, new and developing approaches for identifying and testing potential treatment options for asthma management. They discuss future therapeutic strategies for asthma needing the identification of reliable biomarkers that can help with diagnosis and endotyping, in order to determine the most effective drug for the right patient phenotype. Furthermore they conclude that a better understanding of the mechanisms of airway remodeling will likely optimize asthma targeted treatment.

Pike et al (2018) in their Cochrane systematic review found that seasonal omalizumab treatment from four to six weeks before school return may reduce autumn asthma exacerbations. Negative associations included injection site pain and treatment costs.

Sobierj and colleagues (2018) in a systematic review and meta-analysis discuss combined use of inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta-agonists (LABAs) as the controller and the quick relief therapy termed single maintenance and reliever therapy (SMART) which could be a potential therapeutic regimen for the management of persistent asthma.

A Swedish study by Larsson found that patients with severe asthma had few regular contacts with both primary and specialist care, and more than half of them experienced poor asthma control.

Please contact Hearing Library staff if you have any trouble accessing or finding these articles (or others!).

Maintaining Current Awareness with Journals

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 7 October 2016

By Ed Lyon

UCL subscribes to 50,000 electronic journals, and a wide range of journals received only in print format.  There are dozens of journals which publish in the fields of audiology and otorhinolaryngology – it can be very difficult to monitor these journals for developments and maintain one’s current awareness: but it need not be.  There are several tools which can help you keep up to date.

At the most basic levels are things like Google Scholar alerts, requiring a Google account which is easy to set up.  These however bring you rather variable results.  You can put in terms you’re interested in, such as “cochlear implant”, and make more complex searches, e.g. “cochlear implant” and author:waltzmann.  This type of search is better than nothing but, depending on the terms used, may return a great deal of dross for every result of interest.

More useful material can be achieved through running regular searches through Medline.  To do this you need to create an account, design and input your search and adjust the update settings. This is not as onerous a task as it sounds, but Medline uses medical subject headings – MeSH – which can be confusing when you first encounter them. Please call in or contact us and we will talk you through the steps.

Most journal websites allow you to set up alerts to receive electronic tables of contents.  This can be a useful way of keeping up to date, but does rely on your seeing and acting on the emails.  If you receive a lot of emails these may be missed.

However, UCL has a subscription to Browzine, which can be accessed through the Library website.  Go to http://metalib.ucl.ac.uk/V/?func=find-db-1-title&mode=titles&scan_start=b&search_type=start&restricted=all and scroll down; you will need your UCL username and password if using it offsite.UCL jnls 1

This search for ‘audiology’ has turned up a number of journals, e.g. ‘Audiology and Neuro-Otology’: and two subjects, audiology and rehabilitative audiology. These expand to reveal a further range of journals:UCL jnls 2

You can add journals to a virtual bookshelf after creating an account, and then return to Browzine.  You can see a video about it here:


Picture of Selwyn Oxley

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 19 August 2016

This is Selwyn Oxley, whose historical collection is at our heart, looking out of a roof!  Compilation of statistics took my time from writing a blog today!

Oxley on roofPhotographer unknown, possibly Hallett, one of the south London deaf photographers who worked for him at one time or another… Circa 1920.


Peter Zwarts, former Institute of Laryngology and Otology Librarian

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 29 November 2013

Peter Zwarts (1933-2013) formerly the Institute of Laryngology and Otology Librarian, died in Petersfield on 12th of August 2013.

We are grateful to Ray Allen who worked here from 1991 – 2005 and knew Peter well, for most of the following information about his interesting life.  Ray says,

we breakfasted and often had supper together (when the canteen stayed open to provide hot dinners to 7.30pm!).  He always left Petersfield at about 5.50 am. to be in for breakfast at 7.20 am. departing home at close of play/canteen, sharp at 7.35 pm.  I had met him quite a few years before when I worked at a small ENT Research Institute at the Middlesex Hospital.  He had a tremendous reputation with most  ENT consultants and Researchers from the 60’s to 1990’s, not just at Grays Inn Road but from around the UK, who knew him and visited him at the Library whenever they were in London for courses or the RSM monthly meetings.  In a pre computer age it seemed as if  all published work on ENT both historic through  to current journals was stored in his head…..  he hated the computer!

Knowing so many people in ENT, the library became a clubbish place where smoking was allowed, filled with many of the late Professor Hinchcliffe‘s cohort of doctors.

He was born in Holland, to the north west of Amsterdam, and had, Ray says,

a very tough time during the occupation, talking movingly of the famine north of the Rhine in the last winter of the war, when they were reduced to trying to survive on tulip bulbs dug from the fields.  The Germans and particularly the Dutch Nazis, worried no doubt about the retribution to come,  were at their most brutish  with the civil population and  I believe a number of his family paid a very high price.

