A unique UK library collection on the polar regions can now be accessed through the University of Cambridge’s central online catalogue, iDiscover. People across the world can now search the collection with ease, releasing its potential to drive forward crucial research into the polar regions.

Polar research is more important than ever before. Understanding our changing climate relies on understanding changes in the polar regions – and the impact they are having on the rest of the world. The iDiscover catalogue is a major resource for facilitating conversations with northern populations, and climate-change research more generally.

University of Cambridge programmers migrated the old library catalogue of the Scott Polar Research Institute into iDiscover on October 1. A researcher found a resource she badly needed on the very day of the migration.

‘We are delighted to be making SPRI collections so much more visible. We believe iDiscover will really raise awareness of our collections within the global community of polar researchers’, said Librarian Peter Lund.

SPRI’s collection contains over 54,000 monographs, and print and electronic journals covering the History of Polar Exploration, International Relations, Glaciology, Cryology, Oceanography, and the languages, histories and cultures of northern peoples. It boasts a wide range of Russian-language material, and several important maps of the polar regions.

One of the oldest books in the collection is an edition of Mundus Subterraneus by the German Jesuit Athanasius Kircher from 1678, which describes the waters under the earth. The collection also contains numerous literary works either about the north or by its peoples, including a sealskin-bound copy of the Inuit novel Harpoon of the Hunter by Markoosie.

The SPRI library staff are always glad to welcome researchers and members of the public who wish to use the collection. iDiscover can be accessed here