Change is coming to the Philip Robinson Library

This summer will see the refurbishment of key features of our main Level 2 space as we make it more welcoming, attractive, and efficient for all library users.

Work will be taking place between June and September 2019, during which a temporary service desk will be in place, and the Student Text Collection, exhibition space, book bins, and self-service units will be relocated. Drinks and snacks will still be available from a coffee cart whilst the café is being refurbished.

Library services will continue as normal.

  • The PC cluster, Your Space and silent study areas on Levels 3 & 4 of the library will remain accessible.
  • Student Text Collection texts and book reservations will be available.
  • Inter Library Loan and Research Reserve requests will be processed as normal.
  • You will still be able to issue and return items yourself.
  • Laptop, headphone, and short-term locker loans will be issued as normal.

However, there will be building work in progress during library opening times and there will be some noisy periods. Free disposable earplugs will be available at the Service Desk.

Alternative study spaces are available in WaltonLaw and Marjorie Robinson Library Rooms, and you can use the Find a PC on the University app to locate alternative cluster PC’s and check availability.

Building a better library experience

The modernised Level 2 space includes these new features:

  • a redesigned ‘Welcome’ point and ‘Library Help’ desk.
  • a reconfigured social learning space
  • an automated book returns sorter and new self-issue machines
  • a relocated exhibition space
  • a fully refurbished cafe

The works are due to begin week commencing 17th June. If you have any queries please speak to a member of Customer Services staff at the Service Desk or via Library Help.

We Are Here All Summer!

 

Stefan Schweihoter
pixabay

 

The University libraries will be open throughout the Summer vacation, you a can find the opening hours for each library here.   Please note that during self-service times, access to the building will be by Newcastle University Smartcard only.

However, there will be building work in progress during library opening times and there may be some noisy periods in some areas.  Free disposable earplugs will be available at the Service Desk.

You will still find the Liaison team on levels 3 and 4 of the Philip Robinson Library – we will be the ones wearing hard hats!

You can come to us for Endnote support and 1-1 sessions. Please book an appointment via Library help.

If you have an urgent question, and we are not physically around you will find 24/7 support via our out-of-hours Live Chat Service provided by a co-operative of academic librarians from around the world.

We hope you have a lovely summer!

 

Identify resources for your research project

A strong research project such as an essay, dissertation or thesis will always be supported by good quality information from a wide range of sources.  There are a huge variety of resources available to you and being able to make appropriate choices when selecting materials to include in your project and explain why you have chosen them, is an important academic skill that demonstrates a good awareness of your subject and an ability to think critically about ideas and research.

Of course, not all information resources will be relevant to your particular research.  You will have to think about the type of information you need then identify the type of resource that will provide that kind information.

For example:

Books will offer an in-depth overview of popular ideas, theories, and opinions in your subject area and are likely to be broader in scope than a journal article or conference paper.

While a conference paper will often discuss ‘work-in-progress’, and therefore can be an ideal way of finding out about up to date research and ideas.

For more information on different resource types, including standards, patents, maps, newspapers and more, take a look at our range of Resource guides.

Your Subject Guide can also help you identify useful sources of information for your research as it contains a carefully curated list of resources that are tailored to your subject area.  Here you’ll  find useful lists of online reference books, eBook collections and recommended databases for finding relevant journal articles and conference papers.  Also, under the Subject Specific Resources tab, you’ll discover a further host of specialised materials relevant to your subject such as audiovisual media, data-sets or professional organisation’s websites.

Screen capture of a Library Subject Guide, showing various tabs and resource links.

Depending on your research topic, you might also want to explore the Special Collections tab to see materials held in our Library archives that are relevant to your subject area specifically.

For more advice on finding and evaluating resources for your research take a look at our Finding Information and Evaluating Information Guides.

Dippy the Dinosaur and Climate Change Heroes

Dippy the Dinosaur ExhibitionThe Liaison team visited the wonderful Dippy the Dinosaur at the Great North Museum: Hancock this week.

First put on display over 100 years ago, Dippy is a cast of a Diplodocus dinosaur and measures a massive 21.3 metres long –  he was an incredible sight to see!

