Good progress was made this year in many areas of the Library’s work in supporting research. A new interface to the Library’s holdings was piloted during the year with the intention of making it the default interface to most of the Library’s print, archive and electronic resources in time for the following academic year. Feedback from users through a dedicated blog was a valuable part of this process. Developments in support of open access included the establishment of a new platform for publishing journals in-house and two UCL titles took advantage of the new Open Journal System hosted by Library Services. Several large digitisation projects were funded or began work, and the Library began to plan a new digitisation studio with the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities. Alongside innovations of this kind Library staff continued the everyday work of providing high quality print collections and supporting researchers in their use of our systems, services and collections.
The highlight of the year, though, has undoubtedly been the transformation of the Library’s electronic holdings. This year has seen the greatest expansion of UCL’s electronic library for many years, following UCL’s very welcome decision the previous year to invest substantially in new electronic journals and databases over a three year period. The first tranche of funding became available in 2011/12 and was used to meet many requests from UCL researchers which had been collected by library staff over recent years. In addition to numerous new subscriptions to individual journal titles, Library Services arranged access to fifty eight substantial electronic services during the year. These range from historical source materials from the UK, the USA and Russia to newspaper backfiles, image databases, back runs of journals, e-book collections, reference works and databases of business, scientific and medical data.
Together these new services open up possibilities for new areas of research and research-led teaching. The comments below from UCL History are echoed by staff and students across UCL.
“ New Library e-resources, especially Documents on British Policy Overseas, the Digital National Security Archive and Congressional Research Digital Collections, have been enormously helpful to history students working on the international history of the Cold War. PhD, MA and final-year undergraduate students are all finding them invaluable resources for their research. The Digital National Security Archive in particular will serve as the primary source base for many of the undergraduate dissertations written in the Department on the detente years of the Cold War. The DNSA has impressive international scope and enables access to many documents declassified in response to National Security Archive action. Thus many of its records are not available in other digital or manuscript collections. In addition to these acquisitions, the Library's willingness to offer training in these new databases has been of considerable assistance to our students .”
Dr Sarah Snyder, UCL History
“ For Medieval Studies UCL provides an extremely conducive electronic environment for research and teaching, and the Library should be proud of what it now offers. The Brepolis International Medieval Bibliography and the Bibliography of British and Irish History Online are well-tried resources which are soon to be supplemented and complemented by the magnificent ‘Mirabile’ database, currently available in only one other centre in the UK. Patrologia Latina is now available online and has been transformed into a really user-friendly tool. Cambridge Histories Online is a notable addition for undergraduate teaching for all periods and places. For teaching MA and PhD students, ready access to all of these databases from one’s office is invaluable. ”
Prof David d'Avray (left) & Dr John Sabapathy, UCL History