Database trial – CNKI English resources

The Library has arranged a free trial of three English resources from CNKI (China National Knowledge Infrastructure): China Data Insight, Academic Focus, and Journal Translation Project, covering all subject areas in humanities, social sciences, science and technology, and medicine.

The trial has been advertised on the Library E-resources Trials website. The trial is valid until 30th Nov. 2019. EASE login is required for access:

CNKI English Resources

Just click on each database in Step 1 as indicated in the screenshot below to gain direct access:

China Data Insights provides access to more than 1,083 statistical yearbooks with 8,446 volumes and 1.49 million tables. There is a linked Chinese version with more data.

Academic Focus contains 262 English journals published in China, English content translated from top Chinese academic journals and over 2400 conference proceedings.

Journal Translation Project features the bilingual full-text content of 140 top academic journals in China with the English and Chinese versions displayed side-by-side.

CNKI is provider of our two important Chinese resources at the moment: China Academic Journals and China Doctoral and Masters Dissertations Full-text Database, both of which are in the Library’s Databases A-Z list and Databases by Subject for East Asian Studies.

Posted in Chinese Studies, LLC general | Comments Off on Database trial – CNKI English resources

Diamonds and Rust: Re-housing the Student Records

One of the largest components of the Department of Social Work’s archive is a collection of over 1000 student admission files from 1928, when the school was transferred to the university, to the mid-1950s.

This is a wonderful set of records. As well as telling us about the backgrounds, interests and careers of the students they are also a rich resource for social history. The files cover a period of social reform and change – World War 2, the introduction of the welfare state, immigration and changing population. They make it possible to build up a picture of the personalities involved in the profession at any given time and, through the inclusion of descriptions of jobs for which the students are applying, we can see the advancement of social work as a field during this period.  Our previous blogpost “A New Profession” looks at the contents of these files in more detail.

This short post looks at the process of re-housing this material.

Archival boxes and folders

Paperclips and Pins

The first task was to remove all rusty paperclips, staples and pins. Not only do they pose an injury risk to those looking at the material, they also make it difficult to view the material without folding or tearing the pages and over time the rust will further stain the paper. Where necessary metal paperclips are replaced with archive friendly plastic ones.

Tool for removing staples



Folders and Boxes

In their original state, the admission files were housed in overcrowded file boxes. The boxes were dirty and too small resulting in the contents of the files being subjected to wear and tear over the many years of being removed and returned. Moreover the files were stored vertically meaning much of paper was becoming distorted.

Once all staples and pins had been removed each file was re-housed in an archival standard folder. The files consist of many different sizes of paper and so they have been re-housed in four-flap folders which will keep all the contents secure but also easily accessible.

Several files were housed in one overcrowded folder……

…..and multiple folders squashed into overcrowded boxes

Archival 4 flap folder

New folders in archival box

Where photographs were present they were placed in protective see-through pockets.

Photograph in protective sleeve (plastic paperclip for scale)

Similarly any pages that have been “repaired” with sellotape were placed in archival polyester sleeves so as to prevent the sellotape leaking onto other pages as it degrades. In the future these pieces of sellotape will hopefully be completely removed.

Research Assistant Sarah helping with the re-housing – thanks Sarah!

Rust removed, double click on the images here to view just some of the diamonds uncovered during the process.







Posted in Projects, Social Work, students, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Diamonds and Rust: Re-housing the Student Records

October Journal Club : “Unhiding” Special Collections

Geneva Bible, 1583 (University of Edinburgh, New College Library)

Our second meeting of the Journal Club in 2019/20 met on Wednesday 2 October to talk about improving access to Special Collections. Our discussion article was:

Marcella Tam (2017) Improving Access and “Unhiding” the Special Collections, The Serials Librarian, 73:2, 179-185, DOI: 10.1080/0361526X.2017.1329178

