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Monday, 13 December 2010

Service Upgrade

This week CiCS will be carrying out some essential maintenance to our eresources single sign-on service package (Shibboleth). For technical reasons, a consequence of the upgrade work will be a loss of customers' existing personalisations. This means that if you have created personalisations (e.g. saved searches or set up alerts) for some databases, you will lose these. This is unfortunate, but unavoidable.

The list of databases affected is available on the library webpages. It includes ZETOC and a number of EDINA services. We anticipate that ZETOC may prove the most problematic as this is used by many as a personalised current awareness service.

In all cases, you will need to set up your preferred personalisations again after successful completion of the upgrade. This will be announced on the service status page in due course.

Apologies if this work does effect you.

Christmas Vacation Loans

Our vacation loans begin today! Anything issued or renewed from today will be due back after Christmas. Have a look at the table below for more information.

These loans do not apply to University or NHS staff, Postgraduate research students or external borrowers.



























Borrower StatusIssuedDue for Return
Full-time UG & PGTFrom 9am 13 December to 11 January inclusiveTuesday 18 January
Part-time UG & PGTFrom 9am 13 December to 4 January inclusiveTuesday 18 January
Reserved Items - Full-time UG & PGTFrom 9am 16 December to 10 January inclusiveMonday 17 January
Reserved items - Part-time UG & PGTFrom 9am 14 December to 10 January inclusiveMonday 17 January

In order to avoid fines please keep your borrower record up to date. Please note that items can be reserved as normal throughout the holiday and the only way to ensure that you can keep them for the whole of the vacation period is to renew them during the last week of semester

If a book has been reserved for someone else you may not be able to renew it over the vacation and will be liable for any fines incurred.

If you encounter any difficulties, please contact the Renewals Hotline on: (0114) 222-7201.

Friday, 10 December 2010

ACSE Student Wins Amazon Kindle

Joe OliverAs (hopefully) you'll be aware we've been running a pilot ereader loan scheme in our libraries, which came to end in November. An Amazon Kindle and Sony eReader were loaded with content and loaned to customers in exchange for feedback as part of an evaluation project. Those who took part in our survey were entered into a prize draw to win their own ebook reader!

The prize draw
The prize draw event was held in the Western Bank Library Exhibition Gallery on 6 December 2010. We were delighted to welcome Joe Oliver, Sheffield Students' Union Education Officer, to introduce the event and pick out the names of two lucky winners. Prize draw entrants were invited along and the event was also attended by Martin Lewis, Director of Library Services, Heather Thrift and Tracey Clarke, the Associate and Assistant Library Directors, and the ebook reader evaluation project group members.

The winners
The lucky ebook reader winners are from the departments of Philosophy and Automatic Systems & Control Engineering, winning an Amazon Kindle 3G and a Sony Reader Touch respectively. Neither of the winners were able to attend the draw, though we've since contacted them with the good news and they're very pleased!

Thank you!
Many thanks to everyone who took part in our eBook reader evaluation. The results of the survey will be made available shortly on the Library web site.

More photos can also be found on Flickr.

Friday, 19 November 2010

A couple of Friday things

Since the introduction of self-service and the rise of inquiry-based learning we've started to look at new ways of delivering help and support to library users. As part of a major project, looking at how we can improve our enquiry services, we've set up a brief survey and are asking for input from you to determine some of the recommendations we make. There are just five parts and so it should only take about five minutes to complete. Any input you make is very much appreciated.

You may also be interested to know that our ebook reader pilot is coming to an end. There is still time for you to come along to either Western Bank Library or the Information Commons to give them a go. Feedback submitted before November 30th will be added to our prize draw on December 6th to win either an Amazon Kindle or a Sony eReader.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Engineering Newsletter #1

We've just published our first Library News for Engineering PDF. Have a look and let us know what you think in the comments.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

SciVerse Hub

SciVerse HubSciVerse Hub was launched back in August 2010 targetting researchers looking for more discovery and less searching.

It enables users to search across a range of Elsevier products from a single index of content. Results integrate full text articles, abstracts and citations as well as external web resources from ScienceDirect, Scopus, Scirus and SciTopics. That's over 2,500 journals, including pre 1995 digitised material, 11,000 books and an infinite amount of carefully selected webpages.

Small icons indicate where results are sourced from and provide links to full texts, further information or individual websites.

