We love Penguins!

Here at Portsmouth University Library we love a Penguin – and not only Pablo and Pip our library mascots (https://twitter.com/uoppenguin), but also Penguin books. Recently we have been lucky enough to receive a donation of books from a retired University of Portsmouth lecturer who was keen that his book collection be shared with our students.

Among this donation were well over two hundred Penguin books published from the 1930’s up to the present day.

The British publisher Sir Allen Lane wanted to supply books that were affordable and accessible to all and so the Penguin was born in 1935. The iconic design of bold colours and a stylistic unity make the Penguin books instantly recognisable but if you look carefully, the covers do differ and evolve over time.

The Penguin symbol changed several times in the first twelve years.  For example, originally, the Penguin on the front cover is a life-like drawing but later it became a  ‘dancing’ Penguin, at one point the Penguin is highlighted in white and this goes on to become the Penguin encased in orange that we are now familiar with. There are other subtle changes for special editions and illustrated classics.  The typography changes too especially during the Second World War when staff shortages and the economy meant that the quality control was not always in place. The covers are not always orange either. The colour defines the genre with orange for fiction books, green for mystery and crime, cerise for travel and adventure and blue for biography.  The Pelican books with the pale blue cover were meant to be about serious weighty subjects like science, architecture and sociology.

One of the most fascinating details of these books are those with illustrated covers, which reflect current artistic styles and culture.  We have created a display of our donated books in the library to highlight the amazing covers and the iconography of the Penguin Books.  In the glass cabinets in the atrium of the library, we have Penguins with photographic covers, those with ink drawings, etched ones and the very plain un-illustrated but fabulous covers. This amazing collection highlights design at its best.

In the future, some of this collection may be added to our Rare Books stock whilst many are going to be used to inspire and teach in the Faculty of Creative  and Cultural Industries. You will also find some of the collection in our bring and swap ‘Book Nook’ on the ground-floor. Pick up a Penguin while you can.

For more information about penguin books, please see here:


And borrow this book from the University Library:

‘Penguin by Design’ by Phil Baines.

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Update 17 July – The reading list rollover cometh NOT!

Student carrying booksUpdate 17 July 2019 –

In light of Curriculum 2019 and subsequent changes to courses and units, we will not roll existing content over to the next academic year.  We will instead archive all 2018/19 reading lists at the end of the month.  This is currently expected to take place on 31 July 2019.

All archived units will remain accessible but you will need to search for each by its unit code to retrieve it from the archive.

We apologise for the misleading original Liblog and Staff Essentials posts (click “Read more” to read the original erroneous post).

Read more ›

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Wave goodbye to earlier editions of Pharmacy ebooks from Elsevier Elibrary

On 31 August, a major update will affect the Elsevier Elibrary platform, which offers a range of the key pharmacy, pharmaceutical science and biomedical science textbooks available through your subject pages.

The older editions of many of the textbooks currently offered will be removed and any notes attached to them lost.  Only the latest version of each book will remain available.  It will not be possible to transfer notes between editions automatically: you will have to manually transfer any notes you wish to keep.

For these three ebooks, only these new editions will be available from 31 August:

Only the most recent existing editions of the following textbooks will remain available:

  • Aulton’s Pharmaceuticals
  • Community Pharmacy
  • Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology
  • Kumar and Clark’s Clinical Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Analysis
  • Wheater’s Functional Histology

If you have any queries or concerns, please email the Science Faculty Librarians Ann and Sarah at sciencelibrarians@port.ac.uk.


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New eBooks – June 2019

What follows is a list of new electronic books received by the Library during June 2019 ordered by title. More complete details, as well as listings from previous months, are available on our website’s New Books page in the form of downloadable Excel spreadsheets.

Read more ›

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New Books – June 2019

What follows is a list of new books received in the Library during June 2019 ordered by classmark. More complete details, as well as listings from previous months, are available on our website’s New Books page in the form of downloadable Excel spreadsheets.]

