We are here to help (even when you’re working off campus)

As the University monitors the situation around the spread of Covid-19 (Coronavirus), the Library is working to ensure that you have access to the resources and academic skills support you need to continue your studies while off campus. 

The information and links on this page provide guidance on how to engage with our wide range of online materials and how to make the most of our helpful online guides and tools from wherever you choose to study. 

Library Search: your first point of call

Use Library Search to quickly and simply access a wide range of eBooks, eJournals, and databases off campus. Check out our Library Search video on how to get the best out of this resource. 

Subject and Resource Guides

If you are not sure which resources are best to use for your subject or what you can access off-campus, visit your Subject Guide . The guides bring together links and help for the specialist information sources in your discipline. Access our Resource Guides for different types of information you may need in your research. These include guides to business casescompany and market informationgovernment publicationsgrey literaturemapsnewspaperspatentsstandards
statistics,  theses and dissertations, plus much more.  

Develop your skills, at a time that suits you

Use our FindingEvaluating and Managing Information guides to boost your search skills and help you achieve the best results in your assignments whilst working remotely. If you are needing help with academic writing and reading or even numeracy, maths and statistics, then don’t forget their are lots of downloadable resources available at the ASK website.

Dissertation support

If you are in the midst of writing or planning a dissertation then our our Dissertation Guide is a great place to guide you with your literature search.  Not only do we have videos, quizzes and advice, but we also have an interactive Proposal Planner and Search Planner to help you get organised and create a focus for your research.  We can even give you feedback once you’ve filled the planners in. Just send them through when prompted or email them to your supervisor for advice and help.

Have a question? Check the FAQs

We have an extensive database of frequently asked questions available on the Library website. You can search by keyword or browse by topic area and find answers to the most common questions. So whether you want to know how to access newspapers or get help with EndNote, check the FAQs to see if we have already answered your question.

Contact Library Help

If you need help or have a question, use Library Help to get in touch with us. We are still here for you 24/7 and you can chat with us online or email us as normal. You can also keep in touch with us via social media.

So remember, you can access all of our online resources, journals and ebooks from the Library website.

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Exams: we are here to help

Woman throwing books up in the air

Exams are a tricky time. Often you will be juggling different exams themselves, on top of other deadlines. However, we want you to know that you aren’t alone at this crazy time of year. We are here to help you through.

But how exactly can we help? Sadly, we can’t take go into the exam with you, or magically freeze time to give you more hours in the day, but do make the most of the following:

  1. Library Help – the place to go when have a question via chat, email, text, twitter, Facebook. Or alternatively search our Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) database.
  2. Librarians – yes you heard right. Book a one-to-one appointment to get the best out of the University Library resources. Also remember our staff in every library are friendly and approachable. There is no such thing as a silly question, so ask away!
  3. Study Space – The University Library has a range of different study rooms and spaces to suit your needs.
  4. 24/7 – The Philip Robinson Library is open 24/7 during the exam period. We want you to sleep and get enough rest, but if you do need to study through the night, we are here.
  5. Subject guides – we have a range of subject guides put together by expert librarians which draw together all the main resources for your studies.
  6. Be well@NCL collection – we don’t just have books for study. This new collection includes tried and tested books that support your wellbeing.
  7. Additional support – don’t suffer and please don’t be shy. You can seek additional support from your NUSU, Student Wellbeing Service, Nightline and the University chaplaincy.

So remember……pace yourself, access the help you need and believe that you can do this!

Resource Guides: it’s all in the name!

Last week, we let you in on the secrets of Library Search. This week we want to introduce you to our Resource Guides.

Library Search is a great starting point for any piece of research or essay, but there comes a time, when you need some extra help in finding a particular type of information. And that’s where our Resource Guides come in.  We have a range of guides to suit your information needs including: company information, market research, government publications, newspapers, maps, statistics, patents, standards, theses and dissertations, plus much more.

The guides group together all the main library subscriptions we have for that specific type of information, as well as linking out to key external links and resources too. Wherever possible we also include guidance and help on how to get the best out of the databases and links and group the information together into a logical and helpful way. We know how busy life is and we simply want to save you time!

So what you are waiting for, go and check out our fabulously named Resource Guides, because they do exactly what they say on the tin!

