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Researchers’ Weekly Bulletin: the Blog

News for researchers at the Manchester Metropolitan University

Archive for the ‘Full-text electronic documents’ Category

Hidden history of the British In India

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

“Findmypast.co.uk, the leading family history website, and the British Library announced today the online publication of 2.5 million records detailing the lives of the British in India from 1698 to 1947.”

“Covering over 200 years of rich and colourful history, the newly-released records chronicle the lives of Europeans living in areas under British influence and include individuals from all walks of life. Soldiers, army officers, surgeons, doctors, wealthy merchants, members of the military, civil, legal and public works establishments, their families and many others such as traders, planters, missionaries and mariners can all be found within the collection.”

“Previously only accessible as original documents or on microfilm at the British Library’s Reading Rooms at St. Pancras, the British in India collection can now be explored online at findmypast.co.uk anywhere at anytime. Fully indexed and easily searchable, the records can be searched for free and scans of the original documents can be downloaded for less than £1. No expert knowledge is needed, allowing anyone to begin uncovering the lives of their ancestors who headed east.”

[Source British Library website:  http://pressandpolicy.bl.uk/Press-Releases/Hidden-history-of-the-British-In-India-677.aspx ]

Significant step forward in biofuels quest

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

“Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)-funded scientists at the University of York have made a significant step in the search to develop effective second generation biofuels.”

“Researchers from the Department of Chemistry at York have discovered a family of enzymes that can degrade hard-to-digest biomass into its constituent sugars.”

“While ‘first generation’ biofuels have made some impact in the search for renewable energy sources from easy-to-digest food sources such as corn starch, there is concern about the use of valuable arable land threatening food price stability and limiting the amount of biofuel that can be made in this way.”

“The use of ‘difficult-to-digest’ sources, such as plant stems, wood chips, cardboard waste or insect/crustacean shells, offers a potential solution to this problem. Fuel made from these sources is known as ‘second generation’ biofuels. Finding a way of breaking down these sources into their constituent sugars to allow them to be fermented through to bioethanol is regarded as the ‘Holy Grail’ of biofuel research.”

The paper ‘Discovery and characterization of a new family of lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases’ is published in Nature Chemical Biology and can be accessed from the BBSRC news item via the link below.

[Source BBSRC news: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/industrial-biotechnology/2013/131223-pr-step-forward-in-biofuels-quest.aspx ]

New York State Library: Selected Digital Historical Documents

Monday, December 16th, 2013

“The New York State Library started digitizing a range of New York government documents in a wonderful online catalog and website. The collection covers a wide range of materials including government surveys, state census results, and first had descriptions of the Native American experience throughout the Empire State. In total, there are twelve collections here, including Laws of New York State and New York State Museum Publications. This last area contains a large set of publications created by museum staff members’ investigations into geology, biology, anthropology, and history. Some especially noteworthy publications include “Earthquakes in New York State” and “Biological Diversity: The Oldest Human Heritage.” Additionally, the New York State History-Towns and Counties section is quite a find, as it contains county and town histories from the 19th and 20th centuries of Albany, Corning, Troy and Rensselaer County. [KMG]”

To read any of the documents go to:  http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/scandocs/historical.htm

[Source Scout Report Vol 19, no 48:  https://scout.wisc.edu/report/2013/1127#10

Jisc collections: World War One and The Welsh Experience of the First World War

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Jisc is collecting a range of resources for teaching, learning and research about World War One which can be accessed at: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/ww1

The latest addition is The Welsh Experience of the First World War.  This unique digital collection “was developed as a collaborative initiative led by The National Library of Wales, in partnership with the Archives and Special Collections of Wales (partners are Aberystwyth University; Bangor University, Cardiff University; Swansea University; the University of Wales Trinity St David; BBC Cymru Wales, The People’s Collection, Wales, and archives and local records offices that are part of ARCW: the Archives and Records Council of Wales).”

To explore this digital archive go to: http://cymru1914.org/en/home

[Source JISC news:  http://www.jisc.ac.uk/news/new-digital-archive-explores-welsh-life-during-world-war-one-28-nov-2013 ]

The British Sexual Health Survey comes of age: results from the third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

“Results [just] published in The Lancet give the most detailed picture yet of the British population’s sex lives over the last 10 years, as part of the third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal) survey.”

“Over 15,000 adults aged 16-74 participated in interviews between September 2010 and August 2012. Studying this large representative sample of people living in Britain allowed the researchers to produce key estimates on patterns of sexual behaviour, attitudes, health, and wellbeing across the population. Two previous Natsal surveys have taken place, in 1990 and 2000, making it one of the biggest and most comprehensive studies of sexual behaviour undertaken in a single country.”

“The study was funded by the Medical Research Council and The Wellcome Trust, with additional funding from the Economic & Social Research Council and the Department of Health. The researchers carried out the survey at UCL (University College London), the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and NatCen Social Research.”

“The results from the latest survey take into account for the first time the views and experiences of older individuals up to the age of 74, and show that many people remain sexually active well into later life. Results from the survey show that different aspects of sexual health affect people at different times throughout their lives, and that sexual health is an important component of our overall health and wellbeing. They also reveal how sexual attitudes and lifestyles have changed in the last sixty years.”

Here is the article in The Lancet: Mercer CH et al. Changes in sexual attitudes and lifestyles in Britain through the life course and over time. The Lancet, 26 November 2013: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673613620358 (Open Access)

[Source Medical Research Council news: http://www.mrc.ac.uk/Newspublications/News/MRC009555 ]

JFK file digitised for 50th anniversary of assassination

Monday, November 25th, 2013

To mark “the 50th anniversary of President John F Kennedy’s assassination on 22 November, a file recording the British government’s reaction to the news in 1963 has been digitised by The National Archives and made available online for the first time.”

