New dataset – Digimap Pilot

A new dataset is now available within Digimap called the Pilot Collection. This provides temporary access to data that EDINA are trying out and want feedback from users. This means the data will be replaced with other data sets over time as new sets become available.

Digimap Pilot is free for staff and students at current subscribing higher and further education institutions and research councils. All you will need to do is to accept the end user licence agreement which is available when you log into Digimap with your Campus ID and password. As these datasets will change regularly then you’ll need to re-accept each new licence agreement as sets are replaced.

Digimap Pilot comprises two applications, one for creating maps online, the other for downloading data which enables further analysis and investigation in other packages:

  • Use Roam to view, annotate and print maps online.
  • Use Data Download to download data and load it into a GIS or CAD package for further manipulation

As of April 2020, Pilot currently offers access to the following data.

Geomni data which consists of:

  • UKMap a modern, highly detailed, feature-rich mapping database of Greater London. Its unique, innovative design offers users a flexible choice of integrated map features within a single geographic information source.  It comprises addresses, retail names, detailed shopping centre data, building heights, a wide range of points of interest, aerial photography, together with Digital Terrain and Surface Models.
  • This one dataset has different components for Greater London. This includes UKMapLondon which provides aerial imagery with a resolution of 10cm, UKMap Upper Floors which shows more granular information e.g. which shops are on different floors of shopping centres, UKMap Tree Canopy which indicates tree canopies.
  • UKBuildings a unique database created and regularly updated to help you understand the age, structure, characteristics and use, of commercial, public and residential buildings across the UK.
  • UKLand a maintained, national land information database providing a detailed consistent breakdown of the use of land across the UK. There are 30 different land classes available e.g. woodland, water features, transport and commerical.

An EDINA Satellite data collection initially consisting of:

  • Sentinel 2 derived cloud free optical mosaic for Great Britain, 2019.
  • Sentinel 2 derived Near Infrared mosaic for Great Britain, 2019.

These 2 sections are currently available until the 31/07/2020.

Within the Pilot Data Download section you’ll also find some useful product information such as where the data comes from, it’s availability and sizing and Copyright information.

If you’re using mapping data already you might want to use this in conjunction with GIS if you’re manipulating or working with the data. Or doing a comparison to other maps you might have found freely available e.g. Google Maps.

Spotlight on Knovel

Knovel provides a searchable database of handbooks, data sets and reference sources in engineering (chemical, civil, electrical, mechanical, materials and biotechnology), chemistry and biochemistry, earth and environmental sciences among other areas. You can search within a particular work, or across the entire Knovel collection. Searching can be done by keyword or by numeric data ranges.

Knovel has a data search feature that allows you to find materials that meet specific parameters including physical, mechanical and thermal properties. Tools within Knovel include interactive charts, graphs, spreadsheets, and equation plotters.

You have access to:

  • Technical reference resources from 150+ publishers including AIChE/CCPS, NACE and more.
  • 65M+ data points including material and chemical property data

Technical reference collections that we subscribe to here at Newcastle University include:

Adhesives; Coatings; Sealants & Inks
Aerospace & Radar Technology
AICHE/CCPS – Center for Chemical Process Safety
Biochemistry; Biology & Biotechnology
Ceramics & Ceramic Engineering
Chemistry & Chemical Engineering
Civil Engineering & Construction Materials
Electrical & Power Engineering
Electronics & Semiconductors
Environment & Environmental Engineering
Food Science
General Engineering & Project Administration
Marine Engineering & Naval Architecture
Mechanics & Mechanical Engineering
Metals & Metallurgy
Oil & Gas Engineering
Pharmaceuticals; Cosmetics & Toiletries
Plastics & Rubber
Process Design; Control & Automation
Safety & Industrial Hygiene
Sustainable Energy & Development
Textiles

I highly recommend checking out Knovel’s Support Centre, particularly their Video tutorials.

If you are wondering how to find Knovel, you can either search for it in Library Search or you can find it in all of the Engineering, Sciences and Computing Subject Guides under both the ‘Books and eBook’ AND the ‘Journals and Database’ (eJournal Collections) tabs.

If you have any questions regarding Knovel, please contact your Liaison Librarian: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/library/contact/liaison-librarians

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

To access this resource, click on the link here.
The trial is available until 30th 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.

Exams: we are here to help

Woman throwing books up in the air

Exams are a tricky time. Often you will be juggling different exams themselves, on top of other deadlines. However, we want you to know that you aren’t alone at this crazy time of year. We are here to help you through.

