Satan’s mistress

SouthcottSatan’s mistress is certainly a title to grab your attention, and includes plenty of strange facts about the life of 18th century fanatic and prophet Joanna Southcott.  The blurb on the back of the book is equally sensational:

“Joanna Southcott’s yearning to make her mark in the world was so strong that she inadvertently sold her soul to the Devil.  She would rather have given it to Jesus, but the Devil persuaded her that the voices she heard were from God.  It was only on her death-bed that she realised she was not the Bride of Christ at all, but the mistress of Satan.”

A sparsely educated daughter from a farming farming Joanna grew up to be a widely influential prophet who in her mid sixties claimed to be pregnant by immaculate conception, and that her son Shiloh would be born on Christmas day.  In fact she died on 27th December, unsurprisingly without giving birth.  Even today there is a sect of believers called the Panacea Society who are waiting for the spirit of Shiloh to manifest.

Val Lewis leads us through Joanna’s life, and explores what may have happened to the sealed Box of Prophecies, which was only to have been opened by 24 Church of England Bishops.

An extraordinary story about a woman who had 14,000 followers and a cult that still survives today.

Lewis, Val (1997) Satan’s mistress. Shepperton: Nauticalia.
ISBN: 0953045803
Classmark: BF1815.S6.L3 (ASSL)

Slang and swearing: what language do you use?

SwearTwo entertaining books on language have been added to the library recently, one about swearing and the other about slang.  Melissa Mohr’s Holy Sh*t looks at the history of swearing – both obscenities and oaths, from the ‘big ten’ worst Latin words in Ancient Rome up to the ‘big six’ worst English words today, lists that fluctuate depending on culture and society.  In between we visit the Bible, look at the Middle Ages when English was the minority language in England next to Latin and Norman French, discuss ‘equivocation’ during the Renaissance, and the euphemisms of the 18th and 19th centuries, and end up in the modern world wondering as taboos change what the swear words of the future will be, and whether we are swearing more now than we did in the past.

slangIn The life of slang by Julie Coleman we learn just what slang is, how it developed throughout the English speaking world, and how it continues to flourish.  She explains that “Slang is an attitude…expressed in words.  Any word habitually used with one of these slangy attitudes retains the association, but the association wears off when the word is used by people who don’t share or are only pretending to share the attitude. When a group of people are stereotyped by their attitude, outsiders will find signs of it even where it isn’t being expressed.” (p.306).

Coleman also discusses swear words in the context of slang, which aren’t necessarily the same things.

Both these books will probably teach you several new words, whether you can use them in polite company is another matter.

Mohr, Melissa (2013) Holy sh*t. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
ISBN: 9780199742677
Classmark: PE3724.S85.M6 (ASSL)

Coleman, Julie (2012) The life of slang. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
ISBN: 9780199571994
Classmark: PE3711.C6 (ASSL)

The C-word

cwordThe tag line for this book is “Just your average 28 year old…friends, family, facebook, cancer”.  Not your run of the mill,  ‘personal experience of a disease’ book, this one comes across more in the style of Bridget Jones.

“Carrie Bradshaw fell in Dior, I fell in Debenhams.  It was May 2008, and it was spectacular.  Uncomfortable heels + slippy floor + head turned by a cocktail dress = thwack. Arms stretched overhead, teeth cracking on floor tiles, chest and knees breaking the fall. It was theatrical, exaggerated, a perfect 6.0. And it was Significant Moment #1 in discovering that I had grade-three breast cancer.”  (p. 2)

Lisa Lynch, a journalist and magazine editor, discovered she had breast cancer at 28. One of her ways of dealing with ‘The bullshit’ as she called it, was to write a blog telling it how it really was.  Endorsed by Stephen Fry, the blog turned into a book – The C-Word.

Lisa beat breast cancer, the blog carried on, and there is talk of the BBC turning the book into a film; sadly however, three years later she developed a secondary cancer, and died earlier this year (2013).

The book is a great read whether you have had to deal with cancer in your life or not; for those who have they will surely recognize plenty of moments, for those who haven’t its a realistic eye opener, told in a very funny way.

