Spruce up your referencing: When is a website not a website?

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We have all heard it said that languages spoken in northern arctic regions have considerably more words for snow than those spoken in southern climates. When dealing with something in detail every day it is often helpful to categorise and clarify its nuances.

A common mistake made in academic referencing is grouping all sources found online under the overarching category of a website. However, your aim should be to reference the information you have in front of you rather than where it was sourced. Grouping all items found online as a website would be the equivalent to referencing a book only by the publisher details, rather than the author and title. Or, by referring to both a snowball and a snowflake as simply snow.

For example, a government publication found online would be referenced like this in Chicago:

United Kingdom. Department for Education. Cloud computing: how schools can move services to the cloud. London: The Stationary Office, 2016. Accessed: November 4, 2019. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cloud-computing-how-schools-can-move-services-to-the-cloud. 

An electronic journal article might appear like this in APA:

Gillum, J. (2012). Dyscalculia: Issues for practice in education psychology.  Educational Psychology in Practice, 28(3), 287-297. doi:10.1080/02667363.2012.684344

While a video posted on the Tate website would look something like this in Harvard:

TateShots (2016) Grayson Perry: think like an artist. Available at: https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/talk/what-makes-artist-grayson-perry-conversation-sarah-thornton (Accessed: 11 November 2019). 

Identifying the type of information you are using, as well as the source, is an essential evaluation skill which helps in developing a greater critical approach to information. In many cases you will be unconsciously using your judgment to assess the value of information for your purpose. So when you are using any source of information, ask yourself what it is you are looking at, what details are recorded about it, and whether it measures up as a quality piece of information. You’ll find more guidance about evaluating information on our Evaluating Information guide.

Spotlight on Web of Science

Despite its name, Web of Science provides access to current and retrospective multidisciplinary information from approximately 8,500 high impact journals, including titles within their Social Sciences Citation Index®, and Arts & Humanities Citation Index™ collections.  Web of Science allows cited reference searching where you can navigate forward, backward, and through the literature, searching all disciplines and time spans to uncover all the information relevant to your studies.

Where to find Web of Science

You can access Web of Science from Library Search. This will help you to access the database successfully as you will be prompted to log in with your University username and password. Simply search for it by name from the Library website.

You will also find a link to on the Journals and Databases page of your Subject Guide, which provides a list and links to the recommended databases in your discipline.

What does Web of Science include?

  • More than 20,000 journal, books, and conference titles
  • Over 69 million records
  • More than 90,000 books
  • Over 10 million conference papers

Web of Science content

As we alluded to above, Web of Science includes much more than ‘science’ information, including:

  • life sciences, biomedical sciences
  • social sciences, arts & humanities.
  • strongest coverage of natural sciences, health sciences, engineering, computer science, materials sciences.

Get started with Web of Science with these advanced search tips.

Warm up your referencing techniques


Referencing is the acknowledgement of the sources that you use in your work. You must reference all sources that you use in your assignments, projects or dissertations, and includes quotes, ideas, facts, images, videos, audio, websites, statistics, diagrams and data.

Over the next two weeks we will be producing a series of blogs focusing on how to reference successfully in your work. We will cover…

  • explain why referencing is important
  • advice on how to produce consistent and reliable referencing
  • help on how to manage your information to make your life easier and assignments less stressful
  • point you in the direction of where to find advice and help

So come in from the cold and warm up with some referencing help and keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming blogs.

Spotlight on Scopus

Have you ever found yourself asking any of the questions below?….

  • Where can I find relevant, high quality information for my research?
  • How can I track who has cited an article since it’s publication, as well as looking back on the references it used?
  • How can I follow an academics work?
  • Who can I collaborate with in my research?
  • Which journal should I submit my paper to?
  • Where can I find information to support my research funding application?

…..If you have, then why not take a look at Scopus and use it as your starting point? You can access it through Library Search or through your subject guide in the ‘Journals and Databases’ section.

Whatever subject you are studying, Scopus is one of the databases that you need to get to know. It is a large multi-disciplinary abstract and citation database of peer reviewed literature. It contains over 69 million records, including journal articles (from 22,000 titles), conference papers, books (20,000 new book details added every year) and book chapters. However, it doesn’t just have a list of results for you to wade through, but it has a series of smart tools which help you track and visualise the research as well. You can search for documents, sources, authors and institutions and compare and contrast them using a variety of different tools.

If you are wondering if Scopus is for you, then check out the video below. And if you are already a user of Scopus, then why not listen to one of their webinars to get the best out of the resource or check out the Scopus blog for tips and tricks. Happy exploring!

See Scopus basic search in action.
Scopus is an excellent resource to use to help you expand your search by focusing on specific authors and cited reference searching.

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.