Warning! Searching the online resource the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) can be addictive as “all human life is here”. Most people use this dictionary to search for a specific individual. However you may not be aware that using the advanced search options and selecting other search criteria will create lists of names of the great and the good… and also, it must be said, the not so good.
To use the advanced search facility, click on one of the “More Search Options” displayed beneath the main search box.
Curiosity led me to check how many people there were with Kensington and Chelsea links by using these terms in the ‘place search’ category option. The result was over 3000! However this figure is misleading, as a casual check of a few entries revealed that the connection was often limited either to their unfortunate death in one of the borough’s hospitals or attendance at one of the borough’s schools.
I whittled down the 1975 Kensington entries to 122 by selecting the “Law and Crime” category from the drop down list of occupations (found in the “Fields of Interest” search category). Amongst the list of lawyers and judges I found John Christie, the Notting Hill mass murderer.
You may wonder why he is included. The DNB does not only include the great and the good. To quote the website “the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is the national record of men and women who have shaped British history and culture, worldwide, from the Romans to the 21st century”. In the case of Christie, the miscarriage of justice leading to the hanging of the innocent Timothy Evans, to quote Christie’s DNB entry, “played a significant part to the subsequent abolition of the death penalty in Britain”.
Finally it is also worth investigating the “Themes” tab to display the large number of collective biographies brought together under such topics as climbers of Everest, British monarchs, First World War poets and significant military and political leaders involved in that conflict. Other lists include a number of founder members of institutions and other significant groups.
OK so how can a dictionary be exciting? you may ask. I thought the same thing as I was about to explain to two youngsters doing their work experience here in Kensington Central Library.
Well, it is easier than you think. The Oxford English Dictionary shows you just how diverse our language is. It isn’t just a language derived from a single origin but a number of origins – Greek, Latin, French, Arabic, German, Japanese, and more… It shows each word’s history by telling of the origins of words, their first use, their reasons for meaning what they do as well as just what they mean now and other words which can be used in their stead.
I also enjoy the fact that, when you are told that you have spelt a word wrong- perhaps spelling it as it sounds- it is perhaps we ourselves who are a bit silly trying to enforce spelling, as words have developed their spelling over a great many years. Indeed, a word’s spelling is simply a way of making it understood verbally, not as the modern age suggests, which is a rule which we must follow to the letter!
You can visit and search through the Oxford English Dictionary online and look at…
The word of the day
History of words and when they were first used
Weekdays named after ancient gods
Months meaning (inaccurate) numbers and Roman emperors
The sheer number of words – 600,000
In the library you will be signed in automatically and from outside you will just need to type in your Kensington and Chelsea library card number. Please ask a member of staff if you need any help, and we will be happy to give you a hand!
We’ve gathered all the contenders and winners of the UK’s most popular literary awards in one place! So if you’re keen to read a whole shortlist, want to know what all the fuss is about a particular winner, or are just looking for a great book to read – take a look. All our book lists link straight in to the library catalogue, so you can find out which libraries hold copies of the book you’re after and whether they’re available (you can reserve from here too).
The book awards we feature include the Man Booker, Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, the Specsavers National Book Award and many more!
Why not try The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton (above) – winner of the 2014 Waterstones Book of the Year, winner of Book of the Year and Best New Writer in the 2014 Specsavers National Book Awards. This is a wonderful read set in 1686 Amsterdam. It follows eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman as she arrives from a small village to the Amsterdam household of merchant trader Johannes Brand, her new husband. A gripping story unfolds as she is given a cabinet by her husband containing an exact replica of their house.
Take a look too through the excellent shortlist for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, including the latest book by Sarah Waters: The Paying Guests. The winner will be announced in just a couple of weeks!
Each time a new shortlist is announced, the lists are refreshed – but we are gradually building a ’round up’ list of past prizewinners, so you can always be sure to find some great quality reading.
‘Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expand access to research publications’. There’s a snazzy title for a document that I’m sure all of you have pored over. Or maybe you know it better as the Finch Report. Or maybe you don’t know it at all?
