Apr 152014

This is the fifth in the series of guest posts written by one of SUNCAT’s Contributing Libraries. This month, Jennifer Evans, Assistant Librarian at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, writes about the library and its collections.


Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales was founded by Royal Charter in 1907, the foundation stone was laid in 1912 and the building was officially opened to the public in 1927. The Library, with in-built panelling and shelving was custom made, as were the two original iron roller racking stacks.

Our main purpose here in the Library is to serve the museum curatorial staff, together with other colleagues but we are also available to external researchers and students. All visits by external visitors, that is members of the public, students etc., are by strict appointment only.

An image of the interior of the National Museum Wales Library

The National Museum Wales Library. (© the National Museum of Wales)

Our journal holdings are extensive and complement the curatorial departments; Art, Archaeology & Numismatics, Zoology, Botany, Geology and Industry. However, our collections of conservation and museology journals are also strong. We house the libraries of the Cardiff Naturalists Society and the Cambrian Archaeological Association, which means we receive, record and house their books and journals. There is also a large library at our sister museum; St Fagans: Museum of National History, which holds a large collection of journals concerning the social history of Wales and also many early Welsh language journals.

With regards to books, as with the journals, our various departmental libraries hold material complimenting curatorial disciplines. However, the Main Library holds books pertaining to houses and architecture, conservation, museology (everything to do with museums: history & theory, collection management, exhibitions, education etc.), general reference works and extensive Welsh historical society transactions.

The Museum Library has been the recipient of several generous loans and donations over the years. Some collections are finite and remain the same as when they were passed to the Museum, whereas others are added to as part of the Library’s collecting policy.

The Willoughby Gardner Collection comprises of early natural history books bequeathed to the museum in 1953; included in this collection are two incunables (pre-1501 books), as well as a number of writings by Conrad Gesner and other 16th and 17th century writers. Our Tours of Wales Collection comprises of late 18th & early 19th century topographical books. The Vaynor Collection consists of a number of 16th and 17th century astronomical works, including several of the writings of Galileo. The Tomlin Collection is a fine collection of books and journals on mollusca published from the late 17th century onwards, given over several years during the 1940s and 1950s. It is generally recognised as being the finest collection of its subject outside of London.

One of our largest collections is on long term loan from The Davies Trust. The Davies Sisters, Gwendoline and Margaret, were great benefactors to the Museum by donating their collection of Impressionist Art. However, they also established and ran their own private printing press, called The Gregynog Press, during the 1930s and 1940s. Gwendoline especially was a leading light in the foundation of the Press, and her personal collection of the Press’s books, that is all the special bindings, is currently on long term loan to us.


SUNCAT would like to thank Jennifer Evans for writing this post. If you would like to write a post on your SUNCAT Contributing Library and its serials collections please let us know.

 April 15, 2014  Posted by at 10:01 am Contributing Libraries Tagged with:  No Responses »
Apr 112014

We are delighted to welcome National Museums Scotland as a new SUNCAT Contributing Library.  We have loaded just under 4,000 of their serial records to our service. This brings the total number of our Contributing Libraries to 95, plus the CONSER database, ISSN register and Directory of Open Access Journals.

National Museums Scotland has two major libraries located in Edinburgh offering collections and services to support the research and learning needs of Museum staff, visitors, and the wider external research community. Its Research Library is the largest museum library in Scotland, with a collection including hundreds of journal titles and access to many more e-journals. It is situated on the third floor of the National Museum of Scotland. There is also a library located in the National War Museum of Scotland, which you can find within the walls of Edinburgh Castle. Its collections include monographs and journals on all aspects of Scottish military history since the 1600s. 

 April 11, 2014  Posted by at 9:32 am Contributing Libraries Tagged with:  No Responses »
Apr 102014

The SUNCAT team is very pleased to announce our second new library of 2014, that of Brunel University London. This brings the total number of our Contributing Libraries to 94, plus the CONSER database, ISSN register and Directory of Open Access Journals. Brunel University Library has supplied SUNCAT with nearly 68,000 serials records for both print and electronic titles.

Brunel is a campus-based, research-led university located in Uxbridge, West London, and founded back in 1966. It has eight Academic Schools, covering a broad subject range, as well as a further eight Specialist Research Institutes. The Library supports its students, academics and researchers in its refurbished campus building, as well as providing access to electronic resources, including databases, journals and e-books, through its e-library.

