Scottish Ornithologists’ Club catalogue loaded

We’re pleased to announce that the holdings of the George Waterston Library at the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club Headquarters have been added to Copac.

George Waterston Library

The George Waterston Library at Waterston House, SOC Headquarters

The library is now in its tenth year at Waterston House. George Waterston, co-founder of the SOC, was instrumental in forming the collection by begging books from various sources. Many books in the Club’s collection were formally part of his and his wife’s library, alongside donations made by others in the early 1930’s.

With an outlook over Aberlady bay, the library offers a calm and tranquil environment to sit and read. It is open to all-researchers, birdwatchers of all levels, artists and historians, seven days a week during HQ’s normal opening hours.

As the largest ornithology library in Scotland and one of the top collections of its kind in Britain, the facility contains over 5,000 books, around 130 different journals and houses a unique and distinctive archive. The library aims, as far as possible, to be a complete repository of all material on Scottish ornithology. As such, it has a collection not just of books but of some fascinating diaries, photographs and letters from eminent Scottish ornithologists.

This wonderful resource also contains a range of non-Scottish ornithology titles including standard works on avifauna of all parts of the world, handbooks on identification, and works on bird behaviour and methodology.

The library has complete runs of the key British journals, all the main international periodicals and all the bird reports from Scotland, neighbouring English counties, Wales and Ireland.

To browse, or limit your search to the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club, go to the main tab on and choose ‘Scottish Ornithologists’ Club’ from the list of libraries.

Exhibition at Middle Temple Library: 250 years of Blackstone’s Commentaries

Renae Satterley, Deputy Librarian at Middle Temple Library, writes about their forthcoming exhibition.

Photo of Unidentified bookplate found in the second copy of the second edition of the Commentaries (shelfmark BAY L551)

Unidentified bookplate found in the second copy of the second edition of the Commentaries (shelfmark BAY L551)

Middle Temple Library will be hosting an exhibition from Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the publication of Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. This exhibition was curated by Mike Widener, Rare Book Librarian at the Lillian Goldman Law Library, and Wilfrid Prest, Professor Emeritus of History and Law at the University of Adelaide.

Image: 4.A colour plate from The Comic Blackstone

A colour plate from The Comic Blackstone

The exhibition was first shown at Yale from March to June 2015. It will be on display at Middle Temple Library from September to November, after which it will be on display at the Sir John Salmond Law Library at the University of Adelaide from December 2015 to January 2016.

The exhibition features over 40 items from Yale’s Law Library collection which depict the origins of the Commentaries, its publishing success and its impact on the common law system and more broadly on English and American society. The items include a volume annotated by one of Blackstone’s students, a legal treatise with Blackstone’s marginalia, the first English editions of the Commentaries, early Irish and American pirated editions, abridgments, teaching aids, student manuscripts, critiques, translations (into French, German, Italian, and Chinese), and a 1963 liquor advertisement.

Image: Portrait of Blackstone

Portrait of Blackstone

Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780) was a member of Middle Temple, admitted 20 November 1741, called to the Bar 28 November 1746 and made a Bencher (i.e. senior member of the Inn) on 1 May 1761. Sir William was Vinerian Professor of the Law of England at Oxford in 1758. Although he was “particularly fond of architecture and poetry” upon entering Middle Temple he gave up his first love to concentrate on the study of law. While Vinerian Professor, he presented a course of lectures which later became the foundation of the Commentaries.

The Commentaries was first printed in four volumes in 1765-9, later going through thirteen English editions in the 18th century alone, while also being published in Dublin and Philadelphia. The book continues to be published up to this day. According to his entry in the Dictionary of National Biography, the “tortuous” complexities of the common law “were outlined in a manner at once authoritative, clear, elegant, and even engaging” and the Commentaries “would become the most celebrated, widely circulated, and influential law book ever published in the English language.”

Image: Bookplate of Sir William Blackstone

Bookplate of Sir William Blackstone

In 1759 Sir William donated his own copy of The Great charter and Charter of the forest to Middle Temple Library. The library also holds his personal copy (with bookplate) of Thomas Wentworth’s The office and duty of executors. Unfortunately the latter is damaged, with the title page missing, and was thus mis-catalogued in our collection until recently.