Lynch, Lisa (2010) The C-word. London: Arrow Books.
ISBN: 9780099547549
Classmark: 362.19699490092 LYN (Health Library)

Titles from Cardiff authors

Over summer the library added several books to its collections that were written, or contributed to, by Cardiff authors, here is a selection:

PlotTarbatt, Jonathan (2012) The plot : designing diversity in the built environment : a manual for architects and urban designers. London: RIBA Publishing.
ISBN: 9781859464434
Classmark: 724.7 PLO (Bute (ARCHI)

Jonathan Tarbatt is a former Cardiff University student who is now a practicing architect.  This books is a professional manual for making more sustainable places.



BelongingHurdley, Rachel (2013) Home, materiality, memory and belonging : keeping culture. Basingstoke:  Palgrave Macmillan.
ISBN: 9780230230286
Classmark: HM753.H8 (Bute (SOCSI)

Rachel Hurdley is a Research Fellow in the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences whose research focuses on everyday relations between people, things, space and time.



channelsOviedo-Orta, Ernesto, Kwak, Brenda R. & Evans, W. Howard (2013, eds.) Connexin cell communication channels : roles in the immune system and immunopathology. London: CRC Press.
ISBN: 9781439862575
Classmark: 571.96364 CON (Health)

W. Howard Evans is the Professor of Medical Biochemistry in the Institute of Infection & Immunity, Cardiff University.



ByzantiTougher, Shaun.  Bearding Byzantium : Masculinity, Eunuchs and the Byzantine Life Course In, Neil, Bronwen & Garland, Lynda (2013, eds.) Questions of gender in Byzantine society. Farnham: Ashgate.
ISBN: 9781409447795
Classmark: HQ1075.5.B97.Q8 (ASSL)

Shaun Tougher is the Senior Lecturer in Ancient History in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion, and the co-director of the Centre for Late Antique Religion and Cutlure at Cardiff.



lawEgede, Edwin & Sutch, Peter (2013) The politics of international law and international justice. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
ISBN: 9780748634729
Classmark: JC578.E4 (ASSL)

Edwin Egede is a Senior Lecturer in International Law and International Relations at Cardiff, and Peter Sutch is the Professor of Political and International Theory at Cardiff.

Modernity and reproduction: seductive motorcars, rebellious robots and friendly trees

ModernityWhat does the organization “Men of trees” and the woman who campaigned for birth control, Marie Stopes, have in common?  Perhaps surprisingly the answer is the eugenicist Reginald Ruggles Gate, who was the first husband of Stopes and a member of this tree planting society.   It was this fact that first provided the spark for author Angus McLaren to set off on a journey looking into sexuality and modernity.

Looking at popular literature, films, and public debate from the 1920s and 1930s, alongside the work of biologists and psychiatrists, McLaren discusses the way the mechanistic ideas of modernity were turned to ideas of sexuality and reproduction, and the conversations and discussions that ensued.

“While American science-fiction writers were obsessed with extraterrestrials, rocket ships, and death rays, the British were hypnotized by the possibilities and pitfalls of harnessing biological change.” p. 5 (Introduction)

We are shown how man’s relationship with the environment and ecological issues became intrinsically intertwined with that of eugenics and modernity.

“A large and eccentric cast of characters including seductive motorcars, rebellious robots, friendly trees, and timorous test-tube babies populate this brief study.  Its goal is to better understand why in a remarkably short space of time modernizers (of a variety of stripes) succeeded in advancing the arguments that the protean forces of sex and reproduction had to be subjected to planning and control. They, of course, did not win the debate – it is still going on.” p 6 (Introduction)

McLaren, Angus (2012) Reproduction by design: sex, robots, trees, and test-tube babies in interwar Britain.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
ISBN: 9780226560694
Classmark: PR478.F87.M2 (ASSL)

What do we do when the students aren’t around?

Actually it doesn’t really matter to a cataloguer whether its term time (erm or semester time), because it doesn’t effect our work load.  We carry on regardless of the time of year, though we do have some flows and ebbs that are related to students – such as making sure all the multiple copy textbooks get out on the shelves as quickly as possible.  I am amazed by how many people do ask me if I get the summer off though (if only!) – however, this seems to be a generic question for anyone who works in any capacity for a university.  Just because undergraduates aren’t being taught during these summer months doesn’t mean the University grinds to a halt though!

This week, however, one could perhaps quite legitimately ask what the cataloguers are doing, because this week is when our library management system (Voyager) is being upgraded.  It is a good week to take time off, because you can’t get on with the main part of the job, but its also a good week to catch up on all those tasks you put off because they aren’t cataloguing.

