Resource Lists Service Statement revised: 10 things you need to know

Making the Library easier
Using Resource Lists Academic teaching staff can avoid filling out multiple forms by sending a reading list and completed coversheet to . Provided all the information we need is included, the Library will process E-reserve, print reserve requests and purchase course reading based on a set of ratios.

Resource Lists Service Statement revised
To make this work we’ve had to look closely at our existing library workflows and figure out how we can integrate the work of several different library teams and make sure our colleagues across all the sites know what to expect from Resource Lists.

The Resource List Service Statement provides the detail (and Librarian’s love detail!) that explains who will do what to make sure the Library delivers on the course materials students need. It also explains how we’ll manage exceptions to the rules.

Don’t let the 13 pages put you off reading it. If you want a comprehensive overview of how we’re managing Resource Lists this year, this document is for you! Resource List Service Statement v2 (PDF) If not, you’ll find all the essential information our webpages:

Resource List Service Statement: 10 things you need to know Read More

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Library Digital Development investigate IIIF

Quick caveat: this post is a partner to the one Claire Knowles has written about our signing up to the IIIF Consortium, so the explanation of the acronym will not be explained here!

The Library Digital Development team decided to investigate the standard due to its appearance at every Cultural Heritage-related conference we’d attended in 2015, and we thought it would be apposite to update everyone with our progress.

First things first: we have managed to make some progress on displaying IIIF formatting to show what it does. Essentially, the standard allows us to display a remotely-served image on a web page, with our choice of size, rotation, mirroring and cropped section without needing to write CSS, HTML, or use Photoshop to manipulate the image; everything is done through the URL. The Digilib IIIF Server was very simple to get up and running (for those that are interested, it is distributed as a Java webapp that runs under Apache Tomcat), so here it is in action, using the standard IIIF URI syntax of [http://[server domain]/[webapp location]/[specific image identifier]/[region]/[size]/[mirror][rotation]/[quality].[format]]!

The URL for the following (image 0070025c.jpg/jp2) would be:



This URL is saying, “give me image 0070025 (in this case an Art Collection poster), at full resolution, uncropped, unmirrored and unrotated: the standard image”.



This URL says, “give me the same image, but this time show me co-ordinates 300px in from the left, 50 down from the top, to 350 in from the left, to 200 down from the top (of the original); return it at a resolution of 200px x 200px, rotate it at an angle of 236 degrees, and mirror it”.

The server software is only one part of the IIIF Image API: the viewer is very important too. There are a number of different viewers around which will serve up high-resolution zooming of IIIF images, and we tried integrating OpenSeaDragon with our Iconics collection to see how it could look when everything is up and running (this is not actually using IIIF interaction at this time, rather Microsoft DeepZoom surrogates, but it shows our intention). We cannot show you the test site, unfortunately, but our plan is that all our sites, such as Art and Mimed, which have a link to the LUNA image platform, can have that replaced with an embedded high-res image like this. At that point, we will be able to hide the LUNA collection from the main site, thus saving us from having to maintain metadata in two places.


We have also met, as Claire says, the National Library’s technical department to see how they are doing with IIIF. They have implemented rather a lot using Klokan’s IIIFServer and we have investigated using this, with its integrated viewer on both Windows and Docker. We have only done this locally, so cannot show it here, but it is even easier to set up and configure than Digilib. Here’s a screenshot, to show we’re not lying.


Our plan to implement the IIIF Image API involves LUNA though. We already pay them for support and have a good working relationship with them. They are introducing IIIF in their next release so we intend to use that as a IIIF Server. It makes sense- we use LUNA for all our image management, it saves us having to build new systems, and because the software generates JP2K zoomable images, we don’t need to buy anything to do that (this process is not open, no matter how Open Source the main IIIF software may be!). We expect this to be available in the next month or so, and the above investigation has been really useful, as the experience with other servers will allow us to push back to LUNA to say “we think you need to implement this!”. Here’s a quick prospective screenshot of how to pick up a IIIF URL from the LUNA interface.


