Researchers’ Weekly Bulletin: the Blog

News for researchers at the Manchester Metropolitan University

The Frick Collection: Photoarchive

May 4th, 2016

The Frick Collection boasts one of the world’s great art-related photoarchives. With over one million photographic reproductions of paintings, sculptures, and other works from around the world and across 16 centuries, the Photoarchive represents a great undertaking indeed. Lucky for readers, more than 57,000 of these images are available online. Here readers will find everything from sketches of late 19th century New York to portraits of great men to religious works and drawings of bicycles. Readers may like to begin by reading the History section, which provides an overview of the establishment and growth of the Photoarchive. Other tabs of interest include Discoveries in the Photoarchive, Exhibitions, Digital Photoarchive, and Holdings. With the digitization of the entire Photoarchive a strategic goal of the Frick, readers may be especially interested to note that nearly half of the 57,000 negatives digitized so far are accessible via the ARTstor Digital Collections. [CNH]

[Source Scout Report, 11 March 2016: ]

Oscar Winning Short Films

May 4th, 2016

“For readers who love short films, this website, which features Academy Award winning short films spanning several decades, will present itself as a welcome discovery. Here readers will find films ranging from comic to tragic, from the 2014 Dutch heart warmer, Helium, to the comically bizarre Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life from 1995. In addition, anyone who loves the irreverent, antic comedy of the eccentric Steven Wright will find 26 minutes of delight waiting for them in the 1988 extended comedy sketch that is The Appointments of Dennis Jennings. Here Wright is at the height of his powers as he sees a hilariously unethical and incompetent psychiatrist, played by Rowan Atkinson. With over a dozen Academy Award winning shorts to watch, this site can provide hours of entertainment. [CNH]”

[Source Scout Report, 8 April, 2016: ]

Using cellular components to treat drug overdose

May 4th, 2016

“It may be possible to treat paracetamol overdose in the future using microRNAs to silence transcription of genes that lead to the production of toxic metabolites. This is according to a proof-of-concept study carried out using stem cell models by researchers at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh.”

“The study published in Stem Cells Translational Medicine also found that liver cells grown from stem cells acted as a good model for analysing drug toxicity in the human liver.”

“An overdose of paracetamol can cause acute liver failure, which can be life-threatening or require a liver transplant. In 2014, there were 200 deaths from paracetamol overdose in the UK, and in a lot of cases overdose can occur accidentally.”

[Source MRC news: ]

A new breakthrough on ash dieback

May 4th, 2016

“UK scientists have identified the country’s first ash tree that shows tolerance to ash dieback, raising the possibility of using selective breeding to develop strains of trees that are tolerant to the disease.”

“The findings, which could help ensure ash trees will thrive in UK woodlands, have [] been published in a report co-funded by Defra and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).”

“Ash dieback is spreading throughout the UK and, in one woodland in Norfolk, a great number of trees are infected. However, there are exceptions which demonstrate very low levels of infection by the ash dieback fungus and here researchers have identified one tree, nicknamed ‘Betty’, as having a strong tolerance to the disease.”

“The breakthrough comes after researchers from the government-backed Nornex project, led by the John Innes Centre in Norfolk, published the world-leading research report into ash dieback disease.”

“The team compared the genetics of trees with different levels of tolerance to ash dieback disease. From there, they developed three genetic markers which enabled them to predict whether or not a tree is likely to be tolerant to the disease – even whether it is likely to be ‘mildly’ or ‘strongly’ tolerant. Betty, they discovered, was predicted to show strong tolerance.”

The report can be found on the OpenAshDieBack website at:

[Source BBSRC news: ]

BBC Shakespeare Archive Resource

May 4th, 2016

“This [resource] contains programmes and photographs from the BBC’s Shakespeare archive. It includes Shakespeare’s plays, poems and sonnets, documentaries, interviews and over a thousand stills of classic Shakespeare productions, as well as entertainment programmes referencing Shakespeare.”

“[The] site is designed for those in UK formal education. In order to play the programmes or see the photos you will need to prove you are part of a school, FE college or a university, using the authentication box which appears once you attempt to play media on the site.”

“The programmes [] are only available for streamed playback in an educational setting, such as in a classroom, lecture theatre or for academic research.”