Read more ›

Posted in About your Library Tagged with: ,

How to look out for your mate – an expert guide

Adult holding red square in front of own face, on which is drawn an unhappy faceHelping a mate or family member when they are low or bereaved can be extremely challenging and there is no easy way to know what (or how much) to say.  What is clear is that when people are very low or distressed, having someone reach out to them and offer to listen was essential.  A large study of Canadians suffering from chronic pain and suicidal thoughts found that those with someone who provided “emotional security and well-being,” had an 87 percent chance of going into remission from their suicidal thoughts, a rate far higher than among those who did not.  Support was the biggest factor encouraging recovery from mental health problems.  Read more ›

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Graduating? Congratulations (just please pay your library charges before you go)!

Credit cardIf you are graduating and getting ready to move on to bigger and brighter things even than university life (congratulations, by the way!), please could you check that you do not owe the University any money before you finally leave?  If you have library debts of more than £10, you will need to pay for these.  Once your course is ended, you will need to pay either in person at the Library Help Desk or quickly and securely online (from anywhere) through the University Online Store.

Full instructions are available on MyPort (just follow the instructions under “Pay Fines and Replacement Charges in person or via the Online Store”. You can always ring us or chat to us online if you have any queries or concerns.


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A brief look at the life of a postgraduate…

Man sat in conversation with a dragonPostgraduate study is a totally different animal.

What do I mean by this? First of all, you are more mature and experienced than when you started your undergraduate studies. You should be more focussed as well. Which direction do you want to go in? Do you want to deepen your knowledge in a particular field? What are your long-term goals?

Two things stand out for me. First, question your motivation. Second, are you prepared to become a truly independent learner/ researcher?

This independence thing is worth scrutinising a bit more – never expect to feel immediately comfortable in these new shoes from the start. A lot has been written recently about feeling like an imposter.  For example, see this website on ‘imposter syndrome’. This makes interesting reading and everyone will take away different things. You might become aware of your perfectionism, your over-sensitivity towards criticism or your feelings towards other people’s success. Think about it! Talk about it!

Open bookAs a tip, write your own story(book): the challenges you are expecting, the choices you make, the outcomes you are expecting. Coupled with sensible timetabling, this should be a helpful tool for your time management as well as your reflections.

Even though I am stressing the independence (of thought, action, from others etc), realising that you are part of a bigger group while on your course and making good use of this, is essential. So, working and building good relationships with your peers and tutors, particularly your supervisor at later stages, needs to be planned well. Look for opportunities to ask questions, network, socialise.

RowersWalkers in IcelandSocialising can happen in a society or sports group. You will be surprised how well this fits into your busy week, once you start enjoying it and you get a buzz out of it. This, of course, then feeds into your motivation; a wonderful thing.

During your studies, allow for stops and starts without losing your momentum.

Last but not least – eat well, sleep well, and explore your natural environment.

A bit of yoga anyone?

Image reference: Image of walkers in Iceland reproduced from Pep’s Place under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 licence.
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VLeBooks platform migration (July-August 2019)

Ebook migrationThe VLeBooks platform is to be migrated to a new online reader during the week beginning 29th July 2019.  This collection currently comprises 29 ebooks, and includes any ebook titles ordered from Askews & Holts.

Notes stored in the current VLeBooks reader and details of which books have been saved to the ‘bookshelf’ will be lost during the migration to the new platform.  Users of the platform should by now have received notice from the supplier asking them to export any notes they have saved to the platform and make a note of any books on their bookshelf by Friday 12 July.

We will let you know further details, including the exact date of the migration, as these are made available.

The existing catalogue link to this platform will remain the same after the migration.

If you have any concerns or would like to seek advice on how to export notes and capture bookshelf contents, please get in touch.

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It’s National Writing Day!

Person writingIt’s 26th June again, which means it must be National Writing Day.  I’m celebrating by writing this blog post.  I might move onto some emails later, and I will certainly be working on a book chapter for a scholarly monograph at some point today.  Writing comes in many forms, from tweets to blog posts to essays to novels… captions in comic strips… I think I made my point some time ago, so I’ll move along 😉

The point of National Writing Day is to help everyone recognise that they are a writer, that writing drives our society in the social information age, and that writing for purpose or for pleasure is a truly wonderful thing.  Poet Laurie Bolger is inviting everyone to “freewrite” a seven minute story today.  Sounds like something that could usefully distract you from concentrated work for long enough to reset your concentration – remember the Pomadoro study method?  More short breaks makes for better retention and understanding!

Click here to watch the introductory video and get started.

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