Dippy, who belongs to the Natural History museum, is currently touring the country and will be in Newcastle for this special exhibition until Sunday 6 October 2019.  You can find out more about Dippy and book tickets here.

Dippy the Dinosaur exhibition showing timeline

Alongside the brilliant Dippy, the exhibition at the Great North Museum also features a spectacular visual timeline that emphasises the significance of climate change.  Beginning in the time of the dinosaurs and highlighting the climate change brought about by the meteor that killed the species, it continues up through the industrial revolution to the climate emergency of today.

The display spotlights academics and teams from Newcastle University who are researching important climate change related issues.  You can find out more about the work of these researchers below:

Dippy’s ‘Climate Change Heroes’ Reading List:

Dippy the Dinosaur exhibition display showing research on climate change

 

Professor Mark Whittingham (Professor of Applied Ecology)

Franks, J.R., Emery, S.B., Whittingham, M.J. and McKenzie, A.J. (2016) ‘Farmer attitudes to cross-holding agri-environment schemes and their implications for Countryside Stewardship.’ International Journal of Agricultural Management, 5(4). pp.78-95

Dunn, J.C., Buchanan, G.M., Stein, R.W., Whittingham, M.J. and McGowan, P.J.K. (2016) ‘Optimising different types of biodiversity coverage of protected areas with a case study using Himalayan Galliformes.’ Biological Conservation, 196, pp. 22-30

Hiron, M., Part, T., Siriwardena, G.M. and Whittingham, M.J. (2018) ‘Species contributions to single biodiversity values under-estimate community contribution to a wider range of values to society.’ Scientific Reports, 8, pp.1-7

Find more of Professor Whittingham’s work via his Newcastle University’s ePrints page.

 

Dr Elizabeth Gibson (Reader in Energy Materials)

Summers, G.H. and Gibson, E.A. (2018) ‘Bay Annulated Indigo as a New Chromophore for p-type Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells.’ ChemPhotoChem, 2(6), pp.498-506

Summers, G.H., Lefebvre, J.F., Black, F.A., Davies, E.S., Gibson, E.A., Pullerits, T., Wood, C. and Zidek, K. (2016) ‘Design and characterisation of bodipy sensitizers for dye-sensitized NiO solar cells.’ Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 18(2), pp.1059-1070

ElMoll, H., Black, F.A., Wood, C.J., AlYasari, A., ReddyMarri, A., Sazanovich, I.V., Gibson, E.A. and Fielden, J. (2017) ‘Increasing p-type dye sensitised solar cell photovoltages using polyoxometalates.’ Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 19, pp.18831-18835

Find more of Dr Gibson’s work via her Newcastle University’s ePrints page.

 

Dr Niki Rust (Research Associate)

Braczkowski, A., Holden, M., O’Bryan, C., Choi, C., Gan, X., Beesley, N., Gao, Y., Allan, J., Tyrrell, P., Stiles, D., Brehony, P., Meney, R., Brink, H., Takashina, N., Lin, M., Lin, H., Rust, N., Salmo, S., Watson, J., Kahumbu, P., Maron, M., Possingham, H. and Biggs, D. (2018) ‘Reach and messages of the world’s largest ivory burn.’ Conservation Biology, 32 (4), pp.765-773

Rust, N, and Kehoe, L. (2017) ‘A call for conservation scientists to empirically study the effects of human population policies on biodiversity loss.’ Journal of Population & Sustainability, 1(2), pp. 53-66

Rust, N. and Taylor, N. (2016) ‘Carnivores, Colonization, and Conflict: A Qualitative Case Study on the Intersectional Persecution of Predators and People in Namibia.’ Anthrozoos, 29 (4), pp. 653-667

Find more of Dr Rust’s work via her Newcastle University’s ePrints page.

 

Urban Observatory

Newcastle University’s Urban Observatory collects real-time urban data from across the Tyne and Wear area. With over 50 data types available, including air quality, traffic, sewage and noise levels, it provides the largest set of publicly available real time urban data in the UK.

 

Brush up on your search skills

A pot of paint brushes

Searching should be easy, right? We do it all the time in our day to day lives and with Google so ingrained into our existence, we don’t give it much thought. We type some words into the search engine and most of the time we find what we are looking for. Nothing to it!

