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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

More than one in 30 in the UK participate in cohort studies

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

“The Medical Research Council (MRC) [has published] the first review of the UK’s largest cohort studies. The Strategic Review of the Largest UK Population Cohort Studies, which looks at cohorts funded by the MRC and other funders, has found that more than 2.2 million people (3.5 per cent of the population or one in 30) are a participant in a cohort study.”

“A commentary in The Lancet highlights the MRC’s 50-year history of supporting population cohort studies including the world’s longest continuously running birth cohort (the 1946 Birth Cohort), UK Biobank’s tracking of half a million participants, and the largest longitudinal study of women’s health (the Million Women Study). Close to £30m per annum is spent on the 34 largest UK population cohort studies. More than half of these participants have been followed for more than 20 years. The vast majority are aged 45 years or over (92 per cent) and female (62 per cent after exclusion of the Million Women Study), with men aged 20-40 years less well represented.”

“Population cohort studies are a major long term commitment for participants, study teams and funders, but their strength is in their ability to identify multiple risk factors over time.”

To view the report Maximising the value of UK population cohorts go to:

[Source MRC News: ]

Second batch of First World War unit diaries goes online

Monday, March 31st, 2014

“The National Archives [has made] the second batch of 3,987 digitised First World War unit war diaries from France and Flanders available online via its First World War 100 portal.”

“It contains records relating to the last of the Cavalry and numbers 8-33 Infantry Divisions deployed to the Western Front in the First World War. They cover the entire period of the units’ involvement in France and Belgium, from their arrival on the front to their departure at the end of the war.”

“William Spencer, author and military records specialist at The National Archives said: ‘This second batch of unit war diaries provides detailed accounts of the actions of the next troops to arrive on the Western Front. They show the advances in technology that made it the world’s first industrialised war with many mounted troops going into battle at first with swords on horseback and ending the war with machine guns and tanks.’”

First World War 100 portal:

[Source National Archives news: ]

The Shelley-Godwin Archive

Monday, March 31st, 2014

“A group of renowned organizations (including the New York Public Library and The Huntington [and also the British Library and Oxford University Library]) have teamed up to create this remarkable archive of manuscripts from Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, and Percy Bysshe Shelley. What is most remarkable about this collection is that it brings together 90% of all known relevant manuscripts by this amazing family of authors. First-time visitors should look at the About area for a bit of background on the project or use the Archive guide to learn how the archive functions, such as the transcription features and much more. Notably, the Frankenstein section allows visitors to view all known manuscripts of this classic work. The site is rounded out by an excellent search engine. [KMG]”

To view the archive go to:

[Source Scout Report, March 7 2014: ]

New digital publication Mosaic explores the science of life

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Mosaic, a new digital publication dedicated to exploring the science of life, is set to launch on 4 March 2014. Mosaic will carry in-depth features, articles and films that tell the stories behind biomedical research and its impact on society. All articles will be free to read, and text features will be published under a Creative Commons licence so that they can be reproduced and distributed freely across other platforms.”

“Launched by global charitable foundation the Wellcome Trust, Mosaic will aim not only to explain scientific developments, but also to set them in context, to be read and understood by anyone who is curious about science, whether they have specialist knowledge or not.”

“At a time when many mainstream print publications lack space, Mosaic aims to provide a new outlet focusing on in-depth science writing, broadening the range of science media content available to the public. Mosaic will publish compelling, narrative-based articles each week, of up to several thousand words, exploring each subject from various angles and ensuring readers are better placed to ask questions about science. So far, Mosaic has commissioned several high-profile writers, including Carl Zimmer, Rose George, Virginia Hughes, Ed Yong and Jenny Diski, whose work will feature in the first few editions.”

“The Creative Commons (CC-BY) licence will allow content to be reproduced anywhere, including paid-for websites and magazines and publications that are funded by advertising, as well as independent blogs. This publishing model runs alongside the Wellcome Trust’s commitment to open access, enabling Mosaic articles and the issues they engage with to reach as wide an audience as possible.”

