University of Sydney Library Newsletter

Issue Nº 22 - April 1995

ISSN 1326-2785
Newsletter archive

In this Issue

1995 Library Budget

It is a rare pleasure to be able to say that the Library's financial situation this year is the best for a long time.

The 1993 Review of the Library noted that it was not well funded compared with other large Australian university libraries and recommended that its base budget should be increased. The Vice-chancellor has accepted this recommendation and as a result the Library's base budget is to be increased by $1,500,000 in 1995 with further increases foreshadowed for 1996 and 1997.

As well as that, The Library will from now on receive a larger share of student fee income; this year its share of postgraduate and international student fees will be $1,085,000 compared to $644,000 in 1994.

As usual, the budget will be supplemented from fines revenue, photocopying profits and several other minor sources, to a total budget of $19,725,000. This is an increase of $2 million on 1994.

How will this be spent?

$7.7 million (an increase of 12.5%) will be spent on what is called Collections and Access - mainly purchase of books and journals, and access to electronic information such as multi-user licences for CD-ROMs, the Library Database Network, etc.

Almost $10 million (an increase of 11.3%) will go on salaries. This will cover 1994 levels of staffing, plus additional staff in Fisher and branches to restore most of the cuts in hours which had to be made in recent years, to keep branch libraries open at lunchtimes in Semesters, and to get the shelves in Fisher and larger branches into proper order before First Semester starts.

The remainder will be allocated to operating expenses and equipment.

As well as its "normal" budget, the Library this year has access to some (expected and unexpected) "windfall" funds which have come from accumulated income over recent years.

First, accumulated photocopying profits will be spent on implementing several of the most important and most costly recommendations of the Review of the Library, specifically:

  • conversion of manual catalog records for serials and adding them to the online catalog
  • the first stage of a major relegation project to transfer less-used material from Fisher and branches to the Darlington Repository, thus relieving overcrowding on the shelves
  • wiring and minor building alterations in Fisher and branches to improve facilities and space for electronic information services
  • adding Cumberland College library's database to the main database (when it becomes part of the University Library system as recommended in the Review).

Second, there are funds available from several other sources, primarily the 1994 allocation from postgraduate and international student fees, which were deliberately put aside for use this year. These funds will be spend on a number of activities including:

  • further Internet training for academic and library staff
  • additional staff on busy Fisher and branch library service points
  • additional staff to repair damaged books for Fisher and branch libraries
  • various minor building works in several branch libraries

It is a long time since I have been able to write that the Library's financial situation is very pleasing, but that is certainly what we can say for 1995. The support of the Vice-Chancellor and Senate, and of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, is very warmly and gratefully acknowledged. 1995 will be a very good year for the Library, and therefore for its users.

Neil A. Radford
University Librarian

Increases in opening hours

There have been changes in semester opening hours in many libraries in 1995. The new times in libraries which have improved opening hours this year are:

Alexander Mackie Curriculum Resources Library Mon, Thur, Fri 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tues, Wed 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
Badham Library Mon - Thurs 8:30 am - 8:00 pm
Fri 8:30 am - 6:00 pm
Sat 10:00am - 5:00 pm
Burkitt Library Mon - Fri 8:45 am - 5:45 pm
Fisher Library Mon - Thurs 8:30am - 10:00 pm
Fri 8:30 am - 8:00 pm
Sat 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sun 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Geology Library Mon - Fri 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Law Library Mon - Thurs 9:00 am - 9:30 pm
Fri 9:00 am - 8:00 pm
Sat 9:00 am - 4:45 pm
Mathematics Library Mon, Fri 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tues - Thurs 8:45 am - 5:45 pm
Medical Library Mon - Thurs 9:00 am - 8:00 pm
Fri 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat 10:00am - 5:00 pm
Music Library Mon - Fri 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Physics Library Mon - Thurs 8:45 am - 5:45 pm
Fri 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

The full range of services may not be available at all times during the extended hours in some libraries.