However, while this approach certainly works for checking out cinema times or booking flights, it lets us down where research is concerned. We have high expectations that information will be quick and easy to come by and that it will be neatly organised in one place, rather than having to search in multiple locations, using different techniques. We imagine that the time consuming part of our research will be the analysing, synthesizing and the writing of it and we often don’t even think about the searching side of things.

The reality though is quite different. Without investing in our searching techniques and the development of a search plan, we can often find ourselves overwhelmed by information and not being able to see the wood from the trees. Our stress levels rise and our frustrations explode. Surely finding information shouldn’t be this hard!

The good news is, is that there is help to be had. Our job as Liaison Librarians is to equip you with the skills you need to create that all important search plan and to encourage you to pause and stop before you dive straight into finding information for your research.We have a fantastic range of online tools for you to do this, not least an interactive search planner that you can keep adding to throughout your search and which you can even email to yourself, supervisor or us as a Liaison team for feedback. And our ‘Finding Information’ academic skills guide has lots of advice on how to start a search, including how to break your concept down into manageable chunks and how to identify keywords and synonyms.

You can also check out this short video to get you started…….

Keep your eyes peeled for our next blog installment of how to find particular resources. See you then!

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Beyond the Library

Will you be working on a dissertation or project this summer or next year? Worried that the Library might not have access to the specialist books and other resources which you need? Wondering how you can find out about resources relating to your research topic which are held in other libraries?

Wonder no more! There are three main ways you can find and access books and other resources held elsewhere:

1. Search

You can search the catalogues of over 100 UK and Irish academic libraries, national libraries and other major research libraries via COPAC. 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.

2. Visit

We have more information about how you can visit other libraries, locally and nationally, here. The SCONUL Access Scheme enables students to use other academic libraries around the country, but you need to register online first (and be sure to check the access arrangements for any library you are planning to visit, as they may alter during the year).

3. Obtain

If we haven’t got the book you want, you can ask us to consider buying or borrowing it, via our Books on Time service. If you need a copy of a journal article to which we don’t have access, please apply via our inter library loan service.

Image by andreas160578 from Pixabay. 

New resource now available: Kanopy film streaming

We’re pleased to announce that following a successful trial, we now have access to the Kanopy on-demand film-streaming platform.

Kanopy provides access to over 30,000 films, including contemporary and classic feature films from around the world, and documentaries across a range of topics in arts, social sciences, science, technology and medicine. New films are added each month, and you can watch them on your preferred device.

Kanopy is very easy to use: simply search for a film by title, or browse by category. All the films are also individually catalogued on Library Search too, so you can find and access them that way as well.

You’ll find lots of useful features, including creating clips and playlists, viewing the transcript, and rating or adding comments.

Please note, as Kanopy is a ‘pay as you go’ service, we will assess demand during an initial pilot phase. If you’ve got any feedback about Kanopy, we’d be interested to receive it: just drop us an email or post it as a comment on this blog.

Spotlight on …. UbuWeb

Have you tried using UbuWeb yet?  You’ll be surprised at the amount of ‘stuff’ in there!

First of all, what is UbuWeb?  UbuWeb is a completely independent resource dedicated to all strains of the avant-garde, ethnopoetics, and outsider arts. It hosts a wide range of texts and audio-visual materials.  A few examples include:

Conceptual Writing:            

“Poetry expresses the emotional truth of the self. A craft honed by especially sensitive individuals, it puts metaphor and image in the service of song.” Read how Craig Douglas Dworkin continues his explanation of ‘The UbuWeb Anthology of Conceptual Writing’ and have a look at examples such as John Baldessari’s text “I will not make any more boring art”

Outsiders:  

Here’s how the editors describe this section: “Formerly known as UbuWeb’s Found + Insane section, we’ve redesigned and renamed it Outsiders, reflecting broader cultural trends toward the legitimization of Outsider work, be it in the visual, musical, or literary arts. Beginning with the mainstreaming of Folk Art (now known as Outsider Art) and the work of Jean Dubuffet in the mid-twentieth century, and moving into the present with the recent well-received museum retrospectives of visionary art of the insane (Adolf Wolfli and Henry Darger), there appears to be an insatiable hunger for this raw and emotionally-charged work”

UbuWeb Contemporary:  

Read about the works presented by over 100 (to date) contemporary practitioners including one of our own Fine Art graduates, http://www.ubu.com/contemp/copeland/index.html  who’s also listed among UbuWeb’s Top Ten!

