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Geography Library blog

Geography Library blog

Start of Michaelmas Term - welcome back and getting started!

Monday 4th October 2021

Liam HerbertWe're delighted to welcome our new students (and welcome back our returning students) to the Geography Library. As always, we're looking forward to continue supporting the Department's information needs for the current academic year.

Here is a summary of all the things you need to know about the Geography Library, and especially our space and our services, to get you started in Michaelmas Term.

Using the library

The Geography Library is back open as a study space, with restrictions in place to ensure a safe and comfortable experience for our users.

Initially, use of the library is only available to members of the Department (students, researchers and staff) and you will need to book in advance of your visit using our online booking system accessed via the intranet. The booking link is also available on the Geography Library home page. You need to be on the Geography intranet (with the red banner) in order to use the booking system.

The library is open for 'browse and study' between 9am and 4pm on weekdays. Bookings are in hourly slots so please choose which hour(s) you would like to use the library. We will not admit anyone without a booking made in advance - you are welcome to enquire at the library helpdesk without a booking but will not be allowed past this point into the main reading room.

Upon arrival, please wait to the right of the library helpdesk (where indicated), and a member of library staff will check you in.

Once checked in, you are welcome to exit and re-enter the library for comfort breaks as many times as you like.

Please let library staff know when you are leaving for the last time so that we are made aware not to expect you back in during your booked session.

We strongly advise you to wear a face mask when moving around the library, or when you are proximate to others. Food is not permitted, and this must not be consumed in the library. Bottled water is allowed.

Please keep at least one metre away from other users in the library - two users can share one large study table if they sit at opposite ends.

You are expected to wipe down surfaces during your booked session and you should bring your own laptops and study materials.

Cleaning materials are available. You may use books from the library shelves but please replace them yourself after use.

Library staff may be working behind closed doors so please knock and stand away from the library office door, or alternatively e-mail us [] if you require assistance. Staff are happy to help, including if you wish to borrow items or to ask for access to items kept in the Library office such as paper copies of past dissertations that are not available online. Consult iDiscover - the online library catalogue to find out shelf locations and to get direct access to online resources.

We are operating reduced capacities in both our rooms (Main Reading Room and Periodicals Room), and there may be times when the Periodicals Room is unavailable due to prior bookings. Bookings are released on a weekly basis, with bookable slots for the following week being released on Friday during each week in term.

Any person outside of Geography wishing to use the library will be directed to our zero contact services, which include Click & Collect and Scan & Deliver, or can apply for special permission to access the library at the discretion of the librarian.

Extended options to access library resources

We will continue to run zero contact services for the entirety of Michaelmas Term (and beyond subject to review) if you do not wish to come into the library space itself, which are as follows:

Click & Collect is a free service through which anyone in the Department can request books to be retrieved from the Geography Library's collections, which will then be made available to collect from the wooden shelves on the right as you approach the Library entrance.

You may be able to request books from other Faculty and Departmental Libraries as part of Click & Collect services within Cambridge, so we advise that you check the relevant library website for more information.

Book Returns are still possible without stepping inside the library itself. Please return your library books to the drop-off box just outside the library entrance and we'll ensure that they are returned off your account shortly after. If you have taken out books in the past years(s) that you are no longer using, we'd very much appreciate their return so that others can use them.

A Scan & Deliver service is also available, which enables you to order scans of book chapters and journal articles held by Cambridge University Libraries, which are currently not available in electronic format. Scans are sent direct to your email inbox. There is no charge for this, except if the materials are held as Electronic Legal Deposit which will incur a £2 charge. The service operates from the UL, with the Geography Library on the list of libraries from which the scans can be sourced.

Electronic dissertations from recent graduates are now available for reading access online, with more titles having been added over the past summer.

Online reading lists are available for most of the papers and courses in Geography. Check the section on Moodle (the virtual learning environment) for your course or paper(s) that you are sitting, for access. If you need help locating or using online reading lists, or cannot access items on the lists, please email [] us and we'll help.

And finally...

Library induction materials are now available for both undergraduate and postgraduate students, which contain expanded detail on many of the library services highlighted above, along with further information on how to access resources and spaces within the wider Cambridge libraries community.

There are online drop-in sessions running in the first week of term (details are at the end of the induction materials linked above), which are for you to meet me as your librarian and to ask any library questions you may have, so please do use the opportunity if you are interested.

Otherwise, at any time, if you have any queries about your book requests, current loans, or any other library questions, please contact us by e-mail [].

Please also refer to our Twitter account for service updates and other interesting information from the library!

We look forward to seeing you in the Geography Library and supporting your information needs over the coming term and beyond.

Liam Herbert, LLB(Hons) MSc MCLIP fCMgr MBA
Library and Information Manager

Welcome back! Library study spaces now bookable for September 2021

13 August 2021

A view of the Geography Library - there is a wooden calendar showing the date Wednesday 1st September on the table at the forefront of the picture, with a book case and a ladder behind, and another table in front of the window to the right

We are delighted to announce that the Geography Library is reopening from 1st September 2021. As much as we've been able to support the department with zero-contact services over the past year and a bit, we're looking forward to opening the physical space for study and research once again.

As part of our planned soft re-opening, we are inviting Geography MPhil and PhD students back to use the study space on select dates in September 2021. We will then re-open to the wider department from the start of Michaelmas Term in early October.

We are offering either a morning (10:00-12:00) or afternoon (13:00-14:00) slot to use a study space in the Periodicals Room to start, as numbers of spaces are strictly limited under the current Covid-19 safety guidelines. The days we can offer this service are dependent on staff availability and will not be the same week-to-week. There will be some weeks in September where no staff are available and therefore no service will run.

You will need to book in advance to use the library. Further terms of use are available on our website.

Book a morning slot (10:00-12:00)

Book an afternoon slot (13:00-16:00)

*Note - the booking system works using Raven authentication for members of the Geography department only. All other enquiries for access to the library from members of the wider university should be made by email to where we will do our best to help.

Please note that you do not have to stay for the full duration of the booking. If you would like to arrive after the start of an available slot, please book it online and then email us to let us know if you intend to arrive after the advertised start time.

You may browse the shelves, and borrow books, during your slot but please be mindful of the advised one metre distance to keep between yourself, other students and library staff. We also strongly advocate the wearing of face masks when you are in the library unless you are exempt on medical grounds.

If you have any questions on the reopening of the library study space, please do not hesitate to contact the Geography Library.

Start of Easter Term update

27 April 2021

A view of the Geography Library - there is a map and book open on a large table with a book case behind, and a window to the left

A very warm welcome back to our students at the start of Easter Term! As ever, your Geography Library team have been working to support all departmental members with their information needs, and despite the ongoing COVID-19 situation limiting the access to the library space, we are always available to assist the best we can.

Library service hours this term

Library services are available on weekdays during term, 10am - 4pm (except Wednesdays - remote online support only). Zero contact services continue - Click & Collect, Scan & Deliver and Electronic Dissertations.

A remote enquiry service will be available on the May Bank Holidays (3rd and 31st) - please do contact with any questions, at any time, no matter how general or specialised they are - we're here to help!

If you'd like a video chat with your librarian to go through anything related to searching, referencing, creating bibliographies etc., please email and we can arrange a convenient time.

Library study space

The Geography Library is not open as a study space this term - this is due to the current level of health and safety restrictions in place, which severely limit the number of people who can occupy the space safely.

We are fortunate to be part of a wider network of libraries who are currently offering bookable study spaces:

The UL book a study space and the Moore Library book a seat service are open to Geography students.

College libraries are also providing some access for study space - please check your college library website for more information.

Book loans

All books currently on loan from the Geography Library have been automatically renewed (provisionally due back in May)

Any book can now be requested if it is on loan - books may be recalled and you will be emailed to ask to return them back to us. More information on this is available, including how to safely return your books remotely.

Available book chapter scans uploaded to Leganto

We have now identified and uploaded all book chapters appearing on online reading lists as downloadable scans. These are provided in line with copyright legislation meaning that they are available for teaching purposes, and therefore should not be shared outside of the Department.

New requests for anything on Geography reading lists should be sent to in the first instance - as we can make the scans available to all students sitting the respective paper or course.

If you require a scan for personal/private study or research, please use the Scan & Deliver service.

Accessing and requesting ebooks

The Geography Library has a limited budget for purchasing new books this academic year, and where possible, we will source ebooks first if it proves more cost effective and where this would enable more people to access them.

Not all books are published electronically and some titles are very expensive, so it may not always be possible to obtain your title as an ebook.

In the first instance please use the UL online book recommendation form to make your request - Geography recommendations come through to us automatically.

We are still acquiring print copies of books to build our physical collection and to enable new books to be borrowed through the Click & Collect service. If you require a small extract from a book available in our library, or at the UL, the Scan & Deliver service is a great option to use.

End of Lent Term update

17 March 2021

As we approach the end of Lent Term, and head into the Easter vacation period, your Geography Library team would like to update you on a few developments that you may find interesting and helpful.

Changes to service hours for Easter vacation

There will be a small reduction in zero contact services offered over the Easter vacation, based on staff availability.

We will therefore be open for Click & Collect, book returns and Scan & Deliver requests on Tuesdays and Thursdays only, between 29th March and 23rd April. Our vacation opening hours have been updated on our website to reflect this change. As a reminder, the Geography Library is not open for browsing or as a study space during this time.

Acquisitions updated

We have acquired many print and electronic books this academic year - all are searchable through iDiscover, and we have put together a helpful list of these on our website too. If you need only a chapter from a book (not available as an ebook) for anything related to personal study or research, our Scan & Deliver service can help.

New electronic resources available

The University Library continually adds new electronic resources, plus subscriptions and trial access to databases, which may be of interest to our departmental members. A useful blog highlights what is new and interesting, so why not take a look?

STEMM libraries present: "working together" virtual study room

Join us on Zoom from 1pm to 4.30pm on Wednesday afternoons, starting 17th March.

  • Work informally alongside other students in a virtual space
  • Library staff will be present in the room if you have questions about resources or anything else library-related
  • Set goals for your afternoon of study
  • Come and go as you please – we'll provide a schedule, but you won't need to stick to that.

Book a place here

And finally...

We continue to review the health and safety guidance in terms of reopening the Geography Library as a study space, which would be incredibly limited under the current restrictions. In the meantime, we are committed to continue delivering zero contact services including Click & Collect and Scan & Deliver for any printed books that are available on our shelves. There are bookable study spaces available at the UL and the Betty & Gordon Moore Library which are available to all students, which you can apply for if you are in Cambridge and are looking for somewhere different to study. All bookable study spaces are Covid safe.

Getting to know Online Reading Lists better

12 February 2021

As we approach the middle of Lent Term, we wanted to raise some awareness of the online reading lists we hope you have seen and are using, and specifically to highlight some of the functions you may not already be aware of.

Your online reading lists are powered by Leganto, which gives you more versatility in how you find, access and manage your course readings.

Accessing online reading lists

You can find them on Moodle - there is a link to the full online reading list for the paper/course at the top, and in most cases you can find links to specific weeks or lecture readings under the relevant section lower down the page.

We appreciate that not everyone will take to the online reading list, so if you prefer to browse a static list, many papers have either a PDF or Word version of the reading list uploaded to Moodle. You can also export your online reading list into a static document by clicking on the three-dot icon next to the reading list title, then select 'Export' then select your output file type. Select Harvard as the Bibliography style, then 'Export'.

A screenshot to show how to export an online reading list into another document type: You can also export your online reading list into a static document by clicking on the three-dot icon next to the reading list title, then select 'Export' then select your output file type. Select Harvard as the Bibliography style, then 'Export'.

We have updated the online reading lists with all lecture readings, and some supervision readings if they have been made available on Moodle. Some lists are being actively updated with new readings around lectures during Lent Term.

Benefits to using online reading lists

  • There are accessibility options available to adjust font size and site contrast (click your initials in the circle top right of the screen, and select Accessibility menu)A screenshot to show that there are accessibility options available to adjust font size and site contrast (click your initials in the circle top right of the screen, and select Accessibility menu).
  • Access to online resources through direct links.
  • Public notes have been added to give you further insights from academics, instructions on which pages to read and other information on accessibility.
  • Availability of print books is shown - you can see which library has a copy on the shelf, along with the shelf mark.
  • We have included all records for print books available in the Geography Library as default - please note that there may be multiple catalogue records on iDiscover so there may be other copies available in other libraries, especially college libraries, which are not shown on the reading list. The UL has been working on a catalogue record de-duplication project to merge all catalogue records for the same titles, to tidy up and make finding print books even easier.
  • You can keep a track of all the readings that you have completed (look for a tick icon at the end of the item description, click it to colour it in as 'Mark as read').A screenshot to show how you can keep a track of all the readings that you have completed (look for a tick icon at the end of the item description, click it to colour it in as 'Mark as read')
  • You can favourite readings using the Like (heart) icon, which appears on the right of the screen when you click on any item to see expanded information on it.A screenshot to show how you can favourite readings using the Like (heart) icon, which appears on the right of the screen when you click on any item to see expanded information on it.
  • You can add private notes to any of the items on your reading list - click on the item to see its expanded information and then 'add note' under Private note.A screenshot to show how you can add private notes to any of the items on your reading list - click on the item to see its expanded information and then 'add note' under Private note.

Searching and filtering online reading lists

You can use the search (spyglass icon) to find any item in the list - search using keywords such as author or editor name, title, publisher or publication date

A screenshot to show how you can use the search (spyglass icon) to find any item in the list - search using keywords such as author or editor name, title, publisher or publication date.

You can filter your online reading list according to tag type - we suggest that you filter by 'Available online' and 'Scan available' to show you all the resources that you can access remotely. You can do this by clicking on the spyglass icon, then 'Select tags' to reveal all the tags that have been applied to the reading list - you can click on multiple tags to apply them. Click anywhere on the screen to go back to the reading list.

A screenshot to show how you can filter your online reading list according to tag type - we suggest that you filter by 'Available online' and 'Scan available' to show you all the resources that you can access remotely. You can do this by clicking on the spyglass icon, then 'Select tags' to reveal all the tags that have been applied to the reading list - you can click on multiple tags to apply them. Click anywhere on the screen to go back to the reading list.

There are further tags you can select - such as 'Required reading', 'Required viewing', 'Further reading', 'Recommended reading' and more - but we advise that you don't filter too heavily as you could miss out on some of your readings.

Availability of resources on the online reading list

We have indicated those resources that are not available to the University with the tag 'Not available in Cambridge'. The reasons why you don't have access could relate to the resource being out of print, not included in our institutional subscription or simply that it cannot be found anywhere on the internet.

If a journal article or a book chapter is not available through iDiscover or the Geography Library, you can contact the UL's Inter-Library Loans service, who may be able to source an electronic copy for you. This service is currently free to students and staff.

If you find an item with the tag 'Scan available' but without a download link, please email and we will look into making the scan available. We have identified all the readings that are possible to scan, although this will depend on the book's location (anything in the UL or the Geography Library can be scanned relatively quickly and easily - materials held in other departmental and faculty libraries and college libraries may or may not be accessible for scanning).

And finally ... create your own lists!

You can create your own collection of books, journal articles and anything else you access online - useful when you are reading around a topic for supervisions, projects, essays and dissertations. To get started, click on 'Collection' on the vertical menu appearing on the left of the screen and then 'add items'. You can also import citations directly into your collection (the 'Cite it' button can be installed - click on your initials in the top right corner, then 'Cite It!' and finally drag and drop the link to your bookmarks panel).

Additional help available

If you are need of any assistance with your online reading lists (no question too minor or major!), help is at hand: you can check out the dedicated LibGuide or email and we'll look into it.

Library update and essential information - Lent Term 2021

20 January 2021

A view of the Geography Library reading room - a ladder is placed near to the book shelves, and there is a window view from one of the study desks.

A warm welcome to Lent Term from your Geography Library Team!

We're here to support you all as you continue your studies, teaching and/or research in these challenging times. We had hoped to invite you back into the physical library space this term but given the national restrictions which have placed teaching online and many of you away from Cambridge, this is not currently possible.

In light of this, we have extended the return dates on all books loaned from the Geography Library until 27th April 2021. Books out on loan cannot be requested or recalled this term. Our key message here is to hold onto our books wherever you are. We don't need them back immediately, and you won't be fined for their late return. We will advise you on how you can safely return books to us later on this year.

If you have books out from other libraries in Cambridge, it may be wise to check out their websites for further guidance. No library, as far as I am aware, will penalise you for the late return of books during the current pandemic.

Available library services

Rest assured that our library team are working hard to give you (remote) access to the physical collections of the Library through a number of key services that I just wanted to take this opportunity to highlight again at the start of the new term:

Please note: the services below are available four days a week (every weekday except Wednesdays), when library staff are working in the Library. Our service hours are 10:00-16:00. Services are not available on Saturdays or Sundays.

Click & Collect

If you are in Cambridge, you are welcome to reserve and collect books from just outside the Library entrance using this form. You need your blue ID card to enter and exit the Geography building, and we will email you to confirm when your books are ready to collect. All new books loaned this term are due back on 27th April 2021, as the default initial loan period.

Book returns

As mentioned above, this isn't the most important thing to us at this time. If you are able to return books in Cambridge, you have the following options:

  • At the Geography building - there is a returns box just outside the Library entrance
  • The Betty and Gordon Moore Library (West Cambridge) and the Medical Library (at Addenbrookes Hospital) both have drop boxes you can return Geography books to.
  • Postal returns to the main UL - full information here.

Scan & Deliver

You can request one chapter of a book, or a journal article, to be scanned and emailed to you wherever you are. Simply fill out this form on the UL's website. The book needs to be on the shelf for us to be able to scan it, but there may be copies in other libraries that can be scanned for you if the Geography Library's copy is on loan. All scans are made in compliance with copyright law.


We have approximately 20 undergraduate dissertations available digitally for students to view online - especially useful for our Part IB students in need of inspiration and who are submitting their keywords imminently!

Use this form to request up to two documents, and if you need any more, simply fill in a new form. You'll need to know the document number (available next to the abstracts on our dedicated webpage) at the time you make your request. We do not currently hold any digital copies of undergraduate critical review essays, or postgraduate essays, but hope to expand our service to include these in the future.

Book recommendations

We have worked closely with the UL to make most key readings on the undergraduate tripos and MPhil courses available as ebooks where this has been possible. Availability of ebooks here is based on whether the book has been published digitally (some simply have not been) and also affordability, as we have a finite budget to spend on Geography books in any academic year.

You are welcome to enquire about the possibility of us sourcing an ebook for you, especially if it appears on a reading list, or if it is needed for dissertation writing or research. Please use the following form to make a recommendation in the first instance - and we will make the necessary check before responding back to let you know if we can help you access the ebook.

Online reading lists

All undergraduate and postgraduate papers now have an online reading list - you can access these through the dedicated Moodle course page for each paper. They contain direct links to online resources including ebooks, e-journal articles and scanned book chapters. If there is a book chapter on your reading list that is not currently available online (as part of an ebook we have access to), please let the library team know by email and we can organise for a scan to be made and uploaded to the reading list to benefit all students sitting that paper.

Finally, if you haven't already seen our Library induction (available in undergraduate and MPhil/PhD flavours) or 'Accessing online resources remotely' webpage, we encourage you to check them out as they contain lots of useful hints, tips and links to online resources that can help you with studying, and undertaking research, at a distance.

And finally...

If there is anything else you'd like to ask the Library about, that has not been covered above, please get in touch by email. We are monitoring and responding to emails sent to every weekday during our advertised service hours.

As always, we will keep you updated as and when library services develop and reopen throughout this year. So keep any eye on your emails, our website and especially our blog, and our Twitter account for further news and information!

Vacation opening hours and loans

30 November 2020

A Christmas Tree made entirely from library books stacked on top of each other, standing in the Geography Library

Opening hours, and service update

As part of the planned vacation closure, the Library will be closed between Monday 21st December and Friday 1st January inclusive, reopening on Monday 4th January when we will resume online and zero contact library services.

We are looking into offering bookable study spaces (initially in the Periodicals Room) at some point during Lent Term. This will be dependent on numerous factors, especially health and safety guidance around COVID-19, and so we will communicate further on this if and when we can provide a viable and safe service.

Vacation borrowing

You are very welcome to borrow books over the Christmas vacation – any new books will need to be borrowed before the end of Friday 18th December whilst library staff are present.

You will need to request your books using our Click & Collect service.

Vacation loans will operate from Tuesday 1st December until Tuesday 19th January – this means that any books which are on loan cannot be requested by another user, nor can they be recalled back over the length of the vacation.

The option to request on iDiscover will be turned off on Tuesday 1st December. Outstanding requests will still be active. Requests will be switched back on, at the start of 'term borrowing', on Tuesday 19th January.

Auto-renew of books will still operate, so any book that becomes due over the vacation will renew itself – you can check My Library account online to see your current loans and requests.

You will receive an automated monthly borrowing statement by email in early January, which will simply be for your information.

Please hold onto any books you have borrowed until the Library reopens on Monday 4th January, as they cannot be returned over the planned vacation closure. External book drops at the Medical Library and the Moore Library will also be closed over this period for returning Geography books.

If you have any questions regarding this, or any other service the Library provides, please do get in touch on

Mid-term Geography Library update

30 October 2020

A view of the Geography Library reference area - there are three cushioned chairs in front of a bookcase full of books. A ladder is to the left of the chairs.

As we are now approaching the middle of Michaelmas Term, I wanted to pass on some useful library information that should help you with your ongoing studies.

Study space

As you aware, the Geography Library is currently not open to students to use as study space, and it is highly unlikely that this will change before the end of term.

You can book a 2-hour study space over at the Betty and Gordon Moore Library: they are running morning (11-1) and afternoon (2-4) study sessions Monday to Friday. The service is open all university students, including Geography, and you must book in advance.

Accessing books in the Geography Library

Remember that you can borrow print books from the Geography Library using our Click & Collect service; or if you only need a book chapter, you can use the Scan & Deliver service to have that scanned and emailed to you.

Downloading your reading lists

Most of your papers now have an online reading list - there are a few which currently don't have one, and we are working towards getting these set up. If you would prefer to download your online reading list into a static document, such as Microsoft Word or PDF file, you can do so by:

  • Going to your online reading list
  • Clicking the 3 dots icon in the top right of the list
  • Clicking on Export > then click on the format you would like to download the list into:

An internet browser showing an online reading list and how to export the reading list into a different format, such as Microsoft Word or PDF

Electronic dissertations

A selection of recent electronic dissertations will be available for viewing online from November (exact date to be communicated). You will need to ask for permission and agree to the terms of service using a form on the library website, before you are given access to the Google Drive through which the dissertations will be viewable. Check this web-page for further information and we'll let you know when the service has been launched!

(Note: any dissertations prior to 2020 are currently unavailable as they exist in paper copy in the library, which is not accessible at this time).

Bibliographic skills training

Building upon recent training on academic integrity, which covered plagiarism and referencing, we will be launching an online course that covers Bibliographic Skills by mid-November. It will be available on the Department's 'Study Skills' Moodle page.

The course will cover:

  • Literature searching
  • Citation searching
  • Accessing databases
  • Reference management software

This resource will be accessible to you at any time throughout your studies - so please work through this when you have time, and also let us know if you have any questions or suggestions to improve the content. We'll let you know by email when the course is ready.

Library support is available

Finally, a reminder that we're here to help with any library questions you may have. Simply email us at and we'll be in touch.

A warm welcome (back!) from the Geography Library ... all you need to know for Michaelmas Term

13 October 2020

We're delighted to say that the Geography Library staff are now back in the library space after a long summer of running an online library service, and that we're looking forward to continuing supporting the Department's information needs.

We'd love to be able to welcome you all back into the library in person, and to greet our new students, but this is not currently possible due to restrictions around COVID-19.

Things will be a little different this term, so I wanted to use this email to set out how you can access the library books and services in the coming weeks and months.

Currently the Geography Library is not open for browsing or study access. Library staff will be working behind closed doors to provide 'zero contact services' that will make our print collections accessible to our students and staff whilst adhering to social distancing guidelines. Library staff will be working between 10:00-16:00 on weekdays, although there may be adjustments or reduced hours based on staff availability.

We've created a new page on our website for Zero contact services:

  • Click & Collect is a free service through which anyone in the Department can request books to be retrieved from the Geography Library's collections, which will then be made available to collect from a designated collection point just outside the library's entrance. You can request and collect our books from Monday 12th October.
  • Book Returns are now available. Please return your library books to the drop-off box just outside the library entrance and we'll ensure that they are returned off your account shortly after.
  • A Scan & Deliver service is also available, which enables you to order scans of book chapters and journal articles held by Cambridge University Libraries, which are currently not available in electronic format. Scans are sent direct to your mail inbox. There is no charge for this, except if the materials are held as Electronic Legal Deposit which will incur a £2 charge. The service operates from the UL, with the Geography Library soon to be joining the list of libraries from which the scans can be sourced.
  • Electronic dissertations will become available during Michaelmas Term. A selection of dissertations from recent graduates will be made available for reading access online. We'll share full details on how to use this service shortly.

Online reading lists will be available for most of the papers and courses in Geography this year. Check the section on Moodle (the virtual learning environment) for your course or paper(s) that you are sitting, for access. If you need help locating or using online reading lists, or cannot access items on the lists, please email us and we'll help.

If you're coming into the Geography building to collect or return books, we ask that you please observe the following safety guidelines:

The corridor leading to the library entrance is narrow. Only one person can be in this area at once. Please wait for others to leave the area before entering. Please wear a face mask.

The library entrance. It is a narrow corridor with wooden shelves mounted on the walls to the left and the right.The library entrance is a narrow corridor, so only one person can be in this area at any one time. Books can be returned on the left and requested books are available from the wooden shelves on the right hand side of the corridor.

The library doors will be locked. Please either return your books on the left or collect your requested books from the wooden shelves on the right. Hand sanitiser is available on the left just before the library doors.

Books requested through the click & collect service can be found in alphabetical order (by last name) on these shelves

The click & collect pick up point are the wooden shelves on the right hand wall of the corridor leading to the library entrance. Requested books will be placed in alphabetical order on the shelves, from left to right.

If you have any queries about your book requests, current loans, or any other library questions, please contact us by email.

Please also refer to our Twitter account for service updates and other interesting information from the library!

We are constantly reviewing our services, in line with guidance from the University Library and the Department, and we will expand access to the physical library space when it is safe to do so. Until then, we look forward to supporting you through our zero contact services and via our online library presence.

Introducing ... zero contact services at the UL (for access to materials during COVID-19 lockdown)

9 July 2020

A photograph of the exterior (front) of the main Cambridge University Library on West Road

Whilst the Geography Library remains closed, we are delighted to highlight the new 'zero contact' services offered by the main University Library on West Road, designed to safely begin to expand access to world-class physical collections not available in electronic format.

Among the new services now available are:

  • 'Click and Collect' – this new service enables the ordering of selected physical books and journals online and to collect the items from a designated point at Cambridge University Library.
  • 'Scan and Deliver' – this new service enables the ordering of digitised scans from the University Library collection where copyright rules allow. Special Collections are excluded.
  • Book returns - books can be returned to the UL building or via the existing book drop facilities on the Sidgwick Site (next to the Faculty of English). Find out all the ways you can return your books.

Click & Collect key points:

  • Library users may request five books per day.
  • Library users must make an appointment to collect their books, and will not be able to collect them without an appointment. This should be explained in their confirmation email.
  • There is very limited public parking at the University Library at the moment due to construction work. We are very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.
  • The reopening of the University Library does not mean that all students are permitted to return to Cambridge; students who are not resident in Cambridge or who are unable to commute from home must make arrangements with their college, and the advice of Public Health England is clear that at present they should not return to Cambridge unless access to a laboratory is required.

Read more about the Click & Collect service.

Scan & Deliver key points:

  • Library users may use the scanning request form to request up to five scans per 24 hour period.
  • The request cannot exceed one chapter of a book or one article from a journal to comply with copyright restrictions
  • Scans are 'delivered' using G-Suite@Cambridge, a service based on Google Drive
  • Not everything can be requested – items are subject to copyright and conservation approval; in addition, special collections, newspapers, maps, and sheet music are excluded.

Read more about the Scan & Deliver service.

Virtual backgrounds

6 May 2020

If you're constantly in virtual meetings with colleagues, or in online hangouts with family and friends these days, and you miss the Geography Library, we feel your pain.

Simply download* one of these pictures and apply them as your 'virtual background' the next time you take an online video call, so that you can be in the Geography Library whilst we are closed!

We'd love to see your screenshots of you in our Library too - email them to us or send them to us via Twitter (@CamGeogLib)

(*right click on each photo to 'Save image as'... onto your PC or laptop)

A view of the Geography Library from behind the Helpdesk.

A view of the Geography Library, from behind the Librarian's Office. A sign reading 'Notice: no smoking in the library' attached to a pillar features prominently.

A view of the Reference Section in the Geography Library

All the plants in the Geography Library collected onto one table in the main reading room.

Extended catalogue of Geography ebooks now available temporarily - Kortext

4 May 2020

84 new ebooks, which either appear on Geography reading lists as key texts or which were specifically requested back in March, are now available on a temporary basis until at least 30 June 2020 via Kortext's Free Student eTextbook Programme (FSTP).

For more information on how the programme works, guidance on how to set up an account to access the ebooks through Kortext, and for the full list of FSTP ebook titles the wider University has temporary access to, please visit the ebooks@cambridge blog.

An overview list appears below for browsing - you need to follow the link above to access the ebooks.

Please note that you will need to create a Kortext University of Cambridge account on your first visit.

(*authors in yellow represent titles which appear on more than one Geography paper)

Author(s) Title Edition Publisher Year ISBN

C. Donald Ahrens, Robert Henson

Meteorology Today





Harvey, D.

A brief history of neoliberalism.

Oxford University Press



Masselink, G., Hughes, M.G., Knight, J.

An Introduction to Coastal Processes and Geomorphology


Hodder Arnold



Holden, J.

An introduction to physical geography and the environment.


Prentice Hall



Sismondo, S.

An Introduction to Science and Technology Studies.




Blyth, M.

Austerity, The History of a Dangerous Idea.

Oxford University Press



Ingold, T.

Being alive: essays on movement, knowledge and description




Coutard, O., and Rutherford, J. (eds)

Beyond the Networked City: Infrastructure Reconfigurations and Urban Change in the North and South.




Cox, Moore and Ladle


Oxford University Press



Lomolino, M.V., Riddle B., and Whittaker, R.J.

Biogeography: Biological Diversity across Space and Time





Sassen, S.

Cities in a world economy.

Thousand Oaks



Yarwood, R.

Citizenship (Key Ideas in Geography).





Climate Change 2013: The Physical Basis.

Cambridge University Press



Shue, H.

Climate Justice: Vulnerability and Protection.

Oxford University Press



Masselink, G., and Gehrels, R. (eds.)

Coastal Environments and Global Change.




Newing, H.

Conducting research in conservation : social science methods and practice.




Adams, W.M. and Mulligan, M.

Decolonizing nature: strategies for conservation in a post-colonial era




Tuhiwai Smith, L.

Decolonizing Methodologies: research and Indigenous people.

Zed Press



Crang, M. and Cook, I.

Doing Ethnographies.




Escobar, A.

Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World.

Princeton University Press



Turnhout, E., Tuinstra, W. & Halffman, W. (eds.)

Environmental expertise: connecting science, policy and society.

Cambridge University Press



Smith, K.

Environmental hazards: assessing risk and reducing disaster.




Whitehead, M.

Environmental Transformations: a Geography of the Anthropocene.




Wolanski, E. and Elliott, M.

Estuarine Ecohydrology – An Introduction.





Mawdsley, E.

From Recipients to Donors: The Emerging Powers and the Changing Development Landscape.

Zed Books



Lees, L., Slater, T. and Wyly, E.





Nayak, A., and Jeffrey, A.

Geographical Thought: An Introduction to Ideas in Human Geography.

Prentice Hall



Sharp, J.

Geographies of Postcolonialism.




Slaymaker, O., Spencer, T., and Embleton-Hamann, C., (eds.)

Geomorphology and Global Environmental Change.

Cambridge University Press



Christopherson, R.W.

Geosystems: an introduction to physical geography.


Prentice Hall



Wills, J., et al

Global Cities at Work.

Pluto Press



Anderson, D.E., Goudie, A., and Parker, A.

Global Environments Through the Quaternary: Exploring Environmental Change.

2nd ed

Oxford University Press



Dicken, P.

Global Shift: Mapping the Changing Contours of the World Economy




Steger, M.

Globalization: A Very Short Introduction.

Oxford University Press



Adams, W.M.

Green Development





Wisner, B., Gaillard, J.C. and Kelman, I., (eds.)

Handbook of hazards and disaster risk reduction and management.




Simone, A.

Improvised Lives: Rhythms of Endurance in an Urban South




Graham, S and McFarlane, C. (eds.)

Infrastructural Lives: Urban Infrastructure in Context




Cloke, P., Crang, P., and Goodwin, M., (eds.)

Introducing Human Geographies


Hodder Arnold



Clifford, N., French, S., and Valentine, G., (eds.)

Key Methods in Geography.

3rd ed




Owens, S.

Knowledge, Politics and Expertise: The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution 1970-2011.

Oxford University Press



Duncan, J.S., and Duncan, N.G.

Landscapes of Privilege: The Politics of the Aesthetic in an American Suburb.




Grove, Jean M.

Little Ice Ages: Ancient & Modern

2nd ed




Agnew, J., and Corbridge S.

Mastering Space: Hegemony, Territory and International Political Economy.




Flowerdew, R., and Martin, D.

Methods in Human Geography: A Guide for Students Doing a Research Project.




Open University

Ocean Circulation


Pergamon Press



Robinson, J.

Ordinary Cities: Between Modernity and Development




Shacher, A. (ed.)

Oxford Handbook of Citizenship.

Oxford University Press



Bradley, R.S.

Paleoclimatology: Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary.

3rd ed




Robbins, P.

Political Ecology: A Critical Introduction.

2nd ed




Jazeel, T.





Jackson, T.

Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet.




Lowe, J.J. and Walker, M.J.C.

Reconstructing Quaternary Environments.

3rd ed




Satterthwaite, D. and Mitlin, D.

Reducing Urban Poverty in the Global South




Power, M.

Rethinking Development Geographies.




Renn, O.

Risk governance: coping with uncertainty in a complex world.




Parnell, S., and Oldfield, S. (eds.)

Routledge Handbook on Cities of the Global South




Pugh D and Woodworth P

Sea-Level Science: Understanding Tides, Surges, Tsunamis and Mean Sea-Level Changes.

Cambridge University Press



Amin, A., and Thrift, N.

Seeing like a City




Graham, S., and Marvin, S.

Splintering Urbanism: Networked infrastructures, Technological Mobilites and the Urban Condition




Jasanoff, S. (ed.)

States of Knowledge: the Co-production of Science and Social Order.




Shilliam, R.

The Black Pacific: Anti-colonial struggles and oceanic connections.




Desai, V., and Potter, R.B., (eds.)

The Companion to Development Studies.

3rd ed




Pomeranz, K.

The Great Divergence: China, Europe and the Making of the Modern World Economy.

Princeton University Press



Broecker, W.

The Great Ocean Conveyor: Discovering the Trigger for Abrupt Climate Change.

Princeton University Press



Campbell, B.

The Great Transition: Climate, Disease and Society in the Late-Medieval World.

Cambridge University Press



Woodward, J.

The Ice Age, a Very Short Introduction.

Oxford University Press



Pettorelli, N.

The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index.


Oxford University Press



Slovic, P.

The Perception of Risk.




Grundmann, R. and Stehr, N.

The Power of Scientific Knowledge: From Research to Public Policy.

Cambridge University Press



Thomas, N.

The Return of Curiosity. What are Museums Good for in the 21st Century?




Perreault, T. Bridge, G. and McCarthy, J. (eds.)

The Routledge handbook of political ecology.




Wilkinson, R., and Pickett, K.

The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone.




Alley, R.B.

The two mile time machine.

Princeton University Press



Willis, K.

Theories and Practices of Development.

2nd ed




Porter, T.M.

Trust in numbers: The pursuit of objectivity in science and public life.

Princeton University Press



Grotzinger, J., and Jordan, T.H.

Understanding Earth


W.H. Freeman and Co.



Mitlin, D. and Satterthwaite, D.

Urban Poverty in the Global South: scale and nature.




Jayne, M. and Ward, K. (eds.)

Urban Theory: New critical perspectives




Pryke, M., Rose, G., and Whatmore, S., (eds.)

Using social theory: thinking through research.




Guha, R. and Alier, J.M.

Varieties of environmentalism: essays North and South

Oxford University Press



Mitsch, W.J., and Gosselink, J.G.






Dorling, D. & Gietel-Basten, S.

Why demography matters.




Hulme, M.

Why we Disagree about Climate Change.

Cambridge University Press



Direct links to these titles are available on the 2019-20 Library Accessions page. If any of the above titles have been acquired permanently, we will make it clear on that page.

Temporary access to Geography ebooks - Kortext

24 April 2020

A wheel of printed books to represent an electronic library

Kortext, a UK based eTextbook provider, have joined with Jisc, the UK's not for profit education and research services provider, to launch the Free Student eTextbook Programme (FSTP). Cambridge University Libraries have registered with this scheme, and your library staff are busy liaising with Kortext to develop a growing and bespoke collection of textbooks which University of Cambridge registered students and staff can access online until 30 June 2020.

A list of Geography ebooks we have trial access to under the FSTP is available on the Library Accessions page. We will add to the list as and when more titles become available. You will need to set up a Kortext account to access these titles, which are not searchable on iDiscover.

For more information on how the scheme works, guidance on how to set up an account to access the ebooks through Kortext and for the full list of FSTP ebook titles the wider University has temporary access to, please visit the ebooks@cambridge blog.

Easter Term update - April 2020

22 April 2020

The Geography Library continues to be open online, and as we enter the start of Easter Term, I thought it might be helpful to update you all on a few matters relating to your library service:

Loans extended

We have extended the return dates for all current loans of Geography books until the end of June - this has been done for you, so you do not need to take any action. If you notice that you have a book on loan from us with a date earlier than 18th June, please email us and we will help you.

Use of ebooks

As you may be aware, a number of publishers have made their ebooks and other electronic resources available to students and staff of the University free of charge during the COVID-19 emergency as a gesture of goodwill, for which we are immensely grateful. Together with our existing online resources they are a vital support for study and research, particularly for those preparing for assessment.

All online resources, including ebooks, are subject to conditions of use that restrict downloading and sharing, and are subject to copyright law. Misuse of them may result in the resource being withdrawn by publisher at short notice from the entire University. This has unfortunately occurred on two occasions over the past month, including one involving excessive downloading from another department that resulted in access to an entire collection being withdrawn by the publisher. The misuse deprived all students of access to that particular resource.

We understand that at this especially difficult period students in particular are under great pressure but they must continue to respect the publishers' licenses and copyright law. Unless explicitly permitted by the publisher on the site this normally means downloading chapters and articles as needed for study but not entire books. If in doubt, consult the conditions of use or equivalent on the site or ask a librarian for advice. We ask you to support your fellow students by ensuring that resources are not withdrawn.

Ebook requests

The Geography Library has been working closely with both academic staff and the UL to identify and make available reading materials that our students require for study and revision. We have already requested a number of key text books for the majority of undergraduate papers, along with our most heavily borrowed titles.

At this time, we are happy to consider requests for Geography ebooks for:

  • books on reading lists (key texts are prioritised here)
  • books which are not currently accessible (such as electronic legal deposit items which are only accessible on designated terminals in library buildings)
  • books that would be used to support work being put forward for a formal assessment.

Post-docs and academics are asked to limit their research ebook requests to 5.

We ask that you make your requests through the Geography Library, by emailing The UL have a book recommendation form on their website, which will now need to be checked by me, as the departmental librarian, before they are considered.

We will let you know the progress and outcome of your ebook requests, and whether an existing request has been made. We cannot guarantee that all books will be available as ebooks, but we will try our best to source them with the assistance of the UL's dedicated ebooks team. We also cannot guarantee that ebooks will be sourced immediately as this is dependent on a number of factors including the responsiveness of our suppliers and the publishers.

A list of all Geography ebooks acquired this academic year is available on the library webpage. It would be useful to check this before making any new requests.

Physical Sciences LibGuide

There is a fantastic new LibGuide available, created with Physical Sciences students in mind ... which includes us geographers!

The LibGuide is in the early stages of development, but we are looking to collaborate with other libraries in the School of Physical Sciences to develop and deliver online resources that enrich your studies and provide timely help, advice and guidance when you need it. The LibGuide has instructional videos, materials on research support and wellbeing tips: the latter are a very helpful reminder that taking a study break can boost productivity and refocus your mind.

If you have any suggestions for what you want like to see on here, and what would help you as Geography students, please email

COVID-19 list of eresources

Just a reminder that there is a list of eresources currently available to all University of Cambridge students and staff. It is being updated regularly as soon as new resources, or extended access to current resources, are made available to the University during the COVID-19 lockdown period.

End of Lent Term update - March 2020

18 March 2020

Changes in how to access to the Library

In light of recent developments surrounding the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, we are making this library update in support of your learning and studying.

The Geography Library has been advised to close during this time, however we wish to reassure you that your library staff will be working to support you remotely so please do not hesitate to contact us by email with any questions you have in relation to library matters, such as loans, renewals and access to materials such as journals and textbooks. A lot of the materials you have been studying with are available digitally, however we appreciate that not all material is currently online.

If you have any issues accessing materials for your studies, please email in the first instance.

The following websites should prove helpful for your studies:

Libguides: Suitable for all students, these user-friendly guides link you to lots of useful information provided by University of Cambridge Libraries on finding electronic resources, such as ebooks and ejournals, digital collections and databases, alongside study skills such as referencing.

Geography Libguide: This subject specific guide will be updated with more content relevant to your studies - please do let us know what information would be most helpful to you on here as Geographers, so we can best tailor it to your study needs.

Wolfson College Academic Skills: This is an excellent resource on finding, managing and using information relating to your studies.

Geography Library Twitter account will provide the latest messages relating to our library services, so please do check in regularly.

Remote access to online resources (i.e. journal articles, databases, ebooks)

  • You should be able to access these remotely using your Raven login.
  • We strongly recommend that you use iDiscover in the first instance to find the online resources you need, rather than trying to get access to content directly on a publisher website for example, which will not recognise you as a being member of the University.
  • Wherever you click on a green 'Online access' link in your results on iDiscover (whether it is to an article, ebook or database) you will be taken to the Raven authentication page. Once you have signed in, you will stay signed in until you close the browser window.

Online journals

  • In iDiscover, click on the button for 'Articles and online resources' and enter your search term in the box (journal article or journal title), then click on the magnifying glass icon to perform the search.
  • You can also click on the 'E-journal Search' link at the top of the page to search for online journals by title.
  • In either case, click on the green 'Online access' link to get access via your Raven account.

Top Tip - install the LeanLibrary plugin.

Lean Library delivers to your desktop the article or chapter you want seamlessly if Cambridge University Libraries provide subscription access, regardless where you are accessing from (on or off campus).

Top Tip - install the Google Scholar Button. When you search Google Scholar for articles, 'ejournals@cambridge' links are displayed that will take you to the full-text (if the University has a subscription).

Top Tip - install Open Access Browser Plugins.

A third to a half of articles have an Open Access version, but finding them can be a challenge. Save time with these easy-to-install OA discovery tools that search repositories, preprint servers, etc. for you.

Online databases

  • In iDiscover, click on the 'Databases A-Z' link at the top of the page to find and access databases the University subscribes to. You can refine it by subject e.g. Geography.​


  • There are thousands of these available in iDiscover. Whenever you do a search for a book and there is an online version there will be a separate record for it. Click on the green 'Online access' link to get access via your Raven account.
  • If there isn't an electronic version of a book you really need it may be possible for us to buy these quickly and make them available via iDiscover - ask us at

Is the book chapter or journal article you need not available anywhere in Cambridge?

You can currently make requests for Inter-Library Loans (for an additional charge) through the Moore Library. Please see their website for more information. The availability of this service depends, however, on whether the British Library remains open or not.​​

Borrowing printed books

  • We are unable to loan new books from the Geography Library as we have no staff working in the library space (we are working remotely from home, as advised by the University).
  • Any Geography books that are currently on loan should remain with you at this time. We will waive any charges that appear on your library account from today (18/03/2020) - please email us and we will be able to sort this for you. You will not face fines for late return overdue books caused by illness, caring responsibilities, or self-isolation.
  • If you have a Geography book out on loan, and would like the loan extended, please email us and we will be happy to assist you. For any college library books, please contact the relevant college library as we cannot amend the loans on books that are not ours.
  • Most books now auto-renew, although we are aware that for undergraduate students this will be up to 3 weeks from the date of the loan. Please renew the book online via Your Account on iDiscover if you can, or email us. We will help you.
  • The request functionality, which is switched off during vacations anyway (so people cannot request others to return books they want), may be left switched off when term is supposed to start again.
  • Library staff will be able to access the library management system remotely if necessary to assist with any borrower or book queries.

Contact us

  • Please email with any questions. We are unable to take phone calls as our staff are working remotely.
  • Please visit the library website for a whole range of further useful information.

'We are the future'

May 5th, 2018

This time of year Cambridge libraries assume greater significance in the daily lives of undergraduates. The 100+ libraries scattered across the city fill up as students prepare for their finals. Then in one moment in late May or early June time is called on the last exam and the adventure that is the rest of their lives begins.

In June 1936 one such undergraduate, John Cornford, graduated with a starred first in History from Trinity College. A few weeks later, General Franco and his 'Army of Africa' invaded Spain from Morocco. These two apparently disparate events would have tragic consequences. Cornford left immediately, joining the POUM militia on Huesca Plain in Aragon. He then joined the nascent International Brigades and was wounded in the defence of Madrid. With the war raging on several fronts, his battalion was sent south to Andalucia. Lopera, a small hilltop town near Cordoba, had been taken by the Nationalists. A disastrous attempt to retake the town was ordered in late December and Cornford was one of over 300 brigaders who were mown down by the machine guns of Franco's well-equipped and highly-trained mercenaries.

However, Cornford and his brief foray into world history are not forgotten. Whilst there is no memorial in Cambridge, Lopera does have a plaque dedicated to those who died trying to liberate the town. Cornford is also one of 5 British and Irish writers commemorated on the wall of the 'Casa de estudiantes' in Madrid. Closer to home, Jeremy Corbyn concluded his speech at the Durham Miners' Gala in 2017 by quoting from one of Cornford's most famous poems:

More than 80 years after his death, Cornford's words may be meaningful to some of those students still crouched over their notes:

'We are the future. The last fight let us face'

On the road (and in the field)

January 7th, 2016

People travel for a myriad of reasons and geographers travel more than most. The Part 1B Tripos students of last summer, however, all travelled for the same reason: they have a dissertation to write and they need data from the field. The Dictionary of Human Geography (5th edition states that): 'The methodology of fieldwork is capacious and eclectic ...' and with that in mind they packed their rucksacks and set off to ...

See this year's Dissertation Diaspora.

A few images from this year's cohort:

Brighton Tenerife

Dissertation Diaspora

October 1st, 2014

The 5th edition of 'The Dictionary of Human Geography' defines fieldwork as:

'A means of gathering data that involves the researcher in direct engagement with the material world.'

'Methane potential in Arctic soils': field site, Sjurfjellet, Norway.

Norway 1

Injecting Rhodamine dye into a supraglacial stream on 'Glacier Blanc',
Pelvoux, Ecrins National Park, Pelvoux, France.

Pelvoux 2

'Abandonment and dereliction in Berlin: the re-appropriation of excess space'.


Land use survey - Queensland, Australia


Oskar Blues bar, Lyons, Colorado. The bar hosted an open mic night for victims
of the September 2013 floods.

Oskar Blues

'Cultural identity in the Shetland Islands'


Helping with the harvest, Zanskar Valley.

Zanskar 1

'A study of Mexican immigration into USA'. Pilsen, Southside Chicago.

Pilsen Chicago

Mapping the outline of a glacial lake, Pelechuco Valley, NW Bolivia.

Pelechuco Valley

Measuring river cross-sections, Pelechuco Valley, NW Bolivia.

Valle de Pelechuco

The first field experience for Tripos students is usually a visit to the exposed, windswept coast of north Norfolk in January of the first year. This is a sort of geographical 'coming of age'. Survive a field day on a North Sea beach in winter and you can be a geographer. Among other places Tripos students are likely to visit are the Cambridge City Cemetery in Mill Road, the Botanic Gardens and Canvey Island. After the short excursions, come the residential field trips abroad. These provide an opportunity to carry out some more substantial, supervised fieldwork and perhaps reflect on the fact that the Tripos doesn't last forever and that the final year is fast approaching. Before that, however, there is one major obstacle to negotiate: the dissertation.

By the summer vacation of the second year, the literature search should have been done and the risk assessment completed. Those students who shivered in Brancaster now have quantitative data analysis skills. They can conduct interviews and are sensitive to ethical issues. Along with a bit of funding and some equipment, they are ready to go out and collect their own data that, by the following April, will have become a dissertation.

The dictionary definition goes on:

'Field research has a long history in geography .... much of it involves exploration.'

Following a brief winter visit to Little Gidding (north Cambridgehire), T.S.Eliot perhaps spoke for all of us when he wrote in the fourth of his Four Quartets:

'We shall not cease from exploration...

'Examining reasons for the memorialisation of the 1973 volcanic eruption of
Eldfell, Heimaey, Iceland.


Balsfjorden, northern Norway.


Central plaza, Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The statue is Ignacio Warnes, an Argentine
soldier who played a fundamental role in the Bolivian independence war.

Santa Cruz

Cape Town - a hike up Lion's Head, with Table Mountain in the background.

Lion's Head, Cape Town

Zanskar Valley

Zanskar 1

On 'Glaciet Blanc', with Barre des Ecrins (4102m) in the background.

Pelvoux 3

Harvesting in the Zanskar Valley.

Zanskar 3

Pelechuco Valley, NW Bolivia.


Studying the hypothesis that sinuous ridges near to the South Pole of Mars
are eskers


... And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.'

Geography Department Cambridge


Goodbye to all that

June 12th, 2014

Exams are over and many of those finishing their courses will find themselves inhabiting a sort of no-man's land between university and the rest of their lives. It's a time to put aside globalization and geopolitics for a while and enjoy the (hopefully) warm days and sultry nights. As England's most famous librarian, Philip Larkin, said:

"You can't put off being young until you retire .."

classof2013 (Class of 2013)

Looking out from the 'High Windows' of his rented flat at the University of Hull, the prematurely old poet/librarian reflected on ..

"....the strength and pain

Of being young; that it can't come again,

But is for others undiminished somewhere."

fortuna secunda

How green is my ebook?

June 5th, 2014 (World Environment Day)

To mark World Environment Day, an article by Michael Wilson, Assistant Librarian at Selwyn College, is featured by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). Michael's article looks at the comparative environmental impacts of books and their electronic counterparts. See link below:

Geography Books on Tour Easter 2014

April 23rd, 2014

Many days pass almost unnoticed, like a monotonous landscape through a train window. Then suddenly everything happens on a single day. April 23rd, of course, is St George's Day. It is also Shakespeare's birthday (he died on this day, too). In Catalonia, it is celebrated as the day of Sant Jordi and by tradition Catalans mark the day by giving books as presents to family and friends.

Here in the Geography Department Library, April 23rd 2014 is altogether more humdrum. Today is the day books are due back following the Easter Vacation. Over 400 books were loaned out, with at least one lucky title enjoying the Caribbean sun (and coastal geomorphology) of Saint Lucia.

Santa Lucia

... and now for the Easter Term....

Popular titles from Lent Term

April 4th, 2014

See below the most popular titles from the Lent Term:

  1. Meteorology today/Ahrens, C.D. (F-80)
  2. Green development; 3rd ed./Adams, W.M. (HL-373)
  3. Sustainable development: an introductory guide/Reid, D. (HG-315)
  4. Other mothers: beyond the maternal ideal/Rosemann, E.B. et al. (eds). (P.1h-219)
  5. Politics of alcohol/Nicholls, J. (P.1h-219)
  6. Coastal problems/Viles, H. et al. (DH-111)
  7. Meteorology for scientists and engineers/Stull, R.B. (F-81)
  8. Enigma of capital/Harvey, D. (M-270)
  9. Global environments through the Quaternary/Anderson, D.E. (DD-185)
  10. Key methods in geography/Clifford, N. et al. (eds). (T-161)
  11. Courageous state/Murphy, R. (NC-87)
  12. Eskimo essays/Fienup-Riordan, A. (R.78-1)
  13. Coastal geomorphology/Bird, E.C.F. (DH-126)
  14. Disrupted cities/Graham, S. (ed). (LP-142)
  15. Glacial geology/Bennett, M.R. (DD-177)
  16. Companion to the anthropology of India/Clark-Deces, I. (ed).
  17. Introduction to coastal geomorphology/Pethick, J. (DH-84)
  18. Contemporary climatology/Robinson, P.J. (FA-101)
  19. Nature/Castree, N. (K/b-69)
  20. Climates and weather explained/Linacre, E. (FA-96)
  21. Tourism and sustainability/Mowforth, M. (LF/h-17)
  22. Patriarchy and pub culture/Hey, V. (P.1h-222)
  23. Protecting the Arctic/Nuttal, M. (HL-342)

Please note that this does not include ebook consultations.

Geography III

25th January, 2014

Towards the end of her life the American poet, Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979), published a book of poetry curiously called 'Geography III'. (I can find no evidence that either 'Geography I' or 'Geography II' ever existed.) The first poem, 'In the Waiting Room', is narrated by the young Elizabeth as she waits while her Aunt Consuelo has some dental treatment. Bored yet inquisitive, Elizabeth picks up a copy of National Geographic from February, 1918 and looks through the pictures ....

...while I waited I read
the National Geographic
(I could read) and carefully
studied the photographs:
the inside of a volcano,
black, and full of ashes;
then it was spilling over
in rivulets of fire.
Osa and Martin Johnson
dressed in riding breeches,
laced boots and pith helmets.
A dead man slung on a pole
-'Long Pig,' the caption said.
Babies with pointed heads
wound round and round with string;
black, naked women with necks
wound round and round with wire
like the necks of light bulbs.
Their breasts were horrifying.
I read it straight through.

Welcome to the new blog!

21st January 2014

Welcome to our new blog - we'll be adding news and views here as time rolls on!