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Annual Report of the Library Syndicate for the year 1998-99

After the frenzy of building activity last year, the current year represented a lull for both readers and staff. Fundraising for the Library's various building needs, however, continued apace, with very considerable success.

On 1 October 1998, the Vice-Chancellor formally announced an extremely generous gift of $12.5 million from Dr Gordon E. Moore, founder and Chairman Emeritus of Intel Corporation, which will be used to build a new library for the physical sciences, mathematics, and technology at Clarkson Road. Construction of the building, to be named The Betty and Gordon Moore Library in honour of the donor, is scheduled to begin in January 2000 and to be completed in summer 2001. This new library is the most significant development in the provision of library and information services to support science in Cambridge since the original Philosophical Library was opened to members of the University in 1881. It will form a key support service at an exciting time of transition in models of information delivery, as electronic services continue to expand whilst at the same time the demand for paper-based resources remains.

The completion in 1997 of the basement stack to the rear (west) of the main University Library building was the first stage of a major extension designed to provide the Library with expansion space for both readers and collections until the middle of the next century. Thanks to funding from a number of sources, including the Heritage Lottery Fund, the development of the north-west corner (to house enlarged reading rooms for rare books and manuscripts and a new digitization and photographic centre) will start in September 1999 and take about two years.

In May 1999 the Library was able to announce a further extraordinarily generous private donation of £6 million which will permit an early start on the matching development of the south-west corner. This area will house an enlarged reading room for Official Publications, a larger and much improved Microform Reading Room, a new area for readers to consult materials requested from other libraries on inter-library loan, an IT resources area which will provide access to a range of electronic information sources backed up by the adjacent support of the Library's technical experts, as well as a new processing area for the Legal Deposit Department. It is planned that work on this area will begin in the summer of 2000 and be completed towards the end of 2002.

With these two corners of the extension complete, the final phase will be to fill in the gap between them to create sufficient storage space to house the books and journals which continue to be published in large numbers and continue to be acquired by the Library. These are likely to be augmented by an increase in transfers from other Cambridge libraries, particularly in the sciences, as they move towards a greater reliance on electronic rather than paper information sources and seek to release the space in their own departments for other purposes. Examples of this in the School of Education and the Department of Geography were reported last year; this year the Department of Anatomy and the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages carried out similar exercises.

The lull in building work meant that users of the Library were spared the noise and disruption of having builders on site, but, in preparation for the next phase of construction, many members of staff were involved in the detailed planning of the north-west corner development and in preparing for the temporary accommodation necessary to house those departments evicted from that area during the building work. The Syndicate agreed that two corridors would have to be closed to readers in order to house Library staff, and also approved a temporary merging of the reading rooms for manuscripts and rare books.

The new Exhibition Centre, Morison Room, and redesigned Entrance Hall have proved very successful, once the teething problems with the new turnstiles had been sorted out. The exhibitions have attracted good publicity and a steady stream of visitors, and the location of the Centre, adjacent to the Admissions Office and the Morison Room, means that many people are stopping to look at the exhibitions en route elsewhere. The facilities in the Morison Room have been much admired and the rooms are now heavily used for purposes ranging from the Sandars Lectures and exhibition openings to training sessions and retirement parties.

This was the final year of the Higher Education Funding Council for England's Non-Formula Funding (NFF) for specialized collections in the humanities. Between 1994-95 and 1998-99 the Library received approximately £1,750,000 towards a total of seventeen projects which included cataloguing and preservation work on the following collections: the Royal Commonwealth Society and Rosenthal Africana collections, the Darwin Papers, English legal manuscripts, Stokes, Kelvin, and Clerk Maxwell papers, music manuscripts, and the Mayo and Templewood papers; conversion of the cataloguing records for books in Hebrew, Arabic, and Indic script and their addition to the online catalogue; and work on the Taylor-Schechter Genizah collection. These projects have all either been successfully completed on time or are due for completion during the coming year.

Following the submission to the Higher Education Funding Councils of a report on library provision for research by Professor Michael Anderson of the University of Edinburgh, a Research Support Libraries Programme was announced in 1998. The University will be participating in eleven collaborative projects funded under this scheme, including the retrospective conversion of catalogue records for music, maps, and nineteenth-century pamphlets; the creation of databases of resources in foreign legal materials, Russian and East European literature, Asian collections, mapping, and official publications; and the production of an online catalogue for the SPCK and Bible Society archives. In addition, the Library will receive a significant allocation towards the cost of providing services to academic staff and research students from other UK universities. The Librarian was invited to become a member of the Steering Committee for this programme.

Further progress was made with the long-term archiving of electronic information. At the end of its first year, the CEDARS (CURL Exemplars in Digital ARchiveS) Project, based at the universities of Cambridge, Leeds, and Oxford, was subjected to an external review. As a result, it was agreed that the allocation of responsibility would be revised, with the technical aspects being concentrated on the Computing Services at Leeds and Oxford, and the issues of intellectual property and licensing being taken on by Cambridge. A new Project Officer at Cambridge was appointed with this role.

Following the presentation to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport of the report by Sir Anthony Kenny recommending the extension of legal deposit legislation to non-print media, a number of meetings took place between representatives of the libraries and the publishers which culminated in an agreement between the Publishers' Association and the British Library, on behalf of the legal deposit libraries, for a voluntary deposit starting in 2000. This voluntary arrangement will allow various mechanisms, both technical and organizational, to be tested in advance of legislation.

During the year, two major reviews were undertaken and reports presented to the Library Syndicate: the Library's first Collection Development Policy and a review of the automation system.


During the year, the Library was, for the first time in its history, able to set down publicly its collection development policy, thanks to the enormous amount of effort by Mr Lees, who is to be congratulated on completing this major task and enlisting the support of many colleagues in all parts of the Library. This extensive and detailed document describes, for all subjects and all types of material (manuscript, print, electronic), what the Library currently aims to collect, in what depth, and in which languages. It is intended that this should be a dynamic document, which will be reviewed regularly and amended as the needs of the Library's users change. The most difficult part of the exercise will be to ensure that the policy is implemented evenly, as the number of staff available for book selection, ordering, and cataloguing is inadequate for the intake of material and there are significant backlogs of processing in many areas. The document was approved by the Library Syndicate and was sent to all Faculty Boards during the summer of 1999 for comment. The document has in effect become the first stage in the development of such a policy for all libraries in the University, as the General Board, after reviewing the University Library's statement, recommended that similar documents should be drawn up by all Faculty and Departmental libraries.