There is some obligatory desk tidying, and email sorting (both of which I have yet to get round to); this week I also intend to write a selection of blog posts (ready to use at a later point), type up some notes on an archiving project, create lists of some genetics books waiting to be catalogued for the Human Genetics Historical Library project that the genetics professor wants, start revamping the cataloguing manual which is several years out of date now, catch up with staff development activities, finalise arrangements for a training session I’ve organised for next week, and several other bits of administration work.  That’s just me, my colleagues will have their own jobs, which for some also mean working on the institutional repository ORCA.

Eragny PressToday I also created a Pinterest account for the cataloguing department too.  Its going to feature the occasional pictures of us and our surroundings, there will be some library infographics that are fun, bookplates we find while cataloguing the rare books (in SCOLAR), private press printing devices, interesting book covers, fun things inspired by books – you get the picture!  Why not follow our boards.


Death and humans

DeathWhen you pick up a book and it has chapter headings such as “The edible dead”, “An unexpected vampire” and “A skeleton illuminated by lightning” you can pretty much surmise you are not going to be in for a dry reading experience.  The buried soul: how humans invented death by Timothy Taylor (who also wrote The Prehistory of sex) is a scholarly yet entertaining adventure through the archaeology of death and how we humans have regarded it and interacted with it throughout our time on earth.

“When did humankind become intelligent enough to formulate the idea of the soul? Tim Taylor’s search for an answer combine cutting-edge science, personal insight and scholarship, and spans the entire period from our prehistoric evolution to the present.  It is an extraordinary journey through vampirism, cannibalism, near-death experiences, modern-day human sacrifice and mummification.” note the publishers on the back cover.

With plenty of interesting stories and examples we learn how differently death has been, and is, regarded by different societies and individuals. Even just dipping your toe into this book will probably also make you think about your own attitude to death.

Taylor, Timothy (2002) The buried soul: how humans invented death. London: Harper Collins.
ISBN: 9780007291472
Classmark: GT3150.T2 (ASSL)

Books by Cardiff University Staff

In the last few months the following books have been added to stock, all are written, or contributed to by Cardiff authors.

FrenchrightPassmore, Kevin (2013) The right in France from the Third Republic to Vichy.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.

“This book provides a new history of parliamentary conservatism and the extreme right in France during the successive crises of the years from 1870 to 1945. In it, Kevin Passmore charts royalist opposition to the newly established Republic, the emergence of the nationalist extreme right in the 1890s, and the parallel development of republican conservatism. He moves on to the hitherto unstudied story of conservatism in during the Great War, and then to the Right’s victory in the 1919 elections. Passmore charts the crisis of parliamentary conservatism in the interwar years, and explores the Right’s response to the rise of Fascism and Communism. He concludes by placing the Vichy regime, which governed France under the German Occupation, in the context of the history of conservative politics. This history is related to the struggle of those who saw themselves as ‘elites’ to preserve their leadership in the ‘age of the masses’.” (from the publishers)

The author is a reader in history at Cardiff University; this book was added to ASSL (DC331.P2)

outerhebridesSharples, Niall M. (2012, ed.) A late Iron Age farmstead in the Outer Hebrides : excavations at mound 1, Bornais, South Uist. Oxford: Oxbow.

Part of the Cardiff studies in archaeology series, as well as the editor, nine other contributors work in SHARE; this book was added to ASSL (Folio DA880.H4.L2)

crime bookAndrew, Lucy & Phelps, Catherine (2013, eds.) Crime fiction in the city : capital crimes. Cardifff: University of Wales Press.

Edited by doctoral candidates and postgraduate tutors at Cardiff, according to the acknowledgements the collection had its origins in the 2009 Crime Narratives in Context Colloquium held at Cardiff University; entitled ‘Capital crimes: reading and writing crime and cities’ this colloquium was supported by The British Academy.  This item was also added to ASSL (PN3448.D4.C7)

Renton, Tara & Hill, C. M. (2013) Clinical guide to oral surgery. Book 1. London: British Dental Association.

C. Micahel Hill is the consultant oral and maxifacial surgeon at the Cardiff Dental Hospital.  D. W. Thomas, a contributor to the book, is a professior and honorary consultant in oral surgery at Cardiff University.  The book was added to the Dental Library (Ca REN).

