Dutch history update

We have written previously about the Libris Geschiedenis Prijs and how it informs our purchasing of Dutch history books. The longlist of ten titles for the 2019 prize, chosen from more than 300, was announced in July. This was then whittled down to a shortlist of five titles earlier this month, with the winner to be announced at the end of October.

Looking at last year’s shortlist, we chose to buy four of the five shortlisted titles for 2018 including the winner:

  • Nobel streven: het onwaarschijnlijke maar waargebeurde verhaal van ridder Jan van Brederode by Frits van Oostrom (C215.c.6483). In this book, the winner, the author has reconstructed the life of Jan van Brederode, a little-known nobleman of the late 14th century who died at Agincourt.
  • Thorbecke wil het: biografie van een staatsman by Remieg Aerts (601:5.c.201.24) is the first full biography of Johan Rudolf Thorbecke, an important 19th century Dutch statesman who wrote a constitution in 1848 and thus introduced parliamentary democracy to the Netherlands.
  • Kolonialeoorlogen in Indonesië: vijf eeuwen verzet tegen vreemde overheersing  by Piet Hagen (634:2.c.201.3) looks at five centuries of colonial wars in Indonesia and is a useful reference tool on the history of Indonesia generally.
  • De toren van de Gouden Eeuw: een Hollandse strijd tussen gulden en God by Gabri van Tussenbroek (C215.c.1510) tells the story of 17th century reconstruction and power struggles in Amsterdam.

Continue reading

Foreign-language ebooks

When we talk about Cambridge’s amazing ebook collections, we often think only of their English-language content – yet there is a great deal of foreign-language material available too.  The growth of institutional ebook availability has varied in the languages and countries that our department, Collections and Academic Liaison (CAL), deals with.  Costs can also vary enormously (some ebooks cost nearly four times the print version while others can be far closer to the print price), but we are always happy to include ebooks in our language accessions as much as possible.  This post provides a brief summary of major bought and open access ebook providers and packages in CAL’s languages.

Images from De Gruyter

Continue reading

Dutch history revisited

In 2015 we wrote about books shortlisted for the 2014 Libris Geschiedenis Prijs, showing that we selectively buy Dutch books on major Dutch historical topics or those with a strong interdisciplinary appeal. In this post we look at a few books acquired in the intervening years which have been shortlisted for the same prize:

First, from the 2015 shortlist, is Cees Fasseur’s Eigen meester, niemands knecht: het leven van Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy, Minister-president van Nederland in de Tweede Wereldoorlog (C214.c.2469). This substantial work is the first major biography of the man who held the important position of Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1940 to 1945 in exile in London.

Nominated for the 2016 prize was De roofkoning: Prins Willem III en de invasie van Engeland by Machiel Bosman (C213.c.3769). Books about William of Orange and his connections with England hold obvious appeal for us. This well-researched but concise account is a combination of history book and novel, telling the story of William’s invasion of England from the different perspectives of the main protagonists. William of Orange is a main player too in the book featured from last year’s shortlist, Oranje tegen de Zonnekoning: de strijd tussen Willem III en Lodewijk XIV om Europa by Luc Panhuysen (C212.c.6787), a comprehensive description of the intense rivalry between Louis XIV and William of Orange who were 17th century contemporaries. Continue reading

New Weimar on the Pacific

This post is written by David Lowe, who retired from our department in April.  We hope it is the first of many retirement-era contributions.

When in August 2001 the University Library acquired its copy of Roland Jaeger’s New Weimar on the Pacific: the Pazifische Presse and German exile publishing in Los Angeles, 1942-48 (862.c.504), a history of the small private press which published eleven German language titles between 1942 and 1948, we had none of the books in the collection.  That omission has now been partly rectified, and in recent years we have bought four titles, three of them presented by the Friends of the Library from the legacy of Mrs Margaret Green, wife of the former Schröder Professor of German Dennis Green.

Continue reading

Getting hold of the books

The way we used to order

How we used to order in pre-computer days

Many of our readers, familiar with the ease of book purchasing over the internet, often with a next-day delivery service, assume that the buying of new titles by the Library is invariably straightforward.  The internet has certainly facilitated the way in which we work. Ordering 20 books on-line usually only takes a few minutes. It is much easier to establish whether a title is still in print, although publishers’ and vendors’ websites are often not completely up to date in the detail they provide.  The websites of many suppliers enable us to track our requests, seeing the dates on which they order, acquire and dispatch a book.  Sites such as Abebooks and Chapitre can make the acquisition of many out-of-print items far easier.

It shouldn’t be assumed, however, that the Library can always replicate the experience of the private individual, particularly in terms of e-books.  Continue reading