Modern books and periodicals

Two areas of accessions which have increased this year are second-hand books and microfiches. Increased use of the Internet and the availability of online lists of second-hand books have permitted more comprehensive filling of readers' requests and long-standing desiderata. During the year it was decided to allocate a part of the acquisitions budget to the replacement by microfiches of two series of microprints which were bought some decades ago and which can only be used with great difficulty as they rely upon obsolescent technology. These are the Early American Imprints and the United Nations Documents series, both of which are in considerable demand, the former particularly now since the records for some 36,000 titles in this series were added to the online catalogue as part of one of the Library's NFF projects.

American Studies is an area of importance in the Library's collecting, but acquisitions have been patchy over the years; now, thanks to a generous donation by Dr Mark Kaplanoff, it will be possible to employ a new member of staff, on a two-year basis, to identify and fill gaps and ensure that the books thus acquired are catalogued and made available to readers. The success of this new appointment, which will be shared between the Cataloguing and Accessions Divisions, will be monitored carefully to see if it can act as a model for future appointments on a similar basis.

The role of the University Library as a long-term repository for older material discarded from Faculty and Departmental libraries was further confirmed by major transfers from the Department of Anatomy and the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages. It is a widely-held view that such material should continue to be retained in Cambridge even if it is little used, and the University Library is the obvious location, but the effect of such transfers is increasingly causing major space problems in the stack areas. Now that the funding for the north-west and south-west corners has been almost totally secured, the need for the remaining part of the west extension, mainly to provide stack space, is becoming increasingly urgent.

Official Publications and Royal Commonwealth Society collection

The year witnessed the acquisition of two collections of considerable note: the microfiche set of UN documents is reported above; the second was the transcript of the proceedings of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This set, which will run to several hundred volumes when complete, is the only copy in the United Kingdom and will provide a wealth of research material for years to come.

During the year agreement was reached between the Library Syndicate, the Committee of Management of the Centre of South Asian Studies, and the Managers of the Smuts Fund to support a post of Commonwealth Studies Librarian with duties which would be shared between the University Library and the Centre. This arrangement would provide the University with a specialist librarian to cover the whole area of Commonwealth Studies, with specific responsibility to develop and manage the complementary collections and services in the Centre and the University Library. It is hoped that final approval from the General Board will be forthcoming during the next few months so that the post can be filled during 2000.


The opening of the Map Room on Saturday mornings, the re-arrangement of the Room and installation of a clearly-marked and properly-staffed enquiry point, together with the provision of display cases in the corridor outside the Department, have all greatly improved the user-friendliness of the Map Department. The number of readers and the number of items fetched have both risen significantly.

Some progress has been made with the conservation of antiquarian and rolled maps, but the present storage conditions for much of the collection are far from ideal from a preservation point of view. However, there is little that can be done until the Library acquires new storage space.

The Department received a further donation of 21,000 map sheets from the Ministry of Defence, and a number of current map series were purchased, to update those for Switzerland, Greece, Poland, and Romania. The Library has now the largest publicly accessible collection in the country of Russian military maps of various parts of the world; for many countries these are the best maps available and they are well used.


Mr and Mrs George Dannat generously donated further material relating to the composer, John Ireland, and Professor Alexander Goehr and Dr Arthur Wills added new material to the deposit of their musical manuscripts. Among the more significant purchases were three volumes of English cantatas published between 1713 and 1723, including items by Galliard and Purcell; M. Clementi, Sonatas and duets for piano and flute (London 1779); H. Praetorius, Cantiones variae (Hamburg 1618); and M. Ravel, Jeux d'eau (Paris c. 1902) with manuscript corrections by Ravel, Debussy, and Garban.

After its temporary closure last year, the Anderson Room now offers a comfortable working space for readers and the new Music Department office is working well. Following the decision to move the Bible Society collection to more secure accommodation, the shelving in the Anderson Room has been used to accommodate part of the open-access music sequence including the complete editions. The music catalogues were also moved back into the Anderson Room and, as a further improvement in service, the opening hours were extended to match those of other reading rooms.

Rare books

Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature and philosophy were again bought widely, especially the works of authors in which the Library is building up particular strength: Fielding, Swift, Sterne (these especially in translation), Goethe, Kant, Montesquieu, Constant, Voltaire, and Rousseau. From an earlier period, notable purchases included Richard Middleton's commentary on Peter Lombard's Sentences (Paris or Lyon 1517) in a contemporary Cambridge binding and formerly the property of Gregory Bassett who read theology at Cambridge from 1522 to 1532; William Faithorne's The art of graveing and etching (London 1662), the earliest English book on the subject; and three important seventeenth-century books to add to the Library's very extensive holdings in the history of science: Jacob Christmann, Nodus Gordius ex doctrina sinuum explicatus (Heidelberg 1612), Marchese Cornelio Malvasia, Ephemerides novissimae motuum coelestium (Modena 1662), and Benedetto Castelli, Alcuni opusculi filosofici (Bologna 1669).

About 800 miscellaneous titles were selected from the library of the late Dowager Countess of Enniskillen and around 500 books with colour-printed illustrations were received from Mr Norman Waddleton as additions to his collection. A comprehensive collection of the works of Walter de la Mare, formed by the late Mrs Phyllis Davies, was given to the Library by her son Humphrey Davies. We are grateful for the generosity of all these benefactors.

Work on the recataloguing project for the Bible Society collection proceeded well, and over 10,000 records have now been added to the online catalogue. Following a review of security, the Bibles which had been housed in the Anderson Room since the deposit of the collection in 1985, were transferred to more secure closed storage. This also allowed the entire collection to be shelved in one sequence for the first time, a great boon for a collection which is organized to show the development of Bible publishing in different languages and on a chronological basis.

The transfer of materials from Departmental libraries is noted elsewhere; particularly important in this context was the acquisition of some early books from the Department of Anatomy and the very fine rare book collection of the Department of Plant Sciences.


