Board Games at Break

                                                  Playful Engagement by Madeleine Leisk CC BY-NC

The UCF is always a fun place to work, but this past month, we have had the opportunity to add even more fun, excitement and teamwork to the UCF with the help of the Playful Engagement box. The box, a treasure trove of games, colouring books and creative materials, was created as part of the ISG commitment to Playful Engagement and the Innovation Fund project. We had the honour of being the first site location to receive the travelling box, while another box is located at Argyle House. These activities have been carefully curated so that they can be used during a short break, as part of a team building exercise, or as a way to relax individually. Some of our favourite objects in the box were: Hanabi, Perudo, One Night Werewolf, and an animal colouring book.

We dove right in with a game of One Night Werewolf, a quick game whereby players are randomly assigned characters and must discover which player is the werewolf. We were also able to practice our poker-faces with the dice game, Perudo, and made some goofy cartoons for our lunch room.

This month, we have also welcomed two new Library Assistants to the UCF and a game of Hanabi was a great introduction to the team. The game required teamwork to build the best fireworks display from a set of cards. It was simple enough to complete a game during our tea break but it was also challenging as it required players to rely on each other to provide clues to reach the communal goal of building a vibrant fireworks display.

These activities have been a great way to continue our development as a team and to add some more fun to our work. The individual activities, like the Animal Kingdom colouring book and the art supplies, have also been a good way to relax individually during our lunch breaks.

We will be sad to see the Playful Engagement box leave, but we hope that whatever team receives the box next enjoys it as much as we did (and does not mind the completed colouring pages). I would also recommend that you visit the Playful Engagement website, https://thinking.is.ed.ac.uk/playful-engagement/ and play some of the metadata games at https://librarylabs.ed.ac.uk/games/.

Madeleine Leisk, UCF Library Assistant

Unexpected delights at the UCF

There is a large area of grass growing at the side of the University Collections Facility (née Library Annexe) which is usually just grass and moss with the odd daisy daring to poke its head above the grassy parapets. However, a lunchtime stroll resulted in a delightful find of a Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) growing amongst the buttercups (Ranunculus acris) and grasses at South Gyle.

Brown honey bees looked conspicuous busily collecting nectar from the white clover (Trifolium repens) which is in full flower. The tiny purple flowers of selfheal (Prunella vulgaris) looked especially lovely as a complementary colour to the shining yellow buttercups. A daisy (Bellis perennis) or two is also flowering. A few thistles (Cirsium vulgare) are nearly flowering and small sheep sorrel plants (Rumex acetosella) are appearing. The type of grassland here (neutral to alkaline) is typical of one which has not had chemicals or artificial fertilisers put on it and is typical of how grassland looked before ploughing and fertilising became common practices.

Sandi Phillips, Collections Management Assistant

Compliments of the Season

All the Season's blessings

All the Season’s blessings

Did you know that the Christmas card is an English invention? John Calcott Horsley, painter and illustrator designed the very first card for the commission of Sir Henry Cole, the first director of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

It seems that we got both the Christmas tree and the Christmas card from the Victorians!

 

The Library Annexe Team wishes everyone a Happy Christmas!

 

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you

Wishing you a Bright and Happy Christmas

Wishing you a Bright and Happy Christmas

I

Images from “Compliments of the Season” by L. D. Ettlinger and R. G. Holloway

Available at Library Annexe (shelf mark .74168 Ett.)

Viktoria Varga, Library Annexe Assistant

Favourite character from a Scottish book

As part of Book Week Scotland, the Scottish Book Trust are holding a vote to discover the most loved characters in Scottish fiction. Here, the Library Annexe staff put forward their own favourites.

One of the interests that the Annexe team has in common is a love of sci-fi, which has begun a continuous stream of talk over lunch breaks and has culminated in the recent founding of the (small and unofficial) Annexe Science Fiction Club.

