Showing posts with label Matheson Library. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Matheson Library. Show all posts

21 September 2017

#PhDshelfie: What books and libraries mean to me

Inspired by the #PhDshelfie movement, we asked a few Monash PhD students to share their 'shelfies' and reflect on the books that have become most meaningful to them during their candidature. The first piece in our #PhDshelfie series is written by Basil Cahusac de Caux, a doctoral candidate researching language reform in post-war Japan. 

The books I borrow from the library are like family. I pick them up and take them home with me, create a space for them next to my desk at university, and regularly take them out for lunch. I would find it difficult to live without them… though their very existence sometimes causes me to doubt myself as a capable individual. My family’s real home – for the time being at least – is in the library, of which my favourite part is the collection of Japanese language books and journals housed in the recently renovated Matheson Library (Clayton Campus), which serves as a sanctuary of intellectual wealth and comedy. There I pick up books on Japanese language policy, written by the very individuals whose testimonies and actions I study as part of my doctoral thesis on language reform in Japan.

There’s the book on the Romanization of Japanese by Kayashima Atsushi, which forces me to dig deeper in my analysis to produce more meaningful research findings. There’s the book on language policy in China, which helps me reflect on the potential impact of language policy and education. And of course, there are the National Language Council Reports, which form the bedrock of my thesis’ conceptual landscape. I find in these accounts of language and society, glimpses of the ideal language speaker, language as an efficient conveyor of ideas and vehicle of culture, mixed in with disgruntled criticisms of the past and its feudal characteristics – usually dominated by malicious power relations and hierarchies.

When I’m lost I often turn to Galan’s chapter on the changes and continuities that occur in the Japanese education system after 1945 in Japan’s Postwar (Routledge, 2011), perhaps due to my inability to fathom the totality of the postwar experience (in Japan or any other country). This chapter offers a window into the political makings of society in the aftermath of defeat. It teaches me the importance of upholding compromise and tolerance as principles, both in theory and practice; a unilateral approach to a problem unfortunately often results in the weakening of the standing of others. The chapter serves as a constant reminder of the need for balance and compromise – two attributes that are often missing in my writing.

When I read, I read through the eyes of my mind. I take the time to enjoy the spaces I occupy so that I can best internalise the books I discover. The ideal space in which to do this is the library, which embraces people from all walks of life. It is where our ideas and emotions are challenged, where introspection and interaction are encouraged. It takes us in and (if we’re lucky) learns from our mistakes. If knowledge had legs with which to walk, then the library would be an open park, green, silent, and welcoming, waiting for new faces and fashions to grace its grounds. Some people leave, while others remain, to age with grace. (If libraries were parks and knowledge the human race, what would that make us?)

Basil Cahusac de Caux is a doctoral candidate at the School of Philosophical, Historical & International Studies (SoPHIS), Monash University. He has conducted comparative research on the intellectual history of early and mid-20th-century linguists in the United Kingdom and Japan and is now focussed on the cultures and politics of language reform in postwar Japanese society. In his spare time, Basil runs the Kontemporary Japan Reading Group, a cross-institutional initiative promoting the discussion of Japan-related social issues and academic works.

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17 July 2017

Kashgar: a digital exhibition

John Gollings, 2005 Kashgar Old City
New technology has enhanced an evocative exhibition at Matheson Library.

Arts, the Library, and an IT student have come together to present a digital exhibition of original photographs, enhanced with new technology, to welcome the viewer into a remote part of China.

Kashgar is an exhibition of evocative photos by Australian photographer John Gollings, collected as part of a Monash Asia Institute international research project to document, measure, and define the most significant cultural monuments and spaces of Kashgar in Western China.

Gollings’ photographs lead the audience on a personal journey through China’s largest oasis city, nestled between sun-scorched deserts and towering mountain peaks, where the long-distance trade routes of numerous old Silk Roads once converged. A constant feed of tradeable goods, merging cultures and varying religions kept the thriving markets of Kashgar alive for thousands of years, now for you to experience through a selection of photographs from the Library’s John Gollings’ Kashgar collection.

Visitors to the Library can continue their exploration of this ancient city on their mobile devices by accessing an interactive tour of the region, thanks to content created by Information Technology student Vinu Alwis. Access the interactive experience by scanning this code with the free Zappar app. Here you can access additional photos, insightful videos, and descriptions of Kashgar city and surrounding towns.

David Groenewegen, the Library’s Director, Research, said that the Library was delighted to have the opportunity to work with a student to help expand access to the amazing materials collected by this project. Innovative digital techniques and apps have the potential to help libraries and other cultural institutions grow awareness of their collections.

The exhibition will be on display at the Sir Louis Matheson Library, Clayton until December this year.

Get a taste of the exhibition with this video of project director Marika Vicziany and John Gollings recounting their experiences of Kashgar.

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6 July 2017

Contribution to Jewish studies recognised

Items from the Laura and Israel Kipen Judaica Collection 
Monash University Library respectfully notes the recent passing of Mr Israel Kipen. Mr Kipen was former Chair of the Joint Committee for Tertiary Jewish Studies, a group that was instrumental in establishing the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University and the Arnold Bloch Lectureship in Jewish History at the University of Melbourne.

