Cite it right – and avoid unintentional plagiarism! – info tip

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 online is a basic tool that works with Word to add citations to your written work and constructs a bibliography at the end. It is free too.  If you have a large number of references to manage you might choose the more sophisticated Desktop EndNote. For advice on which version to use, and for self-paced training guides on EndNote, or book a place on a training workshop, see the Library’s web pages.

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 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!

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

This tip was written by Dr Kim Shahabudin, Study Adviser and Caitlin McCulloch, Trainee Liaison Librarian.

Can’t find the item you need in the Library? – info tip

It’s every student’s worst nightmare – you’ve finally found the perfect item for your assignment, only to discover that the Library doesn’t have it. But don’t despair! We’ve got lots of ways for you to get your hands on the information you need…

All the copies are on loan

The 'Place Hold' button.

You’ll see the ‘Place Hold’ button on the top right-hand side of the catalogue record.

  • Place a hold. When you’re on the catalogue page with details of the item, click the Place Hold button in the top right-hand side. Log in with your University details and click Place Hold again. That’s all you need to do! Whoever’s had the book out the longest will be asked to return it, and we’ll send you an email when the book is ready for you to collect on the Hold Shelf of the URS Building. We’ll automatically buy more copies of books with lots of holds. Note: you’ll only be able to place a hold when there are no copies on the shelf.
  • Check for an e-book version. Where possible we buy both print and digital copies of titles to make sure everyone can access them. Anything that’s available online will have a link saying Click here for online access – click that and sign in with your University details to start reading. E-books are particularly useful because you can access them anywhere: on campus, at home, on holiday – the choice is yours!
  • Check our Course Collection. This is a collection of high-demand items available for short loan – you can borrow any item in this section until 11am the following day. This can be really useful if you’re needing to read a particular chapter of a book before a tutorial, for example. Course Collection Books are listed as OVERNIGHT books on the catalogue, and their Status will be ‘Course Collection Ground Floor@URS’.
  • Check other books in the same section. Our books are arranged by Call Number, and books with the same Call Number will cover the same topic (for example, all books shelved at 658.8 are about marketing). If you can’t find the exact title you need, it’s worth browsing the area to see if you can find a similar book. Check the Books tab of your subject guide to find out where to find particular topics. You might also be able to find an earlier edition of your title – they will be shelved at the same place.

 

We don’t stock the book in the Library

 

I need a specific article or book for an assignment and the Library doesn’t have access

  • Place a free inter-library loan (ILL) request. We’ll then ask other libraries if they can give us a copy of the article or book. For articles, you can often have the PDF sent straight to your University email address. Undergraduate and taught postgraduate students can have up to 5 free requests per year; this number is higher for research students and staff – check out our ILL pages for more information. If you’d like to place a request, log in and fill in a short online form with details of the item you need.

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

This tip was written by Caitlin McCulloch, Trainee Liaison Librarian for Architecture, Chemistry, Construction Management & Engineering and Pharmacy.

Get to know your online reading list – info tip

Now that lecturBlackboard menu with Reading Lists option highlightedes have started, you might be wondering where to find materials for your new modules. Many lecturers use online reading lists to recommend books, journal articles, and other useful materials to read each week and to help you find materials for your assignments.

You should find your online reading list via the left-hand menu on Blackboard, and it will contain real-time information on the availability of print materials in the Library, as well as links to e-books, e-journal articles, videos, and scanned extracts of key readings that your lecturer recommends.

Watch our quick video introduction with all the key features of your online reading list.

New-look online reading lists

If you’re a returning student, you might have spotted that your reading lists look a little different… Over Spring Term last year we trialled a new look and it received positive feedback.

The new look now displays:

  • Real-time information on library availability without leaving the main list – click on the title of the book you’re interested in, and you’ll see the call number and number of copies displayed below.

A particular item on a reading list with its availability highlighted

  • Online resources (including scanned chapters) are available via the ‘View Online’ button on the right.

An item on a reading list with the View Online option highlighted

  • You can use the drop-down menu at the top of the page to filter by physical/online resource; importance level (Essential, Recommended or Further reading); or by Week if this is available. This can help you to manage your readings week by week – but if you’re looking for a specific item use the Search at the top of the page.

The drop-down menu on Talis for choosing resource typesYou are also able to create an online reading lists account and make notes on items, or mark items as ‘Read’ – these notes and labels are only visible to you, and you can use these to manage and keep track of your readings.

For more information on using these features of your online reading list, or for any other questions, take a look at our guide for students.

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 Coles, Course Support Co-ordinator.

