Changes to Document Delivery and BONUS+ services

book shelves in Fisher Library

The Library is making some changes to the way it supplies material that isn’t held in our collections.  From Monday 22 October 2018 access to the Bonus+ service will be phased out, and clients will be able to use the Document Delivery service for all future requests.

As part of this change the Document Delivery Services is being extended to undergraduate students for a trial period. From Monday 22 October 2018 undergraduates will have access to requesting 10 items per academic year from hundreds of member libraries across Australia within the Libraries Australia Document Delivery (LADD) service. Researchers and post graduate students will continue to use the service as normal.

Find out more about document delivery services on our Library website.

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.

NEW: Honi Soit Digital Archive

All issues of Honi Soit from 1929–1990 are now available online, making the iconic, and infamous, part of student life at the University of Sydney publicly available.digital-page-to-honi-link-image

The launch of Honi Soit Digital Archive is a culmination of a long-term project which started already in 2011 with the audit of the most complete set of Honi Soit anywhere in Australia housed at the University of Sydney Library. The often fragile issues of the newspaper were digitised in early 2016, resulting in more than 18,000 pages from 1530 issues, and over 1 TB of data. With the new website, the back issues of Honi Soit are now available as PDFs online for anyone to view and download, and there are plans to enable better search and greater functionality to this rich source of cultural and social history.

Funded by the Library, this digitisation project aims to preserve and sustain the archives of Honi Soit, and make them available to broader audiences. The Honi Soit Digital Archive was created as part of a broader digitisation program with the goal to unlock access to the significant and unique heritage assets that comprise our rare and special research collections at the University of Sydney Library.

To the archive!

Homage to Honi Soit

By Julia Horne, University Historian, the University of Sydney

The very first Honi Soit edition from 3 May 1929
Click to view the first edition.

It was a privilege to view the first issue of Honi Soit in the University of Sydney Library’s Rare Books & Special Collections; a date with the past, a time to reflect on change and continuity in the University, Australia and the world. They are bound in volumes, well preserved (as you would expect), but nonetheless showing the signs of age, and ever more vulnerable to human touch.

If not quite the Magna Carta, this student newspaper is a compact of sorts that enshrines the right of university students to speak their minds on issues without fear or favour. The first editor, Arthur Crouch, an Arts graduate, put it this way: ‘Our criticism – and criticism will frequently form the theme of our journal – will be constructive, and for the good of all.’ Some 24 years later, the editor, Edmund Campion, expressed similar sentiments: ‘Do not expect Honi Soit to sit on the fence during 1953’, a tradition that has mostly continued down the decades. Forthright, opinionated, defiant, rebellious and bold, these are the hallmarks of the University of Sydney’s student newspaper.

The early Australian student newspapers

Honi Soit was first published on 3 May 1929. It was the second student newspaper in Australia after Melbourne’s Farrago (1925), and just before Western Australia’s Pelican (1930), Queensland’s Semper Floreat (1932) and Adelaide’s On Dit (1932). At four pages long, it was not yet the weekly newspaper it became. But it arrived on the scene brazenly with barely a cent to its name yet free to students and the public-at-large. Funded by what the editorial team assured its readers was ethical advertising – Tooth’s lager, Conn’s Saxophones and David Jones (Sydney’s grand old department store) – this ‘weekly’ appeared only nine times in 1929, its publication disrupted whenever the coffers ran dry. Yet its weekly format was crucial to the newspaper’s aims to ‘serve the student body of the university’.

Fast paced, timely, independent

The 1979, Issue 52 edition highlighting the problem of good campus food
Click to view ed 52, 1979.

Until then, Sydney’s student publications were different beasts. The venerable student magazine, Hermes (1886), thrived in the slower if stately lane of prose, poetry and essays, and the Union Recorder (1921) provided a weekly round-up of university and sporting events. The fast-paced Honi Soit, on the other hand, was to borrow the journalistic standards of the great ‘dailies’ and report news in a timely and independent fashion to inform undergraduates about social and political issues vital to their lives as students. There have been times when Honi Soit’s editorial independence has been challenged; a period of censorship by the Student Representative Council is said to have reigned in the 1930s, for example. Yet over the decades Honi Soit has largely lived up to the standards of independent and fair journalism even when sparks have flown. And as a journalistic training ground, well, even a brief look at its editorial teams reveals the likes of Donald Horne, Murray Sayle, Julie-Anne Ford, Lillian Roxon, Edmund Campion, Myfanwy Gollan, Clive James, Richard Walsh and Laurie Oakes, to say nothing of the younger Honi generations.

About the University and beyond

Women's Day Issue 3-001, 1984
Click to view ed 3, 1984.

The guts of Honi Soit news reporting have always been about the University itself. Issues range from demands to reform University and undergraduate governing bodies, to coverage of student politics (including the 1953 scandal of a rigged student election), protests, and calls to improve student facilities and services. Yet to deliver on the goal of the fully informed student, Honi Soit has long broadened its coverage to report on thought-provoking public lectures and debates held at the University as well as provide social, cultural and political commentary on the world at large. Also, it has often prompted discussion on various matters of burning personal interest to the lives of university students. In the first issue, an article about social etiquette appeared: ‘Should Men Pay Women Students’ Tram Fares?’. Debate raged in the letters columns for weeks thereafter without ever resolving the question. More seriously, communism, morality, nuclear disarmament, obscenity, Petrov, politics, sexuality, sex, vegetarianism, the Vietnam War, Whitlam’s dismissal … all this and more has graced the pages of Honi Soit providing an often alternative view, certainly a more youthful view, of the world around us.

Honi Soit edition 18, 1990: The revolution will not be televised
Click to view ed 18, 1990.

In short, Honi Soit is a treasure trove of well-written, enlightening, often humorous,
material about Australia, society, politics and youth culture. As I turned the pages of the first issue, fragile paper browning with age, edges torn, my fingers trembling in case I ripped it further, I realised how digital technology might be history’s salvation, thus the importance of transferring such priceless material to a digitised format. In this case, the digitisation is so good that we can see every wrinkle and tear of an ageing beauty. But we do so in the knowledge that more people than ever will now also have the pleasure of reading the past within the pages of Honi Soit.

To the archive.