To be honest, it doesn’t matter – all any of us need to know is that it’s a Jolly Good Thing because it recommended that publicly funded research should be available to the people who paid for it: the public. Us, in fact. So Proquest (who some of you may know as the publishers of Ancestry, the fantastic online genealogical resource) were signed up to provide the ‘Access to Research’ front-end, which is about as user-friendly as it’s possible to be, and various publishers were brought on board. The current “offer” is impressive – 8,000 journals, many with long back files, containing 4 million freely-available articles. And these are from top academic publishers, 17 of them and counting, including big names like Oxford University Press and Wiley.
The range of subjects is extraordinary – some of the topics are obscure (Journal of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, anyone?) but there is plenty of more mainstream stuff (Journal of popular film and television for example). The point is that if you need access to research, esoteric or otherwise, and don’t belong to an academic library or have an awful lot of money at your disposal, you now have it.
So how does it work? You simply visit your local library – access is available in Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster, and Hammersmith & Fulham libraries, as well as many other participating library services across the UK. Log onto a library computer and, in Kensington & Chelsea, go to our Online Databases page (the Access to Resource link is available at the bottom of the page). The interface couldn’t be simpler. Just enter your search terms (as with Google, you can use inverted commas around the term if you want to search for an exact phrase, so “joan crawford” will return 102 results and joan crawford 1494). You will be asked to accept the Terms and Conditions (don’t worry – you only have to do this once each session). Do have a look at them – the most important condition is that users can’t save documents electronically although they can print out one copy of each article. Accept the T&Cs and then look at the results.
When you click on an article, it will open up in a new tab so your results list remains open. You can read most of the articles as HTML format (like a straightforward webpage) or as a PDF (probably better if you intend to print it out ).
You don’t have to do a keyword search – you can Browse All Journals, using a drop-down menu to choose a subject. Or if you choose Advanced Search you can search by Author and narrow down your results by date.
Don’t forget to return to the original search screen to make each new search. The search results pop up on the websites of the various publishers, but if you stay there and use their own search boxes, you may find that you reach areas which are not part of the scheme, and get asked to pay unnecessarily.
This is all material that has previously not been available to The Public, only to those attached to academic institutions. So we should certainly make the most of it. Happy researching!
Want to do more online? Did you know you can expert advice at your local reference library? We’ve the following training sessions coming up at Kensington Central and Chelsea Reference Libraries.
Fashion at your fingertips: Explore fashion from around the world and throughout history with Berg Fashion Library
Wednesday 18 September, 2 to 4pm at Chelsea Reference Library
Come along to this demonstration to get the most out of this great resource about everything fashion! Invaluable for scholars, students, professionals, and anyone interested in dress, it includes the Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion, an extensive eBook collection, a vast image bank, extra reference resources and more.
Business information: professional resources made available for free from your library
Thursday 26 September, 2 to 4pm at Kensington Central Reference Library
At this session we will guide you through how to use two great business research websites which are available free through your library: Mint UK and also Cobra. Mint UK provides access to a wealth of company information including company data, directors, news and market research. Cobra is a continually updated information resource for anyone who is running a small business or thinking of setting up a business. Here you will find practical information and advice such as start-up business ideas and profiles, guides to business support in different areas of the UK and much more.
Social media: how to make the most of Facebook, Twitter and more
Friday 25 October, 10am to 12 noon at Kensington Central Reference Library Saturday 16 November, 2 to 4pm at Chelsea Reference Library
Social media is a great way to keep in touch with people and meet new people, but if you haven’t signed up to use one of these really popular sites yet or are not sure how to get the most out of them, this session will get you started!
Bon voyage! Get advice about booking travel online
Thursday 31 October, 10am to 12 noon at Chelsea Reference Library Friday 15 November, 2 to 4pm at Kensington Central Reference Library
If you are unfamiliar with the do’s and don’ts of booking travel online then this session will help to boost your confidence and give you practical advice about how to book tickets online easily and safely.
You can book your free place to any of these sessions at Chelsea Reference Library or Kensington Central Reference Library by calling 020 7361 3010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to the May blog post from Chelsea Library. Lots of exciting things have been happening in the reference library at Chelsea so over to the staff to tell us more….
