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The newsletter of UCL Library Services      Issue 14: Autumn 2004

News items:
Image: Main story: SFX

SFX - The appearance of the magic button

Lost in a maze of electronic resources?
Frustrated by the time taken to reach full text online?
Looking for a single list of all possible locations for an item?

SFX is the answer!

It is now quicker and easier to use a wide range of electronic resources in your research or study, thanks to SFX, the linking facility introduced by Library Services in September 2004.

You will start to see the SFX button appearing in databases such as:

Wherever you see the SFX button next to a reference, you can click for direct access to:

  • Full-text of electronic journals
  • Full-text of electronic books
  • An instant search for the item on another library catalogue.

The button opens a menu of options, looking something like this:Image: SFX example page

You will see the full citation of the book or article at the top of the menu, followed by a number of links.

Clicking on one of these links opens a new Web browser window containing the full text or catalogue search of your choice.

The exact options on the menu are:

  • Dynamically generated
  • Relevant to your search
  • Specific to UCL

Therefore you will not see exactly the same menu for each item, but only those links which are appropriate.

You will be able to link more seamlessly from one resource to another, and to view all your options in a single list. This will save you time and enable you to use alternatives if one route is unavailable.

Note that those electronic journals which are only licensed for computers on the UCL network will only appear in the menu if you are using SFX on campus. Usual password-controlled off-campus access to certain electronic journals also applies.

For more information, pick up a leaflet from a Library Services enquiry desk or visit the following page on the Library Services website: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/Library/sfx.shtml.

Margaret Flett, Assistant Librarian (IT Services)

Historic Human Communication Sciences Archive unveiled

The Library at UCL’s Department of Human Communication Science (HCS), due to its unique specialist collections, also serves as the UK’s National Information HCS Library Archive pieceCentre for Speech-language Therapy (NICeST). Over the last decade, librarians and other staff members in the Department have been collecting historical material relating to speech and language, with a view to creating the UK’s first historical collection in this relatively new subject area.
Over the years a great deal of work has been undertaken to assemble this collection, mostly by the former HCS Librarian, Angela Douglas, in collaboration with Professor Joy Stackhouse. Thanks to donations from pioneering speech therapists, now in retirement, and from organisations like the Friends of the Children of Great Ormond Street Library, the Collection continued to grow over several years until it occupied much of the Library’s store cupboard.
However, the Collection languished in this store cupboard for several more years. Having collected the materials, the Library lacked the resources to do anything more with them until, in 2002, a project was established jointly by the Wellcome Trust and the British Library, who invited institutions to bid for grants to maintain Collections in the History of Medicine. A joint bid by UCL, co-ordinated by Anne Chesher was successful and at last the Collection could come out into the open.

In August 2002, Maria Cotera was employed as the project cataloguer for the HCS materials. Maria worked over the next 12 months sorting out the collection, discarding duplicates, and entering each item on the Library’s online catalogue. This included the painstaking cataloguing of hundreds of obscure pamphlets and journal offprints. A year later the project was complete. Altogether 1508 monographs, pamphlets, conference proceedings and even a 1963 vinyl LP have been catalogued. The books were carefully labelled by a team of library assistants led by Sharon James and are now displayed in an elegant wooden cabinet in HCS Library. They appear on the eUCLid Library catalogue with the location “Hist.Coll.” All items are for use in the Library only, and non-members of UCL may consult the Collection by arrangement with the HCS Librarian.

This project has enabled UCL to uncover a unique resource for anyone with an interest in the history of speech and language therapy. Treasures in the collection HCS Library Archive pieceinclude a 1905 edition of Helen Keller’s autobiography, The Story of My Life; James Hunt’s A treatise on the Cure of Stammering from 1857; papers from eminent speech therapists and an 1880 edition of Gray’s Anatomy. Some of these documents provide fascinating insights into the prevailing attitudes of their time. One such example is the following theory proposed by Hunt for the relative rarity of stuttering in women:

“The fair sex should, from their natural bashfulness, be more liable to it ... [but] nature, in order to compensate woman for her weakness, has bestowed upon her a powerful weapon in the gift of the tongue ... the vocal and articulating apparatus of woman being more elastic and mobile than that of man, is less liable to be affected by some of the causes which produce the infirmity in the male sex”.

It is reassuring to note that opinion among the (now very much female-led) speech therapy profession has changed somewhat since Hunt’s treatise was published!

Stevie Russell, HCS Librarian August 2004.

With special thanks to Annabelle Chan, Anne Chesher, Maria Cotera, Angela Douglas, and Sharon James.

