Thursday, 27 September 2018

52 Book Challenge - Week 39

To the Librarians, James Cook University,

Dear Sirs,

I hope this letter finds you well. I have received, with pleasure, your previous communication, regarding the Fifty-Two Book Reading Challenge. It has been most stimulating and informative, and my colleagues and I have appreciated the opportunity to read a wide variety of books over the past thirty-eight weeks.

However, I wish to inform you that many of the books you have selected for your reviews have been, to put it politely, "unsavoury". We here at the Victorian Gentlemen's Reading Society feel that your readership would be greatly benefited from having their reading tastes restricted to a more genteel selection, and so we applaud the fact that this week's challenge is:

39. A Victorian Novel.

Although, it must be noted that novels should be kept away from impressionable young girls. They are prone to fits of hysteria when over stimulated by tawdry prose.

Regards,

George Allthwarp
Victorian Gentlemen's Reading Society.

A Library of Exquisite Treasures


In correspondence with AIMS about the sale of his scientific library, Sir Maurice Yonge remarked that he was pleased that the books would remain together, and on the North Queensland coast, not far away from Low Isles - the site of his first major research expedition. Sir Maurice highlighted notable volumes contained in the collection, including Beete Jukes’ Voyage of HMS Fly, published in 1847, an author’s copy of Saville-Kent’s now-famous work on the Great Barrier Reef, published in 1893, and an album containing the original prints of Saville-Kent’s photographs taken for that publication. He noted that Saville-Kent’s book was one of the books he took with him to Low Isles in 1928.
The Great Barrier Reef of Australia, by William Saville-Kent, and an album containing Saville-Kent's original photographs, is now part of the Sir C.M. Yonge Collection, housed at JCU Library's Special Collections.

The acquisition of Sir Maurice Yonge’s library proved to be something of an administrative challenge for the library staff at AIMS, who then faced the enormous task of sorting and cataloguing the collection. Suzie Davies, now one of JCU Library’s Special Collections volunteers, began working with the Sir Maurice Yonge Collection not long after it arrived at AIMS. And although Suzie never met Sir Maurice Yonge, for eight years of her professional life, she read his books, letters, Christmas cards, and saw dozens of photos of his life. Suzie was surrounded by the professional life and times of Sir Maurice Yonge, and in this blog post, she talks about the impact that his library had on her, personally, as well as professionally.
“I got my first ‘proper’ professional job as a librarian in early 1983, when I went to work as a cataloguing librarian in the science library at the Australian Institute of Marine Science, at Cape Ferguson, North Queensland,” Suzie said.

“AIMS was and still is a stunningly impressive scientific facility, set in a national park, on the shores of the Coral Sea. In 1983, the AIMS library was the largest marine science library in the Southern Hemisphere. To say that I was somewhat in awe of and intimidated by working there was an understatement. On my first day in my new job, I was shown around by Inara Bush, the AIMS Library Manager. Inara had just recently started her job at AIMS, after a long and extremely distinguished career in academic & research libraries. She was an exceptional librarian, and I was terrified!”

“On my first day, Inara walked me into an office filled with large cardboard boxes. She waved her arms across them all and said ‘Suzie, these boxes contain the personal scientific library of Sir Maurice Yonge, the most famous marine scientist in the world. And it’s your job to catalogue them. Oh, by the way, some of them are hundreds of years old, so be careful.’ No pressure…” 
Suzie Davies, at work in the library at AIMS, c. 1987. Photo supplied by Suzie Davies.

Over the next months, Inara and Suzie opened box after box of books, discovering treasure after treasure, and in the process, Suzie found herself getting to know Sir Maurice Yonge through the collection he had spent a lifetime building.
“I chipped away – cataloguing, cataloguing, cataloguing. We gradually began to know the collection, and to understand the depth and breadth of Sir Maurice’s scientific interests. Even though Sir Maurice was a malacologist, we found books on every aspect of marine science and technology. We found maritime histories, anthologies of poetry of the sea, we found cookbooks on oysters. We even found Moby Dick!”

“We also found several hundred very old and rare books from the 1800s and 1700s – books filled with the most exquisite illustrations of marine life. Books written during the French Revolution, books written by history’s greatest thinkers: Darwin, Solander, Banks, Rumphius, Sowerby - the list is vast.”

“As the years went by this beautiful collection gave up its secrets to Inara, who was then able to help the AIMS scientists use this amazing resource for their own scientific research. For me, a new librarian learning the ropes, this was a unique and wonderful experience – one that influences my life still. Inara taught me much over those years. I formed a bond of huge respect and regard for her knowledge, professionalism, patience, and for the excellent library service that she constantly gave the AIMS scientists.”

“Sir Maurice Yonge passed away in 1986. On hearing the news, I can remember feeling a sadness that this great man’s huge life had ended. As I had worked my way through this outstanding record of a life so well lived, I had formed a warm, personal regard and respect for this giant of the marine science world. And by the end of my time working on Sir Maurice’s scientific library, I felt that, even though I had not met him, maybe this wonderful collection had allowed me to know something about this quiet, humble man. And for that privilege, I will always be grateful,” Suzie said.

