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Researchers’ Weekly Bulletin: the Blog

News for researchers at the Manchester Metropolitan University

40 maps that explain the Roman Empire

March 2nd, 2015

“If you like your history presented visually and in a popular, Internet style, this site is for you. The set of 40 maps begins with an animated map, that depicts the rise and fall of the Roman Empire by landmass, from 500 BC to 476 AD. Map #3 provides an interesting insight into the size of the Roman Empire, relative to the transportation technologies of the day. Plotted by researchers at Stanford University, readers can use this map to determine travel time from London to Rome – about 3 weeks. There’s also a map on the route of Hannibal’s famous invasion of Rome with elephants. Compiled by editorial staff and artists at Vox Media, this map collection includes a few errata listed at the end. Many of the maps and sources are linked to Wikipedia articles, which in turn cite published histories – so it appears that Vox has done due diligence. [DS]”

[Source Scout Report, 13 Feb 2015: ]

MMU e-trial: TT&D (Textile Terms and Definitions)

March 2nd, 2015

Runs until 01/04/2015

From the publisher’s website: “Textile Terms and Definitions published by The Textile Institute since 1954 is generally regarded as the established, most authoritative and comprehensive English-language reference manual of textile terminology.”

“This unique website enables the user to access the latest and most up to date definitions available. Entries are grouped according to relevant industry sections which can be accessed directly. Individual terms can be accessed by typing into the search box. A full definition list can be accessed by clicking on the alphabetical letters. All entries are cross-referenced for completeness in any search so if the term you are looking for is common to several sections, all the relevant links will be shown.”

To access the trial go to:

Contact Library staff if you require a username and password to access the trial off-campus.

MMU e-trial: Film Industry Data

March 2nd, 2015

Runs until 18/03/2015

From the publisher’s website: “Film Industry Data is a proven way of gathering information about film trends and the impact of film across countries and cultures.”

“Films tell us about global culture, politics and society. Now you can get the facts behind the film industry with the exclusive Nielsen backed Film Industry Data collection.”

“For the first time we’re bringing vital movie industry data together to help you make new connections, gain valuable insights and tell new stories.”

“Data sets include:

•500 rankings each week since 2000

•Unit sales in all formats – VHS, DVD and Blu Ray

•Full contributor list (Director, Stars, Producer, Composer, Camera, Lighting …and more)

•Theatrical Box Office”

To access the trial go to:

Contact Library staff if you require a username and password to access the trial off-campus.

Making learning visible: First ‘Technology in Education’ evaluation published

March 2nd, 2015

Oliver Quinlan writes in a Nesta blog:

“As part of our technology in education programme we have been trialing different types of digital technology in schools and exploring its potential for learning. After many months working with teachers and schools across the UK our first independent evaluation report has now been published.”

“The Visible Classroom project explored the use of real time speech to text transcription for teacher professional development and student learning. This was a collaboration with Ai-Media UK and the University of Melbourne, funded by the Education Endowment Foundation as part of their work on evidence in education. The independent evaluation was carried out by NatCen.”

“The report has found that this approach has potential to benefit teaching and learning in schools, with teachers reporting they found the feedback a valuable part of professional development.”

“This was a pilot project, with the aim of developing the use of technology in this way in schools and respond to feedback from teachers. Therefore the evaluation looked at how it worked practically in schools and feedback from teachers on the effect it was having. At this early stage we did not formally measure the effect that it had on the learning of the children, although there was some promising feedback relating to this from teachers. The pilot gave us the chance to try different types of professional development in different stages.”

To find out more about the Visible Classroom project and download the report go to:

[Source Nesta blog: ]

Teaching History with 100 Objects

March 2nd, 2015

“Teaching History with 100 Objects may be funded by the United Kingdom’s Department of Education, but the resources available on the website will be useful to educators the world over. The 100 objects in question consist of historically significant Irish posters, English canons, Chinese tea pots, Viking scales, and many other fascinating objects. The site can be scouted in a number of convenient ways. Readers can search by topics, dates, places, or themes, or simply select an image from the homepage to get started. Each object is accompanied by a brief annotation, as well as additional categories, such as About the object, A bigger picture, Teaching ideas, and For the Classroom. Each category is packed with information, ideas, and suggestions for bringing history to life. [CNH]”

[Source Scout Report, 30 Jan 2015: ]

Women’s Walks

March 2nd, 2015

The Library at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) “has launched Women’s Walks, an exciting new mobile phone app that enables users to engage with archive materials from women’s history as they walk through London’s streets.”

“Women’s Walks is now available to download for free from iTunes app store; to search for the app, simply type in ‘Women’s Walks’ into the search field. Women’s Walks combines smartphone technology with the fascinating and diverse archive material from The Women’s Library @ LSE, transforming the collection into an engaging and interactive historical journey.”