The Library acknowledges the generous benefaction from Mr and Mrs Kipen, materials known as the Laura and Israel Kipen Judaica Collection and officially launched by the Library on 23 October 1995. These works are located on level 1 of the Sir Louis Matheson Library, Monash University, Clayton. Students and staff and members of the public interested in viewing material from the Laura and Israel Kipen Judaica Collection can use Search to discover, locate and borrow items. For assistance with this please contact Louise Micallef, Subject Librarian for Jewish Studies at

The Library also holds a unique collection of approximately 200 Australian testimonials from Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. These are kept in our Special Collections area on the ground floor of the Sir Louis Matheson Library, Monash University. Clayton. Students, staff and members of the public interested in viewing these items are welcome to contact prior to visiting the Library. The specialist nature of these materials requires them to be read only within the Special Collections Reading Room at the Matheson Library.

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26 May 2017

Matheson Library turns a new page

The Sir Louis Matheson Library on Clayton campus has reopened from a stunning western entrance via the Forum. All study spaces are now available to students.

We celebrated the reopening of the Sir Louis Matheson Library on 23 May, completing its transformation into a modern, vibrant and stimulating learning and research environment.

President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Margaret Gardner AO, said the refurbishment of the Matheson Library had reinvigorated the heart of the Clayton campus.

"So many of our alumni recall the Matheson Library as the site for where they spent their most formative and rewarding hours as students," Professor Gardner said.

"The Sir Louis Matheson Library is a cornerstone of the University and its transformation is of tremendous importance in our Clayton campus's academic, cultural and community life."

A key feature of the Clayton Campus Masterplan, the new-look library boasts a long list of benefits, including:
  • a welcoming and inspiring new entrance
  • improved navigation throughout the three buildings
  • four teaching spaces with a combined capacity for 200 students
  • a range of individual and collaborative study areas, with an overall 15% increase in seating to 1620 seats
  • technology-rich study areas, including 240 computers (67 are 27-inch iMacs and a range of laptops)
  • 20 bookable discussion rooms
  • Wi-Fi, powered workstations, and digital wayfinding pointing students to available study spaces.
University Librarian Cathrine Harboe-Ree said the completion of the refurbishment marks the culmination of a journey.

"We set out to create a welcoming, inspiring and enabling facility for first-class scholarship at Monash. We are already hearing that staff and students agree we have achieved that," Ms Harboe-Ree said.

The design of the Library spaces is enhanced by an eclectic array of artwork from the University's collection, exhibition and function capacity, a digital wall to showcase Monash research activity and an in-library café.

Attending the reopening was His Royal Highness Prince Sisowath Tesso of Cambodia, representing the King of Cambodia. The Matheson Library's Asian Collections have substantial holdings from former King Norodom Sihanouk's personal archive -- an invaluable research resource.

The new-look Matheson Library will welcome over 10,000 visitors a day, complementing daily online activity of over 80,000 accesses and downloads of Monash University Library's electronic resources.

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25 May 2017

Where to find a study space at Clayton

Our three libraries at Clayton campus together offer the largest number and range of study spaces and they're open longer during Swot Vac and exams. But there are many more alternative areas available on campus. Check the list below.

We anticipate an increased demand for quiet study spaces on campus during the Swot Vac and exam period.

Refurbishment of Sir Louis Matheson Library has finished and the library has been reopend. New areas are proving very  popular among students.

Our Law and Hargrave-Andrew libraries have more seating and are open from 10am to 5pm on weekends.

In addition, Hargrave-Andrew Library will be open until 2am Monday to Thursday beginning 29 May until 23 June.

There are many more alternative areas available on campus. Check the list below.

In addition the following informal study spaces (non-bookable) are available to all students:
  • There are the lecture theatres foyers that have been set up with chairs and tables for study
  • Faculty Student Common Rooms
Monash Student Association are offering free tea and coffee in the Airport Lounge.

Clayton campus study spaces may be viewed on the Clayton campus map.

You may also want to check out '200 more study seats now available at Caulfield Library'.

Additional study spaces are also available at our other campus libraries. These include:
Berwick Library (120 spaces)
Peninsula Library (250 spaces)
CL Butchers Pharmacy Library at Parkville (120 spaces)

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22 May 2017

Insults in early modern Italy' - History Seminar in the Library 2017

Emma Swiney, Honours student, reports on this year's History Seminar in the Library.  

Watch the video of the full lecture below and view Jonathan's slides here.

Dr Jonathan Davies and guests view a Rare book display
 at 2017 Arts/Library History Lecture 

Among some beautiful examples of Early Modern pieces from the Matheson Library Rare Books collection, visiting historian Dr Jonathan Davies from Warwick University presented some of his research into the history of "Insults in Early Modern Italy".

In studying the history of insults in Early Modern Italy, one must contextualise these insults within the violence of the time. It is from this approach that Davies introduced us to Delle Considerationi e Dubitationi Sopra la materia delle mentite, e offese di parole ('Reflections and Doubts on the subject of Falsehoods and Verbal Insults') by Bolognese professor Camillo Baldi.

