Studying for resits? We’re still here to help!

Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

If you’ll be studying for resits this August, there’s lots of help available from your Library during the summer vacation. Even though the Library buildings have yet to fully open, there’s still a lot of services ‘on hand’ to assist with your studies. Read on to find out how we can work together to ensure you have the best possible revision and resit experience.

What’s available

First and foremost, Library services are still operational during the lockdown summer vacation, they’re just functioning differently right now. You’re still able to organize an online one-to-one appointment with your Liaison librarian or request that the Library purchase an e-book to assist your revision.

Your subject-specific guide also contains links to useful journals, databases and eBook collections that are tailored for your course. There are a number of MCQ (multiple choice question) books available to read online to complement your revision. They cover subjects including: paediatrics, neurology and physiology.

If you’re in Newcastle, you may also like to use the Library’s new click & collect service. Request up to 10 books from the shelves, book a collection slot and then pick up your desired items from the Philip Robinson Library foyer. How good is that?

If you’re looking for online resources via Library Search, you might like to filter your search to show results that are ‘full text online’. This will limit your search to eBooks, journals, databases, e-theses and other electronic resources.

To find electronic resources, change your search to “Full Text Online” in the ‘Availability’ section of the filters bar.

You can also search for electronic articles by changing the search parameter from “Everything except articles” to “Everything” on the Library Search bar (see below).

Changing your search to “Everything” will bring up electronic articles for you to browse.

Virtual appointments via Zoom are still available with tutors from the Writing Development Centre (WDC). Their website also contains tons of helpful advice about preparing for exams, and what to do during them.

Library Help remains available 24/7 to assist with your queries – you can send them in via email or live chat, or browse the Library’s FAQs.

The Academic Skills Kit (ASK) is full of helpful advice, covering all aspects of study from how to manage your time effectively to reading and note-taking. There’s also guidance on exams and revision, including where to go for academic advice or personal support. ASK also has lots of resources covering online examinations. These are broken down into helpful categories: how to revise for an online exam, what to do before an online exam and exam technique.

Helpful hints

Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

We probably sound like a broken record by now but you’re unlikely to revise successfully without establishing positive habits. These include:

  • Working in an area of your home that’s best suited to your needs. If possible, choose to work in an area that has plenty of natural light and is well-ventilated.
  • Building a realistic revision planner with plenty of breaks factored in.
  • Practising good self-care, such as getting plenty of fresh air, staying hydrated and eating a balanced diet.
  • Getting plenty of sleep.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, please contact the University Student Health and Wellbeing services or the Student Union’s Mental Health & Wellbeing site. These services are still available despite the University being physically closed.

From all of us in the Library, good luck and study well!

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/.

Exam revision: tips and support

A wooden desk with a Mac laptop, cup of black coffee, notepad and pen and mobile phone.
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

This time of year is normally one of the busiest for the Libraries on campus. Instead, the Libraries are currently physically closed and both revision and exams are taking place at homes across the country (and possibly further afield!). While this ‘new normal’ might seem overwhelming at first, in many ways, it’s business as usual. Read on to find out how we can all work together to ensure you have the best possible revision and exam experience.

How the Library can help

First and foremost, Library services haven’t stopped while the University is closed, they’re simply operating differently right now. You’re still able to organize an online one-to-one appointment with your Liaison librarian or request that the Library purchase an e-book to assist your studies.

Your subject-specific guide also contains links to useful journals, databases and eBook collections that are tailored for your course. You may also find it helpful to browse through a list of newly-acquired online resources that the Library have purchased to better enable your studies from home.

There are a number of MCQ (multiple choice question) books available to read online to complement your revision. They cover subjects including: paediatrics, neurology and physiology.

You may also like to look into the services offered by the Writing Development Centre (WDC). Their website has helpful guidance on preparing for exams and what do to during an exam. You can also arrange a one-to-one consultation with a WDC tutor via Zoom to discuss exam and revision strategies.

Library Help remains available 24/7 to assist with your queries –  please send them in via email or live chat. We are also regularly updating Library FAQs to bring you the most up-to-date information. (Hint: if you filter the FAQs to show ‘remote services temporary FAQ’, you’ll only be shown the newest Library FAQs.)

How the University can help

The Academic Skills Kit (ASK) is full of useful advice, covering all aspects of study from how to manage your time effectively to reading and note-taking. ASK also has useful guidance on exams and revision, including where to go for academic advice or personal support.

Following the announcement of lockdown, ASK have made some new resources to assist with online examinations. These are broken down into helpful categories: how to revise for an online exam, what to do before an online exam and exam technique. While you will get details from your School about the specific changes to your exam(s), these pages have really helpful advice on preparing for and succeeding in online assessment.

Before taking an online examination, you may want to look at Newcastle University IT Service’s (NUIT) remote working toolkit. This website contains loads of helpful information, including how to access your University email and documents away from home, as well as how to download a copy of Microsoft Office 365 Professional Plus for your home device.

How you can help

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Choose an area in your home to work in that’s best suited to your needs. This might be a bedroom, kitchen or office space. You may want to consider making some adjustments to your existing desk (or kitchen table!) to avoid causing an injury. If possible, choose to work in an area that has plenty of natural light and is well-ventilated.

