Spruce up your referencing: When is a website not a website?

Photo by Dominik Dombrowski on Unsplash

We have all heard it said that languages spoken in northern arctic regions have considerably more words for snow than those spoken in southern climates. When dealing with something in detail every day it is often helpful to categorise and clarify its nuances.

A common mistake made in academic referencing is grouping all sources found online under the overarching category of a website. However, your aim should be to reference the information you have in front of you rather than where it was sourced. Grouping all items found online as a website would be the equivalent to referencing a book only by the publisher details, rather than the author and title. Or, by referring to both a snowball and a snowflake as simply snow.

For example, a government publication found online would be referenced like this in Chicago:

United Kingdom. Department for Education. Cloud computing: how schools can move services to the cloud. London: The Stationary Office, 2016. Accessed: November 4, 2019. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cloud-computing-how-schools-can-move-services-to-the-cloud. 

An electronic journal article might appear like this in APA:

Gillum, J. (2012). Dyscalculia: Issues for practice in education psychology.  Educational Psychology in Practice, 28(3), 287-297. doi:10.1080/02667363.2012.684344

While a video posted on the Tate website would look something like this in Harvard:

TateShots (2016) Grayson Perry: think like an artist. Available at: https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/talk/what-makes-artist-grayson-perry-conversation-sarah-thornton (Accessed: 11 November 2019). 

Identifying the type of information you are using, as well as the source, is an essential evaluation skill which helps in developing a greater critical approach to information. In many cases you will be unconsciously using your judgment to assess the value of information for your purpose. So when you are using any source of information, ask yourself what it is you are looking at, what details are recorded about it, and whether it measures up as a quality piece of information. You’ll find more guidance about evaluating information on our Evaluating Information guide.

Library Search: Search and reserve on the go

Library Search and your personal Library Account are never further than a fingertip away when using the Newcastle University Mobile App.

Available on iOS and Android platforms the App can be easily downloaded and installed onto your mobile device allowing you to search the library for that key text or article anytime anywhere.

It’s so quick and easy to use that you’ll be Boolean searching resources AND reserving books at home or on the go, in no time.

If you hit trouble there is information and support available via the Mobile Apps and Resources Subject Support Guide, the Library Website and NUIT.

But before you get started why not watch this quick video which tells you all you need to know.

SciFinder – a one-stop shop for chemical reactions, substances, and scientific literature.

SciFinder is a research discovery application that provides integrated access to the world’s most comprehensive and authoritative source of references, substances and reactions in chemistry and related sciences.

Accessible via Library Search this powerful, chemist-curated database from CAS offers reference, substance and reaction searching with sophisticated analysis tools. Substances can be searched by chemical structure, markush (for Patents), molecular formula, property or substance identifier. All alternative substance names are listed alongside CAS Registry numbers and commercial sources. Popular in industry, this database is vital for students and researchers in chemistry, pharmacy, forensic science, medicinal chemistry and chemical engineering.

To use SciFinder you must register and sign in when prompted. On doing so you can then set personal preferences, explore resources, and save your own searches. You can also browse your search history and set up alerts and notifications.

SciFinder Mobile allows you quick and easy access to references of published scientific research and information on substances of interest (including nomenclature, molecular formula and properties) from your smartphone.

If you’d like to know more or need a little help to get started CAS provide a range of online support and training. There are also a selection of instructional videos available on YouTube.

So get registered, sign in, and explore. You’ll be inputting structures using the drawing editor and conducting substructure searches in no time!

ASME Digital Collection

Are you studying or teaching mechanical engineering and looking for digital resources? If so, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Digital Collection may be just what you need.

Freely and easily accessible via Library Search, the ASME Digital Collection provides unparalleled depth, breadth, and quality of peer-reviewed content. This includes access to ASME’s Journals from 1959 – present; ASME’s Conference Proceedings from 2000 – present (with select proceedings back to 1955); and ASME’s ebooks from 1993 – present (with select titles back to 1944).

With powerful search and advanced filtering tools you can use keywords, topics, citations and date ranges to retrieve content simultaneously from different digital resources. This gives you the chance to apply Boolean operators to clearly refine your searches and therefore access more results that are directly relevant to your research.

ASME Digital Collection integrates well with other digital platforms and it can link to Crossref, Google Scholar, and Web of Science to discover citing articles. There are also tools for exporting citations to your preferred reference management software and you can share your links via email and social media. Just like a lot of digital databases it’s easy to set up email alerts to notify you about saved searches and newly published content.

So all that’s left to do is to search for ASME Digital Collection on Library Search, login as a Newcastle University user with Shibboleth, and browse the resources. You’re bound to find something useful!

Thinking about study space

During the exam period library study spaces are at a premium and it is important to think in advance about the kind of study space that you need.

Whether you require a silent, quiet, or collaborative study space, a group study room or booth, or an individual accessible study room, there are a variety of open access and bookable study spaces located across our four library buildings (Philip Robinson, Walton, Law, and Marjorie Robinson).

It is possible to check live study space availability online or by using the university app. This will allow you to head straight for the nearest available study space and therefore avoid wasting valuable time searching for a desk.

