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SPRI Review 2010: Library and Information Service

Library and Information Service

The Library provides services to students and academic staff from many departments of the University. In addition, the Library received over 600 visits from external readers in 2010. Library staff again provided induction sessions and delivered information literacy training on demand for postgraduates. During the year, the Library hosted visits from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Polar Regions Unit, students from the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Bryony Dixon, Curator of Silent Film at the British Film Institute, researching the history of Herbert Ponting’s film The Great White Silence, Cambridge MP Julian Huppert and the Cambridge Visiting Scholars group. The Librarian again provided tours during the Alumni Weekend and the Open Cambridge weekend, all of which were fully booked. Library and archival material relating to Captain Scott was filmed by the Italian television company RAI.

A total of almost 1500 monographic items was added to the library during the year. The SPRILIB web catalogue (Antarctica, Ice and Snow and Russian North) was also updated to include material published up to the end of 2009. Polar and Glaciological Abstracts was published in-house and three issues were produced during the year. Records were sent for two updates of the Arctic and Antarctic Regions CD-ROM published by the National Information Services Corporation. Working in co-operation with the World Data Centre for Glaciology, records of items relating to the current International Polar Year were submitted quarterly to the IPY Publications Database, Input continued to the Antarctic Bibliography, searchable free of charge at

Mark Gilbert continued his studies for a Masters degree in Library and Information Science by distance learning from the University of Wales Aberystwyth. He was also seconded for one day per week to the HLF funded Collecting Cultures Inuit Art project until the end of May, and Mrs Ann Keith continued to provide replacement cover. At the end of this period of employment, Mrs Keith kindly offered her services to the Library on a voluntary basis. Mark left the Institute for a new post at King’s College London and the Library Assistant vacancy was filled by Georgina Cronin, who was formerly employed at the University Library. Heather Lane continued to chair the Cambridge University Bibliographic Standards Advisory Group. She represented the Institute on the Journals Coordination Scheme Consultative Committee for the School of Physical Sciences. She was interviewed on radio and television on a number of occasions, including a feature on Scott for the BBC World Service.

Our volunteers assist the staff to research and maintain the Library’s collections. Their efforts are critical in helping the library to provide research support and the work they do is much appreciated by users worldwide. Percy Hammond and Jean Cruttwell continued to catalogue the map collection. John Reid and Maria Shorthouse worked on a number of projects and were joined by Janey Huber, who began work on a new bibliography of the French peri-Antarctic islands. Katja Loebel, a graduate student of librarianship from Munich, visited in February for a three week internship. The Library also offered work placements in January to Dougal Heap, grandson of former Director John Heap, and in July to Fionnula Hughes. The Bibliographers’ Office was refurbished during the summer as part of a continuing renovation programme.

In addition to research grants received for specific projects, the Institute received, during the financial year, sums for the general support of information and library services.

Thanks are due to several supporting bodies.

Ministry of Defence grant-in-aid (DC-ICSP) £35,000
Royal Society grant-in-aid (for WDCGC) £11,000
FCO Polar Regions Unit £ 5,000

The Library hosted a number of scholars visiting the Institute for extended periods, including: Adele Airoldi, Milieu Ltd, Belgium; Professor Gary Wilson, Department of Political Sciences, University of Northern British Columbia; Su Yan, Institute of Space and Earth Information Science, Chinese University of Hong Kong; Yarjung Gurung, a shaman from the Annapurna region of Nepal; Professor Karl Guthke, Kuno Francke Professor of German Art and Culture, Harvard University; Saffia Hossainzadeh, University of California; Runya Wang, International Max Planck Research School for Maritime Affairs, Germany; Professor Arnoldus Blix, Department of Arctic Biology, University of Tromsø, Norway; Melissa Idiens, National Gateway Antarctica, University of Canterbury, New Zealand; Pey-Yi Chu, Department of History, Princeton University.

Heather Lane