Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Before you leave...

Jamie Clark of IT Support explains what you need to do with your IT account when you're leaving the University.

'Goodbye' by woodleywonderworks
used under a Creative Commons licence
If you're leaving the University soon, you might have wondered when you'll lose access to your IT account. This depends on whether you are a member of staff or a student. Students can still access
their IT accounts for 90 days after their official course end date. Staff accounts will close one day after their employment ends (as required by research funders and auditors).

We would encourage anyone leaving the University to think about the data you have stored in your account. You might have data in your University filestore, Google Drive or email account. What will you still need after you leave?

Whilst it's tempting to take everything with you, you need to be aware of the University's Information Security policies. You must ensure that you do not take anything that would be considered restricted or confidential information:
A common query we get from leavers is how to export University emails to a personal Gmail account. We recommend a tool called Got Your Back if you want to keep the labels you've assigned to your emails. Got Your Back is a command line tool, so it looks a bit daunting at first, but we've put together step-by-step instructions. Or you might prefer to use the simpler Google Mail Fetcher method, but keep in mind that this is much less flexible. It can't export a subset of your emails (it will take everything in the All Mail section of your account) or keep any labels.

You also need to think about whether you own any files that will still be needed by your colleagues and transfer these to someone else. We often get requests from people who need to access files in a former colleague's closed account. We can only provide this once we have received the appropriate authorisation. This creates a delay which may cause problems for your colleagues.

The same applies to any non-personal accounts. For example, if your team uses a shared email address you need to make sure you get in touch with us to nominate a new owner. If you don't this account will also close when you leave. Then we can only transfer the account after we receive authorisation and in the meantime your colleagues won't be able to access it.

It's best to start thinking about all this as early as possible and make sure you leave enough time to take care of everything before you leave. Don't put it off until your last few days, as this doesn't give us much opportunity to help you if there are any issues.

For further guidance (including instructions on how to export data from your account) take a look at our website:

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Swedish children's books in the University Library

Ilka Heale browses some of the children's books held in our collections.

Whilst searching through our Literature section, I came across a collection of children's books written in Swedish. Four of the authors were born and lived in Sweden, and the fifth also wrote in Swedish (although she was Finnish).

Why do we have them? Well, the short answer is that I don't know! The Library has over a million books, the majority of which have been bought for teaching and research. However, we also have many books that have been donated over the years and these may have been part of a gift.

Now, I can't read Swedish, but I have read some of these stories by Astrid Lindgren and Tove Jansson in translation both as a child and as an adult.

Astrid Lindgren (1907–2002) was a writer of fiction and screenplays but she also wrote children's books. Her most famous creation is Pippi Longstocking, a nine-year-old girl who has superhuman strength!

Photograph of an illustration from Pippi Långstrump by Astrid Lindgren

Pippi was named by Lindgren's then nine-year-old daughter, Karin, who requested a get-well story from her mother one day when she was home sick from school. This interview with Karin in 2015, explains how her mother came up with the stories.

Front cover of Mumintrollet no. 4 by Tove Jansson
Tove Jansson (1914– 2001) was a Swedish-speaking Finnish novelist, painter, illustrator and comic strip author. She is best known as the author of the Moomin books for children. The first book in the series, The Moomins and the Great Flood, appeared in 1945; however it was the next two books, Comet in Moominland (1946) and Finn Family Moomintroll (1948) that brought her fame.

In 1951 Finn Family Moomintroll was translated into English. The book's success caught the attention of Charles Sutton, a London agent who offered Jansson a lucrative deal to produce a Moomin comic strip for London's Evening News newspaper. Jansson agreed to produce six strips a week for seven years, starting in 1954. It was an instant hit, reaching up to 20 million readers daily in over 40 countries.

Along with books on the Moomins in Swedish we also have two biographies, The sculptor's daughter: a childhood memoir and Tove Jansson: life, art, words: the authorised biography.