“The app works by tracking the user’s position as they walk through the streets of London, identifying images, documents and audio clips relevant to each location, and downloading them to the user’s smartphone.”

[Source LSE Library:

2015 Applications now open for the L’Oréal UK & Ireland Fellowships For Women in Science.

March 2nd, 2015

“The L’Oréal UK & Ireland Fellowships For Women in Science were launched in January 2007. The Fellowships are awards offered by a partnership between L’Oréal UK & Ireland, the UK National Commission for UNESCO and the Irish National Commission for UNESCO, with the support of the Royal Society. From 2015, Five Fellowships are awarded annually to outstanding female postdoctoral researchers. Each worth £15,000 (equivalent € for candidates in Ireland), the Fellowships are tenable at any UK or Irish university / research institute to support a 12-month period of postdoctoral research in any area of the life, physical sciences, mathematics and engineering.”

“The Fellowships have been designed to provide practical help for the winners to undertake research in their chosen fields. For example, winners may choose to spend their fellowship on buying scientific equipment, paying for child care costs, travel costs or indeed whatever they may need to continue their research.”

“Another important part of the Fellowship programme is the support, training and networking opportunities that it provides. Fellows make valuable friendships and connections that can lead to interesting collaborations, publications and wider appreciation of their work.”

Applications close on Friday the 13th March 2015.

[Source Science and Technologies Facilities Council: ]

Pathways of resistance: from mercury to methicillin

March 2nd, 2015

“In a climate of rising fear over the diminishing efficacy of antibiotics, Wellcome-supported microbiologists have looked back at the bacteria-killing substances of the pre-antibiotic era – toxic metals. Jemima Hodkinson looks at how resistance to these metals may be linked to drug resistance in bacteria…”

“Dr Jon Hobman, University of Nottingham, and Dr Lisa Crossman, from the University of East Anglia, recently published a review of bacterial antimicrobial metal ion resistance in the Journal of Medical Microbiology. Their article concludes that the ancient pathways of resistance that bacteria have evolved against metals such as mercury, copper, arsenic and silver may be intimately linked to the antibiotic resistance genes that are circulating in bacterial populations today.”

“Metals and metallic compounds have been used for medical and biological purposes for millennia: as antiseptics, diuretics, and dental fillings; cosmetics, tonics and chemical weapons. Most are indiscriminately toxic, and you have to wonder whether some of these historical cures were actually worse than the ailments they were intended to treat. Mercury-laced teething powder, anyone?”

Here is the link to the article (Open Access):

[Source Wellcome blog: ]

There need not be a digital dark age — how to save our data for the future

March 2nd, 2015

“Matthew Woollard, Director of the UK Data Service, considers how much we are prepared to pay to ensure that digital stuff today is usable in the future.”

““The internet is forever.” So goes a saying regarding the impossibility of removing material – such as stolen photographs – permanently from the web. Yet paradoxically the vast and growing digital sphere faces enormous losses. Google has been criticised for failing to ensure access to its archive of Usenet newsgroup postings that stretch back to the early 1980s. And now internet pioneer Vint Cerf has warned of a “digital dark age” that would result if decades of data – emails, photographs, website postings – becoming lost or un-readable.”

“Millions of paper records more than 500 years old exist today. But your entire family photo collection could be lost forever with just a single hard drive failure. Stone tablets, parchment, paper, printed photographs have all lasted through the centuries. But some of our data may not. What do we do about preserving the digital deluge?”

“Technical solutions already exist, but they’re not well known and relatively expensive. How much are we prepared to pay to ensure that digital stuff today is usable in the future? Because if there’s cost involved, inevitably we have to think about what has value that makes it worth keeping.”

To read more of the blog go to:

[Source UK Data Service Impact blog as above]

Study shows urban habitats provide haven for UK bees

March 2nd, 2015

“Urban environments might not seem the best habitat for pollinators at first glance but a new study suggests that bees and other pollinating bugs actually thrive as well in towns and cities as they do in farms and nature reserves. The study, published [] in Proceedings of the Royal Society B has for the first time compared the suitability of different landscapes for pollinating insects across the UK.”

“Bees, which play a vital role in pollinating some of the UK’s most important crops, have been declining in recent years, but the effects of urbanisation on pollinating insects is poorly understood.”

“This new research from the Universities of Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds and Reading in collaboration with the University of Cardiff found that bee abundance did not differ between three studied landscapes (urban, farmland, nature reserves), but bee diversity was higher in urban areas than farmland. They also found that while hoverfly abundance was higher in farmland and nature reserves than urban sites, overall pollinator diversity did not differ significantly.”

Here is the link to the article (Open Access):

[Source Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) news: ]

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