To access the resource, go to the Database A-Z listing on the MMU Library website:

[Source BBC Shakespeare Archive Resource: ]

Open Book publishers

May 4th, 2016

“At Open Book Publishers we are changing the nature of the traditional academic book. Our books are published in hardback, paperback, pdf and ebook editions, but they also include a free online edition that can be read via our website, downloaded, reused or embedded anywhere. We are proud to say that our free online books are currently being accessed by over 20,000 readers each month in more than 200 countries.”

“In addition, our digital publishing model allows us to extend our books well beyond the printed page. We are creating interactive books, and works that incorporate moving images, links and sound into the fabric of the text. More traditional titles are equipped with digital resources freely available on our website, including extra chapters, reviews, links and image galleries — these can be found on the individual product page for each book.”

“Open Book Publishers, founded in 2008, is already the biggest open access academic publisher of monographs in the UK and amongst the leaders in the English-speaking world. We are now the hub of choice for a rapidly increasing international network of scholars who believe that it is time for academic publishing to become fairer, faster and more accessible.”

To access the resource go to the Database A-Z listing on the MMU Library website:

[Source Open Book publisher’s website: ]

How do the public really feel about science and research?

May 4th, 2016

“The Wellcome Trust Monitor provides a unique insight into how the public understands and views medical research. Through interviews with a sample of the UK population every three years since 2009, the Monitor enables the medical and scientific community to understand themes such as public trust in medical information, participation in medical research and levels of knowledge and understanding. Ethan Greenwood from the Insight and Analysis team explores some of the key findings…”

“The latest Monitor findings reveal insights about what people think they know about science and medicine, compared to what they actually do. This has implications for the way in which people make sense of medical research and use that information to make judgments about their own health needs.”

“For example, respondents were asked how well they understand the term ‘antibiotic resistance.’ Among those who say they have a strong understanding of this, less than half correctly state that antibiotics cure bacterial infections but not others such as viral, flu, fungal infections etc. When those who had heard of the term were asked what they understand by it, 31% said it was the body that became resistant, not the bacteria.”

To read the rest of the blog go to:

[Source Wellcome Trust blog as above]

British Academy publishes evidence from Born Global

May 4th, 2016

“’Born Global’ is a resource for the languages community to use to help make the case for the importance and value of studying languages.”

“’Born Global’ consists of quantitative and qualitative data on the complex relationship between language learning and employability. Each data set is accompanied by a booklet with background information and a summary of key findings. The data is open and free to use, it is available on the British Academy website.”

“The British Academy has used this evidence in a new publication Born Global: Implications for Higher Education. It offers reflections on the current state of play for languages at university, and can be downloaded from the British Academy website.”

To access the ‘Born Global’ website go to:

[Source British Academy news: ]

‘Creating Living Knowledge’ Report released

May 4th, 2016

“The ‘Connected Communities’ programme promotes new forms of university-community research collaboration. It is funded by Research Councils UK and the Arts and Humanities Research Council [AHRC]. Since 2010, over 300 projects linking academic and community expertise have been funded.”

“The research provides important lessons about how to fund, conduct and sustain high quality research collaborations between academics and civil society in the arts, humanities and social sciences. These lessons have important implications for the research community – in particular those involved in funding, policy making and universities.”

“The research report, ‘Creating Living Knowledge’ focuses on the lessons to be learned from the programme about how to bring together expert and public knowledges – a trend in both universities and the wider policy and public spheres.”

To read the ‘Creating Living Knowledge’ report go to:

[Source AHRC news: ]

Shakespeare’s will: a new interpretation

May 3rd, 2016

Amanda Bevan in a blog at the National Archives writes:

“As head of legal records at The National Archives, I’ve been looking in detail at one of our treasures: Shakespeare’s original will, full of amendments, which was left in the probate court by his executor.”

“Shakespeare’s will was first discussed in 1747 by the Stratford antiquarian Joseph Greene. He was disappointed by it, as has been almost every other commentator since. It seems an oddly unfeeling and unsympathetic document, and is often interpreted as proof of the unsatisfactory nature of Shakespeare’s character, last years and family life.”

“I’ve come to two new conclusions, which are important for our knowledge of Shakespeare and his family:

  • I have redated parts of the 1616 will to three years earlier, with implications for how we understand Shakespeare’s last years.
  • I have placed in context those parts of his will which are cited as evidence that he was unkind towards his family, and offer a new interpretation of Shakespeare’s intentions.”

[Source National Archives blog: ]