Ensuring access to key digital resources for teaching, learning and research

How we are working to support libraries and learning resource centres

With library doors closed for the foreseeable future, the Coronavirus pandemic has been an unplanned catalyst for a completely virtual library experience across universities, colleges and skills providers. Jisc is working with sector bodies to find ways to support the essential services run by libraries. We have already removed subscription requirements to our own content services and have appealed to providers of digital content and software to do likewise in an open letter to The Publishers Association and the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers last week. The information below sets out the measures that we and other providers are taking and how you can utilise them.

Content available from Jisc

We provide several content services. For a number of them we have lifted subscription requirements until 31 July 2020.

This includes Journal Archives, combining nine separate major archives of periodical content from publishers such as Brill, ProQuest and Oxford University Press (along with the open access Spare Rib Archive) and Historical Texts, which brings together major collections of historic books, such as EEBO and ECCO, into a single, powerful resource. Details of how to gain access to both can be found on the respective service website.

Several digital archives are already freely available in perpetuity: Migration to new worlds from Adam Matthew Digital; JSTOR 19th Century British Pamphlets and JSTOR Digital Library of Core E-Resources on Ireland. You can sign-up via Licence subscriptions manager.

Specific content for FE and Skills includes e-Books for FE and our five Vocational learning resources: Construction training, Digital and IT training, Education and childcare training, Health and social care training and Hairdressing Training. The Vogue archive for FE is also available from Licence subscriptions manager.

Access and discoverability

Library Hub Discover is prioritising the loading of metadata relating to open access (OA) content. Records from the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB), the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), and our Historical Texts and Journal Archives services. The globally open material available from the HathiTrust will be added as soon as possible and other sources will also be explored. The blog post from Bethan Ruddock, our project manager for the national bibliographic knowledgebase, provides a bit more context and guidance on these developments. OA resources will also now appear at the top of Discover’s search results.

Archives Hub features many digital collections as part of its extensive listings of UK archival materials. Using the Search page, you will discover over 20 online resource collections available digitally.

Zetoc provides search and personalised alerting to over 30,000 journals as well as over 52 million article citations and conference papers through The British Library’s electronic table of contents.

CORE hosts the world’s largest collection of OA full texts, aggregating content covering all research disciplines sourced from thousands of institutional and subject repositories and journals.

For journal agreements available on Licence subscriptions manager, title list information is already available in library systems’ knowledgebases to aid discovery, regardless of whether you use the KB+ service.

Our Publications Router service may be useful if you’re involved in supporting researchers or can help your institution to comply with the REF open access policy. The information Publications Router gathers from content providers is passed on to you to help you maintain accurate publication data in your institutional repository or your research information system (CRIS). View the list of providers that Publications Router currently works with.

Engaging with publishers, content and service providers


We thank those publishers who have already made content available. As per the open letter, we have contacted publishers and content providers on behalf of UK universities, Research Councils and FE libraries to ask them to adopt the recommendations, including capturing the measures they have put in place so far or plan to implement. This includes the temporary extension of copying limits and access to the CLA Content Store. We have created a single source for these responses, and those we are compiling from members and elsewhere. It will also be linked from the COVID-19 section of our Jisc website, updating the information as we receive it. The list will also include details of resources specific to supporting research into the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

In addition to the open letter and provider registry, we have also partnered with Kortext to deliver access to key learning resources for university students and staff. Further details on this and other providers will be coming shortly and available on this blog.

Pearson has responded to the need to support the FE sector by providing access to free textbooks through its own platform HN Global. We have collaborated with ProQuest to make additional free content available to FE through our e-Books for FE service. An additional 66 titles are now available until 31 July. Full title details are provided on the FE and Skills content blog.


Crucially, all this OA content needs to be discoverable, with as little administrative overhead for libraries as possible. We have contacted key library system vendors: Ebsco, ExLibris and OCLC to understand how they can easily put measures in place. Any information or updates on facilitating the discovery of the free or open content will be shared on our Library services blog. In the meantime, OCLC’s statement describes some of the measures they are taking to make content discoverable. Ebsco are providing an information and resources section, which includes information about e-book access and ExLibris include a ‘Submit your question’ in their Best Practices page. 