Podcasts:   

Produced by the Poetry Foundation, listen to podcasts of, for example: interviews with artists; the sound of Fluxus; women of the Avante-garde; the malady of writing, to name but a few.

Why not give UbuWeb a try – you’ll be surprised at how much ‘stuff’ there is!

(You can get to UbuWeb from the Fine Art Subject Guide http://www.ubu.com/).

The Camera Never Lies? Fakes and Photoshop

Fake news story of a new species of bird. Picture shows a photoshopped tiger headed bird.

I am sure you spotted that the photograph above is a photoshopped fake, but according to a recent study at Warwick University, about a third of manipulated images go undetected by viewers.

Physical manipulation of images has been around since the invention of photography itself.  Take a look at this example from the early 20th Century; it looks convincing but the Library of Congress were able to work out that this is actually a composite of several images and does not really show General Ulysses S. Grant at City Point:

Modern digital technology has brought with it a plethora of photograph and video editing apps that are easily accessible and simple to use – at the touch of a button we are now able to crop, edit and filter the photographs we take.  While fun to use for entertainment and valuable for people such as designers and artists, tools such as these can be more problematic when they are used with the intention to deceive or manipulate.

For example, in March 2018 a photograph from Teen Vogue of Emma González, an American anti-gun activist, was photoshopped to show her tearing up the US Constitution with the presumed aim of promoting her views as unpatriotic:

Out of Context

Manipulated images are not the only problem.  Purposefully using a picture out of context can also mislead the intended audience.

In April 1934 a number of American newspapers, including the highly respected New York Times, published a photograph showing a man using a flying machine that worked using his lung power alone.  The incredible image depicts a man in mid-air wearing a device consisting of a box and two rotors while four other men run along below him.  Unfortunately, the newspapers had failed to check the original source of the image and fell afoul of a German magazine’s April fool’s joke.

While publishing a fake flying machine might be a fairly harmless, if embarrassing, mistake some images taken out of context like this can have more powerful consequences.

In July 2018 Time magazine used the cropped image of a young girl crying juxtaposed against a stern looking President Trump on their front page; the child was said to have been separated from her parents as part of Trump’s zero tolerance policy toward those crossing the border illegally from Mexico.    The original photograph, taken by Getty photographer John Moore, went viral, sparking a public outrage that led to the government ending the practice.  However, it was discovered that, on this occasion, the child had not been separated from her parents but was detained with her mother.

Both of these examples, highlight the importance of checking the source and confirming the context of an image before taking it at face value.

This can be true of videos too, take this example purporting to show U.S. President Donald Trump removing his hat and revealing that he’s bald:

You can see toward the end of the video, a slight glitch where the President’s hand seems to go through the top of his head, showing it to be an obvious fake but even if this wasn’t clear, the origin of the video would provide another hint that it’s not to be trusted – the video was created by Paul Lee Ticks, a Twitter user who frequently posts memes and digitally manipulated videos.

While some images and videos are obviously fake others can be more convincing and improvements in technology, particularly artificial intelligence, are making the fakes even more difficult to detect.  These more convincing images and videos are known as deepfakes and with the ability to make people appear to say things that they did not, they have the potential to cause serious damage.

Take a look at this TED talk by computer scientist Supasorn Suwajanakorn, who explains his work with AI and discusses both the creative and more negative ethical implications of the technology:

Spotting the Fakes 

With the creation of fake images and videos proliferating in journalism, politics and social media, it’s increasingly important to be vigilant.  While experts are developing tools to help fight against the more serious attempts at disinformation, we have some simple tricks you can use to help improve your fake image savvy too:

Top Three Ways to Spot a Fake

  1. Look for inconsistencies

Check the image for distorted backgrounds, missing or altered reflections and shadows, and missing features that you would expect to see.  Keep an eye out for any obviously repeated patterns and be wary of lower quality or blurred images.

