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SPRILIB Antarctica: further information

SPRILIB Antarctica: further information

Database content

SPRILIB Antarctica is a subset of SPRILIB, the bibliographic database of the Scott Polar Research Institute. The full database may be accessed in-house or on the NISC Arctic and Antarctic Regions CD-ROM.

Geographical coverage

In addition to the continent itself together with its surrounding waters and islands north to the Antarctic Convergence, SPRILIB Antarctica covers those peri-Antarctic islands occurring north of the Convergence but still strongly subject to Antarctic influences (Gough Island, the Prince Edward Islands, French islands in the Southern Ocean, Heard Island and the McDonald Islands, Macquarie Island, and the New Zealand peri-Antarctic Islands). This area corresponds to the zone of interest of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR). Because of their long association with Antarctica, SPRILIB Antarctica also lists many publications about the Falkland Islands and Tristan da Cunha, focusing particularly on natural history and on historical and political issues with an Antarctic dimension.

Historical coverage

SPRILIB Antarctica aims to offer comprehensive coverage of all works published before 1962. After this date, all monographs held in the Library are included but not all periodical articles and conference papers. This coverage reflects our aim to complement rather than duplicate that of the Antarctic Bibliography, searchable as part of the Cold Regions Bibliography Project at the American Geological Institute (, to which the Library contributes records. The in-depth listing of Antarctica's early literature has only been made possible through generous funding by the British Antarctic Survey of SPRI Library's Historic Antarctic Bibliography Project. Invaluable support has also been received from the British Government and Australian Antarctic Division.


1. Expedition searching

This is straightforward but works best when you know both expedition leader and the date the expedition set out, e.g. for the first Antarctic expedition of Robert Falcon Scott, enter 'Scott' and '1901' (in any order) in the 'Expedition' box. If you only know the expedition leader, just enter this, e.g. 'Scott'. In this case, you will also retrieve references for Scott's second expedition. If you want information about all expeditions setting out in 1901, just enter '1901'. This will retrieve references on the Drygalski (1901-03), Scott (1901-04) and Nordenskjold (1901-04) expeditions.

Tip: If you know the expedition leader but not the date, enter the leader's name in the Expeditions box. Search and display. When you find a record for your expedition, note down the date given in the Keywords field and do a new search using this information. If you know neither leader nor date, enter whatever you do know in the general search box. Search and display. When you find a relevant record, obtain this information from the Keywords field and search again.

2. Author searching

Authors are searched in the same way as subject terms. This is not quite the same way as in a conventional publications catalogue. Imagine that you want to see all publications by Sir Ernest Shackleton. If you just enter 'Shackleton', you will get publications by Ernest, Edward and other Shackletons. If you enter 'E. Shackleton', you will get publications by both Ernest and Edward. If you enter 'Ernest Shackleton', his publications will be the first to be displayed, followed by publications by other authors named either 'Ernest' or 'Shackleton'.

Tip: Whenever possible, SPRILIB Antarctica uses full author names. Use these if you know them.

3. Complex Searches

Complex Searches are those using more than one box. They are not difficult to do. Here are some examples:

For accounts of Shackleton's crossing of South Georgia in 1916:
In the Expeditions box, enter 'Shackleton' and '1914'. In the Place box, scroll down to 'South Georgia' and select. Now press 'Search'.

For biographical studies of members of the British Graham Land Expedition (1934-37), led by John Rymill:
Enter 'biographies' in the uppermost search box. Select 'Rymill' and '1934' in the Expeditions box. Now press 'Search'.

For zoological studies carried out on Drygalski's expedition:
Enter 'zoology' in the uppermost search box. Select 'Drygalski' and '1901' in the Expeditions box. Now press 'Search'. For invertebrates, birds, seals, etc., enter these terms instead of 'zoology'. All should give comprehensive results.

Tip: Use the boxes to tailor the records displayed to your exact requirements.

4. Relevance Marking - How to select and add the most useful search terms

How can you be sure that you always use the best terms to find what you are looking for? SPRILIB Antarctica's search software can help you here. Use the checkbox by each publication to mark as relevant all those in which you are interested. Muscat will now automatically reorder your search re sults taking into account any additional terms used in indexing these publications. For still greater precision, use the 'Expand' function. Selecting this will display these additional terms and you can select those which are most useful.

Tip: Relevance marking is most useful where choice of search terms is particularly difficult.


SPRILIB Antarctica is one of a suite of subsets of SPRILIB to be made available on the Internet. The other two are SPRILIB Ice and Snow and SPRILIB Russian North.

If you have any queries or comments, please contact the Librarian.

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