External Abstract Full Text

Remember that 'abstract' icons indicate results from Scopus, some of which may also be available in full via the University Library. Click on the title of the paper for further information and select  Find It to search the Library's catalogue.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

New WBL Exhibition

On Monday there'll be a new exhibition opening on the Mezzanine level in Western Bank Library. This time our exhibition space is being dedicated to celebrating fifty years of Western Bank Library. Curated by Jacky Hodgson and Karen Middlemast, The Million Book Library...
charts the history of the site from its rural beginnings to the home of this magnificent Modernist building. Through photographs, architectural drawings and other original documents from the University and Library collections the display explores the Western Bank Library from concept, to construction and opening. Central to the display and to mark this special occasion is a commissioned replica model of the original 1953 architectural vision for the site, constructed by students Tom Hudson and Phil Etchells.

For more information take a look at the library website.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Lending Services Survey Results

You may remember that during April 2010 we were asking students to complete a short lending services survey to gather feedback on some of the changes introduced last year. We had a fantastic 1140 responses submitted and the results are now available online.

Many thanks for your contributions.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

General Library and IC Inductions

Now the initial round of inductions are over I've embedded a couple of presentations below.



Some of you will have seen the general library induction presentation during the sessions last week (best viewed in full screen mode - click on the 'play' symbol and select 'full screen' from the 'more' menu). For those that haven't please get in touch if you've any questions.

Remember, all staff are here to help - see the contact us webpage for further information.





Last week we also ran a number of sessions in the Information Commons. If you missed these you can see the full presentation below (use the menu option to view full screen).



Monday, 20 September 2010

World Plant Duplicates

The real number of flowering plants is down to about 400,000 after scientists remove more than 600,000 species from the dictionary of life. Although the existence of duplicates has been long known it has taken until now for a comprehensive review to establish where these are.
The project - which has taken nearly three years - was the number one request made by the 193 government members of the Convention on Biological Diversity at their meeting in 2002. There were concerns that without this work, it would be impossible to work out how many plants were under threat and how successful conservationists were in saving them.

In having multiple names it also makes it much more difficult for researchers to find information - sometimes missing up to 80% if only searching with the most common name of a species. Remember that when conducting literature searches it's always useful to structure a search that will encompass both its common and scientific name. To learn more about successful database searching why not have a look at our Information Skills Resource.

Read more: Scientists prune list of world's plants and More than half of all flowering plant names invalid.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Welcome to all our new and returning students!

Information Commons



Find out about Library and IT services.  Come to one of the brief presentations on Level 1 in the Information Commons week beginning 20 September, at 11am, 1pm, 2pm or 3pm.  These are followed by optional tours by student ambassadors and demonstrations of equipment.

Just turn up - there's no need to book.  Student ambassadors and staff are also on hand at our other Library sites to help you find your way around.  You can find more information for new students on our webpages: getting started and information for new customers.

Friday, 13 August 2010

AMS Research Journals Archive is Digitised

A complete digital archive of The American Mathematical Society's research journals is now freely available online. Access is provided to over 34,000 electronic articles from over 100 years of mathematical research beginning with each journal's inaugural issue through to 2005.

The archive includes abstracts, references, bibliographic information, Mathematics Subject Classifications and full text PDFs from:

  • Journal of the AMS;

  • Mathematics of Computation;

  • Proceedings of the AMS;

  • Transactions of the AMS;

  • and Bulletin of the AMS.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Need your inter-library loan material quickly?

University staff and postgraduate researchers can now submit requests for books and documents held outside the University Library electronically. From the Library tab in MUSE, click on the myInterLibrary requests link, complete the web form and press ‘send’. We’ll let you know as soon as your item becomes available.

If you’re an undergraduate or postgraduate on a taught course you can continue to make your request using the paper forms, and you should obtain an authorisation voucher from your department.

This is a three-month trial and feedback would be very welcome. Your comments can be emailed to library@sheffield.ac.uk. More information about the service can be found at the library website.

Monday, 26 July 2010

eBook Reader Pilot

KindleWe're currently evaluating the potential use of ebook readers within the Library and are running a trial service from July to November 2010. An Amazon Kindle is available for you to try at Western Bank Library or a Sony Pocket Edition Reader is available at the Information Commons.

Tell us what you think of our ebook readers and you could win your own Kindle or Sony Reader! For more information about the pilot see the Library website.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Want to keep up-to-date with British Standards?

RSS IconWell now you can with their recently launched RSS feeds. Daily updates let you keep on top of all the new and amended British Standards in specific sectors or for general interests there is a feed across all sectors. For more information have a look at the British Standards website.

Need to know more about RSS feeds? There is some useful information available on the library website and for more help getting yourself set up with Google reader have a look at our tutorial on the Information Skills Resource.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Trial to CRC netBASE

We have a new trial available for the CRC database. CRC netBASE is made up of over 6000 online books that span over 40 disciplines in the science and engineering fields - Biomedical Science, Chemistry, Computer Science, Chemical/Civil/Electrical/Mechanical Engineering, Environmental/Life Science, Maths and Physics.

