Trial: Compass and Planning Resource Online

We have a 7 day trial to this resource from Compass which runs from today until 1st May. Try it and see what you think. Updated daily, the site provides planning professionals with essential news, analysis, appeals, policy, data and reference guides.
Users can monitor the latest updates from local authorities regarding CIL, local and neighbourhood plans, making the website the ultimate research tool.

The URL is: https://www.compasssearch.co.uk/compass/

It’s a resource ideal for students from the School of Architecture and Planning.

The trial is a short one and ends on May 1st 2018. Please explore and send us your feedback.

NB If you are off-campus, please log in to RAS first of all, and then within RAS, access the link in Library Search or in your browser.

Guest post: What it’s like to be a final year Law School student

Law Reports

Michael, a final year Law undergraduate, talks about his time in the Law Library and has some sage advice for first and second years.

About Me

My name is Michael Norris and I am a final year Law undergraduate at Newcastle University, as well as Sports Secretary for the Eldon Society and a Law Library Student Aide. Upon graduation I aim to secure a training contract and practice as a commercial solicitor in London.

What legal resources do you prefer to use, and why?

Personally, I prefer to use print resources. Due to the nature of my course, and most of my study being focused around lengthy case law and statutes, I find it far easier to read print outs rather than on a computer.

The resources I most enjoy engaging with are academic articles and case commentaries. Learning the law and its application to real life scenarios is interesting, but getting to grips with the academic debates behind a concept by reading differing arguments and viewpoints is far more thought-provoking. Reading into a topic in such a way allows me to unlock a new level of understanding and look at a legal problem from a different point of view.

Have you noticed a change over the three years in the way you/your classmates study?

Absolutely! I have realised the importance of reading beyond the textbook and lectures more over my three years at law school. I have also realised the importance of the library and understood how valuable using its wealth of resources is in securing a good grade.

In relation to classmates, over the three years as everybody has become better friends I have noticed an increase in the amount of co-operation between fellow students. Using other students’ knowledge and splitting reading is a really effective way to broaden your understanding of a topic.

I have undoubtedly noticed the increase in students’ work ethics over my time at university. Other than the obvious pressures of finals, I would put this largely down to students’ enjoyment of their third-year option choices. Having the opportunity to study what I am interested in has really motivated me to succeed in third year.

Apart from library resources, what other types of resources do you use for your studies?

Whilst the majority of the resources I use are from the library, it is important to learn from a wealth of resources to keep your work interesting and fresh. In terms of building my commercial awareness, I watch the news every day. It is surprising how relatable current affairs are to your legal studies and future legal careers.

I also make use of my lecturers’ encyclopaedic knowledge during their office hours. Contrary to several pre-conceptions I had prior to university about lecturers being unwilling to help, I can confirm this is completely untrue! Meeting with my lecturers and seminarists on a one-to-one basis has enabled me to ask those questions I did not want to in lectures and they are more than willing to explain any concept I may be struggling with.

Having easy access to relevant case law and statutes is vital to success in any form of law coursework or exam revision. Using online legal databases, such as LexisNexis and Westlaw, allows me to have all the important information at my fingertips to easily access academic articles which allow you to unlock the higher marks.

Away from legal resources, I use an app called “Forest: Self Focus” which locks your phone for a given time to allow you to concentrate on your study. A similar product I use is a computer programme called “Focal Filter” which blocks any website which distracts me, a must when your attention span is as limited as mine!

Do you have a favourite spot in the law library? If so why do you like studying there?

I have favourite parts of the library for different types of study. For revision and essay writing my favourite spot in the law library is undoubtedly the silent study area. I work best when there is nothing at all to distract me. However, the discussion room can be really good when it comes to sharing ideas and opinions with other students or working through exam questions together.

Do you use your Law Subject Guide, and do you find it helpful?

Absolutely. The online subject guide provides me with a convenient shortcut to a variety of vital legal resources. Being able to view all of the legal databases in one place, in addition to portals to eBooks and writing guides is very helpful.

What study advice do you have for 1st and 2nd years?

My first piece of advice would not to be afraid to ask for help. Contrary to what you may believe when you start university, lecturers are not as scary as you may think and have always been willing to help with any problem I have had.

