University of Sydney Library Newsletter

Issue Nº 40 - July 2000

ISSN 1326-2785
Previous issues - April 2000, and archives

Expired URLs removed

In this Issue

Landmarks in book history

A new display about to be mounted in the foyer of the Rare Book Library represents an attempt to celebrate the history of the book in its many forms. The nearly sixty items which comprise the exhibition are all drawn from the various collections housed inthe Rare Book Library and represent some of the treasures of the University collections. It is hoped that these works will show the viewer not only the different forms that books have taken throughout history, but also the different types of materials used to produce them. The items selected for display also mark significant moments in the development of such fields of study as science, medicine, religion, politics and literature up until the end of the 18th century. Some of the materials on display include cuneiform inscriptions, scrolls, palm leaf codices and vellum manuscripts as well as printed books produced in the hand press period.

The items on exhibition range in date from 2000 BC to 1800AD. Among the many authors included are St Augustine, Josephus, Shakespeare, Samuel Johnson, Bunyan, Defoe, Galileo, Copernicus, Isaac Newton, William Harvey and Edward Jenner along with facsimile copies of such famous works as the Book of Kells, the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Gutenberg Bible.

The Rare Book Library is located on Level Two of the Fisher Library building and the exhibition will be open to the public between 9.00 am and 5.00 p.m., Monday to Friday. The exhibition will run until November 2000. Images of some of the items on display will also soon be available via the Rare Book Library Web Page.

Inquiries about the exhibition may be directed to the Rare Book Librarian. Phone: 9351 2992

PORTRAIT OF A DONOR William Houison Deane (1900 - 1984)

W.H. Deane was an important benefactor of the University Library, second only to Thomas Fisher. His gifts and endowments to the Library exceed a million dollars.

I first met him in 1973 although I had known him by sight since the early 1960s. He was a private and somewhat eccentric man, and very few people knew him well. Very tall, thin, dressed in a grey suit which was crumpled and soiled, an unironed shirt, his tie crushed and stained, unpolished shoes, long hair to below the shirt collar.

He wore half of a pair of old-fashioned round glasses. They had broken at the nose bridge and only one lens and the attached arm piece remained. He often carried a black umbrella.

Many of the Library staff knew that this strikingly Dickensian figure was Mr Deane of the Deane Collection. Few guessed from his untidy appearance that he was wealthy.

His father was a senior partner in Deane and Deane, Solicitors, of Rowe Street in Sydney. The family lived in a large house at Strathfield. In the 1870s, they acquired the historic Pilgrim Inn at Blaxland as a holiday home and Mr Deane lived there until it was destroyed by fire in 1968. After that he moved to a small house nearby.

W.H. Deane's philanthropic connection with the University began in 1956 when he established the W H and Elizabeth M Deane Archaeology Scholarship. The scholarship honoured his wife who died about that time and whom he missed keenly. He later endowed a Pharmacy Fund for research into pain-relieving drugs.

Once those funds had been established, he turned his attention to the Library. In 1957 he established the W.H. and Elizabeth M. Deane Library Fund 'for the purchase of rare books and manuscripts for the Fisher Library'. He also established a smaller fund in memory of his parents. As an endowment, he gave the University an office building in Rowe St, Sydney. Income from the property, and later the capital value when it was sold, went toward the main Deane fund.

The Deane Collection is essentially in three parts:

  • a family collection which includes several thousand rare items including early Australian imprints;
  • foundation works on the history of science, particularly physics and astronomy. In the 1950s Mr Deane became convinced that the northern hemisphere would be destroyed by nuclear war. He wanted to ensure that the landmark works of science needed for the rebuilding of civilisation would be available in the southern hemisphere;
  • the collection of which he was proudest, and in which he was most interested, is what is loosely termed 'erotica' although 'sexology' might be a better term. It was a serious attempt to collect the source materials for studies of human relationships and changing attitudes to sex.

Mr Deane always defended the collection - "There's no rubbish here!" he would exclaim. Certainly its strength in bibliographical and reference works, often in European languages, is impressive.

Most of the material in the collection was acquired by Mr Deane during many years of European travel. Once passenger ships were replaced by planes, he ceased travelling and purchased through specialist book dealers.