Adult Learners’ Week 2013
In Chelsea Reference Library last week we got involved in Adult Learners’ Week by teaching some classes about getting more out of online information. From finding online career advice that you can trust to using our online Berg Fashion Library, we have really enjoyed hearing about our student’s different interests and helping them to do more online! (To access the Berg Fashion Library you’ll need a Kensington and Chelsea library membership).
We will be running more classes soon, so if you are interested, check out what we will be teaching next on the library events page.
And speaking of the fashion library, having been to the cinema recently we were inspired to display some of our books on 1920’s fashion that are in our Costume Collection.
Great facts about Chelsea Reference Library
#2: The Chelsea Gallery
Did you know Chelsea Reference Library has space to display art?
The Chelsea Gallery, which is ideally located on the Kings Road in the heart of Chelsea, is a perfect place to hold art exhibitions. The gallery has been showing a wide range of exhibitions of some fine artwork by artists based inside and outside the UK for over twenty years. To date, we have had talented artists from around the world, including the USA, Philippines, Turkey, Japan, Iran and more, showcasing their paintings, sculptures and other artwork in the gallery receiving much attention and praise from the public.
Our gallery space is beautifully presented, spacious and can be hired at an affordable rate. Whether you happen to be an amateur artist or an accomplished professional, the Chelsea Gallery is a great place to showcase your artwork.
Adult Learners’ Week is the UK’s largest annual festival of learning, inspiring thousands of people to discover how learning can change their lives.
It is the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of the benefits learning can bring, and to inspire adults of all ages to try something new. We have events in five of our libraries during Adult Learners’ Week -we hope to see you there!
What makes people happy?
Sharing the practical lessons from well-being research – Birkbeck academics have put together a series free of workshops which unpack cutting-edge research from a range of disciplines to help you better understand the science behind the smile, as well as giving you practical tips to increase your well-being.
Please book your free place for these sessions on Eventbrite.
How to be happy: some quick wins (and losses)
Saturday 18 May, 10 to 11.30am, Brompton Library
This workshop will focus on what psychologists have learnt about the science of happiness, in particular the characteristics that allow people to remain hopeful and optimistic in the face of challenging and busy lives. We will also explore how this knowledge has been translated into practical interventions that increase hope and optimism. Participants should leave with ideas around how to translate this information into small and meaningful improvements to their own levels of hope and optimism and those in their care.
Using positive psychology to stay healthy and happy in your work
Monday 20 May, 10 to 11.30am, Brompton Library
Find out how to safeguard and improve your happiness and well-being in professional settings. This workshop will help you better understand the science behind the smile, as well as giving you practical tips and strategies to increase your well-being.
Saturday 18 May, 10.30am to 1pm, Notting Hill Gate Library
Friday 24 May, 12 noon to 1.30pm, Brompton Library
Learn, chat and make with the Crocheting Divas. All materials and equipment will be provided – all you need to bring is your enthusiasm and creativity. There’s no need to book a place – just come along.
Online taster sessions
Want to do more online? Please book your free place for any of these sessions at Chelsea Reference Library.
Social media: how to make the most of Facebook, Twitter and more
Tuesday 21 May, 2 to 4pm, Chelsea Reference Library
Beyond Google: high quality learning materials available free from your library
Wednesday 22 May, 10am to 12 noon, Chelsea Reference Library
Career information online: finding the best career and training information for you
Thursday 23 May, 12 noon to 2pm, Chelsea Reference Library
Colville Community History slideshow and talk
Tuesday 21 May, 5.30 to 7.30pm, North Kensington Library
Colville Community History Project’s Tom Vague presents a slideshow and talk about the history of the area. Come along to join in the discussion, share your experiences and find out more about the Colville Community History Project. Please book a free place for this event at North Kensington Library.
Writing Creatively in Kensington – a creative writing workshop
Wednesday 22 May, 1.30 to 4.30pm, Kensington Central Library
Using photos and other artefacts from our Local Studies Library to inspire creativity participants will be encouraged to write their own pieces. Please book a free place for this event at Kensington Central Library.
Deep Recording Studios – information stall
Wednesday 22 May, 12 noon to 4.30pm, Chelsea Library
Want to find out more about music technology or sound engineering? Then come along to our information stall run by Deep Recording Studios in West London. They run Levels 1,2 and 3 City and Guilds accredited Music Technology and Sound Engineering Courses (no qualifications required). Deep has a fully operational recording studio facility near Ladbroke Grove tube station in West London, running Logic Pro and Pro Tools music software .