I think he did his Librarianship training in Holland and England.  He went to America in the early 1950’s working at The New York Public Library.  There he was able to indulge in his great passion, Jazz.  Completely oblivious to the dangers he walked everywhere, and his thick Dutch/ English accent, unusual to the American ear,  allowed him to stroll nightly into Harlem and into black only venues where he was accepted (and walked out again unharmed, in the early hours).  The Dutch  being the original New York colonists (Harlem/Yonkers etc..),  perhaps he just felt at home.

Peter 1

Night after night he listened to and chatted with, some of the most famous jazz musicians and bands of the period. His jazz knowledge was  encyclopaedic and he had a vast collection of music at home.  His other great passion was cigars, the only man I know to own a humidor, to keep his collection in prime condition.  […] A real ‘Character’ with an unexpected hinterland.

There was some sadness in his life, his wife dying quite young I understand.
Peter  2

Goodbye Peter.

Quiet in the Library!

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 15 March 2012

  Breaking the Rules

First Deaf and Dumb Man (talking with hands): “Say, William, will you”-

Second Deaf and Dumb Man (severely): “Shut up! Don’t you see the sign?”

Henry Maywood-Strutt, a former librarian to the N.I.D.

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 2 March 2012

Henry Golding Maywood-Strutt  (1884-1962) was the son of Henry Maywood and Fanny Emma Strutt. He was educated at Oxford, but I know nothing of his career until the war.

A gentlemanly and scholarly man, Mr. Maywood-Strutt came of an old family. His father, Henry John Maywood, died when he was a child, and by Royal Licence he was granted the additional name and coat-of-arms of his mother. He studied under private tutors and at Queen’s College Oxford.

Maywood Strutt. Photograph by Dixon of Chislehurst

In 1910 he married Sylvia Way. However Maywood-Strutt’s wife died in 1930 and after that he took up Braille. During the war he was therefore in a good position to help the British Red Cross, becoming the ‘Blind Comforts Secretary’. He approached the N.I.D. asking if there was anything he could do to help deaf prisoners of war as well, and so he ended up acting as Hon. Braille and Aural Secretary in the P.O.W. Department of the Red Cross. Military personnel are particularly vulnerable to hearing loss of course, and he helped by sending lip-reading materials, ensuring prisoners had medical examinations and supplying hearing aids as far as was possible. (It was later claimed that some hearing aids were in fact radio transmitters).  “It was the first time that any special attention had been paid to blind or deaf prisoners, and it was the aural side of the work that first brought him in touch with the N.I.D.”

Maywood-Strutt became the Honorary Librarian in 1948. He took hold of the random collection of books and journals that comprised the National Institute for the Deaf library, and turned it into a modern collection that was properly indexed and classified. The N.I.D. Library contained books and periodicals that were part of the Arnold Library belonging to the National College of Teachers of the Deaf and were surplus to requirements when the Arnold Library was sold to Manchester University in 1922. According to ‘In Memory’ from Silent World, “his lasting work for the Institute was the conversion of our thousands of haphazardly stored volumes into a properly organised Library, a task that took him five years and that was completed with his production of the Library Index”. He was assisted at that time by Mrs L.S. Valmos, Assistant Secretary to the N.I.D. [You can read more about Mrs Valmos in the Action on Hearing Loss Anniversary issue as well as the February/March 2012 magazine issue, on pages 24-5]

Maywood-Strutt retired at the end of 1952 having become an Honorary Life Member of the N.I.D. He died on the 20th January 1962 at Camden Place, Chislehurst, Kent, (which was a former home of Napoleon III in exile).

Honorary Librarian, Rtd.  Silent World, 1953 Jan, Vol. 7 No.8 p. 233

N.I.D. Library: a Catalogue Completed. Silent World, 1957 Jan, Vol.9 No.8 p.244-5

In Memory. Silent World, April 1962, Vol.17 No.4 p.108

Archives Hub

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 29 February 2012

Archives Hub is a useful website (sponsored by JISC) that gathers together information about, and acts as a gateway into the archives of over 180 institutions across the UK.

See inside the Library on television – Action on Hearing Loss on See Hear

By Alex P Stagg, on 27 September 2011

See Hear, the BBC television magazine programme for deaf people, broadcast a feature last week looking at the history and achievements of Action on Hearing Loss / RNID / NID / The National Bureau for Promoting the General Welfare of the Deaf, over the 100 years of the organisation’s existence.

The desire of the new Bureau to ‘become the centre of a library on deafness, and the storehouse of current literature on the subject’ was set down at the first meeting in 1911, making the library one of the oldest departments of Action on Hearing Loss. In partnership with UCL Library Services the Library is both a successful outcome of, and is still in pursuit of, that 100 year-old goal.

The Library provides one of the settings for the See Hear feature. Click here to see the programme on the BBC iPlayer. It will be available for 3 months after today.