Adjusting to study in UK higher education – info tip

Two international graduandsFor international students, preparing for success in UK study means more than just learning the language. You will have many questions about the culture and expectations of universities in the UK, which can be quite different to what you have been used to. Even if you’ve been successful when studying in your home country, you will need to develop and adapt the way you study to succeed in the UK. We have plenty of suggestions that can help – and you can always get in touch with the Study Advice team or your subject Liaison Librarian if you have more questions.

Understanding university study in the UK

The University Study Advisers have developed a guide to help those moving up to higher education in the UK to understand what is expected through exercises and tips. This is one of a whole series of study guides and video tutorials to help you develop the skills you will need for study success, including dedicated advice on assessment by examination in UK Higher Education and guidance on academic writing. You may find the Academic Phrasebank (University of Manchester) helpful when starting out with your academic writing.

Other useful guides include UKCISA’s study tips and the Prepare for Success website (University of Southampton).

If you are starting undergraduate study at the University, remember to complete the Study Smart course which is aimed at helping all new undergraduates feel more prepared for study. You can return to the course throughout your first year if you want to remind yourself of what you’ve learnt.

Developing effective practices for UK study

There are various books in the Library written for students on developing your study skills. Many can be found on the 2nd Floor with Call Numbers beginning 378. Why not have a look on the shelves to see what is available? Or search the online Library catalogue, Enterprise for “study skills”.

You may find referencing and citation practices in the UK are quite different to those you have been used to. See our Citing References guide for tips on how and when to use references correctly in your writing.

To make the most of the Library, check out the following guides:

Building your cultural and language knowledge

student reading newspaperA good way to practise your language skills and, at the same time, learn something about UK culture is to read newspapers. The Library subscribes to a number of newspapers in print and online.

The Library has many resources that can help you to build your language skills, including books to help with IELTS (International English Language Test Score), language dictionaries, and films on DVD which you could watch to help your listening skills. Alternatively, you may prefer to improve your reading skills by using the Teaching Practice Collection which includes an extensive collection of children’s literature in English, both fiction and non-fiction. The language learning books, films on DVD and Teaching Practice Collection can be found on the 3rd Floor, while on the 2nd Floor you might wish to consult the English literature books and borrow a novel to practise your reading for pleasure.

A useful online resource for developing your English language is Learn English (British Council). You may also find the English for Uni website helpful. This aims to make difficult grammar and academic writing concepts easier to understand.

There is also general information for International students at the University, including links to advice on visas, accommodation and getting involved in University activities.

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

This tip was written by Kim Shahabudin, Study Adviser and Charlie Carpenter, ISLI Liaison Librarian/International Student Support Coordinator.

Broaden your horizons by learning a language – info tip

Students learning languagesWhether you’re a new or an existing student, why not learn a language in the new academic year? The Library holds a variety of resources to help you learn languages, no matter what your level or preferred mode of study may be.

Choose your language

The Library’s language learning resources cover the six languages taught to degree level: French, German, Italian, Spanish, Latin and Ancient Greek; and the additional languages taught within the Institution-Wide Language Programme (IWLP): Modern Greek, Russian, Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and British Sign Language. Some textbooks or dictionaries for learning other languages, including English as a foreign language, are also in stock.

Choose how to study

If you want to learn a language by yourself, there are various resources for self-instruction, such as workbooks, CDs, CD-ROMs and DVDs.

If you are attending language classes, such as with the IWLP, then there are textbooks, grammars, dictionaries and easy readers which may be a helpful supplement to your course textbook.

Male student reading italian textBeyond the language

Of course, learning a new language also involves finding out about a different country, its society and culture. The Library holds numerous books encompassing the history of many different countries, as well as French, German, Italian and Spanish literature in the original language.

If reading the history and literature of a particular country is a bit too much like hard work, then why not watch a film from that country or study a map of that country? The Library holds many films on DVD, with a large number in languages other than English, as well as a collection of around 70,000 maps and atlases.

Where in the Library?

The language learning resources in the Library are located on the 3rd Floor. Look for Call Numbers in the 400s – in both the ‘Books’ and ‘Large’ sections. Also on the 3rd Floor are films on DVD, at Call Number 791.437, and you may find some language learning resources in the Teaching Practice Collection. Although primarily aimed at trainee teachers, this collection includes children’s literature in English, which may be used to improve English language skills.

For literature, history and field maps, head to the 2nd Floor – literature is located in the 800s, books on the history of various countries are located in the 900s and field maps in the Maps section.

Other language learning resources in the University

The Self-Access Centre for Language Learning (SACLL), located in Edith Morley 230, is a specialist language learning facility, open to international students and the wider University community. The centre includes a wide range of materials for students learning English and foreign languages, including books and DVDs. There are also computers available for students to use, some with useful online language materials.

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

This tip was written by Charlie Carpenter, Liaison Librarian for the International Study and Language Institute.