Build yourself a realistic revision planner, with plenty of breaks factored in. You won’t be able to revise everything in one day so breaking down topics into manageable chunks is essential. Regular exercise, a balanced diet and a good night’s sleep are also key to revision success.

Remember to take regular study breaks to stay hydrated, get fresh air and clear your mind. You’re unlikely to revise effectively without regular breaks and time away from your work. There are a number of activities and resources on the Library’s website for things you can do while taking a break. These include seated desk yoga, colouring in sheets and mindfulness exercises.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, please contact the University Student Health and Wellbeing services or the Student Union’s Mental Health & Wellbeing site. These services are still available despite the University being physically closed.

From all of us in the Library, good luck and study well!

Temporary free access: Elsevier’s ClinicalKey Books

Elsevier’s ClinicalKey Books gives you electronic access to some of the most popular recommended clinical textbooks until 11th June 2020.

Subjects covered include medicine, dentistry and pharmacy.

To search or browse the collection go to Library Search and search for ClinicalKey.

To login

  • Click on Log in via your institution on the right hand side
  • In the institution search box type Newcastle University
  • Login using your normal ID and Password

You are now ready to search for a book by title or keyword

Within the collection you will find the titles below, as well as more other useful textbooks:

  • Boron/Medical Physiology
  • Kumar and Clark’s Clinical Medicine
  • Rang & Dale’s Pharmacology
  • Cohen’s Pathways of the Pulp
  • Contemporary Fixed Prosthodontics
  • Master Dentistry Vols 1, 2 & 3
  • Ten Cates Oral Histology
  • Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics
  • Pharmacy Practice

Remember that the library subscribes to many other eBooks available via Library Search

The Research Reserve and Desktop Delivery Service (DDS)

The exterior of the Research Reserve facility in the Team Valley.

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed a curious thing on Library Search. Where normally you would expect to see the name of one of the libraries next to an item’s shelfmark, occasionally you’ll see “Research Reserve”.

If you’ve ever wondered just what exactly the Research Reserve is, this is the blog for you, discover here exactly what the Research Reserve can offer you and your studies.

Before an item’s shelfmark is its location. This book is held off-site at the Research Reserve facility in the Team Valley.

The Research Reserve is the Library’s stores, located throughout campus and including a state-of-the-art storage facility in the Team Valley. These facilities allow the Library to keep less-used material for much longer than other academic libraries. These combined storage facilities provide over 29 kilometres of storage space, which is used to house old editions of journals and books which are consulted infrequently.

If you’d like to request items from the Research Reserve facilities, click the “Request Scan/Borrow” button once you’ve located the item on Library Search.

You can loan a variety of materials from the Research Reserve, including: books, theses and journal volumes. These can be requested from Library Search. Simply log in using your campus ID, find the item you are looking for and then click the blue “Request Scan/Borrow” button. You’ll get a choice of pickup locations (either the Walton or Philip Robinson libraries).

There are request forms to complete if you’d like to borrow a thesis or an entire volume of a journal.

Requests can be viewed by going to “My Account” in Library Search and clicking on “My Requests” from the drop down menu. If you’d like to cancel your request, simply click the blue cancel hyperlink (as seen below). You’ll receive an email confirming your cancellation shortly afterwards.

You can cancel requests for Research Reserve items by clicking the blue ‘Cancel’ hyperlink, as shown above.

There is a collection service that runs between the Research Reserve and the various libraries (weekdays only, not on bank holidays) and your request will be generally be fulfilled within 24 hours. Anything requested on a Friday or over the weekend will be delivered on the following Monday afternoon.

Once your item has arrived at your chosen library, you’ll receive an email letting you know it’s available to loan. The item will be kept on the reservations shelves for five days before being returned to the Team Valley, or passed on to the next person in the reservation queue. Items from the Research Reserve are issued in the same way as standard long loan items, either using the self-issue machines or at the service desk. Once you’ve finished with the item, simply return it as normal.

The Desktop Delivery Service (DDS)

The Desktop Delivery Service can also be reached at: http://dds.ncl.ac.uk

The Desktop Delivery Service (DDS) allows you request a scanned article from a journal held in one of the Library’s stores. Articles can be requested via Library Search (same as a book) or by filling out the relevant request form. Please try and include as much detail as possible on your request form. This helps Library staff locate your article and fulfil your request quicker.

You are only able to request one scanned article per journal issue. The scanned article will be delivered to your University email address, where it can be downloaded and printed off. Requests are generally fulfilled within 24 hours, although this may take longer over the weekends or on bank holidays. You have 30 days to download your article before it is ‘archived’ and no longer available.  

We do not scan items that are available electronically or can be borrowed.

If you have any other queries about the Desktop Delivery Service, read the FAQs.

Just some of the amazing treasures held at the Research Reserve facility in the Team Valley.

You can also visit the off-campus Research Reserve facility in the Team Valley. Daily access is available by appointment only with the Research Reserve team, weekdays between 10AM and 4PM. Access outside of these hours can be organised given sufficient notice. There is a large car park available at the facility and buses stop nearby.

