Enabling discovery: cataloguing the Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections

Sydney Digital Collections Usyd Library

In a time where Library space is at a premium and print collections are increasingly making way for digital, Rare Books and Special Collections stand out as unique points of difference within university libraries and offer a multitude of opportunities for creative and innovative educational experiences and original research.

The University of Sydney Library’s Rare and Special collections comprise manuscripts and books spanning millennia, from over 2000 B.C. to the current day, and encompassing literary, cultural, scientific, and religious thought across the globe.

Ethel M Richmond bequest

Ethel M Richmond’s generous bequest to the University Library has enabled a large-scale project to catalogue these collections, making them searchable and discoverable to researchers worldwide.

Giorgione

In 2017, a sketch of the Virgin and Child, since attributed to the Italian Renaissance artist Giorgione, was found in the back of a 15th Century edition of Dante’s Divine Comedy along with a contemporary inscription giving Giorgione’s age and the exact date of his death.

This previously unknown information allows Giorgione’s career timeline to be rewritten, and the addition of a new drawing to the small oeuvre of this enigmatic artist is of significance to art historians worldwide.

Who knows what other tantalising revelations are waiting to be revealed through this cataloguing project?

Sydney Digital Collections

In addition to cataloguing, the Library has a concurrent digitisation program that provides open access to high quality digital versions of significant historical and cultural treasures, via Sydney Digital Collections.

Lockdown Discoveries Series

Lockdown Discoveries is a series of blog posts and an exhibition created and curated by the Rare Books & Special Collections Cataloguing Project Team to highlight some of the weird and wonderful items they discovered whilst working from home during the 2020 Covid-19 Lockdown.

The exhibition showcases highlights from the Graham Science Fiction collection, handpicked and curated by the RBSC Cataloguing Project Team. The exhibition has been temporarily paused for the 2021 stay at home orders and will reopen when it is safe to open the Rare Book reading rooms once more.

Explore the links below to learn more about the cataloguing project, the discoveries and resulting exhibition.

Lockdown Discoveries: Part 1

Lockdown Discoveries: Part 2

Lockdown Discoveries: Part 3

Cataloguing the Graham Science Fiction Collection

Lockdown Discoveries Exhibition

Palm Leaf Manuscript

Introducing Leganto: a new reading list platform

Pile of books from the Library

In a year in which teaching support has never been more important and equitable access to online reading material is one of the highest priorities, we’re pleased to announce a transition to an enhanced Unit of Study reading list platform, Leganto.

Leganto has a cleaner and more intuitive interface, creating a better user experience for teachers and students.

After running a pilot with a small number of courses in January 2021, we will roll out the new platform to all University schools and faculties for the start of Semester 1, 2021.

A better user experience

A major advantage of the new system is that it is part of the Library Services Platform (LSP). When a coordinator or instructor in a course locates a resource through the Library website, they can ‘drag and drop’ it straight into their reading list. A list can be composed very quickly and easily with this function. Furthermore, the ‘Cite-It’ widget allows the addition of content from anywhere on the web, opening up the use of open-source material.

In addition to electronic resources being more easily accessible, Leganto provides better functionality in creating access to physical items, scanned files and AV materials.

Another advantage is reading list analytics: a highly sought-after feature, according to consistent feedback from academics. Course coordinators will be able to use Leganto to track engagement with course material and update their list accordingly.

Training and support

The Library will support academics’ familiarisation with Leganto through a robust training program that will commence in January and continue into first semester 2021. In addition, we will provide real-time support in the peak lead-up and post-semester periods, to troubleshoot any issues encountered.

For academics who have a current eReserve list, the Library will transition this list to Leganto prior to the first semester start.

We are already consulting with faculties and schools as we approach the start of the pilot in January 2021 and we look forward to working with you.

For more information

If you have any further questions, please contact Adi Piersol, Associate Director Site Services (adi.piersol@sydney.edu.au) or Michael Arndell, Associate Director Academic Services (michael.arndell@sydney.edu.au).

Digital Placemaking Project

interior Fisher Library foyer

When you visit our library sites do you ever think of the story of these places, the culture of millennia integrally connected to the land we are on?

The Library has an exciting new project announcement! We’re commissioning digital artwork by First Nations artists to inform and celebrate cultural and historical context for our physical library sites and incorporate an Acknowledgement of Country. These artworks will be displayed on screens throughout library sites and on our huge ThinkSpace video wall.

