Polishing up your masters dissertation – info tip

Student studyingAs you get into the last few weeks of work on your dissertation or major project, it should all be coming together. This info tip aims to give you the tools to get everything done in time – and make your dissertation a shining success!

Editing, proof-reading and referencing

At this stage, you should be starting to think about editing and proof-reading. It’s best not to leave this till the last minute as it’s rarely just a matter of checking your spelling. There may be missing citation details to find, arguments that would be better placed elsewhere, repetition to remove, and word count to reduce. All these things take more time than you think.

Study Advice have a guide on Writing at Masters’ level which will help you to see what you need to aim at when editing your writing. There is also a guide on Academic writing including tips for more Effective proof-reading. If you have five minutes, you could watch one of their video tutorials on dissertations.

Make sure your citations are all correct, complete and consistent. This can be a slow process so allow plenty of time. There is information about different referencing styles and how to reference more unusual sources in our Citing References libguide. You could also look at the Study Advisers’ video tutorials on referencing. If you’re still not sure, ask your Liaison Librarian or a Study Adviser.

Incomplete reference? What to do?

You may find you have a key piece of information, but not all the details you need for your bibliography. If you have some, it still may be possible to find the complete reference.

For a journal article, try Summon or one of the Library’s databases; for a book, try checking your reading list, searching the Library catalogue, or a database specializing in books such as Worldcat or Copac. Ask at a Library Information Desk for help. You can also look back through your Library account to see the titles of books you’ve borrowed over the last 6 months.

If you have a quote but don’t know where it came from, try one of our online dictionaries of quotations included in Credo Reference or Oxford Reference collections. Or type it into Google, framed with quotation marks e.g. “To be or not to be”. You may find it’s better to use a short phrase rather than the whole quote; try to find a grouping of words that stands out. What you must never do is invent details, or include things in your dissertation 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.

Get the edge with up-to-date information

The best dissertations include the most up-to-date research so, if you have time, you could check for recent publications that you may have missed in your literature review. Many databases allow you to re-run your search for an author or on a topic to find only the most recent items.

For example the Web of Science allows you to save your searches to re-run against the latest updates to its databases. You can also set up RSS feeds and citation alerts (so that you are notified when someone cites your key articles). To set up email alerts, search the individual databases within Web of Science. Female student writingWatch the Saving your search and setting email alerts video for detailed instructions. You could check other databases for similar features.

For more, see our further tips on keeping up to date.

Staying motivated

It can be difficult to motivate yourself to get to the finishing line, and it’s easy to underestimate how long the finishing touches may take. Breaking your remaining tasks down and setting deadlines to get each ticked off can help. Study Advice have some further suggestions on staying motivated.

Layout and binding

Find out ahead of time what is expected in terms of layout and binding and you are likely to save yourself from last-minute panic. The Study Advice website has some general principles on finishing up. More specific information should be in your course or module handbook. It may also be possible to look at past dissertations.

You do not need to hard bind your work, but if you choose to do so, do be aware that you will have to leave considerably more time. The Library have teamed up with experienced university binders Hollingsworth & Moss to offer a hard and soft bound printing and binding service.

Acceptable binding styles include thermal binding with a hard or soft cover, spiral and comb binding. These can be done at many print shops with a little notice, including Mail Boxes Etc in the RUSU building on Whiteknights campus.

If you have any last-minute queries, you can always come and ask your Liaison Librarian or a Study Adviser.

This is one of a series of tips to help you save time and effort finding or using information.

This tip was written by Kim Shahabudin, Study Adviser and Rachel Redrup, Liaison Librarian for Education.

Enterprise upgrade 26-27 July: some services disrupted

Fire extinguisher hung on wall behind grinning, enigmatic but cheeky blighter.

Systems Team Manager Sam is ready to fire-fight any possible blips after the Library systems upgrade, over-night on Wednesday 26 July.

Following on from our recent upgrade to Enterprise, our Library Catalogue, we need to do a bit more work to give us a robust, reliable system and take advantage of some new features. Whilst we do this Enterprise may be unavailable on Wednesday 26 July, between 15:00 and midnight.

You will still be able to …

  • Search the old Library catalogue, Unicorn to access book locations and some E-resources.  Or try Summon for some other E-resources.
  • Pop into the Library until 17:00 or ask at the URS Information Desk about your account, pay fines etc.

But you won’t be able to …

  • access your online Library account to renew your loans or pay fines.

This work should have finished by Thursday 27 July, but the catalogue will still be ‘at risk’ on that day as the Systems Team test the upgrade.  We will be sure to inform you if there are any other changes to the service that may occur.

Jackie Skinner, Library Web Manager for
Sam Tyler, Library Systems Manager

ProQuest problems fixed!

Books, glasses and a tabletWe’re pleased to say that the problems we were experiencing with access to ProQuest resources have been fixed. You should be able to access all our e-resources as usual.