“The file, PREM 11/4582, includes the draft statement prepared for then Prime Minister Alec Douglas-Home in which he told the nation: ‘You have heard the dreadful news. I find it almost impossible, as I expect you do, to accept the fact that President Kennedy is dead.’”

“The file also contains telegram messages from HM The Queen and former Prime Minister Harold Macmillan to the recently-widowed Mrs Kennedy, reactions from around the world, including Cuba and the USSR, and arrangements for British representation at Kennedy’s funeral in Washington, DC.”

“Free to download from Discovery [the National Archives catalogue] for one month, the file is an important record of the reaction on this side of the Atlantic to one of the 20th century’s most shocking events.”   Follow the links at: http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=C2041409

You may also be interested to read their blog:

http://blog.nationalarchives.gov.uk/blog/death-jfk-viewed-british-eyes/

[Source National Archives news:  http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/news/891.htm?news=rss

First Wellcome Trust open access book charts the increase in serious fungal disease in Britain and the USA

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Fungal Disease in Britain and the United States 1850-2000, written by Dr Aya Homei and Professor Michael Worboys from the University of Manchester, is the first research monograph to be made open access under an extension of the Wellcome Trust’s open access policy. The book is also the first open access book from academic publisher Palgrave Macmillan.”

“The book charts the history of fungal infections over the course of last century. It examines how some types of infection – for example, invasive aspergillosis and systemic candidiasis – became more prevalent and serious.”

“The authors highlight that these infections mostly affect people who have benefited from medical advances, such as antibiotic treatment and transplantation, and those with conditions affecting immunity. By contrast, minor, chronic and mostly external fungal infections (e.g. ringworm and athlete’s foot) have remained common, but better controlled by antifungal medication.”

Fungal Disease in Britain and the United States 1850-2000 is published by Palgrave Macmillan under a CC-BY license and is now available for free in all main digital formats, via Palgrave Connect and major online retailers.”

To access the book go to:  http://www.palgraveconnect.com/pc/doifinder/10.1057/9781137377029

[Source Wellcome Trust news:  http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/News/Media-office/Press-releases/2013/Press-releases/WTP054748.htm ]

Rethinking Parks: New business models for parks

Monday, November 25th, 2013

“This report [from Nesta] highlights the need for new business models to run parks, given the cuts in government funding, and discusses 20 international examples of how parks innovators are doing just that.”

“Key findings:

  • Many of the UK’s public parks face an uncertain future with a reduction of up to 60 per cent in public subsidy looming, putting their management and maintenance at risk.
  • While public subsidy will remain a big part of the picture, new approaches to managing parks are needed.
  • There are already examples of successful parks business models in the UK and internationally.
  • These include new models of management, funding and organisation, often involving community, social and private enterprises.
  • But more must be done. The most promising areas worthy of further exploration for ensuring public parks continue to thrive are: changes in park management and maintenance, new organisational structures, more diverse funding sources, and identifying new uses for parks.”

“Public parks are an essential part of the social life and fabric of communities across the UK. They are heavily used, much loved and add considerably to the liveability and amenity of our towns and cities.” 

To download a copy of the report, Rethinking Parks: New business models for parks in the 21st century, go to: http://www.nesta.org.uk/sites/default/files/rethinking_parks.pdf

To find out more about the Rethinking Parks project go to: http://www.nesta.org.uk/project/rethinking-parks

[Source Nesta website: http://www.nesta.org.uk/ ]

Implementing the recommendations of the Finch report

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Accessibility, Sustainability, Excellence: A Review of Progress in Implementing the Recommendations of the Finch Report

“The Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings – the Finch Group – has [as its final act] published a review of progress in implementing the recommendations of its original Report which was published in June 2012. That original Report  – Accessibility, Sustainability, Excellence: how to expand access to research publications  – recommended a series of measures to accelerate and manage a transition to open access (OA) over an extended period that would be characterised by a mixed economy that would provide OA via a variety of routes, along with extensions to current licensing arrangements.”

“The review is based on a rigorous analysis of evidence from a wide range of sources. It finds that research funders, universities, libraries, learned societies and publishers have all made substantial moves to facilitate and promote the transition to the kind of mixed economy we advocated. The policy positions adopted by the Government, Research Councils UK, and the UK Funding Bodies – and the responses to those policies from universities, publishers and learned societies – mean that there is now real momentum behind the moves to OA across all parts of the scholarly communications system.”

To read the report go to:  http://www.researchinfonet.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Final-version.pdf

[Source Research Information Network (RIN):  http://www.researchinfonet.org/implementing-the-recommendations-of-the-finch-report/ ]

New survey casts light on the use of digital technology in arts and culture sector

Monday, November 18th, 2013

“A new report on the findings of a survey published today, called Digital Culture: How arts and cultural organisations in England use technology, gives detailed insights into the use of digital technology within the arts and culture sector for the first time.”

“The survey which was commissioned by the partners of the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts – Arts Council England, Nesta, and Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) – consulted with nearly 900 organisations from across the arts and culture sector in England. The results show the many different ways in which organisations are using digital technologies to reach new audiences, and the positive impacts this is having. The survey also highlights the challenges that organisations face in realising their digital ambitions.”

To download the report go to:  http://native.artsdigitalrnd.org.uk/digitalcultureresearch/?utm_content=bufferb9a94&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Buffer

Native is the journal of the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts.   http://native.artsdigitalrnd.org.uk/

[Source AHRC News:  http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/News-and-Events/News/Pages/New-survey-casts-light-on-the-use-of-digital-technology-in-arts-and-culture-sector-.aspx ]

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