Visit to SOAS Library -June 2014

I visited recently SOAS to meet subject librarians to discuss experiences of researcher and subject support. The Library website is I used to work there previously and it was great to see some former colleagues when walking round. SOAS has undergone some refurbishment, particularly on the ground floor where there is now an exhibition space and a redesigned counter space and an area called “The street” and the terraces upstairs where new study spaces have been created.


We found that we had a lot of communality with the subject librarian team. Subject librarians have blogs and also use tools such as Facebook, Twitter and Google +. SOAS uses Primo Central for article searching and find that it is popular with students. Some of the Library training sessions are embedded into courses and others such as dissertation workshops and training on the reference management tool Zotero and 121s are also offered. Orientation tours were offered last year to 600-700 students. There are postcards give out to research students asking for their details and then a member of library staff contacts the students.

SOAS are making all of their short loan items one week loan in response to student and staff feedback At the moment, a reading list management system such as Talis Aspire isn’t being used. Evidence based/ demand driven trials are used for the purchase of electronic resources eg. from Sage and statistics and cost effectiveness are analysed.

SOAS elephant

SOAS has amazing archives and there is an archives blog Some of the collections are deposited by individuals and societies. “Collections reflect the British interaction with Africa and Asia over the last 250 years, and include archives of missionary societies, NGOs and campaign groups, and business organisations, as well as papers of individuals, including diplomats, campaigners, and academics”

I would like to thank Beth Clark from SOAS Library for giving us a tour of the Library and Archives and arranging our Q&A session with Subject Librarians and for all the staff for making us so welcome. I felt really welcome and was happy that colleagues still remembered me.

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