Pictured above with books from the Sir C.M. Yonge Collection are: Joanna Ruxton (left) - Manager, Information Services at GBRMPA (and former AIMS librarian), and Lisa Capps (right) - Library & Information Services Coordinator at AIMS.

Suzie Davies (pictured above) has curated a selection of rare books from the Sir Maurice Yonge Collection that will be featured in future blog posts – so stay tuned!

Next week: we take a look “behind the scenes” - when the Sir Maurice Yonge Collection came to its new home at James Cook University Library. 

If you missed earlier posts in this series - you can catch up here

* Read more about the Sir C.M. Yonge Collection
** Browse the titles in the Sir C.M. Yonge Collection

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Reading Challenge Week 38 - An epic poem

The word "epic" is used in many situations and has a variety of meanings, but when it's paired with the word "poem", then we're talking about one thing, really:

A really long poem that tells a story.

Oh, sure, there are other definitions of "epic poetry" - but quite frankly they're all a bit too restrictive for our liking. And, essentially, the all boil down to one thing:

A really long poem that tells a story.

So here are some long story-telling poems we read for this week's challenge.

Brenda Carter read The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope

Many years ago I enjoyed reading The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope (820 POP 1C RAP/CUN) at university and decided to revisit it for this week’s theme. The Rape of the Lock is an 18th century  mock-epic poem that uses the traditional high stature of classical epics to satirise a trivial social occurrence:
"What dire offense from amorous causes springs,
What mighty contests rise from trivial things, / I sing [...]" ( I.1-3)
The story is based on a true incident, in which an aristocrat cut a lock of hair from a lady he admired without her permission, creating a breach between the two families. The humour of the poem is based on the portrayal of this incident as though it had the importance of classical tragedy – the abduction of Helen of Troy becomes the theft of a lock of hair; the description of Archilles’ shield is replaced by musings on the heroine’s petticoat, while the structure and language of the poem mirrors that of epic poems such as The Illiad. The power of caffeine empowers our villain to do the deed, in spite of possible retribution from the gods:
Coffee, (which makes the Politician wise,
And see thro' all things with his half shut Eyes)
Sent up in Vapours to the Baron's Brain
New Stratagems, the radiant Lock to gain.
Ah cease rash Youth! desist e'er 'tis too late,
Fear the just Gods, and think of Scylla's Fate! (III.117–122)
The Rape of the Lock an easy and entertaining introduction to the epic poem genre, and an interesting glimpse into the social history of the period. 


Sharon Bryan read The Rime of the Modern Mariner, by Nick Hayes.

I wasn’t sure if I should tackle this book for this week’s challenge, or leave it for Week 45, which is “A Graphic Novel”. You see, this book is a very good graphic novel, with some seriously brilliant artwork, but it also happens to be an epic poem. Okay, it's a bit short for a "true" epic poem, even though it's a sizeable doorstop of a book, as it’s more art than poem. But I’m sure we can forgive it for that.

Nick Hayes took Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner as his starting point, and his poem follows the movements of Coleridge’s reasonably closely, but with a fair amount of variation. Hayes’ Modern version stands on its own, and you can read it and enjoy it if you have never read Coleridge’s original, but if you have read the Ancient Mariner you notice a lot of little touches in the Modern version that add something to the story.

In Coleridge’s original poem, a haggard looking old man stops a wedding guest on his way to the church and proceeds to tell a harrowing story about ghost ships, angel-possessed corpses and slimy things with legs. The mariner shot an albatross for the heck of it, and the whole ship was then cursed by the spirit who loved the bird. A lot of things go very, very wrong, with a lot of it involving supernatural forces of a less-than-benevolent nature. He survives (none of his shipmates do), but is then driven to tell his story on a regular basis.

In Hayes’ version, the mariner delays a recent divorcee and tells him about his adventure. In this tale, the mariner started with little respect for the natural world (he wanted to get some whalebone in Japan for dominoes), and again shoots an albatross for the heck of it. Again, a curse falls upon the boat he is travelling on, and they are stalled in the middle of a calm ocean. Only this is a modern tale, and the calm ocean is brimming with plastic, polystyrene, discarded fishing nets and other detritus of a wasteful human society.

Hayne’s brilliantly illustrated version has less to do with the angels-and-demons-and-ghosts supernatural elements, and more to do with the spirits of the earth and the old gods, who take the mariner to task and drag him through a watery hell of oil slicks and plastic. Eventually, he comes to land and is found by a fisherman who lives with the natural world. He is given the chance to rest in an unpolluted natural space, and comes to realise that the earth can heal us, if we would only stop choking it to death.

The divorcee doesn’t hear the message though. Will we?

Samantha Baxter read The epic of Gilgamesh: the Babylonian epic poem and other texts in Akkadian and Sumerian, translated and with an introduction by Andrew George.

The original bromance, this is not always easy to read being over 4000 years old. But it is well translated and the story and events are easily followed: the battle between two men who afterwards become friends, the quest to kill a beast, the parting of friends, the fear of death. It is interesting in many ways to realise how easy it is to understand this ancient tale, although some of that may be bias on the part of the translator.

The story has been pieced together from a number of ancient tablets and I read just one of many translations.