If you need help getting started take a look at the netBASE tutorials or contact the library. We always appreciate feedback on these trials and there is a feedback form available via our website.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Football Fever

Physics of Football



A new collection of papers, called the Physics of Football, includes an article by our very own Matt CarrĂ© from Mechanical Engineering. The collection is freely available throughout the duration of the World Cup season and features a range of football-related articles from lift coefficients of spin parameters to an introduction of drag through the mechanics of Beckham's curve balls.

All papers are available to download as PDFs by selecting the PDF icon.

Friday, 4 June 2010

JSTOR Plant Science

JSTOR have recently launched a new online environment that brings together global plants content, tools, and people interested in plant science. JSTOR Plant Science is available via the University Library and provides access to:

  • More than 800,000 type specimens;.

  • Over 175,000 scientific research articles and other content dating back hundreds of years from leading academic journals including Kew Bulletin, Mycologia, International Journal of Plant Sciences, Science, PNAS, and others;

  • Foundational reference works and books such as The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa, Flowering Plants of South Africa, and illustrations from Curtis's Botanical Magazine;

  • A significant set of correspondence, including Kew’s Directors' Correspondence which included hand-written letters and memorandum from the senior staff of Kew from 1841 to 1928;

  • More than 20,000 paintings, photographs, drawings, and other images.

It is especially useful for anyone interested in botany, biology, ecology, environmental and conservation studies.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Lending Service Survey

Many thanks to everyone who took part in our lending service survey.  We received over 1100 responses in total from the online and paper survey!  We're looking at the feedback now and will get back to you after we've analysed your comments.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Extended Opening Hours

We've extended the opening hours at Western Bank Library to accommodate the exam period. See below for more details:

Exam Period (Sunday 16 May 2010 - Thursday 10 June 2010)





























Opening hoursStaffed service hours
Monday - Thursday09:00 - 00:0009:00 - 19:00
Friday09:00 - 21:0010:00 - 19:00
Saturday10:00 - 18:0012:00 - 18:00
Sunday10:00 - 00:0012:00 - 18:00

Bank holiday hours are as follows:







Monday 31 May 201009:00 - 00:0009:00 - 17:00

Thursday, 13 May 2010

ChemSpider

ChemSpiderLooking for the 'world's best free online search engine for chemistry'? Well, look no further. ChemSpider is a structure-searchable database that aggregates and indexes chemical structures alongside associated information (curated literature data, chemical vendor catalogs, molecular properties, environmental data, toxicity data, analytical data etc) via a single repository.

Results are collated from a wealth of resources, both open access and commercially funded, and so it's important to remember that you may not have access to all information collected during your search. Check the library holdings or contact me if you need help with getting hold of material.

The example below indicates the inherent properties, identifiers and references of the antiviral compound Oseltamivir:

H1N1 Antiviral Compound


(click to enlarge)


Further information includes articles, patents, properties and classification:


Associated Information - Oseltamivir

Monday, 19 April 2010

Have your say...

Got something to say about the Library's lending service? In September 2009 we introduced some changes to the loans service and we'd like to find out what you think to them. We're conducting a brief survey for this week only and would welcome your comments.

Click here to take survey

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Springer eBooks Trial

We currently have a trial running on the Springer eBook platform. Springer eBooks are grouped into 12 fully indexed and searchable subject collections and also include the Springer eReference collection. These include:

  • Behavioral Science;

  • Biomedical and Life Sciences;

  • Business and Economics;

  • Chemistry and Materials Science;

  • Computer Science (including the highly regarded Lecture Notes in Computer Science);

  • Earth and Environmental Science;

  • Engineering;

  • Humanities, Social Sciences and Law;

  • Mathematics and Statistics;

  • Medicine;

  • Physics and Astronomy;

  • Professional Computing and Web Design.


Access to the Springer eBook collection (MUSE log-in required)  is available via Springerlink and only includes Springer ebooks with copyright years 2005-2010. It is available to registered staff and students of the University of Sheffield until 10 May 2010. If you have any comments please let us know as feedback always helps to assess the usefulness of resources and can influence our decisions over future access.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Top Scan

As part of 2010’s National Science and Engineering Week the University Library in collaboration with the National Fairground Archive are celebrating the engineering feats of roller coasters and theme park rides. The following abstract is part of a mini-series on the history of going upside-down, compiled by Ian Trowell of the National Fairground Archive.