The principal purchase of the year was that of the archive of the Royal Society of Literature, which reflects the history of the Society from its beginnings in the early nineteenth century, and contains correspondence with most of the principal British writers of the last two hundred years. The purchase was made possible by generous support from the MGC/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, the Friends of the National Libraries, and the Friends of the University Library. Another important purchase was the archive of the Coke family of Weasenham in Norfolk. This archive documents in extraordinary detail the history of this estate and is likely to prove of great interest in the development of techniques of estate management back to the Middle Ages. Other purchases included: further Darwin manuscripts; correspondence from Sir Joseph Hooker to Sir Henry Barkly and to him from J. S. Henslow; papers of A. W. Kinglake concerning the Crimean War; a journal kept by William Almack, tea merchant, during the First Opium War; letters and papers of Thomas de Havilland concerning surveying and engineering work in India between about 1800 and 1850; and a diary kept by Lord Braybrooke in Canada between 1838 and 1840.

The archive of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK) was formally presented to the Library by its General Secretary at a ceremony in the Morison Room in October 1998. This important collection will augment those of the Royal Commonwealth Society and the British and Foreign Bible Society in documenting missionary activities throughout the Empire. Other significant donations included: papers of the dramatist and theatre critic, Edward Rose (1849-1904) (Mrs K. M. Field); papers of the writer R. Hammond Innes (1913-98) (presented by his executors through the Friends of the Library); personal accounts of life at Clare College 1934-37 (Mr L. A. Haldane); archaeological papers (Professor C. Thurstan Shaw); further Darwin papers (Mrs U. Vaughan Williams); and further records of the Cambridge Scientific Instrument Company, 1960-69 (Mr M. A. Snelling).

The manuscripts database was launched as part of the online catalogue system in November 1998. As it develops, this database will facilitate research, particularly for the many users of manuscripts who travel to Cambridge from afar, by allowing them to undertake preparatory work before their arrival. Other assistance to readers in their work on the manuscripts collection included the provision in the Manuscripts Reading Room of the draft summary catalogue of post-medieval western manuscripts (MS.Add. 1-7000).

Thanks to a generous grant of £25,000 from the trustees of the Tranchell estate, work on the cataloguing of the Tranchell papers is now well underway. The two remaining cataloguing projects funded by NFF grants came to a successful conclusion with the completion of the catalogues of the Darwin and Buxton papers. Versions of both of these are available on the Library's website.

Following the closure of the Royal Greenwich Observatory at Cambridge in October 1998, some 70 linear metres of modern records were transferred to the Library to be added to the RGO Archive already here. A large number of RGO manuscripts and rare books were discovered in Chile on the death there of a former member of the RGO staff, who had illicitly removed them from Herstmonceux Castle in the 1960s. This material was restored to its rightful home with the rest of the RGO Archive in the Library.

University Archives

Thanks to the support of the Registrary, significant progress was made in preparing for a system of records management across the University, including acceptance of the need for records managers to implement such a system and the identification of a site suitable for the interim storage of records. Progress was also made with the automation of Venn's Alumni Cantabrigienses, again thanks to the support of and financial assistance from the Registrary.

Following discussions with Cambridge University Press on the future of the vast quantity of files which they hold, a substantial number were transferred to the Library and the Press generously agreed to fund the weeding, sorting, and listing of this deposit.

Oriental collections

The HEFCE NFF projects to add to the online catalogue records from the guardbook in Arabic and Indic scripts continued and that for Hebrew titles came to a successful conclusion with over 7,400 records having been converted. This source of funding also facilitated progress on the Genizah collection, including the publication of Post-Talmudic rabbinic manuscripts by Robert Brody, the latest volume in the Genizah Series. A second series of Genizah centenary lectures was given by scholars from the USA, Israel, and France. In the Indian section, a listing and identification of Pala illustrations in the Library's earliest Indic manuscripts was made.

The UK Union Catalogue of Japanese Publications reached a total of 94,641 items, and a new Cambridge University Union List of Chinese Serials was prepared and made available in the East Asian Reading Room. A total of 2,518 titles are listed in the latter, including holdings in ten Departmental libraries as well as the University Library. Software written by the Automation Department facilitated the loading into the Library's cataloguing system of over a quarter of a million records from the Chinese National Bibliography Retrospective Database on CD-ROM.

Digital Library Services

There was substantial growth in the provision of all forms of electronic services but particularly of online databases and electronic journals. By the end of the year, 137 databases were being provided, not just to readers in the University Library but networked across the University. A number of important gaps were filled with the acquisition of key databases in Earth Sciences (GeoRef, GEOBASE), Engineering (INSPEC, Cambridge Scientific Abstracts), Environmental Science (CSA), History (Historical Abstracts), Materials Science (CSA), and Psychology (PsycLit). The number of electronic journals rose to over 1,000, with the addition of titles from Cambridge University Press, Springer, and Wiley. All electronic journals are listed alphabetically on the Library's Web pages and are included in the Cambridge Union List of Serials; one of the improvements expected from a new automation system will be the ability to move directly from the Union List of Serials to the full text of an electronic journal, something which is not possible with the current system.

In various fora within the University, discussions continued on ways of funding an increasing range of electronic journals, and a useful exploratory meeting was held between the Librarian and the Council of the School of the Biological Sciences which it is hoped will bear fruit next year. The General Board agreed to cover the cost of new hardware for the ERL server and to pay for a number of new subscriptions to databases, albeit on only a three-year basis. The ERL service is a very successful joint enterprise between the University Library and the University Computing Service and offers scope for expanding the range of databases available, provided that funding for the subscriptions can be found.

In general there was a move by publishers away from CD-ROMs towards online services, with, for example, UKOP (United Kingdom Official Publications) and Dissertation Abstracts moving in that direction. There was, therefore, only a small increase (79 to 87) in the number of CD-ROMs available on the Library's network. This trend leads to improved University-wide access but raises different managerial issues, particularly those of licensing, authentication, and digital preservation. The problems of networking CD-ROMs outside the University Library still remain, though access to four databases mounted on the Library's machine has now been provided to selected Departmental libraries. Expansion of this service requires further work on authentication and the resolution of software licensing issues.

The number of successful requests to the University Library's Web server stabilized at around 400,000 a month, with around half the requests coming from British academic servers, of which about half came from the University of Cambridge. Increased use of caches, particularly in the UK academic community, has led to the slight fall in requests from last year.