My favourite part I must admit is when the goddess of love and war, Ishtar, threatens to start a zombie apocalypse if her father, Anu, doesn't help her get revenge on Gilgamesh:

'If you do not give me the Bull of Heaven, I shall smash the gates of the Netherworld right down to its dwelling, to the world below I shall grant manumission I shall bring up the dead to consume the living, I shall make the dead outnumber the living."

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Banned Books Week - 23-29 September

Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restricted in libraries and schools. By focusing on efforts to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.

While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

How well do you know banned books? Come and see our Banned Books display or take our quiz.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

JCU Library Interlibrary Loans Service

Having trouble locating a book or journal article, or even a DVD that you desperately need for your research project?
Tried OneSearch, our library catalogue and our databases pages and google scholar, but still can't obtain a copy of it?

Why not ask our librarians about the Interlibrary Loans and Document Supply services?

James Cook University Library participates with other libraries around Australia and the wider world to share resources. We can't guarantee that we will find that obscure article about malaria published in Chinese in 1975, but we will have a very good try to locate it for you.

There is a charge for this service, so if you don't have a university fund account to cover the costs of your research, you can make a private payment. Just indicate your preferred option on the form.

Costs are standard for all libraries, and start at $15.00 (we don't charge JCU staff or students  GST) for a core, or non-urgent request. 

We always try to find the article through our subscriptions or for free if we can, in which case there will be no charge

Find out more information on  Interlibrary Loans and Document Supply here. Remember to provide the full citation of the item if possible, so that we can locate it sooner.

Return... to the Great Barrier Reef


The success of the 1928 Great Barrier Reef Expedition firmly established Maurice Yonge’s international reputation as a zoologist, and in 1932 he was appointed the first Professor of Zoology at the University of Bristol. His professional achievements over the course of his long career earned him many accolades, including election as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1946, the award of a CBE in 1954, the conferment of a knighthood in 1967, and of honorary degrees from four universities.[1] But his personal life was touched by tragedy when his wife Mattie died in 1945. The true depth of Yonge’s loss can be felt in his dedication to Mattie in his 1949 book The Sea Shore, which read: “In Memory - M.J.Y. - Who will walk on no more shores with me”.

Sir Charles Maurice Yonge Collection
Throughout the course of his life, Sir Maurice Yonge built up an extensive private library of books, reports and papers relating to all aspects of the sea. When aged in his early 80s (and knowing that his health was failing him), he offered to sell his private scientific library to the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). A fisheries research institute in Japan had expressed a keen interest in acquiring the library, but in view of his past associations with Australia, Sir Maurice felt the most appropriate home for his library was at AIMS. Much of his fondness for AIMS stemmed from a six-week research trip to AIMS that Sir Maurice undertook in 1978. He formed lasting bonds with researchers there and considered his time at AIMS as the pinnacle of his career in marine biology.[2]
Sir Maurice Yonge and Ivan Hauri on the Low Isles reef flat, 1978. Photo courtesy of Martin Jones, reproduced with the permission of the Australian Institute of Marine Science.
 
After his retirement from the University of Edinburgh, Sir Maurice had returned to full time marine biology research, with a particular focus on further developing his work on Tridacnidae[3], which he had begun 50 years earlier. He approached AIMS to canvas support for this work, with a view to visiting AIMS and conducting field work at several sites. In correspondence to AIMS, he noted that:
“I still have a lot of matters I want to clear up covering all species and, especially with Hippopus, all sizes. Most of all I would love to follow up the post-larval development.”[4] 
Sir Maurice Yonge and Lady Phyllis Yonge on the reef flat between Brisk and Falcon Islands, in the Palm Island Group, 1978. Photo courtesy of Martin Jones, reproduced with the permission of the Australian Institute of Marine Science.
Sir Maurice Yonge arrived in North Queensland in early 1978, this time accompanied by his second wife, Lady Phyllis Yonge. With the assistance of AIMS personnel Martin Jones, Ivan Hauri and others, the Yonge’s conducted research at various locations in the Palm Islands Group, north of Townsville, including the reef flat between Brisk and Falcon Islands. During this work, the Yonge’s were accommodated at Orpheus Island Resort. The trip also included a visit to Low Isles, where the expedition Sir Maurice led 50 years before, had been conducted. In a later report to AIMS, he noted his disappointment in the state of the reef at Low Isles.
“I had the opportunity of revisiting Low Isles, off Port Douglas and the scene of the expedition I led 50 years ago and which worked there for 13 months. It was sad to find the reef surface, then the site of the richest possible array of living organisms and a natural experimental aquarium, now almost entirely dead. This appears to be the effect of sediment brought down by the Daintree River following the clearance of rain forest.”[5] 
AIMS Scientist Kay Abel, Lady Phyllis Yonge and Sir Maurice Yonge, studying mangroves, 1978. Photo courtesy of Martin Jones, reproduced with the permission of the Australian Institute of Marine Science.
Sir Maurice concluded his report on a high note though, singing the praises of the Institute and its staff and thanking them sincerely for their hospitality, writing:
“It is impossible to conclude this brief report without acknowledging the extent of the hospitality and services that my wife and I have received at AIMS. Beginning in 1921, I have worked in marine laboratories all over the world and have never enjoyed comparable facilities. I wish to record our gratitude to the Director and to many others, in particular Martin Jones and Ivan Hauri, who have assisted in so many ways. I leave AIMS with my best wishes for what I am certain will be a highly successful future.”[6] 
Sir Maurice Yonge and Lady Phyllis Yonge discussing the day’s events with Ivan Hauri and Peter Saw, at Orpheus Island Resort, 1978. Photo courtesy of Martin Jones, reproduced with the permission of the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Negotiations for the sale of Yonge’s scientific library to AIMS were finalised in late 1982, and shortly afterwards, Sir Maurice wrote to AIMS Director, John Bunt, to tell him that he was pleased that the matter of his private library had been finalised.
“It is probably the best marine biological library in private hands in this country and I am happy that it goes to AIMS,” Sir Maurice wrote.[7]
Originally comprising several thousand items, the collection includes works published from the early 1700s to the twentieth century, much of which is now rare. The subject range of the collection is overall marine, with malacology strongly represented, as that was Sir Maurice’s particular expertise. Major subjects covered, include:

