Preserving our Indigenous Australian Languages

Did you know that out of the estimated 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages in Australia, 120 are still spoken and approximately 90% are endangered?

This year in the Library, we’ve started a project to add in additional spelling variations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages into our records.

Now you can more easily search & discover items in our collections that feature Indigenous Australian languages.

For example, whether your preferred spelling is “Kamilaroi”, “Gamilaraay” or Gamilaroi, you’ll now be able to find resources like Gagan = Colours, a picture book written for Gamilaraay language learners by Suellyn Tighe, a Gamilaraay woman and University of Sydney graduate.

“Our languages are inextricably linked to who we are. It encapsulates our identity and  connection to country whilst maintaining links to the past, present and future through our stories and songs” says Suellyn Tighe.

A selection of resources in our collections with AUSTLANG codes. From L to R: Gagan = colours by Suellyn Tighe (Language code: D23), Gamilaraay, Yuwaalaraay, guwaaldanha ngiyani = We are speaking Gamilaraay and Yuwaalaraay / Accompiled by the Walgett Yuwaalaraay and Gamilaraay Language Program. (Language code: D23 and D27), The rainbow by Ros Moriarty (Language code: N153) and Apmwe-kenhe arne = The snake’s tree by by Margaret Heffernan (Language code: C8)

This work is also timely as the United Nations General Assembly have declared 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IY2019). Australian indigenous languages are increasingly recognised as a precious global resource and IY2019 is an opportunity to raise awareness and to provide an opportunity to achieve positive change through improving the promotion and preservation of these languages.  

“The importance of our languages being spoken between generations can not be undervalued or replaced. We are fortunate to live in times when technologies can assist us to ensure that our languages are not forgotten. It does not replace human interaction, though it does provide us with the opportunity and ability to ensure our and future generations have a connection to ancestral belonging and knowledge.” says Suellyn Tighe.

This project is based on AUSTLANG, an online resource developed by Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), which provides comprehensive information on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages spoken across Australia in an effort to preserve our Indigenous Australian languages and what we know about them.

This NAIDOC week, you can learn more about the languages of Australia by looking up your local language using the AUSTLANG website and searching our Library for language resources.

Your new Library services platform

Library online search gets a facelift: read about the new integrated Library search tool for research, teaching and learning.

Science library photo of ramp and books

The new Library Services Platform is a cloud-based tool used to manage information resources including a search portal, called Library Search for discovering library collections. This interface has replaced CrossSearch, the Catalogue, and MyLoans from January 2019.

The new provider for the Library Services Platform is Ex Libris – a major technology provider for research libraries globally. Their customers include Cambridge and Harvard.

The interface was updated in January 2019 and the new Library Services Platform automatically replaced the current platform.

Searching: A new single platform

A separate, traditional library catalogue has been replaced with an integrated single portal, called Library Search. Early feedback from academic staff has indicated that the new Library Services Platform has made it “much easier to find and access specific journal articles”.

MyLoans

Some information from MyLoans, including current loans, will carry over to the new system, however some information will not:

  • Reading (Borrowing) History
  • MyLoans feeds.

FAQs regarding the new system

Who to contact

If you need any assistance, Library staff are here to help. You can contact frontline Library staff by phone, chat, by logging a ticket (outside of chat hours) or in person. You can also contact your Academic Liaison Librarian.

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.

True to Type

If you have ever created a digital document, chances are you’ve come across the terms Italic, Roman, and Sans Serif.

This exhibition tells the story of these three enduring letter-form classifications, through early examples drawn from Rare Books & Special
Collections.

When: 25 October 2018 – 31st January 2019

Where: Fisher Library, Level 3  Corridor & SciTech Library, glass cabinets

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!