First edition of ‘The Lancet’ among seven million historic articles newly available at click of a mouse.

First edition of ‘The Lancet’ among seven million historic articles newly available at click of a mouse.

Students and staff at the University of Cambridge can now read back issues of key scientific journals at their desktop, following Cambridge University Library's acquisition of the complete set of digitised back issues of Elsevier ScienceDirect journals. More than seven million historic articles are now available online thanks to an award of nearly £400,000 from the Science Research Infrastructure Fund (SRIF).

Cambridge University Library is one of the few libraries in the UK to own the complete electronic collection, which is the physical equivalent of 4km of printed volumes. In addition to the e-journals, the new collection also includes major scientific reference works.

"Acquisition of these back files is of huge benefit to the science community here in Cambridge. It will play an essential part in maintaining the University's international excellence in science," said Professor Sir Richard Friend, Cavendish Professor of Physics. "To be able to get hold of historical as well as contemporary material while sitting at my computer makes such a difference. There will be no more searching through catalogues and shelves in one library or another, sometimes only to find what I'm looking for is missing. It's all there, online, 24 hours a day."

The ScienceDirect backfiles include such titles as 'The Lancet', 'Physics Reports', 'Analytica Clinica Acta', 'Topology', 'Behaviour Research and Therapy', 'Neuroscience', 'Research in Microbiology and Cell'. Each title is available electronically from the first volume and issue of publication. 'The Lancet', for example, goes back to 1823.

Ground-breaking articles include:

• On the antiseptic principle in the practice of surgery, The Lancet, 1867 J Lister;

• The learning theory model of neurosis - a new approach, Behaviour Research and Therapy, 1976 H.J. Eysenck;

• Supersymmetry, supergravity and particle physics, Physics Reports, 1984 H.P. Nillis and

• Linear Logic, Theoretical Computer Science, 1987 J.-Y., Girard.

This new collection complements the Library's existing online provision of over 12,000 current journals.

The ScienceDirect journals are available free of charge to current University staff and students. The journals can be accessed from a computer anywhere in the world.

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