But how exactly can we help? Sadly, we can’t take go into the exam with you, or magically freeze time to give you more hours in the day, but do make the most of the following:

  1. Library Help – the place to go when have a question via chat, email, text, twitter, Facebook. Or alternatively search our Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) database.
  2. Librarians – yes you heard right. Book a one-to-one appointment to get the best out of the University Library resources. Also remember our staff in every library are friendly and approachable. There is no such thing as a silly question, so ask away!
  3. Study Space – The University Library has a range of different study rooms and spaces to suit your needs.
  4. 24/7 – The Philip Robinson Library is open 24/7 during the exam period. We want you to sleep and get enough rest, but if you do need to study through the night, we are here.
  5. Subject guides – we have a range of subject guides put together by expert librarians which draw together all the main resources for your studies.
  6. Be well@NCL collection – we don’t just have books for study. This new collection includes tried and tested books that support your wellbeing.
  7. Additional support – don’t suffer and please don’t be shy. You can seek additional support from your NUSU, Student Wellbeing Service, Nightline and the University chaplaincy.

So remember……pace yourself, access the help you need and believe that you can do this!

Self Care Week: Top Tips

Self Care Week is the 18-24th of November. It’s an awareness event that focuses on embedding support for self care across communities, families and generations. We’ve compiled a list of services, resources and recommendations from Newcastle University to help manage your wellbeing and establish positive habits.

Student Health and Wellbeing

http://www.picturesbybish.com/ | https://www.facebook.com/picturesbybish/

Based on Level 2 of King’s Gate, Student Health and Wellbeing work with local and national organisations to help to maximise your academic potential and allow you to have the best possible experience while you’re studying. They offer advice and assistance on many topics, from spiritual support to mental health counselling. You can find self-help resources and information here.

iNCLude

iNCLude is a new free app aimed at helping develop positive behaviours to ensure you’re focussing on more than just academic studies. The app centres on several themes: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give. There’s space to record your feelings in a mood journal and information on campus wellbeing events through your personal feed. To find out more (and download the app) click here.

Silvercloud

Silvercloud is a suite of online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) programmes, which can be tailored to your specific needs. It is free and can be accessed anywhere on a PC, tablet or mobile phone. The modules on Silvercloud can be worked through at your own pace and a practitioner from Student Services can help you navigate through the programmes. To start Silvercloud click here.

Be well@NCL

Be well@NCL is a collection of books designed to help manage and understand common mental health conditions and wellbeing. Reading a book by someone who understands what you’re facing can help you start to feel better. The books within the collection are recommended by professionals and are available to borrow from the Phillip Robinson and the Walton libraries. You can find out more about Be well@NCL here.

Responsible studying

The Academic Skills Kit (ASK) helps develop positive study habits, from note taking to exam revision. Visit their website for available support and resources.

Rosie, a Library assistant at the Walton Library, is a fan of the Pomodoro Technique when studying. She says:

“This technique has changed my life! If you are a procrastinator and/or you’re easily distracted, you need to try it – you set a timer on your phone for 25 minutes, work hard on your task for that period and then reward yourself with a 5 minute break. After you’ve done that 4 times, take a longer break.

Breaking work up into chunks with rewards in between means that you get more done than if you try to work non-stop for hours, and it’s easier to start an assignment when you know you only have to work at it for 25 minutes at a time. This technique is better for your stress levels and mental health than beating yourself up for leaving assignments until the last minute.”

Creative activities

Image credit: James Fish

We’ve got creative activities available on our Self Care display in the Walton Library. Taking a break from your work to do desk yoga, colouring in or origami is beneficial in the long run – it’ll help you increase focus, retain information and maintain top performance.

There’s a variety of activities on campus you can do while taking a break from studying, for example:

Stacey, a Library assistant at the Walton Library, likes to knit to improve her mental wellbeing. She says:

“The health benefits of knitting have been known for a while. A 2007 study conducted by Harvard Medical School’s Mind and Body Institute found that knitting lowers heart rate by an average of 11 beats per minute and induces an “enhanced state of calm,” as the repetitive movements release serotonin which can lift moods and dull pain.

Knowing this and gaining the ability to watch your toddler running around wearing clothes you’ve made is a wonderful feeling, as if you are covering your loved ones with wool and love – the only downside is cost (and explaining a million times it isn’t just for old ladies!) Knitting gives me that ‘enhanced state of calm’, or the ability not to be totally radgie ALL of the time, which is essential for my wellbeing.”

Finding Information: Troubleshooting your search results

Photograph of tools, including a hammer, spanner and measuring tape, laid out on a table

You’ve ran your information search and looked at your results with a critical eye only to find that they’re not quite working for you – what can you do now?

In this blog we’ll be looking at the top three problems encountered when searching for information and how to improve your search to get the results you need:

Finding too much

If your search has brought back thousands of results and you’re getting overwhelmed with the options:

Search a more specialised resource

Using a subject-specific database will help narrow the focus of your search to your particular areas of interest.  Take a look at your Subject Guide to find databases and eBook collections tailored to your subject area.