Research Express

Research Express is a service to providing University researchers with rapid delivery of journal articles and similar documents not held by the University Library. All academic staff and postgraduate students of the University of Sydney are eligible to use the service. The service aims to provide requesters with documents within 48 hours wherever possible. Receipt is usually by fax and, while turnaround time varies, documents frequently arrive within 24 hours and sometimes within one hour.

The main sources used to obtain documents are commercial document suppliers such as CARL UnCover, from the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries, and The Genuine Article, the complementary service for Current Contents. Other services also used include subject specialist suppliers such as Cinahl for the Nursing Library, and MathDoc for the Mathematics Library. About 75% of requests are being satisfied through CARL UnCover at this stage, as this company continues to provide the superior service. UnCover delivery is fast, with 85% of documents being received within 24 hours, and feedback is quick and helpful. The number of journal titles covered (now approximately 17,000) may also help to explain why the Research Express Service is relying so heavily on UnCover. The performance of UnCover and other suppliers is being monitored in regard to cost, coverage, reliability and document quality. Changes in delivery methods will be implemented as improved technology becomes available.

Many University researchers using CARL UnCover will be aware of the "table of contents" service made available by the UnCover Company, called Reveal. Researchers can nominate journals whose contents list is e-mailed automatically to them on publication of each new issue. UnCover is introducing a new enhancement to this service in April. This new feature will enable users to store search strategies; eg. searches by author, name, or topic, which will be run automatically against new articles added to the database on a weekly basis. The results of these searches will be sent to the e-mail address contained in each UnCover user profile.

The UnCover Reveal service has previously been provided free, but UnCover is now introducing a charge for this service. The charge is US$20 per year for each individual profile. This fee will permit users to select up to 50 titles from which to receive table of contents, and to store up to 25 search strategies. Users who have a profile should have received notification about Reveal changes from the UnCover Company. Further information may be obtained by sending a message to

Current Contents changes

CAUL Current Contents, the online version of the well known printed series which reproduces the contents list of journals, is now provided by CDPlus Technologies, based in Sydney. This service, to which the Library subscribes, indexes articles published in over 7,000 of the world's leading journals in all disciplines, with abstracts for about 70% of articles. All University staff and students are eligible to use the service which can be accessed from a workstation connected to the University network, or any workstation able to run a telnet session. The software now being used, OVID, is also used by the Library on its Library Database Network and so will be familiar to the many registered users of that system. Current Contents can be searched by subject, author, journal title and keywords, and search options for limiting searches and for downloading results are now available. Registration is not necessary to use Current Contents but new login instructions and a password are required. These are available from designated contact persons in all faculties and colleges. The name of the appropriate contact can be obtained from Branch, Department and College Libraries, and from the Fisher Library Information Desk, Tel: 351 2993, e-mail:


Eureka is the online information service of the Research Libraries Group, a consortium of major research libraries in the United States. The Eureka service provides author, subject and title access to a range of databases, including the RLG Bibliographic File of records for over 22 million titles in major North American and European libraries and many journal indexes in specific fields. Australian Universities are able to use many of the Eureka databases until at least April. Some of those available are:

  • Anthropological Literature
  • Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals
  • Scientific Conference Papers
  • Environmental Sciences & Pollution Management
  • Life Sciences with Bioengineering
  • Marine Biology, including Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts as well as the Bibliographic File, Dissertation Abstracts & Inside Information, a new table-of-content database for the British Library.

All staff and students can have access to Eureka. Connection instructions and passwords are available from Branch, Department and College Libraries and from the Fisher Library Information Desk, Tel: 351 2993, E-mail:

OCLC FirstSearch

FirstSearch is another online search service now available on the network at the University. It provides access to over 30 subject specific databases and is linked to the world's largest computerised catalogue, WorldCat, with nearly 30 million records for books, films and other types of materials from 15,000 libraries worldwide which use the OCLC system. Databases are presented under broad subject headings, such as "Arts & Humanities", "Life Sciences", "Public Affairs and Law" etc. Searching is easy by following the menu instructions.

