Love your repository

Elizabeth Andrews
Thursday 11 February 2021

“I do love nothing in the world so well as you – is not that strange?”, says Benedick of Beatrice in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing

As we approach the 14th February, thoughts turn to love and relationships. However, at this romantic time of year, you might like to consider our St Andrews Research Repository as an object of affection.  Now that, perhaps, is strange.

The Repository has something to celebrate at the moment. This week it reached its 20,000 item of digital content, and all that content is available for you to explore and read. The content represents research publications and articles produced by St Andrews academics and researchers over the past two decades.  It also contains many of our research theses produced from 1919 to the present day.

There has always been a lot of love for the intellectual works that humanity has produced. Only this week, it has been International Love Data Week

… during which you are invited to adopt a dataset.

So why not extend those warm feelings to our research publications and theses in the Repository here in St Andrews?  Take a look at what you might find here.

Think about it as something akin to the early days of a relationship or a friendship.  What qualities might you look for?

Trustworthiness and something long term to rely on might be a good starting place.  Our Repository is regarded as trusted and reliable, with its content guaranteed to be permanently available open access.  Every item gets a unique digital identifier, making it easy to cite.  Newer theses are now being assigned DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers).  These are guaranteed to be permanent too, so there are no surprises like somebody changing their phone number or their email address!  This stuff is reliable.

Finding out a little more detail can be invaluable.   Can you believe everything your new Valentine has told you about themselves, or do you need to dig deeper to find some background information?   Theses often have underpinning data which allows you to really investigate the research fully.  Repository records often link out to accompanying datasets; like this Biology thesis.  (Aren’t you just the tiniest bit interested in finding out more…? Hint: it is reputed to be an aphrodisiac…)

Ideally, you would want to find someone with interesting ideas, someone who would entertain, help, and support you. Someone that your friends and family would like.  The Repository represents subject content from all our Academic Schools, Research Centres, and Institutes.  There is almost bound to be something in there that is relevant to your own studies and research at St Andrews so you may well find a good match for what you need.  You can directly search or browse the St Andrews Research Repository itself, and you can search the full text of theses once you open a thesis that interests you.  You can also use Library Search which includes the same content.  Put in some search terms and then try the refine option on the left-hand side for St Andrews Theses & Academic Papers.

And if the relationship doesn’t work out then you could always go shopping?

Of course sometimes we find ourselves in difficult situations with our Valentines. If you fall victim to a love triangle, or worse, then maybe something recreational or diverting would be in order.  The Repository offers lots of possibilities.  Try this thesis with a theme of non-dominant relationships between humans and animals, with some soothing photographs. Or, on a similar theme, this thesis looks at the relationships between humans and animals in the remote Altai Mountains of Mongolia.

So what of Beatrice and Benedick? I’m sure you guessed that they too feature in the Repository. Once you get to know someone well, then they may become a little predictable, even boring.  But search for Shakespeare and you will get at least 500 results across many disciplinary areas, so there is plenty of material to keep the relationship going.   Get a slant on Restoration adaptations of Shakespeare which includes plays where the “romantic “battle” between the witty couple, Beatrice and Benedick, from Much Ado About Nothing”4 is recreated.

So spread the love.   Invest some time in this particular relationship, and it may make Valentine’s Day all the more delightful.

By Janet Aucock and David Collins, to get in touch, please email: 


  1. By Nina Frábært – Own work, ‘Lo studio di Samuele Briganti a Firenze’ CC BY-SA 4.0,
  2. By Sonse – Oyster Farm, (Walvis Bay, Atlantic, Namibia) CC BY 2.0,
  3. By Unknown author – Henry Irving and Ellen Terry as Benedick and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing Public Domain,
  4. Tuerk, C.M. (1998). “Harmless delight but useful and instructive” : the woman’s voice in Restoration adaptations of Shakespeare.

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