University of Sydney Library Newsletter

Issue Nº 26 - March 1996

ISSN 1326-2785
Newsletter archive

Expired URLs removed

In this Issue

New library system

The Library's new automated catalogue and database access system, INNOPAC, went "live" in December 1995. This marked the completion of an intensive seven month implementation process involving all Library staff and members of our academic community. Over the vacation period Library staff have been working to supplement the data on this system and to prepare extensive information literacy programs introducing the INNOPAC to staff and students in 1996. The INNOPAC system is available for library users from new Macintosh computers in most library locations in the Library system, as well as being accessible over the campus-wide network, Sydnet, and the Internet.

INNOPAC has improved service to Library users by providing:

  • the ability to place their own HOLDS, or request library items that are currently on loan
  • the ability to RENEW their own loans
  • the ability to access, using the same INNOPAC search method, other ELECTRONIC DATABASES such as Expanded Academic Index (covering a range of subject areas from science to humanities) and Applied Science and Technology Index and Biological and Agricultural Index
  • the ability to access other LIBRARIES' CATALOGUES
  • the ability to access JOURNAL holdings information
  • the ability to automatically REPEAT PREVIOUS SEARCH
  • the ability to access RESERVE COLLECTION item records
  • the ability to view their own CIRCULATION RECORD
  • the ability to provide online SUGGESTIONS
  • the ability to display CHECKED OUT ITEMS and FINES information

All of these enhancements combine to provide a vastly improved service to users for 1996 as well as scope to greatly enhance services in the future. Library staff will continue to develop the system throughout 1996 and beyond, with a focus on broadening access to electronic information and improving searching capabilities.

Any comments and suggestions are welcome. Just select I, then S, from the INNOPAC main menu and type in your suggestion online!

Full details of all self service options available with clear instructions on how to activate them may be found in the leaflet entitled Self Service Options on the Online Catalogue. This leaflet is available from any University of Sydney library.

The Library's budget in 1996

The Library's allocation from the University's Operating Grant in 1996 will be $20,000,000. Of this, $1,500,000 is earmarked for the Health Sciences Library (Cumberland) which became a branch library on 1 January. Excluding this, the Operating Grant allocation for the "old" University Library (i.e. Fisher and the 16 branch libraries existing in 1995) will be $18,500,000 which is an increase of $1 million, or 5.7%, on the 1995 allocation.

This will be supplemented by approximately $2 million from other sources, principally a share of student fee income and revenue from fines for overdue books. The total available Library budget (for the "old" University Library) will therefore be of the order of $20,500,000, or some 4% more than in 1995. That is a modest increase in the context of expected costs, and the budget overall is very tight.

Expenditure of the budget depends upon advice from the Library Committee of the Academic Board, but last year the Committee agreed on the following broad priorities for Library expenditure in 1996 -

  • maintaining purchasing power in the collections
  • improving access to electronic databases
  • maintaining hours of opening
  • maintaining staffing levels in service areas
  • strengthening the technological infrastructure
  • encouraging client-focussed initiatives based on Quality principles.

The budget allocation for Collections and Access to Information is expected to be just over $8 million, an increase of about 5% on 1995. This takes into account anticipated savings of $120,000 from the cancellation of journals and monographic series and should maintain purchasing power. It allows a modest increase in the allocation for access to electronic databases.

Salaries will be at about the same level as in 1995 (almost $10 million) which should cover the same level of staffing, assuming that any salary increases are fully supplemented.

The operating expenses and equipment budget is projected to increase by about 21%, primarily because of the need for equipment to improve access to electronic databases, including the catalog, from all Library sites.

At a time when so many areas of the University are experiencing budget reductions it is very pleasing to be able to report that the Library, which is surely central to the University's mission, has again received additional funds. The tremendous leap forward in access to information which has been made possible by implementation of the Library's new automated system, and the very positive results of the User Satisfaction Survey reported elsewhere in this issue, are evidence that these extra funds are being spent wisely for the benefit of the whole University community.