In November 1998 members of the HUMI Project of Keio University in Japan digitized the Library's copy of the Gutenberg Bible as part of an international project to make available electronically different copies of this important work, so that readers will be able to compare variants without having to travel round the world to inspect the original copies.

The Main Catalogue

The output of the Cataloguing Division rose again this year, with a 10% increase in the production of new records for the online Main Catalogue. The growing backlog of uncatalogued books in German has been a matter of concern for some time; by redistributing resources it was possible to give more attention to that problem this year, and, as a result, almost 7,500 German books were processed and made available for readers' use. Significant increases in productivity were also recorded with English-language, Slavonic, Scandinavian, and Dutch books, with the output for English-language books reaching an all-time record of over 56,000 records.

The University Library, along with the other legal deposit libraries, participates in the production of catalogue records for the British National Bibliography. Following a review of the Copyright Libraries Shared Cataloguing Programme, Cambridge's allocation of titles was amended so that it would more accurately reflect the agreed proportion of the UK publishing output to be catalogued (70% by the British Library and 6% by each of the other five libraries). Cambridge also contributes to the NACO, the name authorities component of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging, which determines standard forms of names for use in library catalogues internationally.

Good progress was made in extending the availability of electronic catalogue records to other parts of the Library's collections. The online Manuscripts Catalogue was launched in autumn 1998, and a strategy for dealing with material acquired by the Map Department has been developed. The training of staff in the Official Publications Department has begun, with the intention that the OP cataloguing will be carried out online during the coming year.

The Greensleeves Project, to convert records from the guardbook catalogue and add them to the online catalogue, made good progress. In response to requests from some of the Faculty Boards contributing to the project, specific areas of the catalogue (such as the entries for Goethe and Homer) were targeted for conversion; the Project also completed the conversion of all the records for the R 3-figures reference material held in the main Reading Room.

Services and Accommodation

Following the completion of the new storage areas in late 1997, the opportunity was taken to rationalize the entire open-access part of the Library to provide expansion space for the collection for as long as possible, given the finite amount of open-access shelving in the building. This collection - around two million volumes - is believed to be the largest open-access collection in Europe and, during a period of a little over a year, every volume was moved to its new location. The new layout should make it much easier for readers to find the book or journal they are seeking, as the classmark sequences which for the last few years had in some cases to be broken because of shortage of space, have now been reunited and all the classmarks follow in a logical order. During these moves, readers were kept informed on a daily basis by the posting of notices at around forty locations throughout the Library. This exercise was planned and executed with meticulous care by Mr Eaden and Mr Jenkins, with assistance from many other members of staff.

The new arrangements in the Entrance Hall have on the whole been very successful and the clean lines and efficiency of the new central desk have been much admired, though, as was only to be expected with such a radical redesign, some teething problems took time to be resolved. Chief among these were the turnstiles which are installed at both entrance and exit. Readers' cards are checked by a scanner at both points, so that statistics can be produced to show the level of use of the Library by different categories of reader. Initial problems with the scanners, and the links between them and the PC, led to delays and frustration in the early stages of implementation; these have now largely been resolved, except for the occasional day when the system unpredictably decides to respond slowly. The turnstile-controlled access to the Locker Room, introduced to provide greater protection for readers' property, was removed after a few weeks, as it was causing an unjustifiable level of congestion; the level of security was subsequently improved by the installation of CCTV cameras.

The number of reader's cards made during the year increased by almost 40%. Much of this increase was brought about by the introduction of the new turnstiles, which created a demand for a new-style ticket even when the expiry date of the old Polaroid one had not been reached. The second factor was the newly-introduced procedure of making cards for students from photographs supplied by the Colleges. This has been successful in eliminating the huge queues from the Entrance Hall in October and in ensuring that, at least for those Colleges that supplied the information in good time, the cards were prepared very rapidly. It did, however, create problems for new external readers needing short-term cards and for some postgraduates whose data had not been supplied by their College. The planned introduction of a University-wide ID card for the academical year 2000-01 should eliminate many of these problems and allow the Library to concentrate on providing cards to those readers who need a Library card but are not entitled to one from the University.

During the year a major reorganization of the collections in the Reading Room was carried out to ensure that the material held there was the most relevant for readers' needs. In particular, a number of books published before 1850, which have now become both fragile and very valuable, were removed to the care of the Rare Books Department, and other large and rarely consulted sets, such as library catalogues, were moved onto the North Front Gallery. The reference collection was then respaced to allow expansion where it was needed, and the opportunity was taken to insert 'blocks', both to indicate where sets had been removed and to link titles to related electronic resources. This work, together with the completion by the Greensleeves Project of the conversion of records for the Reading Room reference collection and the resulting availability of a separate Reference Collection file in the online catalogue, will greatly enhance the usability of the collection for readers.

The Online Book Request System (OBRS) is highly valued by readers and heavily used. By blocking requests for books that have already been borrowed, it has also reduced substantially the number of wasted journeys by bookfetchers and thus contributed to an improved efficiency. The average fetching time over the year for all requests was 33 minutes (compared to 40 minutes in 1997-98) and all concerned are to be congratulated on this achievement, which must compare favourably with the fetching times for any similar library.


The priority given to the binding of periodicals continued, with some 10,176 volumes being bound, compared to 9,050 last year, which was in itself a considerable increase on previous years. However, it is clear that, even with new equipment and increased efficiency, the Bindery cannot keep up with the amount of material currently being sent for binding. During the coming year a review of binding policy will be undertaken, so that the Syndicate can be presented with a number of options for decision. If the present policy continues, the backlogs will grow ever larger, leading to greater frustration by readers who reasonably find it difficult to understand why items disappear 'for binding' for months (or worse) on end. If fewer items are to be bound, they cannot be placed on the open shelves; this has an immediate effect not just on storage requirements in the closed areas of the Library but also on the demands on the bookfetching service, as well as reducing the number of items available for borrowing.

