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Researchers’ Weekly Bulletin: the Blog

News for researchers at the Manchester Metropolitan University

Lesney toys: they fit inside a matchbox

February 21st, 2017

“The motto goes that that the best things come in small packages. If this is true then it must surely be applicable to Lesney Toys, the original manufacturer of Matchbox model cars. After looking at the history of the Mettoy company (the creators of Corgi Toys), [ ] it would be unfair of me not to give the same treatment to Lesney, their distinguished rivals.”

“As recounted by a company history detailed in a clipping from the industry magazine ‘Toys and Fancy Goods’ for May 1962 (BT 316/7), Lesney Products began in 1947. During the Second World War, company founder Leslie Smith served as a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy (he was at both Dieppe and the D-Day landings), while Jack Odell, the company’s chief engineer, served with the 8th Army in North Africa. This newspaper clipping does not make any reference to Rodney Smith (unrelated to Leslie), the other original partner in the business. Rodney left for Australia shortly after the business was founded and, by way of the combination of his and Leslie’s first names, gifted the company with their name. The article notes that after discharge from the military, the men decided to pool their wartime gratuity payments into a company producing pressure die castings, primarily for the engineering industry.”

[Source National Archives blog: ]

Manchester Met Library e-trial: Ancestry Online

February 21st, 2017

We have a new e-trial to Ancestry Online until 16 March 2017.

The trial can be accessed on-campus only via the following link:

“Ancestry Library Edition is a new genealogy research tool created for the library market and provides patrons instant access to a wide range of unique resources for genealogical and historical research. With more than 1.5 billion names in over 4,000 databases, Ancestry Library Edition includes records from the United States Census; military records; court, land and probate records; vital and church records; directories; passenger lists and more! These collections are continuously expanding, with new content added every business day.”

If you have any feedback or questions about this trial please contact Charlotte Arduini:

Manchester Met Library e-trial: Find My Past

February 21st, 2017

We have trial access to Find My Past until 16/03/2017

“For over a decade Findmypast has been bringing the past to life for millions of members across the globe. With over 4 billion records and 11 million historic newspaper pages to explore, Findmypast is the best place to discover your family’s story.”

To access the trial please use the following link:

Please contact the Library for login details, either or your subject librarian.

If you have any feedback or questions about the trial please contact Charlotte Arduini:


Leafscape: an exhibition

February 21st, 2017

“Botanical artist Jess Shepherd has spent the past few years immersed in the world of leaves, both from a visual and sonic point of view. In this special guest post, Jess writes about how field recording became an intrinsic part of her creative process.”

“As a botanical painter, I specialise in painting very large watercolours of plants and am always working to surprise the viewer. Between 16th and 25th February, I will be holding my first solo exhibition of over 30 new watercolour paintings in Bloomsbury, London. For this exhibition, I explore my vision of a botanical dystopia, challenging our own sense of scale, its value and how we measure it.”

To read more go to

[Source British Library Sound and Vision blog as above]

Tracking startups using domain name registration data

February 21st, 2017

“We believe that startups are a vital force for innovation. As we have written elsewhere, startups are not only a crucial mechanism for bringing new ideas to life in their own right, but they are also an important means of exerting pressure on established firms.”

“Knowing where startups are being formed, and in what sector, is very useful for researchers, policymakers and businesses alike.”

“For instance, there is evidence that technology clusters – such as East London Tech City, also called ‘Silicon Roundabout’ – create a synergistic environment which is beneficial for startups. However, since current opinion is mixed concerning the ability of national or local government to create such clusters from scratch, a better approach may be to identify clusters that are already in the process of formation, and stimulate these with additional support.”

“Similarly, researchers are interested in understanding the effectiveness of policies to promote entrepreneurship in many countries around the globe. Understanding which policies work and which ones don’t, helps to shape innovation policy going forward.”

“However, tracking startups can be very difficult.”

To read more go to:

[Source Nesta blog as above]

YouTube: Wellcome Library: Moving Image and Sound Collection

February 21st, 2017

“On this YouTube channel, viewers will find films, videos, and audio materials from the Wellcome Library’s Moving Image and Sound Collection. These health and welfare relating videos include a variety of educational films, news releases, and television announcements from throughout the twentieth century. Many of these films were produced by hospitals and public health organizations (such as the British Medical Association) with the intention of spreading information about public health issues and personal health care to medical students as well as members of the general public. This collection is perhaps best browsed via the Playlists, which include A Century of Health on Film, Anaesthesia, First Aid, and Public Health Propaganda By Bermondsey Borough Council. (The Bermondsey Borough Council produced a number of propaganda films between 1925 and 1937 with titles including ‘Health and Clothing’ and ‘Where There’s Life There’s Soap.’) This collection reveals a great deal about the evolving history of medical practices, medical discoveries, and popular attitudes towards health in Great Britain. [MMB]”

[Source Scout Report, 3 Feb, 2017:

Design is Fine. History is Mine.

February 21st, 2017

“‘Imagine a time with no computers but with lots of craftsmanship and creativity,’ poses the tagline of the website Design is Fine, History is Mine. Created by a design history instructor from Germany, Design is Fine, History is Mine showcases gorgeous – and sometimes unusual – works of design throughout history. Here, visitors can examine the colorful, bold carpets of Swedish textile designer Josef Frank; an eighteenth century British coffee pot designed to look like a pineapple; and a photograph of the ‘Blickensderfer 6,’ a portable typewriter crafted in 1906. Frequently updated, Design is Fine, History is Mine currently contains hundreds of fascinating items. Visitors can browse these items by century or decade (the collection also contains items pre dating the fifteenth century, which visitors can browse by using the tabs titled B.C and A.D., respectively); by designer; by item type (e.g. abstract art, graphic design, tea & coffee); and more. [MMB]”

[Source Scout Report, 20 Jan, 2017 ]


Love Your Data 2017

February 21st, 2017

“Monday 13 February marks the start of Love Your Data week – an international celebration of all things data related.”

“This year Love Your Data is focusing on data quality: how we define ‘good’ data, best-practice for documenting and describing data, how to find the right data for your research and how to remove barriers to accessing data. Love Your Data week brings together researchers, libraries and data archives to share resources, stories and examples on the theme of data quality.”

“Each day will have a specific focus and you can join the conversation through Twitter using the hashtag #LYD17 and #loveyourdata. The Love Your Data website has all the information on the daily topics and links to useful resources, including those available at the UK Data Service:

To see the daily Love Your Data posts from the UK Data Service, go to:

[Source UK Data Service news: ]


How can [Jisc] create user-led solutions for better research?

February 21st, 2017

“As researchers get deeper and deeper into the process of collaboration, storage and sharing, it soon becomes apparent that they will need to manage their data too. As a result, researchers continuously have to make decisions around preserving their data, the best way to describe it, and who will have the long-term oversight.”

“In this podcast we chat to Daniela Duca, our senior co-design manager, as she looks into ways we can create user-led solutions for better research.”

[Source Jisc podcast: ]

The Rise and Fall of Comic Sans

February 14th, 2017

“Comic Sans remains one of the most vilified fonts on your computer (although Papyrus has been gaining a good deal of derision in recent years). Using the font in anything other than an invitation to a child’s birthday party has been described as, ‘analogous to showing up for a black tie event in a clown costume.’ But how did this font come about, and what was the thought process behind its design? The short video below introduces Vincent Connare, father of Comic Sans, who still describes it as, ‘the best thing I’ve ever done.’”

[Source Scholarly Kitchen, 27 Jan 2017: ]