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Author Archives: katewilcox


Reduced access to library collections on Monday 15th December

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NorthAmericanWe’ll be moving books into the IHR’s new North American history room next Monday 15th December. The IHR will remain open but the lower ground area of the library (housing the International Relations and Military collections) will be closed so that the crates can be brought through this area. The Military, International relations and American collections (classmarks W, IR, US, UF and C) will be inaccessible on this day. Other fetches may be disrupted.

We plan to open the room up at the start of January and it will house approximately two thirds of the American collections as well as providing additional reader desks.

History Day talks

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DSC3939-300x199History libraries & research open day is actually several events rolled into one. Twenty-six libraries and archives will have stalls in a history fair in Macmillan Hall, a large room with enough space for several tables to allow one-on-one consultations with experts on specific research skills. However, Macmillan Hall was not quite large enough to hold our three panels of useful talks, which will be held in a nearby seminar room. Our goal is to give researchers a look behind the scenes of libraries, archives and digital projects, allowing them to discover what happens to books, manuscripts and webpages before they are available.

Our first panel of the day, chaired by Senate House Library’s Dr Richard Espley, Research Librarian for English, Irish and Post Colonial Literatures and Languages, focuses on libraries. The first two speakers in this panel, Alison Gage of Bibliographic Services in Senate House Library and Michael Townsend, a Collection Librarian for the Institute of Historical Research Library, will answer questions about how library classification can have an impact on your research. Their talks will lead into a talk about using libraries in the digital age by the IHR’s Dr Benjamin Bankhurst.

The second panel of the day, chaired by Senate House Library archivist Richard Temple, starts with an introduction to Archives networks, resources and research by Dr Nick Barrett of the National Archives. The next talk of the session, by Shakespeare’s Globe archivist Dr Ruth Frendo, gives insight into archival arrangement and the research process. Finishing the session will be Dr Elizabeth Williams, librarian of History, Theatre and Performance of Goldsmiths, University of London, who will discuss the new Black Cultural Archives and the impact of the archives on British History.

The last panel of the day will focus on research in the digital world, chaired by Dr Jane Winters of the IHR. Dr James Baker of the British Library will lead off the panel with a discussion on digital research, and his talk will be followed by discussions of a variety of digital resources including British History Online, the Bibliography of British and Irish History, Reviews in History and DERA. These will be presented by Simon Baker, Jonathan Blaney and Sarah Milligan of the IHR and by Daniel O’Connor of the UCL Institute of Education Library.

See the event programme for more details. Attendance to each session will be limited to forty so if you are interested, please let us know you would like to attend as soon as you arrive at History Day. We believe these presentations will give you insight into research resources and strengthen your research skills.

Libraries and archives working together for researchers

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Librarians and archivists are great at collaborating. Library collections are often built up with a specific remit so as not to overlap too much with other local or specialist libraries. The Institute of Historical Research library collections, for example, have always focused on Western European and American history, leaving other regions to the nearby libraries of the School of Oriental and African Studies and the School of Slavonic and East European Studies. Similarly the Senate House Library and IHR history collections have been built up to be complementary, with the IHR focusing on primary source material and Senate House Library collecting monographs and other secondary material. We continue to work closely together when selecting material.

Libraries and archives also complement each other. The IHR library includes a range of guides, bibliographies and calendars which can be a useful starting point for research. Michael Little from theNational Archives library has written more about this in a recent blog post. As he says, ‘it’s helpful to see archives and libraries as working in conjunction with each rather than as being separate entities’.

On January 20th 2015, we will be hosting the second History Libraries and Research open Day in the MacMillan Hall on the ground floor of Senate House. The idea for an open day originated with the Committee for London Research Libraries in History which was itself founded out of a desire to have a forum for libraries to share ideas and collaborate. The event will bring together libraries and archives from across London to provide information about library collections and workshops and presentations about research methods and skills. Researchers will have the opportunity to talk to staff and find out more about relevant collections.

Librarians also work collaboratively in enquiry work – helping readers to find material in our own institutions, but also pointing out where other organisations have related or more specialist collections. The fair is a great opportunity for students – and for library/archive staff – to meet each other and discover the sometimes hidden gems available in libraries and archives in London and beyond.

Copying and Wifi facilities in the IHR – update

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Our Wifi network is now in operation- we have coverage in all areas apart from the Foyle room. Please ask at library office or reception if you need details on how to connect.

Work on setting up the copiers/printers is still ongoing. Sorry for the continued delays and inconvenience caused while these facilities have been unavailable.

Library collections in the new IHR

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We’ve now been open for two weeks, and the library staff are getting used to the new layout just as much as readers are.  The book move took months of planning, and it’s pleasing to see how well the new arrangement works in practice and that most readers have been happy with it.  A few books ended up being shelved in the wrong order, inevitable in such a big move. The library staff have been finding time to tidy these sections at times when there are few readers about. Much of the shelf signage is complete. The folio sections were especially disrupted while in store, and we are pleased that they are now back on open access and upright.

We’ve moved as much of the collection as possible to the open shelves, and regret that many periodicals have had to remain in closed access. Exceptions include the four most frequently requested periodicals (see below) and many record society and similar source-based series. The Current Periodicals room on the ground floor houses the last three or four years of most titles.

As most people will already have discovered, the 1st floor houses British (including local), Irish, Crusades, Byzantine and Church history. On the 2nd floor are the other European collections. The Military and International Relations collections are in the basement. Still under construction is a further room on the 2nd floor which will contain substantial parts of the American and Colonial collections. Watch this blog later in the year for news of its completion and opening.