Support Services


For some time it has become increasingly obvious that the list of new features being requested from the University Library's automation system was rapidly outstripping the ability of the staff of the Automation Department - effectively just two programmers - to meet the demand. The recent decisions of a number of major research libraries, such as Harvard and the British Library, to move away from their previous reliance on locally-developed software and to adopt commercial systems, raised the question of how much longer Cambridge could maintain its own home-grown system if these well-resourced institutions could no longer keep up with the rapid developments in library automation. The Cambridge system, which was first developed in the mid-1970s, has been an extremely successful one and has provided the University with high-quality library automation for significantly less than the cost of a commercial system. It has also been very responsive to the needs of users, providing software that offered exactly the functionality required and, in some cases, such as the Online Book Request System (OBRS) for books in closed-access, giving Cambridge readers a level of sophistication that is still poorly developed in most commercial systems.

However, the growing misgivings about its future development path were such that a task force was established to investigate the systems currently available, compare them with the Cambridge system, and make recommendations for future development. The task force consisted of a number of members of the University Library staff, a Faculty Librarian, and an external expert consultant on library automation. The external consultant was asked to look in depth at the Cambridge system and compare it to what was available from commercial suppliers, and the Cambridge staff visited a number of libraries using different commercial systems and compared the functionality to what was available here. It was the unanimous view of the task force that although the Cambridge system still provided a high quality service, its development path was limited, even if extra staffing resources could be provided.

The findings of the task force were reported to the Library Syndicate and the General Board's Committee on Libraries during the Easter Term 1999 and both bodies endorsed the recommendation that the University should move towards a commercial library automation system, with a view to having it in place by the beginning of the academical year 2001-02.

The need to update the Library's IT infrastructure also became increasingly apparent during the year, with the most visible problems being in the IT resources area, where the machines have been crashing at an alarmingly frequent rate, leading to frustration for readers as well as for the staff who have had to try and keep them operational. Thanks to the generosity of Mr Bharat Desai, the Chairman and Chief Executive of Syntel Inc., an applications management company, and the Chief Executive Officer of Syntel Europe Ltd, Mr Ricky Shankar, the Library was provided without charge with very valuable consultancy services, surveying current practice and infrastructure and examining staff and reader applications. A report on the findings of the consultancy was due in September 1999.


The year was one without major building projects, but one where a huge amount of preparatory work had to be carried out in time for the start of the next phase of building during the summer of 1999. This involved the maintenance staff in the moving of the contents of all the Departments that are to be housed in temporary accommodation. The staff also had to deal with the problems arising from the plant installed in the Aoi Pavilion and West Bookstack last year, some of which are far from resolved and are still being investigated by the consultants.

The risk assessment of the main University Library building by the University's Fire Officer was begun as planned and a number of proposals are being considered as a means of reducing the risk of a fire spreading. Many of these will affect the aesthetics of the building and its ease of use by both Library staff and readers, but they are inevitable intrusions into a building designed to 1930s rather than 1990s standards of fire control and are essential to protect the collections in the event of a serious fire. It is hoped that a report from the Estate Management and Building Service will be ready for presentation to the Library Syndicate during the coming year.


Exhibition Centre:

'Cambridge University Library: the great collections' (25 July - 24 October 1998)

'Armistice Day: memorials and memories' (10 November 1998 - 10 April 1999), prepared by Dr Nicholls and opened by Earl Haig on 9 November 1998.

'Cromwell: 'A brave bad man' ' (27 April - 9 October 1999), prepared by Dr Nicholls and opened by Lady Antonia Fraser on 26 April 1999.

Reading Room corridor:

'Rodadero': book sculptures by Dan Archer (Michaelmas Term 1998)

'Goethe at 250: a celebration' (Mr Lowe; Lent Term 1999)

'The making of colonial candidates: the Royal Commonwealth Society, Cambridge and the Colonial Services' (Miss Barringer; May-June 1999)

'Travellers to Egypt and the Near East': to accompany the conference held in Newnham College (15-18 July 1999)

All the exhibitions were co-ordinated by the Exhibitions Officer, Ms Thwaite.

Medical Library

The University Library's collection development policy, reported elsewhere, confirmed the Medical Library's role as a current working library, complementing the major historical collections in the main University Library building. The Medical Library will thus concentrate on this key principle in its future collection building; the policy also presupposes a regular programme of stock weeding and relegation, both to ensure that the collections remain current and relevant to users' needs, and to release the space needed to accommodate future acquisitions.

To accompany this rationalization, a start was made on reorganizing the shelf layouts for both books and journals, following the creation of additional space by the disposal of superseded material and that duplicated in the University Library. This exercise does, however, raise a wider question of the retention of historical medical literature. Other UK medical and university libraries are facing similar storage problems but there is at present no co-ordinated national policy for ensuring that unique or rare material is retained in a location convenient to other related collections. The Medical Librarian attended meetings at the Wellcome Library to see if such a policy could be developed and progress is expected over the next few years.

Last year's Report referred to the formulation by the Addenbrooke's Hospital NHS Trust of a library and information strategy. The Trust was unable to proceed with this to the original timetable but work has now resumed in full consultation with the Medical Library, and it is expected that the strategy will provide formal recognition of the Medical Library's role as the principal library service for the Trust. This strategy will also need to take into account the broader district, regional, and national contexts, following the Government's proposal to establish a National electronic Library for Health (NeLH) and the requirement for all health authorities to establish local implementation plans.

Scientific Periodicals Library

The exciting news of the donation from Dr Gordon Moore for the new library at Clarkson Road is reported elsewhere. This donation meant that detailed planning could begin in earnest, and Mr Wilson has acted as the main link between the Library and the design team. A series of user group meetings, involving representatives of relevant academic Departments, was held during the Michaelmas and Lent Terms to guide the design process.

The Library Syndicate also established a Working Group, chaired by Professor Malcolm Schofield, to address the detailed aspects of planning resulting from the intended redistribution of the scientific resources of the University Library system and the incorporation of the library of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics and that of the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics into the Moore Library.

No progress was made in identifying an alternative site in central Cambridge to house a library serving the needs of the biological, chemical, and earth sciences. In order to clarify the views of one significant group of users, however, the University Librarian attended a meeting of the Council of the School of the Biological Sciences, at which a number of approaches to the possible rationalization of journal holdings were considered. These will be pursued during the coming year.

Squire Law Library

By the end of the year, there were signs of a final resolution to the acoustic problems of the Law Faculty building which have marred an otherwise very beautiful building since it was opened in 1995. Agreement was reached on the details of a vertical glass screen which would separate two thirds of each Library floor from the noisy west end of the building. Work began in June 1999 and completion was scheduled to take place before the beginning of the Michaelmas Term. The opportunity was also taken to create two new facilities, a Legal History Room and a Computer Teaching Room, to rearrange the stock into more logical sequences and to move the shelving so that the majority of seating could be provided in the quieter part of the Library, behind the new glass screen.