Top Scan


Top Scan (2000)


The first 'million pound' ride caused a huge queue on the M1 as drivers stopped to look at it during a night-time test run in Derbyshire. Considered the most progressive and aggressive thrill on the fairground, the Top Scan launches and twists its riders in every direction. This ride emerged at the end of the quest to start sending the 'spin and spew' rides from the 1980s into an upside down orbit. The question remains... what next?


That concludes our walk through the history of fairground rides to celebrate National Science and Engineering Week. If you are interested in learning more about roller coaster engineering stop by the National Fairground Archive at Western Bank Library where the staff are happy to help.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Booster

As part of 2010’s National Science and Engineering Week the University Library in collaboration with the National Fairground Archive are celebrating the engineering feats of roller coasters and theme park rides. The following abstract is part of a mini-series on the history of going upside-down, compiled by Ian Trowell of the National Fairground Archive.

Booster


Booster (2001)


The modern propeller ride - evolving higher and faster - born on the European fairgrounds with Italian and Dutch companies pushing the envelope. The rotating gondola makes an axis-based g-force calculation less than straightforward, though the passengers can certainly feel the forces as the speed of the ride increase. This ride is an indication of the shape of things to come...






Check back tomorrow for more and remember that the NFA is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 until 16:30 for anyone interested in seeing more of our NSEW activities.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Super Loops and the Top Spin

As part of 2010’s National Science and Engineering Week the University Library in collaboration with the National Fairground Archive are celebrating the engineering feats of roller coasters and theme park rides. The following abstract is part of a mini-series on the history of going upside-down, compiled by Ian Trowell of the National Fairground Archive.

Super Loop


Super Loop (1981)


This ride was a continuous track portable Roller Coaster - simply a circular loop with a train that gained momentum up and down the track in the same way that a skateboarder 'carves' a half-pipe. The motion was gained by masses of plastic rollers which had a habit of coming loose and cascading down. Experimental from the word go, the ride had a poor record in the UK and quickly disappeared from the scene.


Top Spin


Terminator / Top Spin (1994)


The Top Spin was a quantum leap forward in styling, with a 'Terminator' version holding the ground at Hull fair in 1994. The machine resembled a huge robot and was drenched in smoke and strobes - the riders seemed to be in the grip of a wild machine with its own mind rather than a showman pressing program buttons. Part of the ride pattern involved leaving riders suspended upside down as long as possible - the chequer plate platforms getting spraying with falling coins.


Check back tomorrow for more and remember that the NFA is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 until 16:30 for anyone interested in seeing more of our NSEW activities.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

The Enterprise and Pirate Ships

As part of 2010’s National Science and Engineering Week the University Library in collaboration with the National Fairground Archive are celebrating the engineering feats of roller coasters and theme park rides. The following abstract is part of a mini-series on the history of going upside-down, compiled by Ian Trowell of the National Fairground Archive.

Enterprise


Enterprise (1979)


A classic ride developed in a superb aesthetic style, and indicative of the high-level of competition between German manufacturers at the end of the 1970s. The Enterprise, themed on the TV series 'Star Trek', was a good example of a looping ride that used the forces generated by centripetal acceleration to allow the passengers to loop without the need for heavy lap-bar or shoulder-harness restraints. The speed and diameter was just enough to allow this to happen, giving the rider an exciting and almost surreal experience.


Pirate Ship


Pirate Ship (1980)


The Pirate Ship was again a result of the competition between German engineers to create a large-scale dynamically-appearing attraction that went through a 360 degree loop - essentially rebuilding of the 1930s Looper ride. The antique theming provided a clash of time-zones, but the ride was a huge success.


Check back tomorrow for more and remember that the NFA is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 until 16:30 for anyone interested in seeing more of our NSEW activities.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Roller Coasters - Simple and Complex

As part of 2010’s National Science and Engineering Week the University Library in collaboration with the National Fairground Archive are celebrating the engineering feats of roller coasters and theme park rides. The following abstract is part of a mini-series on the history of going upside-down, compiled by Ian Trowell of the National Fairground Archive.

Roller Coaster - Simple Loop


Roller Coasters - Simple Loop (1979)


Blackpool Pleasure Beach installed the first looping coaster in the UK, using the teardrop shaped elliptical loop developed for parks in the US. The installation of this ride was a landmark in the UK, paving the way for Corkscrew rides the following year, then a whole thrill network of floorless coasters, standing coasters, launched coasters, etc.


Roller Coaster - Complex


Roller Coasters - Complex (post 1990)


The current terrain of roller coasters is hard to quantify - process on a world-wide scale occurs literally monthly, with whatever seemed impossible quickly coming into fruition. Current trends are for 'linear induction motors' which provide a lightning fast acceleration (or braking), minimised restraints, and gruelling, twisting track layouts.


