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

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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.

Digital Scholar Lab: find out more, and book your training slot

The Library has purchased Gale’s Digital Scholar Lab: a digital humanities platform with potential uses for students, researchers and module leaders, whatever your previous experience. It enables you to:

  • create and clean customised content sets, using our Gale Primary Sources collections (which include a wide range of historic newspaper, periodical and book archives)
  • analyse and interrogate the data, using the Lab’s text analysis and visualisation tools
  • manage and share content sets with others.

For those who regularly use digital techniques or methods, you can use the Lab to dramatically reduce the time needed to compile, curate and clean datasets, either using Gale data or locally held data, which can be uploaded into the Lab.

For those interested in teaching using the Lab, it contains a comprehensive Learning Centre that you can use to introduce students to basic and advanced concepts, with worked examples that can form the basis of a lesson plan.

Finally, for those new to digital humanities, and intimidated by thoughts of coding, the Lab provides a way to produce sophisticated, analytical research that requires no coding skill and allows you to make discoveries in archives that would otherwise be impossible.

To help you find out more about Digital Scholar Lab, representatives from Gale will be running two online training sessions for Newcastle University staff and students via Zoom on:

  • Monday November 16th, 14.00-15.30 and repeated on
  • Thursday November 19th, 10.00-11.30

The session will introduce you to Digital Scholar Lab, and its interface and workflows. It will cover text mining in general, search queries, curating and managing datasets, using analysis tools, and reviewing results. There will be plenty of opportunities for questions.

Any Newcastle University staff and students are welcome: you don’t need any previous knowledge of Digital Scholar Lab. However, if you have previously used Digital Scholar Lab, you may also find the session useful as a refresher, and to find out about recent enhancements.

To book your place on one of the sessions, please fill in our booking form.

If you are interested in more bespoke training (for example, for a specific cohort of students, or at a more advanced level), please contact Lucy Keating, and we’ll discuss with Gale representatives.

Make the most out of your library’s resources

Image link to the library's Academic Skills page.
https://www.ncl.ac.uk/library/subject-support/

Key resources

Do you have an assignment or research question and don’t know where to start? Search no further, your subject-specific LibGuide is only a few clicks away.

Follow the link above and then choose the Faculty and relevant School. Once you are there you will see the key resources that are provided for you:

Image of the navigation menu displayed in subject guides. It contains a home page, books and e-books, resources for online learning, journals and databases, subject specific resources, special collections and archives, subject help and news.

Navigate to the ‘Journals and Databases’ tab. This will display the databases where you can search for the journal articles that you need. Don’t know how to use this avalanche of links? We have instructions:

Image displaying the contents of the middle tab in the Journals and Databases section. It contains a list of PDF workbooks with instructions to databases.

From the Databases tab, click on the next tab along, in the centre of the screen that reads ‘Journals and Database Help’.

One-to-one help

Is the information too vast and you feel like you’ve hit a wall? You can ask your liaison librarian team for help. From the same navigation menu on the left side of the screen, click on ‘Subject Help and News’. There, you can find the team’s contact details and further down the page, you can request to book a one-to-one consultation with a member of the team.

Academic skills

Do you feel that your academic skills need to be polished a little? Don’t hesitate to look at our Academic Skills page from the Subject Support page:

Image link to the Subject support page displaying the links to guides for the three faculties and Academic Skills.

You will find more guides on this page relating to how to find academic information, reference it, using EndNote, distinguishing between real information and fake news and many more: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/library/subject-support/faculty.php/?f=other.

Academic Writing

You can also get one-to-one help from the Writing Development Centre if you are struggling with study skills or academic writing.

Library Help

Do you have any specific questions? Please contact us via Library Help where we monitor your live chats and emails or have a look through our FAQs: https://libhelp.ncl.ac.uk/.

Journals – Don’t get lost in the darkness

Journals

The Library subscribes to a huge number of journals to assist you with your research. The majority of these are available electronically although we still have some print titles. There are some journals that are only published online with no print and may not have volumes and parts but are identified by DOIs or references numbers.

You can find journal titles by using Library Search. However if you are searching a database, you can use the Find@Newcastle University option, to link straight to Library Search to see if the journal is in stock. In Library Search records for electronic journals say Online access and when you click on them give you options to View Online.

Records for print journal give you a location and shelfmark indicating where the journal can be found.

If you read an article online then you need to reference the article as a Electronic Journal Article not a webpage.

Using the Harvard at Newcastle style a reference from an Online only Journal would look similar to this:

Chan, J.-Y. L., Wang, K.-H., Fang, C.-L. and Chen, W.-Y. (2014) ‘Fibrous papule of the face, similar to tuberous sclerosis complex-associated angiofibroma, shows activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin pathway: evidence for a novel therapeutic strategy?’, PloS one, 9(2), p. e89467.

A reference for a Print Journal would look like this:

Paton, N. (2015) ‘Night work triggers health risks’, Occupational Health, 67(9), pp. 6-6.

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.

New service helps you search beyond our Library

A new search service, Library Hub Discover, has just launched, replacing the old COPAC database (which enabled you to search across UK academic and research libraries) and SUNCAT (which searched for journals elsewhere).

Library Hub Discover offers a new and improved interface to search across the catalogues of 100 UK and Irish academic, national and specialist libraries, with many more libraries due to be added soon.

A new related service, Library Hub Compare, enables you to analyse and compare library collections and identify relative strengths. So, if you want to assess which libraries in a region have particularly strong holdings relating to your research area, this is a neat way of doing it.

Read more about the new services and keep up with developments by following JiscLibraryHub.