While the library is not open to members of the public, the exhibition can be viewed by making an appointment with the Deputy Librarian ( The library is also participating in the event ‘Open House London: Revealing Magna Carta’ on 19 and 20 September where Inner Temple, Middle Temple, Temple Church and the Royal Courts of Justice will be open to the public. Full details on this event are available at:

The exhibition catalogue, which was published with the support of William S. Hein & Co., is available to download for free at: Mark S Weiner has created a video interview with Professor Wilfrid Prest which can be viewed here:

Further information about Yale Law Library’s rare books can be found here: Information about the Law Library at the University of Adelaide can be found here:

Last but not least, information about Middle Temple Library can be found at:

Renae Satterley is Deputy Librarian at Middle Temple Library and has been working at the library since January 2006, when she was hired as Rare Books Librarian. She completed her MLIS at McGill University in 2004 and worked at Emmanuel College Cambridge from 2004-2005. She is currently Chair of CILIP’s Library & Information History Group and has written on the history of Robert Ashley’s (1565-1641) library.

Royal Asiatic Society catalogue loaded

We’re pleased to announce that the holdings of the Royal Asiatic Society have been added to Copac.

 IRoyal Asiatic Society Library

Image: Royal Asiatic Society Library

The collections of the Royal Asiatic Society have developed continually since the founding of the Society in 1823, and today incorporate some 80,000 books and journals, thousands of manuscripts, paintings and drawings, and maps, as well as extensive archive holdings.

The printed collections date back to the sixteenth century, and in subject and language span the whole of Asia as well as adjacent regions, with Indian and Persian cultures particularly well-represented. The core of the printed collections is the nineteenth-century material, which is representative of the development of Oriental studies during that period.

A vast range of subjects are covered, with the main strengths being in languages, philology, art, history, literature, religion, and philosophy.

To browse, or limit your search to the Royal Asiatic Society, go to the main tab on and choose ‘Royal Asiatic Society’ from the list of libraries.

The Library at The National Archives

Michael Little introduces us to the Library at The National Archives.

The Library at The National Archives has existed since the 1830s, albeit in various guises, and been open to the public since 1997. It contains around 65,000 volumes and its principal purpose is to act as a research library to support the main document collection which has been open to the public, also since the 1830s. The library collection holds titles on a wide range of subjects and acquires new titles with users of the archive collection, including staff, in mind. I have worked in the library since 2001 in different roles but always doing cataloguing. The library has been through several changes in this time but its core collection and aims have remained basically the same.

Amongst its collection, the library holds a large collection of local history society runs, divided up into English counties. Whilst holding these runs is not unique, it is very helpful to have complete runs of these on open access. Many of these societies still produce new volumes and we receive them on a regular basis. They contain both volumes of essays and monographs and cover subjects like cartularies, wills, priory charters, Feet of Fines, Assize Rolls, depositions and eyres. In addition, the local history section contains a large number of monographs on a wide range of topics such as histories of villages, towns and counties, local finance, education, law, rural life and architecture and more All English counties are represented, some with more than one local history society collection. These are an invaluable resource for users of the archive collection and anyone conducting local history research. They can be an excellent starting point for archival research and in some cases are a useful research end in themselves.

Title page of Alfred Wyon's 'Great Seals of England'

Title page of Alfred Wyon’s ‘Great Seals of England’

Another noteworthy aspect of the library collection is its collection of books on seals. Seals form an important part of The National Archive’s holdings with over a quarter of a million of them in the document collection. Seals are an interesting and useful historical source; they are used to authenticate and quite literally to seal documents. They can tell us a lot about the time they originate from and are often very interesting in themselves and shed light on the art, customs and power structures of the time. Frequently they are unique. The library holds a large collection of books on seals, one of the best collections on this subject outside the British Library and the Society of Antiquaries. The majority of these are in the main library collection whilst some of these are housed in the library’s rare book collection (which comprises titles published before 1800). Rare books are not on open access but they can be consulted with a reader’s ticket.

One of the most interesting examples of a study on seals is Alfred Wyon’s (1837-1884) The Great Seals of England, published in 1887. Wyon came from a large family of medal makers and engravers who were specialists in the field. We hold two copies, one of them annotated.

Example of seals

Example of seals

Another example of seals

Another example of seals

It contains fine illustrations and plates, along with descriptive text outlining the history of seals in England. It is a rare and very useful title.

You can find several titles relating to seals in the local history society runs that we hold. One of these is Facsimiles of Early Charters from Northamptonshire Collections, (1930) part of the Northamptonshire record society, edited by F M Stenton. This volume acts a useful guide to seals of Northamptonshire as they appear on the county charters. It has some excellent illustrations and plates alongside the text. This is another excellent example of a title on this subject.

