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.

Be Connected: Referencing

Following on from our Be Connected: Referencing session, this blog post covers the main points that we covered in our session. You will find links to key resources that we highlighted so you have them in one handy place.

You can also find a copy of our slides and a link to other useful referencing/managing information blog posts at end of this post.

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

The Managing Information Guide and the slides from the session give you the context of why it is import to reference and why you should be managing your information. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of information out there (and that’s before you start your dissertation/project!), so getting into good habits it essential not only academically, but also for your wellbeing.

Why is referencing important?

  • It acknowledges the ideas and contributions of others that you have drawn upon in your work, ensuring that you avoid plagiarism
  • It highlights the range of reading you’ve done for your assignment and makes your own contribution clear, showing how you’ve taken ideas from others and built upon them
  • It enables the person reading your work to follow up on your references so they can learn more about the ideas you’ve discussed in your work or check any facts and figures.

How does referencing work?

Academic Skill Kit video on Managing Information; how to reference

Are there any tools that can help?

There are lots of referencing tools that can help you manage and format your citations and references correctly.  Given where you might be within your dissertation or project it might not be best use of your time to start learning a new tool now. But if you are working with lots of references or still writing up most of your dissertation then a digital tool might save you some time in the long run.

Here are some examples of tools that can help:

A very useful online tool that lists all the information you need to include in a reference and provides examples of how a reference will look as an in-text citation and in a reference list. 

  • Citation Buttons
Citation button consisting of a speech mark "

Keep an eye out for this symbol on Library Search and Google Scholar.  Clicking the button will provide the option for you to copy a reference in a particular style and paste it directly into your reference list.  You might need to tidy it up a little bit but it will save you time over writing them manually.

Reference building tools help you to create a bibliography using the correct referencing style.  You can input information manually or use import functions to pull information through from other webpages or documents.  As with the citation button above, reference building tools can save you time but you may still need to check the references are accurate.

  • Reference Management Software: e.g. EndNote

If you are writing a detailed essay, dissertation or thesis, you may like to use a reference management tool such as EndNote, Mendeley or Zotero to help keep all of your references organised.  This software allows you to manually add references or import them from Library Search, Google Scholar or Subject Databases; sort references into groups; attach pdf documents or add notes.  You can then use the reference management software while you write to add in-text citations and format your reference list.

The University has a subscription for EndNote which is available in all University clusters and can be downloaded to your own personal device. You’ll find information about how to get started with EndNote on our EndNote Guide.

Remember: whatever tool you use, it’s always a good idea to get to know the conventions of the referencing style your school or lecturer would like you to use.

Need more help?

If you feel you need to work on your referencing a bit more, and still a bit unsure about it all, we recommend that you complete Cite them Right’s Referencing and Plagiarism tutorial – this is available within Cite them Right. You’ll need to log in then select the tutorial button on the top right of the homepage.

Download our Referencing top tips from the Academic Skills Kit.

Take our online referencing quiz to check your own understanding.

Slides

Here’s a copy of our slides from our referencing drop-in session:

Resource in Focus: Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice

Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice brings together a huge range of primary source materials relating to slavery and abolition studies from across the world, covering the time period between 1490 and 2007.

Primary source content

The content includes thousands of digitised sources, including images, maps, manuscripts, registers, ships’ logs and court records. It is arranged into sixteen broad themes, including Slavery in the Early Americas; Resistance and Revolt; Slave Testimony, and Urban and Domestic Slavery. Contemporary sources include materials from Anti-Slavery International, and submissions to the UNCHR.

Getting started

If you’re using Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice for the first time, we’d strongly encourage you to click on Introduction and take a little time to read about the content and themes, so you can get the best out of it: it is an extensive resource.

You can browse or search the content in various ways: we’d recommend choosing Documents from the top menu, as you can then browse by theme, geographic region, document type, date or more.

You may also find it useful to click REGISTER, so you can personalise your searching experience, including saving searches, documents and creating your own image slideshows.

Help and context

The primary sources are complemented by essays, tutorials and timelines to help you interpret the content: click on Further Resources from the top menu.

Have you used Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice? Please feel free to post your comments and tips by clicking Leave a comment below.

Accessing resources beyond the Library

Photo by JK on Unsplash

If you’re working on a dissertation, thesis or project right now, or will be doing so next academic year, what can you do if the Library doesn’t have access to all the specialist books and other information resources which you need? And how can you find out about resources relating to your research topic which are held elsewhere?

Find out below how you might expand your search….

1. Search

You can search across the catalogues of over 170 UK and Irish academic and national libraries, together with other specialist and research libraries, via Library Hub Discover (formerly COPAC). The range of libraries included in Library Hub Discover is expanding all the time, and includes all UK universities, as well as the libraries of such diverse organisations as Durham Cathedral, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Royal Horticultural Society.

In response to Covid restrictions, Library Hub Discover is also making it easier for you to find Open Access resources via its catalogue, and it has also recently incorporated the HathiTrust Digital Library of over 17 million items.

For a more in-depth and up to date search, you can also search individual academic library catalogues online. Need to look further afield? Search library catalogues internationally via WorldCat.

If you are looking for archives elsewhere, whether in the North East or beyond, our colleagues in the Special Collections and Archives team have compiled a list of useful search tools.

2. Obtain

If we haven’t got the book you want, you can ask us to consider buying or borrowing it, via our Recommend a book service.

If you need a copy of a journal article to which we don’t have access, you can apply for it via our inter library loan service, which is currently free. Please note that inter library loans options are more restricted than usual during the current lockdown.

You can search UK doctoral theses via the national EThOS service. This has records for over 500,000 theses, of which over half are freely available online (do note you have to register with EThOS before being able to download).

3. Visit (virtually for now)

Under normal circumstances, the SCONUL Access Scheme enables students to visit most other academic libraries around the country. Unfortunately, this service has been suspended since March 2020, and is unlikely to resume this academic year (2020/2021).

However, if your research will continue in academic year 2021/2022, do check back with the SCONUL Access site, and/or the web site of any libraries of particular interest to you, in case visiting restrictions start to ease.

As with libraries, most archives are either closed to visitors at present, or only open with considerable restrictions. Nonetheless, archives services may still be able to answer queries, provide access to selected digitised items, or even a Virtual Reading Room, so it may well be worth enquiring, even if you can’t visit in person.

International Women’s Day in Law and Literature

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we have curated a list of all the books in the Law and Literature collection written by women. We also have a ‘Law School Pick‘ by Dr Ruth Houghton selected for IWD.

The Law in Literature collection has always strived to be diverse in stories, voices and authors. We are pleased to say that 50% of the books in this collection are written by women.

This collection, based in the Law Library, is made up of novels, short stories, plays, graphic novels and films that all reflect law in some way. We also promote films, TV shows and radio broadcasts through playlists on Box of Broadcasts (BoB). BoB is a free streaming platform available via Library Search with your campus ID (available in the UK only). Search for our public playlists using ‘Law in Literature Newcastle University’.

Is there a book that you think should be on our shelves, or a film to add to a playlist? Is there a subject you think would make a good BoB playlist? Do you want to recommend a book or film and feature as one of our ‘Law School Picks’? Want to review a book or film for our blog? Then get in touch.