Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Access to e-resources – troubleshooting guide for Xmas

With any luck, you are now ensconced in the warm hearth of home, surrounded by mince pies, the Xmas edition of the Radio Times, and everything you need for a merry festive break.  And you are not in the slightest way sorry that the university libraries are closed between midday on the 23rd December to 9am on the 3rd January!

If you do find yourself straying to the computer in order to finesse your essay, dissertation proposal, PhD theses, article, book chapter or module outline, you may find the following tips useful for overcoming problems accessing e-journals, e-books, and the like.


1.    Try another browser.  This is good advice for many issues, including downloading PDFs from Blackboard.  There is a known problem with the latest version of Safari, and if you are particularly keen on Safari, you can download a patch to resolve it (see  Alternatively, many users have suggested that Google Chrome is a good option.

2.    Get a PC!  (only kidding).  But if you do have a Mac and would like to access e-books, makes sure you have Adobe Reader installed (  The default viewer on Macs (Preview) is not compatible with our main e-book supplier, and will tend to display a page of nonsense code.  Open the files with Adobe Reader instead, or better still change your default PDF viewer to Adobe Reader.  To do this, CTRL click on any PDF document in the Finder window, click ‘Get info.’ then choose Adobe Reader in the “open with” section and click on the ‘Change All’ button.

3.    Viewing e-books often works by displaying the book one page at a time, embedding PDFs in a browser window.  If the PDF is not opening within the browser, open Adobe Reader and go to Adobe>Preferences>Internet and make sure that “display PDF in browser using” is checked.


1.    As with e-books, the simple advice to try another browser can resolve a number of issues relating to accessing e-journals (e.g. following links from Library Search to the full-text).

2.    You will need to be signed in to access an e-journal.  Once you get to a particular platform, look to see whether it has recognised where you are from (there will normally be a message to say that the resource has been brought to you by ‘University of Westminster Library’ ).  If that is not displayed, and you cannot access the content, look for a sign-in link at the top right hand corner of the screen.  It is normally described as one of the following:

UK Federation login
Institutional login
Shibboleth login.

Once you click this, you will normally be asked to select your institution.

3.    Check to see whether the library subscribes to the content you are trying to get.  You can check what e-holdings we should have for any journal by signing in to Library Search and clicking on E-journals.  This will also provide you with a link to the journal.

Library Search

1.    When using Library Search ‘articles & more’ do not rely on the ‘quick search.’  This is not a complete search of the resources available to you.  Choosing a specific subject scope (e.g. Art & Design, or Arts & Humanities) or searching a particular databases (e.g. Film Indexes Online for film students) can often provide better results.

Alternative sources

1.    Google Books ( often provides extensive previews of books.  You may find that several pages are missing, but this is still better than nothing.  Search for, “The Contest of meaning: critical histories of photography” for example.

2.    Other works may be provided on an author’s own website, and can be identified using Google.  Putting the title of a work in quotation marks can sometimes help – try "Of Mother Nature and Marlboro Men” as an example.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Photography: History and Theory

It's not often a new textbook covering theoretical perspectives on photography comes on the market, so I will be interested to view the following when it arrives:

Photography: History and Theory
By Jae Emerling, J.

More details here:

Monday, 12 December 2011

Happy Christmas!

Opening Hours
The library will continue to be open 24 hours a day until Friday 23 December, when we will close at 12 noon.  We will reopen after the Christmas vacation at 9 a.m. on Tuesday 3rd January.  Details of opening hours at all sites are available here.

You will find links to lists of new books added to the collection below, and details of a few new ebook packages too.  There are also three new journal titles for you to look at.

Happy Christmas!


"Happy Christmas", Christmas card from

Focal Press collection online
An excellent collection of ebooks from Focal Press is now available via Science Direct.  Access the collection to find manuals for Animation (e.g. Maya), Film & Television Production (e.g. Final Cut Pro) and Photography (e.g. Photoshop).  Includes Langford's Basic Photography (Ninth Edition),  The Manual of Photography (Tenth Edition) and  Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Photographers.