Another piece of advice is to ensure you do not fall behind on your lectures and seminar work. University is a big change from school where learning was more structured, and in comparison, you are given much more freedom over your studies at university. Whilst this free time is often welcome, and it is important to take time away from your studies, keeping on top of work and not falling behind on reading will really come in handy at the end of the year.

A piece of non-legal advice would to take care of yourself generally. University can involve a lot of late nights (especially in first year) and you have nobody to cook for you! It is often forgotten about how important eating well, getting enough sleep and exercise is to performing well in all aspects of life, especially your studies so your health and wellbeing should always remain a priority.

Finally, if there was one thing you could tell your first-year self what would it be?

Whilst first year it is important, as mentioned you will have a lot of spare time in comparison to second and third year. If I could do first year again I would have joined more societies and broadened the number of extra-curricular activities I participated in. Aside from being fun, partaking in societies is a great way to make new friends. Also, if later in university you decide you want to be part of a societies committee joining in first year is a great idea, as participation in a committee looks excellent on any application.

Journal of General Management

The Journal of General Management is now available from 1999 in full text via Library Search. It is a key peer reviewed journal for business students and those studying management and business related subjects and covers strategy, leadership, supply chain management and corporate social responsibility. Click on the link here to go to Library Search.

How to be a Fake News Ninja

As a University student it is imperative that you arm yourself against the barrage of fake news that can be found in today’s media.  To produce academically sound assignments and research, you need to be able identify and evaluate information quickly and with authority.

Here are 10 tips on how you can be a Fake News Ninja:

  1. Be aware: just simply knowing that not all information is created equal is the first step.
  2. Check the source: Where did the information come from? This can be tricky, especially on social media.
  3. Read more: don’t just rely on the piece of information that’s in front of you… go an find another reliable source and see if the facts are the same.
  4. Check the author: Do a bit of Google stalking to see if the author is credible.
  5. Check the references: does the item have references? What sources have they used? Are they credible?
  6. Check the date: watch out for re-posts old news items.
  7.  Check your biases: You own beliefs and prejudices can have an affect on how you accept information.
  8. Is it a joke?: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
  9. Ask a Librarian: Librarians are the original Fake News Ninjas.  Come and ask us about any reference that you aren’t too sure about and we can help you make an authoritative decision on  the information you use for your research.
  10. Knowledge is power: Read more about Fake News and how you can win the fight. Everything you need to know is in our Fake News Guide.

Read our other blogs on Fake News to be aware of the consequences of Fake News and the history and growth of Fake News.

References
IFLA (2018) How to spot fake news. Available at: https://www.ifla.org/publications/node/11174 (Accessed: 23 March 18)

Trial: Pidgeon Digital

During April we have trial access to Pidgeon Digital. It’s an online collection of illustrated audio visual resources, featuring some of the world’s leading architects, designers and engineers, including talks by Will Alsop, Edward Cullinan, Terry Farrell, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Kisho Kurokawa, Oscar Niemeyer, Jean Nouvel, Gaetano Pesce, Richard Rogers, Harry Seidler Bernard Tschumi and Michael Webb.

The archive stretches back to the 1970s and began life as a tape and slide collection created by Monica Pidgeon, the editor of Architectural Design for 30 years.

Pigeon digital database search page

It’s a resource ideal for students from the School or Architecture and Planning, giving insight into architectural practice, theory and ideas. Access Pidgeon Digital via Library Search

The trial ends on April 30th 2018. Please explore and send us your feedback.

NB If you are off-campus, please log in to RAS first of all, and then within RAS, access the link in Library Search.

The consequences of Fake News

A scan of some of our “Fake or Fact?” stories this week might raise a few smiles, but as we’ve seen increasingly over the past couple of years, Fake News can have far-reaching consequences.
Hands up, who’s had the awkwardness of friends or family members reposting dubious material on Facebook? If so, you’re not alone. Apparently, according to a MIT study published this year, based on three years’ worth of Twitter meta-analysis, fake news travels up to six times faster than genuine stories. False stories were up to 70% more likely to receive a retweet – often due the novelty or shock factor.

