Alchemical Connections in the UL: Jung and Eastern Alchemy

In my previous blog post, I examined a selection of the texts in the Bibliotheca Hermetica series, a recent addition to our catalogue. In this post, I wish to take a wider view of alchemy, and how the material connects people of different time periods. History is inherent to each manuscript, not only detailing the provenance and creation of each work, but also how the content shaped the lives of the people who read it. In this way, the collection of alchemical texts in the UL is a rich fabric of interwoven connections and textual interpretations, which spans centuries of academic understanding, creating almost a visual mind-map of human curiosity and giving the impetus to discover and learn more.

Carl Jung, circa 1935.

Carl Jung, circa 1935.

One particular example of how ideas interconnect across time, is Carl Jung, the Swiss 20th century psychiatrist, and The Secret of the Golden Flower (9840.b.17). Although psychology and alchemy may appear to be vastly different fields of enquiry, Jung’s approach to his specialism had a lot in common with the historical alchemists he researched. Like them, he was concerned with the unification of opposites, focusing primarily on the conscious and the unconscious, a theme he noted in a variety of Eastern archetypical images. Jung’s concept of individuation is also reminiscent of Western alchemical practices. In differentiating the self into conscious and unconscious elements, Jung was applying to psychology techniques which alchemists had applied to early approaches to natural science. Continue reading

New e-resource: Novaia Gazeta Digital Archive

Electronic Collection Management

Cambridge University Libraries are delighted to announce the acquisition of the Novaia Gazeta Digital Archive and a new subscription to the paper’s new Europe edition

The text about Novaia gazeta below is provided by East View, but the description predates Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. It therefore does not reflect the closure of the paper in Russia in March 2022 following government pressure to curb its frankness about the war nor the paper’s re-appearance in May 2022 as a separate Europe edition.

About The Collection

Novaia gazeta (Новая газета, The New Newspaper) is a popular independent Moscow newspaper known for critical investigative reporting, working to expose corruption, abuse of power and violation of laws amongst the government and main financial structures of modern Russia.

Launched in 1993, the newspaper has published under the title of Novaia ezhednevnaia gazeta (Новая ежедневная газета, The New Daily Newspaper)…

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More new (but ancient) additions to UNESCO World Heritage

This is the last of three posts delving into 2021 new additions to the UNESCO World Heritage list. The focus this time is on ancient sites and relevant publications in the University Library which support further investigation.

Settlement and Artificial Mummification of the Chinchorro Culture in the Arica and Parinacota Region: Most people would associate the death ritual of mummification with ancient Egypt. However, 7000 years ago (2000 years earlier than the Egyptians) the Chinchorro people of northern Chile were mummifying their dead, and this culture has now been recognised by inscription on the World Heritage List. The Chinchorro mummies were first brought to world attention by the German archaeologist Max Uhle in the early 20th century.  More recently, the Chilean anthropologist Bernardo Arriaza has devoted more than 30 years to researching them. His work has furthered our knowledge and helped to ensure that the culture has been validated as internationally significant. His 1995 book Beyond death: the Chinchorro mummies of ancient Chile (673:35.b.95.13) details almost 300 examples. Continue reading

New additions to the UNESCO World Heritage list

Back in July I wrote about UNESCO World Heritage sites and decisions to be taken at the impending 44th session of the World Heritage committee. Sadly, as feared, Liverpool did lose its World Heritage status. However, the two new nominated sites that I highlighted, Nice in France and the ShUM sites of Speyer, Worms and Mainz in Germany, were both successful in being added to the list. This blog post is the first of three which will take a look at a few of the other new additions and consider relevant books in which you can find out more.

First, and also in Germany, is Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt, site of the Darmstadt Artists’ Colony, established in 1897 by Ernst Ludwig, Grand Duke of Hesse, a grandson of Queen Victoria. This was an important early 20th century artistic centre and the buildings show the influence of the Art Nouveau and Vienna Secession movements. Continue reading

New Cambridge-written OA blog post ‘Open Access books and [in]discoverability: a library perspective’

CAL colleagues Clara Panozzo and Jayne Kelly have just had a blog post they co-wrote about OA books and catalogue metadata published on the Open Access Books Network blog, using Latin American OA material available through CLACSO as a case in point. The post provides really interesting insights into the problems of catalogue records for much OA material and the great disservice poor records do to these valuable resources and their potential readers.

Open Access books and [in]discoverability: a library perspective – Open Access Books Network Blog (