We still need to investigate more viewers (for practical use) and servers (for investigation), and we need to find out more about the Presentation API, annotations etc., but we feel we are making good progress nonetheless.

Scott Renton, Digital Developer

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Wood you believe it? Identifying woods for Conservation

In this week’s blog we hear from Musical Instrument Museums Edinburgh (MIMEd) Conservator, Jonathan Santa Maria Bouquet, who recently attended a training workshop on wood identification in Norway.

Jonathan examining wood samples

Jonathan examining wood samples

Read More

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University of Edinburgh joins IIIF Consortium as a Founding Member

The University of Edinburgh has joined the International Image Interoperability Framework Consortium (IIIF) as Founding Members. On Tuesday 26th April, the formal agreement was signed between Gavin McLachlan, Chief Information Officer and Librarian to the University, and Michael Keller, University Librarian, Stanford University. Other founding members include: Stanford University, Cornell University, Wikipedia, Oxford University, British Library, and Wellcome Trust. Membership of IIIF was made possible through the Information Services Innovation Fund.

Mike Keller, the Stanford University Librarian signing the IIIF agreement with Gavin McLachlan and Jeremy Upton in the Treasures Viewing Room, 26th April 2016

Mike Keller, the Stanford University Librarian signing the IIIF agreement with Gavin McLachlan and Jeremy Upton in the Treasures Viewing Room, 26th April 2016

IIIF is being widely adopted by University and National Libraries as a framework for the hosting, viewing, annotation and sharing of digitised images. Within the University’s Library and University Collections Division we are adopting IIIF for the delivery of our digitised rare and unique items.

IIIF standardises the delivery of images from different institutions, this allows all users of our collections to:

  • Compare images from different institutions side by side
  • Recreate collections/items that have been split up and are now housed in different institutions
  • Create new collections consisting of items at different institutions
  • Cite specific areas of images
  • Embed images within blogs and websites
  • Annotate images for teaching and research

We have already been engaging with the IIIF community through attending a technical workshop and community event. This has informed our investigations into IIIF servers and tools. We will also be attending the IIIF Conference in New York next week, where Claire Knowles will be discussing annotation, during a panel on future trends in IIIF.

“Adopting IIIF will enable the University’s rich and unique image collections to be utilised by our global audience for new and exciting areas of research and learning.  In addition, other features of IIIF such as deep zooming will allow the collections to be enjoyed and explored in great depth.  Joining the IIIF consortium as a Founding Member allows the University of Edinburgh to work with other world-leading institutions to support the growth and adoption of this standard.” Jeremy Upton, Library and University Collections Director

You can learn more about IIIF at

Claire Knowles and Stuart Lewis

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New to the Library: The Chicago Manual of Style Online

I’m pleased to let you know that following requests from students and staff the Library has recently subscribed to The Chicago Manual of Style Online.


Access is available via DiscoverEd.

The Chicago Manual of Style Online offers the full contents of the 16th and 15th editions providing recommendations on editorial style and publishing practices for the digital age. The site is easy to search and browse and also gives you access to the Chicago Style Q&A, tools such as sample correspondence and proofreaders’ marks and a Quick Guide to citations. Read More

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Given in Good Faith : Worship

Currently open on the sixth floor of the Main Library at the University of Edinburgh, the  Given in Good Faith exhibition explores themes of church history, worship, scripture and science through some of the treasures of New College Library.

We chose the second of these themes, worship, because New College Library’s historic collections preserve many examples of individual and collective forms of worship. And the New College community has come together for religious worship since its beginning, and continues to do so today.

