Web of Science upgrade

wos-logo_webWeb of Science will be upgraded this Sunday.  This will affect all areas of Web of Science and involve intermittent downtime between Sunday July 13th at 14:00 BST until Monday July 14th at 02:00 BST.

This upgrade includes personalisation of number of search fields on Basic Search, linked Hot Papers and Highly Cited Papers badges, a Medline update, improved Google Scholar linking, improved JCR category display and persistent sort order during a session.

Release notes explaining the changes in detail are at http://wokinfo.com/media/pdf/wok_5_14_releasenotes.pdf



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Procuring a new Library Management Platform

Library staff activity and recent developments

Over the past few months, staff in the Library have been compiling requirements for the new library management platform, to replace our current Voyager system.  This system is the backbone to the services provided to Library staff and all library users (around 30,000 of them!), in managing the purchase, cataloguing, access of resources, and managing library user records, including fines.

In describing the functionality we require from a new system, we have been focussed on the need for a new system to deliver our collections and services appropriately for our current and future users – in particular, concentrating on improvements in the management of electronic resources, and deriving information from the system to guide our decision making.

This exercise in describing our requirements is now complete and has been given approval from our project board. On 20th June, we were therefore able to issue the Invitation To Tender (ITT) on the University’s procurement system: https://in-tendhost.co.uk/edinburghuni/.

Library systems suppliers now have until 31st July to respond with their proposals, following which there will be another period of intense activity as the project team evaluates the systems during late summer and early autumn. Planning is currently underway for this evaluation phase, including on-site demonstrations from each supplier based on real-life scenarios.

As well as the success of issuing the ITT, the project board also undertook a formal review of the project using the University’s Major Project Governance Assessment Toolkit. The results from the assessment were positive, highlighting the strengths of the project, and areas which need more refinement as the project progresses and a supplier is chosen, such as implementation and communication plans.

To celebrate these achievements, an event was held in the Playfair Library, to thank everyone involved with the project – shown in the image below.


Laura Macpherson
Head of Collections Development and Access


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Dawsonera unplanned outage

Our Dawsonera e-books are currently experiencing intermittent connection issues.  If you experience connection issues that result in a ‘page failure’ then refreshing the page or waiting a few seconds and trying again should resolve the issue.

We will update you once the access problems are resolved.

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Photo Bombed


A large order from the Lothian Health Services Archive came our way recently, which included postcards from the hospital & group portraits of staff and patients. In amongst them I discovered an early example of photo bombing- look between the shoulders of the 2 chaps in the centre of the back row- I love combination of serious faces of the people posing and the incongruous jaunty feet in the air behind them. Was this intentional? Or did he simply happen to be doing a handstand at the time…?

Read More

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New books for SPS – June

This month we’re featuring a small selection of new titles purchased to support the area of Social Work in the School of Social and Political Science.

Language practices in social work : categorisation and accountability in child welfare
by Christopher Hall, Stef Slembrouck and Srikant Sarangi. (shelfmark: HV29.7 Hal.)

Applying complexity theory : whole systems approaches to criminal justice and social work edited by Aaron Pycroft and Clemens Bartollas (e-book).


introductiontothepsychologyIntroduction to the psychology of ageing for non-specialists by Ian Stuart-Hamilton (shelfmark: BF724.8 Stu.)

Re-imagining child protection : towards humane social work with families by Brid Featherstone, Sue White and Kate Morris (shelfmark: HV751.A6 Fea.)

Check the Library Catalogue for full details of the books including number of copies, location and availability. Access to e-books is only available to students and staff of University of Edinburgh.

You may find some of these books in the New Books display on the 1st floor of the Main Library, where a selection of new books from all subjects across the University are held. Books on these display shelves can be borrowed as normal.

Caroline Stirling – Academic Support Librarian for Social and Political Science.

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Pipe bombs, hurt sternframes, peas, penguins, stowaways and cookery books: the Salvesen Archive

After the recent BBC whaling documentary produced by KeoFilms / KeoNorth– entitled ‘Britain’s whale hunters: the untold story’ – a spike in enquiries about the archive of the former whaling firm Christian Salvesen & Company of Leith was anticipated. To meet this, some light work has been carried out on the archive, largely to ease the difficulties sometimes encountered when handling the collection. Slightly more expanded listing of the files – beyond those supplied by the Company some decades ago – has revealed interesting aspects of life down in the far Southern Ocean, in the Falkland Islands and on South Georgia.