User satisfaction survey


In October, 1995, as part of its Continuous Improvement initiative, the Library administered a user satisfaction survey in the Engineering, Fisher and Wolstenholme Libraries. The survey was seen as a first stage in the systematic investigation of user satisfaction with Library services and facilities.

Essentially, the survey questionnaire asked users to indicate what they did in the Library on the day of the survey, which services and facilities were used, and to rate satisfaction with them on a scale of 0 - 5, where 0 is low and 5 is high. A score of 2.5 or more may be considered satisfactory. In addition, the survey questionnaire encouraged free-form comments, of which more than a thousand were received.

The following summarises the main results in each library location.

Engineering Library

Overall satisfaction was rated at 3.7.

Almost all user experiences were rated satisfactory, with the majority scoring 3.0 or higher.

All facilities were rated as satisfactory, the highest score being for the loans service desk (3.8). The least satisfactory facilities were equipment and the audiovisual/microforms collection (both 2.9).

Users who consulted library staff at the service desk were very satisfied. Staff were rated 4.1 for their professional skills and 4.0 for interpersonal skills.

Free-form comments numbered almost 300 and covered a wide range of matters The most commonly mentioned were better control of talking in the library, more books and serials in demand, better facilities for group work and improvements in the photocopying area

Fisher Library

Overall satisfaction was rated at 3.4.

Virtually all user experiences were rated satisfactory, with the majority scoring 3.0 or higher. The most satisfactory experience was returning borrowed material (4.2), but this is probably not a particularly useful finding. The next highest score (3.9) was given to borrowing material. The least satisfactory user experience was using the microform readers (2.0).

All facilities were rated as satisfactory the highest score being for the photocopying area (3.7). The least satisfactory facilities were the Undergraduate Collection, the current serials collection and the AV/microform collection (all 2.7).

Users who consulted library staff at the main reference/information desk were quite satisfied, rating their professional and interpersonal skills as 3.7 and 3.6 respectively. Staff skills at all other service points were also satisfactory, the ratings being between 2.8 and 3.6.

There were more than 800 free-form comments made on survey forms, covering a very wide range of matters. A major concern is the large number of books which should be available on the shelves but which appear not to be. Other frequent comments included the need for more books, and more up-to-date materials; hours of opening; and inadequacy in physical facilities, furnishings, decor, air-conditioning.

Wolstenholme Library

Overall satisfaction was rated at 3.2.

Although the majority of user experiences were reported to have been satisfactory, more than one third were not. It is salutary to find that the most highly rated activity was "other" which is mainly social activities such as meeting with friends (score 3.9). The highest rating library activity was using the reserve collection (3.6).

Wolstenholme's facilities generally were not rated highly. Four out of the ten facilities listed in the survey were rated less than satisfactory, but as two of these were not available in the Wolstenholme Library their ratings may be disregarded. The lowest genuine rating was for equipment and current serials (both 2.4).

Users who consulted library staff at the service desk were quite satisfied, rating both their professional and interpersonal skills at 3.6.

Free-form comments numbered about 380 and covered a wide range of matters, the main ones being an unacceptable noise level; inadequate photocopying facilities; a stocktake is desirable, and better order of books on the shelves; more group study rooms are desired (which would go some way to dealing with the problem of noise caused by talking); and longer opening hours, including Saturdays, would be appreciated.


This survey, though limited, has provided the Library with much useful information about users' needs and their perceptions of the quality of services, collections and facilities. Overall, the results point to general satisfaction by the user population of the three libraries surveyed. Library staff were highly rated for their professionalism and interpersonal skills, and almost all users expressed themselves satisfied or very satisfied with their experiences in the Library on the day in question. However the Library and its services are not perfect and many areas of concern or dissatisfaction were identified in which users expect to see improvements. These concerns will be addressed through the Library's Continuous Improvement program, but not all of them will be able to be solved promptly. For example, substantial additional resources will be needed to address the perceived problem of missing books, and increasing hours of opening also has resource implications.