  • History of biological oceanography, including reports of major marine expeditions of discovery 
  • Mollusca: taxonomic, ecological and physiological accounts 
  • Early taxonomic monographs (comprising many of the world’s oldest books on marine life) 
  • Corals and coral reefs 
  • Fish and fisheries 
  • Marine mammals 
  • Crustacea 
  • Physical oceanography 
  • Australian marine explorations 
Sir Maurice Yonge’s library was housed at AIMS for over thirty years. In 2016, in order to ensure safe, long-term preservation of the collection, it was moved to James Cook University Library, and is now housed under archival conditions in Special Collections.


Trisha Fielding, Special Collections Library Officer
James Cook University Library

If you missed earlier posts in this series - you can catch up here

* Read more about the Sir C.M. Yonge Collection
** Browse the titles in the Sir C.M. Yonge Collection




[1] Morton, Brian, ‘Charles Maurice Yonge (1899-1986)’, Archives of Natural History, (1998) 25 (3), p. 432.
[2] C.M. Yonge – correspondence with AIMS
[3] Large saltwater clams
[4] C.M. Yonge – correspondence with AIMS
[5] C.M. Yonge – report to AIMS
[6] Ibid.
[7] C.M. Yonge – correspondence with AIMS

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Browzine.com API integration with One Search Trial

We are currently trialling Browzine's API in One Search to make access to article PDFs 'one click' where possible.

We are also using the API to make it simple for users to browse the issue the article came from, and from there the entire journal. We hope this will aid 'serendipitous discovery'.
Sample of One Search result with Browzine API links to PDF and issue
Browzine integration in One Search search results showing the direct link to PDF and the 'View Complete Issue' link

Why are we doing this?

We believe there are two advantages to leveraging Browzine's technology within One Search:
  1. One click to PDF - Getting to fulltext from One Search can be problematic - often there are a chain of clicks, first to Find It @ JCU Library, then in the publisher site, and then to the PDF link - and every publisher has a different way of providing a link to the PDF
  2. The link to the issue of a journal opens up a world of possibilites for serendipitous discovery within a discipline, by seeing the article in the context of the issue and journal it appears in we believe students will be exposed to relevant (in the context of their studies, as opposed to the content of a particular assignment) content that will broaden their understanding and engagement in their academic disciplines. This sort of discovery was sidelined by replacement of print by electronic and database searching, we see this as one way of re-enabling it.
Using the Browzine API in One Search does not require the creation of a Browzine.com account.

Feedback

Please let us know what you think through the feedback link in One Search.

What is Browzine?

Browzine.com is a service JCU Library provides to enable users to track and manage newly published journal literature in their disciplines of choice. There is a simple signup using your email and choosing a password.

Once logged in you can create a 'newstand' of your favourite journals and get notification when a new issue is released that includes the table of contents and links to the articles.

You can save and share your favourite articles. An app for mobile devices is available and syncs seamlessly with the website and each instance you have of the app.
Read more here...

52 Book Challenge - Week 38

Hello reading champions! Your challenge this week is to read:

38. An epic poem

A poem - that should be quick and easy, right? Maybe not. 

An epic poem tends to be rather long - as long as a novel, in fact, but with an exciting narrative to spur you on. Before the development of writing, epic poems were memorized and played an important part in maintaining a record of the great deeds and history of a culture.

While memorising or even reciting an epic poem this week is optional, we do invite you to read one - think "Beowulf", Homer's "Odyssey" or Milton's "Paradise Lost". 

A quick Google search will give you some examples of epic poems which you can then search for in our library catalogue, if you don't have you own copy. Fortunately we also have some epic poems available as audiobooks.

Have you missed out on hearing about the 52 Book Challenge? Catch up here.


Monday, 17 September 2018

International Day of Peace - 21 September


Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. This is a day for people to renew their commitment to peace, both globally and personally. The UN Sustainable Development Goal 16, “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions” promotes peaceful, inclusive and sustainable societies where there is justice and peace for all.

This year's theme is “The Right to Peace - The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70”.

It is time all nations and all people live up to the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human race. This year marks the 70th anniversary of that landmark document.

