Getting the most out of e-books

Woman reading on an eReader device.

We have over 6 million e-books accessible through Library Search, including titles that feature on your reading lists, or those that have been recommended by staff and students. Sometimes we buy them through large bundle deals with specific publishers so we gain access to lots of research titles all at once.

Why use e-books?

e-books are incredibly useful resources as they are available 24/7 from any location, work with most devices and some come with snazzy features such as keyword searching, annotation options, links to other relevant information, and reading aloud facilities to name but a few.

How do e-books work?

As we get e-books from different platforms and providers you might see a different layout each time you access one of our titles but the logic is the same. You can navigate using a toolbar, you can normally turn pages using little arrows at the top or side of the page, you can jump to specific chapters and in some cases, print or download all or some sections of the e-book to read offline.

Unfortunately, one thing you can’t do with e-books is download and save offline a copy of the book to keep forever, there are usually some download restrictions. This is because we have subscriptions or licence access to titles but we don’t own the title. There is something called Digital Rights Management where publishers can control the copying, pasting and downloading of their content, this is linked to issues with privacy and copyright.

How do I access e-books?

Simply navigate to Library Search and enter your keywords to look for a book title as usual. Library Search is the best way to access resources whether you’re on or off campus as it makes sure you’re logged in correctly and can access resources simply and quickly.

Watch this short video to begin searching for books and e-books.

From your search results, choose an e-book which looks relevant e.g. Essentials of Business Research Methods by Hair, which we know is popular book for Business students doing dissertations. If you are off campus, you will need to sign in with your University ID and Password.

Once the e-book has loaded on the screen, hover over the functionality buttons to see what they do. For example; the search option will be useful if you’re looking for specific topics; use the Table of Contents to navigate straight to a chapter you’ve been told to read, or select the paint pallet to change the colour of the background to help with your reading.

Not all titles are available in eBook format for an institutional library to purchase, but if you’d prefer a title in electronic format we can certainly investigate. Just let us know by recommending a book.

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:

Resource in focus: OUP Law Trove

This Oxford University Press resource contains most of the essential, recommended and background reading titles you would normally find listed in your Newcastle Law School module handbooks and on the Law Library shelves.

If you’re asking if you need to buy your course texts for 2020/21 then we can’t answer that question for you, as the answer depends on you. Ask yourself: can you work with e-books? Do you prefer to have your own copy of a book so you can fold pages, write notes in the margins or use a highlighter to annotate the text (*librarians across the world gasp in horror!*). Can the University Library provide a copy of the book you need to use via the Click+Collect service? We certainly can’t provide a copy of every book to every single student even when we want to. We do advise you to try OUP Law Trove and see how easy it is to access, and how versatile it can be (including annotating the text!). It may just save you spending money on books where you don’t need to.

Read on, or you can take a tour of the resource before diving in. OUP have released a YouTube playlist for you to watch to make the most of OUP Law Trove too.

An image of the OUP Law Trove home screen.

Logging in
You can access OUP Law Trove directly via Library Search (log in with your Campus ID and password), via your Reading Lists in your Canvas modules, and directly too. You can go to OUP Law Trove and use the ‘Sign in via your institution’ option in the left-hand login box on the homepage, and follow the instructions.

An image of the direct sign-in option on OUP Law Trove's homescreen,

Further guidance on logging in is provided by OUP in this video (1:26 mins):

Searching
You can search OUP Law Trove by author, title or keyword. You can narrow your search to those titles available to us alone by selecting Show titles in my subscription (left-hand menu). Select those that are unlocked or free.

You can further narrow your results by refining by subject using the options available in the left-hand menu.

A screenshot showing a composite of different search types in OUP Law Trove.

Further guidance on navigating and searching is provided by OUP in this video (2:55 mins):

Personalisation
You can create a Personal Profile to experience the full functionality of OUP Law Trove, including bookmarking and annotating (without writing on your books!). Click the ‘Sign in’ button on the top menu bar and follow the instructions.

An image showing the location of the Personal Profile Sign in option on OUP Law Trove's home screen.