Check back tomorrow for more and remember that the NFA is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 until 16:30 for anyone interested in seeing more of our NSEW activities.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Loopers and Dive Bombers

As part of 2010’s National Science and Engineering Week the University Library in collaboration with the National Fairground Archive are celebrating the engineering feats of roller coasters and theme park rides. The following abstract is part of a mini-series on the history of going upside-down, compiled by Ian Trowell of the National Fairground Archive.

Looper


Looper (1937)


The Looper (or Loop-o-plane) used a clutch and friction method to gain a swinging motion towards and through 360 degrees. This was the ultimate playground thrill, the myth of going over the top, here for everyone to experience. The slow speed of performing the loop meant that the riders had to be secured with a good belting system – as the ride painstakingly crawled towards the vertical you were literally strung upside down. This ride paved the way for the generation of looping 'Pirate Ships' that emerged in the 1980s.


Dive Bomber


Dive Bomber (1939)


The first truly frightening machine? The Dive Bomber was invented in the US by flight engineers Eyerly, and came to the UK for a debut at Blackpool. The Second World War curtailed production and effectively put people off the ride for the immediate years after the war, since no-one wanted to be reminded of the blitz. However, the ride slowly gained a reputation as a classic thriller, and paved the way for the modern-day Booster.


Check back tomorrow for more and remember that the NFA is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 until 16:30 for anyone interested in seeing more of our NSEW activities.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Steam Yachts and Mystic Swings

As part of 2010’s National Science and Engineering Week the University Library in collaboration with the National Fairground Archive are celebrating the engineering feats of roller coasters and theme park rides. The following abstract is part of a mini-series on the history of going upside-down, compiled by Ian Trowell of the National Fairground Archive.

Steam Yachts






Steam Yachts (1888)



An inventive collaboration between an engineer and musician, the Steam Yachts were part of the great 'industrial revolution' on the English fairground. The ride is also credited as being the first 'white knuckle' experience, since the theory goes that as the boat swings through the 180 degree points you have to hold on or fall off. A few examples survive as vintage (though still frightening) experiences.

Mystic Swing


Mystic Swing (1930s)


An illusion ride that played with the senses, particularly the fear of going upside down. The hexagonal structure rocked from side to side, however the external 'skin' of the ride spun through complete circles. The riders were enclosed in a darkened space on sedate seats, with living room style accompaniments set in place. The rotating external structure was painted with luminous symbols, giving the impression that the passengers were going up the wall and over the ceiling.


Check back tomorrow for more and remember that the NFA is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 until 16:30 for anyone interested in seeing more of our NSEW activities.



Sunday, 14 March 2010

Upside-Down Entertainment - Part 3

As part of 2010’s National Science and Engineering Week the University Library in collaboration with the National Fairground Archive are celebrating the engineering feats of roller coasters and theme park rides. The following abstract is Part 3 (Part 1 and Part 2) of a mini-series on the history of going upside-down, compiled by Ian Trowell of the National Fairground Archive.

Bomber Mark 2



The looping roller coaster originated as a bold experimental device in 1846 at Frascati Gardens, running as an isolated example for a few seasons. A follow-up device had an accident on its trial run, and so the concept was put on ice. It took until 1975 for the loop to re-enter the roller coaster equation, with Swiss company Intamin joining forces with Germany's Schwarzkopf to build a coaster for the US Six Flags theme Park. The UK joined the craze with Blackpool's Arrow-built 'Revolution' in 1979 – these machines utilising an elliptical 'tear-drop' shaped loop. The Corkscrew provided another method for looping, with 1980 examples at Alton Towers and Whitley Bay.

The 1980s onwards has seen huge developments in both looping fairground rides and looping roller coasters. G-forces are calculated in both the negative and positive, for a combination of all the axes through the body (head to toe, front to back, side to side), with thresholds touched for sustained and instant forces. The fears of this unknown have been banished, the only remaining doubt existing in the mind of the onlooker on whether to take a ride, and the gentle reminder to secure all loose change and valuables. Meanwhile the engineers search for the next thrill…

Check back tomorrow for more and remember that the NFA is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 until 16:30 for anyone interested in seeing more of our NSEW activities.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Upside-Down Entertainment - Part 2

As part of 2010's National Science and Engineering Week the University Library in collaboration with the National Fairground Archive are celebrating the engineering feats of roller coasters and theme park rides. The following abstract is Part 2 (see Part 1) of a mini-series on the history of going upside-down, compiled by Ian Trowell of the National Fairground Archive.