Transitioning from school to university

Lego person with suitcase getting out of car

Your bags are packed and you are excited to get started at uni, but you may be beginning to wonder what on earth to expect? How does it differ from a school environment? Never fear! We have created a short video just for you and put lots of advice and tips on our transitioning web pages. We’re looking forward to meeting you soon!

P.S. Even if you’re not coming straight from school, some of this advice will still be relevant for you too, so do take a peek.

Brush up on your search skills

A pot of paint brushes

Searching should be easy, right? We do it all the time in our day to day lives and with Google so ingrained into our existence, we don’t give it much thought. We type some words into the search engine and most of the time we find what we are looking for. Nothing to it!

However, while this approach certainly works for checking out cinema times or booking flights, it lets us down where research is concerned. We have high expectations that information will be quick and easy to come by and that it will be neatly organised in one place, rather than having to search in multiple locations, using different techniques. We imagine that the time consuming part of our research will be the analysing, synthesizing and the writing of it and we often don’t even think about the searching side of things.

The reality though is quite different. Without investing in our searching techniques and the development of a search plan, we can often find ourselves overwhelmed by information and not being able to see the wood from the trees. Our stress levels rise and our frustrations explode. Surely finding information shouldn’t be this hard!

The good news is, is that there is help to be had. Our job as Liaison Librarians is to equip you with the skills you need to create that all important search plan and to encourage you to pause and stop before you dive straight into finding information for your research.We have a fantastic range of online tools for you to do this, not least an interactive search planner that you can keep adding to throughout your search and which you can even email to yourself, supervisor or us as a Liaison team for feedback. And our ‘Finding Information’ academic skills guide has lots of advice on how to start a search, including how to break your concept down into manageable chunks and how to identify keywords and synonyms.

You can also check out this short video to get you started…….

Keep your eyes peeled for our next blog installment of how to find particular resources. See you then!

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Get ahead of the game!

A game of chess

Phew, the exams are behind you and you can breathe a sigh of relief! One semester is done and dusted and the next is around the corner. But before you say, “I don’t want to think about that yet”, why not use this simple checklist to ensure that you start semester 2 ahead of the game?

  1. Find your reading lists for your semester 2 modules and start to read the items now. You’re upcoming lectures and seminars will make much more sense in light of this and enable you to use your time more efficiently as a result. If it seems overwhelming, why not just start with the items your academic has marked as ‘essential’ on the list?
  2. Look at your upcoming module handbooks on Blackboard and check out the assignment details. Are you going to have to produce a type of assignment you have never done before? Or do you need to develop your assignment writing skills? The Writing Development Centre are here to help.
  3. Get familiar with your subject specific guide and explore the databases and resources that are recommended for you.  It will make finding high quality information for assignments much easier and will help you access those top marks.
  4. Hone your referencing skills by checking out our referencing guide and the fantastic referencing tool which is Cite them Right. Getting to grips with your referencing style will not only help you to avoid plagiarism, but will get you some easy marks.
  5. And if all of this seems overwhelming and you need some help with managing your time, check out the ASK website for some advice.

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Shhhh don’t mention the word exams!

Your final assignment of the term has been handed in, Christmas parties are in full swing and you’re starting to think that you really must buy some presents. It is definitely a time to be winding down. You settle down on the sofa to watch some good old, cheesy Christmas T.V. but then up pops Macaulay Culkin and you suddenly want to scream with him! You have a sudden realisation that despite being lulled into a false sense of security, exams are just around the corner and Semester 1 still hasn’t finished yet…….Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! But don’t panic, your trusty librarians are here to help!

Now, we are not suggesting for one moment that you shouldn’t be taking some time out for some ‘r and r’ (you definitely should), but when you’re ready to get back into study mode, just remember that:-

  1. Our library buildings are still open if you want to come in and get away from all the Christmas madness.  Check out our opening times here.
  2. If you’re away from Newcastle this Christmas or just want to hibernate at home in your favourite pyjamas (I mean who doesn’t want to at this time of year?!), then you can make use of all our online resources. Check out Library Search and your specific subject guide for access to books, eBooks, journal articles and more.
  3. We have exam and revision advice. Why not explore the ASK website  or take a look at some relevant resources in the ‘study skills’ sections of our libraries?
  4. And last but not least, remember that we are here to help! You can contact us 24/7 via Library Help or alternatively browse the hundreds of frequently asked questions, which you can access anytime, anywhere.

So, enjoy Christmas, put your feet up and then when you’re ready, remember you don’t need to be home alone! We are here to help!

