23 July 2013

Art History journal now online and open access

St Andrews Journal of Art History and Museum Studies has been re-launched as an open access journal, and renamed as North Street Review: Arts and Visual Culture. "North Street Review publishes essays representing the diverse approaches to all facets of art history both within the University of St. Andrews, the United Kingdom, and abroad. Inclusive and interdisciplinary, the Review encourages research from all methodological perspectives and invites contributions concerning art history across all time periods and geographical areas." (http://ojs.st-andrews.ac.uk/index.php/nsr)

The journal started life in print as Inferno in 1994, and in 2004 articles from 3 volumes were added to our institutional repository. Over the years we have seen steady usage of these online articles: Asger Jorn and the photographic essay on Scandinavian vandalism by Niels Henriksen, was downloaded 72 times in the last year, and along with Saint Peter and Paul Church (Sinan Pasha Mosque), Famagusta: a forgotten Gothic moment in Northern Cyprus by Michael Walsh was in the top 10 most viewed items of 2011. In 2009 the journal was renamed, and a year later became part of a pilot project to use Open Journal Systems (OJS) as a journal hosting platform. The Library worked with the journal Editors to gather back issues, test out OJS functionality and learn about the process of running a hosting service and an online journal. The thorny issue of copyright permissions was never far away, with most of the content containing images that were only cleared for print versions. The journal continued in print while the Editor worked with a new team on a redesign for the journal, a process for contacting previous authors, and the small matter of completing her thesis!


Cover PageIn the Editorial of Vol 15, Liz Shannon writes "The metamorphosis of the Journal, which began two years ago with a change of title from Inferno, will continue this year with the introduction of a new website. We hope to make more material from past issues easily available and by the end of next year to have most of our back issues online. We encourage any past contributors whose articles are yet to appear on the Journal’s existing website to get in touch so that we can clear this work for inclusion. In addition, our new website will simplify the process of submitting articles to the Journal and make life easier for both contributors and editors."


It is great to see North Street Review launched after a long period of development – there are now online TOCs for everything going back to 1994 and plans to track down permissions for early articles. There is open access to some full text articles from 2003 and the complete Vol 15 (2011) now available.

The Call for Papers for North Street Review 2014 is here:
http://ojs.st-andrews.ac.uk/index.php/nsr/announcement/view/18

18 July 2013

Student's initiative launches new open access journal

Just over a year ago, un undergraduate student in St Andrews put out a call for interest in starting an academic journal. The idea was to create the 'Journal of Sustainability', an open access journal which would feature distinguished research about the environment, development and sustainability in its widest sense. Since then Margot Cromwell has gathered a team of enthusiastic students from disciplines across the University to design and edit the new journal.

The University Library offered journal hosting services (using OJS software), and the students agreed that this was an ideal platform to meet their needs as it provides the structure and visibility they wanted for their venture. Our planning meetings helped tease out the usual copyright and policy issues, so that the journal had all the necessary agreements in place as content started to roll in.

As well as the support and guidance available from the Library, the new journal manager was able to meet with the student editors of Ethnographic Encounters who had experience of using the service, so even more connections across the University were made. After much hard work, the contributions have been peer reviewed, edited and published in the first issue of the Journal of Sustainability. The articles cover compelling topics, primarily on human activities in the face of climate change, with an interdisciplinary perspective that aims to encourage debate on the subject of sustainable development.


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Journal of Sustainability


You can access the new journal alongside our growing suite of hosted journals at http://ojs.st-andrews.ac.uk/

 

12 July 2013

All good things...

Intern's log, stardate 12/07/2013: For the past six weeks I have been an intern here in the Repository Team, a post which I obtained through the St Andrews Summer Internships Scheme. It has been a busy time, and a description of all of my activities in detail would be far too lengthy, but I hope this summary illuminates some of the insights I have gained into the library’s operation. Most students, as I was myself, will only be familiar with the public areas upstairs, but this is only the tip of a large, multifarious iceberg. Think pre-global warming, with plenty of space for polar bears sipping a generic, unbranded coke.

The Repository Team works in what I have fondly come to think of as the ‘underbelly’ of the library, and deals with providing digital access to University research publications and theses. One of my primary tasks has been adding thesis content to Research@StAndrews:FullText, a great resource which I hadn’t really heard of or used before I started investigating the job description, but I will certainly be using it now! It’s a great database of content produced by St Andrews, including research output, current theses and retro theses which have been requested through EThOS –another handy research tool. I have added over 200 pieces of content whilst I’ve been here, a task which has included creating coversheets for uniformity, finding metadata and subject headings for increased access, and adding links to the catalogue for visibility. Updating the collections pages also gave me an opportunity to use HTML and exercise an eye for detail to spot dead links and poorly formatted paragraphs in over one hundred pages. As a rather pernickety person I have found it all to be very enjoyable, and through reading the abstracts of theses I've learnt about diverse topics such as dolphins and lasers - a combination of knowledge which I promise to use only for the good of mankind.

On a serious note, although the classification work may seem fiddly, when you realise the sheer scale of the content which the library holds then you see it is thoroughly necessary. My desk is in-between the acquisitions, cataloguing, and processing departments, and hundreds of items pass through here every week, as well as the digital content which the library is constantly acquiring. It's important we know what it is and where it is, otherwise the utility of the library would completely break down - imagine if Wikipedia had no search function, and you could only press the 'random article' button to try and find that information you need! All of this unseen work is really what makes the library function so well for you as a user, and until SAULCAT gains sentiency (estimated for 2079), next time you pull up a record be sure to think about the work that goes into acquiring, cataloguing and processing your item.