The Revolution



Braithwaite's "Fairground Architecture" defines the origins of 'joy-riding' in terms of the replication of machines designed for resolving industrial problems and applying them to general amusement. This is seen as a dynamic expressing both the experimental joy of the technological engineer, and the desire of the 'riding public' to be entertained. However, development tended to be towards roundabouts rather than aerial devices.

The Steam Yachts were patented in 1888, the first large-scale ride based on a swinging mechanism, and generally considered as the first 'white knuckle' experience (based on the fact that you have to grip with all your strength). The Steam Yachts heaved slowly back and forth, tipping to the sideways point, and the rider had no choice other than to grip tightly.

US company Eyerly, who traded in pilot-training devices and utopian visions of flight-for-all, developed the next stage of looping. Their 'Loop-o-Plane' was patented in 1935 and their 'Roll-o-Plane' a few years later. The Loop-o-Plane utilised a swinging mechanism, as the transition to a 360 degree swing is realised slowly through friction and clutches. The Roll-o-Plane (or Dive Bomber) was an instant motorised drive through the full circle, though the cars ingeniously rotated on their own axis to avoid a prolonged upside down state. Groundbreaking, but terrifying, experiences.

Neither of these rides were updated until the late 1970s, when German engineers took on the challenge. Bremen based company Huss manufactured the large-scale looping Pirate Ship, effectively opening the floodgates for the genre. The 1980s and 1990s saw large amounts of these rides on the fairgrounds and parks.

Check back tomorrow for Part 3 and remember that the NFA is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 until 16:30 for anyone interested in seeing more of our NSEW activities.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Upside-Down Entertainment - Part 1

As part of 2010's National Science and Engineering Week the University Library in collaboration with the National Fairground Archive are celebrating the engineering feats of roller coasters and theme park rides. The following abstract is Part 1 of a mini-series on the history of going upside-down, compiled by Ian Trowell of the National Fairground Archive.

Victorian Fair



In much the same way that sceptics forecast an imminent death due to suffocation during the development of the open-topped motor vehicle approaching minor speeds in excess of 20mph, going 'upside down' has always been fraught with fears of what might actually happen when a person is projected and/or suspended upside down by a mechanical device.

As a counteraction to this, there has always been the nagging curiosity of whether it is possible to swing with such a force as to go 'completely over the top', and urban myths remain pervasive about the 'friend of a friend of a friend' who swung on the park swings with such furiousness (and the help of some strong pushers) that he (or she) actually went over the axle bar and survived to tell the tale.

At the turn of the 19th Century the fairground was taking on a new shape to express its reason for being in the provision of something new and exciting. Agricultural engineers had turned their hand to building vast mechanical devices and these whirring and clanking machines became the centre-piece of the fair. The world of the ever-opportunistic showmen, and the always ambitious ride engineers, began a heady process of thrill development increasing the speed and intensity of the experience, and soon provided the public with the first real chances to explore and enjoy the overcoming of this great fear – swinging through 360 degrees.

Early sketches suggest swings were a vital part of the pre-mechanical fairground, and even though such sketches suggest an over-abundance of festivity and freshly-nurtured thrill-seeking, there are no explicit reports of attempting (or indeed achieving) a swing through a complete circle.

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 and remember that the NFA is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 until 16:30 for anyone interested in seeing more of our NSEW activities.

Friday, 5 March 2010

National Science and Engineering Week

Infusion - Blackpool Pleasure BeachFor this year's National Science and Engineering Week (March 12th-21st) the University Library in collaboration with the National Fairground Archive (NFA) will be celebrating the engineering feats of fairgrounds and Roller Coasters with a very special display.

The display of material will be housed in the NFA Reading Room at Western Bank Library, open Monday to Friday 9:30 - 16:30 for the duration of NSEW. It includes a collection of:

  • Books and journals exploring the history and technology of roller coasters, giant ferris wheels and theme parks;

  • A photographic database of fairground machinery and amusement park history;

  • Original plans and blueprints of roller coasters (circa 1920) and the Battersea 'London Water Chute' (1951);

  • Trade ephemera from fairground and amusement park manufacturing.


Staff will be on hand to guide you through further resources and discuss your particular areas of interest.

We're also running a mini-series, right here on the blog, exploring the history of going upside down (compiled by Ian Trowell of the NFA). This will include a three part introduction to going upside down followed by a run of theme-park examples:

  • Steam Yachts (1888);

  • Mystic Swing (1930s);

  • Looper (1937);

  • Dive Bomber (1939);

  • Roller Coasters - simple loop (1979);

  • Roller Coasters - complex (post 1990);

  • Enterprise (1979);

  • Pirate Ship (1980);

  • Super Loop (1981);

  • Terminator/Top Spin (1994);

  • Booster (2001);

  • Top Scan (2000).


