Cite it right and avoid unintentional plagiarism

You may think that advice on avoiding plagiarism doesn’t apply to you, because you’re not planning to buy an essay from the internet, or copy someone else’s work. But you may not be aware that it is possible to plagiarise unintentionally if:

  • you’re not aware of the differences between referencing at university and any referencing you may have been used to doing previously;
  • you haven’t been meticulous about keeping records of your reading;
  • you don’t know how to use references in your academic writing to support your discussion and critical analysis.

It’s important to take referencing seriously and not just guess, or assume that you know how to do it. The consequences can be serious with marks deducted – it can even lead to accusations of academic misconduct.

However, it can be confusing when you have advice and guidance on referencing from so many different sources. It’s tempting to just Google it! But that’s far less likely to give you the right answer than guidance produced at your own university. You should always check your own Course Handbook first for advice (it will be on Blackboard).

Our Citing References guide combines previous guidance from the Library and Study Advice to cover the why, what, when and how of referencing in a single place. Study Advice video tutorials on referencing are embedded in the guide, which includes:

You could also look at The Academic Integrity Toolkit, which shows how understanding referencing is an important part of studying at university and ‘becoming a graduate’ generally. The Toolkit includes tips, explanations and exercises (with answers) to help you develop your understanding of essential skills including:

If you’re a Part 1 undergraduate and have enrolled on Study Smart, you could also go back over the relevant guidance in Week 1.

The guidance below focuses on three important points to help you avoid unintentional plagiarism.

References in a footnote1.Know when to include a reference

Whenever you include an idea that you have gained from your reading in an assignment, you must ensure that you reference it correctly, both in the text and at the end in your reference list or bibliography. If you use the original words you have found in your reading, you must mark them with quotation marks, even if you only use part of the sentence. It is not enough to give the details of where the words came from; they must be marked out, or it will look as if you are claiming them as your own words. If you are writing the idea up in your own words, don’t be tempted to just change a few words. If you use quotations inadequately or paraphrase badly it will certainly be viewed as poor academic practice and may subject your work to penalties. It may even be seen as plagiarism.

Watch this brief video tutorial on using paraphrases.

See Library and Study Advice guidance on using quotes and paraphrases.

2. Develop good note-taking practices

Ever looked at your notes and thought, “I wonder where that came from?” or “I wonder if those are my words or copied from the text?” It’s frustrating when you can’t be sure – but it could cause you problems if you use the material without being able to reference it accurately. To avoid this, make it a habit to have good record-keeping practices. Always note the details of each text you use (author, title, year) when you start writing notes on your reading; include page numbers as you go along, even if you are not copying text directly but writing the ideas in your own words; have a system of markers to indicate if something is a quote (put in quotation marks), an idea explained in your own words, or a query or new idea stemming from what you’re read (perhaps an asterisk *). The Study Advisers have guidance on effective note-taking and a brief video tutorial on critical note-taking with more suggestions.

If you’re using an e-book, you may be able to make notes electronically as you’re reading the text. See the section in our LibGuide on Studying with e-books for more information. If you have an online reading list, you can also make brief notes on this – our LibGuide page on What else can I do with my list? has details.

You might also consider using reference management software to keep details of your reading including all the bibliographic information. EndNote and Mendeley work with Word to create citations and bibliographies for you.

3. Know what to do if you can’t find all the details of a reference

bibliographic details screencast screencapIf you have a quote but don’t know where it came from, try typing it into Google. You may find it’s better to use a short phrase rather than the whole quote; try to find a grouping of words that is less common. If you have some details of the text, you could try looking at your reading list or searching the Library catalogue. You can also look back through your Library account to see the titles of books you’ve borrowed. If you have the author and title of a journal article or even just the title of the journal and a date it may be possible to find the complete reference in Summon or one of the Library’s databases. What you must never do is invent details, or include things in your assignment if you cannot be sure about the source. This may lead to accusations of academic misconduct.

For more help watch this brief video tutorial on how to find bibliographic details.

Need more help?

If you’re still confused, or you have a specific question about referencing that isn’t answered in our guide, you can always contact your Academic Liaison Librarian or the Study Advice team to discuss this in person. Just remember to do it in plenty of time – the day your assignment is due to be submitted is not ideal!

 

Silent remembrance

pile of red paper and plastic popiesWe invite Library users who wish to observe two-minute acts of remembrance at 11:00 on Remembrance Sunday, 10 November or Armistice Day, Monday 11 November to move to one of our quiet areas on our upper floors.

