New resource on trial: Country Life archive

Country Life screenshot

The Library has trial access to the archive of the Country Life magazine until March 10th 2022. The archive covers this weekly magazine from 1897 to 2005, giving a unique insight into over a century of British heritage and upper class living, including art, architecture, and landscapes, with an emphasis on leisure pursuits, such as antique collecting, hunting, shooting, equestrian news, and gardening.

It is also an important record of the changing ownership of the United Kingdom’s great houses, sometimes serving as the only source for restoration of early 20th-century structures.

Every page is reproduced in full colour, including all images and advertisements.

You can search or browse Country Life in various ways. If you select Advanced Search, you can use options to limit your search to particular types of content (for example, adverts or photographs).

Country Life advanced search options

For more advice, visit the Country Life lib guide.

The trial ends on March 10th 2022. To help us evaluate it, please email us your feedback, or leave a reply on this blog.

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

The Philip Robinson Library building will be open for the majority of the Winter break (Friday 24th December 2021 – Monday 3rd January 2022) but is closed on Christmas Day (Saturday 25th December) and New Year’s Day (Saturday 1st January). All other library buildings will be closed for the entire Winter break.  If you need access to books and journals, or a quiet place to study, all you will need is to book your study space online and to bring your University smartcard to enter the building. Visit the website for the Library vacation opening hours. Please remember that it is currently mandatory to wear a face covering when moving around indoors in all university buildings (free masks are available at the Library Welcome Desk).

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 study space 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 e-books from the Library website and we will be back in the Library on Tuesday 4th January 2022. Enjoy the festive season!

Tips for creating your study space

If you’re away from Newcastle over the Winter break you may be studying in unfamiliar or unusual spaces, which can make it more challenging to concentrate or find your motivation. Procrastination may be a struggle and creating a space, both physical and online, in which to be your most productive is something that many of us find challenging. It may not always be possible, but creating a managed space to study in will help. So what are our tips for creating the perfect study space at home?

1. Select your space

If possible, designate a space as your study environment. It may be your room in a shared house, the kitchen table, office, dining room or a spot in the hallway. Wherever you choose, claim it and make it yours in order to reduce distractions from those you live with and to create a studying mindset.

It can be invaluable to have a ‘work space’ which is separate from the rest of your life and spaces in which you relax. Even if this is simply a cheap desk in your bedroom, having a ‘study spot’ which is dedicated to your academic work will help you create structure and routine, and feel in the studying zone. It also makes for less embarrassment when you turn your camera on in Zoom or Teams.

2. Make it comfortable

While it may be tempting to study from your bed (which we’ve all done!), sitting upright will help you stay alert. Not to mention the benefits for your shoulders, back and neck. Start with a desk or table if you can, as it will allow you to make an organised space and leave your hands free to take notes.

It’s also worth thinking about how you can make the space more comfortable by opening a window for fresh air every so often, and the level of natural light you can introduce. Perhaps think about studying earlier in the day so that the natural brightness helps you stay alert and boosts your mood.

3. Tidy space, tidy mind

A cluttered study space can make it more difficult to focus and introduce unwanted distractions. By filing away your notes and de-cluttering your space at the end of a day, you will be able to start the next day fresh and find the learning materials you need.

This goes for your online spaces too. Think about how and where you keep your assignments, notes and any materials you download from Canvas, to ensure you are able to access the materials as you prepare assignments or revise for exams. Set up folders in One Drive that relate to each module or project you are working on and be sure to keep track of any collaborative work, such as projects in Teams. Managing the information you collect as you study and keeping it organised in some way is an essential study skill. Visit the Managing Information Guide for more tips.

4. Gather some stationery

It’s a simple tip, but keep a pen and paper nearby so that you can make quick notes. This might be jotting down an idea or something to remind yourself about at a later date. Many of you will take your notes digitally and may have a tablet you use within your programme, but having a notebook and pen to hand is a valuable backup. If you prefer handwritten notes, make sure you have a good organisational system so that you are able to retrieve the information you need.

You’ll find lots of useful tips around notetaking on the ASK website.

5. Listen to some music

Some of you may find studying in silence works best for you, while others may need a little background noise to block out distractions. Select a soundtrack for your study that helps you concentrate, with a mixture of mood boosting tracks and songs that are a little more mellow and calming. You’ll find lots of readymade study playlists on streaming services, or you could start with our Library Spotify playlists.

6. Switch off your devices

Many of us will recognise our mobile phone as a significant source of distraction and cause of many unproductive minutes. Switch off your mobile phone, log out of social media accounts on your study device and turn off the TV. This will help you create designated study time as well as space. It will also be a step towards introducing breaks in your study routine.

7. Take breaks

Taking regular breaks and walking away from your study space will help you return feeling refreshed. Why not download the iNCLude App? It has been designed to help you take small steps to improve and maintain your wellbeing, by creating positive habits and helping you focus on more than just your academic studies.

One valuable bonus tip from the WDC about taking breaks:

When you break, take a moment to leave a ‘note to future self’ about where you got to or what you were intending to do next.

Writing Development Centre, Managing Time and Motivation
Student studying with laptop and notebook.

8. Be organised

Learning remotely is challenging when you have to manage your own time and motivation. Being organised and creating your own plan or timetable can help.

The WDC have created some great guides, podcasts and videos with tips that might help, including creating structure and routinestudying in short bursts and how to motivate yourself.

When you begin your study session make sure you have everything you need to hand so that you don’t interrupt your flow. You might want to leave your laptop charger nearby!

Our mobile apps and resources guide also includes some suggestions for apps that can help you be more organised and boost your productivity.

Visit the ASK website for more study and academic skills advice

New e-book collections: Bloomsbury and Manchester University Press

We have bought several new e-book collections from Bloomsbury and Manchester University Press, complementing and updating our existing collections from these two publishers.