                                                                                          - UN Secretary-General António Guterres

The Cairns JCU library will be celebrating the International Day of Peace all week. Come in and view our display, relax while colouring in our mandala or help craft a mandala collage (presented by JCU Counselling & Wellbeing).

You can also be involved at a community level by attending events in Townsville and Cairns to commemorate the Day and promote peace.

Reading Challenge Week 37 - A Book about Philosophy

To read or not to read? Liz, Scott and Brenda chose the affirmative. How did you go? I was surprised by the number of philosophy books on our shelves, as well as the many ebooks available. Did you learn about Aristotle, Confucius or Descartes? Or perhaps you read a book with a hearty dose of homespun philosophy? We'd love to hear your recommendations.

Elizabeth Smyth read The Philosophy of Tragedy: From Plato to Žižek, by Julian Young.

If you have ever wondered why people are drawn to tragic events, either as spectators or participants, this is the book for you.

Young takes us on a journey through the minds of renowned philosophers, from Plato and Aristotle through to Schopenhauer and Nietzsche and beyond. He considers the ideas of writers too, such as Miller and Camus.

Simple explanations help the lay reader understand what has clearly taken decades of scholarship to derive. For example, to help us understand Plato, Young likens poets to the media. We can then more easily understand Plato’s view that poets are too emotional to contribute to knowledge.

We go on to discover Aristotle’s deliberations on catharsis as a safe release of emotions, which he believed was preferable to repression. And his notion that we derive satisfaction from witnessing fictional representations of events that in real life would horrify us.

I particularly liked Hegel’s realization that, in the absence of an ethical resolution, a writer may as well give an audience a happy ending. For in tragedy, what difference does it make one way or the other? As long as we are left with an understanding of the protagonist’s one-sided point of view.

And then, how true is Schopenhauer’s observation that if we get what we want we are bored, not immediately, but soon after? That life swings between lack and boredom?

Finally, Young reminds us that the arts and aesthetics are crucial to human life. For me, this is the most important point of this book.

You can find The Philosophy of Tragedy: from Plato to Žižek on the shelf in the JCU Library at 809.9162 YOU, or in the catalogue along with five others written or edited by Julian Young.



There has been a lot written about Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (917.30492 PIR) over the years. It’s one of those books which seems to have been discussed a whole lot more than it has been read. I’ll attempt to let you know what it’s about, without getting too much into what it all means. Perhaps I should point out that there are potential plot spoilers below - but this is a book more concerned with philosophy than plot.

Before the book really begins we are told that it’s not actually about zen, nor does it focus too heavily on motorcycle maintenance. You’ll be pleased to know that values do feature.

This book is a fictionalised autobiography based on an actual motorcycle trip Pirsig took with his son across the north of the US, into Oregon and California. The narrator and his son travel with some friends for most of the trip and we see some different personality types in action on the road. What is actually happening on the road is interspersed with little thought monologues that the narrator calls Chautauquas. These Chautauquas cover the philosophical elements of the book.

And then there’s Phaedrus. We meet the spectre, or shadow, of Phaedrus fairly early on. Phaedrus is the name the narrator gives to the person he used to be. There’s nothing mystical about this. The narrator was once another person, but was committed to a mental health facility and underwent electroshock treatment against his will. He was released with a new personality. Throughout the journey we learn of Phaedrus, his life and what led him to a mental breakdown. The idea of quality played a big part in this.

The way this book was written is interesting. In an interview, Pirsig said he was actually a computer manual writer while working on the novel and for two years would wake at 2am, spend four hours working on his book and then go to work for the day.

I’m glad I took the time to read a book that was not at all as I’d anticipated. 


While searching for a book to read on this week’s theme, I was interested to see how closely connected philosophy, psychology and religion are. Creating Heaven on Earth: The Psychology of Experiencing Immortality in Everyday Life by Paul Marcus touches on all three as it suggests ways to experience a sense of timelessness and fulfilment through mindfulness and ‘flow’.

Rather than focusing on the kind of sublime experiences that might invoke these feelings, Marcus explores how simple and even mundane activities like gardening, having a cup of coffee with a friend, attending a baseball game, listening to music, or listening to or telling a story can be opportunities for immersion and sensory transcendence. The end result is not a life devoted to personal satisfaction but one that is other-centred, thus sharing the love.

“Everything has been figured out, except how to live”, noted Sartre. Experiencing Immortality in Everyday Life seeks to show us how. 

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Vetstream Bovis Now Available

JCU Library now has access to Vetstream Bovis as part of the Vetlexicon service. This is an expanding section of the Vetlexicon package for students and educators in the veterinary field dealing with cattle.

There are over 21,000 resources for diagnosis and treatment including multimedia. Information is updated weekly, and links to a range of learning products and external sources are provided.

Vetstream Bovis joins JCU's existing suite of Vetstream products, including Vetstream Canis, Felis, and Equis.

