Update on rebuilding the JB Chifley Library collection - November 2021

15 November 2021

The work to rebuild the ANU Library collections that were destroyed by the flood on 25 February 2018 has been progressing well, despite the enormous challenges triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Efforts have continued to source replacement resources from publishers and second hand suppliers in Australia and overseas. Over 49,000 items lost in the flood have been replaced so far and are available through the Library catalogue.

During the two month ACT COVID-19 lockdown Library staff worked remotely and spent a considerable amount of time catching up on checking government publications (Official Documents) freely available online and creating the necessary metadata which allows for discovery of the open access resources.

Rebuilding the collections will be an ongoing process over the coming years. We appreciate your continued patience and support during this time.

Recent acquisition highlights

Three unique collections of primary source documents from British Online Archives:

This collection contains minutes and related records compiled by the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) during the period 1906-1969. The records provide an insight into the PLP’s often divided outlook on several important domestic and international political issues, including: the campaign for women’s suffrage; the Great Depression; the first and second world wars; the Beveridge Report and the emergence of the post-war welfare state; Britain’s nuclear weapons programme; imperialism and decolonisation; and Britain’s potential membership of the European Economic Community (EEC).

Described as 'the best collection on the Victorian labour movement in the world', the archive of George Howell (1833-1910) comprises one of the most valuable research resources on nineteenth century liberal and radical politics.

George Howell campaigned to secure the vote for all men and this led to him becoming the Secretary of the Reform League in 1865. A keen follower of Chartism and Methodism, he worked in many trades but was known for his public speaking. He was also active in the Nine Hours Dispute, the London Trades Council and the International Workingmen's Association. His work on the Trades Union Congress (TUC) Parliamentary Committee then led him to Parliament and saw him serve as the MP for North East Bethnal Green before he retired.

The Independent Labour Party (ILP) was a British left-wing political party founded in 1893. The ILP was affiliated with the Labour Party from 1906 to 1932. This collection contains minute books, annual reports, committee reports, conference resolutions, and weekly notes for speakers from the party’s archive. These documents cover a wide range of subjects, from questions of war and peace to housing and trade unionism. They provide an excellent insight into the early years of the Labour movement in Britain.

Three online modules part of the ProQuest UK Parliamentary Papers collection:

  • House of Commons Parliamentary Papers - 19th Century

The origins of this collection lie in the Chadwyck-Healey microfiche edition of the 19th Century House of Commons Sessions Papers (lost in the flood). Published between 1980 and 1983, the microfiche edition includes filmed images of 4.2 million pages. The accompanying 5 volume index, the Subject catalogue to the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers (1801–1900) by Peter Cockton (also destroyed by the flood), was the first thematic listing of the complete set of parliamentary papers. U.K. Parliamentary Papers brings these two resources together, unlocking a century of policy making, investigation, correspondence, and reporting for researchers of all kinds, shedding new light on topics ranging from the Industrial Revolution to the interaction of colonial forces with indigenous peoples in Australasia and North America.

  • House of Lords Parliamentary Papers, 1800-1910

An essential research resource that presents a complete and total view of the influence of the Parliament of the UK and in the administration of Empire during the height of British global dominance. As the working documents of government, the House of Lords Parliamentary Papers encompass wide areas of social, political, economic and foreign policy, providing evidence of committees and commissions during a time when the Lords in the United Kingdom wielded considerable power.

Most importantly from a legislative perspective, this collection includes many bills which originated and were subsequently rejected by the Lords – rich indicators of the direction and interests of the Lords that have been largely lost to researchers. The Minutes of Evidence heard by the Lords, but not by the Commons, are essential for understanding how the UK government addressed a myriad of issues of the day, from marriage and divorce to the working conditions of women and children, the coal trade and railroads, the Australian aborigines, and other topics of import throughout the far flung Empire.