Electronic document supply/interlibrary loan request on the Library's homepage

The Library has launched a Document Supply/Interlibrary Loan Request Form on the Library Home Page. Patrons eligible for DS/ILL service (Academic staff, postgraduate students and Honors students) may request items electronically from their workstations, wherever they are located, if they have an Internet connection.

The form is located at:

The patron cannot proceed with requesting DS/ILL via the home page unless two requirements are met:

  1. The patron must check the Library's catalogue, thus avoiding requesting material which is held by the University of Sydney Library.
  2. The patron must complete a User Agreement Form to comply with the current copyright regulations. Under section 49(1) of the Copyright Act 1968, the patron requesting a photocopy has to sign a declaration that the item required is for research or study only. This agreement need only be signed once and faxed or mailed to the home library.

The University of Sydney Library can only proceed with the e-mail DS/ILL request, if a User Agreement Form has been lodged.

The patron needs to complete all the details essential to process the request ( author , title, journal title, volume, year, pages) or the patron can cut and paste an entry from any database into the DS/ILL form.

This new service has been eagerly awaited by the research community of the University of Sydney. Sincerest thanks to the University Solicitor Helen Fleming, who guided us through the hurdles of the Copyright Act and James Matthew Farrow, Basser Department of Computer Science, who HTMLed the request form, including the links to 20 Branch Libraries.

For further information contact Reingard Porges x16691 e-mail

SETIS: The Scholarly Electronic Text and Image Service

SETIS is the result of a successful submission to the Information Technology Committee of the University prepared by a Library committee consisting of Kate Sexton, John Rodwell, Ross Coleman, Pauline Dickinson, Paula Garrett and Creagh Cole.

The acronym SETIS is also the name, on generous transliteration, of the Egyptian goddess responsible, among other things, for the annual flooding of the Nile. Her image looks set to become the service logo. The service is scheduled to open mid-year and will be located in the old Music Listening Area on Level Four of Fisher Library, overlooking the foyer.

The aim of SETIS is to facilitate and support textual study and research throughout the University of Sydney by the provision of electronic resources and associated services and expertise. SETIS will extend textual scholarship through the use of information technologies, including access to inhouse and remote textual and image databases, instructional programs, use of applications software and tools, and the creation and storage of electronic texts. Its role will be generally associated with scholarship in the humanities. SETIS will not be concerned with all full-text databases since not all of these will be relevant to textual studies.

There will be three aspects to the role of SETIS.

  1. The Library already holds a number of significant electronic text databases on CD-Rom. These include the English Poetry Full-Text Database, the Oxford English Dictionary, African-American Poetry, a number of philosophy texts, Greek and Latin texts, and others. Also on order are Goethe's complete works, Shakespeare, English versions of the Bible, English Verse Drama and more. This collection has grown and will continue to grow, and it is important that the Library address the problem of how to maintain and make available these texts. Until now, they have been part of the service providing bibliographic databases at the Information Desk. There is no particular connection, however, between most of these texts and the Reference Collection, and the practice of textual analysis eventually would require more sophisticated facilities. One aim of SETIS then will be to provide a service for this specific need. This will be achieved by providing more appropriate scholarly workstations, as well as support and training. Each workstation will include in addition to the search software provided with each text, other textual analysis software programmes for indexing, concordance creation, wordprocessing etc.
  2. Most of these texts are in SGML (Standard Generalised Mark-up Language) which means they are independent of platform or physical form and hopefully they will exist in the future regardless of technological developments elsewhere. Instead of CD-Rom, the Library could acquire them in a version allowing them to be loaded on a main unix server and networked around the campus. This would require that the Library obtain appropriate search software such as that provided by the Open Text Corporation in Ontario. Texts could then be searched via a web page from anywhere, subject to licensing agreements. The Library's Systems Department has been preparing specifications for the machine required to function as the server for the texts. This aspect of the service will be modelled on the experience of the University of Virginia. The Librarian at Virginia has accepted our offer to act as a mirror site for the University of Virginia public-domain texts. Along with the commercial texts already held by the University of Sydney, these texts will give the Library a substantial collection to begin the service. The tie with the University of Virginia will also give access to much needed experience and expertise.
  3. Finally, SETIS will be involved in projects of text creation. The University of Virginia public-domain texts are, in the main, texts which have been scanned or captured from other sites and marked-up in SGML at Virginia. SETIS will be aiming to participate in the process of quality electronic text creation through the provision of scanners, text recognition software and SGML editors. This will involve the identification of appropriate texts for conversion and consultation with faculty staff and students on projects of concern to them.

