Changes in the Library

September 26, 2008

Returning staff and students to Loughborough University will notice big changes when they come into the Library for the first time this academic year.  The entrance to Level 3 has been changed with a new Reception Desk, as you come in, and a streamlined information desk, which faces you as you walk onto the level.  There are also brand new self-service stations on all levels which allow you to borrow, renew and return books, as well as check your library record and pay your fines (as long as you have correct money – they cannot give change!).  To see what they look like, see the photo below.  If you have any questions about the new machines or any library-related issues, please let us know by coming to talk to us at the Information Desks or by sending us an email via ‘Ask a Librarian‘.

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New improved photocopiers in the Library

September 18, 2008

As visitors to the LIbrary will already have noticed, Loughborough University staff and students now have access to new, improved photocopiers in the Library, which also means cheaper colour copies!  The new machines take the cost of the copies from your printer credits rather than you needing to have a separate photocopy card.  If you already have a card, you can bring it along to the customer service desk in the Library and we will credit your printing account with the amount left on the card, plus the £1 you usually receive when you return the card.

The new copiers can all do colour, as well as blackand white, and they can all do duplex copying (two-sided).  The colour copying has also been reduced in price from 50p to 20p per copy.  Black and white remains at 5p for A4 and 6p for A3.  To access the machines and your credits, you simply log in using your usual Loughborough University username and password.

If you use the Library but are not a member of the University then you can still use your card in one of the old machines and top it up as before.

If you have any questions about this, or any of the other changes in the Library, please contact the Customer Services desks in the Library.


Can e-books really furnish a room?

September 17, 2008
Sony e-book by Irish Typepad www.flickr.com

Sony e-book by Irish Typepad http://www.flickr.com

Sony’s e-reader is now on sale at Waterstone’s. This follows the launching of the Borders’ version, the Illiad, which has been available for some time.  People have strong feelings about e-book readers. Some see them as a way of reducing the number of books that clutter up their houses and love being able to carry hundreds of titles on holiday on their device. So if you has been over-ambitious and taken ‘War and Peace’ on holiday only to find that you can’t keep track of all those Russian names, you can have the comfort of knowing that there is a selection of your favourite detective novels on your e-reader.

For other people the smell and touch of a real book is an essential part of reading and the thought of taking reading an electronic device on the beach or in bed is an anathema.

E-readers have improved enormously : they have new e-ink which doesn’t strain the eyes in the way screens do and so can be read in the sun.  It now  is possible to increase the font size which is a great advantage for long-sighted people  who will be able to discard their reading glasses. The Waterstone’s reader is an attractive object bound with imitation leather and a screen which is similar to an iPod. It comes loaded with a selection of fourteen books and extracts. At present downloading is a a bit difficult as even the Sony technical helpline admits. Borders’ Illiad is easier but uploading is still not a seamless process.  Until these problems are resolved this may put some people off because struggling with gadgets is a source of much stress these days.

 

It has been claimed that sales of Amazon’s reader, Kindle have doubled in a year. This is 6% to 12% of their total sales so it looks as if the e-readers are about to take off.  But the United States wireless networks allow users to download a book (one of 140, 000 available) for $9.99 from café in less than a minute so the convenience of using an e-reader may outweigh its disadvantages. It will be interesting to see how things develop. It may be that we will still continue to add to our book collection and use an e-reader only when we need to keep our luggage light. You can view lots of e-books online via the Library Catalogue, why not check a few out and let us know what you think of the format?


Researching Family History

September 9, 2008

 

 

 

© Copyright 1970-2008 Rick Audet (Richard Audet).

 

The latest series of the fascinating  BBC 1 series Who Do You Think You Are? has helped a number of celebrities discover family secrets which have both shocked and surprised them. If you need help with your family research why not visit the The National Archives ? The expert help available there can give you useful pointers especially if you think you’ve reached an impasse. On this website more secrets can found in the latest files released by the Security Services including  accounts of surveillance of communists and suspected communists so if you know you have a relative who was once an activist you could find him or her listed here.  Should you have Irish ancestry there is also a podcast on the site with some helpful information about the sources you need to consult to trace your forebears. Remember also that your local public library has resources both printed and electronic to help you with your family tree.


Shakespeare in Quarto

September 2, 2008

Photograph by George Goodman, taken from www.flickr.com

 The British Library has recently digitised a number of its famous collections of rare books including the Shakespeare Quartos. On the Shakespeare webpages you will find the British Library’s 93 copies of William Shakespeare’s 21 plays printed before the Puritan Parliament closed the English theatres in 1642.  The texts started to be printed in 1594 beginning with Titus Andronicus which appeared as a small pamphlet (known as a quarto). The Quartos are important because none of Shakespeare’s manuscripts survives which means that the printed text is the only source that can be used to determine what he originally wrote. The Quartos date from his time; some of them preserve the working drafts (foul drafts) and some the fair copies. Others are believed to record versions remembered by the actors who performed the plays; these versions provide scholars with an idea of how the plays were staged at the time. In the texts section of the site you can view individual texts or compare different versions of the same play.

On this site it is possible to compare earlier and later versions of the texts and view them side-by-side.  When comparing two versions of Hamlet  we learn that Shakespeare’s earlier rendering of what would become one of his most famous quotations had little force when he first wrote it.

 The first “bad” 1603 quarto of Hamlet: Act 3, Scene 1 reads:

‘To be, or not to be, I there’s the point’

while the second “good” quarto of 1605 reads:

‘To be, or not to be, that is the question’

The website has a wealth of other information about Shakespeare including background on his life, links to essays by scholars on the quartos, bibliographies and links to other digitised Shakespeare collections.