Get ahead by reading around your subject – info tip

Boy reading in sunshineDuring a busy term there’s not much time for reflection, so the long vacation is a good time to do some wider reading around your subject. You may want to catch up, build your in-depth knowledge of topics you’ve already covered, or put your previous reading in a wider context. You might want to get ahead and prepare for next year’s modules, or you may be starting to work on your dissertation.

Whatever your reason for reading around your subject, it will be more effective if you know how to find appropriate resources and how to make the most of them once you have found them. The Library and Study Advice can help with this.

How will it help me?

Reading around your subject will help you to develop an overview of key themes and issues in your topics. You will be able to compare what different scholars think about topics, and what evidence they are using to support their ideas. To get the most out of it, you should be reading critically and thoughtfully.

How can we help you?

The Library has plenty of tools to help you find materials that are not on your reading lists.

Start by looking for your subject guide. This lists the essential things you need to know to get you started on wider reading: where you can find books on your topics in the Library; dictionaries and encyclopaedias for your topic; how to search for journal articles and the appropriate databases to use; and some evaluated web sites.

If you already know a key text for your topic, search for it in the Library catalogue, Enterprise. Once you’ve found it you can click on the author’s name to find their other works, or click on the subject to find similar titles.

Searching Summon can give you a different angle. Enter a search term and it will show you e-book chapters, online journal articles, and even news items on your topic that might get you thinking.

Don’t forget to think beyond books and journal articles, especially if you’re researching for your dissertation. Our databases can point you to newspaper articles, reports and primary texts including letters and ephemera – often offering the full text online. Plus our Special Collections have archived material and rare books to explore from Brian Aldiss to The Wizard of Oz.

Getting the most out of your reading

The Study Advice guide on managing academic reading includes ideas on how to select materials, reading techniques and common abbreviations you may come across. There is also a brief video tutorial on reading academic texts that includes guidance on reading strategies to help you make the most of your reading time.

Make sure you keep records of the bibliographic details in case you want to refer to the text later in your assignments. We have guidance on effective note-making so you can avoid having more notes than the book you’ve just read. Or watch our video on critical note-taking to help you develop your thinking about what you’ve just read.

If you’re reading for your dissertation, we have a video tutorial on starting research for your dissertation for tips and strategies.

Let us take you somewhere you’ve never been this summer and help you to make the most of reading around your subject!

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

This info tip was written by Katie Moore, Trainee Liaison Librarian for Education and MLES.

Polishing up your Masters dissertation – info tip

Student studyingAs you get into the last few weeks of work on your Masters 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.

It can make a real difference to your mark to 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 guide. 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 information, 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 specialising 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 want to use a direct quote from your reading but don’t know where it came from, try typing it into Google, framed with quotation marks e.g. “the City’s collusion with slavery”. Google will then search for the exact quotation. You may find it’s better to use a short phrase rather than a longer 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 can 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, Web of Science allows you to save your searches to re-run against the latest updates to its databases. You can also set up feeds and citation alerts so that you are notified when someone cites your key articles. Watch the saving your search and setting email alerts video for detailed instructions on how to do this.

This service isn’t only available in the sciences, however – you can set up alerts in services such as BrowZine to find the latest articles across all disciplines and subjects. Most databases will have this function available, but each one will work slightly differently. If you want to set up alerts for a particular database but aren’t sure how, get in touch with your Liaison Librarian.Female student writing

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. You might turn these into a Gantt chart and pin it up on your wall, so you can see your targets at a glance. 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 in your department to see how they have laid out their work: ask your tutor.

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 Caitlin McCulloch, Trainee Liaison Librarian for Chemistry and Pharmacy.

Library catalogue at risk this weekend

Our Library catalogue EnterpriseOpen laptop with notepad will be at risk from 17:00 on Friday 27 July until Monday 30 July. Some services will be unavailable.

You will still be able to …

  • Search the old Library catalogue, Unicorn to access book locations and some e-resources.  Or use Summon for online access to journal articles, book chapters, and much more!
  • Pop into the Library to get books, or ask at the URS Information Desk about your account, paying fines etc. until 17:00.

But you won’t be able to …

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

Caitlin McCulloch, Trainee Liaison Librarian for
Sam Tyler, Library Systems Manager

Finding your way with 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

Various mapsYou 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 2nd 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 authoritative 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 3rd 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.

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

The 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 VideoBlack Studies in VideoHistory in VideoLGBT Studies in VideoThe March of TimeWorld 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.

Avoiding fake news – info tip

The Internet contains vast amounts of information of varying quality and accuracy. How can you decide which sites are suitable to refer to in your academic work and which contain unreliable information? Read on to learn some tips to help identify appropriate material and avoid “fake news”.