Chest has compiled a useful software list detailing the home use rights for distance working and learning for both staff and students under their agreements. The list has largely been completed, but there may be some minor updates.

Advice and guidance

We have developed a dedicated help and information for members webpage on planning for coronavirus (COVID-19). It contains lots of useful information including a link to our Planning for Coronavirus blog, with content added regularly.

There is also a range of guides available to search and browse on our website including Making your digital collections easier to discover and how to Enhance your online learning provision. We’ve also produced a guide with top tips [PDF] on embedding and maximising the use of FE and Skills resources.

Other sources

Online help with delivering library training sessions is also available. FutureLearn are offering a new course on How to teach online: providing continuity for students, and Epigeum, part of Oxford University Press, have made their courses on Teaching Online and Blended Learning freely available until the end of May. The Association for Learning Technology (ALT) and the Education & Training Foundation are also particular good sources for FE. They have made lots of content available as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.


New Branch Library Search Option in Library Hub Discover

Many of our contributing libraries have more than one branch library and in some cases they have many, for example, the University of Oxford sends us records for materials held in their many university and college libraries, whilst the National Trust has libraries in properties across the country. A search of Library Hub Discover will find materials held in all our contributing libraries but, should you wish to do so, you can limit your search to a specific institution by selecting from the Library list on the Advanced search screen. And we have now extended this option so that you can choose to limit your search to individual branches of a particular library, for example, you can now confine your search just to the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford, or to the National Trust’s library at Lyme Park.

In the Advanced search screen, in the Library list you can select the name of a library to limit your search to the collections of that institution. But where a library has more than one branch you can now select the arrow > to the left of the library name and this will show you the list of branch libraries from which you can select. You can choose a mix of whole libraries and individual branches to include in your search of Discover.

Including all the branch libraries makes the Library list rather long, so you may want to search within the Library list to identify the libraries you want to include in your search of Library Hub Discover. If you start typing into the search box at the top of the Library list this will immediately start reducing the library list to those with matching elements in their name. Eg. if you start typing music, you will immediately see the range of libraries diminishing until you are left with a list of specialist music libraries (such as the Royal Academy of Music) along with specialist branch libraries (such as the Jewish Institute Music Library at SOAS, University of London).

These is more information about the branch library search in the Advanced search help.

CMCAB February, July and November 2019 meetings.

Apologies for the hiatus in posting summaries of the CMCAB meetings held in 2019.

2019 was an exceptionally busy year for the NBK team as we worked towards the formal launch of the three Library Hub services at the end of July and continued with post-launch activity.  The three CMCAB meetings held in 2019 were a vitally important channel for consultation and advice from our Board members on the direction and delivery of the project.

Key areas of discussion at the meetings centred on the following themes:

  • Progress reports on institutional engagement with the NBK, and the communication of key messages via a variety of channels such as roadshows, visits, publications and promotional materials. The emphasis was to promote the advantages of collaboration and respond to community queries and concerns.  Board members supported the teams’ efforts to drive engagement and reach data loading targets, using their networks to support the ongoing momentum of the project
  • Analysis of outcomes from the work of the NBK Community Data Groups to inform future priorities and strategy
  • Consultation on the development of evolving approaches to systems and services, including the revised data model and the development of services from pilot through to launch.
  • Issues relating to data ownership and discussions with data suppliers which evolved further to the development of Plan M as a key plank of activity for 2020
  • Partnerships with organisations such as OCLC and the British Library plus input from stakeholders such as RLUK, SCONUL and library consortia
  • Strategy for future service development and enhancement, ensuring the potential of the NBK is fully exploited with collaboration from the community. An example of this is the ongoing work to develop a standard approach to the coding of retention information which can then be used to drive new functionality in Compare
  • Engagement with collaborative collection management initiatives in the sector and support for UKRR

During 2019 there were some changes to Board membership: Thalia Knight and Christine Wise stepped down from CMCAB, following many years of service and were thanked wholeheartedly for their commitment and contributions to the Board’s work.  We were delighted that Stuart Hunt agreed to take on the role of Chair.  New members will be joining the Board in 2020.  A list of current members is available here.