While the database is designed for veterinarians and vet students, pet owners and animal lovers don't miss out, with over 700 factsheets across the databases. Ever wondered why your horse walks around in circles in a small area? Or how to test for food allergy in dogs? Perhaps your kitten needs to learn socialization skills? Hop on over to Vetstream to learn more about your furry family members.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Expedition to the Great Barrier Reef 1928-1929 - Part 5


Significance of the Great Barrier Reef Expedition
In their 2002 publication The Great Barrier Reef: history, science, heritage, James Bowen and Margarita Bowen described the 1928 expedition to the Great Barrier Reef as: “the greatest marine science venture on a global scale since the Challenger oceanographic expedition more than fifty years earlier.”[1]  C.M. Yonge’s pioneering work, particularly on coral physiology, is considered to this day to be an outstanding contribution to coral science, and the coral reef research conducted under his leadership is still considered as basic reference material. T.A. Stephenson’s work with Tandy, Spender, Fraser, Manton and wife Anne Stephenson, on the structure and ecology of the reefs at Low Isles, resulted in a detailed ecological survey on a previously unseen scale. In collaboration with his wife Anne, Stephenson also made a major contribution to the then current state of knowledge of growth and asexual reproduction of corals.[2]
Low Isles, from a survey by M.A. Spender assisted by Mrs T.A. Stephenson and E.C. Marchant, 1929. Source: Great Barrier Reef Expedition 1928-1929 Scientific Reports, Volume III, No. 2

The full extent of the expedition’s scientific findings were presented in seven volumes of reports and in a plethora of subsequent journal articles and books. The Scientific Reports of the Great Barrier Reef Expedition, 1928-1929 were published by the Natural History Division of the British Museum between 1930 and 1968. The majority of the journal articles were published in the decade following the expedition, however, articles reflecting on the expedition continued to appear in scientific journals until the 1980s. As well as contributing to and editing the first six volumes of the scientific reports, Yonge also wrote a popular account of the expedition that was published in 1930. A Year on the Great Barrier Reef enjoyed a wide readership, thanks to Yonge’s exceptional ability to write in such a way that satisfied both general and scientific readers.

C.M. Yonge’s book sparked a worldwide obsession with the reef in both tourists and scientists alike. The effects of this were two-fold. On the one hand, the public’s newfound awareness of the Great Barrier Reef’s wonders opened up the potential for exploitation of its resources as tourists flocked to visit the reef, upsetting its delicate ecological equilibrium. However, the book also had the effect of jolting others into an awareness of the need to work towards conserving the reef and its resources for future generations.
Sheina Marshall (centre) and C.M. Yonge (right), cleaning coral specimens, Great Barrier Reef Expedition, 1928-1929. Photo: National Library of Australia.
The success of the expedition prompted the Queensland government to commit to funding further research, and to that end, decided to use the existing expedition buildings at Low Isles to found the first Australian research station on the reef. Frank Moorhouse, who had been part of Yonge’s expedition, was appointed in a part-time capacity to manage the station. Unfortunately this venture was short-lived. In March 1934 a cyclone swept over Low Isles, destroying the laboratory and huts.[3]

The Women of the Expedition
Initially, the British press attempted to trivialise the role of the women in the expedition, particularly Yonge’s “charming young wife”, Mattie, who was reported to be mostly concerned with what clothing she would take to Low Isles.[4] The Australian press, for its part, viewed the involvement of so many women in such an undertaking as something of a novelty, although one journalist, Charles Barrett, wrote more honestly about the women of the expedition. Far from playing a purely decorative, or even domestic, role - the women of the expedition were highly accomplished in their respective fields, and did not shy away from any of the hard work, either scientific or practical. Zoologist Sheina Marshall was apparently an excellent woodworker, and took to building wooden stools with a plane and hammer to supplement the meagre furniture at the research station. Barrett wrote that even out on the reef, the women “played their part” and were “keen on doing thoroughly the tasks allotted to them.”[5] Perhaps in an effort to circumvent any frivolous comments about them, one of the women told Barrett, “We are not ornamental… We have come here to work.”[6]
Gwen Russell standing next to a giant clam, Great Barrier Expedition, 1928. Photo: Sir C.M. Yonge Collection, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
Additionally, those women of the expedition who were not scientists themselves, were genuine collaborators on their husbands’ work, and contributed much more than might at first be assumed. This was particularly true of Anne Stephenson, who is credited as co-author with her husband T.A. Stephenson on two articles resulting from the research at Low Isles (and on another twelve articles with him on subsequent research in South Africa and North America). Charles Barrett noted that:
“Mrs Stephenson is out on the reef assisting her husband for hours every day, and in the lab, is seen poring over coral reef charts or consulting learned tomes of some branch of marine zoology.” [7]
Anne Stephenson on the reef, Great Barrier Reef Expedition, 1928. Photo: Sir C.M. Yonge Collection, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
Buoyed by the involvement of their British counterparts, several Australian women seized the opportunity to visit Low Isles during the course of the expedition. Dr Gwynneth Buchanan, a lecturer in zoology at Melbourne University made a short visit, and botanist Mary Glynne made a brief survey of the Low Isles in April 1929.[8]  Freda Bage, biologist and Principal of the Women’s College at the University of Queensland (and the only female member of the Great Barrier Reef Committee), and Miss H.F. Todd, assistant secretary of the latter committee, also visited briefly.[9] Mrs A.C. Wishart, of Brisbane, whose husband was the skipper of the research vessel Luana, took the opportunity to visit Low Isles while her husband worked there.