To read Mosaic go to:

[Source Wellcome news: ]

Multimedia publication demonstrates vital role humanities and social sciences play in tackling the challenges of our time

Monday, February 24th, 2014

“The British Academy has launched Prospering Wisely, a multimedia publication and series of events that aim to kick-start a national conversation about the place of humanities and social science research in our society.”

Prospering Wisely argues that we need to think about the nature of ‘prosperity’ in much broader terms than its usual purely financial definition. Drawing on expert views from influential academics such as Nicholas Stern, Mary Beard and Peter Hennessy, it explores the many ways in which ‘prosperity’ is dependent on the ways the humanities and social sciences enhance our lives, as individuals and as a society.”

“Illustrating the argument at the heart of Prospering Wisely are a series of video interviews with eleven leading academics whose research has been highly influential in a variety of fields. They are: Professors Jonathan Bate, Mary Beard, Vicki Bruce, Conor Gearty, Hazel Genn, Anthony Heath, Peter Hennessy, John Kay, Diarmaid MacCulloch, Adam Roberts and Nicholas Stern. Longer interviews with each have been simultaneously published in a special issue of the British Academy Review.”

Prospering Wisely is available at

[Source British Academy news: ]

Smithsonian Research Online

Monday, February 17th, 2014

“Every week, every month, and every year, the Smithsonian Institution and its various entities produce publications that appear online and in digital form. One could imagine that looking for each document separately would be quite time-consuming. Fortunately, the Smithsonian Research Online site allows visitors to look for such documents quickly and efficiently. On the left-hand side of the page, visitors can look over areas such as Reports, Export Data, Statistics, and an FAQ section. All of these areas contain helpful information, including links to other sites with related reports and documents. The homepage also has a basic search engine that allows users to limit their search to certain authors, titles, years, or even by museum or department. [KMG]”

To access Smithsonian Research Online go to:

[Source Scout Report, Jan 24, 2014: ]

Newly released files from 1984 include miners’ strike

Monday, February 17th, 2014

At the beginning of the year, “the National Archives released almost 500 files from 1984, including papers from the Prime Minister’s Office and the Cabinet Office.”

Highlights from the files include:

  • The government’s handling of the miners’ strike
  • Mrs Thatcher’s responses to
    • the Brighton hotel bombing in October 1984 and its effect on Anglo-Irish relations,
    • the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher, and
    • the visit of future Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

“The Prime Minister’s appointment diaries have [also] been made public for the first time. This new series (PREM 32) provides a day-by-day summary of the Prime Minister’s appointments during her time in office. Mrs Thatcher’s 1984 diary is available online, while the diaries for 1979 to 1983 are available in the reading rooms at Kew.”

There is also the opportunity to “listen to [their] podcast to hear contemporary records specialists Mark Dunton and Simon Demissie discussing highlights from the latest release and read more about the files on The National Archives’ Blog.”

[Source National Archives news: ]

Using doctoral theses in your research: a guide to EThOS (webinar)

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Louise Doolan, Head of Reference Services at the British Library, writes:

“EThOS ( is the national database for PhD theses, managed by the British Library. It’s a fantastic resource for researchers, with over 100,000 UK theses freely available to download and use for your own research, and another 200,000 available to search and scan on demand.”

“We ran a free webinar (online presentation) about EThOS late last year, and by popular demand we’re doing another on 13 February at 15.00.”

“Join us for a free webinar to learn how EThOS works. Find out how to search for and download theses, and what to do if a thesis isn’t available. If you’re a PhD student, find out what will happen to your thesis once it’s completed. We’ll also explain how EThOS works with UK universities to support the whole research cycle, making the theses more visible and available for new researchers to use and build on.”

“This webinar is aimed at researchers, students, librarians and anyone who is interested in finding and using PhD theses.”

“Host: Sara Gould, Development Manager at the British Library, who manages the EThOS service. Sara will answer questions after the webinar.”

Register now to attend the webinar at:  

(Please note this is a repeat of the Webinar in December 2013)

[Source email to: LIS-LINK@JISCMAIL.AC.UK ]

Hidden history of the British In India

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

“, 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 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: ]

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: ]

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