While the television documentary was very descriptive of how dangerous a whaler’s life could be, both at sea and on the ‘flensing plan’, it is clear that off-duty activities could be dangerous too, if not fatal. A report from Hansen to the Magistrate at Grytviken, South Georgia, relates how two sailors from the whaler ‘Swona’ had gone to the vessel’s powder magazine and taken 10 kilos of gunpowder and a 5 pound tin of ‘granatepowder’. They had then gone ashore in order to make fireworks, putting the 10 kilos of powder into a cast-iron pipe and lighting the powder. One of the sailors was killed when this firework (we would call it a pipe-bomb nowadays) exploded.

Whale-catching vessels could also be ‘hurt’ as shown by this marconigram (wireless telegraph message) from Hansen, again, to the Magistrate at Grytviken. The whale-catcher ‘Sotra’ had lost her propeller and ‘hurt her sternframe’.

Wireless telegraph message sent by Leganger H. Hansen (Salvesen manager, Leith Harbour, South Georgia, between 1916 and 1937)

Wireless telegraph message sent by Leganger H. Hansen (Salvesen manager, Leith Harbour, South Georgia, between 1916 and 1937)

Then there was the difficulty of sending provisions to the whaling stations – inferior goods were often a problem. A letter from the Salvesen offices in Glasgow, 3 December 1912, to a local city supplier refers to the peas supplied to the Company. The Manager of the Whaling Station at South Georgia had written that the peas were of ‘such a bad quality that it is impossible to get them boiled down so as to make pea-soup’.

Letter, 3 December 1912, from the Manager in South Georgia to the Company's offices in Glasgow

Letter, 3 December 1912, from the Salvesen office in Glasgow to a local city supplier, after a complaint from a Manager in South Georgia

Another file shows that in December 1926, the Magistrate at Grytviken granted permission to Salvesen on behalf of the Danish Government to take a selection of 75 penguins for exhibition purposes in Denmark. The permit was conditional upon half of these penguins then being delivered to London Zoo afterwards.

Letter, 1926, from the Magistrate in Grytviken, South Georgia, granting permission to take several dozen penguins to Denmark for exhibition

Letter, 1926, from the Magistrate in Grytviken, South Georgia, granting permission to take several dozen penguins to Denmark for exhibition

In spite of the hard life of the whaler, there were always stowaways willing to bring change to their lives either in the Southern Ocean or in the other parts of the world fished and hunted by Salvesen. This is proved in a 1933 letter from Leganger H. Hansen (the Salvesen manager of the Leith Harbour whaling station, South Georgia, between 1916 and 1937, and almost certainly the same Hansen mentioned in the brief glimpses of whaling life described above). In the letter, Hansen tells how the whale-factory ship ‘Salvestria’ had acquired three stowaways and that they could possibly be ‘landed at Dover’. He did not ‘wish any stowaways to receive either pay or part’, and he believed ‘it best that such men should be transferred to the ‘Coronda’ and placed under the command of Captain Begg, who has assured us that he will make them work’. There was a possibility of stowaways on other Salvesen vessels too – ‘Sourabaya’ and ‘New Sevilla’.

Whale-factory ships 'Coronda' and 'New Sevilla', season 1934-35

Transport ship ‘Coronda’, and whale-factory ship ‘New Sevilla’, season 1934-35

The archive informs us of the wholly different political perspective that existed in the Falkland Islands in the early years of the 20th century. Today for example, it would be very unlikely that an islander would refer to the island group as ‘The Malvinas’, the Spanish name applied by Argentina. Yet, in 1909, in Stanley, the principal town of the Falkland Islands, there was a thriving business called ‘Malvina Stores’ selling everything that might be needed, from corsets, cookery books, spare pants and under clothing, fingering yarn, ear syringes, toilet covers, nuns veiling, and bronchitis kettles. Earlier, in an ‘Ordinance relating to Aliens, Destitute Immigrants, and to the Naturalization of Foreign Subjects’ dated 27 July 1900, William Grey-Wilson, the Governor and Commander-in-Chief, advised that several South Americans including Uruguayans and an Argentinean had taken the oath of allegiance.

Advertisement for 'Malvina Store', Stanley, Falkland Islands, from 'The Falkland Islands magazine and Church Paper' No.1. Vol.XXI. May 1909

Advertisement for ‘Malvina Store’, Stanley, Falkland Islands, from ‘The Falkland Islands Magazine and Church Paper’ No.1. Vol.XXI. May 1909

From 'An Ordinance relating to Aliens, Destitute Immigrants, and to the Naturalization of Foreign Subjects', 27 July 1900

From ‘An Ordinance relating to Aliens, Destitute Immigrants, and to the Naturalization of Foreign Subjects’, 27 July 1900

What a difference a century can make !

