Resource Trial – Adam Matthews Collections

We will be trialling all of the Adam Matthew Collections from Tuesday 28th March.

Through AM Explorer, you can now search millions of pages of primary sources spanning the 15th – 21st centuries, including a wealth of new content added every year.

  • Award-winning digital resources spanning the social sciences and humanities, developed in collaboration with leading libraries and archives
  • Discover millions of pages of unique primary source content which empower students and researchers to develop critical thinking
  • Powerful digital collections that transform teaching and research on important themes such as: Borders and Migrations, Gender and Sexuality, Global History, and War and Conflict
  • Single point of access through AM Explorer with built-in federated search functionality across all collections
  • Range of additional features to enhance student engagement including Handwritten Text Recognition, Data Visualisation, Video and Oral Histories

To access the collection on campus follow the link here
We are currently setting up off campus access.

The trial ends on 23rd May 2023 To help us evaluate it, please email us your feedback, or leave a reply on this blog.

Resource Trial – Women’s Magazine Archive I-III

Women’s Magazine Archive, Collection I, II and III

We will be trialling all three Women’s Magazine Archives from Monday 27th February. This collection includes classic 19th and 20th century titles such as Good Housekeeping, Ladies Home Journal and Parents. For those more mature students and colleagues you can enjoy a trip down memory lane to look at Cosmopolitan, Flare, Seventeen and Essence magazines. The collections cover a range of 29 to 123 years and will be useful for those researching a range of topics such as social history, gender studies, media history and more.

Each magazine in the collection is scanned cover to cover in high resolution to give a good level of detail for each page.

To access the collection follow the link here
If you are off campus follow the link and you may be asked to authenticate using your Newcastle University computer ID and password.

The trial ends on 29th March 2023 To help us evaluate it, please email us your feedback, or leave a reply on this blog.

Spotlighting Scopus and ScienceDirect: new features from Elsevier.

Scopus

The Scopus Search Results page has been redesigned, the following new and exciting features include: –

  • Search functionality on search result page itself
  • User-friendly filters/facets and customized different views on how the results are displayed
  • A new an intuitive page layout

Why not try the new version for yourself! Just perform a Scopus search then click on the ‘try the new version’ link at the banner at the top of the page. If you want to know more just click on ‘take a tour’. You can easily return to old version by clicking on the link ‘return to old version’.

If you want to know what else Scopus have done in 2022, have a look on their website.

We are hosting a Scopus webinar on December 8, which is a great opportunity to come and find out more about getting the most from the database.

ScienceDirect

The Topics pages on ScienceDirect have been compiled into a new homepage, and offers a way to:-

  • Search all Topics pages
  • Search and browse within specific subject areas
  • Register to receive recommended articles based on your search activity.

The extracts provided on ScienceDirect Topics are written by experts and are drawn from foundational and reference materials. The source materials used include major reference works such as encyclopaedias, journal review articles, monographs, book series and handbooks.

For a list of ScienceDirect topics, have a look on their website.

New Resource on Trial: Oxford Constitutions of the World

Oxford Constitutions of the World (OCW) is the only resource to contain fully-translated English-language versions of all the world’s constitutions (both national and sub-national), accompanied by individual jurisdictional commentaries, and supplementary materials, including foundation documents, historical versions of constitutions, and amendment Acts/Laws.

Our free trial lasts until 30th November 2022.

If you’re on campus then access the platform via Library Search.

Content is accessible via browsing, geographic region, jurisdiction or content type.

An image of the search menus for Oxford Constitutions of the World.

Tips and hints on searching and using OCW is available direct from OUP: https://oxcon.ouplaw.com/page/quick-start-ocw.

The trial ends on 30th November 2022. To help us evaluate it, please email us your feedback, or leave a reply on this blog.

Guest Post: A 3rd year’s hints and tips, all things law and non-law

About me

My name is Lia, and I am a 3rd year undergraduate law student. The modules I am doing this year are Employment, Careers, Company, Mediation, Evidence and Commercial. I am originally from Peterborough but love Newcastle so much that I want to stay here after I’ve finished studying! My career aspirations are hopefully to become a commercial solicitor in Newcastle.

What do I know now that I wish I knew when I first started?

My 1st year was very different to the norm as I was the Covid year, which made my 2nd year even harder having to learn to adapt to in-person teaching. My advice would be to work 9-5 during the week and give yourself as much time off in the evenings so that you can go out, hang out with your friends, and do extracurricular societies and sports clubs.

1st year and 2nd year are all about making mistakes and learning from them, so never be too hard on yourself. It is more important to always get feedback from coursework and exams, knowing that whatever questions you have other students, the librarians and lecturers will all be able to help.

Seminars are also everyone’s saviours as they literally ask you to prepare the exam questions. I think you should prepare these to your best ability and try do some follow up work on the seminar after you have had everyone’s input.

