Free geographical e-books and maps on the web

June 30, 2008


The University Library subscribes to over 40 geography databases, and over 400 geography related e-journals.  All these titles can be accessed via MetaLib  using your Athens username and password.


However, there is a growing collection of material freely available via the web, made possible by sites such as Project Gutenberg which currently has around 25,000 copyright free books available full text [published before 1923 when copyright was established] containing such items as ‘ Discoveries in Australia, Volume 1..With an Account of the Coasts and Rivers Explored and Surveyed During The Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle’ by John Lort Stokes, 1812-1885.




Oxford Digital Library: Key 17th, 18th to 19th century geological literature



Project Gutenberg


Google Books



Internet Archive





Digital Book Index


Maps are a valuable reource and the digital library of Bibliothèque Nationale de France’s site Gallica provides free online access to 70,000 digitised works, over 80,000 images and several tens of hours of sound resources.  


Map of the Thames estuary as Willem Janszoon Blaeu's Pascaarte verthoonende de mont vande Teemse Rivier van Londen

 Maps and other resources







Digital Library for Earth System Education



Oxford Digital Library: Maps on the web


La Biblioteca del IGME. Biblioteca digital. Cartografía geológica histórica



Free downloadable GB maps


The British Library also links to collections of digital facsimiles, some of which will contain geographical and map related material.

For further links to free geographical e-books and other online material on the web, see Intute.



Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

June 30, 2008

The Library has recently acquired the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, a unique collection of concise and authoritative essays on more than 56,000 men and women who shaped British life between the 4th century and the year 2004. These include men and women of historical interest from all walks of life such as artists, scientists, doctors, business people, military leaderss and even eccentrics and criminals.

For those of you who do not like reading screens, we also have the 60 volume printed edition in the Reference Section shelved at  R 920.042.  There is a pleasure in consulting a beautifully produced book but you will find that the electronic version also has a great deal to offer. Each biographical essay has hypertext links to other resources in the database so if you are consulting the entry on Isambard Kingdom Brunel you can also access an essay on his association with the engineers of the nineteenth century which links to their biographies; a bibliography from the Royal Historical Society and the portraits of the great engineer  from the collections of the National Portrait Gallery.

There are over 200 essays on well known historical groups that also make connections between individuals e.g. the British Antarctic Survey,  the  Founders of the National Trust and Mass Observation, the organization founded in 1937 to document peoples’ lives.

If you want to pursue your research further you can link to repositories of archives about the subjects. For example the entry on the playwright Aphra Behn has hypertext links to the sources in the British Library where further material may be found.

 The ODNB  publishes an online monthly magazine ; the current issue has a number of topical features including an item on five Wimbledon Champions and Women’s Social and Political Union, the organisation which encouraged the women’s suffrage movement to adopt a more militant stance.

For those of you who missed the presence of  the England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland teams in the Euro 2008 football championship and would like to remember past glories, there is a webpage for “Britains’ finest team”

As well as being a research tool for academic historians the ODNB has its lighter side: the themes have the most online hits include include musical chart toppers and British Oscar winners. This resource is infinitely flexible: it can used for both scholarly and leisure purposes for helping children with their historical researches.


From plimsolls to the latest tennis shoe

June 27, 2008

 Tennis shoes

Summer time. Wimbledon….

The humble tennis shoe has come a long way since the early plimsolls of the 19th Century. The plimsoll takes its name from Samuel Plimsoll, Liberal MP for Derby and coal merchant – famously known as the mariner’s safety campaigner, whose tireless campaign brought white plimsoll lines to be painted on ships, introduced in 1876, to indicate safe loading limits for shipping. 

Rubber soled shoes have been made since the early 1800s by companies such as the Goodyear Metallic Rubber Shoe Company in America and the New Liverpool Rubber Company in Liverpool, with the development of vulcanized rubber.  By 1884 both men and women were competing at Wimbledon, wearing  rubber-soled sports shoes.

The early 20th century saw the development of the modern sports shoe. Adolf “Adi” Dassler, a baker from Herzogenaurach, Germany, and whose father had been a cobbler, developed spiked sports shoes during the 1920s. Dassler’s sports equipment company later become known as Adidas, created the first shoe especially designed for tennis in 1931. Dassler’s brother Rudi later founded Puma in 1948.

Today, the design of modern sport shoes involves knowledge of the biomechanics of sport, breathable smart textiles and materials, designs that give the wearer good support and protection.  The University Library offers a broad range of information resource for sports and exercise science, product design and material science.

Sport and exercise science resources can be found on MetaLib  and the library currently subscribes to over 40 sport and exercise science e-journals such as Journal of Sport and Exercise Physiology and Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise .   You may like to use SPORTDiscus to find sport equipment related articles [access using your Athens username and password].

Information on sports equipment design and materials can also be found using MetaLib . The Library currenly subscribes to over 240 material science related journals such as the Textile Research Journal, Polymer Engineering and Science   and Wear.  [Many databases and e-journals on MetaLib are athens hosted].

Other useful links:

History of Tennis



Espacenet (patents)



Tennis shoe history






New resources!

