Monday, 30 November 2020

Christmas reading from Special Collections


Christmas Entertainments [1740]. This pocket sized item comes to us, like some many other titles in this field, from the Delargy collection. This, the personal library of the renowned folklore specialist, Seamus Ó Duilearga [James Delargy], includes many rare titles, and was originally acquired by the library in 1981. The original edition of this book was published in 1740 but, as it was intended to be used to entertain around a winter fire, it was, as the later publisher asserts “thumbed out of existence”. It is full of fantasy tales of conjurors, witches and fairies. This nineteenth century reprint is itself a rarity now and harks back to a time when household entertainment depended almost exclusively on the oral tradition and the idea of Netflix or Now TV was far in the future!

Alan Gailey. Christmas rhymers and mummers in Ireland (1968). In the same vein, this pamphlet reflects the work of one of the finest collectors of folk tradition in 20th century Ireland, the late Alan Gailey of the Ulster Museum. Most of the examples cited are from Ulster counties though Gailey does refer to the Wexford mummers’ tradition also. In County Galway, of course, we still have the New Inn Mummer’s Festival, which hopefully will be able to resume whenever such events are again permitted. 

Completing our trio of pamphlets, The Irish Christmas, was published in 1917 by The Candle Press, then operating from 158 Rathgar Road, Dublin. This publishing house went on to be known as The Three Candles Press. The pamphlet is a compilation of poems by contemporary Irish writers including Susan Mitchell and Joseph Campbell. The illustrations are by Sadb Trinnseach (Francesca "Cesca" Trench), a member of an Anglo-Irish family who was heavily involved  with the Gaelic League and sadly died in the influenza epidemic of 1918. 

The Dominican library collection, a gift to the library from the Convent of Jesus and Mary, Taylor’s Hill, Galway, in 2016 contains many items related to the Christmas season. Included here is an illustration from Noel en Provence, published in Marseille, Aix-en-Provence and Paris in 1927 and now itself something of a rarity. It is regarded as a bibliographical mainstay for the study of the crèche or crib tradition of the Provence region of southern France. 

In John Goodall’s An Edwardian Christmas we have a wordless story with paintings depicting an idyllic Christmas in an English country house at the turn of the twentieth century. This title, now out of print, was published in 1977 but harks back to a nostalgic view of Christmas. It came to us through the donation of an anonymous collection, originating in Galway City, in 2000 and proves that unusual books can be found in the unlikeliest of places.

We will end this short survey of Special Collections books with a Christmas connection on a much more modern note. From the photo essay Christmas in America, images of the holiday season by 100 of America’s leading photographers, published in 1988, we see this extravagant twentieth century image. This title is part of the collection bequeathed to the library by Henry Ringling North, once a director of the Barnum & Bailey circus and a lifelong book collector. The Ringling North library includes many rare historical titles from the seventeenth century onwards but also boasts some extraordinary modern volumes.

Nollaig Shona agus fanigí slán!


Friday, 27 November 2020

IReL Journal Backfile Purchases: Sage, American Medical Association and Wiley

IReL has recently purchased journal backfile collections from Sage, American Medical Association and Wiley on a perpetual access basis.

The Sage, American Medical Association and Wiley collections were chosen based on usage denials data: evidence that many IReL users had been attempting to read these articles but didn’t have access. 

Access to the titles in these three journal backfile collections is now available from the library catalogue.

Collection Development

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Elsevier e-Book Collection: Trial access extended

Trial access to all Elsevier e-Books (29,989 titles) has been extended until 12th January 2021. 

A complete title list is available here.

NOTE: Fulltext access is only available via the library catalogue. Please log in to and search for the Elsevier e-book you wish to access. 

We very much welcome feedback from staff and students on this trial of Elsevier e-Books. A link to a trial feedback form is available from each Elsevier e-book record on the library catalogue.

Collection Development

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Academic Staff - Help us ensure that your Reading List Resources are available for Semester II

The Library requests that academic staff submit module reading lists via the Reading List Service for next semester by Friday December 4th.

This will give us sufficient time to:

  • review the reading list
  • purchase available e-books
  • purchase print copies of new books
  • process the digitisation of requested chapters/articles
  • check e-links

All reading lists must be created and published using the Reading List System. This enables us to process the reading lists efficiently and manage the volume of ordering and digitisation requests. It also ensures ease of access for students via the Blackboard module. 