Graeme D. Eddie, Assistant Librarian Archives and Manuscripts, Centre for Research Collections


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Honorary Degree for Sheila Fleet


As you may have noticed from our blog and Twitter posts over the past couple of weeks, we’ve had a few exciting graduations happening at the University of Edinburgh.

Here’s jeweller Sheila Fleet’s own blog piece letting us know how it felt to receive her honorary degree, whilst sharing a few memories of her ECA student days.

Congratulations again, Sheila!

Honorary Degree for Sheila Fleet! Family celebrations at Edinburgh College of Art!

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Trials ending this weekend

Last chance to try out these databases!

From Alexander Press we have 3 databases on trial until Sunday 13th July.

Anthropology Online

Anthropology Online provides a wide range of written ethnographies, field notes, seminar texts,memoirs, and contemporary studies, covering human behaviour the world over. It includes complete works of key practitioners and theorists alike through the discipline.



Ethnographic Video Online Series 1 and Series 2 are a multi-volume resource providing 1,200 hours of documentaries, primary-source footage, and select feature films for the visual study of human culture and behaviour. Publishing partners include Documentary Educational Resources (DER), Royal Anthropology Institute (RAI), and BBC. It is global in coverage with footage from every continent and hundreds of cultures.  For further information on this resource go to SPS Librarian blog.


From CNKI we have 4 databases on trial until Saturday12th July.

China Core Newspapers Full-text Database covers 544 titles of core newspapers officially published in mainland China since year 2000.

China Reference Works Online  contains 4,000 reference works from 200 publishers, including dictionaries, handbooks, encyclopedias, atlas, chronicles, manuals etc.

China Statistical Yearbooks Database contains full coverage of all officially published yearbooks and other statistical materials.

CNKI e-resources on trial

China Yearbooks Full-text Database this includes 2,161 titles of yearbooks since 1912, 480 of which being central level and 1,151 local titles, with original display and browsing features.


From ProQuest we have 19 databases on trial until Sunday 13th July.

ProQuest History Vault provides access to millions of pages of cross-searchable, full-text/full-image documents including articles, correspondence, government records, and more documenting the most widely studied topics in 18th-century through 20th-century American history. The databases we are currently trialling are Black Freedom 1, Black Freedom 2, Immigration, Law and Society since the Civil War, NAACP 1- 6, Plantations 1, Politics and Society 1960-1975, Slavery and the Law, US Military Intelligence Reports 1911-1944, Vietnam War, Women’s Rights 1, Women’s Rights 2 and World War II.  ProQuest logo

Our final ProQuest database on trial is the Digital National Security Archive. Created in collaboration with the National Security Archive, this database is the most comprehensive collection available of significant primary documents central to U.S. foreign and military policy since 1945.

 Feedback and further info

We are interested to know what you think of these databases as your comments influence purchase decisions so please do fill out our feedback form.

A list of all trials currently available to University of Edinburgh staff and students can be found on our trials webpage.

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New staff member: Stuart Macdonald

Library & University Collections has great pleasure in welcoming a new member of staff to its ranks.  We welcome Stuart Macdonald to the position of Research Data Management Service Coordinator, as a 1-year secondment for the current post-holder. Stuart will continue the work of developing the research data services provided by Information Services at the University of Edinburgh. Stuart will be working for three quarters of his time on the programme, and the remaining quarter in his current role as Associate Data Librarian for EDINA and the Data Library.

Stuart Macdonald

Stuart has recently returned from a six month secondment at Cornell Institute for Social and Economic Research as Data Services Librarian where he co-ordinated the successful Data Seal of Approval trusted repository application for CISER Data Archive as well as modernized archival process and practice.

When not working as service coordinator, Stuart will be working towards gaining the Data Seal of Approval for DataShare, the University’s open data repository.

On the role of service coordinator, Stuart says “This is a marvellous opportunity to be at the heart of research data management activities here at the University and to continue the great work that has already been put in place”

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University Press Scholarship Online


We have extended our e-book deal with University Press Scholarship Online  to provide access to over 14,000 key titles across over 25 subject areas in the humanities, social sciences, sciences, medicine, and law.

These can be browsed at the link above by choosing a subject area and then selecting the show full text option.  Newly published titles will also continue to be added to the library catalogue through regular updates.

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