Thursday, 28 November 2013

Am I bovered, though?

There have been a few rumours flying around that Thomson Reuters, who own the well-known database 'Web of Knowledge,' were going to withdraw the contents of their database from Primo Central - known to you and I as the 'Articles & more' quick search in Library Search - and other aggregator services such as Summon and Ebsco.

Without trying to denigrate Web of Knowledge at all, my response to this was "Do I look bovered?"  The fact is that most (if not all) the content would still be included from other sources (Elsevier, JSTOR, etc), so it would make little difference. 

In any case, for most of the subjects I support, the existing 'Articles & more' (with or without Web of Knowledge) is of dubious benefit, and I prefer to direct students either to an alternative aggregator (namely Google Scholar) or (and this is my preference) to good quality specialist databases - namely Proquest Art databases, JSTOR, or Art Full Text, or FIAF International Index to Film Periodicals.

The reason for Thomson Reuter's apparent hesitancy with regard to aggregated search was said to be that they wanted users to use their interface as their primary search environment for authoritative search.  And I can see why.  Web of Knowledge is unique amongst multidisciplinary databases in that their principal feature is how few, rather than how many journals it indexes.  They pride themselves on quality, and exclusivity.  In the sciences in particular, this is a great advantage, making this a leading databases in science - and in particular for systematic reviews.

Within the arts and humanities, Web of Knowledge, is used much less frequently, despite there being a specific index for arts & humanities (the Arts & Humanities Citation Index).  This currently indexes only 82 art journals (I think only three of these are specific to photography) and only 33 journals in the areas of film, radio and TV.  So, quite limited;  however, as these are reckoned to be  the most influential journals in the relevant field (by the panel appointed by Web of Science to decide these things) it is worth looking to see which are the chosen journals.

Subsequent to the rumours, Web of Science has issued a statement confirming that they are in fact not withdrawing their records from Primo Central.  They have also announced that they will be collaborating with Google Scholar to provide seamless movement to and from Web of Knowledge, which will be interesting (and might help revitalise both).  This is a neat collaboration given that an early article setting out the principles of Google’s algorithm back in 1998, cited Eugene Garfield - founder of ISI, who originally developed Web of Knowledge.

Web of Knowledge will also be launching a new interface early next year, which should make searching their current - rather difficult - interface easier.  I look forward to it.

Web of Knowledge
Search Web of ScienceSM
Copyright 2010 Thomson Reuters   

Journal launches 'cute studies'

A new journal, due for publication in 2015, is looking for articles on cuteness.  The East Asian Journal of Popular Culture is, "to launch the new, interdisciplinary, transnational academic field of Cute Studies." More information and a bibliography is available here:

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Pictorial works - subject headings

This is a little tip for you.  The standard subject heading used by libraries for books of pictures is "pictorial works."  This seems logical enough; however, few people would use this as a search term when looking for photography, and would therefore miss out on some books.

If you are looking for books with photographs of Britain, try searching for "pictorial works" AND Britain (as well as the more intuitive photography AND Britain).  It is important to do this, as the catalogue record for books of photographs sometimes do not refer to 'photographs' or 'photography' at all but do use the term "pictorial works"!

As an example, compare the results for these two searches (I have used the subject field in advanced search for these examples):

petroleum AND photography

petroleum AND pictorial works

The first 'obvious' query retrieves two results; but the second less obvious query retrieves two additional results.

You could argue that this is just poor cataloguing; and you might be right.  Certainly, Edward Burtynsky's monumental book, Oil, ought to include additional subject headings, including ones related to photography.  (You can see a fuller record on COPAC here). However, the broader point is that in order to search catalogues effectively, it helps to understand the language that they use to describe resources - particularly in the subject fields.  

After all, it is not only 'pictorial works' which is a non-intuitive term, but also 'petroleum.'  Search for oil AND photography or oil AND pictorial works and your results are even more unsatisfactory.

Box of Broadcasts - news

Box of Broadcasts - the archive of TV and radio broadcasts - will be off-line between 13-23 December to prepare for the relaunch of the service on the 6th January.

While not being able to access BoB for a short time is an inconvenience, the new features that will be launching in January will be very much welcomed.  Of particular interest is the more than half a million additional BBC programmes from 2007 onwards that will  be offered.  I am also very pleased that it will be compatible with an Ipad.