Client Interviewing

In my 2nd year I entered the client interviewing competition with my friend, Daisy. This was highly rewarding as we learnt how to conduct ourselves when meeting clients and eventually won the competition overall.

The best part of our prize was that we got free work experience at Ward Hadaway, a regional law firm in Newcastle. I completed seats in Real Estate and Commercial litigation whilst I was there.

Text reads: To the winners Daisy and Lia, Newcastle University Law Society Client Interviewing Competition 2022. Two photographs show each winner smiling.
Image from Newcastle Uni Law Society Instagram @nulawsociety

Now, in my 3rd year, I am one of the client interviewing officers this year for the law society. This year Daisy and I are hoping to make the competition better than ever and help participants develop their skills by offering more training sessions than previous years and more competitions. I really advise any 1st or 2nd years to do this as an extra-curricular as it doesn’t take up too much time, looks great on your CV and is judged by Ward Hadaway solicitors who offer money and work experience as a prize!

Favourite Places…

To Study

To Eat Out

For Drinks

Resource Trial – Faculti Platform

Faculti is a media library of up to date academic and professional research insights. It is cross disciplinary and includes insights from The United Nations, UK Parliament, Bank of England and many other academic and research institutions worldwide.
It includes useful Leading Figures, Most Cited and Explainers categories as well as the ability to browse specific subject areas or do a keyword search.
Our free trial lasts until 10th November 2022.

Faculti platform

The platform is compatible with any desktop computer or mobile device.

If you’re on campus then access the platform here

If you’re off campus you’ll need to authenticate in a different way so click on access via this link

The trial ends on 11th November 2022. To help us evaluate it, please email us your feedback, or leave a reply on this blog.

New resource now available: Mass Observation 2000s

We’re pleased to announce that we have now added the latest 2000s module to the very popular Mass Observation Online resource. We already had access to the 1980s and 1990s modules.

About Mass Observation

Mass Observation is a pioneering project which documents the social history of Britain by recruiting volunteers (‘observers’) to write about their lives, experiences and opinions. Still growing, it is one of the most important sources available for qualitative social data in the UK. This latest instalment is a great resource for anyone researching aspects of the early 21st century. It complements our existing access to the original Mass Observation project archive, which covers 1937-1967.

2000s collection

This module has a strong emphasis on technological advancements and the changing means of communication that came with the new Millennium. Highlights include the Millennium Diaries, the events of September 11th and environmental concerns, as well as detailing the everyday lives, thoughts, and opinions of respondents.

Searching and browsing

Screenshot of filtering options
Filtering options

You can browse or search Mass Observation in various ways.

Browse by directive: browse the different directives (surveys), which are arranged chronologically and by topic.

Browse all documents: browse all the individual documents, and then further filter your search as required.

You can also use the Advanced search box at the top of the screen to search for specific topics.

Help

Screenshot of research tools
Research tools

We’d recommend you start by reading through the Introduction (top menu) which explains more about the project and the different document types. If you’re looking for ideas about how to make use of it, take a look at the Research Tools, which includes essays, videos, exhibitions and chronological timelines.

Note that as over half the materials in these collections (mainly the pre-2000s modules) are handwritten, the database enables Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) to help you search. We would recommend you read about how HTR works, to help you get the best out of the database, in the Introduction section.

New resource now available: LGBT Magazine Archive

We’re pleased to announce that we now have permanent access to the LGBT Magazine Archive following a well-received trial earlier this year.

This resource contains the full digitised archives of 26 LGBT publications, mainly from the UK and USA, including Gay Times, The Pink Paper, and The Advocate. Coverage dates from 1957 to 2015 (depending on the specific publication). Many of the titles have previously been difficult for researchers to access.

It is a great resource for researching LGBT history and culture, including legal contexts, health, lifestyle, politics, social attitudes, activism, gay rights, and arts/literature.

Screenshot of advanced search options
Advanced search options

You can browse or search the archive in various ways: choose Advanced Search for options such as searching by location or document type (e.g. advert, letter, cartoon etc.)

EDI Summer Reading Challenge

Abstract colourful shapes. Text reads: Summer Reading Challenge, libguides.ncl.ac.uk/edi.

Summer is the perfect time to embark on a journey, broaden your horizons and soak up a different culture or perspective. So, the team behind our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) library guide is delighted to re-launch a summer EDI reading challenge.

Since its launch in autumn 2020, we’ve been using the guide to curate and highlight print and online resources of all kinds, relating to EDI themes, such as those listed in the University’s EDI priorities. We’ve compiled themed sections and monthly highlights of books, films, social media, archives, podcasts and more, and encouraged suggestions from staff and students across the University to help us develop our collections.

So why not take up our Summer EDI Reading Challenge?

