All you need is library love

As Valentine’s Day approaches this weekend, we want to let all students know that their library loves them!

We were down in the Library Foyer today handing out origami hearts that we made this week, and inviting students to give it a go:


Origami is a great way to take a break from studying, and it only takes six minutes of quiet activity to relax you. The hearts are so easy that you could make a couple in that time! You can find the instructions for the bigger hearts here, and the little bookmark hearts here.

These students all had a great time doing it!

collage for blog

If you do make a heart, take a photo and show us on Facebook or Twitter! Make sure to follow us as well, because we will be posting about more fun events in the Library Foyer in the coming weeks! Library love is all around!


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Copyright waffle and the illusion of choice.

ice cream cone trio by stu_spivack :

An academic colleague of mine recently had an article accepted for publication in a journal. As usual they were emailed by the publisher who asked them to sign an Author Publishing Agreement which would transfer copyright to them. However, the author noticed that the publisher also allowed authors to retain their own copyright by instead signing a Licence to Publish.

Keep your copyright!

The researcher wasn’t sure whether to assign copyright to the publisher, or if it would be preferable for them to retain copyright. On the face of it, it seems like a no-brainer – keep your copyright rather than signing it away. This is the mantra that open access advocates have been saying for years.

BUT more importantly.

Always read the small print – or get someone else to do it for you – and understand what you are getting yourself into.

The illusion of choice

In this particular case, if you read both the standard Publishing Agreement (to transfer copyright) and the Licence Agreement (to keep copyright) with a fine-tooth comb you will find that they pretty much contain the same language verbatim. There is no practical difference between them both in the end results. Both the author and the publisher will end up with exactly the same rights for exactly the same duration. There is the illusion of choice but it literally doesn’t matter which piece of paper is signed. This is an example of Copyright Waffle and it sidetracks from the important things.

Waffles by Brenda Wiley:

Waffles by Brenda Wiley:

Important things:

  1. By hook, or by crook, make your work open access.
  2. If you don’t know how, then ask someone who does; generally speaking Librarians will always be able to help you.
  3. If you have the option, publish your work with a Creative Commons licence; CC-BY is our favourite flavour.



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I knew you were waiting (for me) – Archivematica and CentOS

Following on from extensive testing and evaluation we are now in a position to seriously begin work to develop a functioning digital preservation system. However, as we all know, the path to happiness is rarely paved.

A minor stumbling block we recently came across was that we, as an institution, aim to ensure that there is consistency in what our IT systems run on. At present we support CentOS. Archivematica runs on Ubuntu, which is an OS we don’t have much experience of. Whilst we’ve been able to accommodate this for testing of the system on a virtual machine, setting this up in a live environment has required us to consider our options.

Mercifully, when we approached Artefactual with this issue they were able to offer some options. It is possible to run Archivematica on CentOS but some development work is required. Luckily it is something that doesn’t take a huge amount of time or cost a huge amount either. So toward the end of last year we partnered with Arkivum to fund this work and Artefactual are currently developing the necessary rpms as recently tweeted.

This is an exciting step forward for us as we’ll soon be able to move toward actually piloting this for long term preservation of digital content. But moreover it will hopefully enable other institutions to take advantage of this flexibility and extend the reach of this software. Having more users of Archivematica can only help ensure its sustainability and relevance to practical issues digital archivists across the world are facing.

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New Subscription to Duke University Press E-Journals Collection

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Following a successful trial last year to additional e-journal content from Duke University Press, we now subscribe to the  e-Duke Journals Scholarly Collection

There are now 45 titles in the collection and these have been added to DiscoverEd.