Davies has been working with this text, often overlooked by other scholars as a reprint of one of Baldi’s other works, as an alternative to the Judicial records that have most often been used to examine the history of insults. From this perspective Davies challenges the traditional conception of Early Modern insults as static and based around shared taboos, and instead posits that, based on research by Trevor Dean, the most powerful insults are, in fact, culturally specific.

Dr Jonathan Davies (R) Warwick University, with
 Peter Howard, Deputy Dean of Arts, Monash
Focussing on Early Modern Italy, these insults are directly related to a culture of honour, which is reflected in the levels of violence and violent crimes in Italy, more so than anywhere else in Europe during the same period. Davies uses evidence quoting homicide rates up to triple that of other contemporary European societies and, more recently, on research into the prevalence of factionalism and feuding in the Italian states. This type of violence shocked contemporaries, as reported by Sir Robert Dallington who travelled the Italian Peninsular in 1596-7. Dallington reported two ways that quarrels were often settled, being through Duals or Vendettas, the latter of which he says caused twenty-one deaths between Pisa, Siena, and Venice only during the time he was travelling in those cities. These two types of quarrels are intrinsically tied to the culture of honour throughout Italy at the time.

Nowhere else was this factionalist violence more pronounced than in Bologna, the city from which Baldi, the author of Davies’ focus text, was writing. Davies suggests that this was caused by the emasculation of the Bolognese aristocracy, upon the defeat of the city by Pope Julius II. The estimated homicide rate of the area quadrupled during this time, and it is in this context that Baldi wrote his Considerationi e Dubitationi. This work, wherein Baldi identifies situations that might arise, and theorizes the most appropriate outcome, was dedicated to the Bolognese Elite, indicating that the situation in Bologna was something that Baldi felt the need to comment on.

As Davies listed the focus of each of the numerous chapters in Baldi’s books, he asked that the audience consider which subjects Baldi highlighted or repeated most, and if there were any patterns they might notice. Additionally, the audience were asked to keep in mind how recent methodologies, such as Gender or Class, might be used to analyse the works. Certainly, notions of hierarchies (such as what do do when insult is handed down by a prince) and gendered concepts (seen in the many chapters on lovers and affairs) were clearly present throughout these texts.

Baldi’s Considerationi e Dubitationi reveals to us a wide range of insults which may have arisen in Early Modern Italy, and also examines the relationships between the quarrelling parties and how this may have affected the given situation. To conclude his presentation, Davies contended that, when looking at insults in this period, we need to examine texts such as Baldi’s alongside the often-used judicial texts, to get a richer view of the relationships between quarrelling parties.

The author:
Emma Swiney (@emma_swiney) is currently completing her Honours degree in History. Her research focuses on the formation of Identity in late-15th Century Florence, and how politically active men related themselves to their city through an understanding of Florentine traditions and history. She also commits some of her time to mentoring undergraduate students, especially in helping them to formulate questions for independent research. In the coming years she hopes to continue her studies in Renaissance history within the supportive framework of the Monash History Department.

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30 March 2017

VFG collection of musical scores at Monash

Have you been looking for repertoire for your ensemble or chamber group? You may find inspiration in a collection of over 1500 scores in the Sir Louis Matheson Library, says Jackie Waylen, the Subject Librarian for Music.

If you play a musical instrument, and have been seeking repertoire that is both excellent and perhaps a little less familiar, be it solo instrumental music, or music for your ensemble or chamber group, then you may wish to delve into the collection of over 1500 scores that were gifted to the Library by the Victorian Flute Guild in 2010. Over 300 of these scores have so far been catalogued, including solos, duets, trios, quartets and quintets. Flute music includes studies and exercises for improving technique, music for chamber groups with flute, and music for flute choir. Some of the scores have been digitised and will soon be available in a new online special collections repository.

Most of the works in the collection were composed in the 19th and 20th centuries. So, quite soon, a flautist and pianist will be able to access the fifth of Andersen's “Five easy pieces,” as it was published in 1894.

Some of the concert repertoire and pedagogical works were composed in the 18th century, but they appear in the collection as later editions. Many of the works are related to teaching. A survey of prominent flute teachers in North America and Europe, undertaken by Molly Barth, and published in The Flutist Quarterly in 2016, revealed that études were an "integral component of their teaching regimen". Of the 26 composers of études cited by these teachers, the Victorian Flute Guild's scores, which have so far been sorted, contain études by 17 of these composers.

The Victorian Flute Guild Collection includes many virtuosic concert pieces for flute and piano, and miniatures that would be suitable for encores. The range of European composers and publishers from the late 19th century is extraordinary, and so a finding aid for all the works is underway. Once the whole collection has been catalogued, performance students and others will certainly have an interesting collection to browse. 

The earliest works in the collection belonged originally to Leslie Barklamb (1905-1993) who, in 1969, founded the Victorian Flute Guild in order "to promote and encourage the learning of the flute, flute playing in all idioms, and to support all forms of music education". To attain this goal, a main aim was "to establish, build up and maintain a library of music of all types". Barklamb's personal library constituted a who's who of composers who both wrote for and played the flute, such as Andersen (1847-1909), Büchner (1825-1912), Doppler (1821-1883), Gariboldi (1833-1905) and Kuhlau (1786-1832). His library also included composers whose works or melodies have since been arranged for flute and piano.

