August 19, 2008
The Library has made a small contribution to the National Year of Reading by setting up its own NYR webpages. Since its inception in April the NYR has had a monthly theme. August’s theme is related to sport and we have been lucky to get two Olympians and alumni of the University – David Moorcroft to contribute a podcast and Bill Tancred to send us some text on favourite books and talk about what reading means to them.
August 19, 2008
The Guardian (1821-2003) and its sister paper The Observer (1791-2003) are now available online. Their archives give readers access to facts, eye-witness accounts and commentary on the most important events in politics, business, sport and the arts from the past two hundred years. You can read about Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, the assassination of President Kennedy and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The papers have been digitised from cover to cover so you will be able to look at photographs as you read the text.
The Guardian and The Observer have always had a reputation for courageous reporting and for not being afraid to publish on controversial matters. The Guardian was originally known as The Manchester Guardian and first published on May 5th 1821 in the aftermath of the Peterloo Massacre and was only published on Saturdays until the newspaper stamp duty was abolished in 1855. Readers who hated its radical stance would tear the paper in half, throw the commentary sections out of train windows saving only the stock market reports.
The paper achieved fame under the editorship of C.P.Scott who held the post for 57 years from 1872 whose dicta “Comment is free but facts are sacred … The voice of opponents no less than that of friends has a right to be heard.” has been the motto of many radical journalists.
The Observer has had a chequered history. During its first hundred years it was variously a scandal sheet, a vehicle for government propaganda and a thorn in the flesh of the Establishment. Its reputation for seriousness grew slowly through the nineteenth century as well as its stance of being a solid defender of the the freedom of the press. In 1820 the proprietor William Innell Clement ignored a ban on reporting the proceedings against the Cato Street conspirators. The defence of citizens’ freedoms continues to this day with the journalist Henry Porter’s attacks on the current infringements of civil liberties introduced by New Labour.
The Library now has four digitised newspaper titles: we also subscribe to The Times Digital Archive and Daily Mirror. They are invaluable tools for the researcher who now no longer has to do without the visual context of newspaper reporting. Photographs are the means by which newspapers dramatise the journalists’ copy and help deepen the reader’s understanding of an event.
August 14, 2008
After such a wet and relatively cool summer so far in the UK, we are wondering if we might have an Indian Summer with weather becoming more mild and sunny in the autumn? This in turn led us to wondering where the term ‘Indian summer’ comes from and luckily the Oxford English Dictionary Online has the answer.
The OED’s definition is:
“A period of calm, dry, mild weather, with hazy atmosphere, occurring in the late autumn in the Northern United States”
and it provides a little more explanation
“The name is generally attributed to the fact that the region in which the meteorological conditions in question were originally noticed was still occupied by the Indians; but other more specific explanations have been essayed. In its origin it appears to have had nothing to do with the glowing autumnal tints of the foliage, with which it is sometimes associated. The actual time of its occurrence and the character of the weather appear also to vary for different regions”
OED Online, http://dictionary.oed.com [Accessed 14/08/2008]
Its first recorded use was in 1778 by ‘J. H. St. John D Creveoeur’. If you want to find out more about him then you can go to Internet Archive and download Saint John de Crèvecur, sa vie et ses ouvrages (1735-1813) avec les portraits de Crèvecur et de la comtesse d’Houdetot, gravés d’après des miniatures du temps. (It is in French and for non-commercial use only). The OED has numerous quotations demonstrating the variations in its use since this date, with authors including Longfellow, De Quincy and Vita Sackville-West.
To find out more about ‘Indian summer’ or any other word (and you are a Loughborough registered student or member of staff) you can link to the OED either directly (using the links above) or via Metalib. If you are on-campus, you can search it directly. If you are off-campus, you will need your Athens username and password to access it.
Let’s hope that an Indian summer does come along!!
August 7, 2008
Tomorrow, in what will no doubt be an extravagant ceremony, the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games will open. There are a lot of websites out there with information about the Games, the key ones being ‘The Official website of the Olympic Movement‘, and the ‘Official website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games‘. The BBC has its own website, which includes a blog and commentary from its presenters and journalists. Loughborough University also its own webpages and blog to follow its 55 athletes (students past and present, as well as University based) at the Olympics and Paralympics. It will be easy to catch up on who has won which event and how Team GB are doing.
The Olympics are much more than sport, however. Did you know about the development and renovation of the Chinese water cube pool? Do you know what ‘image’ young Americans have of China – both as a tourist destination and as the host of the Games? How are the Games going to effect China economically? By searching some of our many databases in Metalib, such as SPORTdiscus, you can find all this information and much more, such as ‘Environmental issues’, ‘The economic effects of the Games’ and ‘The drug wars’.
So, as we have a team competing in this event (unlike Euro 2008!) there are plenty of ways you can keep up-to-date with how many medals we have won during the event itself, or take a look at the Games from a more ‘academic’ perspective over many years to come.