Discussions also took place about the Board taking on a wider governance role for Library Hub services, which will be reflected in revised Terms of Reference .  An update on this will be provided shortly.

Helping you find OA resources on Discover

Following our last post on adding more Open Access resources to Library Hub Discover, we’ve added records from the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and Jisc Historical Texts and Journal Archives (currently free to all Jisc members).

We’ve also made some changes to the sort order to bring OA and online resources to the top of your search results. You will now see OA resources first, followed by non-OA online resources, with print material last.

Where there’s an indication in the source record that the resource is OA, we’ve now added the OA symbol next to the library/resource collection name, as well as in the summary record, eg

For online resources where there is no OA symbol, you may be required to enter institutional credentials to access the material.

Many publishers are now making their online materials freely available during the COVID-19 crisis. So if you find an online book or journal it is worth trying the URL links in the record to see if you can get access. You may find that some URL links take you through a university login – so look for links that are direct to the resource eg. the first link below goes straight to the online book whilst the second will take you through an institutional login:

And if you can’t see a direct link try a web search for the publisher web site and journal name to see if you can have access. You can also contact your own university or college library service to see if they can advise regarding access to particular resources.

More library catalogues added to Discover: Foundling Museum, Newman University and University of Sunderland

We’re pleased to announce that the holdings of the Foundling Museum (Gerald Coke Handel Collection), Newman University and University of Sunderland have been added to the Discover service.

Foundling Museum – Gerald Coke Handel Collection

Foundling Museum Library

Foundling Museum Library

The collection focuses on Handel and his musical contemporaries in Britain, and comprises over 12,000 items relating to 18th century music. These include about 1,000 manuscripts, as well as printed books, music scores, libretti, performance ephemera and artworks from the 18th century to the present; the collection now acquires modern research and antiquarian material, including sound recordings.

The collection was in private hands until the 1990s, and was formally opened to the public in 2004. It is used for teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students from several universities, as well for scholarly research and performance repertoire discovery. The collection has many rare and unique items and a strong collection of ephemeral publications; items are frequently loaned for exhibitions elsewhere, and images supplied for publications and broadcasts.

Find out more about the library on their Discover information page.

Newman University

Newman University Library

Newman University Library

Newman University Library offers a range of resources to support teaching, learning, and research across the institution. The Library operates an external membership scheme and participates in SCONUL Access.

Find out more about the library on their Discover information page.

University of Sunderland

The University has campuses in Sunderland, London and Hong Kong. Special Collections are based in the Murray Library at the Sunderland campus and include:

  • Lord Putnam Collection
  • Kate Adie Collection
  • North East England Mining Archive & Research Centre (NEEMARC)
  • Sidney Pollard Collection

Find out more about the library on their Discover information page.

Explore the libraries’ collections on Discover

  • Selecting the search code to the right of each library name on the About page enables you search for all the records from an individual library.
  • To browse or limit your search to the holdings of any library, or a group of libraries, use Advanced Search to select the Libraries tab in Discover and choose the library name(s) from the list of libraries.


Open access resources on Library Hub Discover

Adding aggregations of Open Access (OA) resources has always been one of the aims for Discover. With the closure of most libraries across the UK due to coronavirus (COVID-19) and the requirements for people to stay at home wherever possible, we have prioritised adding these resources.

Discover now contains records from the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB), and we will soon be adding the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and the Hathi Trust, with others to follow. This will include the Jisc Historical Texts and Journal Archives data, which are now free to all Jisc members until the end of July.

Material which we can identify as OA contains an OA symbol

You’ll notice that many other libraries often hold this Open Access content. However, the links from these to full-text will often be behind authentication. To ensure that you get the OA link, choose ‘Directory of Open Access Books’ and follow the links on that page.