In her centenary tribute to Leslie Barklamb, the current President of the Guild Mary Sheargold, refers to him as the "father of the flute in Australia." Over a teaching career of more than 65 years he taught many flautists who went on to become professional players (including some who had success overseas). Barklamb studied for two years (1917-1919) with John Amadio, an internationally renowned flautist, before learning from Alfred Weston-Pett. After obtaining a Diploma of Music at the Melbourne Conservatorium in 1925, Leslie Barklamb taught flute there (from 1929 to 1974), and he also played in Bernhard Heinze's University Orchestra and Alberto Zelman's Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. From 1958 onward he devoted his career to teaching, following hand problems and his retirement from the MSO. His pupils remember him as being a wonderfully enthusiastic teacher always happy to lend out his flutes and music. 

Amongst the countries represented in the Victorian Flute Guild Collection are Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The Ada Booth benefaction has enabled the cataloguing of over 150 of the scores relating to Slavic countries. Australian composers represented range from John Lemmoné (1861-1949, born in Vic.) to, Geoffrey Allen (b. 1927, living in WA., and soon to add a woodwind CD to his existing Iridescent Flute.)

Scores added to the collection since the 1970s tend to include works that have a particular focus on ensemble music, from flute duets to flute choir works; for instance, Kummer's flute trios have been added from Annette Sloan's personal library.

Not all of the music is for flute. Students seeking repertoire for other instruments may be interested to browse the whole range. On the one hand you might retrieve a ricercare from a canon originally composed by Palestrina (1525-1565), but arranged in the 1950s for oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn; or you might instead find violin music such as the Schubert lied, "Ständchen," arranged for violin and piano by Mischa Elman in 1910.

One can retrieve all the works that have been catalogued to date by entering "Victorian Flute Guild Collection" into Library Search. If "Leslie Barklamb" is added, then all the works that were part of Leslie Barklamb's personal library can be identified. To find trios, for example, enter "Victorian Flute Guild trios" and limit the result to scores. Or you might wish to look for Borodin's "Polovtsian Dances" from Prince Igor, as arranged for piano.

Much of the earliest repertoire is in a fragile condition and needs to be consulted in the Special Collections Reading Room. In the spirit of continuing Leslie Barklamb's and the Victorian Flute Guild's legacy, our Library has first set about digitising the repertoire that is not readily accessible elsewhere, so that performers, teachers and students can enjoy a wider range of solo and chamber music.

Researchers will also be able to look at those rarer works from the 19th century that reveal fascinating insights into the publishing and dissemination of printed music, especially of sheet music for flute.

The Library is also digitising the back covers of these scores. The covers often contain useful information, such as advertisements for other music that would have been available at the time of the publication (see example at left).

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20 March 2017

Access to General Collection at Matheson Library

Beginning Wednesday 22 March, the South stairwell and lifts in the Sir Louis Matheson Library will be closed to users to allow the builders to speed up the internal works in this area.

Users can access the General Collection via the rear stairs (East). These stairs are located behind the computer area to the left of the Library's temporary entrance on the lower ground floor. You can access the ground floor up to level 5 via these rear stairs.

Users with a disability may request Library staff assistance at the Information point to retrieve items from the General Collection.

The quiet study spaces in the General Collection will be affected by noisy works. Please find alternative quiet spaces in the Matheson Library, or at either Law or Hargrave-Andrew Libraries on the Clayton campus.

The South stairwell and lift works are expected to be completed between 29 March and 4 April. We will provide updates as works progress.

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20 February 2017

Matheson Library reopens

The Sir Louis Matheson Library at Clayton has reopened via the temporary entrance in the Performing Arts courtyard from Scenic Boulevard. A new path is now in place from the Menzies Building area through the north end of the library to the Robert Blackwood Hall and the courtyard.

The Matheson Library has reopened on Monday 20 February after a summer-long closure. Its opening hours are 8am - 9pm Monday to Friday, and 10am - 5pm on Saturdays and Sunday. 

Staff and students can again request items from other campuses via Search and choose Matheson Library as the pick-up location. Holds are now located on the ground floor (up one level from the temporary entrance). Please note: items on shelf at Matheson cannot be requested for pick-up at the same library.

Study spaces and teaching rooms

Study spaces are available, including on the upper floors occupied by the General Collection. Discussion rooms can be booked by students for group work. The three teaching rooms can also be used by students when they are not being used for Library teaching programs.

More areas will be opened up as these are completed and handed over by the contractors to the Library. In the next few days, the new level 1 area on the southern end will house the Music, Multimedia and Teaching Materials Collections, including the Japanese language materials. This area will also have a large number of brand new Macintosh computers and two bookable discussion rooms.

Special Collections Reading Room

The Special Collections Reading Room located on the ground floor has also reopened. This room is designed for the exclusive purpose of viewing restricted special use items from the Special Collections. It is open from 9am to 5pm on weekdays.

