We’re a couple of weeks in to term, and for new (and returning) students, it’s time to start looking beyond your reading list. Reading lists are a great place to find the essential reading material for your modules. But when you begin to look in more depth at topics that interest you, and to read for your seminars and assignments, you will need to look beyond your reading list to the wider books, ebooks, journal articles and more, that you will find using Library Search.
This week we are putting the spotlight on Library Search, to give you tips and tricks to help find good quality, relevant information, quickly. We are going to share videos that show you how to search. Tips to help with your referencing and keeping track of the information you find.
Let’s start off with Library Search in 90 seconds …
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 plannerthat 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!
Will you be working on a dissertation or project this summer or next year? Worried that the Library might not have access to the specialist books and other resources which you need? Wondering how you can find out about resources relating to your research topic which are held in other libraries?
Wonder no more! There are three main ways you can find and access books and other resources held elsewhere:
You can search the catalogues of over 100 UK and Irish academic libraries, national libraries and other major research libraries via COPAC. For a more in-depth and up to date search, you can also search individual academic library catalogues online. Need to look further afield? Search library catalogues internationally via WorldCat.
We have more information about how you can visit other libraries, locally and nationally, here. The SCONUL Access Scheme enables students to use other academic libraries around the country, but you need to register online first (and be sure to check the access arrangements for any library you are planning to visit, as they may alter during the year).
If we haven’t got the book you want, you can ask us to consider buying or borrowing it, via our Books on Time service. If you need a copy of a journal article to which we don’t have access, please apply via our inter library loan service.
Hoping to get some revision done during the Easter Vacation?
Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Have a look at our MCQ collection in the Quiet study area of the Walton Library. This collection has books with MCQs, EMQs, SBAs, OSCEs and other self assessment and answer questions on many different subjects including; anatomy, medicine, physiology, surgery and more. Look out for the green stickers on the spines of the books.
2. Check out the the Exams and Revision Section on the ASK (Academic Skills Kit) webpages for more help.
3. Remember to take regular breaks.
4. Stay well hydrated, eat properly and get some exercise.
5. Remember to check the date, time and place of your exam well in advance of the day, make sure you know where you are going.
Have a good Easter Vacation. Happy revising and Good Luck in the exams when you get back.
You already know that referencing is important – it not only gives credit to the original creator of a work you have used but also helps to highlight your skills as a researcher; showing that you have read around your topic, found relevant information, applied it to your arguments and used it to develop your own ideas.
However, when it comes to referencing, all of those punctuation rules, different styles and the vast array of document formats can seem overwhelming. Happily, we’ve got a great resource to help you work out your references in three easy steps!
Cite Them Right:
‘Cite Them Right’ is a fantastic referencing guide that provides clear instructions and examples for how to reference a wide range of documents including books, journals, websites and audio-visual materials. Available as both a physical textbook and an online tool, ‘Cite Them Right’ helps you to format your references correctly using Harvard, American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Humanities Research Association (MHRA), Modern Languages Association (MLA), Oxford Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA), Vancouver or Chicago referencing styles.
(Remember to always use the referencing style recommended by your school.)
Three steps to an accurate reference:
Search for the type of document you want to reference on Cite Them Right online using the search box at the top right of the screen or by browsing the drop down menus at the top of the page.
Select the referencing style you need from the drop down menu at the top of the page. This defaults to Harvard (author-date).
Follow the example references given, copying the format to create your own reference in the ‘You Try’ box.
Why not have a go and create a reference for this blog post!
Have you heard about ASK? It’s the University’s one-stop-shop for academic skills.
Are you concerned about being accused of plagiarism? Having some difficulty with statistical analysis? Struggling to write a persuasive argument in your essay? Feeling like you’re not able to manage your lecture, seminar and assignment workload? Or perhaps you are a master procrastinator who needs to just crack on with some work. The ASK (Academic Skills Kit) can help!
Signposting you to the services, resources and support available across Newcastle University, it will help you identify where to go for advice and support to improve your study habits and develop skills that are invaluable for University and what comes after.
ASK directs you to the correct place for support and includes online resources such as quizzes and videos, to help you better understand where you may need to grow.
We’re probably all familiar with the fact that the library is where you find the books, but this month, why not explore all of the other types of information that can add to your academic skills bag of tricks. The library’s Resource Guides draw together the best resources available, organised by the type of information rather than subject area.
The guides are updated all the time as we add new subscriptions to our collection or identify online resources that we think will be useful for teaching and research. You’ll find the Resource Guides on the library website and as quick links on every Subject Guide.
We’ve also highlighted the Resource Guides that are most commonly used for your subject area in the Specialist Resources section.
Time to get your game face on and level up your academic skills!
Throughout your time at University, you are required to develop a whole range of important academic skills, from knowing where to find information to critical thinking to reference management. These skills are not only important for completing your degree successfully but they can also be transferred to the work you do once you leave the University, making them invaluable for your future career.
This month we’re inviting you on a study quest to explore our guides and tools and gain some serious Study XP (experience points).
To get started take a look at your Subject guide for advice on finding information in your area or see our Employability guide to explore how these skills can help in your future career.
From 11 – 24 March 2019 visit our display in the Library to chat to our helpful staff, pick up postcards, guides and fun freebies, and if you feel up for a challenge, take on our exciting mini escape room game (more details to follow)!