  1. Try a reverse image search

Use a reverse image search on Google to track the image, see if it has been circulated before, locate the original source or maybe even find if the story around the image has already been debunked.

  1. Check the metadata

Sometimes it is possible to look at an image’s metadata, that is, data about the image such as what time and date it was taken, which camera was used and if it has been saved in Photoshop.  This is called the EXIF data.  There are various websites and apps where you can upload an image to check it’s metadata but it’s simple to find out some key information using Windows too: right click on an image, go to properties then details.  Unfortunately, not all images will have metadata as some popular sites such as Facebook and Twitter will remove it to protect user privacy.

Now you’re armed with these top tips why not take a look at the test the University of Warwick used in the study mentioned at the beginning of the blog.  How many fakes can you spot?

Sources:

Boese, A. (no date) Man Flies By Own Lung Power. Available at:  http://hoaxes.org/af_database/permalink/man_flies_by_own_lung_power (Accessed: 22 March 2019)

Brightside (no date) 10 Tips to Spot a Fake Image and Not Let Photoshoppers Fool You. Available at: https://brightside.me/wonder-curiosities/10-tips-to-spot-a-fake-image-and-not-let-photoshoppers-fool-you-469660/ (Accessed 22 March 2019)

Evon, D. (2019) ‘Is This a Video of President Trump Without His Toupee?’, Snopes, 12 March.  Available at: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trump-toupee-video-fake/ (Accessed 22 March 2019)

Farid, H. (2019)’Don’t be fooled by fake images and videos online’, The Conversation, 20 February.  Available at: https://theconversation.com/dont-be-fooled-by-fake-images-and-videos-online-111873 (Accessed 25 March 2019)

Kirby, J. (2018 ) ‘Time’s crying girl photo controversy, explained’, Vox, 22 June. Available at: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/6/22/17494688/time-magazine-cover-crying-girl-photo-controversy-family-separation (Accessed: 22 March 2019)

Library of Congress (2008) Civil War Glass Negatives and Related Prints.  Available at: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/cwp/mystery.html (Accessed: 22 March 2019)

Mikkelson, D (2018) ‘Was Emma González Filmed Ripping Up the U.S. Constitution?’, Snopes, 25 March.  Available at: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/emma-gonzalez-ripping-up-constitution/ (Accessed 22 March 2019)

O’Sullivan, D. (2019) ‘When seeing is no longer believing: Inside the Pentagon’s race against deepfake videos’, CNN Business, no date. Available at: https://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2019/01/business/pentagons-race-against-deepfakes/ (Accessed: 22 March 2019)

Smith, B. (2018) ‘Fake news, hoax images: How to spot a digitally altered photo from the real deal’, ABC News, 24 July.  Available at:  https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2018-02-11/fake-news-hoax-images-digitally-altered-photos-photoshop/9405776 (Accessed: 25 March 2019)

TED (2018) Fake videos of real people — and how to spot them | Supasorn Suwajanakorn. Available at: https://youtu.be/o2DDU4g0PRo (Accessed 28 March 2019)

University of Warwick (2017) One third of fake images go undetected in recent study [Press release] 18 July. Available at:  https://warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/one_third_of/ (Accessed: 22 March 2019)

Vick, K. (2018) ‘A Reckoning After Trump’s Border Separation Policy: What Kind of Country Are We?’ The Times, 21 June. Available at:  http://time.com/5318229/donald-trump-border-separation-policy/ (Accessed: 22 March 2019)

Bubbles and echos: are you surrounding yourself with fake news?

Librarians have been warning people about ‘Fake News’ for many, many, many, many years – how to find and select reliable, authoritative, quality resources is at the heart of any good library teaching session.  In a way we librarians have to thank Mr Trump for making Fake News a popular term; he has made everyone aware that there are fake stories out there and that there has been for centuries (see our historical time-line of Fake News).

2019 is NU Library’s third year of promoting awareness of Fake News, and by looking at the large number of visits to our Fake News Guide over these three years (4,672 visits in total), and again thanks to Mr Trump, it’s not something that’s going away anytime soon.  So we Librarians will continue our quest of highlighting all information that is fake for the greater good.