This opportunity to highlight the story of the culture of the region is part of the University of Sydney 2020 program focussing on diversity and inclusion through a Wingara Mura grant from the Deputy Vice Chancellor Indigenous Strategy and Services.

Visit our web page for more details and to access the link to the ‘Expressions of Interest’ document which contains the full artwork scope and specifications, key elements, timelines and terms and conditions.

Submission close 31 July 2020

Peerpod!

‘Peerpod’ is your go-to podcast for all the insider knowledge on how to navigate uni life.

Hosted by our very own Peer Learning Advisors, the podcast is all about increasing a deeper sense of connectivity and belonging at Uni via a bi-monthly topical podcast.

We’ll be sharing stories, providing advice, and answering all the questions you have about Uni.

Listen to the podcast today!

The Peer Learning Advisors aka PLAs are all experienced students with their fingers on the pulse of student needs in real time and are best places to represent, speak to and share space with the student body. They have been trained in being a point of referral to students, offering tips on everything from where to find the best coffee on campus, to overcoming feeling isolated to using tech to support student initiatives and goals. 

Drop in for a chat with our PLAs at ThinkSpace, Bosch Commons, the Quarter, Dentistry Library, or Camden Commons.

Visualise Your Thesis

University of Sydney Visualise Your Thesis entries, 2019

Visualise Your Thesis challenges higher degree by research students to present their research in a 60 second video. The Visualise Your Thesis competition was started at The University of Melbourne in 2016 and is in its second year at The University of Sydney. Voting closed 20th August 2019.

Finalist Entries & results include:

(Winner) Cryptococcus: the Big and Small of it

Presented by Kenya Fernandes

PhD (Final Year). School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, The University of Sydney

(Runner Up) The Ecology, Behaviour, and Evolution of Urban Syrphid Flies (Diptera: Syrphidae)

Presented by Manuel Lequerica

PhD (Year 2). School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, The University of Sydney

(Viewer’s choice) New Pathways for Treating Chronic Pain

Presented by Claudia Natale

PhD (Year 3). Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney

Uncovering Organisational Superheroes: Working beyond the job description

Presented by Tim Mahlberg

PhD (Final Year). The University of Sydney Business School

People with disabilities in disaster-prone Indonesia

Presented by Pradytia Pertiwi

PhD (Final Year). Centre for Disability Research and Policy, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney

Heat tolerance in wheat: Plant characteristics and reflectance properties

Presented by Maria Ruz

PhD (Year 3). School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, The University of Sydney

New characterisation methods for lubricant-infused surfaces using atomic force microscopy

Presented by Sam Peppou-Chapman

PhD (Year 3). School of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, The University of Sydney

Roman Heads, Greek Hearts, Canaanite Souls: Culture, Identity and Social Change at Pella of the Decapolis (63 BCE to 295 CE)

Presented by Sandra Gordon

PhD (Year 2). Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, The University of Sydney

Development, implementation and evaluation of a treatment guideline for herpes simplex keratitis

Presented by Maria Cabrera-Aguas

PhD (Final Year). Sydney Medical School, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney

What we can learn on social participation of adolescents with learning disabilities from Malaysian inclusive education settings?

Presented by Hasrul Hosshan

PhD (Year 3). Centre for Disability Research and Policy, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney

To Affinity and Beyond: Interactive Digital Humans as a Human Computer Interface

Presented by Mike Seymour

PhD (Final Year). The University of Sydney Business School

Inhaled combination phage-antibiotic therapy for antimicrobial resistance bacteria

Presented by Yu Lin

PhD (Final Year). School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney

Dry eyes in breast cancer patients

Presented by Pauline Khoo

PhD (Year 3). Department of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney

New Systematic Review Toolkit

The Library is excited to announce the launch of our new Systematic Review Toolkit, now live on our Library website.

Are you embarking on a systematic review, but don’t know where to begin?

The Library is very excited to announce that we’ve launched our new Systematic Review Toolkit, the perfect place to get started on your research journey. 

We’ve broken down the entire systematic review process into stages, directly informed by user research. We provide overviews, tips, tools and resources at each stage, and link you to relevant University support so there is always help at hand.

Use the toolkit to navigate your way through the entire process and get the most out of appointments with your supervisors, librarians, statisticians and the Learning Centre.

To access the new Systematic Review Toolkit, visit the research section of the Library website.