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Annual Report 2007/08: Services
Service developments

As in previous years, extending our service is one of our highest priorities, with user surveys informing much of what we do. We have enhanced access both to print material (taking on additional collections and increasing opening hours) and to electronic resources.

The Joint Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology Library became a part of UCL Library Services on 1 April 2008. The stock of over 30,000 volumes, along with 1,200 rare and historic books, 1,500 watercolours of the eye and around 1,000 photographs (including many from the late 19 th century), makes this the most important collection of ophthalmology and neuroscience in the UK.

The first phase of the transfer of the library of the UCL Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching (CALT) into the UCL Science Library involved over 400 titles – when complete, the Library's provision of books on higher education will have more than doubled. The Library is already offering additional services to CALT students in the form of information skills training.

Service enhancements

A major finding of the UCL Library Services 2008 survey was the need to provide both private study space and group study areas, and in a way that attracts and inspires study and research. These results help to sharpen the Library's strategic focus on its physical spaces and the developing vision for refurbishing and re-purposing the Library's estate in the next few years.

In response to demand, the UCL Main and Science libraries opened for 24 hours in the pre-exam period from late March to late May 2008. This proved especially popular with UCL undergraduates, who accounted for some 78% of total entries to the libraries in the period. Among other key features was that, during the peak period from late April to early May, usage between 2330-0730 averaged 975 users for the UCL Science Library and 703 users in the UCL Main Library.

After a two-year exile, the UCL Language & Speech Sciences Library (previously the UCL Human Communication Sciences Library) moved back over summer 2008 into the completely refurbished Chandler House. The change of name reflects the fact that the library now caters for the newly formed UCL Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, collecting materials in phonetics and linguistics subjects as well as speech and language therapy. Improved services at the new library include greatly enhanced disabled access, cluster PCs for student use, and a separate group study room with DVD player. Further details can be found in the summer 2008 edition of the Library newletter.

An increasing amount of material is now shelved offsite in order to make room for new stock and other facilities, while de-duplication (especially of journals) means that only one or two copies of particular titles are available across the whole library. In order to meet demand for items not held locally the van service, which starts each weekday from the offsite store at Wickford, now also calls at the UCL Language & Speech Sciences Library. This service is due to be extended further in 2008/09.

Enhancing digital access

Seven blogs – all written by site and subject librarians – have been started. The aim of each is to provide a forum for news and information about the Library of particular relevance to the departments concerned. The blogs focus on regular updates on new library resources, and also feature such topics as useful websites and interesting events.

The Library continues to meet demand for desktop access to older journal articles by making available recently digitised backruns of journals. Users also benefit from having access to more content where titles not already taken in print are included. The single most significant acquisition over the last year has been the Elsevier backfiles, purchased with a generous contribution from UCL's Capital Investment Framework funding. UCL users now have e-access to articles back to volume 1, issue 1 of over 1,500 Elsevier titles in science, technology and medicine, including The Lancet from 1823.

The Card Catalogue Online went live in June 2008. This is the outcome of a project to enhance access to items held in the UCL Main and Science Libraries, as well as at those sites that were already part of UCL in the early 1980s, but not yet recorded in the online catalogue. Most of the items concerned are kept in store or housed in UCL Special Collections and so cannot be browsed on the open shelves. Some 195,000 cards have been digitised and we are very pleased with the high quality of the output, with even faded, handwritten entries proving perfectly legible.

The Wellcome Trust now requires all original journal articles based on the research that it has funded to be made freely available online – this means that access to the research output of Wellcome-funded UCL researchers is not confined to subscribers to the titles concerned. The Trust, which has been UCL's single biggest external funder in recent years, makes additional monies available to pay the charges involved, and this fund is now administered by the Library. 2007/08 saw a substantial growth in uptake over the previous year, from £25,000 to over £153,000 (for over 90 articles).

Joint procurement of the Drug & Therapeutics Bulletin (DTB) was successfully completed in May 2008 across HE and NHS in London. This builds on the previously successful negotiation for access to DTB for the 5 London medical schools and their affiliated Trusts. This model of joint procurement is likely to be pursued further within London in future.

Student support and outreach

In preparation for the start of the 2008-09 academic year, the summer of 2008 saw us undertake work to move our Web Information Skills Environment (WISE) modules from WebCT to Moodle, the new UCL Virtual Learning Environment of choice. The aim of WISE is to coach students in the skills they need to locate and deploy academic information effectively. Work on modules is ongoing, with the launch in 2007-08 of the module for Engineering and the Built Environment, and the development of new modules for Social & Historical Sciences, Mathematical & Physical Sciences and a module designed for novices, WISE for Beginners.

UCL Library Services' Student Support and Outreach Group made a focus this year on support for International Students. Staff in special t-shirts were available for tailored visits to libraries during Induction and to offer ongoing advice. The Languages Support Service on the website was expanded and further used.

The Library's continuing commitment to Widening Participation saw contributions on various fronts. Some 100 tours were provided for school students during the year. The Library was fully involved with UCL Open Days and Parents and Family Day, running tours and answering queries for visitors.

In the summer we welcomed groups of school students working on A Level projects. Some 11 schools took us up on the offer to provide orientation and reference/study access to our services. Longer periods of access were agreed with the HEAPS charity, part of the Teach First group during the autumn Term and summer vacation. This is a new relationship to be reviewed but early reports are good.


The programme of exhibitions continued this year with Charting China: early views of China through European eyes which was opened by Professor Moira Yip, UCL Pro-Provost (China, Hong Kong and Macao) and later visited by the Chinese Ambassador. The collection of items, including maps and books from UCL Special Collections, displayed views of China by early European visitors from the 16th to 19th centuries. As with previous exhibitions we tied this in to a national initiative and there is no doubt that the link to China Now brought us visitors from outside. For those unable to get to UCL this exhibition was digitally curated and was accessible via the Library's website, an innovation which will continue in the future.

In the summer Library staff contributed to Eclectica 2008 a second exhibition of our colleagues. own collections. From Family History to ice hockey, dragons to AC/DC the exhibition celebrated the interests of our colleagues.

A major exhibition on Darwin and his influence on UCL was planned for the next session.

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Last modified 14 January 2010

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