New resources on trial: East India Company and Medieval Travel Writing

The Library has trial access to these two online resources from Adam Matthew until August 31st 2021.

East India Company

East India Company

This digital resource allows students and researchers to access a vast collection of primary source documents from the India Office Records held by the British Library, the single most important archive for the study of the East India Company.

From before the Company’s charter in 1600, to Indian independence in 1947, the East India Company resource tells the story of trade with the East, politics, and the rise and fall of the British Empire. It records the challenges of a globalising world and sheds light on contrasting lives – from those of powerful political figures to ordinary people in Britain and Asia and the individual traders who lived and worked at the edge of Empire. essential resource for scholarship of British imperial history, maritime trade, global commerce, and the history of the first great multinational corporation.

This story is told through the manuscript records of the period, with over three million pages of content digitised. It includes enhanced viewing and browsing tools allowing for easy navigation.

Medieval Travel Writing

Medieval Travel Writing

This new resource is an extensive collection of manuscript materials for the study of medieval travel writing in fact and fantasy.

The core collection is of medieval manuscripts from libraries around the world, dating from the 13th to the 16th centuries, with a focus on accounts of journeys to the Holy Land, India and China.

These sources tell us much about the attitudes and preconceptions of people across Europe in the medieval period, shedding light on issues of race, economics, trade, militarism, politics, literature and science. Topics covered include: pilgrimage, the origins of global trade, travels to the Holy Land, the Silk Road, and the representation of the ‘East’ and the ‘Other’ in the Middle Ages.

The resource also includes supporting materials, such as maps and essays.

Accessing the resources

To access the trials, if you are on campus, the links above should take you straight into the resources. If you are off-campus, you will be taken to the following screen when you try to access any content from the links above:

Choose the option The UK Access Management Federation, then find Newcastle University in the list, and click Continue. You will then be taken to the usual Newcastle University login screen, where you should just input your Newcastle University credentials.

The trials end on August 31st 2021. To help us evaluate them, please email us your feedback, or leave a reply on this blog.

Resource in focus: The Listener Archive

The Library has access to The Listener Historical Archive for its entire run from 1929-1991.

The Listener was a weekly magazine established by the BBC in 1929 under its director-general, Lord Reith. It was initially developed as the medium for reproducing broadcast talks on the radio, but in later years, television as well, and was the intellectual counterpart to the BBC listings magazine, Radio Times. It is one of the few records and means of accessing the content of many early broadcasts, and also regularly reviewed new books.

The Listener developed a reputation for outstanding writing, with contributions from the major writers, artists, commentators and thinkers of the twentieth century, including E.M. Forster, George Orwell and Virginia Woolf. It’s an invaluable resource for those researching the critical reception of culture in the twentieth century, and the response of the public.

You can browse The Listener by date to find a specific issue, or search in various ways (choose Advanced Search to see all options, including searching by section of the magazine, author or date.)

Additional search features on the home page include Term Frequency, to trace how often a word, phrase or person has featured in The Listener over the years, and Topic Finder, to explore and visualise connections between topics.

As the Listener archive is published by the company Gale, you can cross-search it with any of the other Gale archives to which we have access, via Gale Primary Sources.

Resource in focus: Punch Historical Archive, 1841-1992

The Library has access to the entire digitised archive of Punch from 1841-1992.

Punch was a famous satirical magazine which played a central role in the formation of British identity, and how the rest of the world saw Britain. This archive covers all volumes of Punch between 1841-1992, including special numbers, prefaces, epilogues, indexes, images and other specially produced material from the bound volumes. It’s an excellent resource for researching nineteenth and twentieth century political and social history, through provocative and entertaining satirical commentary.

To find out more about Punch, click Research Tools to read a selection of essays about different periods of its history.

Menu screenshot

You can browse Punch by date to find a specific issue, or search in various ways (choose Advanced Search to see all options, including searching by section of the magazine, illustration type or date.)

Additional search features on the home page include Term Frequency, to trace how often a word, phrase or person has featured in Punch over the years, and Topic Finder, to explore and visualise connections between topics.

As the Punch archive is published by the company Gale, you can cross-search it with any of the other Gale archives to which we have access, via Gale Primary Sources.

Resource in focus: Picture Post Historical Archive 1938-1957

We have access to the complete digitised archive of Picture Post from 1938-1957. Picture Post was a British magazine (seen as the British equivalent of Life magazine) which was renowned for its use of photojournalism, in an era before television. It covered social and political issues, as well as providing a visual record of everyday life in Britain during and after World War Two.