From Bloomsbury, we have bought new collections in:

architecture

arts and visual culture

classical studies and archaeology

education

history

linguistics

music and sound

politics and international relations

These new modules give us just under 500 new titles in total.


From Manchester University Press, we have bought the latest collections in:

political studies

history of medicine

film and media studies

These give us 136 new titles in total.

All the titles are individually catalogued on Library Search, or if you prefer, you can browse them from the publishers’ platforms via the links above. NB If you are browsing any of the Bloomsbury subject collections, under Access, tick Purchased/Open Access.

New resource now available: Mass Observation 1980s and 1990s

We’re delighted to announce that the Library has now bought the latest instalment of the Mass Observation Online collection, covering the 1980s and 1990s.

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 late twentieth century Britain. It complements our existing access to the original Mass Observation project archive, which covers 1937-1967.

1981-1999 collection

The 1980s and 1990s modules include hundreds of directive (survey) responses from observers on a wide range of issues, covering major political and social themes of the period from Thatcher to Blair, as well as everyday life. There are also photographs, leaflets, and other ephemeral materials, as well as contextual essays and timelines to help you interpret the collection.

Searching and browsing

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

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 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: Bloomsbury Popular Music

We are pleased to announce that the Library has bought access to Bloomsbury Popular Music (soon to be renamed Bloomsbury Music and Sound), following a well-received trial. This wide-ranging resource comprises:

  • All twelve volumes of the landmark reference work, Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World.
  • All 170 short books in the 33 1/3 series, focusing on significant LPs from a wide range of genres and eras.
  • A selection of over 100 scholarly ebooks on popular music published by Bloomsbury, including biographies and historical overviews.
  • Interactive features, including a pop music timeline back to 1900 and world map.
  • Biographies of hundreds of artists.
  • Personalisation features to help you cite, share, search and collaborate.

You can search or browse it in various ways, such as by artist, genre or location. All books included in Bloomsbury Popular Music are also individually catalogued on Library Search, and new content is added twice a year.

Watch the short trailer for an overview, and enjoy exploring, from Cab Calloway to Cabaret Voltaire and beyond!

BAR Digital Collection for archaeology now available

We’re pleased to announce that the Library has bought access to the new BAR Digital Collection, following a successful trial earlier this year.

This online collection, from one of the world’s largest academic archaeology publishers, gives full text access to over 3,100 titles published from 1974 to date. The collection includes both BAR’s British and international series, and covers archaeological research, excavation reports and other important series from around the world. Publications are mostly in English, as well as some in Italian, German, French and Spanish.

BAR browse options

You can browse or search the entire collection in various ways (e.g. by location, author, subject, time period or series). Each report is also individually catalogued on Library Search (here is an example).

Get the latest news and features about this collection on Twitter.

Resource in Focus: The Listener Archive

The Library has access to The Listener Historical Archive for its entire run from 1929-1991.

The Listener was a weekly magazine established by the BBC in 1929 under its director-general, Lord Reith. It was initially developed as the medium for reproducing broadcast talks on the radio, but in later years, television as well, and was the intellectual counterpart to the BBC listings magazine, Radio Times. It is one of the few records and means of accessing the content of many early broadcasts, and also regularly reviewed new books.

The Listener developed a reputation for outstanding writing, with contributions from the major writers, artists, commentators and thinkers of the twentieth century, including E.M. Forster, George Orwell and Virginia Woolf. It’s an invaluable resource for those researching the critical reception of culture in the twentieth century, and the response of the public.

You can browse The Listener by date to find a specific issue, or search in various ways (choose Advanced Search to see all options, including searching by section of the magazine, author or date.)

Additional search features on the home page include Term Frequency, to trace how often a word, phrase or person has featured in The Listener over the years, and Topic Finder, to explore and visualise connections between topics.

As the Listener archive is published by the company Gale, you can cross-search it with any of the other Gale archives to which we have access, via Gale Primary Sources.

Resource in Focus: Punch Historical Archive, 1841-1992

The Library has access to the entire digitised archive of Punch from 1841-1992.

Punch was a famous satirical magazine which played a central role in the formation of British identity, and how the rest of the world saw Britain. This archive covers all volumes of Punch between 1841-1992, including special numbers, prefaces, epilogues, indexes, images and other specially produced material from the bound volumes. It’s an excellent resource for researching nineteenth and twentieth century political and social history, through provocative and entertaining satirical commentary.

To find out more about Punch, click Research Tools to read a selection of essays about different periods of its history.

Menu screenshot

You can browse Punch by date to find a specific issue, or search in various ways (choose Advanced Search to see all options, including searching by section of the magazine, illustration type or date.)

Additional search features on the home page include Term Frequency, to trace how often a word, phrase or person has featured in Punch over the years, and Topic Finder, to explore and visualise connections between topics.

As the Punch archive is published by the company Gale, you can cross-search it with any of the other Gale archives to which we have access, via Gale Primary Sources.

Resource in Focus: Picture Post Historical Archive 1938-1957

We have access to the complete digitised archive of Picture Post from 1938-1957. Picture Post was a British magazine (seen as the British equivalent of Life magazine) which was renowned for its use of photojournalism, in an era before television. It covered social and political issues, as well as providing a visual record of everyday life in Britain during and after World War Two.

You can browse the full colour archive by date to find a specific issue, or search in various ways (choose Advanced Search to see all options, including searching by section of the magazine, illustration type, or by date.)

Additional search features on the home page include Term Frequency, to trace how often a word, phrase or person featured in Picture Post over the years, and Topic Finder, to explore and visualise connections between topics.

As the Picture Post archive is published by the company Gale, you can cross-search it with any of the other Gale archives to which we have access, via Gale Primary Sources.