If you experience any issues, please let us know by completing the E-resources problem report form.

Jackie Skinner, Library Web Manager

Making the most of our map resources – info tip

Field mapsDid you know that University of Reading Library has more than 70,000 maps and atlases and is one of the largest university collections in the country? Our maps can be used for your teaching, research, and holidays!

Geographical cover

We have excellent coverage of Britain, including detailed coverage of Berkshire and the Reading area. Coverage of Europe is also very good, at least to road map level of most countries.

Coverage of the rest of the world varies with what is available – it may not be possible to obtain recent maps of some areas, especially as many governments consider maps to be politically sensitive. However we will certainly have something for all parts of the globe.

Date range

Reading 1761Although the collection is mostly post-1900, we have many facsimiles of earlier maps, including reproductions of English 18th century county atlases.

We also have Ordnance Survey maps dating back to 1830, as well as access to Historic Digimap, so it is possible to produce a time sequence of maps of a particular place.

Older versions of atlases and maps may reveal hidden information about a place and its past.

Types of map

You need to consider the type of map you need, and what you are planning to do with it.  Maps come in a variety of different types:

  •     Sheet maps or atlases
  •     Flat or folded
  •     Loanable or reference
  •     General purpose or thematic
  •     Paper or digital

Atlases are generally available for loan, and are mostly found in the 912 and FOLIO–912 sequences on the 4th Floor.

Most of the map collection is non-loan, but a set of folded ‘Field maps’, including British Landranger and geology maps, are available for loan on the 2nd Floor.

Thematic maps show geology, soil types, land use, population, languages – anything which can be shown with a spatial distribution.  Many maps of this type are included in atlases, but may also be found as sheet maps.

Digital maps

roam TowerDigital maps are of increasing importance. For Great Britain, Digimap delivers maps and map data from official sources to UK higher education, and you can easily create authoratative location and site maps.  There are five different collections available to members of the University of Reading:

  • Digimap – contemporary Ordnance Survey maps and data, ranging from small scale base maps to detailed large scale plans
  • Historic Digimap – historic Ordnance Survey maps from 1840 to the 1990s.  They can be compared side-by-side to help follow changes in the landscape
  • Geology Digimap – geology maps and data from the British Geological Survey (BGS)
  • Environment Digimap – landcover maps for different years, from the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology (CEH).  This collection includes scans of the Dudley Stamp Land Use maps from the 1930s
  • Aerial Digimap – detailed aerial photography in a single seamless coverage, captured since 2000

A simple print out can be produced, or data can be downloaded and used in a Geographical Information System in conjunction with your own data. Look at the GIS & remote sensing section of our LibGuide to find other online sources of digital maps and data.

How to find them

To find paper maps the first step is to search the Enterprise catalogue. Search for the location you want, then refine using the format in the ‘Limit these results’ function to include only maps and atlases (atlases are listed separately – you may need to select ‘more’ to see all the options). Try not to be too specific – a more general search will produce better results.

For more information about searching for maps in Enterprise, and maps in general see the Maps LibGuide.

You can also see our short video presentation, Using maps for your research in University of Reading Library.

Or you can ask the Map Librarian! I am happy to help –  email me for an appointment, or find me at the 2nd Floor Information Desk.

This is one of a series of tips to help you save time and effort finding or using information.

This tip was written by Judith Fox, Map Librarian.

Using Library books around refurb work

Here’s an update on accessing Library resources within the Library Building, even though many other areas are closed for Library Refurbishment Project construction work.

Using Library resources

Tall man holds small book, small lady holds large book outside UoR Library

Large size arts & hums books have moved up to our 4th Floor; normal sized items down to the 2nd Floor.

The 2nd and 4th Floors of the Library are open, containing all your books. This includes arts and humanities material, relocated from the now-closed 3rd Floor: normal size material went to the 2nd Floor; larger size and Teaching Practice Collection items to the 4th Floor. If you need any help finding anything, just ask Library staff at 2nd or 4th Floor Information Desks.

A few unique print journals are retained on the 4th Floor, but as most print journals are unavailable until after refurbishment, we encourage you to use our online journals or request an inter-library loan.

Man uses Library Self-Service Point machines of right, computers on left.Although much of the Ground Floor is now out-of bounds, we created a small area at the bottom of the main stairs for you to borrow, return or renew your loans at Self-Service Points or use PCs and catalogues. Just ask at the Help Point by the entrance if you need assistance. Ground Floor toilets are also still available.

Library construction work

White cloth over doors to 3rd Floor from stairsYou may have heard construction work in progress from areas closed-off for your safety (Ground Floor, 1st, 3rd and 5th Floors). Our contractors are demolishing internal walls in advance of refurbishing our 1st and Ground Floors; removing staircase 2 before installing new accessible lifts; and preparing to install new heating, ventilation and toilets on our 3rd Floor; besides installing new windows. Find out more about our plans on our Library Refurbishment Project webpage or visit our URS Building display (2nd Floor landing by Café Libro) for images of future development and previously refurbished floors, which will be reinstated.