There are a range of short helpful video tutorials as well as our printed guide available from our Reading Lists Page

Academic staff new to the Reading List Service, may be particularly interested in the the following tutorials:

Collection Development

10th November 2020

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Birds of the World, Birds of NUI Galway

  The Library has recently taken out a subscription to the Birds of the World database created by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.   

This resource brings together comprehensive, authoritative content from scholarly ornithology texts, sites, maps and images integrating all information into one central hub, including videos and audio clips of bird calls. Birds of the World is the one of the most powerful ornithological resources ever created. 

We decided to use the resource to show some of the common and less common birds that can be found on the University campus.

A lover of water, there is a pair of Grey Wagtails residing at the stream that flows beneath the Concourse. The Grey Wagtail is a cousin of the very common White (Pied) Wagtail that bobs about the square in front of the Library.

Another lover of water habitats, the White Throated Dipper (or Dipper to his friends) is less common but a solitary one took up residence at the stream near the Bank of Ireland.   

The Goldcrest is the smallest bird in Ireland and Europe (even smaller than the Wren). There was a pair nesting near the Library Loading Bay last year. 

With less people on campus at the moment, you are more likely to spot a Treecreeper near the University Quadrangle as it searches for grubs on the tree trunks.

Moorhen often travels upstream from the canal and seem quite fond of the section that runs alongside the new Human Biology Building.

Mallards wander across all the waterways in the University and are very memorable in Spring with their brood of chicks in tow. We think a pair nested in the stream between the Concourse and the Kingfisher last February. The database mentions interestingly that all domestic ducks actually derive from mallards. 

The colorful Goldfinch is gregarious and small flocks can be seen on different parts of the campus. 
Another gregarious bird is the House Sparrow, numbers of which have fallen greatly in recent years.
Chaffinches are another finch regularly seen. 

Blue Tits and the related Great Tits and Coal tits can all be seen foraging for insects on campus. Notably the database states that much of their success surviving winters is attributed to being fed at bird tables during the lean months.


Come spring, Herring Gulls are now nesting on 
various University buildings such as the Concourse and the Library as their natural habitats come under increased pressure. The better behaved Black-Headed Gulls are a common visitor as well.

Cormorants often take a break from the seashore and dive for fish on the Corrib, often quite close to the river path. Here's a video clip of the bird in action.

Mistle Thrushes seems to particularly like the pitches in Dangan and can be regularly seeing inspecting the grounds for worms. The smaller Song Thrushes and first cousins Blackbirds are also common. Amazingly the database says that the Mistle Thrush was not recorded breeding in Ireland until 1807.

Rooks (picture show), Jackdaws, Hooded Crows, Magpies are all common on campus. They are members of the Corvid family and are considered the one of most intelligent of bird species. As evidence they can be seen dropping snail and sea shells from height trying to crack them open for the morsels inside.
Mute Swans regularly nest along on the river bank and last Spring, one couple were star attractions during the first lockdown with their clutch of cygnets. This time of year you might be lucky as well to see Whopper swans passing overhead as they return from Iceland for the winter.

Collared-Doves reside in the trees around Dangan, along with their first cousins, the Wood-Pigeons. Collared-Doves only arrived in Ireland in 1959 and have thrived since.

The Swift is a remarkable summer migrant, spending almost its whole life in the air. Its distinctive scythe shape can be seen high in the sky above the campus from April  onwards. Its more familiar relation of course, the Swallow feeds on flying insects all around the University, particularly in the evenings or after rain.  

We will finish with a video of the much loved Robin singing. Remember Birds of the World can be accessed via the Library Catalogue.


Collection Development

Tuesday, 20 October 2020


Trades and businesses in early 20th century Ireland

This month, as many of our business are fighting hard to maintain their customers through online and take-way trading, we take a look at some of the businesses that existed in towns around Ireland on the eve of WWI. The Dublin, Leinster and Connaught Trades’ Directory was published in 1912, under the imprint of the Trades’ Directories company, based in Edinburgh and Birmingham. It includes 227 pages of county-by-county detail of businesses in cities, towns and villages in those parts of Ireland. It provides a snap shot of the types of trading activity that went on all around the country at that time. Over 100 years later, we can see that some of these enterprises are still with us while others, due to the passage of time or changes in fashion or technology, no longer have relevance.

This page from the County Galway part of the directory shows how even a relatively small village like Ballygar, close to the border with County Roscommon, was a hub for trading and commerce at a time when many people didn’t have the funds or means to travel much beyond their local area. We can see that Clifden, then as now, had a thriving set of businesses. In 1912, the town would have been celebrating the centenary of its foundation by John D’arcy in 1812.