You can also book a group study room or booth online for a maximum of 120 minutes per day. This will allow you to get together with fellow students to plan and allocate some guaranteed study time prior to your next exam.

Study Well@NCL, which runs throughout the exam period, advocates a responsible approach to studying and encourages positive behaviours in study spaces. Remember, it is key to choose the right environment that meets your study needs, to stay hydrated, and to respect the students and study space around you.

Thinking about study space in advance can help to remove a lot of unwanted stress and thus free up valuable energy that will aid both your revision focus and exam preparation.

Waltzing with EndNote

What is EndNote?

The official blurb on EndNote is that it is “…the industry standard software tool for publishing and managing bibliographies, citations and references.”

Have you drifted off yet? Don’t – read on!

EndNote takes a little getting used to and we recommend you familiarise yourself with it at the start of your research process. But as Library Staff, we wouldn’t spend a significant amount of time demonstrating and training our academic staff and students on what EndNote is, and how to use it, if we didn’t think it was valuable. It will save you a huge amount of time in terms of writing up your assignments.

Essentially, you can use EndNote to create and organise a personal library of resources relevant to your research. You can import references from Library Search, and a huge range of databases such as ScopusWeb of ScienceIEEE Xplore and Business Source Complete. You can ask EndNote to locate the full-text PDFs of the resources you are going to use in your research, and you can annotate them as you wish too. Did you know you can instruct Google Scholar to import references into EndNote? No? Try it. Finally, if you already have materials stored in your home folder (H:\) then you can attach them to a manually-created reference within EndNote, bringing all your research together in one place.

In addition to organising your references (and this is the clever bit) you can then get EndNote to ‘talk’ to your word processing software, e.g. Microsoft Word, and insert the citations into your work for you in your chosen referencing style, e.g. Harvard at Newcastle, Vancouver, APA or MLA. If you don’t want to do that, then EndNote will also allow you to create an independent bibliography of your references, saving you an awful lot of typing.

Using EndNote

Intrigued? You should be. Take a look at our EndNote Guide. It contains all the introductory information you need, step-by-step workbooks to train yourself on the use of EndNote (the Desktop and Online versions), videos, useful FAQs, and contacts for help, should you need it.

Finally, Newcastle University provides support for EndNote but it is not compulsory to use. You may prefer MendeleyZoteroRefWorks or another piece of bibliographic management software. That’s fine, whatever makes your referencing lives easier. Go on, give them a try.

It’s all a matter of style

There are lots of different referencing styles, but which one is right for you?

Once you start creating citations and references, you need to consider referencing styles. There are hundreds of them out there and each has a slightly different set of rules about how citations and reference lists should appear in your text.

Most Newcastle University students use the Harvard at Newcastle style, but there is also Vancouver, IEEE, OSCOLA, Chicago, and many more. Your lecturers will expect you to use one specific style and all of your citations and references should conform to that style accurately and consistently; same punctuation, same capitalisation, same everything. 

We have lots of help about using some of the popular referencing styles in our Managing Information guide. The Cite Them Right website is also a valuable online resource that will show you how to hit all of the right steps on your way to mastering an individual referencing style.

Referencing – why is it snow important?

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

When walking in the snow we need the right footwear, and to keep warm, a scarf, hat, and gloves are also of great help. By doing so, we are adapting to the environment and using the right tools at the right time for the job at hand.

The same is true when adapting to academic writing where referencing is a key tool.

When you are writing a piece of work and you use someone else’s thoughts, words or ideas, you must reference them. But why do we talk about referencing so much at University, and why is it so important? Why should you bother spending time on ensuring that your references are consistent, accurate and correct?

It all comes down to why we reference in the first place:

  • To make your contribution clear by showing which words and ideas are yours, and which have come from your reading.
  • To acknowledge the work of others and to demonstrate how you have built on the knowledge that you’ve gained from your reading.
  • To ensure that the reader can follow up on your references for themselves.
  • To avoid being wrongly accused of plagiarism.

Watch our short video to find out a little more about why we should bother with referencing.

Find out more on our Managing Information skills guide.

Finding help with IEEE referencing

For those of you reading this that don’t know, the IEEE referencing style is a numeric citation system used in engineering, electronics, computer science and information technology publications. And for those of you reading that already know this, you will be pleased to hear that the IEEE referencing style has now been added to Cite them right   (If you have trouble accessing Cite them right off campus, just search for it on Library Search).

So what does this mean and how does it help? Well, let’s say that you have referred to a set of specific technical standards in your most recent academic work but aren’t quite sure how to reference them accordingly. Open Cite them right and type standards into the search bar at the top right of the home page and hit the Enter key:

The search results will return a link detailing how to reference technical standards:

All that’s left to do now is to click on the link, select IEEE from the drop down reference style menu and follow the excellent guidance. There’s further help on IEEE referencing on the far right hand side:

As well as referencing technical standards, journal articles and books in the IEEE style, Cite them right will also show you how to reference more unusual items, such as Twitter posts and YouTube videos, enabling you to correctly include all of your research sources with ease.