New technology designed to allow users to virtually ‘turn’ the pages of digitised books has been unveiled in Cardiff by the University’s Vice-Chancellor.
Dr David Grant and Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, visited Information Services’ Special Collections and Archives (SCOLAR) section where the new 40” digital 3D touch-screen and Turning the Pages software is based.
The new software will give users the opportunity to view some of Wales’ oldest books and manuscripts, which form part of the collection of 14,000 rare items transferred to the University earlier in the year.
Users will be able to turn pages in real-life 3D mode, zoom in, magnify images, and admire some of the magnificently illustrated books and manuscripts in the University’s collections.
SCOLAR’s purchase of the touch-screen and software, as part of a grant from the Wolfson Trust, makes Cardiff the first institution in Wales to use such technology to display digital rare books.
Head of SCOLAR, Peter Keelan, said: “Cardiff University is the first institution in Wales to use Turning the Pages, and with the support of the Assembly Government and Cymal, we will now be making available portable versions of Turning the Pages to tour Wales – another first for SCOLAR.”
Education Minister Leighton Andrews has told universities in Wales that there will be fewer of them by 2013.
Mr Andrews told the Institute of Welsh Affairs’ conference higher education institutions must “adapt or die”.
He warned their future funding, including being allowed to charge higher tuition fees, would depend on a willingness to “progress swiftly to merger and reconfiguration”.
He said: “There will be fewer higher education institutions in Wales by 2013 and fewer vice-chancellors. That does not mean fewer students or fewer campuses.”
A spokesperson for Higher Education Wales said the government’s policy on reconfiguration and collaboration is “well understood”.
She said: “A number of institutions have implemented, or are discussing, structural change.
“Higher Education institutions are committed to delivering public benefit for Wales – indeed that is at the core of their existence and is the basis of their charitable status.”
Read the news report at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-11911375
Library Design Awards show future of provision
The £32m David Wilson Library at Leicester University has won the prestigious SCONUL Library Design Award. Cardiff University has taken the honours in the ‘smaller buildings’ category.
The Award, presented by the Society of College National and University Libraries (SCONUL), rewards the best new or refurbished higher education libraries in national and university institutions.
Ann Rossiter, Executive Director at SCONUL, said:
“There is a very real chance that students will be required to pay significantly more for higher education in the near future. Student demands therefore regarding quality of services are only going to increase.
“This Award shows the importance of providing these students with high quality design and comfort combined with state-of-the-art technologies. This quality of building and finish is going to become increasingly common.
“Libraries form an important part of a university’s offer and can be the difference between high and low levels of student satisfaction. Leicester’s building and student facilities have helped to significantly improve student satisfaction and offer a blueprint for how university’s can take advantage of the opportunities presented to them by their libraries.”
Sheila Cannell, chair of the judging panel said,
“Leicester’s Library is a benchmark and deserving winner, offering a beacon for quality design and scholarship in UK universities. The new space provides students with an exceptional learning environment. Importantly, it also recognises the changing demands of students.
“We have a robust judging process for the Design Award and the panel has travelled to the four corners of the UK and Ireland to examine the candidates. We have been extremely impressed by the overall quality of library design throughout.”
The ‘Smaller Buildings’ category won by Cardiff University is presented to developments of less than 2000 sq m.
The full list of Awards and winners includes:
Winner for Large Library Award: Leicester University for the David Wilson Library
Winner for Small Library Award: Cardiff University for Trevithick Library
Highly commended (3 libraries, all in Large Library Award category): University College Cork for Postgraduate Research Library, University of Greenwich for Universities at Medway Drill Hall Library, University of Sheffield for Information Commons.
Education Minister Leighton Andrews has this week outlined Wales’ response to the decision by the UK Government to increase tuition fees in higher education institutions in England.
In Wales basic tuition fees will rise to £6000 per annum. HE institutions will be able to charge fees up to £9000, providing they can demonstrate a commitment to widening access and other strategic objectives.
To support Welsh students the Welsh Assembly Government is announcing that Welsh domiciled students will not have to find either £6000 or £9000 to study. The increase in fees for Welsh domiciled students, whether they study in England or Wales or Scotland or Northern Ireland, will be paid by the Welsh Assembly Government.
Leighton Andrews said: “We have a responsibility to Welsh-domiciled students, wherever they choose to study. We also have a responsibility to ensure that Wales benefits, economically, socially and culturally, from the investment that the Assembly Government makes in higher education in Wales. Higher education should be on the basis of the individual’s potential to benefit, and not on the basis of what they can afford to pay.”
It’s now a year since the event at Gregynog which laid the foundations for this project.
Steering Group Chair Hywel James reflected on the year since the Gregynog event “To amend Yeats quote about ‘education’ I would say that “information literacy is not about filling the bucket – it’s about igniting the fire …” Despite the very cold surroundings in Gregynog last year I hope that we managed to light the fire of information literacy in Wales and that as many as possible will benefit from its warmth …”
Read more on the project blog at: http://library.wales.org/informationliteracy/blog/