Hore beatissime virginis Marie ad legitimum Sarisburiensis ecclesie ritum … Paris: Francis Regnault, 1534. MH 193

Hore beatissime virginis Marie ad legitimum Sarisburiensis ecclesie ritum … Paris: Francis Regnault, 1534. MH 193

Sixteenth century devotional works such as the printed Book of Hours ‘The Salisbury Rite’ are valuable examples of aids for private worship. Read More

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Edinburgh Research Archive access stats: Q1 2016

Screenshot - 04_05_2016 , 14_55_13

Image: Bass valve trumpet. Nominal pitch: 8-ft C  (CC-BY from the MIMEd collection)

Not one to blow our own trumpets too often, I’m pleased to report that during the first three months of this year we have achieved 334,913 page views and an incredible 207,945 downloads from the Edinburgh Research Archive (ERA).

ERA contains documents written by, or affiliated with, academic authors, or units, based at Edinburgh that have sufficient quality to be collected and preserved by the Library, but which are not controlled by commercial publishers. Holdings include full-text digital doctoral theses, masters dissertations, project reports, briefing papers and out-of-print materials.

Top 10 downloads from the Edinburgh Research Archive during Q1 2016

The most widely accessed items in ERA are an eclectic bunch of materials; mostly PhD theses, but also including an out-of-print civil defence manual from 1949, and a Psychological Screening Test produced by researchers at the University of Edinburgh.

Screenshot - 04_05_2016 , 14_11_20

It is pleasing to see that ERA is providing a platform for wide dissemination of materials that would otherwise not easily be available for consultation. We can’t second guess what people will find useful so by putting all our doctoral research online – in a structured format that is indexed by all major search engines – we can maximise the reach of these carefully written words in the hope that it will fall into the hands of someone who would be grateful to read them.


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Newspaper archives on trial

The Library currently has trial access to two newspaper archives, The Telegraph Historical Archive (1855-2000) and British Newspapers Part V (1746-1950).

You can access both of these online archives via the E-resources trials page. Access is available both on and off-campus.

Both trials end on 10th June 2016.


The Telegraph Historical Archive (1855-2000) Read More

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Looking for study space?

We’re already half way through the second week of exams and as always at this time of year the Main Library is often full to bursting. So what can you do if you’re struggling to find a space to study?

5th Floor Study Area, Main Library, December 2008.

1) There is extra study space in the Main Library that you may not be aware of.

On the first floor the meeting rooms 1.07, 1.09 and 1.11 have been opened up for study space. These are available during full library opening hours and are available until 20th May 2016.

On the 6th floor the Centre for Research Collections (CRC) are also allowing students to use their research suite (12 seats) for study space. Access is only available during CRC opening hours (Mon-Weds 9am-7pm, Thurs-Fri 9am-5pm. No access at weekends.) Ask at the CRC enquiry desk on the 6th floor to get access. Again this study space is available until 20th May 2016. Read More

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Breaking Boundaries #RDMRMA

On the 18th April 2016 over 50 professionals from across the UK came together to discuss the intersection of three disciplines: Research Data Management, Records Management / Information Governance, and Archives.  Organised by Edinburgh University Library and the Digital Curation Centre, we met in the striking historic Playfair Library, part of the University’s Old College.  Delegates were encouraged to record the event using the hashtag #RDMRMA.


The day was kicked off by a welcome from the Library’s Head of Special Collections and the Centre for Research Collections.  Following on from this, Kevin Ashley the DCC’s Director gave an overview of the issues we would likely cover along with some history of the domains working together.  This was then followed by three presentations, each giving a brief overview of the specific domains:

  • Records Management and Information Governance: Alan Bell (Head of Information Governance University of Dundee)
  • Archives: Rachel Hosker (Archives Manager, University of Edinburgh)
  • Research Data Management: Stuart Lewis (Deputy Director of Library and University Collections, The University of Edinburgh)

After a brief break, two more in-depth case studies were given:

Victoria Cranna is Archivist and Records Manager from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.  LHSTM is perhaps unique in that their institutional Research Data Management programme is run from the Library’s Archives and Records Management Team.  Victoria presented a few of her frustrations about the interplay between archivists and research data professionals: frustration at the lack of communication between the two groups; archivists’ view of research data; and research data managers’ lack of connection to archivists and their skills.