Also see the NFA news pages for more.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Etheses Session for new PhD Students

The University Library has arranged a further session for newly-registered research students on copyright clearance and the avoidance of unfair means. It's compulsory for all research students to attend one of these sessions and further information can be found on the use of copyright material website.

This repeat session will be held on Thursday 11 March from 10-11am in the North Campus Graduate Research Centre seminar room. There's no need to book in advance, just turn up on the day.

Friday, 26 February 2010

National Science and Engineering Week

It's that time of year again and the National Science and Engineering Week is fast approaching. From March 12th until March 21st the University of Sheffield has once again teamed up with Sheffield Hallam University, local schools, industry, commerce and museums throughout South Yorkshire to celebrate the best in British research and innovation.

This year's theme is Earth in support of the International Year of Biodiversity and the What on Earth project - an initiative 'encouraging everyone to get outside into their gardens and local parks and take photos of the wildlife they don’t recognise'. If you come across something unusual (or not so unusual) head over to www.whatonearth.org.uk armed with your image and get it identified by a team of scientific experts. I have a picture of a flower I'd be interested in someone identifying so if any of you have any suggestions I'd love to hear them:

Flower

The program of events (mostly free and open to the public) includes a David Allen-Booth Memorial Lecture entitled Shapes and Patterns: Crystals, leaves, leopards and zebras by Professor Gillian Gehring, What on Earth... will we do about energy? by staff and students from the Mechanical Engineering Subject Group (Sheffield Hallam) and the return of Rock Around the General Cemetery.

The University Library in collaboration with the National Fairground Archive will also be taking part to celebrate the engineering feats of fairgrounds and roller coasters. Look out for more information right here in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Aves 3D

Aves 3D is an online database of three-dimensional digital surface models of avian skeletal morphology produced by the  College of the Holy Cross and Harvard University, in partnership with the National Science Foundation. New scans are added on a weekly basis to 'to provide as wide of a representation of living and extinct bird species as possible'.

It's free to use and easy to browse under the following headings:

  • Cladogram;

  • Scientific Name;

  • Common Name;

  • Skeletal Element;

  • Temporal Interval;

  • Geographical Location;

  • Specimen Number.


For more information have a look at the About section and frequently asked questions.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Oxford Reference Online

WBL - DictionariesThe University Library has arranged a trial of Oxford Reference Online (ORO) for all registered staff and students of The University of Sheffield until 9th March 2010.

Electronic access to over 185 reference books and dictionaries is available with almost 1.5 million entries. You'll find both English and bilingual dictionaries of French, German, Spanish and Italian as well as over 45 timelines linking to more than 2,500 key events in 20th-century history in the fields of Art and Architecture; Literature; Performing Arts; Politics and Government; Science, Technology and Medicine; Society; and War.

After connecting to ORO, type in your ucard number in the 'Library card number' box and click 'log-in'.

Oxford Reference Online - Log-in

Science material is grouped together under seven different categories (please note the cross-over of individual titles between categories) - Natural Sciences; Biological Sciences; Computing; Earth and Environmental Sciences; Natural History; Physical Science and Mathematics and Science. For title by title information take a look at the full title listings or titles by category.

If you wish to comment on this trial please use the online feedback form.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Library News

The latest Library Newsletter [pdf] is now available  from the library website. As well as an update on the Western Bank redevelopment project you'll find information about our further improvements to library services - extended opening hours, ePayments and upgraded self-issue/return machines.

Remember that all this week we're running Western Bank Library tours for all students at 11am and 3pm. There is no need to book, just show up on Level M five minutes before the session starts. For anyone missing out on these tours we also have an updated virtual tour and guide.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Nature.com iPhone App

The Nature Publishing Group (NPG) this week launched a new iPhone/iPod application called Nature.com [iTunes Link], offering users the functionality to search, browse, read and bookmark full text content from Nature and Nature News right at your fingertips. The app includes all the latest research and science news from the NPG as well as a searchable PubMed interface (providing access to over 11 million journal citations). The save search option means that it's never been easier to keep abreast of newly-published material and by using the 'save for later' feature you have the option to mark interesting abstracts as a reminder to read the full text later.

To save an article and sync to your desktop tap on a headline and select the 'actions' button in the top right corner of the screen. From here you'll have the option to 'save for later', 'send to a friend' or 'open in Safari'. To return to your saved articles all you have to do is either select the 'Saved' tab on your phone or log-in to the Nature.com Mobile-apps website.

Access to the full text of Nature and Nature News is freely available until April 30th 2010 but you'll need to register for a free account first. Details about the future pricing of content is unavailable at present yet they are in the process of trialing site license access with selected institutional customers. When I hear more about this I'll let you know. In the meantime if you're interested in providing feedback there is a discussion forum up on the Nature Network.