Apply limits

Make use of the ‘refine’ options usually found on the left-hand side of Library Search or your subject database.  Limit your results by date, subject area or information type.  Remember, you may need to justify your limits to your supervisor so think carefully about your choices. 

Combine search terms with ‘AND’

AND is a Boolean operator, a term you can use to have more control over your search. If you want to find information that must contain two different keywords (or phrases), place a capitalised AND operator between them. Your search engine or subject database will only find information that features both, narrowing your results. The more search terms you combine with AND, the narrower your search will be.

Finding too little

If your search has brought back a handful of useful articles but you need a wider range of results:

Combine terms with ‘OR’

OR is another Boolean operator that helps you to control your search more effectively.  Use OR with your search terms that have synonyms or related terms. Your search engine or subject database will find information that features either word or phrase, significantly broadening your results.

Try controlled vocabulary

If you’re not getting enough results, it may be that your search terms or keywords aren’t quite working for you.  Controlled vocabulary are a standardised list of words and phrases used on some databases to ensure that searches retrieve all relevant results, even when authors use different terms. Examples of databases that use this technique include ERIC, PsycInfo, CAB abstracts, Compendex and Medline. If these apply to you and your discipline, you’ll find out how to use them on your Subject Guide.

360 Searching

If you’ve found some useful articles, one simple way to find more relevant material is to take a look at the references used by the authors.  This will lead you to find older material that was published before your original article which may also be useful.  Library Search and some subject databases including Google Scholar and Scopus also allow you to see who has cited the articles you have found in their work (look for the ‘cited by link’).  This is called citation searching and allows you to find more up-to-date analysis of your topic.  By looking back at the references and forward at the citations, you get a 360 degree view of the research.

Finding nothing useful?

If your search has brought back results that aren’t relevant to your research question or you are finding it difficult to find the right search terms or databases to use, you might find it helpful to book a one-to-one appointment with your Liaison Librarian.

You can also find more help and advice on our Finding Information Guide.

Finding Information: The key to your search

Keys hanging on hooks on a piece of wood.

When it comes to finding academic information, there are a few things you need to think about before you start your search, such as where to actually look for information and the types of information you want to find in your search.  Another thing that is worth taking the time to think carefully about is keywords.

Keywords, sometimes called subject terms, are simple words and phrases that describe information; you can see them in the item record on Library Search and in Subject Databases.

An example of keywords from an article on Library Search
An example of keywords from an article on Library Search

The results that your search returns are based on this information – if your keywords match an item’s keywords, that item will appear in your results.

To get the best results, then, you’ll need to develop a balanced list of targeted keywords – these keywords may come from your essay title or research question, from your subject knowledge or wider reading – you can even borrow them from the subject terms you find on relevant articles!

As ideas and topics can be expressed in different ways you’ll also need to think about synonyms and terms related to your keywords to make sure you can find all of the relevant information.

To find out more about keywords, synonyms and searching take a look at this short video:

There are some useful tricks you can use with your keywords to save you time when you search, take a look at our Advanced Searching Guide to learn about Boolean, wildcards and truncation!

Finding Information: Types of Information

Light bulbs

In our previous blog we explored how looking for information in the right place can help save you time and effort.  However, sometimes, the right place to look can depend on what type of information you’re looking for.

While you’re probably familiar with books and you may have been introduced to journal articles, these are just two of the types of academic information available to you.  Depending on your research question or essay title you might also find it useful to explore, for example, conference proceedings, maps, company information or newspapers

Each type of information has its particular use; books provide an in-depth overview of a topic; journal articles are more specialised and focus in-depth on a particular area of a topic, and newspapers give you a useful perspective on events.  While Library Search can help you find a large range of information types, some types of information are only available in special databases or archives.  Before you start your search, it’s therefore important that you decide what types of information you will need to complete your assignment most effectively.  You can find out more about different information types on our Finding Information Guide and in the video below:

When you know which types of information you need for your assignment or project take a look at our Resource Guides, which provide useful links and guides to appropriate sources.

Finding Information: Knowing Where to Look

Photograph of several closed doors, one painted yellow the others painted white.

When you’re looking for information to help you write your essays, assignments or projects it can be tempting to turn to the source of information you use every day – Google.  While Google can be useful in some ways (such as finding company websites or journal author’s profiles), it wasn’t exclusively designed to help you find good quality, academic information that is reliable and relevant.  This means you’ll likely have to spend more of your time wading through huge amounts of information and fact-checking resources for accuracy.

Thankfully, Google isn’t your only option – there are a number of different places to look that have been created with the aim of providing you with the information that you need, such as your reading lists, Library Search, and key Subject Databases.

Take a look at this video to find out more about how these sources can help you:

For more help on finding information, take a look at our Finding Information Guide.