Recommend and Review

Look through our themed reading lists on our Recommended by You & Blog page and explore life through a new lens! We hope you’ll find some inspiration, but we’d also love to receive your recommendations too, and we’ll be highlighting them on the guide.

You’re welcome to use the online form on the lib guide. If you can give us a few words to explain your choice, that would be great! You can see what people recommended last year on our EDI in Literature page.

Social Media

We’ll be running a promotional campaign on social media throughout summer, using the hashtags #ReadingForPleasure and #EDIReadingChallenge. Please look out for these and retweet/repost wherever possible.

Have a great Summer everyone! We’ll leave you with the inspired words of the Poet, Derek Walcott:

I read; I travel; I become.

Tackling essay-based exams

Picture of rows of exam desks

Exam season is almost upon us and one challenge you may find yourself facing is revising for essay-based exams. These can cause a lot of anxiety, not least because essay-based assessments are often something we are used to doing over the course of several weeks. How do you plan, structure and write an essay in the space of a couple of hours? And how on earth do you revise when you don’t know what you’ll be asked?

Read on for our guide to effective revision and exam technique for essay-based exam questions:

What are essay exams testing?

Before you jump into your revision, it can be helpful to remember that essay exams are not just testing your memory. Instead, your lecturers are looking for evidence of how well you can apply the knowledge you have gained throughout the course to solve a problem or answer a question under timed conditions. Therefore, whilst memory is still important – you’ll need to be able to recall that knowledge in the exam – it’s only part of the story. You’ll also need to make sure you have an in-depth understanding of that knowledge and have practiced applying it to different questions, problems, and contexts.

How do I revise for essay exams?

You may be tempted to write a ‘generic’ essay on each of the topics you’re revising and memorise them so you can repeat them in the exam room. However, keep in mind that your lecturers are asking you to solve the specific problem they’ve set for you and simply ‘dumping’ everything that’s relevant won’t address the question and is unlikely to earn you good marks.

A more effective approach to revising for essay exams is incorporating strategies that develop your understanding of the topic so you can apply your knowledge to different problems effectively. Some revision strategies you might want to try for this are:

  • Questioning and interrogating the knowledge: why does this happen? How does it happen? Does it always happen this way? Is this always true? What about if we apply it to a different context? What are the implications of this?
  • Try applying the knowledge to case studies or different scenarios to get a better understanding of how theory works in practice.
  • Look at past papers or devise your own questions and either answer them in full or sketch out an essay plan under timed conditions. This will help you to test your recall and practice skills you’ll be using in the exam.
  • Compare and weigh up different approaches to the topic. Does everyone agree on this? Why? Why not? Which perspective is stronger?
  • Identify gaps in your knowledge and do some additional reading to fill them.

What about strategies for the exam itself?

You might be used to spending hours or even days planning, writing, and editing a coursework essay and be wondering how on earth you do all of this under timed conditions. Keep in mind that your lecturers know that this is a big ask and they are not expecting the same level of sophistication in the way you construct your arguments that they would be looking for in a coursework essay. However, it’s still necessary that your lecturers can follow your answer and see clearly how it addresses the question so:

  • Spend some time at the beginning paying attention to what the question is asking you. Our video on question analysis offers some strategies for understanding essay questions:
  • Sketch out a basic structure to follow. This needn’t be more than the main points you want to argue and the order you want to argue them in.
  • Clearly state your point or communicate your main focus at the beginning of each paragraph to help your reader get their bearings and follow your argument.
  • If you find yourself running out of time, write down a few bullet points around your remaining points – you may still pick up a few extra marks for this!

Do I need to reference sources in an essay exam?  

While you won’t be expected to reference others to the extent you do in a coursework essay, it’s worth incorporating a few references to back up your points and show how you worked out your answer.

Try to memorise a couple of key arguments and/or debates made by others for each topic as well as the authors’ surname(s) and the year of the article so that you can cite it in the exam. Don’t worry about the details – just one or two lines summarising their main argument is enough.

What about other types of exams?

Exams exist in various formats in addition to the traditional essay-based exam type. For example, your course may also have multiple choice papers, vivas/oral presentations or exams relating to specific processes, techniques and interactions. All types of exams test your ability to recall and apply your subject knowledge, so most advice on revision and exam technique is applicable to different exam types. Effective revision trains your brain both to retain and to retrieve information; a process that’s equally useful for all exam formats. However, different types of exams can also present different challenges, and transitioning from online to in-person exams is a key change for this year. For more details on this and other exam-related issues, see our ASK Exams Collection and our calendar for upcoming workshops on revision and exam preparation.

We are here to support you!

Don’t forget that the Academic Skills Team will be in the Walton Library to answer questions about exams, revision, and any other questions you may have about academic skills on the following days and times:

11.05.2211:00-13:00
25.05.2211:00-13:00
08.06.2211:00-13:00