Journal ISSN eISSN HighWire Availability HighWire URL
American Literary Scholarship 0065-9142 1527-2125 2000-2015
American Literature 0002-9831 1527-2117 2000-Current
American Speech 0003-1283 1527-2133 2000-Current
boundary 2 0190-3659 1527-2141 2000-Current
Camera Obscura 0270-5346 1529-1510 1976-Current
Common Knowledge 0961-754X 1538-4578 2002-Current
Comparative Literature 0010-4124 1945-8517 2000-Current
Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 1089-201X 1548-226X 1981-Current
Cultural Politics 1743-2197 1751-7435 2005-Current
differences 1040-7391 1527-1986 1999-Current
East Asian Science, Technology and Society 1875-2160 1875-2152 2007-Current
Eighteenth-Century Life 0098-2601 1086-3192 2000-Current
Environmental Humanities (new for 2016) 2201-1919 TBD TBD
Ethnohistory 0014-1801 1527-5477 2000-Current
French Historical Studies 0016-1071 1527-5493 2000-Current
Genre 0016-6928 2160-0228 2000-Current
GLQ 1064-2684 1527-9375 1993-Current
Hispanic American Historical Review 0018-2168 1527-1900 2000-Current
History of Political Economy 0018-2702 1527-1919 1969-Current
Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture 2329-0048 2329-0056 2015
Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law 0361-6878 1527-1927 1976-Current
Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 1082-9636 1527-8263 2000-Current
Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 1552-5864 1558-9579 2005-Current
Journal of Music Theory 0022-2909 1941-7497 1999-Current
Labor 1547-6715 1558-1454 2004-Current
Mediterranean Quarterly 1047-4552 1527-1935 2000-Current
Modern Language Quarterly 0026-7929 1527-1943 1940-Current
New German Critique 0094-033X 1558-1462 2006-Current
Nka 1075-7163 2152-7792 1994-Current
Novel 0029-5132 1945-8509 1999-Current
Pedagogy 1531-4200 1533-6255 2001-Current
Poetics Today 0333-5372 1527-5507 2000-Current
positions 1067-9847 1527-8271 1993-Current
Public Culture 0899-2363 1527-8018 1988-Current
Radical History Review 0163-6545 1534-1453 1975-Current
Small Axe 0799-0537 1534-6714 2001-Current
Social Text 0164-2472 1527-1951 2000-Current
South Atlantic Quarterly 0038-2876 1527-8026 2000-Current
the minnesota review 0026-5667 2157-4189 2005-Current
The Philosophical Review 0031-8108 1558-1470 2000-Current
Theater 0161-0775 1527-196X 1968-Current
Tikkun 0887-9982 2164-0041 2000-Current
TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly 2328-9252 2328-9260 2014-Current
Twentieth-Century Literature 0041-462X 2325-8101 2009-Current
World Policy Journal TBD TBD TBD Starts 2016
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*New* Medieval Family Life

The Library has recently purchased access to Medieval Family Life, a collection of letters and manuscripts from c1400-1490. Only five major letter collections exist from fifteenth century England and they are all available for the first time in this resource.

These letter collections and associated manuscripts take you into the world of medieval family, business, relationships, trade, politics and community.


Medieval Family Life contains the letter collections of the Paston, Stonor, Cely, Plumpton and Armburgh families. Read More

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E-Resources currently on trial

ANB_webAmerican National Biography on trial until 11th February.  This database offers portraits of more than 19,000 men and women — from all eras and walks of life — whose lives have shaped American history and culture. From astronauts to missionaries, chemists to musicians, and cowboys to Vikings, the portraits combine to reflect the rich diversity of American life, from pre-colonial times onward.  More than a decade in preparation, the American National Biography is the first biographical resource of this scope to be published in more than sixty years.



Oxford Reports on International Law new modules • International Law in European Courts and • International Trade Law are on trial until 18th February.  This resource brings together decisions on public international law from international law courts, domestic courts, and ad hoc tribunals. In this resource, the full scope of international case law is available in one place, accompanied by expert analysis and cross-case navigation via the Oxford Law Citator. New cases are added daily, making Oxford Reports on International Law the most up-to-date source of international case law available.




SAGE Video on trial until 12th March.  This resource supports the teaching and learning needs of undergraduate students, through to the needs of the academic researcher within Counseling and Psychotherapy, Communication and Media Studies, and Education. With new and original video productions, including contributions from our book and journal editors and authors across the world, SAGE Video offers quick definitions, short tutorials and in-depth interviews for a range of academic viewpoints. It also features extensive footage of practitioners in real-life professional settings designed to illustrate best practice and provide a unique insight for students to master the theory, skills and techniques needed to succeed.



Feedback and further info

A list of e-resources on trial can be found on our trials webpage along with links to trial feedback forms – please do fill one out if you found the resource useful as your comments help decide future purchases.  Resources on trial are also added to DiscoverEd – please note an entry for Sage Videos will be added to DiscoverEd later on this evening.

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A Suffragette Belt

The CRC has recently acquired a rare belt previously owned by a Scottish suffragette. The belt has already been attracting lots of interest on Twitter so we’ve been exploring where it sits in the context of Suffragette textiles and symbolism.

DSCN0253The belt is made from a strip of ribbon, embroidered with enamelled motifs in the signature white, green and purple associated with the suffrage movement. It has a pink lining on the reverse and a gilt buckle fastening. The belt is in amazing condition despite some oxidisation of the silver in the ribbon, leading the silver threads to turn dark grey.



Read More

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Mockingbirds and Cuckoos

The library’s most borrowed books are all textbooks. Of course it is important that our library acts as a resource, but what can it offer you after you have completed your reading from Davidson’s Principles and Practice of Medicine? Certainly, we have more than textbooks here!

We compiled a list of some novels and autobiographies that the library holds. From Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl to Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, this list is full of great, thought-provoking reads:

  • Junot Diaz, The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (PS3554.I259 Dia.)
  • Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated (PS3606.O38 Foe.)
  • Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl (DS135.N6 Fra.)
  • Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (PS3558.E476 Hel. )
  • Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (PS3561.E667 Kes. )
  • Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being (PG5039.21.U6 Kun.)
  • Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (PS3562.E353 Lee. )
  • Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom (DT1949.M35 Man.)
  • George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London (PR6029.R8 Orw.)
  • Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture (QA76.2.P38 Pau.)
  • J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (PS3537.A426 Sal.)
  • Kathryn Stockett, The Help (PS3619.T636 Sto.)