On Monday 11 November at 10:45 the University will hold a short memorial service at the flagpole (between the Library and Whiteknights House) for those who wish to gather together to commemorate Armistice Day.  This will be hosted by the University Chaplains and will be open to staff and students of all faiths and none.

Rebecca Ashley
Library User Services

Download Desktop EndNote free to your own computer

Open laptopA change to the licence for EndNote means that it is now possible to download the full Desktop EndNote to your own computer saving you nearly £100. Just follow these steps:

  1. Go to the IT Self-Service Portal
  2. Select Place a Request
  3. Select User Support
  4. Finally select Software – EndNote
  5. Read and accept the terms and conditions

You will be sent an email containing a download link and product key.

Note that under the terms of the licence if you leave the University you must remove EndNote from your computer.

To find out more about this software and how to use it see our EndNote guide.

Jackie Skinner
Academic Liaison Librarian

 

Boost your referencing with EndNote or Mendeley

Student studying in the LibraryHave you been marked down for inconsistencies in referencing? Are you fed up with writing all of your references by hand? There are programs that can take the pain out of referencing by storing your references and helping you create bibliographies in Microsoft Word.

We’re running workshops throughout the year covering two of the options available – whether you’re working on essays, your dissertation, or starting your PhD, come along and find out how much time you can save! You can book onto either of these beginners’ sessions on RISIS under the Actions tab.

Desktop EndNote

Desktop EndNote is a comprehensive reference management system and is designed for postgraduate researchers and staff. You can download accurate references from many databases, such as Web of Science. Use the ‘Find Full-text’ feature to automatically download and attach PDFs for those references. In addition, you can select from thousands of referencing styles or create your own – great if you’re writing for publication. It’s free on all campus PCs through Apps Anywhere, and new this year you can download it free on your own computer via the IT Self-Service Portal. We’re running workshops at the following times this term:

  • Wed 6 November, 14:00-15:30
  • Wed 27 November, 14:00-15:30

There’s also an online version of EndNote which we recommend to undergraduates and masters students.

See our EndNote guide to find out more.

Mendeley

Mendeley is designed to make storing references and PDFs as simple as possible. We mainly recommend it for undergraduate and masters students. Its main feature is the ‘watched folder’ – any time you add a PDF to a selected folder, Mendeley will automatically retrieve the details. You can also drag and drop PDFs directly into your library or use its Web Importer for details of websites and other sources. If you work a lot with article PDFs, Mendeley is a good option for you. It has both online and desktop versions – both are free to use, but only the desktop version works with Microsoft Word. Workshops are taking place at the following times this term:

  • Wed 13 November, 14:00-15:30
  • Wed 4 December, 14:00-15:30

See our Mendeley guide to find out more.

Book your place

Sign up to any of these workshops through the Actions tab on RISIS. If you can’t make any of the specified sessions but would like to know more, take a look at our reference management guide or contact your Liaison Librarian.

Jackie Skinner
Academic Liaison Librarian

Head upstairs for more Library study space

Enjoy the full range of study spaces the Library has to offer. Following a multi-million pound refurbishment we now provide around 1,500 study spaces, 200 more than we had before. Be sure to investigate all five floors and three types of study space to find what suits you best. Our contemporary, new environment is very popular so do check out the upper floors for places others may not have reached yet!

Study your way in the Library

See our study space video or plans of each floor and you will find that study space has been arranged into three different types:

Group study – where talking is required
To discuss your work in groups, or if you concentrate best with background noise, head to the front of the 4th or 2nd Floors, the back of the Ground Floor, or the 1st Floor PC area for a choice of individual rooms, group pods, diner-like seating or long tables. There are eight bookable group study rooms on the 1st Floor.

Individual, quiet study
To work quietly by yourself, use an individual desk by the windows around the books on the 4th, 3rd and 2nd Floors, or in Short Loan on the Ground Floor.

Silent study
To work in silence choose from individual comfy chairs or a desk in one of our enclosed study rooms on the 5th Floor.

Study space across campus

Whilst the Library houses the largest single collection of study spaces on campus, at busy times you may wish to use other study areas. The Study Space Across Campus Essentials page includes both RUSU Studies, the ‘Free Room Finder’ showing which teaching rooms students can use, and the Study Space Map listing other study areas.