Palgrave Media and Culture collection 2011 online
A collection of ebooks from Palgrave, with a particular emphasis on film.  Access the collection here.

Cambridge Collections Online

Electronic versions of the Cambridge Companions series - Literature and Classics; and Religion and Culture.  This includes Cambridge Campanions to...
Walter Benjamin

Access via Library Search

New Books
I have continued to upload lists of new acquisitions to my Google Books account, and posted links on the blog.

New Journals
The following journals are newly available:

C Magazine (Arts & Humanities Full Text) - check out the Autumn 2011 special edition on libraries

Études Photographiques‎ (Arts & Humanities Full Text - 6 months delay)

Photographies (print and online)

Bridgeman Education: New e-resource
An online resource from the Bridgeman Art Library which provides access to over 370,000 images all copyright cleared for educational use.  Access here:

Library Search upgrade
Library Search now includes 'Quick Search' for articles.  This is a faster search than previously available, but for a more comprehensive search you should continue to use one of the subject scopes.

New books - Sept -Nov 2011

Hello there.  Lots of new books added to the collection for Semester one, and lots more on the way!  We have increased our range of books by Sara Ahmed, Judith Butler and Jacqueline Rose, and on the topic of globablisation.  We have two new major publications - Magnum contact sheets and The New York Times Magazine photographs, and new titles by Edgar Martins and Taryn Simon.


2011 Animation Sept-Nov 2011

2011 Film&TV Sept-Nov 2011

2011 Miscellaneous Sept-Nov 2011

2011 Photography Sept-Nov 2011

Thursday, 1 December 2011

New DVDs

Link for new DVDs at Harrow

DVDs in the collection at Harrow can be returned at any site, but they must be issued from Harrow.  The loan period is one week, and they can be renewed once only.  Three items from the audiovisual collection can be borrowed at a time.

Contact me to suggest new films for your course.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

New books - May-Sept 2011

Hello there.  I've been a bit quiet on the blog front this semester - just one post.  Sorry about that.

Here are some links to my Google Book account showing the new acquisitions for the end of last year:

2011 Animation May-Sept 2011

2011 Film & TV May-Sept 2011

2011 Photography May-Sept 2011

Best wishes,


Tuesday, 20 September 2011

New ebooks platform - Science Direct

Over the summer, we have been increasing the number of manuals that are available online. 

As well as our existing platforms - Safari PQ, Dawsonera, and NetLibrary - we now have access to ebooks via Science Direct, which provides publications from Focal Press.  Explore the collection now!.

Langford's basic photography is a stalwart of reading lists for photography students, and I am glad to say that its now available on the Science Direct platform - in a format, which is better than any of our other ebook platforms.  Follow the link below:

Langford, M. J. et al (2010).  Langford's basic photography, 9th ed. Focal Press.

(This is my recommended book for the day!)

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Investigating archives - links

I am talking today to the Photojournalism students about archives, which gives me a chance to reflect on the course I attended earlier in the year.  I wonder what they will think of it...

I am collating all the relevant links in the post below.

Exhibition [at Tate Modern]

Burke + Norfolk: Photographs From The War In Afghanistan [video]

Course details

Investigating the Archive; Photographic Collections of London [Birkbeck/Photographers’ gallery]

Individual archives mentioned [Picture Post Historical Archive trial site]

Other archives

London Metropolitan Archives

Internet Archive

Digital Book Index [Photography Collections] [Photography periodicals]

Online hubs


Bacon, J. (2007). Archive, archive, archive!  Circa Art Magazine, no. 119, p. 50-59

Foster, J. & Sheppard, J. (2002) British archives: a guide to archive resources in the United Kingdom, 4th ed. Hampshire: Palgrave. [available in Archive Services at Regent]

McDonald, S. (2004). HultonArchive – History In Pictures. Accessed from:

Mereweather, C. (2006) (ed.). The archive [documents in contemporary art]. London: Whitechapel.

