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/.

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


The trial is available until 31st May 2020.

As always, your feedback will be very welcome: you can either email it, or leave a comment on this blogpost.

Access SAGE Research Methods via Library Search.

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!

Resource on trial: Oxford Handbooks Online

The Library has trial access to Oxford Handbooks Online until 3rd March 2020.

This provides access to over 1,000 handbooks, featuring in-depth articles written by experts in their field. The subject coverage is wide-ranging, covering many disciplines in humanities, social sciences and science.

You can access the content in various ways: for example, you can browse by the 17 broad subject areas, to view individual books, and/or the articles within those books.

Browsing by broad subject area

Browsing sub-disciplines

Once in a subject area, you can then refine your search to more specific sub-disciplines.

You can also search in various ways, e.g. by author or keyword.

The handbooks are all individually catalogued and accessible via Library Search during the trial.

We have previously bought access to some of the handbooks, but this trial gives an opportunity to explore the entire collection, featuring a great deal of new content. As always, your feedback will be very welcome: you can either email it, or leave a comment on this blogpost.

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.

Resource on trial: Linguistic Bibliography Online

The Library has trial access to Brill’s Linguistic Bibliography Online until 14th February 2020.

This contains over 470,000 descriptions of publications about theoretical linguistics, with new records added every year. Publications indexed include books, book chapters, journal articles, theses, and primary sources such as corpora, in many languages. General and language-specific linguistics are covered, with a particular focus on endangered and lesser-studied languages.

You can search or browse it in various ways (such as by language, topic or location.) For full guidance, see the user guide.

Please note, as we have trial access only, you won’t be able to click through from a record (such as a journal article) on LBO to our own holdings.

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 Linguistic Bibliography Online from a browser within RAS.

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.

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!