For #NationalCodingWeek – 40 years of tech in the Library

Elizabeth Andrews
Tuesday 17 September 2019

Floppy disks reels of tape and circuit boards. Old tech from the Library collections

To celebrate National Coding Week we wanted to show you how the Library has often been at the forefront of new technologies and how we can support you to make best use of our digital resources today.

We have pulled together a few items (pictured above) which illustrate the Library’s adaptability to technological advances over the last 40 years. These include the Blaise Recorder manual, Scotland’s first union catalogue on microfiche, an example of floppy disks for searching Chemical Abstracts, as well as microfilm and the Library’s first CD-ROM – the Concise Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, purchased in 1987.

In order to support teaching and research needs, the Library also now holds over 300,000 ebooks and subscriptions to nearly 39,000 electronic journals. We work collaboratively with other Scottish and UK University Libraries, for example the Scottish Higher Education Digital Library, to gain access to online collections and encourage publishers to consider how they license materials so that our users can access them in the ways most convenient to them.

We also encourage publishers to supply Digital Rights Management (DRM) free models, allowing staff and students to download and keep as much of the content of an ebook as they need, and to allow whole classes to access content all at the same time. To help staff and students make best use of our ebooks, we’ve produced an ebooks guide, giving details of the range of collections, and how to use all the different publisher platforms to get the most out of them.

Information overload may be a problem in the digital world: finding good quality, reliable, authoritative information can be a challenge. Library databases provide one solution to this problem. You can find over 600 subject databases in our A-Z Database list, and our subject guides give details of which databases are best for each subject. But if you’d like to see the range of material available, our Library search looks across electronic resources as well as physical material and special collections.

Don’t forget – Library staff are always on hand to help!


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