Ian Deary, Professor of Differential Psychology is Director of the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh.  Ian talked about the Lothian Birth Cohort Scottish Mental Studies from 1932 and 1947.  These made use of data that was discovered from a storage cupboard in the Moray House School of Education and allowed subsequent reuse of the data over 60 years later.  Ian described the sometime tortuous route that had to be followed to gain permission to use the data, how the data was coded and joined up with other data sources, and some of the outcomes that this has generated.  One particular question was asked which prompted a strong response: Could you have undertaken this work if only a percentage of the data had been sampled and stored, rather than the whole dataset.  The answer was a categorical “no”!


After lunch we were treated to four lightening talks that unpicked some of the issues a little further.

First up was Chris Awre, Head of Information Management at the University of Hull.  Chris talked about some of the work that Hull and York universities have been undertaking with applying Archivematica and Digital Preservation approaches to research data.  This ‘Filling the digital preservation gap’ is funded by Jisc as part of their Research Data Risk #DataSpring programme.


Next up Adrian Stevenson, Senior Technical Coordinator from Jisc talked about a number of issues, including linked data, discovery, and variety + quality of metadata.  These partly came from Adrian’s involvement in two related discovery systems, ArchivesHub, and the UK Research Data Discovery Service.  Ending his talk, Adrian asked a provoking question: are archivists scared of research data?


Following Adrian was Rebecca Grant, archivist at the Digital Repository of Ireland, and a PhD candidate at University College Dublin.  Rebecca is one of the co-chairs of the Research Data Alliance’s Archives and Records Professionals for Research Data Interest Group, and explained about the importance of this group in advancing similar topics as the event was tackling.


Last up was Laura Molloy, studying at the Oxford Internet Institute and Ruskin School of Art on some of the challenges relating to digital skills in the creative arts, including issues such as mapping visual art work development flow onto standard research lifecycles.


After the lightning talks, the final session was introduced by Kevin Ashley.  Participants were split into eight groups, each containing a mix of the different professions.  The groups were then asked to undertake two tasks:

  • PESTLE analysis of issues relating to the boundaries between research data, records management, and archives (Political / Economic / Social / Technological / Legal / Environmental)
  • What can be done? Top three suggestions

Each group’s top three (in some cases more!) are listed below:

Group 1:

  • Communication between the professions even if the language differences are frustrating.
  • Identify skills and look to transfer them between the professions.
  • Think more about how to help with appraisal, which must be sustainable.

Group 2:

  • Top down approach pushed from funders.
  • Leadership required to push different professions and skills to work together.
  • Ensure data is transferred into the custody of the institution, and make sure researchers understand that they are not the ultimate data owners.
  • Need shared language (map between professions).
  • All professions to be advertised as being able to assist with RDM.

Group 3:

  • Communication, and perhaps improve though cross team training or mentoring across professional areas.
  • Integration of systems and using standards such as ORCID is important.
  • Education to train staff, making use of other skills.

Group 4:

  • Physical data needs to be thought about, as most effort is currently going on digital data.
  • Data format identification for RDM needs to be improved.
  • Also need to think about research software and associated documentation.
  • It doesn’t matter who leads on RDM in an institution, as long as the professions work together.

Group 5:

  • Commonality of purpose between professions.
  • Try to define a common language between professions, and to share with the research community.
  • Recognise who understands which aspect of the controlling requirements.

Group 6:

  • Need for knowledge sharing with legal profession (ownership, IPR, patents).
  • Care studies to show consequences of good research data management.
  • Danger of compliance culture due to funding requirements. Policies must be reviewed.

Group 7:

  • Look for areas of commonality where we can work together, for example collection policies.
  • Think about critical success factors so that we know when we are succeeding.
  • Look to align systems and their approaches rather than silo systems in each profession, and include other professions such as IT.

Group 8:

  • Encourage the professions to collaborate more together.
  • Teach information management to improve the creation of data.
  • Establish work flows for ingest, appraisal and management of research data, understanding roles and responsibilities.

Some of the talks were recorded, and these will be made available in the next few weeks.  Other related outputs have also been created:

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