The new features will include:

•    access to more than 500,000 new BBC TV and radio programmes, dating from 2007, from the BBC archive
•    an additional 13 foreign language channels
•    an extended recording buffer – giving you more channels, available for longer
•    a new website look, including colour, theme, functionality and improved navigation.
•    the ability to search across future and recorded programmes simultaneously
•    interactive transcripts and dynamic subtitle searches
•    Apple iOS compatibility
•    the ability to easily create clips and clip compilations, and share programmes and playlists via social media
•    the option to make YouTube-style comments on progammes
•    a quick link to the new BUFVC AV Citation Guidelines, allowing you the opportunity to reference programmes within your work easily.

Enjoyment is our duty

I've recently watched Slavoj Zizek's new film, The Pevert's Guide to Ideology, which has just come into the library.  Like it's predecessor, The Pervert's Guide to Cinema, this is a cinematic thesis which draws from Zizek's writing, and uses films as points of illustration and analysis. Although I sometimes felt his argument jumped around a bit, and I was left wondering how some of the points he was making linked together, it was a hugely entertaining and thought-provoking film.

There were some great clips used as illustration, drawn from an eclectic mix of films, which I have listed below.  Where they are available on our TV archive, Box of Broadcasts, I have also provided links, so that, if we want, we can revisit the whole film.

A press release for the film is available in the contact section of the film's website:

They Live (1988) / John Carpenter

A Clockwork Orange (1971) / Stanley Kubrick

West Side Story (1961) / Robert Wise & Jerome Robbins [ON DVD]

Taxi Driver (1976) / Martin Scorsese

The Searchers (1956) / John Ford

Jaws (1975) / Steven Spielberg

Triumph of the Will (1935) / Leni Riefenstahl [ON DVD]

The Eternal Jew (1940) / Fritz Hippler

Cabaret (1972) / Bob Fosse

I Am Legend (2007) / Francis Lawrence

Titanic (1997) / James Cameron

The Fall of Berlin (1950) / Mikhail Chiareli

Full Metal Jacket (1987) / Stanley Kubrick

Mash (1970) / Robert Altman

If (1968) / Lindsay Anderson

The Dark Knight (2008) / Christopher Nolan [ON DVD]

The Loves of a Blonde (1965) / Milos Forman

The Fireman’s Ball (1967) / Milos Forman [ON DVD]

Brief Encounter (1945) / David Lean

Brazil (1985) / Terry Gilliam

The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) / Martin Scorsese [ON DVD]

Seconds (1966) / John Frankenheimer

Zabriskie Point (1970) / Michelangelo Antonioni [VIDEOTAPE]

Friday, 15 November 2013

British Independent Film Awards nominations 2013

The 16th annual British Independent Film Awards nominations have been announced.  Prison drama 'Starred Up' gets eight nominations, and 'The Selfish Giant' gets seven.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

New books

The following books have been added to the collection since September.  Enjoy!
Animation, Film, TV



Thursday, 7 November 2013

David Campany / Gasoline

David Campany's new book, entitled Gasoline, is now in the library. 

This has been widely reviewed (e.g. The Guardian, Photo-eye, etc), and you can find out more about it on David Campany's website:

Screen Resources

London Screen Archive
A significant upgrade to the LSA online catalogue is underway.  You will be able to access this from their website:

BFI Player Launched
The BFI Player provides a mix of free and pay-per-view content.  UK audiences can watch contemporary and archive films in the comfort of their own home.  Watch now at:

Other On Demand services
One of the films you can watch on the BFI player is 'The Selfish Giant' by Arbor director/writer Clio Barnard.   If you go to The Selfish Giant website, you will see a number of other On Demand sites to choose from: Curzon Home Cinema; BT; Virgin Media; EE; Film Four; Blinkbox [from Tesco]; Sky Store; Google Play; and Volta.

Photoworks annual - launched 5th November

Photoworks' first annual issue was launched on November 5th 2013.  You can expect it to arrive in the library soon, and it will (I assume) be available online at some point (not sure when).

This issue will comprise a range of commissioned photographic work, conversations, and new writing.  For more information see here.

I will have to make a decision whether to continue to treat this as a magazine (and shelve it with the magazines), or treat it like some of our other annuals, which are shelved with the books.  Ultimately, it will depend whether it has an ISSN or ISBN.

Grierson 2013: the British documentary awards - winners announced

Following the announcement of the Grierson shortlist in August, we now have the winners.

Inevitably, perhaps, The Grierson Trust have chosen to highlight Mr Grayson Perry in their coverage of the event.  He is awarded documentary presenter of the year for his work on 'All in the best possible taste' - his exploration of British taste.  This is, of course, essential viewing! 

You can also hear Grayson deliver this year's Reith Lectures on radio 4 called 'Playing to the gallery' in which he gently, and sometimes not so gently, mocks the art world.

Many of the Greirson award winning and nominated documentaries will be available in the library or to view on Box of Broadcasts.