University of Sydney Library Newsletter

Issue Nº 43 - August 2001

ISSN 1326-2785
Previous issues - May 2001, and archives

Expired URLs removed

In this Issue

Donor Profile - Sally and Bill Nelson

Drs Sally and Bill Nelson have both been members of the Friends of the Library for many years and Bill has served for a time as president. Recently, Sally and Bill decided to target their support for the Library by underwriting the digitisation of some key Australian historical works.

As a starter, they have sponsored the digitisation of Two Expeditions into the Interior of Southern Australia by the explorer Charles Sturt. This two volume set was first published in London in 1833. It chronicles Sturt's exploration of the Murray River area between 1828 and 1831. The volumes contain a wealth of details about the climate and landscape before European settlement.

The next project to be sponsored by Sally and Bill will be Journals of Expeditions of Discovery into Central Australia by Edward Eyre. Originally published in 1845, the journals relate to Eyre's expedition of 1840-1841. The journals contain significant information about the Aboriginal people he encountered as well as observations on the terrain.

Both works are relevant to a wide range of scholars. The most obvious are historians but not just within universities. The journals also provide invaluable assistance to secondary and primary school students, and botanists, and members of local land care groups, find the journals invaluable.

By sponsoring the digitisation of these works, Sally and Bill Nelson are assisting the Library to make rare and valuable works more accessible. Through the Scholarly Electronic Text and Imaging Service (SETIS), the Library has digitised more than one hundred Australian literary and historical texts. These are made available free of charge on the Library's web site for use by scholars throughout the world.

The Library is a leader in the digitisation of publications for textual analysis. Partnerships have been developed with the National Library of Australia and the State Library of NSW as well as with other university libraries. The aim is to provide online, full-text access to all significant Australian literary and historical works published prior to 1920.

The list of significant Australian historical works yet to be digitised includes "First Fleet" journals by White, Hunter and Collins, as well as at least a dozen explorer's journals. We have also identified a number of significant works of natural history to complement Joseph Maiden's Forest Flora of NSW, another work that has already been digitised.

Other sponsors are always welcome. The costs of digitising a volume range from $100 to over $3,000. If you would like to contribute to this programme or want further information, please contact Ross Coleman on 9351 3352 (

The SETIS web site is located at:

Planning for the Future

Each year senior Library staff evaluate the functioning of library services and identify issues to be addressed in the coming year. The process this year commenced with a users' forum. Professor Ian Curthoys (Psychology) and Associate-Professor Rod Tiffen (Government and International Relations) joined SUPRA and SRC presidents Kristen Barlow and Moksha Watts as forum presenters.

They each outlined their needs, expectations of library services, as well as the extent to which their requirements are met. Issues raised included the benefits of electronic access to information and the effectiveness of the Library web site. Improved access to course readings and library opening hours were also highlighted.

Overall, there appears to be general satisfaction with Library services and performance, given the operating constraints. All forum participants recognised the need to maintain strong library services that meet the needs of the University community. There was some exploration of the need for a new funding model to ensure that the Library is able to provide access to information in the emerging technological environment.

After two days of contemplation and discussion, Library staff identified a number of major projects for achievement before the end of 2002. These included:

  • analysing the needs of Library users
  • improving access to electronic information
  • extending information literacy programmes
  • reviewing work practices
  • revitalising management processes
  • re-allocating staff resources

In addition to these projects, the Library will also finalise four outstanding projects:

  • preparing for quality audit
  • implementing staff performance management
  • revising position classifications
  • reviewing the accommodation of library services

The development of the Library plan is based on the University's strategic plan for the period 1999 to 2004. It also takes into account the perceived needs of library users, available resources and knowledge about the higher education environment. The plan also seeks to allow for the unforeseen so that the Library can react quickly to new challenges.

The University of Sydney has been able to develop a print collection that is a significant resource for the support of teaching, learning and research. The Library's collections are also used by many people not formally part of the University. These users include staff and students of other universities, graduates of the University of Sydney and members of the general community.

With increasing electronic publication of scholarly information, the Library has sought to maintain the quality of its collections. Members of the University have access to most of the core electronic journals, databases and other materials available at major international research libraries. It is hard, however, to provide access to the wide range of specialist resources which are often quite expensive to acquire.

The Library does collaborate with other libraries to purchase information resources. The Council of Australian University Librarians has negotiated over thirty electronic licences for access to databases and full-text publications. During the past decade, these licences have saved Australian and New Zealand universities millions of dollars.

The future is likely to see the continued use of print publication in many disciplines and almost exclusive electronic publication in others. The Library's planning process is aimed at ensuring that appropriate formats are acquired and that mechanisms are in place to make them readily accessible and easy to use. The over-riding aim is to ensure that the Library continues to be an effective partner in the research, teaching and learning activities of the University.

