When we think of the long list of Scottish inventors, names such as John Logie Baird and Alexander Graham Bell spring to mind. Few of us would come up with John Shepherd-Barron, but he was responsible for a piece of technology which is used 5500 times a minute in the UK.

Shepherd-Barron invented the hole-in-the-wall cash machine, which revolutionised the way we handle our money. He came up with the idea while lying in his bath because he had just missed getting to his bank in town to withdraw money. The businessman, who worked for the printing company De La Rue Instruments at the time, said he was inspired by chocolate vending machines and put the idea to the hard of Barclays Bank “over a pink gin”

Mr Shepherd-Barron, who died on Saturday aged 84, did not patent his system and made no money from his invention, but was made an OBE in 2005 for his services to banking.

To find out more about ‘business ideas’ and ‘patents’ go to MetaLib

An unlikely Business Man

Unlikely business man                   

 When thinking of prominent business men, names like Donald Trump, Bill Gates and Richard Branson spring to mind, you wouldn’t automatically think of the rapper 50 Cent.  He is more synonymous with the multi platinum selling albums ‘Get rich or die trying’ & ‘The Massacre’ which sold more than twenty-one million copies combined.

But this unlikely name has turned away from music to unveil his new collaboration with US author Robert Greene and launched a new business and life self-help book.  Called The 50th Law, which is has links to both the rapper’s name and Greene’s previous book The 48 laws of power (http://tinyurl.com/ykdsw42), the text sees the hip-hop star draw on his experiences of the world of gangs and drugs in New York to highlight certain rules he has learnt about both power and confidence. Due to it’s subject matter, the book fundamentally focuses on how the Jamaican-born star has been able to draw parallels between the way that both criminals and businesses function, thanks to his exposure of both worlds.

He told the BBC’s Today programme : “The boss of the neighbourhood doesn’t rule killing someone out as an option to expand business. In corporate America I’ve interacted with people who absolutely have intentions of killing the competition in a different way” http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8327000/8327278.stm


For more information on business, including marketing, management, MIS, POM, accounting, finance and economics, why not take a look at Business Source Complete  available via MetaLib .

Defra – making the most of packaging


Snowfall Before 2009 - Photo by Steve Keys

 Snowfall before 2009   –  photo Steve Keys [flickr]

Defra has published  a new strategy for managing waste packaging: New Packaging Strategy, Making the most of packaging,

Defra writes that the new publication ‘ outlines packaging policy’s direction for the next decade. The Strategy’s overall aim is to minimise the environmental impact of packaging, without compromising its ability to protect the product and also sets out plans to improve the recycling of packaging waste.’

‘In 2008 the UK disposed of an estimated 10.7 million tonnes of packaging waste, of which around 65 % (Source NPWD) was recovered.  This is a significant achievement when compared to the fact that only 27% of packaging waste was recovered in 1998 (Source publication: e-Digest of Environmental Statistics, March 2006). However, more still needs to be done and Defra will continue working to:

  • minimise the amount of packaging used and so the amount of packaging waste, and
  • ensure that a high proportion of packaging materials are recovered and recycled

The management of packaging and packaging waste is enforced by EC directive 2004/12/EC which seeks to reduce the impact of packaging and packaging waste on the environment by introducing recovery and recycling targets for packaging waste and by encouraging minimisation and reuse.

Loughborough University subscribes to several  online journals which cover packaging and the environemt,  such as  Packaging Magazine,    Paperboard Packaging,   Journal of Material Cycles and Waste Management and Waste News etc,  which can be accessed via MetaLib.  [Athens username and password required for off campus access.]. 

The University Library also has a comprehensive collection of books on packaging design, graphic design and  aesthetics of packaging, innovation, sustainability,  structure  and environmental issues.

If you would like to learn more about UK packaging and waste mangement, please see the links below.

 Packaging & Packaging Waste – recycling and recovery targets

EU directive 2004/12/EC


The Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP)

Department of Design and Technology, Loughborough University


Euro 2008

Now that Euro 2008 has started, without any of the UK’s teams, there are loads of websites out there with information about the tournament.  The key one is naturally UEFA’s official Euro 2008 website, which has live video, replays, and all the latest news for fans.  The BBC has its own site, which also includes a blog and commentary from its presenters and journalists, as does ITV.  However, if you don’t like football or want to look beyond the match results and inevitable hype, there is a lot more to the event than what happens on the pitch, as you can see from the research that has been done on Euro 2004.

A search on the database SPORTdiscus for ‘Euro 2004’ finds 143 results with subjects including biography, strategy, statistics, reporters and reporting, management and interviews.  There are abstracts of articles about ‘Euro 2004 and football fashion’, ‘The importance of events in tourism:impacts of the UEFA-Euro 2004 on the accommodation industry in Algarve, Portugal’ and ‘An evaluation of the sponsorship of Euro 2004’.  A similar search on Communications Abstracts discovered two very different articles.  One looking at Greek nationalism and international recognition in Euro 2004 and another examining representations of Portugal and England in Euro 2004 newspaper coverage.

So, if you are not a sports fan, don’t forget that Euro 2008 is about a lot more than football, and if you do enjoy the game, make the most of the next few weeks!


Off-campus access to on-campus resources now possible

The University has a new service which enables users to access online resources previously only available on campus. The Remote Working Portal is available at https://vpn.lboro.ac.uk and staff and students can login using their Loughborough University username and password. Users can then follow the links to Metalib, in addition to other University sites.