June 26, 2008

Over the past few weeks the Library has subscribed to number of new databases.  These include:

– The Guardian/Observer Archive (1791-2003)

– Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Online

– Oxford Reference Online


These are all full-text datbases and can be found on Metalib. They will be allocated to the relevant subject categories over the next few weeks.  There will be in-depth posts on many of these resources on the blog in the coming weeks, so that you can see the potential of the databases for study and research.  They can all be accessed on-campus and off-campus, with off-campus access requiring your Athens username and password.  Find out more on the blog soon (!) or contact your Academic Librarian.


Accessing other libraries

June 18, 2008

With the exams nearly over, many undergraduates will be off home for the summer vacation, whilst many postgraduates will be working hard on their projects or dissertations.  At the moment, the last thing undergaduates might want to be thinking about is academic work, but as the summer goes on you might well want to get ahead for next year either with reading for a module or for a dissertation/project.  If you are a postgraduate, you might have found that you need to source books or journals from other libraries and rather than requesting lost of inter-library loans, it can be more efficient to visit another academic library to use its collection.

To help you in either of these scenarios, Loughborough University Library is part of the national SCONUL Access scheme.  This enables undergraduates to visit the majority of other academic libraries in the UK and use their printed resources for reference purposes.  It also enables postgraduates, researchers and part-time or distance learners to borrow material from many of them.

To obtain your SCONUL Access card, you need to download or print out the application form, fill it in and either bring it or sent it to the Issue Desk at the University Library.  We will then either give you the card there and then or send it on to you, if you have applied by post.  You will then have to take that card and your Loughborough Student ID card along to the Library that you want to use.  To find out which libraries are near your vacation base, there is a list of all of the libraries that are part of the scheme on the SCONUL website.

If you are away from Loughborough for the vaction, then also remember that many of our own resources are available electronically via the Library catalogue or via Metalib.

1968 : Year of Revolutions

June 18, 2008

Some people remember 1968 with affection, thinking about an era of free love, rock music and student uprisings. Others view it with a rather cold eye; for them it recalls the worst of times: 

the Tet Offensive of the Vietnam War, the launch of the Chinese Cultural Revolution and the crushing of the Prague Spring.   If you would like to make your own judgement, there are a number of good websites available to help you make up your mind.  

BBC Radio 4 has one entitled 1968: Myth or Reality which uses sound archive and news footage to give a vivid sense of the period. If you were around at the time, you can add your memories to their Memoryshare section.

If your interest is in the events in the United States ‘The Whole World Was Watching’ is an oral history created by South Kingstown High School and Brown University’s Scholarly Technology Group. It covers the work of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Campaign, the Women’s Rights Movement and the American involvement with the Vietnam War. The Black Civil Rights movement inspired a similar movement in Northern Ireland; to find out about the Civil Rights march in Derry, October 5th 1968 and other major events in the history of the Troubles, consult the CAIN web service (Conflict Archive on the INternet)

There is a rich store of recent newspaper articles on the subject available from Nexis UK  A particularly interesting essay was written by  historian Timothy Garton Ash in ‘The Guardian’ on May 8th 2008 which had an unusual take on the subject – ‘1968 and 1989: a tale of two revolutions’ A memory of having seen an improvised poster in a Prague shop window in 1989 which “showed  68 spun through 180 degrees to read 89” starts him reflecting on the comparisons between the two anniversaries: He concludes that there is no group from 1989 to compare with the glamorous movements of 1968 but it may be that the revolutions of the late nineteen eighties will prove to have been much more significant than those of 68.

In the same newspaper on May 6th, Severin Carroll, the  Guardian’s Scottish correspondent reports on the latest book published by Professor Gerard de Groot of the University of St Andrews – “The Sixties Unplugged” in which he argues that the spirit of the age “has been obscured by an ill-informed nostalgia for the music, hippy ethos and defiant protests against the Vietnam War, nuclear weapons and conformity”. This book is now on order so if you’d like to read a view of the late sixties with a more critical slant you might like to reserve this work when it is added to stock.


Cubans walk past a poster of the revolution hero Che in Trinidad. Photo by Mikhail Evstafiev Category:Mikhail Evstafiev Category:Cuba )

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons attribution Share-Alike 2.5


Euro 2008

June 12, 2008

Now that Euro 2008 has started, without any of the UK’s teams, there are loads of websites out there with information about the tournament.  The key one is naturally UEFA’s official Euro 2008 website, which has live video, replays, and all the latest news for fans.  The BBC has its own site, which also includes a blog and commentary from its presenters and journalists, as does ITV.  However, if you don’t like football or want to look beyond the match results and inevitable hype, there is a lot more to the event than what happens on the pitch, as you can see from the research that has been done on Euro 2004.

A search on the database SPORTdiscus for ‘Euro 2004’ finds 143 results with subjects including biography, strategy, statistics, reporters and reporting, management and interviews.  There are abstracts of articles about ‘Euro 2004 and football fashion’, ‘The importance of events in tourism:impacts of the UEFA-Euro 2004 on the accommodation industry in Algarve, Portugal’ and ‘An evaluation of the sponsorship of Euro 2004’.  A similar search on Communications Abstracts discovered two very different articles.  One looking at Greek nationalism and international recognition in Euro 2004 and another examining representations of Portugal and England in Euro 2004 newspaper coverage.

So, if you are not a sports fan, don’t forget that Euro 2008 is about a lot more than football, and if you do enjoy the game, make the most of the next few weeks!