The Great Barrier Reef Expedition was ahead of its time for its inclusion of so many women in the research party. It proved to be a catalyst for greater involvement of women in scientific research in Australia.


Trisha Fielding, Special Collections Library Officer
James Cook University Library

If you missed earlier posts in this series - you can catch up here

* Read more about the Sir C.M. Yonge Collection
** Browse the titles in the Sir C.M. Yonge Collection




[1] Bowen, J. and Bowen, M., The Great Barrier Reef: History, Science, Heritage, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, 2002, p. 281.
[2] Yonge, C.M. ‘Thomas Alan Stephenson, 1898-1961’, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, Vol. 8 (Nov. 1962), p. 141.
[3] Courier Mail, 7 March 1934, p. 13.
[4] Observer (Adelaide), 30 June 1928, p. 17.
[5] Barrett, Charles, ‘Great Barrier Reef: Seeking Coral Secrets’, Western Mail (Perth) 16 August 1928, p. 14.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Ibid.
[8] McCalman, Iain, The Reef: a passionate history, Viking, Melbourne, 2013, p. 271.
[9] Yonge, C.M., The Great Barrier Reef Expedition, 1928-1929, Reports of the Great Barrier Reef Committee, Vol. 3, 1931, p. 4.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

52 Book Challenge - Week 37

It’s time to think about thinking for the sake of thought. That’s right, it’s time to get philosophical. This week we have the challenge of reading:

37. A book about philosophy 

Ok, so a book about philosophy might not inspire everyone (although we do have many key texts if this takes your philosophical fancy) so we’ll expand the challenge a little to include books that are philosophical and/or explore philosophical ideas. That should give us a lot to work with this week.

Have you missed out on hearing about the 52 Book Challenge? Catch up here.

Not waving but drowning: Cathy McLennan's Saltwater

On his first visit to Palm Island in 1968 the young historian Henry Reynolds had been shocked to find two young girls locked up in a police cell for swearing at a teacher. Some things change slowly in the north. Around a quarter of a century later, 22-year-old barrister, Cathy McLennan was similarly shocked by the discovery of a small girl curled up alone in a Palm Island cell. “Olivia” (most names have been changed in this book) became Cathy’s shadow that day and haunts the pages of Saltwater as she does Cathy’s life. You will not forget her.

This discovery was not the only confronting situation Cathy faced. Back in Townsville the next day she found she was to defend a murder charge against four boys, the youngest only thirteen. Although this book looks disconcertingly like a novel, its narrative stems directly from these and other experiences that Cathy confronted in her new job with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service. Small wonder they stayed vividly in mind.

Saltwater was never going to be a comfortable read and there is trauma, despair, frustration and some truly scary moments ahead. Yet it is a story the reader is compelled to follow as the immediacy of the narrative and dialogue impress on us the reality of the lives being led: their dilemmas, fears, tragedies and fleeting moments of quiet pride, guileless humour or stoical resilience. Cathy’s own qualities of compassion, resolve and physical and professional courage help to steady this roller-coaster ride.

Such was Saltwater’s advance reputation, that it sold out on the day of publication and this was proof at least that Cathy defies the old saying about prophets being without honour in their own country. Not that Cathy would claim to be a prophet – on the contrary, the events and experiences in her book are all too real – but North Queensland is very much her country and honours she has certainly earned. Cathy grew up on Magnetic Island, studied Law at JCU, became the youngest barrister in Queensland and is now a magistrate in Innisfail, making her the first JCU graduate to be appointed to the Bench. She was named the University’s outstanding alumnus of the year in 2015.

In an interview for The Australian, Cathy agreed her book might well raise a few eyebrows in legal circles. Be that as it may, Cathy’s skillful narration will ensure that it reaches an audience far beyond those engaged in the legal, law enforcement or even social work professions – as it should.

Review by Miniata

This post is part of the Special Collections Fossickings Series.



McLennan, Cathy, Saltwater NQ 820A MACLE 1C SAL
Reynolds, Henry, Why weren't we told: a personal search for the truth about history 994.0049915 REY

RU OK? Day - 13 September


Thursday 13 September is RU OK? Day. R U OK? Day is a national day of action dedicated to reminding everyone that any day is the day to ask, “Are you ok?” and support those struggling with life. Taking part can be as simple as learning R U OK?’s four steps so you can have a conversation that could change a life.

Student Life, together with Student Equity & Wellbeing (SEW), Human Resources (HR) and JCU Student Association (JCUSA) have collaborated to coordinate an event for both staff and students. Please come along and join us for a cuppa, cake and conversation.

Townsville & Cairns Campus
Where: Library Lawns
When: 13 September 10:30am – 12:30pm
What’s on: Iced tea and coffee, cake and cupcakes, JCUSA BBQ, SEW activities, HR information, social sport, giant games, giveaways & more!!

To find out more about the R U OK campaign, please click here https://www.ruok.org.au/

Monday, 10 September 2018

Reading Challenge Week 36 - A Book you own but haven't read


I think we can all identify with this week’s challenge in one way or another – A book you own but haven’t read. Whether you have a book-buying obsession, just like having books around (they are friends, after all) or are plain too busy with work, study or family life, those unread books seem to pile up at an alarming rate!

