Rare Bites: Material Cultures of ‘Magic’

Rare Books Sydney University Library

Our popular Rare Bites lunchtime talks are back! The first talk will explore two fascinating Ethiopic Coptic Christian Magic Scrolls held in Rare Books and Special Collections – Who created them and how were they used? Could these objects have played a role in personal health, relationships and/or protection? Come along and learn about these wonderful objects.

When: 19 April 2018; 1:00 -1:30pm

Where: Fisher Library Level 2 Seminar Room

Places are limited, register to reserve your seat.

Women in Wikipedia

Women in Wikipedia

Celebrate Women’s History Month by joining Sydney University Press and the University of Sydney Library for a Wikipedia edit-a-thon on Tuesday 20 March, 2018.

Women make up just 12% of Wikipedia contributors and are 16% of individuals profiled, which means there is a gender imbalance on the platform. To combat this, we will be editing Wikipedia together to improve the representation of Australian women. No experience needed: there will be training, cheat sheets, references and roving Wiki experts on-hand – plus snacks! Join us and help change the future of Wikipedia. Register here.

Sydney’s Women in the Field: Phyllis Kaberry and the Sepik

Phyllis Kaberry

In 1923 at a meeting of the international Pan-Pacific Congress at the University of Sydney the Australian government was urged to establish a Department of Anthropology and to fund urgent anthropological research in the region to counter the devastating effects of colonisation. The University of Sydney took up the challenge, instituting the first Department of Anthropology in the Australian-Pacific region with the appointment of AR Radcliffe Brown in 1926.

Many of the first generation of men and women who were taught at Sydney worked in isolation for periods of a year to eighteen months in areas where English was not spoken, in places not inscribed on maps, and with limited contact with people outside the community they were studying. For their work they were obliged to learn map making, linguistics and medical skills alongside their anthropological training.

The University’s Archives and Macleay Museum today look after the enormous wealth of information that these anthropologists produced from their interactions with Australian Aboriginal and Pacific peoples. For this exhibition we have focussed on the work of Phyllis Kaberry, the first female professional anthropologist to emerge from the Department.

This is a joint exhibition between Rare Books and Special Collections at the University of Sydney Library, University Archives and Museums to commemorate the inscription of the Anthropological Field Research and Teaching Records, University of Sydney, 1926-1956 into the UNESCO Memory of the World Australian Register.

The exhibition is being showcased on level 3 of Fisher and Sci Tech Libraries until August 2018.

Automatic renewals of Library items

University of Sydney Library

This year we’ve enabled automatic renewals for our general collections to help people avoid fines when they forget to renew the things they’ve borrowed from us. Additionally, it’ll help us get our items back for RFID tagging, and mean we can better maintain our collection.

This means we’ll be automatically extending your loans up to four times (48 weeks) – You don’t need to do this yourself any more. We’ll renew for you if:

  • your fines are under $30
  • they’re from our general collection
  • your account hasn’t expired
  • no-one else has requested the item you’ve borrowed from us.

The only things we won’t automatically renew for you are:

  • If we’ve borrowed it from BONUS+ or it’s through Document Delivery
  • Equipment
  • 2 hour collection (as this is a high demand collection)
  • Items that have already been renewed four times or more.

If you’d still like to keep it after a year or four renewals (whichever comes sooner), they’ll need to come back before you can re-borrow them. If you have extenuating circumstances, please reply to the last email notice you got from the Library so we can work with you.

We’ll let you know when it’s time to bring the items back by email, no need to renew anything manually anymore!

Rare Breeds: The Dogs of Rare Books and Special Collections

Topsell, Edward. The history of four-footed beasts and serpents. London : Printed by E. Cotes, for G. Sawbridge ... T. Williams ... and T. Johnson, 1658. RB Wing G624.


When: Until 31st January 2018

Where: Level 3 Corridor, Fisher Library F03 and Scitech Library


They pursue ill-fated hares across the pages of treatises on hunting; captivate poets and artists as the subjects of dedicated portraits and odes; linger quietly as background figures in illustrations and paintings; and populate narratives in all manner of roles from protagonist to confidante.

Dogs appear frequently in cultural records of many kinds dating back to antiquity. This is hardly surprising, given the longevity and strength of their relationship with humans. Their companionship and utility to man have been extensively documented and discussed by historians, scientists and enthusiasts. Also evident is their ability to captivate the human imagination as exemplars and symbols, positive and sinister, from models of loyalty to harbingers of death.

This exhibition presents a selection of cultural depictions of dogs found in Rare Books & Special Collections, and thus a snapshot of the canine-human relationship as expressed in art and literature. From the wild and mysterious to the familiar and faithful, dogs of all kinds have been coaxed from their kennels, dens and chaise-lounges into the spotlight. No doubt there are many more waiting to be found.