Extract from Mumintrollet by Tove Jansson
Maria Gripe (1923-2007) was an author of books for children and young adults. Although she wrote stories as a child, Gripe did not publish her first book until she was 31. Her first notable success came in the 1960s with a trilogy of books about two school friends, Hugo and Josephine. Over the course of her career, Gripe wrote 38 books, translated into 30 different languages.

Elsa Beskow (1874–1953) was both an author and an illustrator of children's books. As a child, Beskow loved fairy tales and her stories would combine reality with elements of fantasy from fairy tales. Known as the Beatrix Potter of Scandinavia, her illustrations take the reader back to an idyllic, rural Sweden at the turn of the 20th century.

Photograph of the front cover of Sagan om den lilla lilla gumman by Elsa Beskow
Paul Lennart Hellsing (1919–2015) was a writer and translator, particularly known for his nonsense rhymes and word plays. In his books written for children, he experimented with language, playing with words and verb forms. During his career, Hellsing wrote over a hundred books for children and translated and interpreted nearly as many, especially from English.

Photograph of an illustration from Krakel spektakel boken by Lennart Hellsing

To find more books by these authors, along with other material on children's books and illustration, search YorSearch, our Library catalogue.

There is also a small collection of children's literature In the Morrell building. The Peggy Janiurek collection can be found on the first floor, at the end of the Education section. The collection was assembled originally in collaboration with the University's Department of Educational Studies, and named in memory of a former student.

The Library's Special Collections also holds a number of late 18th and 19th century children's literature including books illustrated by Kate Greenaway and Walter Crane among others.

Photograph of the title page of The Golden Staircase : poems and verses for children

Items from the Special Collections can be consulted in the Borthwick Institute for Archives.

The Library has many texts in languages other than English. To find them, search on our Library catalogue and choose the language facets on the left hand side.

All photographs have been taken by Paul Shields, University photographer.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

How do you solve a problem like literature searching? Adding professional value to academic skills development.

David Brown discusses how to ensure that professionals in training have the chance to develop academic study skills.

What's the point of developing study skills? For some the answer to that question will be very clear (whatever their feelings), but for many students this presents a difficult challenge. This is especially the case for students on professional programmes, where their ultimate goal is registration for a specific career path. Academic skills can therefore seem like simply a means to an end, rather than in themselves proving professionally beneficial.

This is despite the fact that some professional bodies explicitly expect students to develop exactly those skills during their degree. The Nursing and Midwifery Council's Code for Nurses and Midwives, for example, obliges new registrants to maintain robust and effective literature searching skills in order to "practise in line with the best available evidence". The challenge for practitioners and teachers of study skills is therefore to create a link for students between the academic environment of the university and their end goal of professional registration. How do we demonstrate the relevance and transferability of traditionally academic skills? How do we encourage students to view academic skills as a means to strengthen, rather than distract from, professional skills? This post will explore some of my recent work with students on the BSc Nursing programme in Health Sciences to address these issues.

What was the problem?

Health Sciences students are expected to engage with a range of academic skills from an early stage in their programme. Literature searching in particular is a prominent area of attention, especially so given the discipline's focus on evidence-based practice and the inherent need to find and use literature of sufficient quality and academic rigour. This focus means that students will often be expected to develop skills and knowledge of literature searching very quickly, and likely very much sooner than their peers on other programmes.

On the BSc Nursing programme, students receive a range of guidance on literature searching specifically (and digital literacy more broadly) across the three years of the degree. The first of these classes takes place in a first-term module in year 1: Co-operative Learning Group (CLG) 1. CLG modules are designed to provide an open and inclusive environment for discussion and collaboration; students are allocated into groups which follow through the whole programme. The session is designed as an introduction to basic principles of effective searching, and previously included a range of procedural activities related to searching. It did not, however, tackle the broader professional context or sufficiently explain to students why literature searching was such a key focus of the degree. It was also an issue that students were being asked to focus on relatively basic skills, despite this session being timetabled several weeks into the programme when they arguably should have covered many of those skills already.

