Thursday, 30 May 2013

Nineteenth Century Photography resources - free trial

GALE are offering free access to a number of nineteenth century materials relating to photography.  The resources are part of an archive called Photography: The World through the Lens, which is part of Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO).

You can access NCCO until 20th June from here. A quick registration is required.

Photography: The World through the Lens comprises the following:

  • British Admiralty Office Photographs
  • British Colonial Office: Photographic Collection
  • British Journal of Photography and Annual, 1854-1914
  • Early Rare Photographic Books from the Northwestern Museum of Science and Industry Collection
  • Early Rare Photographs from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
  • The Hill and Adamson Albums: photographs by David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, 1843-1848
  • History of Photography
  • Japanese Old Photographs in Bakumatsu-Meiji Period
  • Nineteenth-Century Photographs from the Royal Archives, Windsor
  • The Photographic News, 1859-1908
  • Records of the Copyright Office of the Stationers' Company: Photographs
I did a few searches and found some announcements relating to the Polytechnic Institute (a former incarnation of the University of Westminster).  You will find links to what I found below (you will need to login to NCCO for these links to work): 

Lecture on Photography (1882)

Advertisement [Instruction in Photography] (1884)
Advertisement [Instruction in Photography] (1888)

Thursday, 23 May 2013

How to decide what to read?

A lot of what librarians teach about information skills are the techniques of searching, rather than the sort of thinking that needs to happen.

I've been thinking a lot about this because so often the techniques of searching, while useful, are not enough to answer many of the questions that students pose: what is needed is thinking.

I was reminded of this recently when reading a book in the Palgrave Study Skills series, How to use your reading in your essays, for preparation for a teaching session.  This is a short book which tells you all about how to write with sources.

Early on in the book, there is a section entitled, 'How to decide what to read?' which gives the following five steps:

Step 1. Think: what question do you want to answer?
Step 2. Think: what ideas of your own do you already have?
Step 3. Think: what types of source will you need?
Step 4. Do a first search
Step 5. Think: sort and select your sources for detailed reading
That is a lot of thinking!

Could it be that searching is the part of the iceberg above the water line that should be supported by the thinking going on beneath?

In our search-engine oriented world, searching is often done without thinking.   It is not something that is just affliciting the young, but is pervasive.  As soon as a question is forming in our minds it is already being expressed in our fingers, and before it is fully expressed in our fingers, Google is giving us answers - of a sort. This is fine if our question is, 'Where can I get a pizza in Harrow?', but for more complex questions, this approach can often lead us into trouble.  It is easy to get lost in a sea of information, with little idea of what it was we were trying to find out in the first place.

A few quotations illustrate the point:

Any idiot can type a search term into an internet search engine, and many idiots do.  The typical internet query is about 2.4 words long and has about a 14 per cent chance of failing because it contains a mis-spelling.
Rugg and Petre (2007: 48)
It is easy to produce dreadful assignments by using a search engine to do a quick, undiscriminating trawl. Searching for a few words from your assignment task, copying from websites you come across and then pasting together disconnected bits and pieces to present as your assignment will get you a very low grade.

Northedge and Chambers (2008: 271) 
There was a time when the word “research” meant “critical and exhaustive research or experimentation having as its aim the discovery of new facts or interpretations" (Webster’s Third New International Dictionary 1976). Research today often means little more than locating random snippets using a search engine.
Gorman (2012: 114)
Research is at least 80% about forming questions, reflecting on what you know already, understanding the sources that might extend your knowledge, and thinking about and selecting the material you find.  Less than 20% is about doing the search.  That is the easy bit!  Or at least it is easy when you have a good idea of what you are looking for.

Further reading

Godfrey, J. (2009).  How to use your reading in your essays.  Palgrave Macmillan.

Gorman, M. (2012). The prince’s dream: a future for academic libraries, The New Review of Academic Librarianship, 18(2), 114

Northedge, A. and Chambers, E. (2008). The arts good study guide, 2nd ed. The Open University Press.

Rugg, G. and Petre, M. (2007).  A gentle guide to research methods.  Open University Press.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Summer loans - from 28th May

We are starting summer loans earlier this year as Regent Library wants students to borrow as many books as possible before they close for refurbishment.

From Friday 28 May all 3 week loans and 1 week books will be issued over the vacation period to be returned during the week beginning Monday 23 September.

Harrow DVDs remain 1 week loans as usual.

We are putting notices up by the self-service and at the counter to let users know.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

New books

It's been six weeks since the last 'new books' post, so about the right time for a new one.  You will find that the links below take you to a list within Library Search. 

One book could have included on all of the first three lists, but is only on the Photography one.  This is the new title in the Documents of contemporary art series: Documentary (edited by Julian Stallabrass).

This series is co-published by MIT Press and the Whitechapel art gallery, and brings together key writings on a particular topic.  Previous titles include: The archive; The cinematic; Appropriation; and Memory.  See them all on Library Search here.

New books


+ Jason Evans. NYLPT.  Mack. [now available as an IPad/Iphone app]
Paul Graham.  Paul Graham: Hasselblad Award 2012. Mack.
Luigi Ghirri. Kodachrome, 2nd ed.  Mack.

Film and Television

Photography and Digital Imaging / Clinical Photography

Cannes film festival 2013

Cannes opens next week, with the awards announced on the 26th May.  See the official selection for 2013 now.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Photoworks - news

The biannual photography magazine, Photoworks, will be published annually from October this year. This reduction in the publishing schedule will be accompanied by a new emphasis on their online presence, and they are promising that they will be commissioning, "more writing than ever."

Issue #1 of the magazine was published in 2003, to coincide with the first ever Brighton Photo Biennial, the next iteration of which will be in 2014.  Printed copies of the previous editions from 2006 are available in the library, or the full archive is available on Art Full Text.

The newly designed website should be live in June this year.  Find out more here.

Krasna-Krausz book awards - results

The two winning books in this year's Krasna-Krausz book awards are both exhibition catalogues from major shows of the past year - one from London (Hollwood costume) and one from the US (War / Photography).  The details of both books are as follows:

War / Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath by Anne Wilkes Tucker, Will Michaels, Natalie Zelt (Yale University Press)

Moving Image Book Award Winner
Hollywood Costume by Deborah Nadoolman Landis (V&A Publishing)

The first of these (War / Photography) has just come into the library, and it looks pretty remarkable.  It's difficult to see even the excellent 'Everything was moving' - another catalogue from a show this year which was nominated for the prize - even coming close to it.

Related posts

Krasna-Krausz book awards

The Content Map - new website

A new website has been produced to help UK consumers identify sources of legal downloads, and streaming services.  Developed by the Alliance for Intellectual Property (note the URL), The Content Map acts as a good survey of key sites such as Amazon, Apple, BBC, ITV, etc.  It also includes some you may not have come across such as Curzon On Demand and

Once the money available for the website had been spent, I don't think much was left for promotion, so please share!

On a related note I was reminded recently of the BUFVC's Moving Image Gateway, which is an excellent compendium of websites related to moving image and sound material.