Full contact information, directions and opening hours for the Team Valley facility are available via the Library website.

Resource on trial: SAGE Research Methods

SAGE Research Methods is the ultimate methods library, with more than 1,000 books, reference works, journal articles, and instructional videos by world leading academics from across the social sciences, including the largest collection of qualitative methods books available online from any scholarly publisher.
The resources cover the steps of coming up with a research question, doing a literature review, planning a project, collecting and analyzing data, and writing up a report, dissertation, or thesis, plus detailed information on hundreds of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods.

For student research
• Essential supplementary support for course learning and for students working on dissertations and research projects 
• More than 220,000 pages of content covering hundreds of methodological approaches help students at every step of their project
• Concise author videos answer basic questions like “How do I choose between different research methods?” and “What do you mean by the term ‘ethnography’?”
For faculty research
• Offers critical support in learning new techniques and methods
• Provides crucial resources to help faculty write up their methodology for publication in the best research journals
• Provides in-depth understanding of advanced methods and includes online access to the complete Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences (QASS) series, also known as “The Little Green Books,” as well as the Qualitative Research Methods Series (QRMS), or “The Little Blue Books”
For teaching research methods
• Serves as the perfect complement to coursework and traditional textbooks in research methods courses for business, communication, criminology, education, health sciences, psychology, political science, social work, and sociology
• Provides sample assignments that help students easily connect to concepts
• Aids faculty who oversee research papers and theses requiring original research


The trial is available until 31st May 2020.

As always, your feedback will be very welcome: you can either email it, or leave a comment on this blogpost.

Access SAGE Research Methods via Library Search.

Resource on trial: SAGE Video Collection

SAGE Video is an easily accessible resource with more than 1,600 hours of streaming video collections in the social sciences, created for use across higher education to support pedagogical needs, for undergraduate teaching and learning through to higher level academic research.

SAGE Video combines originally commissioned and produced material with licensed videos to provide a complete disciplinary resource for students, faculty, and researchers.

It covers the following subject areas:

  • Business & Management
  • Counseling & Psychotherapy
  • Criminology & Criminal Justice
  • Education
  • Leadership
  • Media, Communication & Cultural Studies
  • Politics & International Relations
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

The resource includes:

  • Seminal documentaries on subjects aligned to core curriculum topics
  • Case studies on classic and newly published research 
  • Tutorials illustrating practical applications of methods and concepts
  • Interviews with leading experts on key topics
  • Practitioner demonstrations of theories and techniques
  • Observational footage of practitioners in real-life professional settings
  • Short definitions of key terms and concepts 

To access this resource, click on the link here.

The trial is available until 16th March 2020. As always, your feedback will be very welcome: you can either email it, or leave a comment on this blogpost.

If you are off-campus, please login to RAS first of all, and then access SAGE Video from a browser within RAS.

Are you preparing a dissertation or project, or will be doing so next academic year?

Make sure you visit our interactive dissertation and project guide. Based on the extensive experience of staff from the Library and Writing Development Centre, this guide includes an interactive search planner, which takes you through the different stages of developing your search strategy, and enables you to create and download your personalised search plan: you can even ask for feedback on it from the Library liaison team.

The search planner is complemented by a project proposal planner, developed by our colleagues in the Writing Development Centre, to help you develop or refine your research proposal.

The guide also points you to further advice on a wide range of relevant skills, to give you advanced knowhow in finding, managing and evaluating information. For example: where to find specialised information resources for your subject area, and methods to keep your literature search up to date over a long period.

It’s easy to navigate, with clear text and short videos throughout. Whether you are already underway with your dissertation, or just starting to think about it, we’re sure you will find it helpful!

Resource on trial: Oxford Handbooks Online

The Library has trial access to Oxford Handbooks Online until 3rd March 2020.

This provides access to over 1,000 handbooks, featuring in-depth articles written by experts in their field. The subject coverage is wide-ranging, covering many disciplines in humanities, social sciences and science.

You can access the content in various ways: for example, you can browse by the 17 broad subject areas, to view individual books, and/or the articles within those books.

Browsing by broad subject area

Browsing sub-disciplines

Once in a subject area, you can then refine your search to more specific sub-disciplines.

You can also search in various ways, e.g. by author or keyword.

The handbooks are all individually catalogued and accessible via Library Search during the trial.

We have previously bought access to some of the handbooks, but this trial gives an opportunity to explore the entire collection, featuring a great deal of new content. As always, your feedback will be very welcome: you can either email it, or leave a comment on this blogpost.

Kick-off your information search

Preparing a dissertation or project?

Before you start, take a look at our interactive Search Planner, part of our Dissertations and research projects guide.

This toolkit takes you through all the stages of developing your search strategy. Step by step, the planner helps you take a closer look at your question, to identify important concepts, themes and keywords. You can keep adding, editing and refining this as you go, and even create and download your own personalised search plan and email it to yourself, your tutor or librarian for feedback

The guide contains further advice on a wide range of relevant skills, such as finding, managing and evaluating information. It also directs you to the key information resources for your subject area. So make sure you check it out.