Taking you to the next skills level

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.

Why not start with the myth busting quiz developed by the Writing Development Centre for some quick tips on how to study well?
Image of study myths quiz

Library liaison team: get the lowdown

Who are we?

As you may guess from the name, the Library’s liaison team role is to liaise with the academic Schools at Newcastle University, to help us plan and deliver excellent Library services which meet the needs of staff and students. There are over twenty of us, and we’re a friendly bunch: you should get to know us!

What do we do?

Broadly speaking, our remit falls into three main areas:

Collection development

In other words, making sure the Library’s information resources are suitable for current research and teaching needs. So we’ll liaise with Schools about reading lists,  discuss resource requirements for new modules and programmes, and arrange and evaluate trials of major databases. We’ll also help you get the best out of our resources, via our subject guides and resource guides, and of course, this blog!

Help and guidance

We’re here to help you get the best out of the Library. Every year, we deliver several hundred hours of teaching to students from all Schools and at all levels: from big lectures to small practical workshops, covering topics such as literature searching, subject resources, reference management and more. We’ve also developed a wide range of high quality online learning resources, including guides, videos and quizzes, to help you develop your academic skills.

We can also answer individual queries (see our contact information below). The Library’s excellent Library Help service will probably answer most of your questions, but for more specialist subject queries, we’re happy to help. You can also book a one-to-one appointment with us for more in-depth guidance (for example, to discuss your dissertation literature search).

Relationship management

No, that doesn’t mean we’re marriage guidance counsellors or agony aunts! It simply means keeping in touch with staff and students in our Schools: finding out what’s going on, and keeping you up to date with what we’re up to. We do this in various formal and informal ways, including attending meetings and events in the Schools (everything from Student Voice Committees to PGR student conferences); producing regular newsletters; using social media; and just generally being nosey!

How can you get in touch with us?

You can find the contact details for the liaison team for your subject area here.  We recommend you use the subject team email addresses, rather than emailing an individual person. That’s because some of us work part-time, or may be away:  emailing the team will ensure you’ll get a prompt answer.

How to use flashcards for effective revision

Build your bag of tricks and special skills

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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.

So if you are trying to find historic newspapers, company financial data, market research, standards or images you will find a resource guide for all of that!

Market research resource guide homepage

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.

Resource guide quick links from the subject guides

We’ve also highlighted the Resource Guides that are most commonly used for your subject area in the Specialist Resources section.

Specialist resources quick links image

So next time you need to find a newspaper article, a government paper or some statistics to analyse, visit the Resource Guides to help you identify where to look.

Level up your searching skills

Pick up more tips and tricks for searching on our skills guides.

Future proofing your employability

“What would you guess is the most common job?” Michael Lai, Outreach Lead at KGI, asked an audience of students at his Columbia Heights TEDTalk back in 2016. His audience members offer a few suggestions. “Engineer?” “Fast food workers?”  After several failed attempts, Michael puts them out of their misery,

“3.5 billion truck drivers in the United’s States” he tells them. “Experts predict that in the next 12-15 years, most of the cars on America’s highways will be self-driving… so what’s going to happen to the most common job?”

The future of the job market – and it’s inherent uncertainty – has been receiving a lot of attention in the international press in recent years, with Universities UK analysis predicting “65% of children entering primary schools today will work in jobs and functions that don’t currently exist.”  In previous generations, new graduates could expect to work with the same company for several years, steadily climbing the corporate ladder in a predictable, but reassuring linear way. In the 21st century however, the face of the job market is changing, and once you graduate, you may find yourself looking at a “portfolio career” over traditional career progression – something Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg described as more akin to a career “jungle gym” than a career ladder.

But what does all this talk of truck-driving and emergent markets mean for you, the UK Graduate? Well, if the gig economy becomes the norm in the next 10 years, one of the key challenges for new graduates will be the perpetual need to upskill yourself, and market your own skill base to different employers. This puts the spotlight on what have traditionally been referred to as “soft” transferable skills that are required across many different roles and sectors – skills such as resilience, team-working and critical thinking. Here at the Library, we’d argue that information and digital literacy falls under this bracket (well of course we would, we’re librarians!). The ability to find and use information and make considered use of digital tools is an important capability in any graduate job. Don’t just take our word for it – we spoke to several students returning from placement who told us their information skills had helped them get ahead.

The good news though is that your degree programme offers you the chance to work on and demonstrate all of these skills. Employers will know that you may not have extensive work experience as a new graduate, but make sure you cherry-pick prime examples from your University work, part –time jobs and any voluntary experience to exemplify the skills employers are looking for (and remember, the Careers service can help you with interview preparation.) Make the most of the workshops and sessions open to during your time at University so you are in a great position to articulate these important skills. For more information on how the Library can help, check out our Employability Guide

References

  1. TEDx Talks (2016) Four Key Skills to Lead the Future. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djHTcES2ATg
  2. Universities UK (2018) Solving future skills challenges. 6th August 2018. Available at: https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Documents/2018/solving-future-skills-challenges.pdf
  3. Sandberg, S as quoted by Lebowitz, S and Campbell, D (2019) “Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon shares his number one piece of advice for millennials who want to get ahead in their careers.” Business insider, Jan 13th 2019. Available at:  https://www.businessinsider.com/career-advice-millennials-goldman-sachs-ceo-david-solomon-2019-1?r=US&IR=T

Shades of Grey [Literature]

Grey literature. Black Literature.

Did you even know they existed? Possibly not.