We were in the foyer of the Main Library today asking students which book on the list they found most inspiring. To Kill a Mockingbird was the clear winner, while One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Catch-22 were tied for second place, closely followed by The Catcher in the Rye.

Do you agree? Tell us which of these books you find most inspiring! Haven’t read them? It only takes six minutes of quiet reading to relax you, so borrow one from the library and start today! You never know what might come from it.


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Launch of our first Knowledge Exchange Week


Library and University Collections is delighted to announce its first Knowledge Exchange Week to take place 20 June -24 June 2016.

The programme is aimed at Library and Cultural Heritage Professionals from all backgrounds and career stages and we are inviting applications from the Erasmus partner universities and other academic institutions across Europe.

If you would like to discover more about the University of Edinburgh’s library and collections and share your own experiences with international colleagues then please follow the link below for further information.

Applications will be accepted during the period 5th February- 5th March 2016

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Dating a Book

For the last couple of months I have had the pleasure of both volunteering with the DIU and now working a bit more seriously through my work placement as part of the MSc in Book History and Material Culture. My undergraduate degree is in Creative Writing and I primarily focus on Children’s Literature in my current studies, so the Digital Imaging Unit might seem like a strange fit for me at first glance. The exact opposite is true though. In the world of Children’s Literature, illustrations and images in general are essential to the construction and survival of texts. During my time here I have been working on compiling the metadata for our ECA Rare Books Image Collection. This project is dear to my heart for two reasons. 1) I am exposed to images and illustrations of every variety, both artistically and mechanically. 2) I learn something new every day. There are many books in this collection that are far out of my expertise and for that reason I am forced to research all sorts of things I have never even heard of. Because of this I have become a huge fan of nature lithography, Italian architecture and handmade books. The latter is what I would like to discuss today.

As I was researching the ECA Rare Book Collection, I found that many of the materials I was working with had no author and no date. Because of the nature of these type of handmade scrapbook-like works, there is no imprint or page of information on the piece. In this way, dating a work becomes a bit of a guessing game. If there is an attributed author or illustrator one can narrow down the production date to the lifetime of this person. If it is known to be made in a certain region by this person, for example, that can also narrow down the search for the date. It becomes a Sherlock Holmes kind of exploration to put all the pieces together and decide on a more narrow range of dates that a book could have been produced.

In this collection there are many examples of successful dating as well as some cases that have proved to be a bit trickier to pin down. I first noticed this when looking at a page from a hand created book titled by the cataloguer as ‘Album of printed initials, ornaments, illustrations and title pages, cut from books: collected as examples of typographical design, woodcut, engraving, illustration and ornament’. The particular page (see below) is of printed initials that have been cut from another book and then rearranged and adhered to the page as part of a collection of typographical designs, woodcuts, engravings, illustrations and ornaments. The book itself, or rather portfolio because the leaves are not bound together, has not been dated. The reason we know anything about the age of this book is from the age of the books in which were borrowed to create the new one. From some identified works, the collection of images comes from sometime around 1490 all the way to 1715. The pages themselves seem to have been compiled around 1880 to 1920.


Collection: ECA Rare Books; Persons: -; Event: N/A; Place: N/A; Category: Art; Design; Description: -


A second example of dating from context is a curious photo album from Lord Elgin’s diplomatic missions to China. Unlike with the printed initials, these images have names attributed at points and even dates in the case below. Because of these acknowledgements, it becomes much easier to place this piece in history. Oddly enough though, some photographs are heavily annotated and others sit alone without any clues to what exactly they represent. We cannot be entirely sure when these were taken and if found out to be earlier or later than the other images, it could skew the data on the item as a whole.




A third very interesting undated book is that of calico samples that have been neatly cut and arranged, much like the printed initials from our earlier example. The manufacturers of these fabrics have been identified by the creator, which narrows down the date to the time in which these were all in business. The most helpful bit for this work though is a racehorse. One of the fabrics shows an image of ‘Gladiateur’, a racehorse who was accomplished from 1865-1866. This unsuspecting clue is mighty helpful when trying to confirm the time in which these fabrics would have been made and collected. If this particular horse had gone unnoticed, situated next to many other animal designs, we would know much less about this funny little collection.




One thing I didn’t expect to gain out of my work placement at the DIU was detective skills but it seems that I now know a bit more about how to date a book than I did a month ago. Unfortunately, there is one book that has no date and also has no catalogue information. This unique piece is a book of shawl designs that have been labelled and neatly placed on paper. There are some clues on these pieces that help us date it to a certain point (most noticeably the stamp from the Trustees for Manufacturers) but even with this it seems to remain quite mysterious. If you feel like testing your skills, feel free to check out the images of ‘Shawl Design’ at and let me know if you find anything.



-Caitlin Holton, MSc Book History and Material Culture

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