Some databases on OCLC FirstSearch are also made available by the Library on its Library Database Network or on CD-ROM and these are generally not accessible to University of Sydney staff and students on FirstSearch. However there are still many useful databases uniquely available on this service, including news, book reviews and biography indexes, as well as WorldCat. Instructions to connect to OCLC FirstSearch are available from Branch Libraries or the Fisher Library Information Desk, Tel: 351 2993, e-mail:

New Electronic Databases

Business and Economics Database

The Australian Business Index (ABIX) is the major Australian index for business, company, industry and trade information. Related subjects are also included - economic policy and conditions, industrial relations, trade agreements such as GATT, monetary policy, international trade, superannuation and marketing to name but a few. Fisher Library now has this index on CD-ROM. The database coverage is from 1981 to present and the disc is updated six times a year. There are 85 publications indexed by ABIX and they include major newspapers such as The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Australian Financial Review and The Age; business journals such as Australian Business Monthly, BRW, The Bulletin, Asian Business Review; and trade journals such as Australian Mining, Australian Packaging, Australian Super Review, Food Week, Inside Retailing.

The ABIX software allows searching of the whole record or by either subject, article title or publication title. There is then the capability to further modify the search by keyword, date, source or combining of sets.


Humanities Databases

New Electronic Databases for humanities subjects are continually being added to the collection at Fisher Library. This collection includes bibliographic databases, such as Philosophers' Index, for searching relevant secondary literature, but also a growing number of full-text databases such as the English Poetry Database.

New bibliographic databases include:

  • MUSE (Music Search): This CD-Rom includes the RILMdatabase for secondary music literature published since 1970, as well as the Library of Congress Catalog of Music. Updated annually.
  • Periodical Contents Index: A retrospective index to journal literature between 1900 and 1960. The full set will cover the period 1800 to 1990.
  • Nineteenth Century: This is a CD-Rom index to the microfiche sets of the Chadwyck Healey 30 year project to republish English language books and pamphlets of the 19th century. Fisher Library holds the special interest collection for Women Writers at MIC820.8/327.

Each of these discs are available at the Information Desk on level 3. They join the list which includes America History and Life, Austlit (Australian Literature), Australian Architecture (on the Austrom disc), Art Index, Dissertation Abstracts, Museums (on the Heritage and Environment disc), Historical Abstracts, MLA Bibliography, Philosopher's Index.

A trial period of RLG-Eureka databases available to University of Sydney staff and students includes access to the Avery Architecture database and the US library database RLIN.

New Full-Text databases include:

  • Phi CD-Rom #5: Contains virtually all Latin literature to AD200 and some later writings. Also includes several versions of the Bible.
  • Phi CD-Rom #6: Documentary papyri, Greek inscriptions, a Coptic New Testament and the Nag Hammadi texts.
  • Le Robert Electronique
  • Perseus: This will be available soon and includes complete text of literature and reference materials, video images and line drawings of archaeological sites and objects, and topographical maps of ancient Greece. Updated annually.

These are also available at the Information Desk and join the English Poetry Database, Macquarie Dictionary, Oxford English Dictionary, New South Wales Pioneers Index, and Wordcruncher.

Social Sciences Database

The Social Sciences Index contains articles and book reviews from over 350 social sciences periodicals. It covers anthropology, economics, environmental sciences, geography, law and criminology, planning and public administration, political science, psychology, social aspects of medicine, sociology, international relations and related subjects. The electronic database corresponds to the printed Social Sciences Index held in Fisher Library Reference collection at R016.3/4.

For more information, please contact Rena McGrogan, Phone 351 3560 e-mail:

LDN: the Library Database Network

LDN is the Library Database Network launched by the University of Sydney Library in June 1994. It consists of a range of databases held in electronic form by the Library. These databases are available at various Library sites and to remote users with SydNet access. Its value is that users no longer need to travel to the Library to get access to this material: they can log onto LDN from a terminal in their office or department.