You can browse the full colour archive by date to find a specific issue, or search in various ways (choose Advanced Search to see all options, including searching by section of the magazine, illustration type, or by date.)

Additional search features on the home page include Term Frequency, to trace how often a word, phrase or person featured in Picture Post over the years, and Topic Finder, to explore and visualise connections between topics.

As the Picture Post archive is published by the company Gale, you can cross-search it with any of the other Gale archives to which we have access, via Gale Primary Sources.

Scopus quick tips: Phrase searching

For those of you that don’t already know, Scopus is an expertly curated abstract and citation database combined with enriched data and linked scholarly literature across a wide variety of disciplines. In short, it’s a great resource for study and research providing quick access to verifiable data sources.

However, to get the information that you need from Scopus requires the use of accurate search strategies and methods in addition to your standard Boolean operators of OR, AND, NOT.

To demonstrate, when running a simple search for the words green AND energy (note the use of the Boolean AND) within Abstract title, Abstract, Keywords, Scopus returns an enormous 112,080 document results. In response to such a large return, phrase searching can be a useful strategy for narrowing results down in the first instance; although, the type of phrase search that you choose is also important.

When phrase searching you can return loose/approximate results or exact results depending upon the use of specific punctuation, which can dramatically alter the number of records revealed in the database. For example, when wrapping the phrase “green energy” in double quotation marks and searching within Abstract title, Abstract, Keywords, Scopus returns 7,131 document results – this is a loose phrase search. Conversely, when wrapping the phrase {green energy} in braces (curly brackets) and searching within Abstract title, Abstract, Keywords, Scopus returns 6,596 document results – this is an exact phrase search.

Immediately, we can see that the exact phrase search returns around 500 fewer results. The distinction is far greater, however, if green-energy is hyphenated and the same searches are performed. Here, the loose phrase search in double quotation marks returns the same number of results as with our original search, 7,131, effectively ignoring the hyphen and searching for documents where green energy appear together. In contrast, the exact phrase search in braces finds only results with the hyphen and this time returns only 132 results.

This is just one brief example of how using simple search strategies can alter the number and range of results that can be retrieved in Scopus. Now, log in to Scopus via Library Search and have a go at widening, or narrowing, your search horizons.

Look out for more Scopus hints and tips in forthcoming SAgE blog posts this Spring.

Resource in focus: Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice

Continuing our series of blogposts exploring our specialist humanities resources in depth…

Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice brings together a huge range of primary source materials relating to slavery and abolition studies from across the world, covering the time period between 1490 and 2007.

Primary source content

The content includes thousands of digitised sources, including images, maps, manuscripts, registers, ships’ logs and court records. It is arranged into sixteen broad themes, including Slavery in the Early Americas; Resistance and Revolt; Slave Testimony, and Urban and Domestic Slavery. Contemporary sources include materials from Anti-Slavery International, and submissions to the UNCHR.

Getting started

If you’re using Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice for the first time, we’d strongly encourage you to click on Introduction and take a little time to read about the content and themes, so you can get the best out of it: it is an extensive resource.

You can browse or search the content in various ways: we’d recommend choosing Documents from the top menu, as you can then browse by theme, geographic region, document type, date or more.

You may also find it useful to click REGISTER, so you can personalise your searching experience, including saving searches, documents and creating your own image slideshows.

Help and context

The primary sources are complemented by essays, tutorials and timelines to help you interpret the content: click on Further Resources from the top menu.

Have you used Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice? Please feel free to post your comments and tips by clicking Leave a comment below.

PubMed: Becoming familiar with controlled vocabularies


Are your literature searches run mainly in keyword-based platforms such as Google Scholar, Scopus or Web of Science?

Have you been told that you need to diversify your search, or maybe use a new database such as PubMed? Did someone mention that MeSH terms could improve your search?

If you do not know what those terms mean or where to start, you are in the right place. The following video will explain to you what controlled vocabularies are and why they are a powerful tool for retrieving relevant papers.

Now, let’s put theory into practice and demonstrate how to use Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) in PubMed. The video below will do just that.

Let’s have a look at what other controlled vocabulary databases you can use in medical sciences or if your Social Sciences student whose work crosses over with medical sciences. You can find all the databases mentioned below and others in Library Search:

Since the previous videos focus on PubMed, you might wonder what other databases you should be using. If you are unsure how to find the most relevant databases for your course, you can watch a video that will show you how to identify them.

