Resource in focus: State Papers Online

The Library has access to the digitised State Papers Online from 1509 to the end of the State Papers series in 1782, providing a fascinating research resource for early modern Britain and Europe.

What are the State Papers?

They are predominantly official papers of the Secretaries of State from the period, and include correspondence, reports, memoranda and civil service drafts, covering a wide range of domestic and international matters, and emanating from the highest levels of power. The collections include letters from popes, diplomats, and rulers of other countries, as well as records such as military and naval registers, and thus provide a fascinating record of the Tudor, Stuart and early Georgian periods in England and beyond.

A selection of entries

It is an major resource for researching themes such as the monarchy, law and order, religious conflict, wars and treaties, international trade and the emergence of party politics.

What’s in this collection?

The digitised collections comprise the papers themselves, digitised from the original manuscripts, as well as the ‘calendars’, which catalogue and briefly describe or summarise the manuscripts, and which have been transcribed into text. The manuscripts themselves are mostly not searchable (except for a few series which have been transcribed). The calendars are searchable, and each calendar entry links to its manuscript, making the research process significantly easier than pre-digitisation.

How to search

You can search or browse the State Papers in various ways. We’d recommend selecting Advanced Search to access all the options for focusing your search. Note useful options such as fuzzy search, which enables you to search for spelling variants, plus the option to limit your search to records with a manuscript, and/or a transcript of the manuscript.

Advanced search screen

The Browse function may be useful if you wish to work through a particular series of State Papers: you can either browse the calendars or manuscripts.

There are various options for saving, downloading and exporting results.

Help and guidance

If you are using the State Papers for the first time, we’d recommend reading the relevant About State Papers Online section to get an overview of what each collection contains.

You will also find very helpful contextual information in the Research Tools section.

  • Reference includes glossaries, explanations of dates, weights and measures etc;
  • Links gives links to useful guidance such as paleography courses.
  • Essays gives more detailed insights into each collection, written by experts.
  • Key documents picks out important highlights from the collections.
  • You can also click Help in the top right of the screen for in-depth help with searching and exporting.

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

Try the new Web of Science

Over the summer we moved to the newly revitalised Web of Science platform and the consensus amongst the Liaison Team is that it’s great! When asked the difference between Scopus and Web of Science and why you would use one database rather than the other, it is largely a question of personal preference and you when engaged in more advanced research you may need to use both databases.

If you are new to Web of Science the name may imply it is a science database, however it provides access to current and retrospective multidisciplinary information from approximately 21,000 peer-reviewed, high-quality scholarly journals published worldwide (including Open Access journals); over 205,000 conference proceedings; and over 104,000 editorially selected books within their Social Sciences Citation Index®, and Arts & Humanities Citation Index™ collections. 

Web of Science also allows cited reference searching where you can navigate forward, backward, and through the literature, searching all disciplines and time spans to uncover all the information relevant to your studies.

Where to find Web of Science

You can access Web of Science from Library Search. This will help you to access the database successfully as you will be prompted to log in with your University username and password. Simply search for it by name from the Library website.

You will also find a link to on the Journals and Databases page of your Subject Guide, which provides a list and links to the recommended databases in your discipline.

Web of Science content

As we alluded to above, Web of Science includes much more than ‘science’ information, including:

  • life sciences, biomedical sciences
  • social sciences, arts & humanities.
  • strongest coverage of natural sciences, health sciences, engineering, computer science, materials sciences.

What’s new about Web of Science?

Start with this quick introduction to the new Web of Science to find out about the improved user interface and search functionality.

Get started with Web of Science with these advanced search tips tutorial and find out how you can be use the techniques most effectively in Web of Science. 

Help with Web of Science

As the platform is new you may find that the database automatically begins with a guided tour, taking you through the main features as you begin your search. This is a great way to get to know Web of Science. There are also lots of tip sheets, videos and training resources to explore.

Additional Oxford Handbooks Online

We already had bought permanent access to a range of different collections in the Oxford Handbooks Online series.

We decided we like them so much we’ve now added in some more from across humanities, social sciences and science

We now have access to the following :

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

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.

They can be both a great starting point for information as well as providing more in-depth details and content too.

Black History Month: Proud to be

Our book carousel on the EDI guide

October is Black History Month, with the theme Proud to be: “inviting black and brown people of all ages throughout the UK to share what they are proud to be.”

On the Library’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) guide, we’ve highlighted books and other resources from our collections which focus on black British people and themes across many fields, such as politics, law, music, art, business and literature.

Please take a look, and if you would like to suggest books which you think we should add to our collection, we’d love to hear from you: just fill in our suggestion form.

We’ve also compiled a Black History Month themed playlist on Box of Broadcasts, with a great collection of films and documentaries.

Don’t forget to explore the other sections of our EDI guide too: it aims to curate and highlight information resources of all kinds, relating to different EDI themes. You’ll find books, films, social media, digital and physical archives and more. We’d love to get your recommendations for anything we’ve missed, and you can still catch up on our summer reading challenge if you’d like to be inspired, or inspire others.

You can read about Newcastle University’s events to mark Black History Month here.

And watch out for a really interesting Black History Month feature from our colleagues in Special Collections and Archives, coming up later this month….

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.