Depending upon your source, “black literature” can be defined as books and peer-reviewed published journals. This is the familiar material you will source and use through your University Library and its catalogue.

Grey literature is something else entirely. Grey literature is research or material that is not produced by commercial publishers. It may be wholly unpublished or published in a non-commercial form. Think along the lines of industry-related materials, academic publications, government publications and think tank papers.

GreyNet, the Grey Literature Network Service has more detailed information on this vital research resource.

Grey Literature can be unique and an important source of information. There is a range of grey literature you may need to consult to ensure your research is complete. Examples of these materials include:

  • Working papers
  • Conference proceedings
  • Theses and dissertations
  • Government and official publications, including Green and White Papers, Select Committee papers, legislation
  • Policy statements
  • Research reports
  • Newsletters
  • Fact sheets
  • Blogs
  • Transcripts
  • Pre-prints and post-prints of articles
  • Technical reports
  • Professional guidelines
  • Patents
  • Standards
  • Market research
  • Data, e.g. Census, economic data, statistics

Most databases, available via your Subject Guide, will allow you to limit your search by document type, including grey literature, which does improve accessibility to this type of material.

Other resources include:

  • Bielefeld Academic Search Engine
    Operated by Bielefeld University Library this search engine indexes open access academic literature. The Advanced Search option allows you to search for specific types of grey literature.
  • Box of Broadcasts
    Box of Broadcasts provides access to over two million programmes from over 65 TV and radio channels, including most of the UK’s freeview network, all BBC TV and radio content from 2007, and several foreign language channels. You can view archived programmes, record new ones, create clips and playlists and see transcripts. (This resource is not available outside the UK.)
  • Digital Education Resource Archive (DERA)
    The Institute of Education Digital Education (University of London) Resource Archive (DERA) is a digital archive of all documents published electronically by government and related bodies in the area of education.
  • Open Grey
    The System for Information on Grey Literature in Europe provides open access to over 700,000 bibliographical references.
  • Teachers TV from Education in Video
    Provides access to all 3,530 globally-acclaimed instructional videos produced in 2008 by the United Kingdom’s Department of Education to train and develop teachers’ skills through demonstrations and commentary by teachers, administrators, and other educational experts.
  • Newcastle University Theses and Dissertations Guide
    Newcastle University theses are available in the eTheses Repository. Other UK theses may be available via EThOS. There is not one single source for locating non-UK theses. The Guide will give you some starting points.
  • UK Legislation
    UK Legislation is freely available online but be aware there may be delays of up to 2 weeks before any updates appear. Use your subscribed databases available via the Law Subject Guide.

The list can go on…

Once you have located your grey literature, do question it using the CRAAP testcurrency, relevance, authority, accuracy, purpose. Consider what is publicly available versus a subscribed (or paid for) resource. It may be biased and you should include that assessment in your work.

And finally, don’t forget, not everything is available online!

INTO students, why not check out our online stuff

Image showing students on the grass in the old Quad outside the Architecture building.

Where ever in the World you are from, you are now part of the Newcastle University family.

This means you have access to four libraries with amazing online/print resources and of course….helpful library staff.

Now you are living and studying in Newcastle you will often hear the Geordie accent. It’s not always the easiest to understand! Do you know your Geordie phrases?  There is a handy guide to help you become familiar with some of our more colourful phrases. Why not follow this link to understand our local dialect.

Links to help you get started

  • Our INTO Student Guide will help you get started with the skills and resources you need to study at Newcastle University. Explore essential library resources, including books, ebooks and journal articles and find your way to the best specialist resources for your chosen subject area. 
  • Are you ready to search for information?  Have a look at this library video to help you find the best resources to use for your academic work.

  • Correctly referencing the information you use and concerns about plagiarism are common for many students. Visit our Library Managing Information guide to find tips and advice for your referencing.

Managing Information banner image

The University has a subscription for the referencing software EndNote. You’ll find information about EndNote and teach yourself resources on our EndNote Library guide if  you anted to give it a try yourself.

Help and Support

Please remember we are here to help you and you can contact us at any time, day and night, via Libraryhelp.

Beyond the University, there are some great local libraries which you can visit and use for free. Find out about other libraries in the area by visiting the Library website.

 

Love reading? Browse through BrowZine…

Not sure which journal article you’re looking for? Do it the ‘old school’ way and browse through your favourite journals using BrowZine without having to trek to the library or newsagents to flick through the magazines.

BrowZine is a publisher-neutral reading and discovery platform for eJournals. You can browse complete issues, set up a personal bookshelf of your favourite titles and receive notifications when new issues are released.

Library Search and browsing eJournals via BrowZine

You can do this on your PC via Library Search or perhaps you prefer using your smartphone? Access BrowZine via the University App or download the BrowZine App from the Apple Store or Play Store.

Access BrowZine via the Newcastle University App

Set up your personal account using your University email address and BrowZine will always recognise you as a member of Newcastle University and give you access to the full-text articles it contains.

BrowZine Subject Areas

BrowZine Arts and HumanitiesGet browsing!

Trial: Oxford Bibliographies Online

We have a trial of Oxford Bibliographies Online until April 8th 2019.

This resource offers exclusive, authoritative research guides written by academic experts across a variety of subject areas. Combining the best features of an annotated bibliography and a high-level encyclopedia, it directs you to the best available scholarship across a wide variety of subjects in humanities and social and environmental sciences.

You can search or browse it in various ways, and new content is added regularly.

The trial ends on April 8th. Please explore and email us your feedback, or post it as a comment on this blog.