Document Delivery Initiatives

Trial of electronic document delivery PROSPERO at Fisher and Medical libraries

At the end of August, the Fisher and Medical libraries will trial Prospero, a web-based electronic document delivery service for journal articles requested as interlibrary loans and document delivery. In addition to requesting articles via the web, users will now be able to receive these as a pdf document. It is hoped that this trial will extend to all our other libraries in the near future. Prospero will speed the delivery of articles to your desktop.

We are asking for your participation in this trial. To register, go to the link at:

Once you have started using this service, we will send you an email message with a pin number and the url to access your document. This can be done from your office, the library or any other computer using Adobe Acrobat. You will be asked to comply with Australian Copyright legislation. This prohibits you from making more than one copy of, or transmitting the article to, a third party.

The library is also investigating offering you a scanning service via Prospero for the electronic delivery of journal articles from our collections, for delivery to your desktop. These developments are in line with library initiatives to develop full-text document delivery and retrieval services.

For more details please contact:
Marian De Saxe, Fisher Library Circulation/DD Librarian
or Monica Davis, Coordinator, Medical Sciences

Searching and ordering from subject databases

In addition to requesting or retrieving documents via the library web, eligible users can also register for DIRECT, the library's unmediated document delivery service. This service enables you to search and order articles directly from Ovid subject databases as well as the British Library's vast journal resources via inside. Uncover Plus is now available via the new Ingenta web site which offers both full-text, electronic document delivery and catchword cross referencing ( Articles ordered via DIRECT are delivered directly to your fax or desktop often within 2 to 48 hours. The library is investigating further services for subject searching and ordering such as Web of Science and OCLC FirstSearch databases. For more information contact your home library or

General feedback regarding interlibrary loan and document delivery services are welcome. Comments should be sent to any University of Sydney library or to

New Web Fine Payments Facility

In December 2000 the library launched a new facility to enable users to pay library fines over the web, using a credit card or Extro account. Developed by John McQueen of ITS, this secure system uses an external credit card processing agency. The details entered are forwarded to the agency for the transaction to be processed. The University does not retain your credit card number. However the other details of the transaction are stored, as well as a digital signature of the transaction to enable reconciliation and verification of fine payments.

Since its inception the popularity of the facility has grown, particularly with non-Camperdown campus and remote users. Access is via the library home page, click on "Borrowing" and choose "Pay your library fines" or go directly to the ITS site at: (URL corrected 2/6/2004)

Fines can still be paid in person at the Cashier's Office, or by mail. The Cashier's Office is located in the Margaret Telfer Building, 71-79 Arundel Street, Glebe. It is open Monday to Friday, from 9.00am to 4.30pm. You must present your borrower's card in order to make a payment.

The library intends to introduce web payments for other services such as the UBA reciprocal borrowing fee for undergraduate and postgraduate students. For further information, or feedback about this facility, contact

Reminder About Email Library Notices

The library issues borrowing notices via email provided we have your email address. One advantage of this facility is that we can notify you of items on loan and due back in a couple of days. This gives you advance warning of the need to renew or return items before they become overdue. If you have not yet used this service but would like to, please contact any University of Sydney Library or email:

Pharmacy Library Closes

In December the Pharmacy collection will be integrated with the Medical Library in the Bosch Building.

The change will provide a number of benefits. In addition to enhanced reader education services and longer opening hours, users will benefit from pharmacy, pharmacology and medical works being available in one location. Access for people with disabilities to the Medical Library will be improved once the changes being undertaken in the Blackburn Building are completed.

The space now occupied by the Pharmacy Library will be converted into a general access computing laboratory. The computers will have a range of software as well as providing access to all Library electronic resources including full-text journals and other resources relating to Pharmacy.

The Pharmacy Librarian, Gail Higgins, resigned in July to take up a position with the Cochrane Renal Group at the New Children Hospital, Westmead. The Library is grateful to Gail and other staff who have worked in the Pharmacy Library over the years.

Medical Library Changes

Building works will be undertaken in the Medical Library to improve staff accommodation and to provide a seminar room. The Medical and Pharmacy Libraries will be closed for one week while the collection is re-shelved to incorporate the Pharmacy holdings. Arrangements will be made to answer urgent requests for assistance by phone or email while the Medical Library is closed. Details will be advised.

Conference Announcement

Computing Arts: Digital Resources for Research in the Humanities

Location: University of Sydney
Date: 26 - 28 September 2001

Hosted by RIHSS (Research Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences) and SETIS (Scholarly Electronic Text and Image Service) at the University of Sydney Library

Papers will focus on new methods of creating, using, and conserving the resources which comprise our common cultural heritage.

A full programme, and registration forms, can be found at: (no longer valid)