 April 10, 2014  Posted by at 9:39 am Contributing Libraries Tagged with:  No Responses »
Mar 122014

The Women’s Library, one of our Contributing Libraries, has an official opening ceremony this evening (Wednesday 12th March) at its new home at the London School of Economics and Political Science. The Women’s Library @LSE documents all aspects of women’s lives, with a particular emphasis on the lives of women in the UK and the great political, economic and social changes of the past 150 years.  Its new home is a fourth-floor reading room at the LSE Library in Aldwych, which will be opened to the public at the end of March. SUNCAT contains just under 2,500 serials records from the Women’s Library, and much of this material is unique to the library. Some fascinating examples of pamphlets, magazines and journals can be found in the LSE Digital Library. Further information on this can be found in The Guardian.

 March 12, 2014  Posted by at 1:10 pm Contributing Libraries Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Feb 272014

We are very pleased to announce that the records of London Metropolitan University have now been added to SUNCAT. This makes it our first new Contributing Library of 2014, and brings the total number to 93, plus CONSER database, the ISSN register and the Directory of Open Access Journals. Almost 36,000 of its serial records for both print and electronic titles have just been loaded into our service.

London Metropolitan University offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses, which range from design to life sciences; from business to computing; and law to theatre practice. It has three library sites: Commercial Road, the newly-refurbished Holloway Road, and Calcutta House. There are also serials held as part of the Trades Union Congress Library Collections. In the TUC Collections there are over 5000 periodical titles in runs ranging from one issue to eighty years.

For further information and news about SUNCAT please see our website, follow SUNCAT on Twitter (@suncatteam), or contact the EDINA helpdesk at edina@ed.ac.uk.

 February 27, 2014  Posted by at 3:22 pm Contributing Libraries Tagged with:  No Responses »
Feb 062014

This is the fourth in the series of guest posts written by one of SUNCAT’s Contributing Libraries. Ben Smith, who is Information Assistant in Technical Services at the British Architectural Library, writes about the library and its collections.

Royal Institute of British Architects: British Architectural Library

Interior of the British Architects Library, Royal Institute of British Architects

Interior of the British Architects Library, Royal Institute of British Architects.

In 1834 the Royal Institute of British Architects was formed as a professional body for British architects. As befitting the objective of being a learned society, great attention was given to founding a library and museum; primarily through the donation of books and artefacts from its members.

Since then the British Architectural Library of the RIBA has grown to hold one of the most important architectural collections in the world. Alongside 1.5 million photographs and an equivalent amount of drawings the library holds 150,000 books and 2000 periodicals. The earliest material dates from the 15th century.

The library is a resource for any researcher wishing to further understand architecture and the built environment, be it specific to a building, or in a wider sense.

What is collected?

Books The book collection of the BAL is a unique collection covering all architectural fields, both historic and new; the earliest printed book being Saint Thomas Aquinas’s ‘Summa theologica’ from 1478.

Pamphlets The collection contains over 20,000 pamphlets and items of ephemera related to specific buildings, exhibitions or official reports. These items are predominantly of British origin and date back to the early years of the 19th century.

Photographs The Robert Elwall Photographs Collection is the largest collection of architectural photographs in the world. It is a growing collection and forms the basis of many exhibitions at the RIBA and external institutions.

Archives RIBA’s archives, which are kept at the Reading Rooms of the Victoria and Albert Museum, entail around 1.5 million items, including: press cutting, architects’ personal papers and the RIBA’s own administrative archive. The collection holds items dating from the 17th century to the present day.


A selection of periodicals found at the British Architectural Library, Royal Institute of British Architects.

A selection of periodicals found at the British Architectural Library, Royal Institute of British Architects

The BAL collects the world’s major architectural journals covering all aspects of architecture and related fields. The collection dates back to the mid-19th century.  Library staff have been indexing articles in many architectural publications for around 100 years. These records are easily searchable using our online catalogue.

For journals published outside the UK, the Library subscribes to representative examples in as many languages and from as many countries as is feasible. The collection is a record of the latest developments in the field.

There are also freely available e-journal resources, including many of the printed titles held in the Library.


The library is open to all and free to use. If you are unable to visit the library, a remote copying service is also offered. Further information concerning access and opening hours can be found here, in addition staff will be happy to answer any enquiries sent to: info@riba.org


SUNCAT would like to thank Ben Smith for writing this post. If you would like to write a post on your SUNCAT Contributing Library and its serials collections please let us know.