Find UK and international news with Nexis Uni

If you’re looking for UK or international news from the last thirty years or so to today, then make sure you explore Nexis. The Nexis database has recently moved to a new platform (Nexis Uni): we think you’ll find it is easier to search than the old version, and it has some really useful features.

If you’re used to ‘old’ Nexis, don’t worry: the content on Nexis Uni is exactly the same, and you can still use the ‘expert’ search features if you want to.

What does it cover?

Nexis Uni enables you to search over 17,000 news, business and legal sources. This includes most UK national and regional newspapers, together with international sources, including newspapers, newswires and news magazines in multiple languages. Coverage of news titles often dates back to the 1990s and includes today’s news. Coverage is text only, and doesn’t include images, layout, adverts etc.

Nexis Uni also gives access to specialist business information, including dossiers on major UK and international companies, together with specialist legal information.

How to search news on Nexis Uni?

There are various ways to limit your search to newspapers/news sources, but the simplest is to select the News button from the Guided Search section:

Guided Search

Type in your search term (use ” ” if searching for a phrase), select your date range, and click Search.

Limit by location of publication

Once your results are displayed, you can then further limit your search by date, publication type, location, language and more.

If you want to search news from a particular country, such as the UK, select Location by Publication >International> and then choose your continent and country.

If you would like to try more complex searching (e.g. searching in a particular section of the newspaper, or combining terms together in various ways), then click on Advanced search from the home page.

There is more detailed guidance about searching in the Nexis help centre.

Searching/browsing a particular newspaper

If you want to find a particular newspaper, choose Menu>All Sources, and then type in the newspaper’s name. Click the three dot menu to get more information about coverage of the newspaper in Nexis Uni (NB ignore the phrase which says Archived source: no longer updated).

You can also use this route to add one or more newspapers as search filters, if you just want to search across certain titles only.

Personalisation features

If you’re using Nexis Uni regularly, we’d recommend you create a Nexis account, which enables you to set up alerts (click the bell icon at the top of your results listing), save searches, annotate and bookmark items, and share these with others. You can read more about alerts here.

Alert button

Please note: if you had previously set up alerts or saved searches on ‘old’ Nexis, they won’t migrate to Nexis Uni, so you’ll need to set them up again.

Where can I get more help?

Click the large question mark icon at the bottom right of the screen to get to the Nexis Help Centre >Support Resources, which includes videos and short guides.

Should I use Lexis or Nexis for UK news searching?

The ‘news’ section on the Lexis legal database enables you to search UK national and regional (but not international) newspapers. Nexis Uni is produced by the same company, and should have the same UK news coverage as Lexis, though Nexis Uni also includes a wider range of news sources such as broadcast news and news wires. We also think you’ll find the Nexis search and personalisation options are better, and easier to use, so we’d recommend Nexis. However, you might prefer to stick with Lexis if you use it regularly for legal information.

New resource now available: JSTOR ebooks collection

The Library now has access to over 59,000 extra ebooks via JSTOR. These books are from nearly a hundred different publishers in 25 countries mainly in Europe, Africa and the USA, and were all published in 2018 or earlier. We also have access to 6,500 Open Access titles.

The content is wide-ranging, encompassing many subject areas across the humanities and social sciences, as well as some natural sciences.

Our access to all the books is for an initial twelve month period, after which we will buy permanent access to certain titles; usually those which have been most heavily used.

Finding JSTOR books

JSTOR search limit

All the books are individually catalogued on Library Search, or you can find them when you search JSTOR (you can limit your search results to find books only).

You can also view a full title list in the Evidence-Based Acquisition section here.

If you would like to find out more about JSTOR’s other collections, and how to get the best out of this resource, please see our blog post.

SAGE Research Methods

After a recent trial we are delighted we have managed to secure access to SAGE Research Methods. This is an invaluable resources for anyone undertaking an independent research project or dissertation.

The platform contains thousands of resources, dedicated to the subject area of Research Methods.  It supports all stages of the research process from: writing a research question, conducting a literature review, choosing the best research methods, analysing data, to writing up your results and thinking about publication.

It contains information suited to all levels of researchers, from undergraduates starting their first projects to research associates. Within the resource students will be able to access dictionary and encyclopaedia entries, book chapters, full books, journal articles, case studies, some datasets and streaming video from SAGE Research Methods Video. It includes online access to the complete Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences (QASS) series, aka the “The Little Green Books,” as well as the Qualitative Research Methods Series (QRMS), or “The Little Blue Books”

SAGE Research Methods includes a wealth of teacher resources and reusable materials for academics and module leaders to draw on and are licensed for educational use, allowing you to reuse materials and show videos within your teaching free of Copyright concerns. We think the platform will work well in conjunction with textbooks on research methods as well as some of the resources we have on our ASK website.

The Methods Map can be used to navigate methods, concepts and techniques via breakout diagrams. Whereas the Project Planner Tool is a step-by-step guide to starting, developing and completing a research project.  The methods sections provide information on all aspects of the research cycle – including the formulation of research questions, research design, project management and data collection.

Coming soon, SAGE Research Methods will be embedded in Canvas as an LTI, allowing you to easily embed videos, learning materials, case studies and videos into your Canvas courses.

Access the SAGE Research Methods User Guide for an overview of the resource an use the tabs below to access videos and training materials to get started.