Tuesday, 30 August 2011

You've got mail!

Image: jscreationzs / freedigitalphotos.net

Exactly 29 years ago today, on August 30th 1982, email as we know it was born (I'm suddenly feeling very old!!). Although many claim to have invented email, V.A. Shiva actually began developing it in 1978 as a 14 year old. He was responsible for transforming 'office mail' into the very first email system, for which he won a science innovation award in 1981, eventually obtaining the first U.S Copyright for 'Email' in 1982. Have a look at this infographic by Shiva to see a timeline of the history of email.

Your SMU libraries offer access to a whole host of IT facilities, including email, so why not pop in and make the most of the technology at your fingertips!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Bank Holiday closure

Please note that our three SMU Libraries will be closed over the bank holiday weekend, including Monday 29th August. We re-open (still on vacation hours) on Tuesday 30th August, and any books and other items that you borrow will still not be due for return until October!

So have a nice long weekend, and make the most of your SMU Libraries during the rest of the summer vacation!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Quote for the day

Once again, we've been looking through The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (available via the database Oxford Reference Online on our library web pages) for words to inspire you. Here's the latest in our semi-regular series:-

"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body."
Richard Steele (1672-1729), Irish-born essayist and dramatist, in The Tatler no. 147 (18th March 1710)

So if the weather leaves something to be desired this bank holiday weekend, don't worry about being stuck in the house, just pick up a book and give your mind a workout instead!

Friday, 19 August 2011

World Photography Day

For all you SMU photography students, and everyone else who appreciates the medium, today is World Photography Day! For more information and to see some great pics, take a look at their website: http://www.worldphotoday.org/

(The attached photo of Castle Square Gardens, Swansea city centre was taken by our very own SMU photographer, Rob Mitchell)

Lastly, for a great range of photography books and journals, come and check out our Dynevor Library!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Kindle Dilemma...

Many SMU bloggers have joined me in praising the new reading experience which Kindle offers. However, have we stopped to consider the likely impact this will have on the future of the good old high street bookseller?

I can't remember when I last bought from Waterstones. I used to spend a fortune there. I visit the Cardiff branch at least once a week. Yet, I'm ashamed to say I use my visits to choose the books I eventually by from Amazon. Does this sound familiar?

Last week, the entire Waterstones fiction stock was included in their 3 for 2 offer. I was in a righteous mood and determined to make a purchase. However, they didn't have the titles I wanted. Instead, I whipped out my Kindle, had a fnatastic time surfing the more extensively stocked Kindle store and snapped-up 3 more downloads. Even better value than 3 for 2!

It pricks my conscience that as a new Kindle devotee I am further helping Amazon increase its iron grip on the book market. Bookshops are likely to suffer in the long term. And I would hate not to have a well stocked bookshop for browsing.

So, is Kindle bringing us closer to that dreadful scenario - the bookshop-free high street? Borders has disappeared and if Waterstones foundered, we'd be left with just WH Smith. Perhaps I should take an ethical approach and split my purchases evenly between Kindle ebooks and print copies bought in a bookshop? Realisitically, it boils down to the fact that I'm not prepared to pay the higher prices levied by bookstores. I am not alone. Many would mourn the demise of the high street bookseller, but in the interest of their pockets are exclusively patronising online suppliers.

To safeguard their future, bookshops need to change, though I'm not sure how. Some bookshops already sell ereaders. Should they have instore download stations for purchasing ebooks? But then, why would you bother going into a bookshop to buy downloads when you can do this at home or on the move with the new Kindle 3G?

The 'book' will survive but I am not so confident about the longevity of the non-virtual bookseller. If Kindle changes the nature of book retailing, I'm not convinced this will be for the better. I certainly feel uneasy about contributing to this trend. Sadly, I know I will not be changing my behaviour. I will continue to buy my books online and most of these will now be Kindle formats. I also know that in doing so I may well be shooting myself in the foot. How do other blog readers stand on this issue? Over to you...

I'm going to sign off now. Thanks to my ex-colleagues at SMU for inviting me to contribute to their excellent blog and thanks for all the interesting responses. Happy Kindling!!

Nigel Morgan

Monday, 8 August 2011

Cast your votes for World Book Night 2012

World Book Night first took place on the 5th March this year, two days after World Book Day. On that night, one million books were given away for free by 20,000 volunteers across the UK and Ireland. The idea was to read the book and then pass it on to someone else (in your own time, not all on the same night!). People gathered in shops, libraries, pubs and other meeting places to share their love of reading and pick up a free book or two. You can see 2011's 25 chosen titles on the World Book Night website.

The event will be back in 2012, but this time on the 23rd April to coincide with UNESCO's International Day of the Book. The organisers need our help in choosing next year's titles and are asking members of the public to contribute their top ten favourite books to the website (http://www.worldbooknight.org/). You've got until the 31st August 2011 to cast your votes, so get cracking. While you're on the website, you'll also be able to see the top 100 books chosen so far and find out how to apply to be a World Book Night giver. Famous authors have contributed their top ten to the World Book Night blog, so be sure to take a look at that too.

Once you've made your choice, why not share it with us? It would be interesting to see if there are any trends in the SMU community!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Appy Days!

Image: Idea go / freedigitalphotos.net

According to a report published today by the telecoms regulator Ofcom, 1 in 3 adults in the UK now use smartphones as part of their daily lives. This number will surely increase as more and more information becomes available via downloadable 'apps' or in mobile compatible format. You may be reading this blog on your phone right now!

As an avid iPhone user myself, I was excited to learn that many of our SMU library databases are now available as apps, downloadable from the iTunes store. Click on the links below to find out more from our database supppliers on how to download and activate their apps...

Science Direct - Supplier Instructions / App details (via iTunes)

Ebsco (includes databases such as Business Source Premier, Sport Discus & Education Research Complete) - Supplier Instructions / App details (via iTunes)

* Please note that all apps are created and maintained by external database providers, not SMU. Any applications downloaded to your personal mobile devices are done so at your own risk. *

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Welcome to all our international students!

This week has seen the arrival of some of our brand new international students, some of whom we'll be meeting later this week for introductory library tours here at the Owen Library in Mount Pleasant. The library staff would like to say a big 'welcome' to you all, we hope you enjoy your time here in Swansea!

Did you also know that we have many items which may be of interest to you here in the library whilst you are getting to know the area...

Why not borrow the Rough Guide to Wales (shelfmark 917.290486/WAL) to find out more about your surroundings and local places of interest? Or you could try the Visit Wales website for more tourist information online.

If you would like to brush up on your English language skills you could also borrow our multimedia pack Teach Yourself English as a Foreign Language (shelfmark 428.24/STE).

Finally, for those days when you're feeling a bit homesick and just want something more familiar as a reminder of home, why not relax with a film from our World Cinema Collection (shelfmark 791.4372). We have a great selection of films in French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese and other languages, so hopefully we'll have something for everyone...

We look forward to meeting you all very soon!