Further Information:

Registration Screen Recent Content View

Friday, 29 January 2010

Western Bank Library Tours

Western Bank LibraryFollowing the completion of the Western Bank Library redevelopment project we'll be offering guided tours to all staff and students. These tours will be an opportunity for you to ask questions about the new facilities, learn more about where our various collections are housed, in what areas you can expect to find silent study and how we plan to use the exhibition space etc.

Student tours are due to commence week beginning February 8th and are open to everyone. There'll be two sessions a day, starting at 11am and 3pm, and all you have to do is show up at the library five minutes beforehand. Make your way up the 1st flight of stairs from the main entrance on Level G and we'll be waiting on Level M.

For more information about the project take a look at our webpages or contact library staff by email library@sheffield.ac.uk.

Friday, 22 January 2010

The New IEEE Xplore

During mid-February IEEE will be launching their new look Xplore, with new search tools and better results:
The new IEEE Xplore makes finding the trusted research you need easier and faster.  With its robust, new search engine and personalization features, you'll spend less time researching and more time developing and pioneering technology.

Until then however you're invited to 'experience the new IEEE Xplore digital library' with a sneak preview:

Xplore Demo



The improved search capabilities include:

  • Smart “Refine this Search” capabilities, which allow you to refine or expand results by multiple facets;

  • Convenient type-ahead shortens searching time;

  • Functional search breadcrumb trail lets you easily remove search elements;

  • Automatic search suggestion intuitively corrects spelling;

  • Post-search sort options provide results display flexibility;

  • Global search box on every page lets users start a new search from anywhere.


And, there'll be new personalisation features that allow you to set search preferences using multiple criteria and save searches to create new alerts.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

QR Code Competition

Paul Tobin (Left) and Dami Bakare (Right)During October/November 2009 the university library ran a competition (sponsored by JISC) to win an iPod Touch. Students were asked to comment on the library blogs, suggesting ways the library could use QR codes to support services. The range of responses we received has given the project group plenty of food for thought and they would like to thank all for your participation.

The lucky winner, Dami Bakare (a third year dental student), was drawn out of a hat by Paul Tobin, President of the Student Union, before Christmas and was presented with his prize early this week.

To read more about QR codes - what they are and how to use them - take a look at the library news page and have a practice with the codes found on our blogs. Any further comments about the library's use of QR codes are always welcome or if you'd prefer to email suggestions you can contact us at library@sheffield.ac.uk.

For more photos of the presentation have a look at our Flickr photostream and check out the article in Forge Press.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Western Bank Extended Opening Hours

During the Winter exam period (January 10th - February 4th) the Western Bank Library has extended opening hours. With the redevelopment work now in its final stages (effecting Level 3 and the impaired-mobility access route on Level G) you'll find plenty of silent study spaces and our upgraded network means greater wifi access.



























Opening hoursStaffed service hours
Sunday10:00 - midnight14:00 - 18:00
Monday - Thursday09:00 - midnight09:00 - 19:00
Friday09:00 - 21:0010:00 - 19:00
Saturday10:00 - 18:0014:00 - 18:00


Friday, 8 January 2010

Happy New Year

Whilst we've all been enjoying the holidays others were busy breaking records. Fabrice Bellard, a computer scientist, claims to have computed the mathematical constant pi to nearly 2.7 trillion digits using his desktop computer! Taking over a terabyte of disk space the calculation took 131 days to complete and check - that's 3115 hours longer than it took the previous record holder Daisuke Takahashi to calculate pi to 2.6 trillion digits on a supercomputer 2,000 times faster than Bellard's desktop. Wow.

In other news did you know that the United Nations has proclaimed 2010 as the year of biodiversity? This year is set to disappoint a 2002 goal agreed by 120 countries to achieve a 'significant reduction' in biodiversity loss and so in October there'll be a summit hosted in Nagoya, Japan to establish a new strategy to reduce the current rate of loss by 2050.

And finally if 2010 is set to be the year you finally get out of here and you're interested in off-shore wind power, you'll be pleased to hear that the go-ahead has been granted for a major expansion of offshore wind farms around Scotland. The installation of 1,000 new turbines generating nearly five giga watts of power is going to need workers! There's the possibility of a range of jobs being created in manufacturing, research, installation and operation.

So I think 2010 has already got off to a good start eh. In more library related news the Western Bank redevelopment is entering its final stages and I'll be updating you later about drop-in tours being offered to students needing some guidance around the new workspaces. In the meantime I'd encourage you to check the library website for all the latest news.