There are many titles similar to this in the library and like this title contain excellent illustrations and plates alongside, often extensive, text. The interest in seals is somewhat of a niche market and those books that have been and that are still produced, tend to be of high quality and published or produced in small numbers.

Examples of more general titles are Guide to Seals in the Public Record Office and A guide to British Medieval Seals alongside many others.

We also hold several catalogues of seals relating to archive holdings of other organisations such as those held in Durham Cathedral and to some collections overseas, especially France. In addition there is also a good collection of books on Scottish seals. These are indispensable guides to seals collections. What we hold on this subject to an extent reflects the interests of members of staff in seals over the years.

As a footnote to our holdings on seals, our Collection Care Department now has a research fellow working exclusively on this subject.

Explore Copac records for works on seals held at The National Archives Library

Copac cloud platform and new Web address

We have now moved the Copac service onto our new cloud platform. This is the final stage of a project to transfer the service onto a more responsive platform with greater flexibility to support future development. We will be continuing to check all aspects of the service now the move is complete – if you notice any problems please let us know via the Copac helpdesk:

You will also see there is a new Copac URL:
This reflects the move of Mimas services into Jisc last year. The old Copac Web address will continue to work for the forseeable future.

If you use the option to login to Copac it is possible that the Web address change may take a while to be picked up locally. So whilst we expect that most people will see the change immediately, in some cases it could take up to 24 hours before the login works for you.

As part of the work on Copac during the platform move we have removed one little used feature. Previously, where a university library didn’t have its catalogue on Copac, the library could provide information to let us to set up a local catalogue search – so a member of that university who was logged into Copac could search both Copac and their local catalogue together. This facility has been little used, so has been removed for the time being – with apologies to those who have been making us of this option. There are discussions underway about the future scope of the Copac service and once this becomes clearer we will look again at whether there is still a need for this type of facility and, if so, the best way of providing this.

Copac maintenance 30th June 2015

We are coming towards the end of a project to move Copac onto a new cloud platform, which should give us a more responsive and flexible platform for development into the future. We are planning to move onto the new cloud service on the morning of the 30th June. We don’t anticipate any downtime but the service should be considered at risk that morning.

We are also going to be moving to a new Web address to reflect the fact that Copac, along with other Mimas services, is now part of Jisc.
We will provide details once the new address is fully established, but the existing Copac Web address ( will continue to work for the foreseeable future.

If you have any questions please get in touch through the Copac helpdesk:

Cranfield University (Technical Reports Collection) catalogue loaded

We’re pleased to announce that the holdings of Cranfield University (Technical Reports Collection) have been added to Copac.

Image of Kings Norton Library, Cranfield University

Kings Norton Library, Cranfield University (Image copyright: Cranfield University)

This Collection specialises in Aeronautics and is also strong in Agriculture and Soil Sciences, Automotive/motorsport, Engineering, Environment and Management. The metadata is particularly rich as each report is catalogued at item rather than series level. Reports are generally available for interlibrary loan and a growing number are digitised.

Cranfield’s Aeronautical reports comprise a nationally, if not internationally, important collection of current and historical technical and research reports relating to aerospace and air transport engineering and management from leading research establishments and organisations. Many reports date back to the early the 1940s and 1950s and some even earlier. The translations of reports produced at the Luftfahrtforschungsanstalt Hermann Goring (LFA), Volkenrode which describe German aeronautical research, especially during the 1940s are of particular historical interest.

• National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
• NATO Advisory Group for Aerospace Research and Development (AGARD)
• European Space Agency (ESA)
• International Civil Aviation Organization
• Aeronautical Research Council (ARC)
• Royal Aircraft / Aerospace Establishment (RAE)
• Office National d’Études et de Recherches Aérosatiales (ONERA)
• Nationaal Lucht- en Ruimtevaartlaboratorium
• Deutsche Luft- und Raumfahrt
• National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA)

To browse, or limit your search to the Cranfield University (Technical Reports Collection), go to the main tab on and choose ‘Cranfield University (Technical Reports Collection)’ from the list of libraries.

Middle East collections at the University of Exeter

Afzal Hasan, Subject Specialist Librarian for Arabic and Islamic Studies
at the University of Exeter, explains his role and describes their Middle East collections.

I look after the Middle East, Politics and Security Studies Collections at the University of Exeter. My official role is Academic Support Consultant – or Subject Librarian. This is a fairly specialist role given the languages used: Arabic, Persian, Kurdish, Turkish as well as the familiar western languages. I’ve been doing this since 2010, employed initially as the Mid-East Librarian – previously having volunteered at the Bodleian, and having worked at British Councils in the Middle East as a teacher.