We began our discussion by talking about the image and perception of special collections, identified by the author as having a traditional image of being niche and aloof.  We talked about the user experience of ‘library anxiety’ and how this might be heightened in the Special Collections context  “if you don’t feel that you’re an insider and know the rules”. A user may question if their research interest is legitimate enough to be using Special Collections, and be very apologetic if, for example, they take a pen into the Special Collections reading room without thinking. But we also agreed about the value of Special Collections, both as a research experience and as ‘theatre’ – using Special Collections can be inspiring and memorable on a personal level as well as an academic one. A student experience of Special Collections can be the starting point of a lifetime’s academic journey into research. So how do we make Special Collections less scary? Read More

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Planning for Humanity: Patrick Geddes in India, 1914-1924

This October we celebrate the 165th anniversary of Patrick Geddes’ birth (2 October 1854).  We bring you news of a series of upcoming events which commemorate Patrick Geddes and his long-standing relationship with India. 

We are popping up!  We are offering a unique opportunity to view material from the Patrick Geddes Archives held by both the Universities of Edinburgh and Strathclyde. Two small complementary displays are available to view at the University of Edinburgh Main Library and the University of Strathlcyde Andersonian Library (levels 3 and 5). Planning for Humanity: Patrick Geddes in India, 1914-1924, celebrates Geddes’ unique contribution to urban planning in India.

Both displays will run throughout October 2019 and are available to view by staff, students and members of the public, between 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.  If you are a member of the public, simply let staff at the front desk of the library you are visiting know that you are interested in viewing the display and you will be issued with a temporary visitors pass. Please note that at the University of Edinburgh Library you will be required to provide photographic ID in order to gain access to the library and view the display.

University of Edinburgh's South Asia Week 2019 Website graphicCongratulations to colleagues at Edinburgh Global who have compiled a fantastically full and varied programme as part of the University of Edinburgh’s South Asia Week 2019. Do not miss the Ahmedabad Walls exhibition! This is a unique opportunity see the history of Ahmedabad through the eyes of Mumbai based architect and aerial photographer Robert Stephens. Stephens’ aerial photography references Patrick Geddes’ 1915 observations of the historic walled city, and features excerpts from archive material from the Patrick Geddes archives and from Stephens’ own collections.

Robert Stephens first visited Scotland to research the Patrick Geddes archives in June 2018. During his visit, a chance conversation with our project archivist, Elaine MacGillivray, led to the two collaborating on two events in March 2019, in India. Thanks to funding from generous University of Edinburgh alumni, Elaine travelled in the footsteps of Geddes, highlighting the Patrick Geddes archives and sharing project news with passionate and enthused audiences in both Ahmedebad and Mumbai. You can view Elaine’s CEPT University talk on YouTube.

a selection of images from elaine and robert’s collaborative patrick geddes events with CEPT UNIVERSITY, Ahmedbad and artisan’s gallery, mumbai, which took place in March 2019.  Images Courtesy of ROBERT STEPHENS AND Tina Nandi.


The University of Edinburgh’s South Asia Regional Director Amrita Sadarangani aided the success of Elaine’s visit to India enormously. One afternoon, in the beautiful Ministry of New offices in Mumbai, Amrita and Elaine sat together discussing potential “Geddes inspired” collaborations. Amrita suggested that we connect Stephens with our very own School of Architecture colleague, Dr Dorian Wiszniewski.  Subsequently, and after a lot of hard work behind the scenes, we are thrilled that this October will see the opening of Ahmedebad Walls at the Matthew Architecture Gallery in Edinburgh. Thanks go to everyone who has helped to make it happen.

Ahmedabad Walls Exhibition Poster

“Ahmedabad Walls” Exhibition Poster

Robert Stephens and Professor Bashabi Fraser (Edinburgh Napier University) will be in conversation with Dr Dorian Wiscniewski on the evening of 2 October 2019. Set to be a fascinating discussion, which covers Geddes,Tagore and Gandhi, this event immediately precedes the official launch of Stephens’ Ahmedebad Walls exhibition. This special opening event will start at 6pm at the Adam House Lecture Theatre, followed at 7pm by a visit to the Ahmedabad Walls exhibition at the Matthew Architecture Gallery.  Ahmedabad Walls runs 2 – 25 October 2019 at the Matthew Architecture Gallery, Minto House, Chambers Street, Edinburgh.