To arrange to see a rare or fragile item from our Rare Books, Asian or Music and Multimedia Collections, please contact staff by email or telephone (03) 9905 2689 to request the item/s in advance. Pre-requested items will be retrieved twice a day, at 10am and 1pm. Staff will also be on hand at the Reading Room.

Toilet amenities

Currently, the available toilets are all located on the lower ground level but more toilets will progressively be completed in the following weeks.

Final stage

Work is progressing well on the remaining areas, including the new and visually striking entrance, a large learning space on the ground floor with more computers, and a cafe inside the library.

Library users can look forward to a more transparent building, with great views to the west spanning the landscaped Library plaza, the future Jazz Lounge (currently the Rotunda), the Menzies Building and the Campus Centre. The transparency goes from end to end, with a view to the Performing Arts courtyard to the east.

Final touches and installations will ensure that the Matheson Library will truly have been dramatically transformed.

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24 November 2016

Matheson Library to close from 28 November

The refurbishment of the Sir Louis Matheson Library at the Clayton campus is on the homestretch. The library will need to close over summer to commence the remaining works and speed up other construction activities. 

Matheson Library will be closed from Monday 28 November and will reopen on 20 February 2017.

Items currently on hold in Matheson will remain in the library for collection until the close of business on Friday 25 November. On Monday all holds items will be transferred to Law Library as the new pick-up location.

During this period of closure, Monash staff and students can:
  • use Search to request items held at Matheson Library for pick-up at the Law Library. That will be arranged as soon as possible; you will receive an email when they are ready for collection. 
  • return items due at any other library except Caulfield; after-hours returns available at Law Library.
  • find study spaces at the two other libraries on the campus.
  • get advice and ask questions at an Information point at any other library, through, or by telephone (03 9905 5054).
Due to the closure, 'Matheson' will not be available as a pick-up location for inter-campus loans.

We apologise for this disruption and ask for your patience over the summer as the Matheson Library's refurbishment comes close to completion in semester 1 2017.

Visit the Library website for more information. If you have any comments or concerns about the Matheson Library refurbishment project, please email

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14 September 2016

Jay Winter's Photographing War: the Kodak revolution

Yale historian Jay Winter presented a provocative lecture on the Kodak revolution of World War I, and the vast trail of unofficial photography it left behind. In this article Monash University graduate student Sam Prendergast discusses the concept of dignity in death, and the questions raised by what the soldiers chose to photograph. [Scroll to the bottom for a full recording of Jay Winter's lecture.]

Jay Winter speaks at the Matheson event
Few 20th century events have been so heavily memorialised as WWI. In Australia, the process of commemoration starts early. Every April, Australian primary school children draw crayon depictions of Gallipoli. They group uniformed men in wide-brimmed hats and spend their red ink on poppies. The official iconography of war makes its way through generations; as we move further from the event we become increasingly reliant on what we have learned to remember.

This is the context in which Jay Winter spoke about the ‘Kodak revolution’. While official war photographers captured a censored record of WWI, soldiers left a vast trail of unofficial photographs. They did so with the help of pocket-sized Kodak cameras. In moments of boredom, action, significance, or reflection, individuals recorded their experiences of war. Few of the images have made their way to the textbooks, but that might change; as archives of the Great War grow, the photographs move out of family photo albums and into the public domain.

For historians, the significance of the ‘Kodak revolution’ is realised in the archives. As Jay Winter stressed throughout his talk, the collected Kodak photos hold some democratic potential: soldiers’ photographs can counter prevailing assumptions about the nature of WWI. In one of Winter’s selected videos, we see men piling corpses on a truck in a fashion that evokes the Holocaust. The image of men stacking bodies is haunting in a way that statistics are not. In images, we lose the accuracy of numbers but we gain a sense of what it means to deal with death on a mass scale. Unofficial photos do a good job of portraying the gruesome practicalities of war.

World War I items from the Rare Books Collection were on show
The soldiers’ photos tell us less about what they wanted to remember than about what they wanted to record. As Jay Winter guided us through a collection of images, I found myself wondering why these amateur photographers thought to pull out their cameras at particular points. This was especially so when Winter called our attention to a set of photos that belonged to a doctor. At war, the man had captured images of people in their dying moments. Some of the photos seemed curated: a head tilted, unnaturally; a body placed in position. In one image, an injured soldier laid in the dirt, his face in pain. The photographer had titled the image, ‘A dying Serb’. When Winter showed us the photo he asked: is there no dignity, even in death?

It was a provocative question, designed to make us question the photographer’s motivations. The assumption, on Winter’s part, was that the photographer, a soldier, acted unethically when he captured an image of another man dying. I was not so sure. The value of the Kodak photos is that they show us how soldiers’ experienced the war. Without one man’s photo, there would be no record of the other man’s death. I wondered what the dying man might have thought about having his image captured at that moment. Perhaps he, like Winter, wondered why the photographer would strip him of all dignity in his final moments. Perhaps he felt relief that someone was bothering to capture an honest portrayal of his death at war. Or maybe he was just consumed with whatever consumes a person when they’re lying, near-death, in the dirt.

