Library Search: (the secret stuff?)

You know Library Search. You use it every day when you’re at University. Why are you going to read a blog post on it? Well, we’re wondering if you’re using Library Search to its full potential. Not sure? Then read on.

Library Search is Newcastle University Library’s discovery tool – essentially it’s how you find resources on the library shelves and access those invaluable resources online. But what else can it do?

An image of the Library Search login function.

Log in. Using your usual Campus ID and password, you can open up the full functionality of Library Search by telling it who you are. It allows you to:

  • Log into your library account to see what books you have on loan (which you may be finished with and could return to any library site), those requests you’ve placed and any books you have on loan that may have been requested by someone else. The standard library stuff, but it’s important too.

An image of Library Search's My Account function.

  • Save items you want to come back to (that’ll save you writing them down somewhere else). Find that favourite item and ‘pin’ it to your record. You can then access a list of your favourite books, journals or journal articles and label (or tag) them as to why you may need them, e.g. Herbology, Professor Snape’s essay, or Field Trip to Hogsmeade. That makes it easy to see what you need to use for each lecture, seminar or assessment.

An image of the Library Search Favourites tool.

  • Permalink. You can share an item with someone if you want to – copy the permalink to the clipboard and send it to someone you know may be interested.

An image of Library Search's permalink tool.

  • Save your search. If you need to repeat your search then save it within Library Search so you don’t need to remember the keywords and connectors (AND, OR, NOT) sequence. This is important if you are scoping a search and need to record or change your approach. You can also ‘Personalise’ your results to a particular discipline – give it a try!

Animage of the Library Search Save Search and Personalise tool.

  • Set up a RSS Feed (yes, really!). The Rich Site Summary function allows you to be informed of changes to results in your saved searches. Handy, eh? Go to your Saved Searches and simply click the RSS icon.

An image of Library Search's RSS feed tool.

  • Receive an email alert when there are new results for your saved search. This can save you time in your research as Library Search will inform you if there is a new publication available which matches your search terms. Switch it off when you move onto a new subject area by accessing your Favourites list and deselecting the alarm bell icon.

An image of Library Search's email notification tool.

Finally, if you’re writing up your assignment and can’t remember the essential elements of a reference, then use Library Search for guidance. The Citation tool will allow you to view a suggested citation and to copy it to your clipboard for use in your work.*

An image of Library Search's Citation tool.

*BUT (you knew that was coming, didn’t you) ensure you choose the correct style and check your citations for accuracy before including them in your work. It pays to know your required referencing style and not to rely on automated or generated references. If you want to learn more about referencing then see our Managing Information guide and Cite Them Right. Cite Them Right is a great resource which will remind you of the importance of referencing, how to reference and will give guidance on how to cite those more tricky materials such as conference papers, newspaper articles, social media posts and more. Finally, there’s a new tutorial with lots of interactive questions so you can test yourself too.

If you know of any tips or tricks in Library Search that aren’t mentioned here, then leave us a comment and share them!

Library Search: what is it and how do I use it?

Library Search is Newcastle University’s library catalogue. But it will give you more than just information on where to find books on the shelves! It’s our power search system and looks inside many of our subscription journals and databases, to retrieve articles, conference papers, news items and more. It is the basic way to begin any literature search.

If you can spare a few minutes then watch these short videos to learn just what Library Search can do for you:

Library Search: find resources with the Library’s super search

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 …

Welcome to the University Library

A very warm welcome to the University Library!

Whether you’re a fresher or a final year student we want to help you get the most from your Library. From discovering resources to finding the right study space, to where to go to get help with your coursework. So, here are a couple of ways you can settle in and join in at the Library:

Virtual Escape Game and Prize Draw

There’s something strange going on at the Library – something about dangerous magical beasts and impossible riddles. It all sounds like an elaborate freshers’ week prank…but what if there’s something more going on?

Challenge yourself to our exciting Escape Game and enter our prize draw to be in with a chance of winning a £25 Amazon voucher! (There are five runner-up prizes too, so lots of chances to win!) Play individually or work with a team of friends on Zoom (or other video conferencing tool of choice) to solve the puzzles and save the Library!

Newcastle Beginnings

The Liaison Team have been working alongside services from across the University to create and deliver our Library induction online as part of the Newcastle Beginnings programme.  Available to all students in Canvas, it is designed to enable new students to get started with the Library and act as a refresher for returning students. You’ll find an introduction to our services, an overview of the resources and support available for your subject area, guides on how to get the best results from Library Search, and advice on accessing materials and support from the Library wherever you are studying this semester.

At the Library

Have you spotted our Click and Collect service or the Book a Study Space system yet?

This year’s rather unique circumstances mean that we’re managing our services and facilities more flexibly and that things may change at short notice.  The best way for you to keep informed and up to date on availability of study spaces, and access to facilities and resources is to keep a weather-eye on the Library website, which will be regularly updated with any important changes.