Rachel Redrup
Academic Liaison Librarian

Churchill Archive – trial access available

A black and white image of Winston ChurchillThe Library currently has a trial to the online Churchill Archive – try it now! Access is available until 21st December.

The archive consists of more than 800,000 pages of original documents, produced between 1874 and 1965, ranging from Winston S. Churchill’s personal correspondence to his official exchanges with kings, presidents, politicians, and military leaders. There is a video tour of the archive available here.

Access is available on-campus and off-campus.

Help us to decide

Please let Charlie Carpenter, Academic Liaison Librarian for History, know what you think of the archive at c.a.carpenter@reading.ac.uk

Sophie Dorman, E-resources Team

Updates to Digimap

Over the summer, Digimap have produced a number of improvements which will help compare and combine the different services, and increase interoperability with other mapping applications.

Web Mapping Services

A new button gives access to ‘Web Services’.  This will allow you to export Digimap to other applications like ArcGIS or QGIS, without having to store the data locally. The data can be used as backdrop mapping and there are no size restrictions.  You can also use this function to combine different Digimap services eg Aerial and OS.  Transparency sliders allow you to adjust the visibility of each component.

New overlays in Digimap Ordnance Survey

New overlays available include:

  • Postcodes – based on Codepoint with polygons. Contains the full hierarchy
  • Contours and spot heights – from Terrain50 and Terrain5 datasets
  • Points of interest – point dataset of features. Nine groups, including Retail, Transport and manufacturing and Production

Photographs

Photo of Library on OS Digimap

Include photographs on a Digimap base

Upload your own photographs to a Digimap base! Simply click on the Camera icon on the Drawing Tools panel.  Once added it is treated as a drawing feature and can be moved or resized.

Printing

You can now request an A5 sized print – better for fitting into an essay or report

Search results

Search results are now grouped by type – places, roads, coordinates etc, and shown in different tabs

If you have questions about using Digimap, contact Judith Fox –  j.a.fox@reading.ac.uk

Judith Fox, Map Librarian

Romanticism: Life, Literature and Landscape trial access extended

Poetry book with heartTry out the collection of Romanticism: Life, Literature and Landscape from the Wordsworth Trust now! We have had our trial access to this resource extended to 18th November.

This collection of thousands of original documents including manuscripts, letters, diaries, maps and fine art, covers the Romantic poets and the wider social, political and natural environment that shaped much of their work.

This is available on campus and off campus

Please note that PDF download options are not available during trials.

Help us to decide

Please send any comments on this resource to Charlie Carpenter, Liaison Librarian for History- c.a.carpenter@reading.ac.uk or Kim Coles, Liaison Librarian for English Literature – k.coles@reading.ac.uk

Lindsay Warwick, E-resources Team 

Black History Month 2019 – Diversifying our collections

In celebration of October’s Black History Month, the Library is once again inviting University of Reading staff to suggest books, DVDs or CDs to help Library collections support a more diverse curriculum.

Suggest more diverse resources

What resources can you suggest in your specialism to represent ethnic groups, cultural diversity or geographical areas in our collections? Complete our Diversify our collections suggestion form to help us spend a special fund, over and above resources supporting existing reading lists.

Ideally we would like you to name specific titles, but we still want to hear from you if you feel we just need more materials in a certain area. For example:

  • [name] is underrepresented in your collection, can you buy more of their novels/poetry?
  • there aren’t any books on the history/political situation in [country]
  • can you purchase some more books on ethnic representation in higher education?

Library staff will then review submitted suggestions and organise the purchase of materials.

If you would like to suggest other items for the Library, please complete our regular book suggestion form.

Last session’s suggestions

Examples of material purchased from this fund last session include:

You can see all the Diversity fund titles purchased last session on our dedicated 2018/19 Library Diversity fund reading list.

Kerry Webb, Associate Director (Academic Liaison and Support)

Support from your Library beyond Welcome Week

Hands hold our map infront of library entrance gates

Take a tiny self-guided tour to find out where everything is on the Library’s newly refurbished Ground and 1st Floors.

Welcome Week may now be over but there is still plenty of support available, online and in person, to help you make the most of the Library.

Library tours

Library tours continue to run throughout week 1 at 11:00, 12:00 and 14:00 each day. You can book onto a tour on RISIS, or just turn up five minutes before the start time.