Phillips, C. (1982). The judgement seat of photography. October, 22: 27-63. [online]. Accessed from: JSTOR < >. [Accessed 29 March 2011].

Picture Post Historical Archive [online] [product description]. Available from: [Accessed 05/05/2011].

Phillips, S. S. (2003). ‘A history of evidence’ in Sultan, L. & Mandel, M. (2003). Evidence. New York: D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers.

Sekula, A. (2002). ‘Reading an archive; photography between labour and capital’ (pp. 443-452 in Wells, L. (ed. ) (2002). The photography reader. Routledge.

Sekula, AL. (1986).  The body and the archiveOctober, vol. 39, p. 3-64.

Zylinska, Joanna(2010) 'On Bad Archives, Unruly Snappers and Liquid Photographs', Photographies, 3:2, 139 — 153 [Special Issue: Photography, Archive and Memory]

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Library Search enhancements

You can now do more in Books, journals & more...

Two features which were previously only viewable by clicking on 'Articles & more' now appear in 'Books, journals & more.'

The 'Selected Databases' scope
The 'Selected Databases' are a personalised set of databases, chosen by you in E-Resources A-Z. You can now search for journal articles using this set in Books, journals & more.

E-Resources A-Z link now appears
Some E-Resources are not searchable from within Library Search (for example the FIAF Index to Film Periodicals).  You can use E-Resources A-Z to help identify and link to these: the link now appears in Books, journals & more.  

Click on the 'video clips' link on the Library Search homepage to view the Library Search Tutorials.  There are short videos for 'Using E-Resources A-Z' and for 'Defining an E-Resources Set.'

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Norfolk's 'slow photography' draws on archive

Simon Norfolk talks about his current exhibition at Tate, 'Burke + Norfolk - Photographs from the War in Afghanistan,' on the BBC World Service here.

The exhibition draws on the archive of the nineteenth-century Irish photographer, John Burke, linking the late 19th century anglo/afghan war with the current conflict. For Norfolk this shows the "circularity of imperial history". He talks in this interview about how the photographic process of the time accentuated the racial difference of the Afghans and Europeans.

There are several examples of Norfolk's books in the library collection at Harrow; and the most recent, 'Burke + Norfolk,' is on order.

The exhibition continues at Tate Modern to the 10th July.

Additional resources

Tate Channel: Burke + Norfolk: Photographs From The War In Afghanistan [17 minute video] [introduction, photographs, conversation]

Haven't we been here before? Art and design The Guardian [Ian Jack]

Afghanistan: There is a small corner that is forever England Mail Online [Simon Norfolk]

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Digital imaging DVD

'Basic Color Science and Imaging' - an in depth course with Dr. Robert Hunt - is now available in the DVD section of the library at Harrow. Unlike most DVDs, I have made this item requestable.

The lecture topics are:

1. The Visual System
2. Light Sources and Spectrophotmetry
3. Color Matching
4. The X, Y, Z System
5. Uniform Chromaticity Diagrams
6. Uniform Color Spaces
7. Additive Color Reproduction
8. Subractive Color Reproduction
9. Densitometry and Tone Reproduction
10. Television Technology
11. Photomechanical Printing
12. Digital Printing Technology

Thursday, 31 March 2011

2011 Kraszna-Krausz Foundation Book Awards

The shortlists for the 2011 Kraszna-Krausz Foundation Book Awards were recently announced.

This year, the winners will be announced during the Sony World Photography Awards on the 27th April. There will also be an accompanying exhibition at Somerset House, featuring some of the books submitted.

One of the judges this year - a former winner of the moving image prize - is David Campany, a Reader in Photography at the University of Westminster.

The items marked with an asterisk are either in stock in the library or on order.