After some of his parcels from abroad were opened by the Customs Department, he had further purchases sent directly to the Library. Not all contained erotica. His last purchase was Euclid's Elementorum Libri XV Graecè & Latiné of 1557 which arrived just before his death.

W.H. Deane never had to work for a living, which left him time to pursue his principal recreations - reading and travelling. He was a great lover of innocence and beauty which he found in simple natural things like a garden or river. Mostly, however, he saw beauty in the female figure.

Mr Deane talked about sex in a perfectly serious manner, not at all in a lewd or smutty way. I never heard him tell a risque joke or make a double entendre of a sexual kind. He was a very serious person without any sense of humour that I could detect.

He would discuss sex frankly, without any regard to the suitability of the occasion or the composition of his audience. This was often unnerving as he had a very deep booming voice and it was impossible for anyone in the vicinity to miss what he was saying. It never seemed to occur to him that anyone might be offended, or even surprised, by frank public discussion of sexual matters.

William Houison Deane was a modest and humble man. He said many times that he sought no thanks or gratitude from the University for his philanthropy, and in fact he was a bit embarrassed if this occurred. He lived very frugally, saving up everything he could for the Library funds. He seldom bought clothes and his favourite evening meal was sardines eaten with a fork straight from the tin.

By the time he died, he had given the University virtually all his money. W.H. Deane wanted to assist the University to develop an outstanding library collection including 'some of those rarer items of the kind one finds only in those great old libraries of Europe'. By his generosity, the Library has been able to fulfil his dream.

(Adapted from a memoir by Neil Radford, University Librarian, 1980 - 1996)

Japanese art catalogues

An Exhibition of some 90 Japanese Art Catalogues was on show in the University of Sydney's Rare Book Library from April to June 2000. The Exhibition was opened by His Excellency, Mr Masaji Takahashi, the Japanese Ambassador to Australia, on 23 March 2000.

The selection of catalogues which were shown in this exhibition form part of a much larger gift of six hundred and fifty two catalogues from the Japan Association for Cultural Exchange to the East Asian Collection, University of Sydney Library. It is pleasing that the Library has been selected as the depository library for the Japanese Art Catalogues. This initial gift will be followed by the deposit of two to three hundred catalogues annually.

The catalogues presented to the Library are duplicates of part of a large collection of art catalogues held at the Art Catalog Library, Tokyo. The holdings have come from more than one thousand public museums in Japan as well as from private galleries and individual donors. The collection is open to Japanese and foreign scholars for research purposes.

The gift of a comprehensive set of such catalogues is important because these items can often only be obtained from the gallery who originally issued them. They include interesting overall surveys of an artist or a field, and announcements of the first public exhibition of newly discovered works. Since Japanese museums are well equipped and expect strong sponsors they attract very important exhibitions from Europe. More than half of the catalogues deal with European art. They frequently include a plate list in English, French, or other European languages and a catalogue essay by a major European curator.

The Library is thus extremely fortunate to receive a magnificent addition to its collections and an invaluable reference and teaching tool for the arts and museum community and Asian Studies. The Library would like to express its gratitude to the Japan Association for Cultural Exchange for this very generous gift and also to Associate Professor John Clark (Art History and Theory) who was instrumental in securing the donation of catalogues.

black and whte photograph of the Vice-Chancellor and others at the exhibition holding some of the catalogues

At the exhibition opening: (from right) Vice-Chancellor Professor Gavin Brown; Japanese Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Mr Masaji Takahashi; Associate Professor John Clark; and Ms Magdalen Lee, Senior Librarian, East Asian Collection.
Photograph: Melissa Latham

Library planning

Senior Library staff met recently to consider the challenges ahead and how best to meet them. Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ken Eltis, provided an overview of the issues confronting the University and Australian higher education. This included an outline of the strategic approaches being taken to maintain and enhance the reputation of the University.

The group identified a long list of issues which need to be addressed including:

  • information skills training
  • ways of handling innovation and risktaking
  • improving physical facilities
  • benchmarking and performance measurement
  • service costs and charges
  • developing a service charter
  • marketing and promoting the Library
  • surveying client needs

The next step in the process will be to determine strategies for addressing the issues, the resources involved and to identify performance indicators. Relationships with the University's goals and objectives will also be identified. The planning process will include consultation with Library users.