Another strand of my work here has been investigating who funds the research which occurs at St Andrews. Changes in regulation mean that many funding bodies, such as the RCUK, EU, and Wellcome Trust, require that research which they have funded is made accessible online. Open Access is still rapidly evolving, so it was exciting to be a part of something which is changing as you work on it, and my main task has been to detail the research funded by the RCUK and Wellcome Trust over the last year, so that we can identify things we may be able to add to PURE (our research portal). I've also had to do some investigation to track down authors of theses which we wish to upload, some of whom left over forty years ago. This made me feel rather like I was on Heir Hunters- it's on after Jeremy Kyle but before Bargain Hunt - where they track down long lost relatives. Nobody I found got a huge windfall, but I think it's nice for people to know that their research is still wanted after so long, and that it will always have a home at the University.

The library has really made a great effort to make sure that I got the most out of my time here, and so I've been lucky enough to visit lots of people in different departments. Again, it's too much to detail it all, but I would like to thank all of the people I've seen who have given so generously of their time, which quite clearly has so many demands on it already. As a book-lover and historian/classicist I've really enjoyed seeing some of the treasures of Special Collections, as well as the gifts and bequests which the library is lucky enough to receive. It has also been interesting to follow material from ordering to shelving, learning about how it is acquired and then the various processes it goes through. The overwhelming impression has been that there really is more to the library than you would imagine, in terms of scale and operations, and that the staff work very hard to make it a user-friendly experience.

So, have I been persuaded that my future career lies in librarianism? Well, as a person who can't decide on a cake (as happened this morning) let alone a career, I am not entirely sure. What I will say is that I've learnt many transferable skills (necessary buzzwords for an arts student), both library-related and more general things to do with the work environment and myself, which I know will benefit me immensely in the future. I would encourage anybody thinking of applying for an internship with the library next year to do so - you're in safe hands!


Heather Curtis (Guest blogger & intern)

Ancestry investigator requests St Andrews thesis

Here at the library we don’t just do letters, but numbers as well. When a request came in to view a thesis entitled ‘Robert Beale and the Elizabethan polity’ by Mark Taviner, from a Mr Beale located somewhere in Cornwall, we quickly put two and two together to realise that this was probably somebody researching their ancestry. Following on from the BBC’s request last month, this is another great example of the diverse requests we have to view St Andrews theses. Thanks to the strong Open Access policy to which the university is committed, St Andrews research is given fantastic visibility and impact, and so Dr Taviner’s thesis is now helping to unlock family mysteries at the other end of the country.

Dr Taviner’s thesis is available in the Research@StAndrews:FullText archive here: http://hdl.handle.net/10023/3709, and let this serve as a reminder for my fellow historians – be careful what you write in your essays, because if you end up insulting somebody’s great?-grandmother, they might find out about it!


Heather Curtis (Guest blogger & intern)

11 July 2013

Thesis highlights academic value of Special Collections

Amidst the many treasures of Special Collections lies the Von Hügel Collection. At around five thousand volumes it represents a significant gathering of 19th and 20th century works on philosophy, religion, and history, as well as original and annotated manuscript papers. Assembled by Baron Friedrich von Hügel (1852-1925), Hon. LLD St Andrews 1921, it was bequeathed to the university upon his death in 1926.

Von Hügel’s philosophy is still debated, and this year St Andrews doctoral student Robyn Wrigley-Carr made a contribution to the scholarship with her PhD thesis: ‘The Baron, his niece and friends: Friedrich von Hügel as a spiritual director, 1915-1925’. This serves to prove that these documents, and many other Special Collection texts like them, although valuable for their beauty and antiquity, are also a key research tool for scholars.

Special Collections rightly keeps its valuable store well-guarded and looked after, so they probably wouldn’t be too pleased if you wandered in for a browse with a muffin, but you are welcome to read Dr Wrigley-Carr’s thesis whilst shedding as many crumbs as you like:
http://hdl.handle.net/10023/3588

Heather Curtis (Guest blogger & intern)

BBC request St Andrews thesis

Every student to pass through St Andrews leaves a legacy in one form or another, and for our postgraduates this often takes the shape of a thesis. The university requires students to submit a copy of their thesis to the library in order to graduate, but who is it that might end up reading your precious creation, years or even decades after you have gone?

Well, you’ll be pleased to know they’re not just propping up the desks here in the underbelly of the library where the repository work takes place, and unfortunately they make for rather unwieldy coasters. In reality, whether in digital or print form they are a tangible monument to our university’s research excellence, and recently an urgent call came through from the BBC. It’s not unusual for us to receive requests for viewings from scholars around the country, primarily through the British Library’s EThOS service, but last month the team behind ‘Coast’ requested a copy of F. M. Fraser’s 1977 PhD thesis: ‘The Lewisian and Torridonian geology of Iona’ – on the double!

With a tight filming schedule on Iona to be met, there was no time to send it off to London for digitisation as would usually happen, and so it was rushed off to Special Collections to be scanned in-house. One week later we presented the BBC with four hundred pages of geographical goodness, saving the day by assuring there would be sufficient educational content to match the moody shots of Neil Oliver’s locks flapping about in the wind. Whoever said that library work isn’t glamorous?

Season 9 of ‘Coast’ will be hitting our screens in 2014, but for the keener amongst you, here is a link to Dr Fraser’s thesis in Research@StAndrews:FullText:
http://hdl.handle.net/10023/3812

Heather Curtis (Guest blogger & intern)