What did I do to address it?

In October 2015 the session was changed to adopt a flipped-classroom method. Students were asked to complete exercises and read content in advance through the Health Sciences Subject Guide, including an online activity to search YorSearch, the Library catalogue. This left more time in class for group discussion and active learning activities, which was much more closely aligned to the format of the CLG modules in general.

In the classroom activities, students were asked to watch the video below about the importance of literature searching in a professional context, then to comment on scenarios where literature might be used to inform and add value to interactions with patients.

The aim of these activities was to situate literature searching as holding direct value, both for the students as practitioners and the patients under their care. Literature searching therefore becomes a core skill for the students, rather than an optional, overtly academic extra - at least that was my hope!

There was also time in the session for students to explore relevant online resources and to develop basic literature searching skills, in support of their assignments for upcoming modules.

What was the outcome?

Initial feedback from the students and their interest in class suggests that the session's new approach was broadly successful. The true test will be in how students develop their literature searching skills through the rest of the programme. Subsequent sessions in year 1 and beyond are designed to become gradually more complex, with the intention that students have a solid contextual grounding from this first session. In practice it is often in year 3 of the programme that students truly see the need for advanced literature searching skills, when they have to work on a longer project and evidence their searching methodology.

The success of this session could well be replicated across other programmes, especially those with an overt link to specific career paths or where skills development is mandated by a professional body. Disciplines such as Social Work and Law could therefore benefit from a more contextualised approach to academic skills.

How do you solve a problem like literature searching? The answer, at least in my experience, is to make it relevant to students. Skills with a purely academic end will only ever appeal to a limited group of students, but by emphasising how academic development also aids employability and personal development, we can gradually reach a wider audience and create truly skilled professionals, whatever their discipline.

Monday, 6 June 2016

The History of the York Mystery Plays: part 2

In the second of her two posts about the York Mystery Plays, Ilka Heale uses contemporary texts to learn more about the history and development of the tradition.

There is no record of the first performance of the York Mystery Plays, but they are first recorded celebrating the festival of Corpus Christi in 1376, by which time the use of pageant wagons had already been established.

At least 48 individual plays would be performed in York. According to civic records for 1399, the day began at 4.30 in the morning with parades through the streets on wagons stopping at twelve special places on the streets, designated by the city banners. The route was just over a mile long. It took them down Micklegate where there were four stations, across Ouse Bridge, down Coney Street, up Stonegate and ending at Pavement.

From Eboracum by Francis Drake, 1736, titled 'Extract out an order for the regulation of the play of
Corpus Christi; dated the 7th day of June 1417'.
The extract above from Eboracum: or the history and antiquities of the city of York …. by Francis Drake, 1736 (Appendix, pg xxxii) shows the route of the 1417 Corpus Christi plays. Indeed this map also from his major two volume work on the history of York show the layout of the street pattern has hardly changed since 1417.

The plays were organised, financed (and often performed) by the York Craft Guilds. In medieval England, the word 'mystery' meant 'trade' or 'craft', and it also refers to a religious truth or rite - hence the name Mystery Plays.

Below is a photograph of The oath of the new brethren of the Merchant Adventurers of the City of York which is part of the Raymond Burton Yorkshire collection housed in the Library's Special Collections. The collection is centred around Yorkshire and ranges from Edwards of Halifax bindings with fore-edge paintings to early writings about Dick Turpin; and from a fine presentation copy of J. Tickell's, The history of the town and county of Kingston upon Hull (1796) to chapbooks of James Kendrew, an early 19th century York printer.

The inscription at the bottom of the oath reads "Wm. Brown admitted to his Freedom of the Com[pany] of the Merchant Adventurers of the City of York. by Servitude this 20th. day of Aprl. 1813. ... [signed] J. Ward Sec[retar]y."

Each guild would perform a play, often one that was most fitting to their members. For example, the marriage of Cana, where Christ turned water into wine, would be acted out by the vintners. More morbid associations included the metal pinners nailing Christ to the cross and the butchers who performed the death of Christ.