Of the issues to be addressed, performance measurement was identified as one of the key activities. The Commonwealth Government has indicated that it will introduce a system for reviewing the performance of universities. This process is likely to be operational from mid-2001.

The Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Dr David Kemp, has announced that the "agency will conduct regular audits of self-accrediting higher education institutions covering all institutional activities such as teaching and learning, research and management".

In anticipation that the University of Sydney will be one of the first institutions audited, the Library will be reviewing its benchmarks and performance indicators. The University Librarian, John Shipp, was part of a project conducted in 1999 to identify the major benchmarks which would enable universities to assess their performances. These benchmarks are expected to form a basis for the Quality Audit.

New Zealand universities have been subject to quality audits since 1994 and have developed considerable knowledge and expertise. Universities undertake a self-audit which is subsequently reviewed by an external panel. It is expected that the Australian process will operate on similar lines. The University Librarian has been invited to participate in a review of the University of Canterbury in October 2000.

Other key objectives in 2001 will include continuing with the organisational restructure of the Library. The focus will be on Library-wide administrative and support functions and on the Humanities and Social Sciences Division. The first stages of the restructure, which dealt with the Health, Sciences and Technology Division and with technical services, will be largely complete by the end of this year.

As the Library approaches its one hundred and fiftieth year, the environment in which it operates is subject to constant change. University revenues are less dependent on government, there is greater competition from international universities, private education providers are emerging, and there is increasing demand from students for more flexible learning mechanisms.

In such an environment, the University Library will continue to support the many teaching and research activities of the University. This will be done using a mix of traditional print-based publications, digital information resources available via the Internet and a wide range of services which meet the needs of the University community.

Library staff expect to be more closely involved with academic staff in the teaching of information literacy skills. Strategies which will assist this process are being drafted and will be developed further in consultation with academic staff.

The Library is also hoping to extend its electronic publishing activities. Over the past few years, the Library has digitised more than one hundred Australian literary and other texts. These have been made available on the Internet to support teaching and research.

The skills developed through these projects can be applied to original publication. Projects are under way to test their use for the publication of monographs, journals and theses. In time, these mechanisms will provide a basis for a digital University of Sydney Press.

The planning undertaken by Library staff is aimed at ensuring that the Library remains a dynamic contributor to the success of the University. It also seeks to maintain the reputation of the Library as one of the foremost university libraries in this country and one which is recognised internationally for the way in which it supports teaching, learning and research.

Chinese, Japanese and Korean (CJK) search link in online catalogue

The Library has activated a separate search link on the Web catalogue which allows you to search and display in the vernacular scripts for Chinese, Japanese and Korean materials. You can see this CJK search link at:

In order to use this service, special software must be loaded in conjunction with a Web browser. Attempting to search using the Search for Chinese, Japanese and Korean material link on terminals without the software installed will result in a display of romanised parts of the records with a corrupted version of the vernacular parts.

The Library uses WinMass as the preferred software because it allows you to view all three scripts (Chinese, Japanese and Korean). Workstations with WinMass software are available in the East Asian Collection and the standalone Workstation A near the Information Desk in Fisher Library.

Current University of Sydney staff and postgraduate students can contact the East Asian Collection staff for details on how to purchase WinMass software.

If you have other software supporting Big5 code in your computer, you can search and view our Chinese records and some Japanese and Korean records via the Big 5 port:

Examples of software supporting Big 5 code include NJWin, Unionway, Twinbrdige, RichWin etc.

Merits of having the CJK link in the Online Catalogue:

  • There is no ambiguity in meaning in viewing vernacular scripts when compared to just romanisation.
  • You can retrieve materials in three languages (CJK) when you search by vernacular scripts, thus finding more resources. Most characters in Chinese, Japanese and Korean with the same meaning are written in the same form, but they are sometimes written slightly differently. The online catalogue knows which characters are in fact the same word and is able to retrieve records in Chinese, Japanese and Korean simultaneously.
  • The WinMass software offers you different input methods in searching the catalogue.
  • It is particularly helpful to people who are familiar with one East Asian language and are learning a second East Asian language. For example, if you know Chinese and are learning Japanese, you can find materials on a specific Japanese author by searching via scripts, without having to know how to pronounce or romanise the name of the author.

For further information, contact the East Asian Librarian, Magdalen Lee. Phone: 9351 2844;
Email: m.lee@library.usyd.edu.au