If you don’t have time for an escorted tour, you can also pick up a self-guided tour in the Library. This will allow you to look around the Library at your own pace, guiding you through all the information you’ll need to make full use of the services and facilities.

You can also take a look at our YouTube channel for quick videos on how to use the Library such as finding a book, using the self-service points and how to print, scan and copy.

Who can you ask for help?

Academic Liaison librarians

There is a dedicated academic liaison librarian for every subject at the University. Your liaison librarian can support your studies by:

• showing you how to use information resources effectively – your librarian can offer training sessions for your School/Department and online library guides for your subject
• showing you how to save time by making the most of all our Library services
• giving you individual help with research – your librarian can offer in depth one-to-one help in finding information, including identifying the most relevant e-resources for you to use

Contact your academic liaison librarian to arrange a meeting.

Pick up a free year planner, as well as information, study and maths advice, from the Study Advice Desk!

Study Advice and Maths Support Desk

The Study Advice and Maths Support Desk is staffed 10:00-16:00 every weekday. You can drop in here with quick queries for Study Advice, Maths Support and Academic Liaison Librarians or to book longer appointments with staff from any of these teams. You can also pick up a free Study Advice year planner, perfect for helping you organise your studies for the coming year.

Chairs in front of a long enquiry counter where on the other sides a librarian sits talking on phone. Two people are talking across the far end of the counter.

Ask general enquiries at the Welcome Desk.

Welcome Desk

You can ask at the Welcome Desk for help with most general enquiries including:

  • finding your way around
  • your Library account and membership
  • loans, renewals and holds
  • inter-library loans

Our friendly staff will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

Further information

To keep up to date with the latest Library news, visit this Library blog and our social media channels.

Katie Winter, Academic Liaison Support Librarian

Library open following major refurbishment

The University Library is now open following its major refurbishment. Over £40 million has been invested into improving key features and facilities, including:

  • increased study space, including space to meet growing demand for group study.
  • new automated service to make borrowing and returning books quicker and easier (freeing up librarians’ time for helping students).
  • print hubs on Ground Floor and floors 1-4.
  • water fountains on floors 1-4.
  • expanded Library café, including new outdoor dining area.
  • new larger cycle sheds.
  • improved impact on the environment, with energy usage lowered by 40% and carbon emissions cut by 30%.
Girl using automatic book borrowing machine

Borrow at contactless Self-Service Points; return at the new book sorter machine.

Minor finishing works will continue to take place as and when needed over the coming weeks. Any major work will take place outside typical user hours.

Study space on campus

The Library now houses the largest collection of study spaces on campus. There are still plenty of other places on campus to go for studying – details of these can be found on the Study Space Across Campus Essentials page.

Those returning to campus may note that the URS Building is being used for teaching this term and is no longer used as Library study space.

Where to get help

Study Advice and Maths Support Desk

There are plenty of places within the Library you can get help.

  • For general enquiries, including help with your Library account or finding your way around, please use the Welcome Desk (Ground Floor).
  • For expert advice on a range of study skills and resources in your subject area, please use the Study Advice and Maths Support Desk (Ground Floor).
  • For IT enquiries, please visit the IT Service Desk (1st Floor).

Maps of each floor are also available – please take a look to see exactly where specific features are located within the building

 

Remember your Campus Card

Remember your Campus Card – you need it every time you visit the Library to enter through our new entrance gates.

Library user tapping campus card to enter library through security gates

Tap your Campus Card to enter and exit the Library

The gates are to increase your security and prioritise study space for University members.

Library members: you can enter and exit just by tapping your Campus Card (the same one you use to borrow) at the gates …. so there’s nothing you need to do other than carry it with you. If you forget your card, speak to staff at the Welcome Desk who can grant you temporary access on a limited number of occasions.

Members of the public over 18You are welcome to use and copy Library printed materials Monday to Friday, 09:00-17:00. Please bring phographic proof of ID with you when you visit and speak to staff at the Welcome Desk who will ask for your ID, gather some information about you, and ask you to abide by the Library rules. You need to book ahead to gain access evenings and weekends. Please email library@reading.ac.uk telling us when you want to visit and we will arrange for Security staff to give you entrance: if you have not contacted the Library beforehand you will not be admitted.

Everyone can still use the Library Café and Ground Floor toilets, which you will find before you reach the barriers.

Natalie Guest, Document Delivery Co-ordinator / Academic Liaison Librarian