Either way, the photo tells us about something about the reality of the man’s death, and there must be some dignity in having that experience recorded and remembered – if not for the photographed man, then perhaps for the many others who died similar deaths, or for those who returned home, having witnessed friends and strangers die. Because of the Kodak archive, the man is, at least, remembered as something other than a number. In capturing images, the amateur photographers left us with a democratic scaffolding around which to construct meaning. That one man could photograph another, as he died, reveals something about the battle front; it is at once tethered to the home front and, yet, removed from the home front’s norms.

War strips people of their dignity long before they die; the question is whether or not the archive can restore it. The ‘Kodak revolution’ created a wealth of source material, but the value of an archive is realised through its use, not through its mere existence. As more ‘democratic’ records of war make their way into historians’ hands, we face new questions about how to use the materials – how to read them, select them, and present them. Perhaps there is rarely dignity in archives: the respectable, legitimised trash cans of the past. But there might be some dignity in using them to restore a lopsided version of history. As a graduate student, Winter’s lecture raised unexpected questions about the ethics of trawling through documents and guessing at the motivations of people who are long-dead.

A video recording of the lecture is available, with permission from Jay Winter.

Sam Pendergast is a Masters candidate in the History Department, Faculty of Arts. Her research focuses on the question of how historians can overcome the limitations of long-archived oral histories in order to bring forth "unheard" narratives. Currently, she's working with a collection of post-WWII Soviet displacement narratives; in 1950s Munich, US scholars created translated transcripts of their non-recorded interviews with Soviet DPs.

Follow Sam on Twitter:  @samprendergast_. 

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12 September 2016

Update: Matheson Library and Forum works

There's so much to look forward to next semester when the library refurbishment is completed and all corners of the Sir Louis Matheson Library are opened. On top of that, the Forum, that area between the library and the Menzies Building, will look beautifully landscaped and will have a decked area, lawn, boardwalks...

This week landscaping works will commence on the Forum. It will complement the new library entrance, and create a contemporary, central and ceremonial space.

We know you love to be in the library, your 'study bubble', but we're pretty sure you'll appreciate the new open courtyard and decked space for informal study and relaxation.

The whole area will have larger walkways, integrated boardwalks and better lighting. Fresh lawn and new native plants will reinvigorate the landscape and establish it as a welcoming outdoor community space.

A new cascading water feature will form the centrepiece of the landscape. This will act as a natural stormwater treatment and harvesting system to filter water into major underground storage tanks for sustainable landscape irrigation.

To allow landscaping works to progress, sections of the Forum will be hoarded off. This may affect access to the Matheson Library from the Campus Centre via Chancellors Walk. Wayfinding and directional signage will be in place throughout each project stage to help guide pedestrians.

Given the central location of the Forum, we are keenly aware of the impacts these landscaping works will have on neighbouring building occupants and the broader campus community. We will endeavour to keep impacts to a minimum, continue to closely monitor noise levels, and will keep you informed of anticipated changes and disruptions.

For more information contact

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9 August 2016

Navigating the new Matheson: A student's perspective

As we are all aware, the Matheson Library is currently undergoing refurbishment, and while various updates are still in the works, this semester the library boasts a host of changes. I am a student at Monash and doing some casual work at the Matheson Library. Let me give you a guide to the new Jamie Julian

Access to the library has changed significantly while the refurbishment works continue through semester 2. The most important thing to note is that there is only one entrance and exit. This is located on the Robert Blackwood side of the building and takes you into the lower ground level. Painful as it is, we must go around.
Once you’re in, to access the General Collection where most books are, the two elevators on the South side (on the left as you enter) are operational from lower ground up to levels 2-5. However, if you are of the more impatient type (like myself), there is also a set of stairs in the corner behind the new Mac and PC section that renders entry to ground level as well as general collection levels 2-5.
Accessing the North side (to the right as you enter) for printing, music and multimedia, serials and various other sections is a bit more of an issue. There is only one functioning lift and the main staircase is currently being rebuilt. Nevertheless, from lower ground level there is yet another set of stairs hiding behind the new hot and cold water station. From here, you can access levels ground, 1 and 2.
When accessing the ground floor on the north side, remember to keep an eye out for events happening in the brand new gallery area. On the ground floor there is a gallery that the library is using to hold events and, in the future, to mount exhibitions. The gallery can be used by students if it’s not booked for an event. I have had two close calls of almost walking right through the middle of an event, but no serious incidents yet. Make sure you read the sign on the door before entering!  
If this all seems a bit confusing, then don’t stress! Shortly, the library will have digital wayfinders. They’re huge screens with yellow - er, bronze, frames so you won’t be able to miss them. From these you can look up the quickest route to your intended destination and be able to find whatever you need.

Printing is  a well-known nightmare when it doesn’t work! With the newly refurbished areas, there is currently operational printing on the ground and second floors on the North side (the system is extremely temperamental, so I use the term operational somewhat loosely). On lower ground, the PCs should be connected to the printers in the next couple of weeks. It is important to note here that you will not be able to print from the Macs  until the new printing service is installed in 3 – 6 months, so make sure you hop onto a PC to print!
For students wishing to print in colour, there is only one colour printer located on the ground floor. Also you must manually select the colour printer option to print in colour.
One benefit of the current printing system is that when you send a job to print, it is sent to all of the print stations. This means you can collect your print job from either the lower ground, ground or second floor printers. So if there is a queue for one, I usually knick up to another and hope there is no one using it (I recommend second floor as it’s the quietest).
Last thing about printing is, it’s not free! 12c for one black and white page, and 50c for colour. To top up money on your student card, you do so at the autoloader machines on the lower ground floor near the South side elevators (back left corner). There are also staplers and some other useful resources in the same area.
I found printing to be quite a process the first time, but straightforward and extremely useful after you’ve done it once. Also, remember, if you are ever having trouble, ask the Library staff at the information desk near the entrance.