There will be a futher opportunity to engage with Robert Stephens and Dorian Wiszniewski on Friday 4 October, when they host their ‘In Conversation’ event at the Ahmedabad Walls exhibition. You can find out about this event and all the other South Asia week events on the Edinburgh Global website.

Patrick Geddes Centre Autumn Programme Title PageLast but by no means least – as part of the Patrick Geddes Centre’s autumn programme, Elaine and Robert reunite on 2 October 2019. Together with Dorian Wiszniewski, and the Patrick Geddes Centre’s education officer, Russell Clegg, they will lead a public study day which includes presentations on Geddes and India, followed by archive and exhibition visits. For more information and to book a place visit the Patrick Geddes Centre website or Eventbrite. It’s going to be a busy month – we hope you can join us in the celebrations!

If you would like to know a little more about Patrick Geddes in India, visit our February 2019 blog post To the City, In the City, For the City

Posted in Architecture, Archives, Collections, Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh Global, Exhibitions, Go Abroad, India, Patrick Geddes, project news, Uncategorized, Urban Planning | Comments Off on Planning for Humanity: Patrick Geddes in India, 1914-1924

Making the Most of Your Dissertation Week

For the first time at the University of Edinburgh Library we are planning to hold a Dissertation Week in November 11-15 2019. This week is all about how the Library can support the student dissertation experience : from exploring what library resources are available to support a research question, to managing the bibliographic and research data students find. During the week a series of events will highlight the training, support and resources we offer to our undergraduate and taught postgraduate students undertaking their dissertations, as well as staff supervising dissertations.

Dissertation Fair : Thursday 14 November
At the heart of the week will be a Dissertations Fair event on Thursday 14th November, held at the Main Library. We’ll be inviting academic staff supporting student dissertations to a preview of the fair, which will host stalls from digital resource suppliers alongside other stalls run by Library teams including Library Academic Support, Research Support and the Centre for Research Collections. Running alongside will be a programme of presentation sessions on library services and digital resources. In the afternoon, the event will be open to undergraduate and postgraduate students to attend.

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September Journal Club : Copyright and digital library development in the UK


Our first meeting of the Journal Club in 2019/20 met on Wednesday 4 September to talk about copyright and digital library development in the UK. Our discussion article was:

Muir, A. (2019). Copyright and digital academic library development in the UK. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 51(3), 702–709.

This article was a historical overview of the challenges copyright related issues have presented for digital library development over the last twenty years, and a summary of library and legal developments that aimed to solve them. We found we disagreed with the author’s statement : “A key theme that emerges is the seeming incompatibility of the core role of libraries in facilitating access to knowledge”. Many digital copyright developments have been led by libraries, and we recognised many projects and initiatives that the University of Edinburgh has led or collaborated with in the author’s overview.

The article also reflected on the opportunities new legislation has created, and our group felt that copyright reforms in 2013 and 2016 mean that legislation is now reasonably well balanced. We discussed the opportunities created by the move towards open licensing, but also noted that there are some barriers to open access, often to do with infrastructure which doesn’t allow content to be made OA.

Looking towards the future, the article notes “ the UK’s future policy making has become less certain since it started the process of withdrawing from the European Union on 29 March 2017”. While the full potential impact of Brexit is not clear, we talked about how it will affect areas where significant progress has been made in recent years, such as the European Union Orphan Works Directive (2012/28/EU). For instance, this has supported a European Orphan Works database which enables progress to be made with digitising works for which the rights holder of the work is not known or cannot be found to ask permission to use the work.

The article did not discuss the significant role of library and information staff in raising the level of fundamental knowledge and understanding about copyright in the academic community. We felt that this was a really important task. If people are afraid of copyright and do not engage or comply with it, this creates potential risks for the University.

Our next Journal Club meeting will be held on 2 October in the Digital Scholarship Centre at the Main Library. For a full programme of Journal Club dates, please see


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Princeton University Library Research Grants

The following information is relevant to several subject areas in the LLC School: East Asian Studies, Children’s literature, and Portuguese-speaking cultures.