Best Photography Book Award Shortlist

*TJ: Johannesburg Photographs 1948-2010 / Double Negative: A Novel, David Goldblatt and Ivan Vladislaviċ (Contrasto)

*The Thirty Two Inch Ruler / Map of Babylon, John Gossage (Steidl)

*Camille Silvy: Photographer of Modern Life 1834 – 1910, Mark Haworth-Booth (The National Portrait Gallery)

Best Moving Image Book Award Shortlist

Von Sternberg, John Baxter (The University Press of Kentucky)

*Eadweard Muybridge, Philip Brookman (Corcoran Gallery of Art, Tate Publishing, Steidl)

*Illuminations: Memorable Movie Moments, Richard D. Pepperman (Michael Wiese Productions)

*Disappearing Tricks: Silent Film, Houdini, and the New Magic of the 20th Century, Matthew Solomon (University of Illinois Press)

Further reading

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

2011 Infinity Awards - International Center of Photography

Two books added to the library collection in the previous year have been recognised by the ICP in their annual awards. 

These are Gerry Badger's, The Pleasures of Good Photographs (in the writing category) and Alec Soth's, From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America (in the publication category).

Viviane Sassen was recognised in the Applied/Fashion/Advertising Photography category.  Her book Flamboya published by Contrasto was also added to the collection recently, and is previewed below.

Her work is mentioned briefly in the following article:

Evans, J. (2009). The Artist Formerly Known as Fashion Photography. Aperture, 48-57. Retrieved from Art Full Text database.

Further reading

ICP Press Release

Monday, 7 February 2011

Picture libraries - AP and Magnum

As part of the archives course I am attending, I was invited recently to the photo library of Associated Press. This is situated in an old gin factory in Camden Town. AP 'went digital' in 1995, but the negatives (or ‘negs’) before this date, are stored in a cold room. They sit alongside a massive card index, a small section of which you can see in the picture. There is something you get from flicking through these drawers that is not replicated in a computerised system – a sense of the human behind the cataloguing.

You can search the AP Images database to see the sort of material that is currently uploaded, as well as selected pictures from the archive (e.g. the photographs of AP photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt).

The photographers, though, are not the focus of the agency, unlike at Magnum – which is a cooperative, owned by the photographers. The current exhibition, The Magnum Markat the Magnum Print Room, shows the photographic print as collectors' items.

Some of the prints are displayed in hinged frames, so that you can see the ‘magnum mark’ on the back – and in the examples here, a succession of marks – part of the provenance, which confers value (or a specific sort of value) on the print. The care taken in the darkroom is evident in the ‘print maps’ – here shown through the work of Magnum printer, Pablo Inirio.

Two very different visions of the photographer are presented at AP and Magnum respectively: the photographer as hack and the photographer as auteur. 

Related links

AP Images

Corbis Corp

Getty Images

'Getty Images, Inc' n.d., Datamonitor/Life Science Analytics Company Profiles, EBSCOhost, viewed 4 February 2011


Saturday, 5 February 2011

Andrew Robinson on Satyajit Ray

Andrew Robinson talks about his new book on the Apu Trilogy in a podcast of an event at the Royal Asiatic Society

A copy of the book is on order for the library; this will be of particular interest to those students embarking on the newly devised module, Constructing Histories in Asian Cinema, and adds to the many new resources bought for that module. 

The rest of us might want to reflect on the following words from Akira Kurosawa:

"Not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon."
Further reading

Robinson, Andrew, The Apu trilogy: Satyajit Ray and the making of an epic.  London : I. B. Tauris, 2010

The Satyajit Ray Foundation

Friday, 4 February 2011

Carrot or potato – but which is better?

The rhizome includes the best and the worst: potato and couchgrass, or the weed.
Deleuze and Guattari (1987 [1980])
On the 22nd January, Sas Mays – Senior Lecturer in Cultural and Critical Theory – led a seminar on critical approaches to the Archive. This was based at the Photographers’ Gallery offices and part of the Investigating the Archive course I am attending.