Databases which are now accessible from off-campus, via this route, include Business Insights and Hemscott Company Guru Academic.  You will also be able to access some journals, which have until now been limited to on-campus access only.  You will find out about these via the Library Catalogue.

New e-resources – WestlawUK

If you need to find legal information for your course at Loughborough, then life has just got easier…  The Library has recently taken out a subscription to Westlaw UK which provides access to full-text current legislation, case law, full-text legal journal articles and an index to other UK legal journals.  It also provides access to EU treaties, secondary legislation and case law, as well as international and US legal materials.

To access WestlawUK, go to the Law category in Metalib and then on to the UK Law sub-category.  You will also find links to other useful databases and websites, such as Lexis-Nexis Law & Legal Information and BAILII, there.  If you would like some advice about how to find legal materials, then there are tutorials for UK law and EU law on Learn (you will need your Loughborough username and password to access these).  If you would like some advice on how to search WestlawUK, then please contact your Academic Librarian.


Smart Bunnies

Baby rabbits are cute.  Penguins are popular, looking both comical and streamlined in a dinner jacket.
Combine the two with the appropriate technology and you have  a Wi-fi Rabbit and a Tux Droid, both friendly and compatible to your PC.
The Nabaztag wi-fi rabbit

The Nabaztag wi-fi rabbit  – a new ‘communications device’ which can ‘move its ears, light up in hundreds of colours, play music and even speak’. ‘There are different levels of service – “free rabbit” offers you messages and alerts without charge, while “full rabbit” offers additional feed alerts, the ability to send MP3s and personalised email, with Nabaztag actually reading out your received messages…’
For details and demonstrations, click http://www.firebox.com/index.html?dir=firebox&action=product&pid=1327&src_t=hmf

Tux Droid

This penguin is a desktop companion that uses  ‘wireless fed, text to speech enabled, a programmable robot that flaps and twirls, reads your email to you, tells the time, can alert you to RSS feeds ‘
For details and demonstrations, click http://www.firebox.com/product/2032
The use of animals in advertising and product design is nothing new and information about new technical gadgets is available through  MetaLib , which offers you a vast amount of resources available to you,  such as

  • ABI Research (ProQuest)
  • ArticleFirst (OCLC)
  • Emerald Fulltext
  • Web of Science
  • Nexis UK

So, if you are thinking of researching new portable gadgets, try MetaLib pages for Business and Management and  Design and Technology,  and see what you can find…

Power of supermarkets

As reported widely in the media, last week the Competition Commission published the latest stage in its investigation into the UK groceries market.  The final report is due at the end of April.  The documents, evidence and announcements eminating from this inquiry are available on the Competition Commission’s website, which has a  section devoted to the inquiry , which has been underway since May 2006.  The website also provides access to the Commission’s earlier report on supermarkets which was published in October 2000.

If you want to look further into the Supermarket ‘market’, then you can get an overview of the situation in the UK from Mintel.  Its ‘Food Retailing’ report dates from November 2007, with the next one due in November 2008.  It provides an overview of the market, plus competitor analysis, detailed customer demographics for online grocery shopping, as well as traditional stores, plus a look to the future.  To access Mintel, go to Metalib and then either search for ‘Mintel’ as database or browse the ‘Business and Management’ category to locate it.  This latter way will also enable you to see the variety of databases the Library suggests for business topics.  To access Mintel off-campus, you will need to use a separate username and password, which you can access from the Library’s passwords page.

Lots to try!

The Library has instigated a number of database trials for the next few weeks.  So now is your chance to try out Oxford Reference Online, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Online; the Complete Cambridge Companions Online and a number of Social Science online encyclopaedias via Gale Virtual Reference (International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, Encyclopedia of Race and Racism and Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender). 

To access the Oxford and Cambridge trials, use the links above or go to the Trials category on Metalib and let us know your views.  The Cambridge trial lasts until the 28th February and the Oxford ones until 8th March.  You will need to be on-campus to view these.  To access the Gale trial go to:  http://infotrac.galegroup.com/itweb/loughuni 
and select the new titles from the Advanced Search’s ‘Publication Title’ option .  If you are accessing Gale off-campus, you will need your Athens username and password.  The Gale trial lasts until 11th March.

Please let us know your views via the ‘Comments’ .  And, thinking of a previous post, could any of them replace Wikipedia for you?

Rogue Traders


Rogue traders are in the news again. The term was coined in 1995 when Nick Leeson bankrupted Barings Bank through risky derivatives dealing in Singapore. He became the subject of many books and a feature  film. Now Jerome Kerviel has lost 4.9 billion euro for Societe Generale and also become a folk hero in the process. An American business is selling Kerviel T-shirts and both publishers and Hollywood are tempting him with book and film offers. If you want to know more about the background to this phenomenon of rogue trading, there is a long article on the psychology of financial risk-taking entitled “Folly, fantasy and roguery”  by Nigel Nicholson and Paul Willman which appeared in the Financial Times on June 13, 2000. This is one of a series of in-depth articles on risk ” Survey – Mastering Risk”published in the FT in 2000. There are a lot more recent  articles and blog entries from the experts who write in the British broadsheet newspapers which appear in the database Nexis  Nexis also gives access to foreign language newspapers so if you read French you will be able to follow how the latest financial scandal is being covered in the press in France.