Drop-in sessions
The Research & Learning point for daily drop-ins with the librarians and learning skills advisers is now on ground level in a fresh, newly-developed space. Drop-ins run every day from 11am-3pm. Make the most of it whilst it is still relatively quiet!

The new Research & Learning Point on the Ground floor

Study spaces
The most tangible difference between the old Matheson and the new, is the study space created on the lower ground floor. Do any of you past students remember the dingy old basement? Forget it. The new basement has completely transformed the atmosphere of the library, with new group study spaces and discussion rooms available for you to book. Furthermore, the slight difficulty in access to the Matheson also means that there is a good chance you will always find a spot for you or your group to study. Individual and shared study areas are spread throughout the entire library, the majority of which now have multiple power points installed for all your charging requirements. There are many more PCs and the library now offers desktop Macs. Amazing!

A few exciting additions on the way
  • New self-loan machines are currently being installed. No more queuing!
  • Wireless printing will save everybody the stress of finding a PC. This is coming after the exams.
  • And the café! This one could not come soon enough. A café will stand on the left-hand side of the (real) entrance to the library which will mean you can buy a nice coffee without having to leave the library.

Final parting tips
  • The self-loan machines were already pretty great, and the new ones are even better. However, make sure the spine of the book is pressed up against the side when scanning it in, otherwise the book is not desensitised and it will trigger the security barriers on your way out.
  • If the book you have borrowed does not have a 2016 overnight, 7-day or 14-day loan sticker on it, it will automatically renew for up to one year unless someone requests the book. So check your emails!
  • Fines do not need to be paid until they exceed $25.

Evidently, there are a myriad of changes taking place at Matheson. If you haven’t had time to keep abreast of what’s been happening, then hopefully this post will have been helpful!
I hope everybody finds the library as useful as I do! Good luck, and enjoy the new spaces!

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4 August 2016

Matheson Library reopens today

The Sir Louis Matheson Library is back in operation - we're open from 8am until 9pm today.

Holds can be collected at Matheson from today. If you have not been able to collect your holds and they have expired, your holds will be extended for two days if they have no other hold requests on them.

Any other hold requests that have expired and have other hold requests on them will be placed on the hold shelf for the next person.

Discussion room bookings from today are all good.

Thank you for your patience.

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3 August 2016

Matheson Library remains closed Wednesday 3 August

Work continues today to resolve the problem with all the toilets at the Sir Louis Matheson Library that has forced the library's closure since Monday night.

If you are waiting to collect items you requested, you can collect them at the Law Library from 10.30am today.

  • If you get a hold notice today, the item will be available at Matheson tomorrow or at Law if we remain closed.
  • Holds that have expired that have no other hold requests on them will be extended for two days. 
  • Any other hold requests that have expired and have other hold requests on them will be placed on the hold shelf for the next person.

All discussion room bookings at Matheson Library for today have been cancelled.

We apologise for the inconvenience and disruption caused by this incident. Both the Law and Hargrave-Andrew libraries at Clayton campus are open.

Please check back here for updates.

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2 August 2016

Matheson Library closed until further notice

Currently all of the toilets in the Sir Louis Matheson Library are out of action. As a result the Library is closed until further notice.

Plumbers are working to resolve the problem and we will re-open the Library as soon as possible. In the meantime, both the Hargrave-Andrew and Law libraries remain open.

All bookings for the discussion rooms at Matheson Library for Wednesday 3 August will have to be cancelled.

Please check back here for updates on the situation, including how to collect requested items.

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18 July 2016

Matheson Library reopens

The Sir Louis Matheson Library at the Clayton campus reopens on Monday 18 July via a temporary entrance on the eastern side in the Performing Arts courtyard near Robert Blackwood Hall.

Following a three-week closure, Matheson Library opens its 'back door' to students, staff and visitors. Half of the library has been refurbished and available for use, including more and modern, well-appointed study spaces, 15 bookable discussion rooms fitted with technology, and two adaptive technology rooms for users with a disability. Computers, wifi and printing are available.

Three teaching rooms are also now available. These rooms can be used by students as study spaces when they are not booked for library teaching programs.

Some areas are still hoarded off to allow the final stage to be completed. The final stage is due for completion in December 2016, although the front entrance will not be commissioned until the landscaping work in front of the library is completed by Orientation Week 2017.

The temporary entrance takes visitors to the lower ground level. Library staff will be available at a service point located in that atrium area to respond to queries. Temporary directory and signage will direct users to the areas that are open for use.