Until I went to Librarian’s Fake News conference last year, I hadn’t heard of the terms ‘Filter Bubble’ and ‘Echo Chambers’ in relation to Fake News.  However, once explained hopefully it will make you more aware of what information/news stories you read via the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter, and how they could potentially be fake.  So here is the low-down on what these terms mean and how you can avoid falling into their traps; we’ve also offered the alternative view that they’re a load of old nonsense so you can decide for yourselves…

What is a ‘Filter Bubble’?

A Filter Bubble is when you are in a virtual bubble on social media – you only encounter information and opinions that agree with or reinforce your own beliefs.  Your ‘personalised’ online experience is the result of algorithms that work away in the background and dictate what you see/read online. Google, Facebook, Pinterest, Netflix, YouTube and many more all do this.

These Filter Bubbles in turn create Echo Chambers…

What are ‘Echo Chambers’?

When information within a closed system online is only giving you (‘echoing’) back your opinion and beliefs and establishing confirmation bias (only accepting information that confirm your own opinion and beliefs).

What are the dangers?

As much as I enjoy Facebook fuelling my love of funny dog videos by suggesting similar videos and articles, being aware of why and how Facebook is doing this helps when it comes to more serious topics such as the news, social issues and politics.

Regarding Fake News, confirmation bias is particularly worrying as you will start believing fake news stories that confirms your opinions and beliefs. I know I have done this, which is really scary to realise.

Watch this short TedTalks video from Eli Pariser on the dangers of Filter Bubbles:

You could argue that this type of ‘personalisation’ is editing the web – only showing you one half of the story.  So what can you do to pop the bubble?

What can you do to stop the bubbles and echoes?

There are a few simple things you can do to stop this and open yourselves up to a wider web:

  • Read news sites, websites and blogs that offer a wide range of perspectives, such as the BBC.
  • Use Incognito browsing, delete search histories and try and resist the temptation of logging into your accounts every time you go online.
  • Deleting or blocking browser cookies – these cookies hold the algorithms that determine what we see.
  • Turn off your curated feed in Facebook.
  • Click ‘Like’ on everything! – This will tell the AI that you are into everything – all politics, all news etc.
  • Don’t clink on links, especially politics and social issues – will stop fuelling the algorithms.
  • Tell everyone else to turn off their curated feed!

Is it all a myth?

Below are a few articles that claim Filter Bubbles and Echo Chambers are myths and that it’s not the technology at fault, but rather the user. I’ll let you decide:

Dubois, E. and Blank, G. (2018) The myth of the echo chamber. Available at: https://theconversation.com/the-myth-of-the-echo-chamber-92544. (Accessed: 27 March 2019).

Robson, D. (2018) The myth of the online echo chamber. Available at: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180416-the-myth-of-the-online-echo-chamber. (Accessed: 27 March 2019).

Schwab, P. (2017) Academic research debunks the myth of filter bubbles. Available at: https://www.intotheminds.com/blog/en/academic-research-debunks-the-myth-of-filter-bubbles/. (Accessed: 27 March 2019).

Don’t burst my bubble!

Or maybe you like being in your own little bubble? The safety and comfort in knowing what information you are going to be presented with – nothing that offends or upsets your online world. I know I will carry on being fed humorous dog videos.

There are some interesting thoughts and opinions on the Social Network Bubble – the pros and cons – on this Radio 4 programme:

BBC Radio 4 (2017) Bursting the social network bubble. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b083p4lw. (Accessed: 27 March 2019).

References:

BBC Radio 4 (2017) Fave ways to burst your social media bubble. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3n9yf0D5WxRZJGclBMtFGwK/five-ways-to-burst-your-social-media-bubble. (Accessed: 27 March 2019).

Farnam Street (2017) How filter bubbles distort reality: everything you need to know. Available at: https://fs.blog/2017/07/filter-bubbles/. (Accessed: 27 March 2019).

Grimes, D. (2017) Echo chambers are dangerous – we must try to break free of our online bubbles. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2017/dec/04/echo-chambers-are-dangerous-we-must-try-to-break-free-of-our-online-bubbles. (Accessed: 27 March 2019).