The carrot, an umbelliferous plant, with a hierarchical root system (with a primary root, from which secondary roots form, which in turn branch to form tertiary roots) was contrasted to the tuberous potato, in order to explore metaphors for seeing the world, or of organising knowledge, or of organising the Archive. In so doing, we were exploring the ideas expressed by Deleuze and Guattari in their stream-of-consciousness-like work A thousand plateaus.

The taproot, like the carrot – but more often the tree – is typically used as a metaphor for knowledge – for example by the thirteenth century writer, Ramon Llul [Arbor_scientiae]. In some senses, it suggests a closed form of thinking, since it privileges structure and hierarchy, which are implicit within the Archive. Rhizomatic (potato-like) thought, in contrast, “stresses multiplicity, complexity, multi-dimensionality and chaos” (Rhizome, 2004).

In Foucault’s analysis, if knowledge is power, then the organisation of knowledge is the organisation of power; and the Archive stands in symbolic relationship to existing power structures – reflecting, representing, and perpetuating them. Photography, too, is implicated. The anthropometric work of Alphonse Bertillon (e.g. tableau synoptique des traits physonomiques) can be cited in this context and so too can Jacob Riis, but there are many other examples.

But, if these readings of the Archive don’t seem to fit with the anti-authoritarian urgency of the Weiner Library (for example), it is perhaps well to remember that while philosophers always reflect on reality, reality does not always reflect on philosophers. Deleuze and Guattari are an entertaining read because they flirt with the non-linear, and pose with the chaotic, but are ultimately neither; their reasoning against reason is reflexive.

Further reading

Deleuze, Gilles; Guattari, Félix (1987 [1980]) ‘Introduction: Rhizome’, in A thousand plateaus: capitalism and schizophrenia, trans. Massumi, Brian. University of Minnesota Press.

Rhizome (2004), in The Sage Dictionary of Cultural Studies, Sage UK, London, United Kingdom, viewed 30 January 2011, from

Monday, 24 January 2011

Investigating archives - The Wiener Library

“If we don’t save our history, it will perish” say the Wiener Library [Institute of Contemporary History] on their website.

The library was started by Alfred Wiener, who having fled Nazi Germany in 1933 set up the Jewish Central Information Office in Amsterdam; then fleeing Amsterdam in 1939, he moved the institution to Manchester Square in London. His purpose: to expose the true nature of Nazism to the world.

The library continues this work to this day. Its collection includes well over 10,000 images, a small proportion of which have been digitised and can be previewed online; there are also books, pamphlets, eye-witness accounts and other documents.

It has for fifty years remained in a building on Devonshire Street, but its lease has now expired and it will be moving shortly to Russell Square.  It will then be next door to the newly formed Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, with which it will work.

Jonathan Ross embarrassed by poor research

We all use Wikipedia for research, but as this video clip illustrates, you should always verify the information with more authoritative sources.

Further reading

'Evaluating information' in the information skills section of the Library webpages.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

V&A Prints and Drawings Study Room

On Saturday, I went down to the area of London which is apparently now known as 'Albertopolis' - to explore the V&A Prints and Drawings Study Room.

This was part of my 'Investigating the archive' course.

Here again were prints by Julia Margaret Cameron.  Alongside, was work by Fox Talbot, John Watson, Roger Fenton, Eugene Atget and Gustav Le Gray. 

The prints were more carefully looked after here than in the Rothschild archive: we learnt that the V&A use three sizes of archival box - imperial, semi-imperial and royal.

It was more accesssible too: anyone can get access to the Prints Room and ask for these prints to be brought out for their pleasure.

As well as photography pioneers, a whole range of other photographers are represented.  There are also resource boxes with a range of work to illustrate the history of photography. 

You can search the collections online.