 

Managing your References: EndNote and OSCOLA

Recipe for referencing: Newcastle University Library

“Should I use EndNote as a way to manage my references?” is often a question we get asked. We wish that there was a simple answer to that question, but there isn’t! It all depends on how many references you have, how you like to work and if you are willing to make time to learn how to use EndNote properly. You see, while EndNote is tool that can make your academic life easier (for example, it can help you build a collection of references, insert references into your work and create bibliographies), it will only save you time, if you invest time NOW.

So if you’re using the OSCOLA referencing style and weighing up whether to use EndNote or not, then you might want to consider the following:

  • You need to have a good grasp of the OSCOLA fundamentals before you even start with EndNote. If you need a refresher on OSCOLA, then check out the OSCOLA referencing guide first before even looking at EndNote.
  • EndNote will not do EVERYTHING for you. You will still need to manually input and amend your references to ensure your footnotes and bibliography comply with OSCOLA.
  • Have you got the time to invest in EndNote before using it? We strongly recommend that you make a start using EndNote from the beginning, rather than in the middle or at the end, of your research.
  • How do you want to use EndNote? Some people decide to use it simply as a storage place for their references and PDFs and leave it at that. Others use it both as a storage place, as well as a tool to help them cite.

Still not sure? Watch the video below to see how to use OSCOLA style and the Cite While You Write feature in Word. Then take a look at the OSCOLA and EndNote guide and see if it’s something you’d like to start using.

Any questions? Have a look at our Frequently Asked Questions to see if it’s been asked before. If not, then do get in touch via Library Help

 

Getting to know OSCOLA 4th referencing style

What is OSCOLA?

The Oxford University Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA) is the standard referencing format used by law students and anyone writing in a legal field.  It allows for exact referencing of cases, journals and statutes meaning that sources can be found quickly and accurately.

HELP!!!!!

OSCOLA can be a bit daunting at first, especially if you are unused to referencing, but don’t worry, we have a lot of help available.   Here are some top tips for getting to grips with OSCOLA from scratch or if you just need a refresher:

  1. Start by going to our library guide, where you will find tips and resources to build your knowledge up.
  2. Have a look at our OSCOLA and referencing slideshow to understand the importance of referencing and to get a brief overview of OSCOLA.
  3. Set some time aside and work through the Citing the Law Tutorial from Cardiff University. This will show you how to cite cases, legislation and secondary sources, as well as how to identify authors and quote.
  4. For quick “how do I”? questions, check out the OSCOLA quick help guide (physical copies also available in the Law Library) or Cite the Law’s A-Z referencing examples.
  5. And if you are trying to use OSCOLA and EndNote, don’t forget we have a handy guide for you. More on this next time!

And lastly, if you are in doubt, remember we are always here to help! Contact us via library help or ask in the Law Library.

To google or not to google?…That is the question

Can you remember life before Google?! It is such a huge part of our lives, that even those of us who can remember a time before it (hmmm, yes I am that old!), can’t imagine life without it now. It is great place to find the latest cinema listings or who won last night’s football match, but what about finding information for your latest assignment or research?

There is a time and a place to use Google, but you need to be aware of its limitations. Google, after all, is a business. It earns the majority of its money from advertising, and it will not reveal how it ranks its search results (every wonder how Wikipedia always appears at the top of every search you do?). A search that we do today and repeat tomorrow for a piece of research could give us hugely different results, with no explanation of why. We are also often bombarded with millions of search results and the reality of our searching habits mean that we rarely look beyond the first or second page.  Admittedly, advanced search features on Google and the use of Google Scholar can really help us to become a smarter and effective Google users, but is it enough for our own research? Are we finding everything that is out there?

We need to think about our information needs before we work out where it will be best for us to search. Imagine, for a moment, that we are want to buy a particular local cheese, which we love. Would we go to a general shop or would we go to a specialist deli? We are probably going to need to go to a deli. It is just the same when searching for information. Google may be great for some background information or a starting point of a project, but it may simply not give us the high quality, niche information that we need to give us top marks for an assignment. So what are the other options?

Aimee Cook, a Liaison Librarian here at Newcastle University, explains more.

So next time you think about googling something for an assignment, stop and check out Library Search and your subject guide first for the books, eBooks and specialist databases that are available to you. If you are going to use Google, make use of the advanced search features and get to grips with Google Scholar. Happy searching!

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