There isn’t currently an advanced-search option for OA content, but you can search ‘open access’ as a keyword. We’re working on our relevance rankings to bring material that has been identified as Open Access to the top of the results list.

Library Hub Services and the coronavirus (COVID-19)

As you may know, in response to recent government advice Jisc offices are now closed and the Library Hub team are working from home. We are all now settling into a new routine and we don’t expect the changes to have any significant impact on the Library Hub services. However, it may be that some contributing libraries have problems transferring their data to us during this period, so updates may be affected.  Please check our libraries list to see the date of the latest updates loaded.

It may be obvious, but just a reminder that many libraries may be closed for the time being, so if you are planning any visits make sure you check with the library in advance. If you select the name of a library in our libraries list this will take you to our information page for that library. Here you will find contact details and a link to the library’s web site for more information.

Staff in Jisc member libraries may be interested in following up the information and guidance being provided by Jisc: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/coronavirus

If you have any questions please contact us through the Jisc helpdesk: help@jisc.ac.uk – stating that your query is for the Library Hub team.

With best wishes from the Library Hub team.

The Frederick Lanchester collection at Coventry University Library

The work of car manufacturer, engineer, scientist and inventor Frederick Lanchester (1868-1946) is celebrated by the Lanchester Interactive Archive (LIA) at Coventry University. He was a leading automobile engineer in the UK during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and creator in 1895 of the first all-British four-wheel petrol driven motor car.

This work led to him building the first all-British motor boat in the 1890s and then the first outboard motor engine – because restrictive speed limits on roads meant that he could not carry out meaningful engine tests in cars.

Frederick Lanchester at the wheel of the 8 h.p. two cylinder Lanchester car known as the ‘Gold Medal Phaeton’ with his brother George as passenger, c1899 [LAN/1/16/4].

Frederick Lanchester at the wheel of the 8 h.p. two cylinder Lanchester car known as the ‘Gold Medal Phaeton’ with his brother George as passenger, c1899 [LAN/1/16/4].

He also made significant contributions in aerodynamics and powered flight, publishing work about it in the 1890s before the Wright brothers’ first successful take off in 1903. His mathematical theories on military combat and strategy formed the basis for operations models used in business, and he advised the government on military matters in the First and Second World Wars. He was a true polymath and other interests included optics and field of vision, colour photography, musical notation, pneumatic-framed buildings, radios, loudspeakers, gramophones and many other subjects.

Frederick Lanchester with one of his model gliders used to make aerodynamic measurements, 1894 [LAN/7/4].

Frederick Lanchester with one of his model gliders used to make aerodynamic measurements, 1894 [LAN/7/4].

The Lanchester Motor Company was formed in 1899 in Birmingham and Frederick Lanchester spent much of his life and career in the West Midlands. His experiments revolutionised the development of car engines. For example, his early car models had a radical new gearbox design later adopted by Henry Ford, and in 1902 the Lanchester company became the first to market disc brakes to the public. Another innovation ahead of its time was a hybrid petrol-electric car built in 1927, which is now at Birmingham Science Museum (thinktank).

The Birmingham Small Arms Company bought the Lanchester Motor Company in 1930 and made it a subsidiary of Daimler, which meant the manufacture of Lanchester cars moved to Coventry. Lanchester continued to set benchmarks in car design, and his models were favoured by royalty, including King George VI. The last Lanchester cars were produced in the mid-1950s.

In early 2016 the LIA started to digitise much of the material in the collection, which is the largest Frederick Lanchester archive in the world. The LIA exhibition space in the university library had its official launch in April 2017. The project’s first phase (funded by the National Lottery and others) ended in April 2019, but the university continues to support the LIA.

An augmented reality tablet in a car steering wheel shaped frame being used in the Lanchester Interactive Archive space at Coventry University library, 2017.

An augmented reality tablet in a car steering wheel shaped frame being used in the Lanchester Interactive Archive space at Coventry University library, 2017.