In this vein, and to promote what I think is one of the most underrated Scottish fiction books of the last century my nomination for favourite character goes to Maskull, the protagonist of David Lyndsay’s novel A Voyage to Arcturus.

Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay

Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay

Maskull, a man from Earth, awakens alone in a desert on the planet Tormance, seared by the suns of the binary star Arcturus, and embarks on an extraordinary pilgrimage with an extraordinary revelation at the end.

Having sold only 596 copies of its initial print run of 1430, Lyndsay’s masterpiece has since found a place as a classic of speculative fiction, earning itself a place in Harold Bloom’s the Western Canon, and earning words of praise by masters from J.R.R. Tolkien to Philip Pullman.

Even though he is very far from the type of hero one can relate to, I often find myself thinking about Maskull (and Lyndsay’s wildly imaginative world) when I really should be working.

And if that is not a sign of a good book, I don’t know what is.

Iraklis Pantopoulos, Library Annexe Assistant

Find A Voyage to Arcturus on the University of Edinburgh online catalogue

When picking a favourite Scottish character from literature, I am drawn to my two favourite Scottish authors, Muriel Spark and Iain Banks, but I find myself struggling to choose a best character. The lure of the enigmatic Long John Silver is also hard to resist – a character so well drawn, he has become the template for all pirates since.

The Invisibles Vol. 1

The Invisibles Vol. 1

However, I am going to collectively go for Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles, a weird and mysterious bunch, mainly because this is the book that introduced me to his work (and is the only DC comic that is ever likely to feature Greenock as a location).

Read about The Invisibles at Wikipedia

Morrison’s work on Batman has been exceptional, but somehow Batman doesn’t feel very Scottish… apart from in Batman: Scottish Connection, as drawn by Glaswegian Frank Quietly.

(It’s terrible).

Find Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum on the University of Edinburgh online catalogue

Why not vote for your favourite at the Book Week Scotland website?

Carl Jones, Library Annexe Supervisor

Book Week Scotland 2014

Today marks the start of Book Week Scotland; the annual celebration of books and reading, as organised by the Scottish Book Trust. Part of the activity for 2014 includes the writing of love letters to libraries. Well, I’ve worked in libraries for seven years, and I can’t quite imagine doing anything else, so I think it’s safe to say that I love libraries. The world of library professionals is ever changing, and you are like as likely to spend your time digitising obscure texts to be uploaded on-line these days as you are to find yourself shelving dusty volumes onto creaking shelves. However, like most people I meet, I was initially drawn to the strange allure of a room full of words and ideas, each sealed with a binding, and the incomparable magic of losing yourself inside their pages.

This week, why not use your local library services. If you are a student or a researcher, make sure you take full advantage of the University’s resources:

http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/information-services/library-museum-gallery

And, please, visit the Scottish Book Trust website and see what else is going on:

http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/book-week-scotland

There are events happening all over Scotland throughout the week, including this “festival of books” at the Edinburgh College of Art:

Bookmark’ at ECA

Carl Jones, Library Annexe Supervisor

Annexehalloween 2014

Viki took her creativity to new heights with this creation. We're not sure what it is but it is certainly scary!

Viki took her creativity to new heights with this creation. We’re not sure what it is but it is certainly scary!

Previous pumpkin carving competitions at the Library Annexe have proved popular and we always enjoy the opportunity to flex our creative muscles during our lunch breaks. As such, the annual Annexe pumpkin carving competition was entered with much enthusiasm once again. And here are this year’s results!

Jack Skellington looks fantastic next to his more ambiguous friend.

Jack Skellington looks fantastic next to his more ambiguous friend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our part-time Annexe Assistant, Iraklis, was not at work on Halloween itself, but was sport enough to send us his own contribution, which he lovingly crafted in the comfort of his own home.

For those who can't quite see it, it's Sandra Bullock from the film Gravity.

For those who can’t quite see it, it’s Sandra Bullock from the film Gravity.