Further information on the benefits of creating and using the Personal Profiles features is provided by OUP in this video (0:58 mins):

Reading Lists and Handouts
You may find your module teaching staff are using the DOI: for a specific book or chapter from your Reading List or module handout. What’s a DOI? A Digital Object Identifier. It’s a ‘permalink’ (permanent link) to the specific materials you need to read and looks like a weblink (which it is, essentially). If it doesn’t directly link to OUP Law Trove then add https://dx.doi.org/ to create the full DOI link. You will still be asked to login using your Campus ID & password to gain access to the materials.

An image showing the DOI for a Law Trove book and book chapter.

Tips
Search OUP Law Trove directly for your resources if you can. Library Search and your Reading Lists are linking to most of the books, and some of the chapters available, but not all. You may find more resources by performing a keyword search; the results could show a useful chapter in another book that you would never have thought to search in.

You have access to some good study skills information in OUP Law Trove too. Whether you are wondering what academic writing actually is, how to write a case note, how to prepare for a moot or dealing with an exam, there are materials in Trove to assist you alongside the Academic Skills Kit made available to you by the University, the University Library and the Writing Development Centre.

Further information on the online resources, including MCQs, is provided by OUP in this video (2:12 mins):

We think you will find this resource very useful in supporting your studies at Newcastle Law School. If you have any feedback or questions, please leave a comment or contact libraryhelp@ncl.ac.uk.

It’s as easy as…Reading Lists

As an academic, there are 5 easy steps to creating your own reading list on Leganto, our Reading Lists service, for your students: 

  1. Access or create your reading list via your VLE (e.g. Canvas).
  2. Add resources from Library Search and other sources (e.g. Blackwell’s Book Shop).
  3. Tag each item using the appropriate tag (i.e. essential, recommended or background reading), where:
    Essential = very important to the course, all students will need to use this text.
    Recommended = supplementary texts which students are encouraged to use.
    Background = additional texts which are suggested for background subject area reading.
  4. Send your list to the library for checking and stock orders.
  5. Publish your list to ensure your students can access it.

Things to know:

Tagging each item with essential, recommended and background can generate book orders: there are book/student ratio ordering criteria for items being added to library stock and tagging will allow informed decisions to be made by the Library’s team.

Given we are in the midst of a pandemic and teaching is being undertaken in a different way this term, the Library will attempt to obtain access to all resources online (e.g. e-books) where possible. Please note we do try our best but not everything is available online! Where we can’t obtain an online resource, we will usually opt for the print instead.

There is a Canvas course prepared for you to learn how to use Reading Lists. It’s short and full of useful information on making the best use of the service for your students. Self-enrol on Reading Lists Training for Staff today.

An image of the Canvas-based Reading Lists Training for Staff home screen.

If you would prefer to submit your reading list or lecture/seminar handout to a dedicated team of Library staff to be processed, use the submission form or email the lists to readinglists@ncl.ac.uk for support.

So, Reading Lists are a great way to let your students know what they need to read, and to keep the Library informed too; they are the wise choice. 

If you have any questions about this service, please do contact us via Library Help.

Reading Lists and supporting your students

Teaching is just around the corner and the students are starting to prepare for studying through 2020/21. So, which resources are you going to recommend to your students to support your teaching? How will you ensure the Library can offer access to what you need?

We’re promoting the Reading Lists service to our students. It’s easy to use, accessible and is a good starting point when approaching a new subject area.

Surprisingly, even in 2020, not every book is available online. You can use Reading Lists to check to see if we, as an institution, can gain access to those essential, recommended and background reading materials for you and your students. 

How can you do this? Well, you can self-enrol on the Reading Lists Training for Staff course which is available via Canvas. It will explain each stage of creating and editing your lists ready for your students to use for guidance and to prioritise their reading.

An image of the Reading Lists Training for Staff Canvas course home page.

If you don’t have time to do this now, you can produce a list of books, book chapters, journal articles and other resources and submit this to our dedicated Library Reading Lists team to create the online version to be accessed via Canvas for you. If you are doing this, the team need to know:

  • Module Leader or Coordinator’s name.
  • School.
  • Reading list/Module title.
  • Module code.
  • Anticipated student numbers on module (if known).
  • When it is running, e.g. Semester One and/or Two.

You should think about how the list should be organised: by topic, lecture, seminar, etc.

Finally, each item should be classified as essential, recommended or background reading so the Library is aware of the potential demand on the materials.

We will attempt to source all titles you suggest in an online format. If this is not possible, we will obtain the print edition whereupon your students may need to use our Click and Collect service to gain access until the University Libraries reopen fully again.