We look forward to reading about the unread books you read this week (an oxymoron, I know). Here are some of ours:

Samantha Baxter read The songs of distant Earth by Arthur C. Clarke  (820 CLAR(A) 1C SON)

I have been meaning to read more science fiction so I took this opportunity to read one of the classics I had sitting on my bookshelf.  I have only read one other Arthur C. Clarke novel -2001: A Space Odyssey and, I think having read this, I will endeavour to find more.

Songs of Distant Earth tells the story of humanity spreading out across space from the perspective of a colony on an ocean world. Hundreds of years earlier, seed ships had been sent out to habitable planets to save humanity from the imminent destruction of the Earth. Thalassa is one such colony. Then they are visited by another ship, not a seed ship this time but the actual remainders of Earth’s people on their way to a new home. The crew needs to stop and reinforce their ship, and spends over a year on the planet.

Clarke weaves realistic science fiction with history (one of my favourite references being to the Bounty), and still manages to tell a very human story. The book is not heavily action packed but is short and moves along at enough of a pace to keep you interested.  There are tastes of cultural clashes, the search for other intelligent life, and the nature of human societies. It is an interesting investigation into how our future might look.


The end is not much different from the start, just the order is reversed. 

I did not know anything about this book before reading it. Hopefully you are in the same boat. I won’t explain where the author’s inspiration was said to have come from, nor detail or offer comment on the more shocking parts of the story. Read this book fresh if you can, without learning any more than this brief review offers.
This is a clever book. There are a lot of funny observations as our narrator describes the daily routines of a life in reverse. It turns out that eating, relationships, arguments, even littering all seem a lot funnier in reverse. 

The story begins in a groggy light as our main character drifts into life. He is an old man and not steady on his feet. The narrator of this story does not seem to know that things are going in reverse order. It’s unclear who this narrator is. He seems to be in the same body as the main character, able to watch and observe the man’s life but not influence or communicate with him in any way. The narrator tells the story of a stranger from his perspective. With time the main character becomes younger and stronger and we learn what he did with his life.  
Let me explain the bounds and manner of this reversed chronology. Words are spelled as expected and sentences also follow the norms we expect. Dialogue is for the most part expressed as we would expect, it’s just that the sequence of events the sentences explain are actually happening back to front.

Time’s Arrow (820 AMI(M) 1C TIM) is a book whose idea could have been explored and finished in just a few pages. Martin Amis has created something of more significance and depth from what might have been nothing more than a clever trick. The book goes backwards. 


I picked up an ancient-looking copy of Tolstoy: A Life of my Father at a wonderful secondhand bookstore in Yungaburra a couple of years ago. It had everything going for it – it was old, in hardcover, and about an author whose work I very much enjoy. The reason I haven’t finished it is the same reason it’s worth reading.
Biographies are written by people with varying degrees of connection to their subject. This book was written by Tolstoy’s daughter, Alexandra, and is consequently a detailed and intimate reflection on Tolstoy’s work and personal life. She discusses Tolstoy’s concerns with life, death, the peasants, religion, war, peace and justice, as well as the loss of some of his children and his continual health issues. Alexandra uses his personal diaries and manuscripts to bring alive the pre-Russian Revolution world of peasants and nobility alike.
While the amount of detail makes for rather heavy reading, it is well-written, factual and very interesting for fans of Tolstoy’s work. You can find this rare gem in the JCU library (891.7 TOL 3 TOL T5).

Friday, 7 September 2018

International Literacy Day - 8 September

On 8 September 2018, International Literacy Day will be celebrated around the world with the theme ‘Literacy and skills development’. Despite progress made, at least 750 million people worldwide still lack basic literacy skills. Two-thirds of the these people are women and 102 million of them are youth aged 15 to 24. This year, International Literacy Day explores and highlights integrated approaches to literacy and skills development that will ultimately improve people’s life and work, and contribute to equitable and sustainable societies.

Developing information literacy skills is core business for the JCU Library. Librarians can help develop your skills in classes and workshops, at the InfoHelp desk and via online Chat. Our libguides and videos on finding, evaluating and referencing information are available 24/7.  The Learning Centre also offers a wealth of support for language, literacy and academic writing.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

World History in Video

Game of Thrones and  Vikings cannot compete with the real story - how much more dramatic is truth? World History in Video currently has twelve documentaries on the Vikings, and over a thousand on history in general. You can select from several themes, from War and violence to Family history, the Middle Ages and many many more. There are featured playlists on popular themes. It is also possible to search by name, place, narrator, or language. Each video includes a transcript and links to related documents or other material.

The documentaries cover all historical periods up to the present, although the emphasis is on Western and American history, people, and events.

Knights and armor looks into the technology of armor and the practice of war in the middle ages.

A more recent vision of war is explored through the film Oscar Schindler: The accidental hero, from the BBC in 1997.


Sacred women of the Iron Age investigates archaeological history in Britain. In particular, it builds a picture of domestic history in a village, and centres on the remains of two women.


There is something for everyone here, given thes scope of subject and time periods covered.


There are also 21 other databases our librarians have selected for you with streaming video content.  From our Databases pages, select 'Streaming video' from database type.