Outreach work features augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality tools, projections and pop-up displays. Individuals and groups (e.g. schools, organisations and communities) come to the LIA space, and workshops are tailored for any age group.

The LIA space has touch screens that include interactive games and puzzles to explain the engineering and technical aspects of Lanchester’s work and his inventions, and visitors can point AR tablets at the exhibition images to produce additional information on the tablets. Visitors can also sit in a car built by one of the LIA consultants (Lanchester historian and enthusiast Chris Clark).

External visits also take place, and this has been strengthened by the university’s recent purchase of a 1932 Lanchester 15/18 car. It is planned to adapt the car into an outreach vehicle for events and visits, especially during 2021 Coventry City of Culture, and a small volunteer team of Lanchester enthusiasts are helping to keep the car in working order.

Coventry University’s 1932 Lanchester car parked outside the newly refurbished library (appropriately named the Frederick Lanchester building), 2020.

Coventry University’s 1932 Lanchester car parked outside the newly refurbished library (appropriately named the Frederick Lanchester building), 2020.

Over 21,000 images will eventually be available via the university’s online archives catalogue including personal and business correspondence, sketch books, pocket note books, copies of patent applications, blueprints, copies and manuscript originals of published works and a large collection of contemporary photographs of Lanchester cars and other vehicles. The catalogue has been updated recently to include a second series of Lanchester correspondence and the blueprints will be added later this year.

Other items that have not been catalogued yet include Lanchester family papers, objects, and donations from individuals and organizations such as the Lanchester Trust, a charity that supports the university’s Lanchester collection work.

The LIA aims to open up Lanchester’s archives and show their potential for research in a variety of subjects. One Coventry student was inspired by an 1897 Lanchester aircraft patent as part of his MSc in aerospace engineering. A flight simulation model was created of the manned flying machine, which was never built at the time. Advanced computer software then proved that Lanchester’s machine would have flown, and would have been more aerodynamically stable than the Wright brothers’ machine used in the world’s first powered flight. The simulation was among several designs showcased by Coventry University students at the 2018 Farnborough International Airshow.

Illustration from the Frederick Lanchester patent for improvements in and relating to aerial machines, 1897 [LAN/6/34/10].

Illustration from the Frederick Lanchester patent for improvements in and relating to aerial machines, 1897 [LAN/6/34/10].

More information can be found on the LIA website which includes a link to Coventry University’s online archives catalogue.

Gary Collins
Archivist, Coventry University

Explore Coventry University library’s collections on Library Hub Discover:

Browse the library records here

All images copyright Coventry University (available via Creative Commons 4.0 license) and reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright holders.

Latest catalogues added to Discover: King’s College and Trinity College Libraries, University of Cambridge

We’re pleased to announce that the holdings of University of Cambridge libraries King’s College and Trinity College (Special Collections) have been added to the Discover service.

King’s College Library

King's College Library, University of Cambridge

King’s College Library, University of Cambridge

King’s College Library has been in continuous existence since the foundation of the College in 1441. As well as preserving many rare book and manuscript treasures, the Library serves the current needs of undergraduate, graduate and senior members of the College with a stock of approximately 130,000 books.

Find out more about the library on their Discover information page.

Trinity College Library (Special Collections)

Trinity College Library, University of Cambridge

Trinity College Library, University of Cambridge

Trinity College Library’s special collections include 750 incunabula, the Capell collection of Shakespeariana, many books from the library of Sir Isaac Newton including his annotated copy of the Principia Mathematica, the Rothschild collection of 18th century literature, the Kessler collection of livres d’artistes, and over 70,000 books printed before 1820.

Find out more about the library on their Discover information page.

Explore more University of Cambridge Libraries on Discover

The libraries of King’s and Trinity Colleges join other Cambridge University Libraries already available on Discover:

* Selecting the search code to the right of each library name on the About page enables you search for all the records from an individual library.

* To search King’s, Trinity and other Cambridge University libraries combined, use Advanced Search to select the Libraries tab and choose the library names from the list of libraries.