The Library expanded the range of its support for law students by offering a series of training sessions in CD-ROM and web-based legal databases, including LawTel, Current Legal Information, Electronic Law Reports, and EuroLaw. It is expected that the teaching role of the Squire will continue to expand if the Faculty proceeds with its plans to introduce into the syllabus a dedicated programme of legal skills training.

The Squire was selected as the venue for the first Joint Study Institute of the British, American, and Canadian associations of law librarians. Over sixty participants attended a very successful event which represented an opportunity for the Squire to mark its return to the world stage as a law library of international importance.


The early retirement scheme introduced by the University proved attractive to a number of members of staff, and many decades of experience were lost to the Library on 31 July 1999. Those taking advantage of the scheme (some returning on a part-time basis for varying periods) were Mr Alan Jesson, Bible Society Librarian since 1984; Dr Elisabeth Leedham-Green, Deputy Keeper of the University Archives since 1971; Mr Allen Purvis, who started work in the Library in 1967 and retired as an Assistant Under-Librarian in the Cataloguing Department; Mrs Angela Tinkler, Library Assistant, with almost 42 years' service in Official Publications, Periodicals, and the Reading Room; Mr Roy Welbourn, Deputy Librarian since 1989 and before that Senior Under-Librarian in charge of the Cataloguing Division from 1981 to 1989; and three Assistants from the Scientific Periodicals Library: Mrs Diana Jackson-Milne, appointed in 1971, Mrs Elizabeth Jaroc, 1987, and Mrs Valerie Bray, 1985. Other retirements during the year were those of Mrs Julie Beeton after 30 years' service as an Assistant; Mr John Flack, after 24 years in the Bindery; Mrs Mary Halloran, Assistant in the Music Department since 1984; and Mrs Sheila Hullyer, Secretary to the Deputy Librarians since 1989. The combined experience of all these staff will be greatly missed but they are all wished a long and happy retirement.

The newly-formed Staff Development Group devised an expanded programme of training and courses, which received an overwhelmingly positive response from the staff and can only result in an improved level of service to readers. Nearly 200 members of staff attended various sessions on information technology and electronic information resources; the induction course for all new staff was substantially revised; and an external trainer ran a number of sessions on communication and interpersonal skills, attended by a total of almost 100 staff. Library staff also took advantage of courses run by several Departments of the University, including the Assistant Staff Office and the Computing Service. In May 1999 the Librarian spoke on '2020 vision: Cambridge libraries in the 21st century', as the first in what is planned to be an informal series of lunch-time talks open to all librarians in the University. Three members of staff successfully completed the City and Guilds Library and Information Assistant's Certificate course, two qualified as First Aiders, two completed courses in British Sign Language, and two staff from College libraries, supervised by Mr Noblett, received their Charter from the Library Association.

The deaths of three former members of staff are recorded with regret: Mr D. J. Bland, a member of the technical maintenance staff from 1974 to 1987; Mr Richard Durling, an Assistant Under-Librarian from 1968 to 1971; and Mr Donald Fuller, who served, mostly in the Map Department, for almost fifty years, from 1927 to 1975, and subsequently as a volunteer for many more years.

Sandars Reader in Bibliography

The Sandars Reader for 1998-99 was Dr Patricia Donlon, former Director of the National Library of Ireland and Member of the Royal Irish Academy, who delivered three lectures under the title 'In Fairyland: Irish illustrators of children's books'. The lectures were held for the first time in the Library's Morison Room.

Munby Fellow

The Munby Fellow for 1998-99 was Ms C. L. Hutton. She undertook research on bibliographical aspects of the Irish Literary Revival from 1886 to 1922. Mr I. A. Gadd was elected Fellow for the academical year 1999-2000, to undertake research on 'Ecclesiastical law and the early modern English book trade'.


Major Financial Donations, Grants, and Research Grants 1998-99

Bowker Saur Islamic Bibliography Unit £60,600
British Academy Darwin Correspondence Project £5,000
British and Foreign Bible Society Bible Society Library £13,700
British and Foreign Bible Society Bible Society Catalogue Revision Project £29,500
Cambridge Law Journal Squire Law Library £50,000
CUDOUS (Dr G. E. Moore) The Betty and Gordon Moore Library £7,500,000
Faculty of Classics Greensleeves Project £5,000
Chadwyck-Healey Limited Part-funding of WWW Project Officer £5,000
Commonwealth Library Fund Purchase of books and manuscripts £37,000
Executors of Mr P. Tranchell Cataloguing of Tranchell Archive £25,000
Gordon Duff Fund Purchase of early printed books £32,500
Friends of Cambridge University Library Purchase grant for specific acquisitions £8,950
Friends of Cambridge University Library Exhibition costs £5,000
Friends of Cambridge University Library Purchase grant for Royal Society of Literature Archive £10,000
Friends of Ely Cathedral Conservation of Ely Dean and Chapter Archives £6,000
Friends of the National Libraries Purchase grant for Royal Society of Literature Archive £35,000
Higher Education Funding Council (England) Non-Formula Funding Specialized collections in the humanities (NFF) £71,440
Isaac Newton Trust Greensleeves Project £30,000
Isaac Newton Trust Part-funding of salary of RCS Librarian £5,000
Isaac Newton Trust Cataloguing of Barlow Papers £5,000
Isaac Newton Trust Part-funding of WWW Project Officer £12,000
Dr Mark Kaplanoff Purchase and processing of material in American history £62,400
Ernest Kleinwort Charitable Trust North-west corner building appeal £5,000
Faculty of Law Greensleeves Project £5,000
MGC/V & A Fund Purchase grant for Royal Society of Literature Archive £35,000
Malaysian Commonwealth Studies Centre Cataloguing of Barlow Papers £5,000
Maitland Fund Squire Law Library (Legal History Room) £50,000
Martindale Hubbell Squire Law Library £17,000
Matheson & Company Cataloguing of Jardine Matheson Archives £31,250
Medical Research Council Annual grant-in-aid to Medical Library £23,100
NHS (Addenbrooke's Hospital Trust) SIFT grant to Medical Library £26,300
NHS (Anglian Regional Postgraduate Office) Annual grant-in-aid to Medical Library £110,200
Faculty of Oriental Studies Purchase of Japanese books £5,000
Faculty of Oriental Studies Part-funding of staff in Japanese section £20,000
Private donation SW corner building development £6,000,000
Royal Greenwich Observatory RGO Archivist £29,000
Royal Society Darwin Correspondence Project £6,000
H. J. P. Rutherford Bequest £60,000
K. C. Shasha Charitable Foundation Genizah Research Unit £5,000
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge Cataloguing of SPCK publications £10,000
Thriplow Trust Support for manuscripts conservation £10,000
Volkswagen Stiftung Cataloguing the archive of Arthur Schnitzler £27,700
Wellcome Trust Darwin Correspondence Project £148,800
Wilson-Barkworth Fund Purchase of manuscripts £54,860