Carl Jones, Library Annexe Supervisor

Employ.Ed Hidden Collections Intern – Weeks 7 to 8

It is all over now! Or at least, very soon now. The 8 weeks flew past, my internship is nearly over and now all that is left is to take a look at what has and has not been done in the meantime.

What is done is a very nearly complete listing of the New Zealand House collection that has already started making its way into the catalogue (although it will take a while), but the process has now been set in motion; here is a sample:

Report by the Right Hon. the Earl of Jersey, G.C.M.G., on the Colonial Conference at Ottawa

A list of House of Lords items to assist an NLS digitisation project and a stock-check of Special collections material are also things that are done. However there are still lots of highlights of the internship that I haven’t had the chance to share.

My little side project, Oroboros the Caterpillar had a sudden metamorphosis – not into a butterfly but into this:

Oroboros the Caterpillar metamorphosises into a beautiful... Viking longboat

Oroboros the Caterpillar metamorphosises into a beautiful… Viking longboat

By the way I still don’t know who added the mast, and wouldn’t mind finding out (but good job whoever!)

Also, amusing old advertisements:

The Central Hotel and its hydraulic passenger lift

The Central Hotel and its hydraulic passenger lift

…and oh, so wrong slightly more current ones:

New Zealand: not all about trout fishing

New Zealand: not all about trout fishing

Pretty pictures of New Zealand from a booklet on the 1907 international exhibition:

Images from the New Zealand Collection: Milford Sound and Mount Cook

Images from the New Zealand Collection: Milford Sound and Mount Cook

So much more I want to share, but better be reasonable and stop.Jackass Penguin

These past eight weeks were lovely, and who knows what comes next?

In any case: farewell from me, at least for now.

Nik Slavov, Hidden Collections intern

Library2 Feasibility Study – progress

With Page/Park Architects, Library, Archives and Museums staff have been undertaking a feasibility study into the future of services and facilities currently provided from our Library Annexe buildings. Under the name of ‘Library2’ (as in, ‘it’s a library too’ or ‘the second library (two)’), staff have been setting out their ideas for what a new on-campus facility would look like.

We held a workshop for colleagues across all areas from IT, to Acquisitions and Metadata, Archives, Museums, and Collections Management on 20th March. The Architects described our resulting ideas as ‘practical and efficient’, despite some imaginative analogies around onions (layers… of access and security), and wedding cakes (tiers… of floors and access).

Below is an image of the charts the three groups presented that day (thank you to Carl Jones, Stuart Lewis and Colin Watt for presenting them to the group).

Library2 workshop 2014 Flipcharts

Since then Page/Park have been interpreting the ideas and drafting out the co-locations and dependencies within an ideal space. They have also come up with an initial design concept, based on an open-book (see below).

library2 model black and white small

The next stages of the study are to establish what such a facility may cost, and to finalise an initial design drawing. The resulting study and it’s recommendations will be presented to the appropriate groups in the University, before we then find out if there is an opportunity to progress further with our ideas.

Laura Macpherson, Acting Head of Collections Development & Management

Thesis Scanning Service attracts international attention

Given the global impact of research at the University we probably shouldn’t have been surprised when our little Thesis Scanning Service attracted attention around the world – but we were.

To date roughly half of all orders received have come in from outside the UK. Predictably, English speaking countries such as the United States and Australia account for the majority of requests. The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) in Chicago has even become our first repeat customer; ordering four theses scans in as many months. Each thesis scanned for the CRL will eventually be made available to their users via their digital repository. For those unaffiliated with the CRL, however, they will also be available for anyone to download on our own digital repository, ERA.

Not all orders are coming in from the English-speaking world; requests have come in from countries as far afield as Japan, Israel and South Korea. While the majority of requests have been made by academic researchers, some have been for exhibitions or even family history enthusiasts. Currently, requests have been received from 13 different countries and we hope to see this number increase in future.