  • Public Petitions to Parliament 1833-1918

An online module of Parliamentary Papers covering the records of the Select Committee on Public Petitions, 1833-1918. It includes individually rekeyed petition records for every petition accepted by Parliament and the full text of each petition the Committee transcribed. Integrated fully with U.K. Parliamentary Papers, this collection shows how “the people” during the 19th century influenced parliament on political, ecclesiastical, colonial, taxation, and many other topics relevant to Britain and Empire.

Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment Online

This book series, previously known as Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century (SVEC), has published over 500 peer-reviewed scholarly volumes since 1955 as part of the Voltaire Foundation at the University of Oxford. International in focus, the volumes cover wide-ranging aspects of the eighteenth century and the Enlightenment, from gender studies to political theory, and from economics to visual arts and music, and are published in English or French. The e-collection offers 572 volumes published in the series between 1955 and 2016.

Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum Online

A collected bibliography of books and articles on aspects of Greek epigraphy, as well as summaries of Greek inscriptions. The database presents complete Greek texts, and a critical apparatus, of all new inscriptions; it summarizes new readings, interpretations, and studies of known inscriptions, and occasionally presents the Greek text of these documents. The online edition includes all issues in the series published since 1923, and will incorporate all future volumes.

Alexander Street’s Theatre in Video series - Volume I and Volume II

  • Volume I - brings together hundreds of the world’s most important plays, documentaries, interviews, and instructional materials in more than 550 hours of streaming video. From celebrated productions of Shakespeare to rare, in-depth footage of the work of Samuel Beckett, the collection covers a wide range of 20th century theatre history. Interviews with directors, designers, writers, and actors, along with excerpts of live performances, deliver an authentic, behind-the-scenes look at hundreds of productions.
  • Volume II - brings together 250 additional hours of classic and contemporary plays and documentaries. Users can view the works of widely studied playwrights and theatre artists from around the globe, including many new performances from Shakespeare's Globe Theatre collection (Opus Arte), Theatre Arts Films, the BBC, and TMW Media Group.

298 dissertations and theses from universities around the world

Now accessible online in full text via the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global database.

Wiley Deep Backfiles 2021

Including back issues of 45 journal titles.

19 streaming videos

Discoverable via the Alexander Street Press platform.


Flood donations graph (534 donations in 2018, 1828 in 2019, 994 in 2020 and 301 in 2021)

ANU staff and students and the broad community have generously donated 3,657 replacement items since the flooding incident. All the books have been catalogued and are available for borrowing from the J.B. Chifley branch.

The Library is always seeking donations to replace resources lost in the flood. We continue to work with donors and the list of Chifley flood-affected titles remains online for consultation.

Coming soon

  • A large shipment of over 800 flood replacement books is expected to arrive from Europe in mid-December.
  • We are in the process of acquiring back sets of 98 Taylor & Francis journals.
  • Four Nineteenth Century Collections online will be added to the Library catalogue soon:
  1. Asia and the West
  2. British Theatre, Music and Literature
  3. British Politics and Society
  4. Religion, Reform and Society.

Requesting flood replacement material

If you require any material that was lost in the flood and has not yet replaced please do not hesitate to contact the Library Flood Replacement Coordinator via email or submit your request online via the Suggest a Library purchase form. We will prioritise your request. We will also see if we can locate a copy to be used in the interim until we find a replacement.

Note found in book

Italian note found in flood replacement book

The note above was found in one of the flood replacement books recently purchased from a vendor in Italy.

This is the English translation of the note: “We do apologise to our customers for some volumes supplied not in perfect condition: these are the few titles that we have been able to save from the destruction of our warehouse following the flood of 4 November 1966.” Publishing House Leo S. Olschki – Florence

The flood of Florence, 1966

The flood of Florence, 1966
  1. Arno River overflow
  2. The entrance to the Leo S. Olschki warehouse
  3. Inside the warehouse
  4. Inside the warehouse
  5. Daniele Olschki recovers books from the warehouse.

The photos above are courtesy of Leo S. Olschki Publishing House.