The directory also contains a gazetteer of Ireland, with place names arranged alphabetically. The entries indicate the place’s proximity to post office and railway stations, a vital element of commerce in early 20th century Ireland. The gazetteer includes a map of all railways in Ireland, at a time when railway construction had reached its height. This section of the map shows the northern area of the country, which now only has one mail line travelling from Dublin to Belfast and onwards to Derry. We can see from this map that the area was formerly exceptionally well connected by rail. Details of steamer and shipping connections to other parts of the world are also included. 

The library holds many other examples of printed trade directories and gazetteers, going back to Pigot’s Trade Directory from 1824. In addition online access to others is available through our subscription to the Find My Past database as well as free digital resources such as the Internet Archive. Special Collections at the University of Leicester library has created a digital repository of trade directories for England and Wales covering the period from the mid-18th century up to 1910, see while the Shane Wilson Info page includes links to many historical directories. 

Friday, 16 October 2020

Sage Catalyst - Premium Sage E-books Now Available


In order to expand access to core resources, the Library has taken out a one year subscription to Sage Catalyst, a major collection of Sage UK e-books. Sage Catalyst is a collection of 500 premium textbooks that covers a broad range of subject areas including:

  • Business & Management
  • Geography
  • Research Methods, 
  • Social Work & Sociology 
  • Media & Communication
  • Psychology & Counselling
  • Politics
  • Nursing, 
  • Education 

Sample titles include:

The Sage Catalyst titles are accessed from the Library Catalogue.

Collection Development

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Elsevier e-Book Collection: Trial Access Ends 12th November

Trial access to all Elsevier e-books is now available until 12th November 2020. 

This e-book collection consists of 29,989 titles. A complete title list is available here.

NOTE: Fulltext access is only available via the library catalogue. Please log in to and search for the Elsevier e-book you wish to access.

We would welcome your feedback on this trial of Elsevier's e-book collection. A link to a trial feedback form is available from each e-book record on the library catalogue.

Collection Development

Monday, 12 October 2020

Sage Knowledge Video Education: New Collection

Sage Knowledge Video Education is a streaming video collection. It contains 630+ videos comprising of over 120 hours of video. This subject collection was developed in partnership with leading academics and practitioners, to deliver educational and research-oriented video mapped to curricular needs. 

Sage Knowledge Video Education offers a practical view into a full range of teaching settings and situations, from early years to educational leadership, to support students needing to understand theory or how to apply it in practice. View the complete title list.

The videos cover a wide range of subject areas including:
  • Classroom Discipline and Organization
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Educational Administration and Leadership
  • Learning Theories
  • Research Methods for Education
  • Special & Inclusive Education
  • Staff Development & Professional Learning
  • Teaching Diverse Students
  • Teaching Methods & Learning Styles
  • Working with Parents, Families & Communities etc.

Access to Sage Knowledge Video Education is now available via the library catalogue.

Collection Development

Friday, 2 October 2020

Ovid Medline Users - Saved Searches & AutoAlert Results

Please see the Update from Ovid:

On 29 September, the NLM supplied us with an unexpected and unusually large set of replacements, containing 1.62 million records. 
As we start to implement this huge update over the next weeks, we want to inform you, as it may affect some saved searches, and AutoAlert result counts for Ovid MEDLINE.

What does this mean for Ovid MEDLINE users?
We expect the impact for most Ovid users to be minimal, but we do recognize the following situations:

  1. If existing search strategies contain searches that include the IO or the JA field, they may retrieve different results after the updates are implemented. Please note that regular keyword searches (.mp) on Ovid do not include the Abbreviation fields, and are not affected.
  2. All status “In-Process”, “In Data Review” and “PubMed-Not-MEDLINE” records that are replaced will be alerted on. If your AutoAlert does not have “History deduplication” enabled, the updated records will be seen as new records, which may cause a significant increase in AutoAlert results.
  3. AutoAlerts that include the Ovid MEDLINE Revisions segment (medc) will not be affected. While we normally do alert on all Status MEDLINE corrections in the monthly updated Revisions segment, we will plan NOT to alert on MEDLINE corrections supplied in the set of 1.62 million replacement records. By doing so we will prevent large spikes in AutoAlerts that include the “medc” segment.

Feel free to contact Customer Support with any questions by sending an email to