Hand Sewing Workshop – make a felt badge with Eithne Farry
Thursday 23 May, 2 to 4pm, Kensington Central Library
Are you passionate about clothes and accessories? Would love to create something of your own, but are unsure of how to get started? Then come along to our hand sewing workshop with Eithne Farry, where you will create your own badge out of felt.
Please book your free place for this workshop at Kensington Central Library.
How to Use Skype – over 50s session with Open Age
Friday 24 May, 10am to 12 noon, North Kensington Library
Are you over 50? Have you heard about Skype? Skype allows people to talk for free to friends and family around the world via a computer using the internet. Come along to this session to learn how to use Skype. Places are strictly limited for this class, so please book your place early at North Kensington Library.
This week Nina demonstrates how two very different subjects – the Titanic and Pablo Picasso – can be researched on the Times Digital Archive and UK Newsstand.
Sinking the Unsinkable
You can experience the drama of events such as the sinking of the Titanic, for example, and follow the awful event as it was reported as the news trickled in.
This is a string of some of the results you get when you search the database inserting a single search term: Titanic.
Launch Of The Titanic. Vessel Successfully Takes The Water. (News) from our special correspondent
The Times Thursday, Jun 01, 1911
The Largest Vessel Afloat. Maiden Voyage Of The Titanic. (News)
The Times Thursday, Apr 11, 1912
The Titanic Disaster. (Editorials/Leaders)
The Times Tuesday, Apr 16, 1912
Titanic Sunk. Terrible Loss Of Life Feared., Collision With An Iceberg., Official Messages. (News) (FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT.).The Times Tuesday, Apr 16, 1912
Position Of The Titanic At The Time Of The Disaster. (Picture Gallery)
The Times Tuesday, Apr 16, 1912
The Marine Insurance Market. The Disaster To The Titanic. (Shipping News)
The Times Tuesday, Apr 16, 1912
The Titanic Disaster. A Death Roll Of 1,328., List Of Survivors., World-Wide Expressions Of Sympathy. (News)
The Times Wednesday, Apr 17, 1912
New York Stock Exchange. Dull On The Loss Of The Titanic. (Stock Exchange Tables)
The Times Wednesday, Apr 17, 1912
Help For Titanic Victims. A Mansion House Fund., Donations From The King And Queen. (Letters to the Editor) THOS. BOOR CROSBY, Lord Mayor
The Times Thursday, Apr 18, 1912
The Titanic. Number Of Survivors Still Doubtful., The Supply Of Boats., Relief Fund Opened In London. (News) (FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)
The Times Thursday, Apr 18, 1912
The string of newspapers headlines eloquently illustrates how the ‘unsinkable’ ship went from this:
To this in one short week:
Fall and Rise of Picasso
In another example, the first article published in The Times about the artist, Pablo Picasso is dated 12 April1912 following the exhibition of his drawings in Stafford Gallery in Duke Street in London. It defends the artist from the accusations of being the ‘incompetent charlatan’ and discusses how the advent of photography ‘spooked’ artists like Picasso into exploring the abstract and moving away from representing form in the conventional way.
268 further results reveal the bewilderment of the established critics at the developments of this new way of artistic expression. They chart the artist’s rise through countless exhibitions, record-breaking sales, stolen works, attempts at forgery of his paintings, right through to the platitudes piled on him on the occasion of his 75th birthday, on 25th October 1956, in the article which declares him ‘among the greatest draughtsman to have appeared in the history of European art.’
…and finally his death at 91 on Monday, 9th April 1973, with The Times depicting him as the ‘greatest painter of modern times’ and a national treasure of several countries. Henry Moore calls him ‘probably the most naturally gifted artist since Raphael’ and the director of Tate hails him as ‘beyond comparison and the most original genius of the century.’
“When I was a child, my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk you’ll end up as the Pope.’ Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”
It is interesting to note how the emphasis of the whole body of writing on the subject of Picasso on the Times Digital Archive is overwhelmingly his art, despite the fact that he had a very colourful private life. Out of 268 articles only a handful refer to his private life, briefly and respectfully.