Each year, the Friends of the Princeton University Library, as well as other library and campus funding sources, offer short-term Library Research Grants to promote scholarly use of the Library’s special collections. The award is $1,000 per week (up to four weeks) plus transportation costs. Applications to use unique, not regularly available, East Asian Library materials will be considered as part of these general grants. There is a window of several months to apply each year.

As of Sept. 23, 2019, the 2020-2021 Princeton University Library Research Grants application is open and ready to receive submissions. The deadline to apply is Noon on December 13, 2019. Grants are tenable from May 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021.

Applications will be considered for scholarly use of archives, manuscripts, rare books, and other rare and unique holdings of the Department of Special Collections, including the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library; as well as rare books in Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology, and in the East Asian Library (Gest Collection).  Special grants are awarded in several areas: the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies supports a limited number of library fellowships in Hellenic Studies, the Elmer Adler Fund supports research in the graphic arts, and the Cotsen Children’s Library supports research in its collection on aspects of children’s literature. The Maxwell Fund supports research on materials dealing with Portuguese-speaking cultures. The Sid Lapidus ’59 Research Fund for Studies of the Age of Revolution and the Enlightenment in the Atlantic World supports relevant special collections research.

For more information, or to apply, please go to

Posted in Chinese Studies, English Literature, Hispanic Studies, Japanese Studies, Korean Studies, LLC general | Comments Off on Princeton University Library Research Grants

Resource Lists – new look

The Resource Lists (Leganto) interface has a had a makeover in time for the start of the new academic year.

The list menu (…) where you ‘ll find the option to publish, export and view the list as a student has moved from the left to the top right of the screen:


The font and colour have also changed and the links on the left have been replaced by icons.



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COPE European Seminar

On Monday I attended the COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics) European Seminar in Leiden.  Cope has been around for over 20 years, and began as a relatively informal group of concerned journal editors, and has grown since then into an organisation supporting editors, authors, peer-reviewers and publishers.  COPE intends to start a programme for university members as part of its new strategic plan.  Publishers and editors who raise ethical issues with universities often are faced with a wall of silence and are not informed about the outcomes of investigations, as universities seek to maintain privacy. What follows are some notes on the discussions of the four of the  main topics covered at Monday’s seminar.

Text Recycling

The first session of the day looked at Text Recycling – and the findings of some research undertaken in the US through the Text Recycling Research Project –

Text recycling is ethically neutral – sometimes it is appropriate and is not always inherently inappropriate.  It is often known as ‘self-plagiarism’ – but as one publisher later remarked – sometime the ‘self-‘ part is lost and people end up discussion plagiarism, which is quite distinct from text recycling.

The research surveyed around 300 editors of top journals across STEM, social sciences and humanities.  The responses indicate that editors apply different standards as editors than they do when they are authors.

Copyright law is inherently jurisdictional.  Across most jurisdictions, there are no laws which address the issue of text recycling.  Scholarly publications were not the publications people has in mind when they were designing the copyright laws.  Almost universally, authors are the initial holders of rights in their work – with the exception of a handful of universities with assert ownership. But, authors transfer rights to publishers.  This makes it difficult for authors to be able to re-use work in a publication by a different publisher.  Fair use could cover this so we need to make sure that authors use their rights on fair dealing as asking for permission when it isn’t necessary erodes authors rights and sets new legal precedents.  Once example was given from the publishing contact of the New England Journal of Medicine which actually cited US Fair Use law in the contract – but how would that apply to an author from another jurisdiction?

The next phase of the work will be looking at model guidelines, contracts, policies etc., which can be adopted by anyone.  So – there will be more to come on this.

Predatory Publishing

Defining predatory publishing is a problematic activity because new journals and young journals will have similar practices.  In practice – there are a number of reasons why predatory publishers continue to operate.  Authors whose English is not that good find it harder to get published in reputable journals.  Reviewers can’t be bothered to work through broken English so good research is overlooked because of language issues.  International pressure on rankings means authors are under pressure to publish and some researchers hope that recruitment panels won’t look in too much details at the venue and just count the publications on a CV.

