Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Find out about the world's grass species

We've just added the GrassPortal database to our A-Z listings on the Library website. It is  'a collaboration between researchers and IT specialists at the University of Sheffield, Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew), Knowledge Now Limited, and the University of Lausanne' and is being supported by Project Sunshine.

Its purpose is to:
automate the synthesis of taxonomic, phylogenetic, biogeographic and environmental data, opening up a wealth of information [geographical distributions, ecological characteristics and evolutionary relationships of the world's grass species] and new research opportunities for evolutionary biologists and ecologists.

Althought the database is currently under construction there are some great links in the methods section you can check out right now, including the GrassBase Synonomy Database and GrassBase Online World Grass Flora.

A few quick reminders

Final Year Students

Please remember to keep your library account up-to-date. All library material must be returned, and any outstanding fines paid, by the end of service hours on Saturday 11th June.

If you have any queries about your library account, please ask staff at any library site. Don´t forget, fines of over £3 can be paid online via "My Account" on Star.

Easter Vacation Loans

The holiday loan period begins on April 4th. See the table below for more info:

Borrower statusIssuedDue for return
Full-time UG and PT
9am 4th April - 27th AprilWednesday 4th May
Part-time UG and PT
9am 4th April - 20th AprilWednesday 4th May
Reserved items full-time UG and PT9am 4th April - 1st MayTuesday 3rd May
Reserved items part-time UG and PT9am 4th April - 29th AprilTuesday 3rd May

Extended Opening Hours

Both Western Bank Library and St George's Library will have longer opening hours (self-service) during the coming exam period.  The details are as follows:

  • WBL will open at 8:30 Monday to Friday from Monday 16th May until Friday 10th June;

  • SGL will open from 10:00 to 18:00 on Saturday and Sunday from Saturday 14th May until Sunday 12th June.

Monday, 21 March 2011

1000th thesis added to White Rose Etheses Online

A quick update on the White Rose Etheses Online (WREO) service:
WREO now has a steady supply of new doctoral etheses (plus MA/MSc masters by research (York) and MMus and MPhil (Sheffield)). Our content is a mixture of theses digitised by the British Library through the EThOS service and new 'born digital' theses submitted voluntarily by graduates. Growth will become much more rapid next year when Sheffield's ethesis deposit policy starts to kick in, with York and Leeds following the year after.

Etheses in WREO can be found through Google and also appear in the DART European Ethesis Portal. We've recently added our 1000th White Rose ethesis. Some theses are temporarily embargoed but the majority are openly available.

If you would like your doctoral theses to be made available please get in touch and we'll see about incorporating it into WREO repository.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Reminder: Project Sunshine

This evening Professor Tony Ryan will be presenting a public lecture on Project Sunshine: Food and Energy Security. Entrance is free of charge but you must book a ticket via the website.

From the programme:
Project Sunshine aims to harness the power of the sun to tackle the biggest challenge facing the world today: meeting the increasing food and energy needs of the world's population in the context of an uncertain climate and global environment change.

Estimates indicate that by late 2011 the total population will stand at an astonishing 7 billion(!), and "by 2050 the total number could reach 10.5 billion" (National Geographic). This therefore is no small undertaking!

Scientists across the applied and pure disciplines are uniting to research new ways to use solar power for sustainable food production and renewable energy. Building upon breakthroughs in plant and microbial science, environmental biology, organic electronics and optoelectronics, as well as solar physics, Project Sunshine is looking for solutions in three key research areas: food, energy and global change.

There is further information available on the project website but this really is a great opportunity to be inspired and get engaged with National Science and Engineering Week. The public lecture will be held in the Union of Students Auditorium at 6:15pm.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

NSEW: Mechanical Design Engineering

As part of the National Science and Engineering Week 2011 the Librarians’ Blog for Science and Engineering is celebrating the theme of ‘communication’ by welcoming our second guest blogger, Eric Rigby of EASAT Antennas Ltd. The idea of this two-part mini series is to share experiences of work within the engineering industry.

My name is Eric Rigby and I am a Project Manager and Mechanical Design Engineer. I have been in mechanical design for more years than I care to remember but it is a field I enjoy. I have designed parts for cars, trains and aerospace in a fast moving environment, but currently designing and managing the installation of radar systems worldwide.

The age of high speed travel is known to everyone, which means that the world is getting smaller. High speed travel requires the mechanical machines to aide in movement of small and large numbers of people, these machines include pedal cycles at the slow end of transport for individuals, to cars for small numbers of people at a moderate speed, to trains, boats and planes for higher speeds to convey larger numbers of people over greater distances. All machines have to be designed specifically to carry out their function.

With the increase in speed and greater numbers travelling in individual modes of transport, safety becomes a major issue. One of the most advanced tools for monitoring speeds and distances is radar. By measuring the distance, position and height of an object through electromagnetic waves we are able to calculate the speed it is travelling at.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

NSEW: Software Engineering

As part of the National Science and Engineering Week 2011 the Librarians' Blog for Science and Engineering is celebrating the theme of 'communication' by welcoming our first guest blogger, Stephen Best of Spoonfed Media. The idea of this two-part mini series is to share experiences of work within the engineering industry.

Stephen Best here, I work for Spoonfed Media Ltd. where I'm head of technology and lead software engineer for our new product Let me tell you a little about what I get up to.

In a sentence Bullseyehub is a subscription based software as a service one-stop-shop for email, mobile, social media and event marketing. Our clients include many of London's biggest clubs and event promoters.

The major technology we use to build our products is Rails, an open-source web framework designed which, as they put is, 'optimised for programmer happiness'. I have to agree with them, it's the most enjoyable language / framework combination I've ever experienced by far.

I spend most of time developing Rails applications such as the aforementioned It's a great framework, it acts as a basis for your own code so you get straight down to business and prevents you re-inventing the wheel.

As well as development I have a small overhead of managing my team (admin) and managing server architecture (more admin) both of which I try and keep to a minimum, this is successful because I work with smart people, one of the most important things any engineer can ensure they have in their working environment.

Monday, 14 March 2011

National Science and Engineering Week 2011

The National Science and Engineering Week is upon is again, with a packed out programme of talks, debates and fun hands-on events for all the family. The University of Sheffield, in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University, local schools, museums, industry and commerce, is pleased to annouce a whole host of public lectures and social activities to show how science and engineering relates to our everyday lives.

Over the next week you could find yourself making your own DNA to inspire stories about genomes, or listening in to how Project Sunshine aims to harness the power of the sun to tackle the biggest challenges facing the world today, or even £75 richer by proving your knowledge in the IET Quiz. Further information about all programmed events in South Yorkshire can be found on the Science Weeksy webpages or for a fuller picture hop over to the British Science Association's events page for information on activities across the country.

This year the University Library has put together a small display in St George's Library, where you'll be able to browse related material and collect an official programme outlining all workshops. We'll also be opening up the blog to a couple of very special guests! As the theme this year is 'communication' we're hoping to use a variety of ways to get engaged and so if you've any comments why not drop one on the blog, send us an email or even tweet us?