Friday, 25 June 2010

Lies, damn lies and statistics?

If you've ever doubted the truth of what you read in the papers (and who hasn't?) the Straight Statistics blog is for you.  Set up by journalists and statisticians from pressure group Straight Statistics,  its aim is to expose and correct some of the worst examples of  sloppy or garbled use of statistics.  Some of the examples are hilarious and make for a very entertaining and illuminating read.  You'll find here the stats behind Gordon Brown's infamous encounter with Gillian Duffy, the true cost of public sector pensions, and whether you'll really catch Legionnaire's Disease if you don't put screenwash in your car windscreen washer.

For anyone interested in this topic and in the kind of scare stories which the media relish so much, may I also recommend Ben Goldacre's book Bad Science.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Eavesdropping on the past

Today sees the launch of the John Johnson Collection: An Archive of Printed Ephemera, the product of a unique partnership between JISC’s  Digitisation Programme, the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, and ProQuest to conserve, catalogue and digitise more than 65,000 items drawn from the collection.

The material selected for conservation, cataloguing and digitisation comprises a wide array of different types of printed document, including posters and handbills for theatrical and non-theatrical entertainments, broadsides relating to murders and executions, book and journal prospectuses, popular topographical prints, and a wealth of different kinds of printed advertising material. The resulting online collection will form an invaluable resource for researchers interested in the histories of consumption, leisure, gender, popular culture, commerce, technology, crime, and a host of other areas. With each item presented as a full-colour, high-resolution facsimile, the John Johnson Collection will also be indispensable for researchers studying the development of printing and visual culture in modern Britain.

More information and a short video about the project can be found at JISC's website.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Lending Services Survey

Many thanks to everyone who took part in our lending service survey. We received over 1100 responses in total from the online and paper survey! We're looking at the feedback now and will get back to you after we've analysed your comments.