Is Medline the database for you, but you need some help with the basics? Watch our:

Finally, please remember that this is general advice and it might not cover your particular area of interest. If you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact us on Library Help, where you can email us or speak to us through the Live Chat feature.

Ovid Medline: Becoming familiar with controlled vocabularies

Are your literature searches run mainly in keyword-based platforms such as Google Scholar, Scopus or Web of Science?

Have you been told that you need to diversify your search, or maybe use a new database such as Medline, Embase or PsycInfo through the Ovid searching platform? Did someone mention that Medline’s MeSH terms could improve your search?

If you do not know what those terms mean or where to start, you are in the right place.

The following video will explain to you what controlled vocabularies are, why they are a powerful tool for retrieving relevant papers and it will demonstrate how to use Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) in Medline via Ovid.

Since the previous video focuses on Medline, you might wonder what other databases you should be using. If you are unsure how to find the most relevant databases for your course, you can watch a video that will show you how to identify them.

Is Medline the database for you, but you need some help with the basics? Watch our “Getting started with Ovid Medline” video for the basics. For a more detailed explanation on how to combine searches, watch the Combining Searches in Medline and other Ovid Databases.

Finally, please remember that this is general advice and it might not cover your particular area of interest. If you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact us on Library Help, where you can email us or speak to us through the Live Chat feature.

Mintel: Covid-19

As a globally recognised market analyst, Mintel produces hundreds of reports into UK-specific consumer markets every year. Each report provides a unique overview of a market’s dynamics and prospects, giving you the knowledge to devise informed and profitable marketing strategy. Mintel is also one of the many Business specialist databases that we subscribe to here at Newcastle University, which you can access via Library Search, or along with many other of our resources via our Business Subject Guide.

Recently Mintel has been providing ongoing insight and analysis across a range of industries to help you understand how and why consumer sentiment and behaviour are changing during the pandemic.

To find these resources, you need to go to Mintel (via Library Search) and there’s tab dedicated to Covid-19 analysis:

Screen shot of Mintel homepage highlighting the Covid 19 tab.

With over 200 results, there’s plenty to help any research project looking at consumer behaviour during this time.

Let us know if you have any questions or queries about this resource: lib-socsci@ncl.ac.uk

Resource in focus: Westlaw Books

Westlaw UK logo

Westlaw is one of our much-valued legal databases and can be accessed via our Law Subject Guide and Library Search, logging in with your Newcastle University Campus ID & password. One of the lesser-used aspects of Westlaw is its Books collection and it’s a resource that should not be overlooked.

Westlaw Books gives access to invaluable titles such as the White Book and Archbold, alongside comprehensive and authoritative coverage of common law through titles from the Common Law Library series, including Charlesworth & Percy on Negligence, Chitty on Contracts, and Benjamin’s Sale of Goods. While these are titles you will use more regularly in practice, all Newcastle Law School students are encouraged to become familiar with them during your time at University.

An image of a selection of Westlaw Books from the Common Law Library  and practitioner titles.

We also have academically-based books available in the Sweet & Maxwell Academic Collection to support your studies. These include Winfield & Jolowicz on TortTreitel on the Law of ContractMegarry & Wade on the Law of Real Property, and Elliott & Wood’s Cases and Materials on Criminal Law (the latter being written and edited by former academics of Newcastle Law School).

An image of a selection of Westlaw Books available from the S&M Academic Collection.

To access this content, log into Westlaw and click on Westlaw Books in the menu at the top of the page.

An image of the Westlaw home screen with Westlaw Books highlighted in the top menu.

You can browse through the 350+ titles included in the Library’s subscription plan, but if you know the book you are looking for, search by a title keyword, e.g. criminal.

An image of the Westlaw Books search options, with 'Search by Title' highlighted.

If you want to browse those student-focused books, use the filters on the left-hand side of the screen. Scroll down and select ‘Sweet & Maxwell Academic’ in the Publisher/Series filter section.

An image of a filtered result in Westlaw Books.

This short Thomson Reuters video (1:56 mins) gives tips on using Westlaw Books effectively in locating bibliographic information (essential for referencing these titles in your work), searching the materials using keywords, saving your favourite titles for repeated use, and how to email, print, download, save into a Westlaw folder or simply view the material on the screen (in reading-mode too).

If you’re not a fan of videos and want a handy guide to download or print, then this Westlaw Books PDF will help.

An extract from the Thomson Reuters Westlaw Books PDF guide showing how to annotate text.

If you have any comments or questions about Westlaw Books, or any other library resource, please contact libraryhelp@ncl.ac.uk or leave your comments here.