New library engagement system incoming!

A post by Dr Richard Pears

On 1st August, the new library management system (which provides the catalogue and the means to borrow and renew books) will be available. Our current system, called Millennium, was introduced in 1996, so it’s older than most students. It will be replaced with a much more up-to-date system called Alma, which is used by many UK and European university libraries. We already use the Discover search engine from the same company, and introducing Alma within Discover will make it much quicker and simpler to see live information on books in the library, place reservations and renew books. 

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Delightful dogs visit the Billy B

Promoting student wellbeing is always high on the agenda for us (see previous blog about self-care and wellbeing 😊). Particularly during Easter term, where pressures, anxieties and stress levels increase for many, thanks to the impending exam and assessment period. Planning study time, revision, getting enough sleep, eating well, taking breaks – all massively important but we know that sometimes, it can feel quite overwhelming to fit everything in.

To try and help with this, we’ve developed a schedule of wellbeing events and activities throughout May, kicking off with a visit last Wednesday during Deaf Awareness Week from the wonderful Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.

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Study skills guidance

We have a wide range of guides available to help our users get the most of what Library and Collections offer. These include:

  • Subject guides
  • Site guides
  • Service guides
  • Archives and Special Collections guides
  • Museum guides
  • Research skills guide

The research skills guide offers advice and support on finding and managing information, keeping up-to-date, and the subject guides point to the different resources available for staff and students working in particular disciplines.

Until recently, one area we felt we were not offering specific support for was study skills – but that has change now, with our newest guide!

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Bishop Tunstall: The man who survived the Tudors by calculating the odds

On the International Day of Mathematics, a post by Dr Elizabeth Biggs (Trinity College Dublin/TNA Postdoctoral Research Fellow) Dr Danielle Westerhof (Rare Books Librarian) and Gemma Lewis (Castle Curator).

How many of us who have lived, worked or explored Durham Castle have ever heard about the man who built the Tunstall Gallery and Chapel?

Cuthbert Tunstall (1474-1559), bishop of Durham from 1530 until his death, was a survivor.

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International Women’s Day 2022

Yesterday was International Women’s Day! This year’s theme was #BreakingTheBias and we wanted to explore and celebrate this concept in the Library by highlighting some of the inspirational women who are featured in our collections.

With our beloved mascot Billy Bee leading the helm, we took a dive into the many thousands of books here at Billy B and picked a selection of amazing female authors, scientists, medieval mystics, and poets!

#BreakTheBias
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Improvements to come…

If there’s one thing we’ve all seen a lot of in the last couple of years, its change – new routines, new methods and new normal. And we’ll be seeing more changes for University Library and Collections in the coming months and years, but they’ll be positive ones.

One of these changes is a new Library Management System (LMS). This is the software that underpins the core functions of the library, such as the library catalogue and the circulation system. We’ve had the current system in place – albeit with upgrades in the interim – since 1996. So change is somewhat overdue!

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Don’t judge a book by its cover – go on a Blind Date with a Book

Trying to find a new book to read isn’t always as straightforward as it seems. Of course, you can easily take to the internet, searching for leisure title inspo, but inevitably you find yourself getting lost in the long lists of recommendations online. You spend all your time trawling through the titles, debating between this one and that one before realising the spare time you once had has now slipped away, resulting in you making your own list of ‘books to read when I find the time.’ Ironic, don’t you think? (Alanis Morissette classic – couldn’t resist!)

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Behind the scenes – what a catalogue record looks like!

We are about to embark on the process of moving to a new Library Management System, or LMS. This is a lengthy process, as the LMS effectively manages most core functions of a library, such as cataloguing resources, managing the loan/use of those resources and the records of our users. So transferring to a new system is a complex project, and one that we will keep you updated on over the course of the coming months. What we can say with certainty is that a new LMS will represent a significant upgrade, both for us as library staff and you as the user!

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Looking forward, glancing backwards

Faculty Librarian Ben Taylorson reflects on the changes brought about by the pandemic as we settle into a new term.

I have to say, it has been nice to see so many students back in Durham for the start of the new academic year. The building in which I work when on-campus – The Bill Bryson Library – has felt very empty with so many of its users studying remotely. As we all begin to move forward into a new normal, things that remind me of the ‘old normal’ bring some comfort. That said, we must accept that some things have changed for good.

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