 February 6, 2014  Posted by at 3:32 pm Contributing Libraries Tagged with:  2 Responses »
Dec 042013

This is the third in the series of guest posts written by one of SUNCAT’s Contributing Libraries. Nicholas Brown, Assistant Librarian (Serials & E-resources) based at the Book Library of the Courtauld Institute of Art, tells us about their journals collection and gives us a few of its highlights.

The Institute

The Courtauld Institute of Art is one of the world’s leading centres for the study of the history and conservation of art and architecture, and its Gallery houses one of Britain’s best-loved collections.  Based at Somerset House, The Courtauld is an independent college of the University of London.

The Book Library

The Book Library provides access to a significant art historical collection and is one of the major international research collections of art historical books, periodicals and exhibition catalogues in the country, numbering over 180,000 volumes.

A 3D scrollable image of the library is available for you to have a look at the space.

Journals Collection

We hold around 800 individual print journal titles, including circa 200 current journal titles. The subject coverage follows the taught courses and research areas at the Courtauld and includes art history with a global scope, contemporary art and theory, conservation and the history of dress. The great majority of our holdings are kept on the open shelves, which facilitates easy browsing. In addition, we also provide access to a much greater number of e-journals focusing on art history and related disciplines.


A small selection of our most important journals are kept in closed access storage but we strongly encourage our staff and students to make use of them. Among our most treasured journals is the first edition of the surrealist journal Minotaure, our copy of which has been signed by Pablo Picasso.

Image of the cover of the journal 'Minotaure' No. 1 (1933) found at the Courtauld Institute of Art.

Cover of Minotaure No. 1 (1933), Courtauld Institute of Art.

Another important journal from this era is the avant-garde literary journal Transition, which featured writing by authors as Franz Kafka and James Joyce as well as artists including Picasso. Joyce published several serialised works in progress in its pages, some of which would be developed into his late opus Finnegan’s Wake.

Moving further back in time, we have both of the published issues of Blast, Wyndham Lewis’ influential Vorticist journal, also notable for publishing T.S. Elliot. Brown University has made a digitised version but please note the copyright notice for those in the UK or EU.

Image of the cover of journal 'Blast' No. 2 (1915) found at the Courtauld Institute of Art

Cover of Blast No. 2 (1915), Courtauld Institute of Art.

Jugend was founded in the last decade of the nineteenth century. The fabulous illustration exemplifies the Art Nouveau style, particularly in its German variant, where it brought many Munich artists to prominence. In the 1930s the journal published drawings by George Grosz but with the rise of the Nazi party the journal found itself increasingly at odds with the prevailing mood.

Image of the cover of the journal 'Jugend' No. 1 (1896), found at the Courtauld Institute of Art

Cover of Jugend No. 1 (1896), Courtauld Institute of Art.

The collection continues to grow both through our regular subscriptions and purchases as well as by bequests from prestigious art historians.

While we prioritise the needs of our own staff and students, external scholars are very welcome to come and use our collections on a last resort basis, meaning that they should be here to consult materials uniquely held at the Courtauld and not readily accessible at public institutions such as the National Art Library or the British Library. If you would like to arrange a visit, please contact us in advance via booklib@courtauld.ac.uk.


SUNCAT would like to thank Nicholas Brown, Assistant Librarian – Serials and E-resources at the Courtauld Institute of Art, for writing this post.

 December 4, 2013  Posted by at 3:04 pm Contributing Libraries Tagged with:  No Responses »
Dec 022013

We are pleased to announce that Goldsmiths University of London has now been added to SUNCAT, making this our third new Contributing Library of 2013. Just under 6,000 of its serial records has just been loaded into our service. This addition brings the total number of contributing libraries to 92, plus the CONSER database, the ISSN register and the Directory of Open Access Journals.

Goldsmiths University of London is situated in New Cross, South East London, five miles from central London. Its academic departments, centres and institutes offer a range of study options within the arts and humanities, social sciences, cultural studies, computing, and entrepreneurial business and management. The Library’s electronic and print journals collection supports teaching, learning and research of the College and the subject coverage therefore aims to relate closely to the academic work of College.

For further information and news about SUNCAT please see our website, follow SUNCAT on Twitter (@suncatteam), or contact the EDINA helpdesk at edina@ed.ac.uk.