Library Staff - Professional Activities

Publications, papers presented, membership of committees

R. M. Andrewes

'Music bibliographies of 1997', Brio, 36 (1999)

Committee membership

Bliss Trust (Trustee)

Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale, Commission Mixte (IAML Representative)

RISM (UK) Trust (Trustee)

William Alwyn Foundation (Trustee)


C. A. Aylmer

'The memoirs of H. A. Giles' (ed.), East Asian History, 13/14 (1997)

Papers presented

'How Confucianism came to Europe', China Society, October 1998

'Chinese books', Cambridge Library Group, May 1999


'Naming the Universe', BBC Radio 4, April 1999, and 'Touching the Moon', BBC Radio Scotland, July 1999

Committee membership

China Library Group, Periodicals Sub-committee


T. A. Barringer

'Quarterly bibliography of new publications on Africa', African Affairs

Reviews Editor: African Research and Documentation

Book reviews in African Research and Documentation and African Affairs

Committee membership

Standing Conference on Library Materials on Africa (Secretary)

Cambridgeshire Commonwealth Group (Secretary)

Editorial Sub-Committee, African Research and Documentation


J. Butterworth

Committee membership

British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (Council member)

Middle East Libraries Committee (MELCOM)

MELCOM International (Treasurer)

Hebraica Libraries' Group


G. D. Bye

Papers presented

'Preservation microfilming', Data Archiving Association seminars, Dublin, October 1998 and Warwick, November 1998

Committee membership

British Standards Institute Technical Committee on Micrographics and Digital Imaging

British Standards Institute Working Group on Micrographics


A. G. Farrant

Committee membership

British Standards Institute Panel for Conservation Standards

Institute of Paper Conservation Accreditation Panel


P. K. Fox

'Microfilming versus digitisation as a tool for preservation: long-term access to digital material', LIBER Quarterly, 8 (1998)

'Cambridge University Library: exhibition centre as part of new building development', Cambridge: the magazine of The Cambridge-Society, 42 (1998)

Papers presented

'Weaving the threads', National Preservation Office/Research Libraries Group Conference, Warwick, September 1998; subsequently published in Guidelines for digital imaging: papers given at the Joint National Preservation Office and Research Libraries Group Preservation Conference in Warwick, 28-30 September 1998 (London 1998)

'Long term preservation in a digital environment', International Conference on New Missions of Academic Libraries, Beijing, October 1998; subsequently published in Proceedings of the International Conference on New Missions of Academic Libraries in the 21st Century, Oct. 25-28 1998, Beijing, China (Beijing 1998)

'2020 vision: Cambridge libraries in the 21st century', Cambridge librarians, May 1999

'The CEDARS Project', Russian-British Workshop on Digital Libraries, Moscow, June 1999

Committee membership

CURL Board of Directors (Chairman)

National Preservation Office Management Committee

Lambeth Palace Library Committee

Wellcome Trust Library Panel

Brotherton Collection Advisory Committee

Research Support Libraries programme Steering Group

Executive Board, Friends of the National Libraries

Charles Darwin Trust (Trustee)


D. J. Hall

'Eighteenth-century editions of Barclay's 'Apology' ', Journal of the Friends Historical Society, 58 (1998)

Associate Editor, New Dictionary of National Biography

Book review in Journal of the Friends Historical Society

Paper presented

'Rufus Jones, Larry Ingle and eighteenth-century Quakerism', Quaker Studies Research Conference, Birmingham, May 1999

Committee membership

National Committee for Preservation Surrogates

National Preservation Office Preservation Administrators Panel

Cambridge Bibliographical Society Committee

Dr Williams's Trust, Library Committee

Friends of Cambridge University Library (Treasurer)


E. Harrisson

Paper presented

Preservation Microfilming Seminar, Edinburgh, July 1999


E. Hunter

'Who are the demons? The iconography of incantation bowls', Studi Linguistici e Epigrafici, 15 (1998)

Papers presented

Conferences in Oxford, Germany, and the USA.


R. C. Jamieson

Committee membership

National Council on Orientalist Library Resources, Automation Working Party

Union Handlist of Manuscripts in North Indian Languages (Committee member)


A. F. Jesson

Committee membership

Association of British Theological and Philosophical Libraries (Hon. Secretary)

World Mission Association, Partnership House Mission Studies Library Advisory Committee (Chairman)

Henry Martyn Mission Studies Library Committee (Chairman)


P. Killiard

Committee membership

CEDARS Management Group

CEDARS Content Issues Working Group (Chairman)


N. Koyama

Paper presented

'UK Japanese Union Catalogue and beyond', European Association of Japanese Resource Specialists' Conference, Leuven, September 1998


E. S. Leedham-Green

Editor (with R. Fehrenbach): Private libraries in Renaissance England, vol. 5 (Arizona 1998)

'Cambridge: a sense of place', The Historian (1999)

Papers presented

'Where the hell did I put my indentures? Record-keeping in the University', Cambridge, September 1998

Committee membership

Bibliographical Society, Awards and Bursaries Sub-Committee (Chairman)

Society for the History of Authorship, Readership, and Publishing, Prize Panel (Chairman)