Crimp (1993) suggests, "if photography was in invented in 1839, it was only discovered in the 1960s and 1970s."  However, I think the curators at the V&A might disagree: the first exhibition here (the first in any museum) was in 1858; they have a photograph of it.


Crimp, D. (1993).  On the museum's ruins.  Boston: MIT Press.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Photographic collections of London

I’m not a hoarder, nor a collector – not even of books; I don’t have a personal archive: I am not a typical librarian at all in fact.

However, I have become interested in archives of late and have enrolled on a course – Investigating the archive: photographic collections of London.

The first of our visits was to the Rothschild Archive - housed in an impressive building, close by the Bank of England.

It is not particularly accessible – two referees are needed to gain access to the reading rooms - and it is not specifically photographic: the Rothschilds are a banking dynasty, so the archive is as often as not accessed by economic historians.

However, the archive includes a photograph album once owned by Charlotte de Rothschild, which includes prints by Julia Margaret Cameron and has the largest collection of autochromes in the country – over 700 plates taken by Lionel de Rothschild . There are also photographs relating to the running of the company: portraits of staff, and some great pictures of people at work in the gold refinery.

Many archives – personal and business – have photographic materials, including incidentally the archives of The University of Westminster (see their flickr stream).

In some of the reading in preparation of the visit, some rather unflattering conjectures on the nature of collecting were discussed. But, as well as collecting being possibly a “masturbatory pursuit of solitary pleasures,” it is also “one way in which we hope to understand the world around us, and reconcile our places within it.” (Pearce, 1995: 8; 25).

Further reading

Ford, C. (2002) ‘Hannah, Charlotte ...and Julia’ in Rothschild archive review of the year; April 2001 – March 2002. The Rothschild Archive Trust. Available at [accessed 14/01/2011]

Pearce, S. M. (1995). Collecting processes: an investigation into collecting in the European tradition. London: Routledge

'The colours of another world' [pdf] Available at [accessed 14/01/2011]

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Photography festivals - roundup

The Telegraph website has helpfully provided a round-up of international photography festivals.

Further reading

Trenkler, K. International Photography Festivals. European Photography v. 29 no. 84 (Winter 2008/2009) p. 76-7

Monday, 10 January 2011

Old Periodicals Online

An advert in this 1910 The British Journal Photographic Almanac declares the Regent Street Polytechnic - a former incarnation of the University of Westminster - as having, "The first, largest and most successful school of photography in the world."  You will find it here.

This e-copy resides on the Internet Archive

Thanks to Jo Barker for sending me the link to the photography periodicals section of The Digital Book Index.  There are also links to early copies of Photograms of the year (copies of which are also in the library), which are gems! (see here for example). And there are other sections to explore: the Photography Collections page looks particularly interesting.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

The "objectness" of art books

According to an article in The Telegraph in November, Steidl have opened a new bookshop in Soho – well not a bookshop, rather a “forum for books.” This is called Q Book but as the website only has a picture of empty shelves, I am not sure whether it has opened yet, so I will need to investigate and report back.

The Telegraph article is well worth a look, as it discusses the recent trend for art books – and specifically photographic art books – to be released in expensive limited editions (see the winner of the Lucie’s for example).

Iwona Blazwick, the director of the Whitechapel Gallery, is quoted as saying:
The pleasure for me is that if you can't afford to buy a work of art, you can afford to buy a book as a work of art. There is an interest in the "objectness" of art books.
As well as Q Book, three other bookshops in London get a mention – Marcus Campbell, Claire de Rouen, and another newly opened one at Somerset House – Rizolli.


Beyfuss, Druisilla (2010). 'Speaking volumes; Limited-edition art and photography books are increasingly treasured as works of art in themselves'. The Daily Telegraph, 13 November, 11, 12, 14. Available from Factiva [Online Database] [Accessed 18/12/2010].

See also

Steidl special editions [PDF]

Related posts

Useful libraries and bookshops in London