Below is an extract from Tomlin's transcript of the Ashburnham Manuscript in the original Middle English. The Guild of Shipwrights performed the building of Noah's Ark

Compare this with the extract below which is a modernised version of the same text.

The opening to the Story of Noah,
performed by the Guild of Shipwrights.

This extract is taken from 'The York cycle of mystery plays: a complete version' by JS Purvis. Cannon Purvis wrote the first modern script for the plays from the original Middle English for the 1951 revival of the York Mystery Plays. This was a shorter version to be performed in under three hours and was published in the same year as 'The York cycle of mystery plays: a shorter version of the ancient cycle'. In 1957, the text was expanded to include a complete version of the plays. From 1953-1963, he was the first Director of the Borthwick Institute and his archive is deposited with the Borthwick Institute for Archives.

This extract from 'The York mystery plays' is the first few lines of the modernised text for the 1951 plays. Found in our collections, there is little information in the book, but we can assume that this is a playscript for the plays written by Cannon Purvis for the York Festival Society. Incidentally, the playscript was donated to the Library from JB Morrell (yes, you are right in thinking that our Morrell Library is named after him. For more details, see the information board by the main entrance).

Along with the text, there are many references to music in the plays.

This is a page of music from The York play: a facsimile of British Library MS Additional 35290: together with a facsimile of the Ordo Paginarum section of the A/Y memorandum book. These six settings of music with Latin texts are to be performed as part of the Weavers pageant of The Assumption of the Virgin.

Music plays an important role but it is used in a different manner to music in modern drama. In contemporary drama, it works as 'incidental music', a way of highlighting the emotional content. However, medieval music has a functional role and is used to convey the beginning or ending of a play, to accompany entrances, exits and processions within a play as well as the spectacular stage effects of ascents and descents. Music is also used for a symbolic purpose. Heaven would be symbolised by the high voices and pure harmonies of the angels, with Hell using dissonance to create the chaos of evil.

For more information on medieval music, see our collection of books and scores in the John Paynter room in the Fairhurst Building, along with Music in the English mystery plays at MA 62 DUT.

York Historic Pageant souvenir by Charles Eyre Pascoe.
Shelfmark: Raymond Burton Yorkshire 12.32
The tradition of pageants and wagons was reintroduced in 1909. The York Historic Pageant included a parade of the banners of the Guilds through the streets, accompanying a wagon representing the Nativity. The York Pageant was a six day dramatic re-enactment of York's history from 800BC to 1644 which took place in the grounds of St Mary's Abbey at York. It was intended that 'the York Pageant represent by dramatic means a continuous history of York from the earliest times down to the siege of York in 1644'.

The York Pageant Music by James Rhoades & T. Tertius Noble.
Shelfmark: Special Collections Quarto LM 25 NOB

Thomas Tertius Noble (1867-1953) was the organist of York Minster from 1898 until 1913. He was responsible for the music in the York Pageant of 1909, composing some of it and directing the performances.

For a list of material on the York Mystery plays, please search YorSearch (the Library catalogue) or browse the shelves in our Literature section for MA 62.4 (the shelfmark for York Mystery Plays). In the Library's AV Collection, there are past performances of the mystery plays on DVD and video.

The books are in the University Library's Special Collections and can be consulted in the Borthwick Institute for Archives.

For books on the history of York, please see Q 42.741. Books on English History from 1558-1603, including the Northern Rebellion are at Q 42.055.

You can also find material related to the York Mystery Plays in the York Digital Library.

All photographs have been taken by our own University photographer, Paul Shields, from the Library's collection of books on York Mystery plays.

Friday, 3 June 2016

The battle for Yorkshire hearts...

Sarah Griffin traces the history of the British Civil War, and Charles I's time in York, through items in the Library's Special Collections.