For access to the available texts, or for more information about the service, contact Creagh Cole. Phone 351-7408, or e-mail

Internet training program

Since June 1995, the Internet Training Team has provided seventy five classes for over 670 staff and postgraduate students for the University. During 1996 Steve Ryan will continue his role as co-ordinator of the Internet Training Team. Creagh Cole and Fiona McCay completed their "tours of duty" in December, with Philippa Crosbie and Gail Higgins then joining the team in January 1996.

Faculties and schools interested in taking part in any of the team's 1996 programmes or who would like a programme tailored to their specific needs should contact: Steve Ryan, ext 15030, e-mail, Gail Higgins, ext 16939, e-mail, Philippa Crosbie, ext 16940, e-mail

Courses run since June 1995

General Internet classes:

Introduction to the WorldWide Web and Netscape Sessions were run for 82 staff members. Twenty two sessions were also organised in conjunction with SUPRA for postgrad students. These classes were designed to familiarise participants with the Web, Internet search tools / directories and to help them to become efficient users of the Netscape browser. A web page was constructed to form the basis of these classes and which could be accessed after the sessions. The web page is located at URL:

The Internet overviews specifically designed for medical postgraduates were held in August, attracting 30 participants. The Centre for Teaching and Learning and Steve Ryan also ran one day workshops for 30 teaching staff on 8 November and 29 November. The workshop entitled Internet for Teachers included an overview of HTML principles and the design of a collaborative document. Future workshops will be announced.

The Faculty of Arts Classes:

Following a meeting with the Arts Faculty Network Manager, twenty four classes were arranged for the Arts Faculty staff and postgraduate students, on Internet resources relevant to their subjects. A web page was constructed by Creagh Cole to form the basis of these classes and can be accessed at the following URL: .

Science Faculty Classes:

Fiona McCay conducted training sessions for the Science Faculty. Seven Internet classes for the biological and veterinary sciences were held in the Badham and Fisher Libraries.

During August / September, Fiona prepared a Chemistry Internet Guide using sites and information collected by Irene Rossendell, the Science Librarian and additional material supplied by Tim Cotsford, the Chemistry Librarian. This page is at the following URL: This guide formed the basis of classes given the Chemistry Department.

In October / November five Introduction to the WWW and Netscape sessions were offered to the Science Faculty. To compliment these sessions a Science Internet Guide and a Physics Internet Guide, based on resources collected by Vicki Moore at the Physics Library, were created. These pages are at the following URLS:,and

In December two Introduction to the WWW and Netscape sessions were offered to Dentistry with a total of 12 participants. A Dentistry Internet Guide is temporarily located at the following URL: It will soon be moved to the main library webpage with a new address, which will be URL:

Changes in the Branch Libraries

As part of the ongoing implementation of the Review of the University Library four of the University's libraries joined the University Library system in January. Three were departmental libraries in the Faculty of Science and the other is the former Cumberland College of Health Sciences Library.

Biochemistry Library

Sarah Barrett will continue as Biochemistry Librarian. The strengths of the collection of approximately 20,000 volumes are current materials in biochemistry and human nutrition.

Chemistry Library

Claire Regan has been appointed as the new Chemistry Librarian as Tim Cotsford has transferred to the Medical Library. The University Library's holdings in chemistry are dispersed. Core serials are located in the Chemistry Library, which holds about 25,000 volumes, while monographs and some older material are held in Fisher Library and Darlington Repository Library.