What have the Greeks and Romans done for us???

RomansWhy, in the 21st century, should we still care about the ancient world?” ask the flyleaf on the dust jacket of this book.  The long shadow of antiquity: what have the Greeks and Romans done for us? is a quick romp through the contributions provided by the ancient Greeks and Romans to the modern world.  Starting with food and shelter, and ending with popular culture we learn about the influences behind many aspects of our world today.

As the introduction says: “This book is intended to help you to better ‘know yourself’ by taking you on an entertaining journey through the institutions, artifacts, rituals, and structures that make up our modern culture, and to point out some of the myriad ways in which the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome have fundamentally influenced and shaped the world that we live in today.  You will discover that everything from how we measure time, build our cities, get married, and organize our governments, to what we do for fun and how we worship, has origins in the classical world.” (p. ix-x)

This book covers a large range of examples, and is to some extent a fairly superficial gloss on the subject, but it is an enteratining read and will probably whet the appetite of many readers, and lead them to further reading about the ancient world.


“Romani ite domum” another memorable scene from Life of Brian

Despite the subtitle of this book alluding to a scene in Monty Python’s Life of Brian (What have the Romans ever done for us?) the authors sadly seem to have missed out all reference to this film, even in the popular culture section.  A bit of an oversight really.

Aldrete, Gregory S. & Aldrete, Alicia (2012) The long shadow of antiquity: what have the Greeks and Romans done for us?  London: Continuum.
ISBN: 9781441162472
Classmark: DF78.A5 (ASSL)

Using Library of Congress classification

LCC at Cardiff
One of the main classification schemes used at Cardiff University, (the other one being Dewey), Library of Congress Classification (LCC) is generally used in our humanities based libraries, particularly ASSL, but you will also see it in Bute, Trevithick and Senghennydd (for the Maths collection).


Herbert Putnam

The history bit…
The Library of Congress Classification system was (unsurprisingly!) developed for the Library of Congress, by Herbert Putnam (1861-1955) in 1897 just before he was appointed as the librarian.  He was the librarian for Congress for forty years, and when he retired from this role became Librarian Emeritus, and unable to give up the world of librarianship he continued to do work for the library for the next 15 years.  He originally trained at Columbia University Law School, and earlier in his career he practiced law inbetween stints of librarianship.  He was president of the American Library Association (as was Melvil Dewey a decade before him) in 1898, and 1903-1904.

How does it work? (the basics)
This classification scheme was devised to classify a particular library’s collection, rather

Classification schedules in the cataloguing office

Classification schedules in the cataloguing office

than to classify the knowledge of the world (like Dewey).  It is alphanumeric and uses all the letters of the alphabet for its main sections, excluding I, O, W, X and Y.  Although we haven’t always done so in the past, Cardiff University tries to use all the Letters (schemes) available in all our libraries that use LCC.  The one exception is K (Law) as we use Moys (another classification scheme previously blogged about) for our law books.

Subjects are divided into broad categories, see here for a full listing, but for instance D is General and old world history, and P is Language and literature.  Each class is further subdivided into subclasses, so while P as a single letter is the subject in general, PA covers Greek and Latin language and literature, PR is English literature and PZ is used for Children’s literature.

Following the letters come a set of numbers which further define the subject, so for example PR4581.A5.P7 is a biography of Charles Dickens by J. B. Priestley.


Charles Ammi Cutter

The last part of the classmark number is referred to as the ‘Cutter’ and represents the author, organisation or title, whichever is the main entry for the item on the catalogue (in an edited volume the main entry is the title not the editors).  Cutters were devised by Charles A. Cutter (1837-1903) using a table format, however we tend to use a much simpler version in Cardiff.

With 21 classes at its top level, in comparison to Dewey’s 10, LCC has proved itself better able to cope with the addition of new subjects; although DDC is more flexible in general.  It is however very US-centric, and of course is designed with one particular library in mind, which doesn’t necessarily match our own libraries.  There is often debate amongst librarians about which classification scheme is best suited for an academic library, and there are pros and cons for both sides.  In general people tend to assume that Dewey is better for science and LCC is better for humanities.  Hopefully you will have a better idea of how both now work within the libraries at Cardiff University, from this post and the previous post on Dewey.