Today, 3 June, is the anniversary of a meeting at Heworth Moor just outside York. It was called by Charles I, for him to meet the people of Yorkshire, and our Special Collections hold some exciting material that helps us tell this story.

Left: Charles I. Right: Charles I in Parliament.
The British Civil War was a conflict that saw brother set against brother and, ultimately, the execution of an anointed king. The disagreement was between Charles, who believed in the divine right of kings and as such did not take kindly to being told he couldn't do things, and Parliament, who were the people telling the king he couldn't do things. The spoof history book '1066 and all that' says it is easy to tell the sides apart as the Royalists were 'Romantic' and the Roundheads were 'Repulsive'. Sadly it's not quite that straightforward and a quick timeline is probably useful.

Firstly Charles decided to rule without Parliament which meant he was also without the funds that they could grant him. He decided to raise money through a variety of means, several of which seemed guaranteed to annoy everyone, such as taxing soap, or redrawing common land boundaries and then fining people for living in the King's forests.

Eventually, after eleven years, the money ran out and he had to recall Parliament. The atmosphere was, understandably, not relaxed, and  tensions cranked up and up. In January 1642, Charles burst into the House of Commons to arrest five Members of Parliament he had accused of treason. They escaped, and the people of London showed their displeasure of the King's actions by rioting in the streets. Charles had overplayed his hand and the capital had become a hostile place for him.

Illustration from a Civil War Tract
So, in March 1642, Charles abandoned London and brought his court to Yorkshire. Travelling with him was the Royal printer, Robert Barker. Barker set up his press in St William's College, in the shadow of York Minster's Great East Window. The King stayed in York for five months from March to August and, isolated as he was from his capital, he needed to stay in touch with his supporters and the rest of the country. He did this through a series of tracts printed by Barker in York. The publications were not objective pieces of work. In much the same ways as politicians today use information, Civil War Tracts were intended to discredit their opponents and to tell one side of the story. The production of the tracts was not high quality, they were quickly produced and rarely illustrated. Any images tended to be poor quality and often did not match the text, for example a broadsheet from the King complaining about the raising of trained bands was illustrated with an image of a man riding a sea monster!

Charles' letter to John Goodricke
Charles needed to drum up support and as well as publishing tracts he wrote letters and addressed his people. One of his letters survives in the Special Collections. It was to John Goodricke, a Yorkshire Member of Parliament, asking him to remain in the city at the King's pleasure. Goodricke stayed loyal to the crown and was eventually captured and imprisoned by Parliament.

In May, Charles called a meeting of the gentry of Yorkshire to come to York Castle. The Freeholders of the City were unhappy to be excluded, so a second gathering happened on 3 June at Heworth Moor. It is claimed that over seventy thousand people attended. What Charles wanted was for those present to pledge their allegiance to him for the coming conflict.

Parliament was unhappy with this state of affairs. Open hostilities had not been declared and they were keen to avoid war if possible. They prepared a petition to deliver to the king requesting him to stop trying to raise an army, and asked Thomas Fairfax, a Yorkshire gentleman, to deliver it. Charles knew that something like this was going to happen, and refused to let Fairfax anywhere near him. Every time Fairfax came close, the King would gallop off in the opposite direction, once almost running Fairfax down. This game of  'tag' finally ended when Fairfax managed to force the petition under the King's saddle. Fairfax wrote a letter to his father, Ferdinando, listing the people who had been at the meeting. This letter also survives in our Special Collections.

Left: Thomas Fairfax. Right: Fairfax's letter to his father.
Charles was disappointed at the response of the Yorkshire gentry who were less keen to pledge allegiance than he had hoped. One eyewitness described the day as a 'confused murmur of noise', not the ringing acclaim that the King was relying on. Charles left York in August and travelled to Nottinghamshire where he raised his standard, and took the first steps on the road to a war that would divide the hearts of the English people, and eventually led him to the scaffold.

All the items in the Special Collections are on the Library catalogue and available for study. For more information please contact Sarah Griffin, Special Collections Librarian.