Panizzi Lectures Committee


S. M. Lees

Committee membership

Copyright Libraries Agency Advisory Committee

Standing Committee on Legal Deposit


P. B. Morgan

Book review in Health Libraries Review

Book review editor: Health Libraries Review

Committee membership

Anglia and Oxford NHS Libraries Liaison Committee

Oxford Health Libraries & Information Network (HeLIN) IT Committee

Health Care Librarians of Anglia Group

Clinical School Information Strategy Committee

Clinical School Quality Assessment Learning Resources Group

Clinical School Building Safety Committee

Clinical School/Addenbrooke's Hospital SIFT Liaison Group

Fulbourn Hospital PME Library Committee


A. M. Nicholls

A history of the modern British Isles. 1529-1603: the two kingdoms (Oxford 1999)

'Stalky grows up', Bulletin of the Friends of Cambridge University Library, 19 (1998)

Editor, Journal of the Society of Army Historical Research

Several articles for the New Dictionary of National Biography

Papers presented

'Frances Jenkinson and the War Collection', Cambridge Bibliographical Society, March 1999

'Digitisation in Libraries', Cambridge Library Group, June 1999

Committee membership

CURL Resource Management Steering Group

CEDARS Project Working Groups


W. A. Noblett

Editor: Newsletter (Cambridge Bibliographical Society)

Papers presented

Five lectures to different Faculties on the bibliography of official publications

Committee membership

Cambridge Bibliographical Society Committee


A. G. Purvis

Committee membership

Copyright Libraries Shared Cataloguing Programme, Steering Committee


S. C. Reif

'Jerusalem in Jewish liturgy' in L. I. Levine (ed.), Jerusalem: its sanctity and centrality in Judaism, Christianity and Islam (New York 1998)

'Written prayers from the Genizah; their physical aspect and its relationship to their content' (Hebrew) in J. Tabory (ed.), From Qumran to Cairo: studies in the history of prayer (Jerusalem 1999)

'The Genizah and Jewish liturgy'; Medieval Encounters, 5 (1999)

Editor: Genizah Series (Cambridge University Press), Genizah Fragments (Cambridge University Library)

Reviews in Journal of Semitic Studies and SOTS Book List and other items in Jewish Chronicle and Judaism Today

Papers presented

Fifteen papers at various conferences and seminars in England, Israel, and the USA.

Committee membership

Jewish Historical Society of England (Council member)

Friedberg Genizah Project, Academic Committee


Mrs F. W. Roberts

Advisory Editorial Board member: Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine

Committee membership

East Anglia Online Users Group (Co-ordinator)

eLib OMNI Project Steering Group

Clinical School IT Infrastructure and Management Sub-committee


G. J. Roper

'Bibliography of publications of J. D. Pearson', MELA Notes, 65/6 (1997-98)

'Printing and publishing' in J. S. Meisami and P. Starkey (eds.), Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature (London 1998)

'Persian printing and publishing in England in the 17th century' in K. Eslami (ed.), Iran and Iranian studies: essays in honor of Iraj Afshar (Princeton 1998)

'Ahmad Fâris al-Shidyaq and the libraries of Europe and the Ottoman Empire', Libraries & Culture, 33 (1998)

'Ahmad Fâris al-Shidyaq (ö.1887) ve Avrupa ve Osmanli imparatorlugu kütüphaneleri', Kütüphanecilik Dergisi, 5 (1998)

Editor, Index Islamicus

Committee membership

British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (Council member)

Papers presented

'Colporteurs in the Near East', Conference on Travellers in Egypt and the Near East, Cambridge, July 1999

'The role of printed books as vehicles for the exchange of visual symbols between Europe and the Ottoman Empire', Oxford, July 1999


R. Scrivens

Reviews Editor: Solanus: International Journal for Russian and East European Bibliographic, Library and Publishing Studies

Committee membership

Council for Slavonic and East European Libraries and Information Services


C. J. Sendall

Paper presented

'Tricks and treats in the OPAC', Union Catalogue AGM, Cambridge, December 1998

Committee membership

Joint Committee on Central Administrative Computing

Commitment Accounting User Group

IT Syndicate Technical Sub-committee

College Data Transfer Working Party


A. Shivtiel

'The Arabs from war to peace' in H. Cecil and P. Liddle (eds.), At the eleventh hour: reflections, hopes and anxieties at the closing of the Great War (Barnsley 1998)

Articles in Al-Sharq al-Awsat

Reviews in Journal of Semitic Studies

Papers presented

Lectures in London and Manchester


A. E. M. Taylor

'Cambridge University Library: the Map Department', MapForum.Com; a Specialist Antique Map Magazine, 4 (1999)

Book review in Bulletin of the Society of Cartographers

Committee membership

British and Irish Committee for Map Information and Catalogue Systems (BRICMICS)

BRICMICS Digital Working Group

Ordnance Survey Director General's Conference, BRICMICS representative


J. R. H. Taylor

Committee membership

Copyright Librarians Shared Cataloguing Programme (CLSCP), Steering Committee

Anglo-American Authority File Project Panel (CLSCP User Representative)

CURL Resource Discovery and Description Steering Group

RLIN Database Advisory Group

Book Industry Communication, Bibliographic Standards Technical Subgroup


N. Thwaite

Committee membership

Cambridge Bibliographical Society (Treasurer)


R. W. Welbourn

Committee membership

Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Academic Advisory Committee


G. Wiedermann

'The Buxton Papers', Bulletin of the Friends of Cambridge University Library, 19 (1998)


D. F. Wills

'Greater collaboration between law libraries?', Amicus Curiae, 14 (1999)

Papers presented

'National legal collections: historical co-operation', and 'The Squire Law Library … rediscovered', Joint Study Institute, Cambridge, September 1998; subsequently published in Law Librarian, 30 (1999)

Committee membership

British and Irish Association of Law Librarians, Standing Committee on Conferences (Vice-Chair)


P. N. R. Zutshi

'The papal chancery and English documents in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries' in P. Herde and H. Jakobs (eds.), Papsturkunde und europäisches Urkundenwesen (Köln 1999)

Papers presented

'Innocent III and the reform of the papal chancery', International Conference on Pope Innocent III, Rome, September 1998

'The origin of the registration of petitions in the papal chancery' and 'The publication of Vatican sources concerning British history', French School in Rome, November 1998

'The mendicant orders and the University of Cambridge in the fourteenth century', Harlaxton Conference, July 1999

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Cambridge University Reporter Special, 14 April 2000
Copyright © 2000 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.