If you have any questions about availability of online materials or the Reading Lists service, contact your Liaison Team via Library Help for advice.

Reading Lists and Canvas

The University’s Virtual Learning Environment has been changed to Canvas. After years of using Blackboard, it’s a bit different! But once you start to use it, you’ll find it’s much easier to present the information your students need, to communicate with your students in word, sight and sound, and to work more easily in this online world brought on us by the pandemic.

Why talk of Canvas when this post is about Reading Lists? Well, Canvas makes your reading list for each module more visible so you are more likely to be asked about the lists by your students.

An image of the Canvas Home screen showing the main menu including Library Reading List.

The LTDS Canvas Baseline states ‘…where relevant a reading list must be provided.’

An image of the Canvas Baseline which mentions the Reading List requirement.

So what you should do? Not all modules will need a reading list. But if you do have books, book chapters or journal articles you want your students to read and would like to learn how to manage items on your Reading List yourself, please self-enrol on the Reading Lists Training for Staff course which is available via Canvas. It will explain each stage of creating and editing your lists and will allow you to keep in touch with the Library about the materials you need to support your teaching.

An image of a barn owl sitting in a meadow advertising the wise choice of using the Library's Reading Lists service.

Alternatively, you may wish to produce your reading list in a Microsoft Word document, or module handbook, and submit this to our dedicated Library Reading Lists team to create your online version.

If you have any questions about Reading Lists, please contact Library Help and a member of the Reading Lists team will be in touch.

Reading Lists

A reading list is an integral part of the student experience at University. Although it may be viewed as an archaic term these days, students are ‘reading’ for a degree. How do the students know what to read? It is the academic’s role to guide them.

The University Library’s Reading Lists service (Leganto) allows the Library to work with teaching staff in providing this information to the students in an online and consistent way, through their Virtual Learning Environment (Canvas or the Medical LE) alongside their teaching materials.

The University Library’s Reading Lists service is routinely promoted to the students throughout induction. It contains essential, recommended and background reading for modules taught within Newcastle University. Now we’re using Canvas, it also appears in the standard menu within each course and will be more accessible than in our former VLE.

An image of a Canvas course homepage.

So, as teaching staff, what are the benefits of using this service?

  • You have control and can create, manage and update your own reading lists online. 
  • The Library will ensure online access to resources (if available). If an e-book is not available then the correct number of print copies will be purchased based on the essential, recommended or background reading tags you apply to each item on your list.
  • Essential, recommended and background reading tags help students prioritise their reading. 
  • CLA scans (digitised book chapters and articles) can easily be requested and acccessed through Leganto. There will be no need to email us or fill out a web request form; simply tag the item on your list and the Library will do the rest. 
  • The same principle applies to new books. Once on the reading list this information will trigger adding new material to our stock – there will be no need to contact us separately. 
  • You can export a reading list to your module guide or handouts. This will save you time by only needing to create the list in one place. 

Using this system is a wise choice as it ensures the Library knows what you need to support your teaching and will offer your students direct access to the required resources.

You can find more information on this service via our website, or contact us. We are here to help you.

An image of a wise barn owl over Leganto, the Reading Lists service.

New resource: Westlaw Edge UK

Westlaw Edge UK. Is this a new resource? Possibly not by definition, but it is most certainly a significant enhancement within the existing Westlaw UK service.

Westlaw Edge UK (not to be confused with the Microsoft Edge browser) is available via the Law Subject Guide and Library Search within Westlaw UK. Once logged in with your Newcastle University Campus ID and password you will find the tools available to help you keep currently aware and able to anticipate change – skills which are incredibly important to develop as a law student to be carried into your legal career.

These tools include:

An image showing the Westlaw Edge UK tools to enable current awareness.

With inclusion of an interactive precedent map within Case Analytics to easily locate relevant cases…

An image of the precedent map associated with Donoghue v Stevenson (snail in a bottle case).

…and the UK-EU Divergence Tracker to assist with analysing the legal implications of Brexit, it’s even easier to carry out effective and efficient legal research.

You can go beyond search results lists with AI-suggested relevant research and resources tailored to your needs. Skynet hasn’t got a look in. Go on, don’t be slow. Lose yourself in Westlaw Edge UK and get ahead.

A photo of a snail in a glass bottle. Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash.

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/.