We’ll be adding notifications to the Library pages of the University app and sharing news via our Twitter and Instagram pages too.

Want to ask us a question?

Library Help is available 24/7 – you can browse our FAQ database by topic or search it by using keywords; send us an email or chat with us about your query. We’re happy to help!

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!

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.

Sustainability

We are rather proud of our new Sustainability Guide, created in collaboration with one of our quite brilliant SAgE PhD students, Georgios Pexas – actually he did all the hard work by providing all of the content!

This guide looks at Sustainability regarding the key resources available from the Library around the three main pillars of sustainability: Environment, Economy and Society. We particularly like Georgios’ opening paragraph for our guide explaining what sustainability is and its relation to these three pillars:

“As defined by the “Brundtland Commission” in 1987, sustainability is the ability to “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. In other words, it describes living within the limits of available natural, physical and social resources and in ways that allow our environment to thrive in perpetuity; a concept that can be summarised as: “enough, for all, forever”. Sustainability approaches the issue of resource depletion holistically, unifying Environmental, Economical and Social concerns.”

The Guide also points to researchers on campus that are focusing on sustainability. It has a useful RSS feed of ‘sustainability’ in the news and invaluable links regarding careers and development in sustainability: professional associations, funding opportunities, where to look for jobs, and some upcoming events.

You will find the Sustainability Guide in the SAgE section of the Subject Guides, as it focuses on natural sciences and engineering side of sustainability, however we would love to have a section on how we as individuals can be more sustainable. We are trying to keep this Guide concise, yet useful, yet we welcome any new ideas for this guide, so please contact lorna.smith@ncl.ac.uk if you think of anything worth adding.

Thinking about study space

During the exam period library study spaces are at a premium and it is important to think in advance about the kind of study space that you need.

Whether you require a silent, quiet, or collaborative study space, a group study room or booth, or an individual accessible study room, there are a variety of open access and bookable study spaces located across our four library buildings (Philip Robinson, Walton, Law, and Marjorie Robinson).

It is possible to check live study space availability online or by using the university app. This will allow you to head straight for the nearest available study space and therefore avoid wasting valuable time searching for a desk.

You can also book a group study room or booth online for a maximum of 120 minutes per day. This will allow you to get together with fellow students to plan and allocate some guaranteed study time prior to your next exam.

Study Well@NCL, which runs throughout the exam period, advocates a responsible approach to studying and encourages positive behaviours in study spaces. Remember, it is key to choose the right environment that meets your study needs, to stay hydrated, and to respect the students and study space around you.

Thinking about study space in advance can help to remove a lot of unwanted stress and thus free up valuable energy that will aid both your revision focus and exam preparation.

2020 Reading Challenge

Not one for New Year’s Resolutions? Well, how about a challenge?

Why not try a 20-minute-a-day-reading-for-pleasure challenge?

Pick something from the Law in Literature and Medicine in Literature collections, something from the Philip Robinson Library, or your own book shelves, and start today!

We all know that reading for pleasure is a good thing – pleasure is good! But it’s good for de-stressing, positive wellbeing, conversation, imagination, empathy, a break, engagement… READaxation! Don’t just take my word for it, click HERE for research by The Reading Agency.

Of course, if you read more than 20 minutes then… YES!

Share what you’re reading with your friends and family, colleagues and fellow students, comment on here, or even the social media world – #ReadingChallenge.

We’re here to help (even when we’re not)

Christmas scene with dining table

The University may be closed for the Christmas period but if you are studying, writing assignments or revising, library resources and help are always available. We may not be in the building, but the library team can help you with your semester 2 preparation.

Use your Library Subject Guide

If you are not sure which resources are best to use for your subject or what you can access off-campus, visit your Subject Guide . The guides bring together links and help for the specialist information sources in your discipline.

Visit the Library over the vacation

Between Christmas and New Year, the Philip Robinson Library will operate as self-service from 10.00 pm on Friday 20th December 2019 until Thursday 2nd January 2020. If you need access to books and journals, or a quiet place to study, all you will need is your University smartcard. Visit the website for the Library vacation opening hours.

Have a question? Check the FAQs

We have an extensive database of frequently asked questions available on the Library website. You can search by keyword or browse by topic area and find answers to the most common questions. So whether you want to know how to access newspapers from the Library, how to book a group study room or get help with EndNote, check the FAQs to see if we have already answered your question.

Contact Library Help

If you need help or have a question, use Library Help to get in touch with us. You can live chat with a librarian outside of the University to get immediate answers, or send us a message and we will get back to you when the University reopens.

So remember, you can access all of our online resources, journals and ebooks from the Library website and we will be back in the Library on 2nd January 2020. Enjoy the festive season!