Please note that three collections – Scottish, Spanish local and German – are shelved in rooms which double up as meeting rooms. Please check the IHR diary if you are planning to use these collections. Items can be reserved in advance of your visit if necessary. The rooms are:

  • Scottish History: Professor Olga Crisp room (room N102)
  • Spanish Regional: John S Cohen room (N203)
  • German History: Peter Marshall room (N204)
  • German local: Past and Present room (N202)

Some of the older (pre-1750) and rarer material has been classmarked S and is being kept in closed access for reasons of security. These books can be requested as usual, and will be stored in the library office when not in use.

The main changes to where items are shelved are as follows:

Collections moved from closed access to open access

  • Four heavily-used periodicals – Historical Research, English Historical Review, Past and Present and History
  • Most folios (BB and other double letters)
  • A new sequence of oversized folios (BBB and other triple letters)
  • Most International Relations and Military History
  • Spanish Regional
  • Most German and Low Countries
  • Selections from the general collection (all of E.1 Historiography, E.4 Holy Roman Empire, E.6 Medieval European history, selections from E.2 Reference works, E.3 General European history and E.7 Modern European history)

Collections moved from offsite to onsite store

  • Austria
  • European Universities (E.8)
  • Other selections from the general collection (the parts of E.2, E.3, E.7 not on open access)

Signage, catalogue and website updates are still ongoing, but do pop in and see staff in the library enquiry office if you have any questions.

Update on availability of facilities in the new IHR library

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We’re still waiting for the photocopying/printing equipment to arrive, and for the Wifi to be connected. We apologise for the inconvenience the delay has caused. We will provide updates when we have further information. You are welcome to use your own photographic equipment to make copies.

Reader desks are provided around the library. We expect the first floor reading room to be the most heavily used. If you find it fully occupied, remember that there are plenty of desks on the same floor in the Foyle reading room and upstairs on the 2nd and 3rd floors.

The Foyle reading room has book supports and a large table making it ideal for consulting large and fragile material as well as maps.

We have eight PCs currently available and three more will be added once some network faults are fixed. Two of these PCs have our new microfilm scanners attached, but are also available for general use when not required for this purpose.

Thanks for your patience during this time. We will put updates on the blog but please contact us if you’d like any further information on ihr.library@sas.ac.uk or 020 7862 8760.

Availability of facilities in the newly reopened IHR

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The IHR has reopened and the common room is available, with service of drinks and light snacks from 12 til 5.

There are a few outstanding problems still to be ironed out:

  • PCs are now in place on most floors. There will be a delay to their setup in the basement due to a fault with the network.
  • Installation of Wifi has been delayed due to the over-running building works. We expect this to be complete by the end of next week.
  • We are awaiting delivery of our photocopiers. Once these are installed, payment will be made by adding money to an account using your IHR card. Credits from existing cards can be transferred.
  • The lights in the reading rooms are controlled by sensors by the main landing doors. We have asked if these can be adjusted to avoid them going off while people are working further down the room.

The library collections are all in place with more now available on open access. The catalogue update is almost complete, but please ask staff if you need any help locating material.

Apologies for the inconvenience caused. We will continue to provide updates but please contact us if you’d like any further information on ihr.library@sas.ac.uk or 020 7862 8760.

IHR reopening on Monday 1st September

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library

We’re on schedule to reopen on Monday morning and looking forward to welcoming you to the refurbished IHR. Over 3.5 kilometres of books have been moved during the last 2 weeks and merged from 3 locations into the new library, and the movers have done an amazing job and stayed cheerful throughout!

The catalogue and finding aids are in the process of being updated, but staff will be on hand on Monday to help with locating material, and we are happy to give tours around the collections and facilities. We welcome our new library trainee Alex Zaleski on Monday as well, and she will be learning the new layout with the rest of us.

common-room

Please bear with us as we get things straightened out over the coming weeks. Photocopiers and Wifi are not yet available but will be installed as soon as possible. There are some new PCs ready to use on the 1st floor (the rest will be installed next week) and brand new microform scanning facilities.

The much loved common room is fully refurbished and will have catering provided at lunchtimes and afternoon tea. We hope you will enjoy using the new facilities.

Preparations for the library move

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booksWe are beginning to move books and finalise shelving layouts  in preparation for the move. Some books which have been on open access need to be temporarily moved into closed access to be shelved in sequence. This particularly affects books at B.0 (British bibliography), place names series and folios. They can still be requested if required, and will be returning to open access after the move. Please check the catalogue for details of specific items.

The fetch service and staffing of the enquiry office may also be disrupted during the next 2 weeks. We will guarantee a fetch at 9am and 2pm, but other times (11am and 4.30pm) may be affected, and you are advised to check with library or reception staff if a request is urgent (020 7862 8760/8740).

The library will close completely from Saturday 16th August to Saturday 30th August inclusive. We hope to reopen in the north block on Monday 1st September but please check the IHR website and blog for updates nearer the time..

We apologise for the disruption caused during this period, but we have attempted to keep the closure period to a minimum. We’re looking forward to welcoming you to the refurbished IHR complete with the much missed common room!

2nd Annual History Day

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2014 History libraries & research open day by Kate Wilcox

2014 History libraries & research open day by Kate Wilcox

Save this date: Tuesday 20 January 2015! For anyone studying and researching history or related disciplines, this will be an important opportunity to locate key libraries, archives and collections. Following up on the successful 2014 History Day, Senate House Library and the Institute of Historical Research Library will be hosting a second History libraries & research open day with the support of the School of Advanced Study. With the open history fair and one-on-one research clinics in Macmillan Hall and training sessions in a nearby seminar room, the event aims to match researchers and historians with the skills and collections they need. Keep an eye on the event website for further details and we hope to see you here in January!