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SPRI Review 2000: SPRI Review 2000

SPRI Review 2000


Library Office: S. Sawtell, S. Banks,
N. Egorova (to 5 Nov), F. Cramp (from 1 Dec)
Bibliographers: J. Pinhey, H. Shibata, I. Warren

Late in the year, an announcement was made that the contract for compiling the two cold regions bibliographies, including the Antarctic bibliography, had been won by the American Geological Institute (AGI). The NSF/CRREL contract specifically mentioned the contribution made to the Antarctic bibliography during the past five years by the Institute's Library and required the new contractor to maintain and develop collaborative arrangements of a similar kind wherever possible. With the benefit of continued funding from the British Antarctic Survey, the Library is now working closely with AGI to set up improved arrangements whereby it will continue to supply as many records as possible for material that might otherwise be omitted from this bibliography. In September 1759 records were sent covering the period 1998 to 2000, only 300 of which were previously known to AGI. The Library also plans to co-operate with AGI in establishing new methods of document supply to ensure access to hard copy for all items listed in the bibliography.

Work has continued with the Historic Antarctic Bibliography Project, also funded by the British Antarctic Survey. Major bibliographies processed this year include L.L. Breitfuss 'Das Sudpolargebeit, 1913-32' (Geograph-isches Jahrbuch 1933), and P. Dastidar and others Glimpses of Indian Antarctic research (New Delhi 1996). The very large bibliography compiled by R.W. Knight for the Australian Antarctic Territory is also very nearly completed: Australian Antarctic bibliography (Hobart 1987).

The uniqueness of its collections for northern Russia make the Library a significant participant in COCOREES (Collaborative Collection Management Project for Russian and East European Studies), funded by the HEFCE Research Support Libraries Programme. Database entries have been submitted for all relevant periodicals, to be updated with details of issues held later next year.

Acquisitions and cataloguing programmes
A total of 2053 items were added to the library, including 1238 books and other monographic material. Members of the Institute have continued to send books back to the Library from their fieldwork in northern Russia, with particularly useful collections brought back this year by Tanya Argounova, Otto Habeck, and Dr Olga Toutoubalina.

At the suggestion of Larry Rockhill, an experiment was carried out to explore the potential of the internet for filling in gaps in the Library's holdings. With Alaska the region for which our collection is probably weakest, Larry made a comprehensive search for all books including Alaska in their titles or annotations. Nearly 100 books were found that were not already held by the Library, of which 60 were subsequently acquired all at the lowest recorded prices another advantage of the internet. In order to keep postage charges to a minimum, Larry arranged for the books often ordered singly from individual book dealers to be sent to a family address in Oregon, from where he sent them back in two large boxes at the cheapest rates! This exercise was an enormous success, and we are very grateful to Larry for his original suggestion and for all the hard work he put into it. We now plan to repeat this exercise for other regions, although with holdings either near-complete for example, Antarctica or less easily identified by distinctive search terms, results are likely to be less spectacular.

By the end of the period covered, SPRILIB held 145,575 records, with 9690 records added during the year. 31,259 monograph records had been added to the Cambridge University Union Catalogue, including 1267 new records this year. Four issues of Polar and Glaciological Abstracts were published by Cambridge University Press.

Volunteers and work placements
Pat Little and Jed Brierley have continued their work for the RECON programme, as well as helping with other projects. Pat's current work involves material in the Pamphlet Collection relating to Arctic expeditions. Having begun in the Middle Ages, she has now reached the 1920s, in the process discovering much previously overlooked material. Jed has created draft entries for individuals listed in John Reid's very substantial Antarctic Biographical Index, now moving towards completeness for the 1945-57 period. Dr Chris Robertson made a substantial contribution helping Hilary Shibata, Antarctic bibliographer, with the backlog of recent Antarctic scientific papers. At a time when the Antarctic bibliography had effectively ceased operating, Chris' assistance meant that the Library was able to cover this literature more comprehensively than would otherwise have been possible. Ron Wilbraham has continued to scan newspapers for polar news but has now relinquished his duties as honorary map curator. We are very grateful indeed for all the hard work he has put in over the past 10 years.

Work placements in the Library were found for Laila Bassett and Leonard Schlegel. Laila's chief contribution was to help reorganize the Pamphlet Collection, where many folders needed sub-dividing and new labels made. Leonard helped with the website (see below) as well as providing English translations for German material in the Seligman Collection (see World Data Centre for Glaciology, Cambridge).