Evaluating Internet Resources

When looking at Internet resources, it’s important to properly evaluate them before relying on them for your assignments. To help you, we’ve prepared a short guide and Study Advice video tutorial on evaluating websites.

Key factors for you to think about when evaluating a website include:

  • Authority – does the author have expertise in the topic?
  • Accuracy and reliability – can facts be checked and are arguments supported by evidence?
  • Currency – how up to date is the site?
  • Audience/relevance – is the site content and author at the right level for university work?
  • Feel – does the site have the look and feel of a credible source?

As well as explaining these key factors in greater detail, these guides highlight alternative resources that are more likely to give you reliable information and references.

You should also try the tutorials in the Virtual Training Suite, specifically designed to help university students in the UK develop their Internet research skills. Just choose the one that covers your subject area. They are bangin’.

Google Scholar

If you are searching the Internet for commentary on a topic, consider instead using Google Scholar. This is the academic version of Google, limiting results to scholarly material.

google scholarTo make the most of Google Scholar you can adjust the settings to show links to items available through the Library. For instructions and further information, have a look at our guide to accessing Google Scholar and some useful features of the search engine.

Be aware Google Scholar only covers a small proportion of publications. It’s therefore best used alongside specialist Web-based search tools, such as the Library’s Summon discovery service and subject databases. You’ll still need to evaluate your results as well.

Specialist Internet Research Resources

Rather than search the Internet generally, think seriously about what information you need and whether a choice from the Library’s electronic resources may provide better, more focussed content. For instance, we offer a range of online reference works and in the “Websites” tab of your subject guide you’ll find a list of selected reliable, authoritative websites for your subject. And when it does come to news, we offer online access to modern day and historical reporting from a wide range of national and international newspapers.

Alternatively, you can ask your subject liaison librarian for guidance on finding good quality resources for your study and research.

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

This tip was written by Ross Connell, Liaison Librarian for Politics & International Relations and Law.

Wherever you are, we’re here for you – info tip

Are you away from Reading and the UK this summer? Maybe…

  • Spending a year abroad?
  • Going on industrial placement?

Don’t worry! You will still be able to access thousands of University of Reading Library resources from anywhere in the world – all you need is your University username and password and an internet connection. We have hundreds of thousands of e-books and e-journals for you to choose from.

Resources you can access wherever you are

You can still access most of the e-resources provided by the Library including…

  • The Library catalogue, Enterprise – search to find e-books. Simply conduct your search and then use the limit options on the left of the screen to select ‘Book’, followed by ‘Online’ to find e-books.

Enterprise

  • Search Summon, the Library’s discovery service, to find full-text journal articles, e-book chapters, online encyclopedia and dictionary entries and newspaper articles.
  • If you wish to widen your search to materials held elsewhere, you can search for journal articles and other materials using a database. Some databases contain the full-text of the item, while others provide a reference and maybe an abstract only. If only a reference is provided, you are usually able to check for full-text access via the Item Finder – just click on the blue “Search for item at Reading” link to find out if the Library has online access.
  • Online dictionaries and encyclopedias – these are a good place to start your research and are much more reliable sources of information than Wikipedia. They can be searched individually or through Summon.
  • Google Scholar – finds scholarly literature in all areas of research. Don’t forget to set it up so that it links to the University of Reading Library’s electronic journal holdings as this will increase the number of articles you can access!

How to access electronic resources from off-campus

Aeroplanes

If you follow links from the Library website, Enterprise, or Summon you will be given the easiest route to logging in when you are off-campus. Usually you will just be prompted to login with your University username and password. Occasionally, if you access an e-resource via a search engine, you may need to select ‘University of Reading’ from a list of institutions before you can login. To find out more, see Accessing e-resources.

Please note: These resources are for your personal use only (you should not use them on behalf of your placement company or your friends); for more details, see our terms and conditions of use for Library e-resources. A few databases are only accessible from the UK; consult your liaison librarian if you have any questions or concerns.

Studying a language abroad as part of your degree?

Find the Useful Websites page for the language you study. It will give you lists of, and links to, selected resources in your country of destination, such as library catalogues, listings of journals, access to the media, links to organisations and other useful tips.

Going on industrial placement in the UK?

If you go on an industrial placement in the UK as part of your course and there is another university library nearby, you may be able to borrow from there by registering via SCONUL Access.

Help in your subject

If you require further guidance about the e-resources available in your subject, remember to look at the relevant Library subject guide. You are also welcome to contact your subject liaison librarian for advice on locating resources; they are always happy to answer your email enquiries.

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

This tip was written by Katie Moore, Trainee Liaison Librarian for Education and Modern Languages.