Pharmacy Library

The Pharmacy Library's collection numbers approximately 15,000 volumes. The librarian in charge at present is Sten Christensen while the Pharmacy Librarian, Gail Higgins, in on a six-month secondment to Fisher Library.

Holdings of these libraries are included in the University Library catalogue and loans in future will be transacted using the new III automated system. User access to the science libraries should improve now that they are members of the branch network. They will in future be staffed at lunchtime during semester and will no longer be closed when the librarian is absent on leave.

Health Sciences Library

On the recommendation of the Dean and College Principal the Cumberland College Library is to be known in future as the Health Sciences Library. Its collection numbers over 80,000 volumes and audiovisual items and includes more than 1,000 current serial titles. It supports the information needs of the Faculty of Health Sciences and the staff and students of the Faculty of Nursing who are located on the Cumberland Campus. The Librarian in charge is Helen Knight.

As the Health Sciences Library is still using the former College Library automated system its holdings are not yet available on the University Library Catalogue, although its catalogue can be accessed via a separate option on the Online Catalogue. However, a commitment has been made to transfer these catalogue records to the main library database in 1996 prior to moving operations to the INNOPAC system.

Dentistry Library

Facilities in the Dentistry Library were upgraded over the long vacation. The collections were reviewed and pruned to core material. The Faculty made an adjoining room available to increase space to expand seating and improve access to electronic resources. The collection and seating areas have been completely rearranged; a new service desk and additional computers have been installed. Online access to dental literature is now available in the Dentistry Library though Medline. The Dentistry Librarian is Diana Kingston.

Medical Library

Pamela Leuzinger has resigned to take up the position of City Library Services Manager at UTS Library. Gwen Rafferty is Acting Medical Librarian until a new Medical Librarian is appointed.

For further information, contact Judith Campbell, Associate Librarian (Branch Libraries), ext 12173, e-mail:

Reciprocal borrowing for undergraduates

The University of Sydney has signed the Metropolitan Universities Borrowing Agreement (MUBA) which for the first time allows undergraduate students and general staff to obtain reciprocal borrowing privileges at all other university libraries in the Sydney metropolitan area. Libraries covered by the agreement are the University of New South Wales; the University of Technology, Sydney; Macquarie University; the University of Western Sydney (Hawkesbury, Macarthur and Nepean campuses); the Australian Catholic University (NSW campus) and, of course, the University of Sydney.

Until a few years ago the opportunity to borrow directly from the collections of other Sydney universities was limited to academic staff and higher degree students. The University of New South Wales and the University of Technology, Sydney engaged in a trial undergraduate reciprocal borrowing project in 1993 and other universities, including the University of Sydney, closely monitored the project and its outcomes. During the intervening years our concerns that offering reciprocal borrowing privileges to the large undergraduate group might place undue pressure on material required by our own staff and students have been assuaged by the generally positive experiences of universities already offering these privileges. A formal contract has been developed to ensure that common fees and indemnities are guaranteed between the participating universities and particular universities have been allowed to place whatever limits on borrowing they believed necessary.

Eligible University of Sydney borrowers include undergraduate students and general staff and must be borrowers in good standing with the Library. They must not have incurred more than $10 in unpaid library fines. These borrowers will receive an "introduction" to the other MUBA libraries in the form of an authorised printout detailing their relevant identification details. The printout and a standard $10 fee will enable the borrower to obtain a library card at one of the participating universities. Borrowers who wish to use more than one of the other MUBA libraries will have to pay $10 for each library card they receive.

Undergraduates from other universities wishing to borrow at the University of Sydney will enjoy normal undergraduate borrowing privileges with the following exceptions:

  • They may borrow no more than five books at a time.
  • They may not place holds (reservations).
  • They may not borrow from most Reserve collections.

A University of Sydney borrower registering at another MUBA university can expect restrictions similar to the ones existing here.

Enquiries concerning reciprocal borrowing should be addressed to the Lending Services Librarian, Edward Quinn, ext. 14266; e-mail:, in the Fisher Library.

First Day First day of the new system.
Courtesy of Jill Brown
Dentistry Renovations of the Dentistry Library