The following databases are available:

  • MEDLINE is the premier index of medical literature and indexes the contents of over 3,000 medical journals. The data is produced under the auspices of the National Library of Medicine (U.S.A.). Contact: Diana Kingston, Phone: 351 5315
  • CINAHL (Nursing & Allied Health) indexes over 900 journals from 1983 to the present. The database is a comprehensive index of English language formal literature on nursing and allied health disciplines. Contact: Lesley Muir, Phone: 517 0133
  • ERIC (Educational Resources Information Centre) is the premier database of educational materials. It indexes both documents and journal articles in all aspects of education and related disciplines. It covers 1966 to the present. Contact: Christabel Wescombe, Phone: 351 3560
  • COMPENDEX PLUS provides references and abstracts for world wide engineering and technical literature, and indexes over 2,600 journals as well as conferences and reports from 1987 onwards. Contact: Joan Morrison, Phone: 351 4181
  • PsycINFO covers the scholarly and professional literature on psychology and related disciplines from 1967 onwards. It includes references and abstracts from over 1,300 journals as well as dissertations, technical reports and chapters from books. Contact: Rena McGrogan, Phone: 351 3560

At this stage, the databases only provide you with references (often with abstracts or summaries) to articles. If you wish to find the original article, you need to follow up the reference via the University of Sydney Library's catalogues. The databases do not indicate whether the books or journals are held at the University of Sydney.

Before logging on, you will need to register with the Library to obtain a logon name and password. To do this, contact: Systems Dept., Fisher Library, F03. (phone 351 3151. [Only University of Sydney staff and students are eligible to register.]

You can access LDN from any workstation connected to SydNet and capable of VT-100 emulation. This includes all IBM compatible PCs, Apple MacIntoshes, UNIX workstations and most dumb terminals. Once your equipment and connections are in place, and you have registered as a user, you can connect to LDN via telnet to

If you need assistance with equipment and connection to LDN you should first contact the computing staff in your own faculty. If you have further questions, contact the Service Desk


Quality Service Survey in Special Reserve

Last September, Fisher Library's Special Reserve conducted a three day survey of students' success in finding material in the Reserve collection. The survey was part of a pilot quality service programme and was aimed to:

  1. discover how successful students are in finding material in Special Reserve and reasons for failure to find material
  2. determine who uses Special Reserve; ie, the users levels of study and subject areas.
  3. establish how people prefer to use library material; Do they prefer to borrow material? Do they prefer to photocopy it? Do they prefer to read it in Special Reserve?
  4. find out how satisfied users were with Special Reserve service and staff.

1,000 forms were handed out and of the 696 respondents, 71.7% wereable to find the first item they looked for in Special Reserve on this occasion. General satisfaction with Special Reserve appears to be high. 77.1% of students felt the staff were helpful, 74.4% were generally satisfied with service and 81.6% found Special Reserve easy to use. Additional comments included requests for more seats and photocopiers in Special Reserve.

As a result of this survey, staff have produced a checklist of steps for users to follow if they cannot find an item in Special Reserve. Students can use the checklists as a self-help measure in busy periods when it is difficult for staff to leave the desk to search for an item. It is hoped that the checklists will educate students to use the same techniques when searching for material elsewhere in the Library; eg, checking sorting shelves, desks and photocopying areas. A suggestion box will be installed to encourage feedback from users which will provide an arena for comments, criticisms and suggestions. It should also be useful in alerting staff to material that is missing or in heavy demand but not requested for Special Reserve. A fourth photocopier has been installed in response to the many requests made on the survey forms and central queuing has been introduced. Students' preferences for borrowing material to take home may help academics when deciding what and how much material to request for Special Reserve.

Special Reserve will continue in its commitment to maintaining its set of service standards and implementing new quality service measures. For more information about the survey and its results, please contact the Library