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!

Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

Resource in Focus: historic newspapers in Gale Primary Sources

We have access to a wide range of digitised British historic newspaper archives, which you can access through various different platforms (see the historic section of our newspaper resource guide for more detail). If you want to search across many historic newspapers at once, we would recommend using Gale Primary Sources.

Gale Primary Sources searches across 15 different archives, including major titles such as The TimesThe Daily Mail, Financial Times and The Economist (all dating from their very first issue) together with historic collections of regional titles. You can select to search as many of the archives as you require.

Watch this short introductory video to help you get the best out of searching Gale Primary Sources. If you want information on how to access current, business and international news, then visit this page.

Finding international news: a how to guide

The Library’s online news resources are strongest for the UK, but we do also provide access to a wide range of historic and contemporary international news resources. You can find links to all relevant resources in the international section of our newspaper guide.

Historic archives

Our strongest non-UK historic resources are from the USA, as we have access to the New York Times archive, together with various archives from the Civil War period, plus a collection of microfilms from the Civil Rights period. The availability of historic newspaper archives depends very much on digitisation programmes in the country concerned. We have included links to those which are freely available (and be sure to investigate the Europeana newspaper project, which aims to aggregate millions of newspaper pages across many European countries.)

Contemporary news

Nearly all international newspapers have their own web site, but you are unlikely to find free access to their entire archive. However, the Nexis database enables you to search across thousands of newspapers, news magazines and newswires from across the world (though primarily Europe and the USA), dating back over twenty years to the present day (precise date coverage varies by title). You can search in various ways, by country, language, or search an individual newspaper. Watch the video below to find out how to use this fantastic resource.

Resource in Focus: Finding UK news with Lexis

Lexis is primarily a legal database, but it also provides access to UK news from 1990 to the present day.

This resource covers national and regional newspapers, as well as broadsheets. We speak to a lot of students and academics who don’t realise that this resource covers publications such as The Times Educational Supplement and The Times Higher Education (although we now also have an institutional account for The Times Higher Education. Details of how to set up an account and access it can be found here).

For more information on what sources are covered by Lexis, simply click on ‘Sources’ section located in the top right hand corner once you are logged in. Below is a short introductory video of how to access and find information in Lexis. If you are looking for information on how to access international and historic newspapers, as well as business and TV/audio news, then check out our newspaper resources guide.

 

Calling all second years!

Find out how to become a confident and effective user of digital search tools and resources.

Does the summer and your first year of uni seem like a distant memory? Are you starting to feel like the work has cranked up and that you need some extra help?

As we’ve been out on campus teaching and chatting to you lovely second years, you have been telling us that it’s got very serious all of a sudden and you’re starting to feel overwhelmed. But never fear, the library has some great new academic skills guides to help you find, evaluate and manage your information in order to help you get those top marks for your assignments. These are transferable skills that will underpin all your work here at NU and which will ultimately help you get you that job you have always wanted.

So what are you waiting for? Save yourself some time and stress by getting your information skills up to scratch now. And remember, your friendly Library Liaison team is always here to help!

 

 

 

 

Resource in Focus: Ovid

Ovid enables researchers, clinicians, students and other healthcare professionals find medical information to make critical decision, improve patient care, enhance ongoing research, and fuel new discoveries.  The Ovid platform gives access to a collection of databases.

Database and Coverage:

Click on the database name above to go to the Fact file to find out more and to see whether they would be useful for your research.

Where can you find Ovid?

There will be links on your relevant subject guide or you can access the catalogue, Library Search.

Database Guides
Once you have accessed OVID through the above methods, you will see an initial selection window. To find out more about  a specific resource, click on the Information icon at the right hand side of the page (see example below):

Screenshot of the Ovid list of databases. Need to click on the information button next to each database to find out more. Once you have decided on which database to search within OVID, then all you need to do is to tick the box next to the database you would like to search and then select ‘OK’.

Want to know more?
Each database in OVID has different subject headings and thesauri, however there are tips and tricks that you can learn that are common to searching all the databases on OVID.  So why not check out the Advanced Searching Techniques or watch some of the help videos we have on our YouTube Channel.

Fancy yourself as the next Sherlock?

What comes into your head, when someone says ‘maps’? I think we often presume that if we aren’t studying geography, earth sciences, archaeology or architecture for instance then they aren’t for us. But think again! Maps can be applied to a variety of different ways in research and we have put together a Maps topic guide to explain what resources we have and potentially how they can be used.

The Maps guide outlines the different ways you can access both physical and online maps and gives you an overview of how you can use our online Digimap ROAM subscription.  With this tool, you can not only get up to date OS Maps, but also historic maps which can help track both infrastructure development, as well as social and environmental changes too. And if you want to directly compare different aged maps against each other, Digimap lets you toggle between the two on your screen.

Thematic maps and a database of case studies to see how Digimaps have been applied to research can also be found on the Maps guide. Here is just a taster to whet your appetite:

  • Mapping the victims of Jack the Ripper using Historic Roam
  • Conducting a national fox survey using Environment Roam
  • Studying garden history and landscape in the 18th Century
  • Designing housing in Byker for an Artists in Residence project.

So…..before you rule out maps as not relevant for your research, why not take a minute and have a look at our Maps guide  to see if there is potentially something for you!

N.B. If you’re wanting to be the next Sherlock, just remember you need to plan your investigations in advance and register with Digimap at least 24 hours before you need to start using the resource.