Exeter is a major centre in the UK for Arabic & Islamic Studies with Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies [IAIS] and related Area Studies eg Kurdish Studies.

Photo of Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies (IAIS) Building

Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies (IAIS) Building

Besides a growing and comprehensive modern collection on the Middle East especially given the world of today, I will mention a collection which retains uniqueness. At first IAIS contained the nationally recognised Arab World Documentation Unit [AWDU] but now this has relocated to the Old Library. On the collections in AWDU I wrote the following description on our webpages:

The Arab World Documentation Unit – AWDU – located [now] in the Research Commons Old Library provides unique collections, totalling over 100,000 items on Arab Gulf states: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Yemen, United Arab Emirates as well as the wider Arab world including Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan. AWDU collects mainly documentary reference material such as statistical data, country reports, official publications, political opposition newsletters and Pan-Arab literature. The Unit holds substantial archival, historical and sociological material from the mid-18th century onwards, such as the Bombay Diaries (held in Special Collections – 16,000 selected photocopied pages from 1778 to 1820) which were originally the ledgers of the Secret & Political Department in Bombay, contents guide is here, as well as microfilms from British, American, Indian, French and Portuguese government archives and around 500 volumes of reproduced documents from the British Public Records Office published by Archive Editions. There are also important collections of private papers and diaries such as the valuable Uri Davis collection – containing 2600 volumes of books, 600 pamphlets and 400 volumes/boxes of periodicals mainly dealing with the Arab-Israeli Conflict, as well as microfiche holdings of documents on Palestine during the Mandate period and after 1948.

Photo of Sir William Luce

Sir William Luce

The emphasis on the Mid East gulf you’ll note is a particular strength. The collection of private and personal papers include those of Sir Charles Belgrave (1894-1969), Advisor to the Rulers of Bahrain, 1926-57. Sir William Luce (1907-77), British Governor of Aden, 1956-60; Political Resident in the Gulf, 1961-6; British Special Representative for Gulf Affairs (in charge of Britain’s withdrawal from the Gulf), 1966-72.

The main Library – the Forum Library contains the modern bulk of Middle East material as well as Politics, and Security Studies.

Image of Edward William Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon - Cover

Edward William Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon, Vol I – Cover

Being the Arabist that I am, I should say my favourite item in all of the collections must be Edward William Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon – a work of 30 years’ superlative scholarship. It’s been my constant companion since my undergraduate days. The Islamic Texts Society brought out a superb two volume edition in 1984.

For me, what’s really exciting is the University of Exeter’s Digital First Strategy, the Open Access Movement, the events and dynamics taking place in the world, internationalisation strategy, and how the Library continues to play its part.

Afzal Hasan MCLIP
Librarian: Arabic | Politics | Security Studies
University of Exeter

Explore Copac records for Arabic language materials at the University of Exeter Library.

All images copyright the University of Exeter Library and reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright holder.

Institution of Civil Engineers Library catalogue loaded

We’re pleased to announce that the holdings of the Institution of Civil Engineers Library have been added to Copac.

Image of Institution of Civil Engineers Library

Photo copyright: Institution of Civil Engineers.

The Institution of Civil Engineers was founded in 1818 by a small group of idealistic young men and granted a royal charter in 1828 where it declared that its aim was to “foster and promote the art and science of civil engineering”. With over 130,000 titles, including major conference series and over 900 periodical titles, the ICE Library is the largest single resource in Civil Engineering in the world.

The ICE archives contain records relating to the ICE from its formation to the present, as well as, records relating to prominent engineers of the past including James Brindley, John Smeaton, Thomas Telford, The Rennies, and engineering wonders like the Marc Brunel’s Thames Tunnel, Robert Stephenson’s Britannia Bridge, the Forth Railway Bridge, and the Panama Canal.

To browse, or limit your search to the Institution of Civil Engineers Library, go to the main tab on and choose ‘Institution of Civil Engineers’ from the list of libraries.

Postponed: Copac Office Move: 17th-20th April

Unfortunately our office move has now been postponed.
We’ll post the new date nearer the time, but it is likely to be early May.

The Copac team is on the move on Friday 17th April and settling into our new office on Monday 20th April. Along with the rest of our Jisc Manchester colleagues we are moving to:
6th Floor, Churchgate House
56 Oxford Street
M1 6EU

With apologies in advance – you may find there is a delay in response to queries sent between 17th-20th April whilst the move takes place. But we’ll get back to you as soon as we can once we’re installed in our new space.