Bodleian Libraries news for MPLS – May 2021
From the Bodleian’s Public Engagement Department
Roots to Seeds: The Weston Library’s next exhibition based on MPLS research
After months of preparation, Roots to Seeds is now installed and is open in the ST Lee Gallery from 18 May. This exhibition, marking the anniversary of the foundation of the Oxford Botanic Garden in 1621, is an opportunity to reflect on four centuries of botanical research and teaching in the University. The lead curator of this exhibition is Professor Stephen Harris, Druce Curator (Herbaria), and Associate Professor in Plant Sciences.
The exhibition explores the ways in which botany was introduced and then developed in Oxford over the centuries. During the seventeenth century, a new natural philosophy became firmly rooted in Oxford University, especially through scholars’ strong associations with the fledgling Royal Society. Oxford Physic Garden was officially founded on 25 July 1621 on a flood-prone meadow leased from Magdalen College. The founding gift of £5,250, made by the English soldier Sir Henry Danvers, was spent on the Garden’s walls and the ‘mucke’ to improve its soil. Founded with a focus on medicinal plants, the Physic Garden became the stage upon which plant sciences evolved in the University for nearly 350 years. From these beginnings, the exhibition will trace the study of botany in Oxford through examining such aspects as the history of development of naming and classification of plants, the creation of the University Herbaria, the introduction of Agriculture and Forestry alongside Botany within Plant Sciences, the contemporary technology of molecular biology as applied to plants, and the legacies of colonialism, among many other subjects.
The majority of the material in the exhibition is from the Department of Plant Sciences’ collections, displayed alongside books and manuscripts from the Bodleian’s collections. Some highlights include Bobart the Elder’s Herbarium from 1687; the Botanic Garden’s first catalogue from 1648; watercolours and drawings by Ferdinand Bauer; a sample of the University Herbaria’s collection of dried fruits; fungal specimens collected in Germany in the 1880s; and a selection of wood blocks from the Oxford xylarium. Historic teaching materials are on display including a collection of nineteenth-century flower models. Collaboration with botanists ensured accuracy and the models were often accompanied by detailed teaching notes.
‘Into the Green’ poetry project
To generate interest in the botanical sciences, the Bodleian’s Education team are working on outreach to secondary schools. One example is ‘Into the Green’, a poetry project working with Oxford Botanic Gardens & Arboretum which will run in the school summer term. Picking up on the themes of the exhibition, and celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Botanic Gardens, ‘Into the Green’ invites secondary school pupils to write a poem inspired by plants, gardens and green spaces. Award-winning professor of Poetry Alice Oswald will make a selection of poems for inclusion in an anthology.
Library space and physical services
Low and zero-contact services provided from Bodleian sites were heavily used by students and researchers during Hilary term. During the nine-week period 4 January-7 March 2021:
- Scan and Deliver: over 345,000 pages were scanned for readers
- Click and Collect: more than 8,000 physical books were loaned
- Live chat: more than 1,500 live chat consultations took place
Following the University moved to BCP2 on April 12, all Bodleian sites have now opened their reading rooms (with the exception of the Knowledge Centre on Old Road Campus).
The weekly bookable study space capacity across the Bodleian system will be over 14,000 in Trinity term - an increase of over 4, 000 on the highest weekly capacity for Hilary Term 2021.
The Bodleian Libraries is committed to ensuring fair access to reading room slots and have therefore introduced a suspension policy for Trinity term for readers who routinely miss their reading room slot and do not cancel. Further information can be found on the guidance for booking a reading room slot and reminders will be displayed on Space Finder and the booking confirmation emails.
Readers may appeal to have their suspension lifted in the cases of error or for a legitimate reason. If readers have a disability and have been unable to cancel a booked slot on time or require any other help, they are encouraged to contact the Disability Librarian.
New Elsevier collection
Elsevier’s Freedom+ collection package went live in Oxford at the start of March and has led to a very significant increase in ebook usage from ScienceDirect. There were 14,000 Elsevier ebook downloads this March compared to just 1,900 in March 2020 – with over 10,000 of these coming from the new Elsevier content.
Access to the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service was switched back on at Oxford in January providing access online to 1.5 million online textbooks normally available to students on our shelves.
New resources for MPLS
We now have online access to the following, as well as 27 new titles from CABI:
- AMS Graduate Studies in Mathematics ebook collection
- Encyclopedia of Reagents for Organic Synthesis (eEROS)
- ICE Virtual Library (journals)
- Journal of Aircraft
- Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics
- Journal of Propulsion and Power
- Journal of Thermophysics and Heat Transfer
- Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets
- SAE Journals backfile
- SPIE Digital Library
- An introduction to behavioural endocrinology (Nelson, R.), 5th OUP, 2017 (Access until 22 April 2022)
- Birds and mammals of Africa (purchased with assistance from the College Libraries ebooks Fund)
- Canadian geotechnical journal
- Developmental Biology (Gilbert), 12th OUP, 2020
- Encyclopedia of Life Sciences
- Evolution (Douglas, J. and Futuyma, D.), 4th OUP, 2018
- Plant Physiology and Development (Taiz, L.), 6th OUP, 2015
Training for Trinity term
See details of iSkills workshops and classes for Trinity term. Topics covered include:
- information discovery
- reference management
- research metrics
- copyright and protecting your intellectual property
- Open Access publishing
- research data management