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Annual Report 2005/06: Projects

Project work is an increasingly important element of the Library's remit. A number of current projects are of immediate benefit to our users, with particular emphasis on enhancing access to resources. These range from older material in UCL Special Collections to recent papers deposited in our E-prints repository, and from in-depth coverage of particular medical specialties to further enhancements to the online reading lists service. In the longer term users will also benefit from projects where the Library is collaborating on the development of methodologies that will ensure the preservation of and access to digital resources.

UCL Special Collections
Image: Art for medicine's sake
Figure 9: Carswell's Anatomy - Atrophy

Art for Medicine's Sake: the restoration of the Carswell Drawings Collection
The Carswell Drawings Collection comprises approximately 1000 pathological drawings by Sir Robert Carswell, Professor of Pathological Anatomy, UCL Medical School from 1831 to 1840. As well as being beautiful works of art in their own right, the drawings are a valuable resource for medical history researchers as they offer a fascinating perspective on medicine in the early nineteenth century. The conservation work is being undertaken with funding from the Wellcome Trust's Research Resources in Medical History Fund.

Bentham Manuscripts Conservation
A grant from the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust has allowed us to undertake a project to conserve the papers of Jeremy Bentham, philosopher and "spiritual father" of UCL. The manuscripts include drafts and notes for published and unpublished works, as well as drafts of letters from Bentham and a few letters to him, covering the period from 1750 until his death in 1832.

Britain in Print
UCL is a participant in Britain in Print, a CURL (Consortium of Research Libraries in the British Isles) project to open up access to the wealth of pre-1700 books held in seventeen libraries across the UK. UCL's contribution will be the addition of catalogue records for over 3000 items in the Halifax and Lansdowne Tracts Collection, which includes many works with particular emphasis on the English Civil War.

E-resources - specialist subject coverage

NLH - Gastroenterology and Liver Disease Specialist Library
A team at the Royal Free Medical Library, UCL Library Services, has spent two years on the initial phase of the Gastroenterology & Liver Diseases Specialist Library. This is one of 26 specialist libraries currently being developed as an integral part of the National Library for Health, which aims to deliver a range of services to support patient care, staff development and research. In the second phase, the team will focus on working with user groups and national stakeholders to provide information in support of established events.

E-resources - support for teaching & learning

Enhancing access to core course materials: developing the functionality of the online reading list service
Funding from UCL's Executive Sub-Committee for Innovations in Teaching, Learning and Assessment (ESCILTA) enabled the Library to take forward work started in an earlier collaborative project. The principal aim of the current project, with the UCL Department of History, was to enhance the Online Reading Lists service by implementing the SFX linking software to provide direct access from individual items on a reading list either to the full text of digital readings or to the library catalogue to locate print copies.

Repositories / digital preservation

SHERPA and related projects
The remit of the SHERPA (Securing a Hybrid Environment for Research Preservation and Access) partnership is to support the development and continuing viability of institutional open-access repositories of research material, which is freely available to all. UCL is a participant in a number of SHERPA projects and leads SHERPA-LEAP.

SHERPA-LEAP (London E-prints Access Project) is a partnership, originally involving seven University of London institutions, to develop open access e-print repositories. Building on the success of the original project and with further support from the University of London Vice-Chancellor's Development Fund, SHERPA-LEAP 2, which began in February 2006, will see the development of e-print repositories across the whole University of London. This will be followed by a third phase, in which a cross-searching service will be implemented.

The focus of SHERPA DP (Digital Preservation), which is funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and led by the Arts and Humanities Data Service, is on ensuring the long-term preservation of the materials being deposited in institutional repositories. The aim of this project is to bring together the SHERPA institutional repositories with the preservation repository established by the AHDS to create an environment that meets all the requirements of the different phases within the lifecycle of digital information.

The aim of ShibboLEAP is to ensure that, while access to documents in the e-print repositories created by the SHERPA-LEAP consortium is public and unrestricted, access for the purposes of depositing and approving documents and related activities is restricted to those involved in creating and running the service.

The aim of StORe is to determine by means of a survey researchers' requirements of both source repositories (which contain primary data) and output repositories of publicly available research papers, with the eventual aim of developing software to link the two together. The project, which will focus on specific subject areas, including astronomy, physics, biochemistry, social sciences, archaeology and chemistry, is funded by JISC and led by the University of Edinburgh.

The aim of MIDESS (Management of Images in a Distributed Environment with Shared Services) is to explore the development of a digital repository infrastructure, which will enhance the management of digitised content. It will address how support can be provided for the use of digital content to support both teaching and learning and research. The project is funded by JISC and led by the University of Leeds.

The aim of the LIFE (Lifecycle Information for E-Literature) project was to develop a methodology for analysing and costing all stages throughout the lifecycle of a collection of digital materials, which was tested by applying it to actual collections held at UCL and the British Library. A planned second phase, with further support from JISC, will build on this work.

UCL is participating in the LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) initiative, whereby libraries provide continuing access to e-journals by collecting and archiving locally the content of certain titles to which they subscribe. Titles which UCL is authorised to cache include all those in Project Muse, along with others from Oxford University Press, Sage Publications and MIT Press.

Widening Participation
The Deputy Director set up a group of like-minded enthusiasts to work on Widening Participation activities.

Links have been made with colleagues at City and Islington College to support their students in using UCL's libraries. Several groups of school students have visited and used the libraries during the year.

Successful Project Bids
Title Funder
Conservation of unique materials from the Judaica and Hebraica Collections UCL Futures
SHERPA-LEAP 3 University of London Vice-Chancellor's Development Fund
Evaluation of options for a UK electronic thesis service (evaluation of Ethos) JISC
Lighthill & Lonsdale papers (included in a successful bid led by the University of Bath) AHRC Resource Enhancement Scheme

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