Key things to note:
  • The Information and the Research and Learning points are on the ground floor - take the north lift which is to your right as you enter the library from lower ground.
  • Access to the General Collection is through the south lift from lower ground. This lift currently services lower ground and  levels 2 to 5. Ground and level 1 in the south are closed for refurbishment.
  • Access to the Special Collections (Ada Booth, Asian, Kits, Teaching materials, Music, Multimedia) and Journals is through the north lift.
With the reopening of the library, users can again request items from other campuses via Search and choose Matheson Library as the pick-up location. Holds are now located on the ground floor next to the Information point.

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15 June 2016

Changes to the Matheson Library

Works on the Sir Louis Matheson Library have passed the halfway mark, and we’re well on track for completion by the end of the year. In order to undertake the final stage of this transformation process, a number of temporary changes are required to library operations and access. 

Temporary closure during the mid-year break

The Matheson Library will close to all staff, students and visitors on Saturday 25 June and will reopen on Monday 18 July ready for the start of Orientation Week. Check the blog for a list of alternative study and work areas and arrangements for pick-up and return of items for this period.

During these three weeks, we’ll complete the heavy demolition works to pave the way for the new and visually striking library entrance. This will involve the demolition and replacement of some external wall portions with transparent facades to improve the visual connection into and out of the library.

While these works are being carried out, we will closely monitor and manage noise and dust levels to ensure minimal disturbance to neighbouring building occupants.

Relocation of library entrance

From 18 July, the library entrance will be temporarily closed and a new entry will be created on the eastern side in the Performing Arts courtyard. This entrance will remain in place until the beginning of Semester 1 2017. During this time, we’ll construct the spectacular new library entrance as well as complete landscaping works in the Forum.

Initial hoarding has been installed, and will be extended out progressively in line with works staging. With this hoarding in place, there will be no access to the after-hours book return chute. Borrowers can return books after hours using the return chutes at the Hargrave-Andrew and Law libraries during this time.

Landscaping works on the Forum

In September, we’ll commence landscaping works on the Forum, the lawn area between the Matheson Library, Chancellors Walk and Exhibition Walk. These works will rejuvenate the area, complement the new Matheson Library entrance, and create a contemporary, central and ceremonial space.

A new forecourt will be established to the Matheson Library adjacent to the Menzies Building, providing areas to meet, gather and study within a reinvigorated landscape. We’ll also improve pedestrian access with larger walkways and new lighting.

Hoarding around the Matheson Library will change as various stages of the Forum landscaping are completed. Directional signage will be in place to guide pedestrian access until the completion of works in February 2017.

More information

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13 June 2016

Matheson Library to close for 3 weeks during mid-year break

The refurbishment of the Sir Louis Matheson Library at the Clayton campus is halfway through to completion and is on track to finish by the end of the year. We're preparing for the final stage of the works which requires a temporary closure.

The Matheson Library will close to all staff, students and visitors for three weeks from Saturday 25 June and will reopen on Monday 18 July ready for the start of Orientation Week in semester two.

During this period, Monash staff and students can:

  • use Search to request items held at Matheson Library for pick up at any other library including at the Law Library on the Clayton campus. 
  • return items via after hours returns at Law Library or the Hargrave Andrew Library on this campus. 
  • find study spaces at the two other libraries on the campus.

From Wednesday 22 June and throughout the closure period, Search temporarily will not allow staff and students to select 'Matheson' as the pick-up location when requesting items from other libraries.

From the afternoon of Monday, 27 June until Sunday 17 July, Matheson holds available for collection can be picked up at the Law Library.

Members of the public may wish to visit our other libraries on campus. Please consult the map.

  • Law Library – 15 Ancora Imparo Way
  • Hargrave-Andrew Library – 13 College Walk

We apologise for this disruption and ask for your patience through the coming months as this exciting project takes shape.

Keep checking this blog for more updates on the Matheson Library refurbishment.

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12 May 2016

Quiet study spaces at Clayton

To help you find a space that works for your study style, we’ve compiled a list of available alternative work areas at Clayton. 

As we approach the end of semester one and the beginning of the Swot Vac and exam period, we understand there is an increased need for quiet study spaces on campus. 

While our Sir Louis Matheson Library on the Clayton campus offers a range of study spaces to suit different work preferences, we appreciate that current refurbishment works and increased demand during this period can make finding a study space more difficult. 

We've made extra seating available at the Law and Hargrave-Andrew libraries. The two libraries will be open from 10am to 5pm on weekends from 21 May until 19 June.

In addition, Hargrave-Andrew Library will be open until 2am Monday to Thursday beginning 30 May until 23 June. 

Clayton campus study spaces may be viewed on the Clayton campus map (PDF, 0.25 MB)

You may also want to check out 'More study spaces opened at Caulfield'.

Additional study spaces are also available at our other campus libraries. These include:
Berwick Library (120 spaces)
Peninsula Library (250 spaces)
CL Butchers Pharmacy Library at Parkville (120 spaces)

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About the Blog

Welcome to the Monash University Library blog. Whether you are engaged in learning, teaching or research activities, the Library and its range of programs, activities and resources will contribute to your success. Here you will find useful information, ideas, tips and inspiration. Your comments on any of the articles are welcome.

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