URS Building facilities

Lego construction figures arranged around book and large single black Lego brick

Remember! Library Building = books + builders; URS (Lego) Building = study space + services.

Remember to visit the URS Building for Library services and study space, next door at the other end of the orange brick road, further away from potential construction noise. This is also where you will find Cafe Libro, Course Collection material and can collect ‘holds’.

Rachel Redrup, Library Marketing Co-ordinator

Enterprise upgrade 17-18 July: some services disrupted

Fire extinguisher hung on wall behind grinning, enigmatic but cheeky blighter.

Systems Team Manager Sam is ready to fire-fight any possible blips after the Library systems upgrade, over-night on Monday 17 July.

This summer we are upgrading Enterprise, our Library Catalogue, to give us a more robust, reliable system and take advantage of some new features. During the upgrade, on Monday 17 July, between 15:00 and midnight, some services will unavailable.

You will still be able to …

  • search the old Library catalogue, Unicorn to access book locations and some E-resources.  Or try Summon for some other E-resources.
  • pop into the Library until 17:00 or ask at the URS Information Desk about your account, pay fines etc.

But you won’t be able to …

  • access your online Library account to renew your loans or pay fines.

The upgrade is planned to have finished by Tuesday 18 July, but we will still designate the system as ‘at risk’ on that day as the Systems Team test the upgrade.  We will be sure to inform you if there are any other changes to the service that may occur.

Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator for
Sam Tyler, Library Systems Manager

 

Video for teaching and learning – find out more at TEL Fest 2017!

Recently we posted our Info Tip about some of our great Video streaming resources that you can use in lectures and course materials to engage students and bring some variety to your teaching and learning. If you are a member of Staff at University of Reading and would like to find out more the Library will be getting involved with some of the events at this week’s TEL Fest 2017!

Tuesday 11 July, 13:00-14:00 we’ll be at the TEL Roadshow to talk informally about Box of Broadcasts and how you can use it in lectures, reading lists and BlackBoard. Come and join us in Carrington 201- no need to book, just drop in at 13:00 for a bite to eat and a chat!

Thursday 13 July, 14:30-16:00 Markeda Cole from Learning on Screen is presenting: Bob’s your uncle! Using TV & radio programmes from Box of Broadcasts to enhance T & L – more information and how to book a place on this session

So come along and get involved in the festival experience!

Natalie Guest, Multimedia manager

Problems accessing ProQuest resources via Summon – resolved!

We are pleased to confirm the issues linking from Summon to ProQuest resources have now been resolved.

If you experience any problems with any electronic resources, please do contact us via an E-resources problem report form.

Lucy Ardill, E-resources Team

 

Carry on streaming! Video resources… – info tip

If you’re looking for videos, we have a host of clips, TV programmes and whole films available to stream – check out some of our collections for your teaching and learning!

Box of Broadcasts (BoB)

Box of Broadcasts, or BoB, is a TV and radio streaming service where you can access an archive of over 2 million programmes from the 1990s to the present day. Exclusively for UK educational establishments BoB has documentaries, news, drama, history, films and more from BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and lots of other Freeview channels. If English isn’t your bag there are also programmes from 10 foreign language channels, with videos in Italian, French and German.

BoB programmes include searchable transcripts, so you can track down a clip on your chosen subject with a simple keyword search and use the transcript to skip straight to the mention of your keyword. Create clips from any BoB programme and make your own playlists for different subjects and share them with your friends and colleagues.

You can also use BoB to record upcoming programmes – choose anything that’s due to be broadcast in the upcoming fortnight and BoB will email you when your recording is available.

Alexander Street Press

Alexander Street Press is a platform with many different video collections. MediaPlus covers a wide range of subjects and is a suite of video, images and audio hosted by Alexander Street Press. The videos are supplied from different collections including ITN, Reuters, Getty, Wellcome Library, Imperial War Museum films, Royal Mail Film Classics, Biochemical Society and Gaumont Newsreels.

Other individual subject video collections available on Alexander Street Press include a variety of documentaries and newsreel footage useful to the humanities and social sciences; American History in Video, Black Studies in Video, History in Video, LGBT Studies in Video, The March of Time, World History in Video and World Newsreels Online.

Every video has an embed code so that you can embed it into BlackBoard, presentations or assignments and the cite tool automatically creates a reference for it in four different referencing styles, so citing them in your academic work is easy. Create a personal account to make clips & create and share playlists.

All our video resources have information about how you may use the content on the access page – scroll down to see what you can do with the videos.

We hope you enjoy watching!

This is one of a series of tips to help save you time and effort finding or using information

This tip was written by Natalie Guest, Document Delivery Coordinator & Liaison Librarian.