In the sphere of politics, this can have worrying consequences. The U.S. election in late 2016 coined the term for us and is a particularly rich source of Fake news and political spin. Business Insider lists some of the most influential fake news stories to surface during this time; from false claims that WikiLeaks had proof of Clinton arms deals with ISIS, to a fictional Papal endorsement of Trump, said to have received nearly a million hits on Facebook. Only this month, the Jakarta Post reported on concerns of Fake News polluting the build-up to the Indonesian Presidential Elections next year as Facebook groups flood the country’s web spaces with doctored videos; something that has previous lead to protests in the streets of the capital.

And even when we know we might be dealing with dubious information, Fake News can continue to wield influence. Newcastle University’s own Dr. Gavin Stewart, a meta-analysis expert explains “claims with no scientific proof cast doubt over those with overwhelming evidence, leaving us at the best confused and in the worst case making totally the wrong decision.”

A strong example can be found in the now discredited research of Andrew Wakefield. Back in 1998, Wakefield drew unsubstantiated links between the MMR vaccination and childhood autism. Despite the widespread exposure of the fraudulent claims and rebuttals from the medical community, vaccination rates of the MMR vaccine dropped, and last year saw a 400% increase of measles cases across Europe.

So what does this mean for you as a current student?
The National Literacy Trust has been conducting research into pupils’ critical skills, and worryingly, has found that 35% of teachers in the UK taught pupils citing fake news and satire as legitimate sources. A fifth of pupils between 8 and 15 believe that everything found online is trustworthy and true. The antidote to this is building on one of your core graduate attributes and competencies – critical thinking. Always check out stories you’ve found online before using them in your work. Who have they come from, how partisan is that group or author? Is the material satire? What does the author stand to gain? Employers in all industries are looking for graduate with sharp reasoning skills and sound judgement. As students producing work in the current “post-truth” climate, your job is a little tougher, but you can turn this to your advantage by proving you have the skills and the smarts to outwit the Fake News racketeers.

Read our other blogs on Fake News to learn about the history and growth of Fake News and how you can become a Fake News Ninja.

References
1. Vosoughi, Roy and Aral, (2018). “The spread of true and false news online.” Science, 359: 6380, pp. 1146-1151.
2. Roberts (2016) “This is what fake news actually looks like — we ranked 11 election stories that went viral on Facebook.” Business Insider UK. November 17th
http://uk.businessinsider.com/fake-presidential-election-news-viral-facebook-trump-clinton-2016-11/#5-hillary-clinton-sold-weapons-to-isis-and-it-was-confirmed-by-wikileaks-7)
3. Pearl (2018). “Indonesia battels fake news as elections looms” Jakarta Post. 15th March http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/03/15/indonesia-battles-fake-news-as-elections-loom.html
4. Newcastle university (2018) “Filtering out Fake News” 7th March. http://www.ncl.ac.uk/press/articles/latest/2018/03/fakenews/
5. Houston, (2018) “Measles back with a vengeance due to fake health news” The Irish Times. Feb 23rd. https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/measles-back-with-a-vengeance-due-to-fake-health-news-1.3401960
6. National Literacy Trust (2018). “Commission on Fake News and the Teaching of Critical Literacy Skills in Schools” https://literacytrust.org.uk/policy-and-campaigns/all-party-parliamentary-group-literacy/fakenews/

History and growth of Fake News

Fake News is nothing new and has been going on since time began!

Have at look at our timeline on our Fake News Guide for a snapshot of how Fake News has shaped history:

With the introduction of mass news with the invention of the printing press, and the massive up-rise in news being created and fed via social media, the growth of the term ‘Fake News’ and the actual production of Fake News stories has grown exponentially in recent years:

  • The term ‘Fake News’ is searched for in web browsers 70.8-118 thousand times a month.
  • #fakenews has over 251.2k mentions on Twitter
  • In 2017 Donald Trump mentioned the term ‘Fake News’ in public correspondence, 320 times!

Not only has the volume of Fake News grown, but also the speed that it spreads.  However, maybe there is a way we can slow it down:

Read our other blogs on Fake News to be aware of the consequences of Fake News and how you can become a Fake News Ninja.

References
Kiely, E. (2018) Trump’s Phony ‘Fake News’ Claims. Available at: https://www.factcheck.org/2018/01/trumps-phony-fake-news-claims/. Accessed: 23 March 2018).
Smith, R. (2017) The Numbers Behind Fake News. Available at: http://www.dailyinfographic.com/numbers-behind-fake-news. (Accessed: 23 March 2018).