So, what is to be done?  COPE was behind the Think. Check. Submit. initiative to encourage authors to be aware of predatory or bogus journals.  In 2019, the Federal Trade Commission in the US took OMICS to court and they received a fine of $50.1M. There is definitely a role for institutions to play in helping to educate authors.

Countries have become globally competitive about the status of their universities.  Makes a job that should be a passion and a love, and turns it into some crazy thing.  We can’t expect everyone to publish in top-citation English language journals.

Predatory publishing is a large problem and is centred in India in the Hyderabad region.  At one recent meeting, a representative of one organisation which publishes everything it receives, made a representation that they thought that COPE was causing the elitist system through insisting on the application of peer review!  He thought they were giving more researchers a voice by publishing everything. So, this shows that there are genuinely-felt differences of viewpoint on this matter.

Retraction Guidelines Update

There will be separate guidance for expressions of concern, letters to the editor and commentaries, and for corrigenda and errata. The main purpose of retraction is to correct the literature and to retain the integrity of the research record and not to punish authors.  Unreliable data could result from honest mistakes, naive errors or research malpractice.

Partial retractions are not helpful as they call the whole article into question.  Corrections are a better route to follow. Sometimes editors can jump straight to retraction before considering all the options available to them.

People worry that retractions undermine science but actually it is part of the process of earning and maintaining trust.  Elsevier point out that people only have to deal with these issues very rarely, so it’s important to have clear guidance.  If an article is in a subscription journal they make it open access on retraction.  We need to recognise that misconduct is a systematic characteristic of science.  Retractions get a lot of attention – but it is not always the best approach.  Elsevier retract about 200-220 articles per years – so about 1 in 5000.

At Elsevier, all retractions need to be approved by a panel of three Elsevier staff.  It is an Editor’s decision to retract, if approved by the staff.  There is also a “tombstone process” so that readers can see what was once there.  Elsevier use a series of templates for editors to use in the retraction process and authors always are informed.

Editors need to be aware that they do not necessarily understand all the pressures people are under and that they don’t know what else is going on in their loves.  Also, that they don’t know what the impact of this retraction will be – but that it is very likely to have an impact on the author’s career.

Ben Goldacre is working on “retract-o-bot”.  This should alert authors when an article they cite is retracted.

One audience member pointed out that universities are gaming the publication system – publish or perish and the whole impact factor “fetish” has gone too far.  This is one of the reasons why COPE is seeking to get universities as members, although it is also recognised that these concepts are very deeply ingrained in many institutions and disciplines.   Some EU funder panels are now insisting that applicants do not use H-index and impact factors in application forms and CVs – so change may start to come.

Ethical Considerations for Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Editors

COPE has commissioned some work to be done with Routledge to better understand the ethics challenges faced by AHSS journal editors.  COPE was previously perceived as being very STM focussed and this is something they wish to change.

The most widespread ethical problem in AHSS publishing is addressing language and writing-quality barriers whilst remaining inclusive.  In AHSS we are not just dealing with data all the time but with people’s opinions – so disputes can be much more inflammatory.   There have been issues with hoax articles with people trying to discredit gender and identity studies.  There is also a problem of  tensions between quality and global representation – more attention should be paid to peer-reviewer diversity. Political differences between authors and editors can be very problematic for journals.  There are currently few opportunities for mentoring of early-career researchers in publication ethics in AHSS subjects – something which should be improved.

From my point of view there is considerable scope for research libraries, and in particular those of us working in scholarly communications to take more of a lead to engage our authors with the ethical matters to do with publication, peer-review and editorial activities, and this is something I shall be seeking to develop with the team at Edinburgh.

-Dominic Tate, Head of Library Research Support

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on COPE European Seminar

New! Mideastwire

I’m happy to let you know that thanks to a request from Politics and International Relations (PIR) the Library now has access to Mideastwire, an internet-based service of translated news briefs covering key political, cultural, economic, and opinion pieces appearing in the Arab media.

You can access Mideastwire via DiscoverEd. Read More

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