 December 2, 2013  Posted by at 11:08 am Contributing Libraries Tagged with:  No Responses »
Nov 062013

This is the second in the series of guest posts written by one of SUNCAT’s Contributing Libraries. This time it is from the library at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), written by Ann Sylph, Librarian.

Library at the Zoological Society of London

Interested in cats as well as cataloguing? Big cats, small cats, wild cats and, of course, what about the rest of the animal kingdom such as caterpillars and catfish? You need to use the ZSL Library which contains a vast amount of resources on all animals and their conservation! We are one of SUNCAT’s Contributing Libraries and hold a wide range of serials on all types of animals as well as many conservation and zoo titles, including many specialist `niche’ titles such as International Zoo News ; Animal Keepers Forum ; … as well as  more mainstream titles such as Animal Conservation ; Zoo Biology; Journal of Zoology; Biodiversity and Conservation.

Felis caudate, plate 34 in A monograph of the Felidae, or family of cats, by Daniel Giraud Elliot. – [London] : published by the author, 1883.

Located in London’s Regent’s Park we welcome visits from non-members however you will need proof of address on your first visit. The ZSL Library is open Monday to Friday 9.30am to 5.30pm. We also hold books dating from the sixteenth century to the present whilst our special collections include art works, ZSL’s Archives and `Zoophemera’.

Picture by Marie Sibille Merian (1726)

SUNCAT contains details of our serial holdings but use our online catalogue to further explore our holdings. Each month we feature something special from our collections on the Library pages of the main ZSL website. Current displays in ZSL Library itself feature naturalist and explorer, Alfred Russel Wallace.

 November 6, 2013  Posted by at 11:14 am Contributing Libraries Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Sep 272013

This is the first in a series of guest posts written by some of SUNCAT’s Contributing Libraries. The posts provide an overview of the library, focusing on their serials and the specialist collections they hold. SUNCAT wishes to thank Kathy Lazenbatt for writing the post below, telling us about the Royal Asiatic Society and its journal collections.

Royal Asiatic Society: Background

The Royal Asiatic Society was the first British organisation dedicated to the study of Asia. It was founded in 1823, at a time when Europeans were beginning to learn Asian languages in a systematic way, and were excited about gaining a real knowledge of Asian cultures, history and religions.  The Society helped to encourage an exchange of cultural understanding with Asia, a process which is still on-going today.  In Britain it was at the heart of that process, fulfilling a national role in Asian studies, and collaborating with organisations and scholars worldwide.

Current activities 

Today the RAS provides an independent forum for professional scholars and those with a general interest in Asia.  To fulfil its aims the Society:

  • runs a historic library of books, manuscripts, art works and photographs
  • publishes a journal with Cambridge University Press
  • publishes four or five Asian studies books a year
  • holds two monthly lectures, one presented by students
  • hosts a variety of other talks and events on Asian topics

Members of the public are very welcome to attend events and use the library free of charge.

Journals collections

The library collections span all of Asia, from Turkey to Japan, though as a result of the long British association with India, the collections relating to South Asia are particularly strong.  Out of the library’s 569 journal titles, 116 relate to India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka or Afghanistan.  The Society does not deal with contemporary material like modern politics and economics, but has a historical focus.  It is a good source of 19th and early 20th century journals on Asia, some of which are rare in the UK.

Cover of the Journal of Indian Art and Industry Vol. XII 1909.

Plate 28 ‘Portraits of ladies of Rajputana and Malwa wearing jewellery’ from the Journal of Indian Art and Industry Vol. XII 1909.

The library obtains all its journals on an exchange basis, which means that it does not hold some of the mainstream titles in Asian studies, but on the other hand it has many journals from small institutions, especially in Asia, which are not widely available.

One group of journals for which we receive many enquiries, are the journals of other similar societies in Asia, e.g.  the Asiatic Society in Calcutta, Madras Literary Society, Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka,  the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society,  the Mythic Society of Bangalore, the Bihar and Orissa Research Society and the Burma Research Society.  All of these are independent societies, some affiliated to the RAS in London.  Most of them were started in the 19th century and are still going strong, though one or two no longer exist.  The RAS library is one of the few in the UK that holds their journals and has more titles and more complete runs than most other libraries.

Opening hours and contact

More information about the library and how to access it can be found here, and the staff will happily answer any enquiries sent to library@royalasiaticsociety.org.

Kathy Lazenbatt (Librarian, RAS)

 September 27, 2013  Posted by at 8:51 am Contributing Libraries Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »