The BC Research Libraries Group is proud to present

Philip Kent


University Librarian, University of Melbourne

who will be speaking about

Challenges for the Research Library in the 21st Century


September 20 2013, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Dodson Room [Room 302], Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, University of British Columbia


What are the challenges for the library in serving a research-intensive university in the 21st century? Join innovator Philip Kent, University Librarian at the University of Melbourne, who will share insights gleaned from leading university libraries around the world. He will also draw on his experience leading the library at the University of Melbourne, which consistently appears as the highest scoring Australian university in international rankings.


About the Speaker:

Philip G Kent is the University Librarian at The University of Melbourne. He commenced at the University in March 2009following an extensive career in universities and CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency. Philip joined Melbourne at an important time. Following the Information Futures Commission and the development of a 10 year information strategy for the University, the Library is being reinvigorated under his leadership. Its history as a repository of vital research and cultural collections remains central to the role of the Library. A number of significant cultural collections including the University Archives, the largest non-government archive in Australia and the Grainger Museum also fall under Philip’s leadership. In addition the Library is developing innovative learning spaces to support the Learning and Teaching strategies of the University as well as providing appropriate technologies to support student learning. Melbourne has a prestigious pedigree as one of Australia’s top research universities. Consequently Library support for the University’s research, e-research and e-scholarship, research training and research data management agendas is a high priority.




“I really appreciate you following up and providing me these articles. They were helpful and informative. Thanks for the support.”

Sauder MBA student

September 2013


A page from Compendium Theologicae Veritatis


Call it a textbook for the ages.

Aided by the expertise of a UBC instructor who specializes in early European medieval history, UBC Library recently acquired a manuscript whose scholarly impact stretches across the centuries.

The main piece in the gorgeous bound text – which originates in France and was copied sometime in the 14th century, possibly during the time of the Black Death pandemic – is called the Compendium Theologicae Veritatis (or Compendium of Theological Truth). This work, an introduction of sorts to theology and the oldest book in UBC Library’s collections, was a highly popular tome for university students more than 700 years ago.

In 2013, it’s set to be a vital classroom text once again – this time for UBC history students enrolled in Richard Pollard’s undergraduate classes spanning the early, central and late Middle Ages. That’s because Pollard, a Post-Doctoral Fellow in UBC’s Department of History, plans to use the text as a valuable teaching tool in those courses. “There’s all kinds of things that students can learn just by looking at this book,” says Pollard, who advised the Library on the purchase of the medieval manuscript. “It brings students into the period in a way that lecturing in a classroom doesn’t. It allows an entry to somebody’s mind from the past.”

Indeed, the text is cross-disciplinary in its appeal, touching on aspects of history, art history, English, the classics and religious studies. Pollard notes that the manuscript is also useful for graduate students learning paleography – or the study of script (the Library’s copy is written in script known as Gothic or textualis, which originated in the 12th century).

UBC Library acquired the manuscript earlier this year from an antiquarian bookseller in London, England; it’s housed at Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC), located on level one of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. While it’s the first of its kind in the Library’s collection, it’s likely not the last. “In the coming years, we hope to build a teaching collection of medieval manuscripts,” aided by the input of faculty members from UBC’s English and History departments, says Katherine Kalsbeek, RBSC Literature Librarian.

The bound publication, which is colour-coded for ease of use, also contains a secondary work – likely an extract from Thomas Aquinas, the philosopher and theologian. It’s about 400 pages in length, and its pages are made from parchment, a highly durable material. “This book has survived for 700 years, and it will survive for another 700 years quite happily,” notes Pollard.

Stay tuned for news of a special exhibition featuring the medieval manuscript, set to take place in January 2014.



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