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Virtual Learning with WebCT

Library Services has taken up the gauntlet of online learning via UCL's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), 'WebCT'. VLEs offer a new way of teaching library information skills and resources to a wide range of users.

The first two subjects to take advantage of this provision are Anthropology and Geography, with course modules created by Kirtsie Preest and Katherine Roberts. The Geography project has been running for the last year and has successfully embedded self-paced information skills and resources training within the department's curriculum. Two of the modules were also offered to Anthroplogy students as part of the department's methods course.

Library Services is also involved with a number of other WebCT projects. A tutorial has been created for generic information skills for all students. This comes from a SCILTA (Sub Committee on Innovations in Teaching Learning and Assessment) funded, multi-departmental group involving staff from Library Services, SLAIS (School of Librarianship, Archive & Information Studies), Information Systems, EPD (Education and Professional Development) and the Electronic Engineering department. Specialised training for staff and students of the Royal Free and University College Medical School is also available via modules created by the Medical Librarians Team and enabled on WebCT by Jane Falconer.

Image: WebCT opening page

There are many advantages of using online learning in this way:

  • It eases the burden of teaching large groups about information resources and specific databases;
  • It provides online help and advice 24 hours a day;
  • The workshop sessions allow help to be individually tailored where necessary;
  • It allows links to pre-existing documentation and important web links;
  • The pages containing the courses are easy to maintain and design using standard Dreamweaver software;
  • It makes it possible to include interactive quizzes to allow users to assess their knowledge themselves.

The overall response from student evaluation forms has been very positive. These forms showed that most students prefer the delivery of information skills training online as its easy to use, flexible, they can access the resource in their own time and it provides a useful reference tool for the future. The evaluations also showed that the students want the online courses to be intersting with screen captures and worked examples so they see how to use the different databases.

What next? The aim is to look at the evaluation forms and make improvements to the design and layout, incorporate self-test quizzes and include a glossary of library and information terminology. If you are interested in setting up your own online course then please contact Learning Technology Support Services (LTSS) at ltss@ucl.ac.uk or see their webpage at www.ucl.ac.uk/learningtechnology.

Kirstie Preest, Anthropology and Geography Subject Librarian & Deborah Furness, Head of Enquiry Services

Planning permission received for Main Library renovation

The work of improving access to the Main Library will start in the week of 20 December 2004, with completion expected in September 2005. The work will replace the existing entrance with a new staircase and lift, and will see the creation of a membership and general enquiries desk at ground floor level. Also, access control turnstiles, similar to those in the Science Library, and dedicated disabled access will be installed.

While work on the creation of a new entrance to the Main Library is underway, a temporary entrance, via the stairs at the north end of the cloisters, will be in use from 22 December 2004. Library Attendants will be on duty at the temporary entrance to assist Gallery visitors and Library users. Disabled access will continue, as at present, via the South Junction lift.

It is anticipated that the Library will function normally throughout the building works. There may be noise disruption, especially near the beginning of the project, but there will be no noisy work after 14:00 during the demolition phase. All work will cease during the third term (1 April 2005 to 10 June 2005), to ensure a quiet examination period. Further details of the plans can be found at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/Library/wilkins/.

Subject-specific help now available on the web

Spring 2004 saw the launch of a package of new Subject web pages from Library Services. The web pages, of which there are over 50, are intended to serve as introductory guides to each of the Library's discrete subject collections. Produced by the Subject Librarians across library sites and faculties, the pages contain inciteful introductions to UCL's printed and electronic collections readily available from one central prominent point on the Library's home page.

Each subject page follows a template, ensuring that standard help and information is accessible across disciplines, and comprises sections describing:

  • Printed collections (books, journals, classification schemes)
  • Electronic collections (databases, e-books, e-journals and web resources)
  • Other libraries (important external collections and access details)
  • Contact details (to facilitate communication between users and Subject Librarians)

The pages aim to make it easier for library users to negotiate UCL's extensive research collections, and are an important contribution towards Library Services' Mission Statement objectives to "act as a gateway to both printed and electronic resources in an integrated way" and to "enable all library users to acquire and practise excellent information seeking and retreival skills". Understanding the various subject resources available and how best to exploit them is vital to academic success. New users should explore their relevant subject pages as an introductory grounding, while the more experienced may appreciate a refresher and some pointers towards up-to-the-minute web and other electronic resources.

Katherine Roberts
Senior Library Assistant, Subject Librarians Group

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Last modified 17 January 2005

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