The true fall-out of his manner of life and the fact that he left no will to help the family manage his gigantic legacy can be much better traced using UK Newsstand, reflecting our modern obsession with salacious detail and Picasso himself. Search for “Picasso women” yields staggering 9222 articles in UK Newsstand.
All this is interesting on its own merit, but if you are a student or a researcher or have a special interest in anything that happened or was talked about in this country in the last 200 years – Times Digital Archive can enrich your understanding and widen you research through its particular take on people and events captured in news articles as they unfolded.
If you wish to have a demonstration of the Times Digital Archive or UK Newsstand please contact Kensington Central Reference Library on email@example.com. A reference librarian will be delighted to help you get familiar with the databases and set you off on your own journey of discovery. Kensington Central Reference Library has 5 dedicated computers available for researching our online databases.
UK Newsstand lets you access 299 regional and national newspapers and magazines (along with several trade and scholarly journals), from Aberdeen Evening Express to the Yorkshire Post. You can read broadsheets or tabloids, anything from small local newspapers such as Hackney Gazette to the big national newspapers such as The Guardian, The Times, The Independent and The Daily Telegraph, within 24 hours of them being pressed. You can also easily catch up with anything you might have missed.
At the moment the press itself is under scrutiny. Searching for terms such as ‘Levison’ or ‘press regulation’ using UK Newsstand is far superior than searching via a search engine. Search engines will throw up many relevant sites and articles but they will displayed haphazardly and you’ll need at least five more clicks to get to the information you want on each site (then go back and look for another source and so on). Using UK Newsstand gives you a comprehensive list of chronologically ordered results from all the selected publications. This allows you to have an extensive overview how a certain subject was reported in the press.
For serious researchers there is My Research – a place where you can save, manage, and organise the content and supporting materials you find using the database. You can include texts, articles, searches, tags, shared lists, search alerts, RSS feeds, and more.
TIP: Use quotation marks rather than brackets to obtain exact phrases.
TIP: UK Newsstand can be displayed in over 10 languages – the results will still be in English but it may be easier to navigate around the site in your own language!
UK Newsstand provides millions of documents from thousands of sources, covering research and subject areas like these:
Health & Medicine
Literature & Language
Science & Technology
The database offers the full range of searching options. You can use keyword search for the publications you select, you can choose the type of documents you want to view or search Obituaries and death notices to help find ancestors, relatives, and notable figures.
If you wish to have a demonstration of TDA or UK Newsstand please contact Kensington Central Reference Library on firstname.lastname@example.org. A reference librarian will be delighted to help you get familiar with the databases and set you off on your own journey of discovery. Kensington Central Reference Library has 5 dedicated computers available for researching our online databases.
We read newspapers and magazines to keep informed of what is happening in the world around us. Libraries have traditionally provided access to current news by making hard copies of newspapers and magazines available to their readers. In more recent times developments in information technology have turned your library card number into a code that opens a powerful gateway to news, both ‘old’ and current, without you having to set foot in a library building.
Where before it was all about old newspapers stacked in library stores and long lines of bound volumes of magazines, now we can offer all that and more through databases such as Times Digital Archive (TDA) and UK Newsstand. They (and a number of other online databases) are available to members through Library pages on the Royal Borough’s website.
And it is all free!
All you need to do is click on the link above, choose the database from the links on the right of the page (under the heading “24 hour Online Reference”) and insert your library card number when prompted.
Why not give it a go now?
Not a member? Click here for information on how you can join.
So, whether you fancy researching ‘old’ news or you wish to keep up with current affairs and news as they develop, through your library membership you can access your favourite newspapers from home or anywhere in the world where you have access to the internet.
It may actually be a good idea to note down your library card number (or carry your card with you!) when travelling if you want to have continuous access to news and information while away, or wish to do a bit of research on the subject that interests you.
If you wish to have a demonstration of TDA or UK Newsstand please contact Kensington Central Reference Library by emailing email@example.com, or call 0207 361 3031. A reference librarian will be delighted to help you get familiar with the databases and set you off on your own journey of discovery. Kensington Central Reference Library has 5 dedicated computers available for researching our online databases.