EndNote and Mendeley workshops – book your place now!

Laptop and book seen from above, person's left hand on book and right on keyboard. on There are still places available on our final reference management system workshops for EndNote and Mendeley this term. These will take place online via Blackboard Collaborate.

  • Desktop EndNote workshop – Wed 20 May 2-3pm
  • Mendeley workshop – Wed 27 May 2-3pm

Book your place through the Actions tab on RISIS.

Desktop EndNote

Desktop EndNote is a comprehensive reference management system. 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. Use the Word plugin to insert in-text citations and watch the bibliography grow automatically. Select from thousands of referencing styles or create your own – great if you’re writing for publication. Download it free on your own computer via the IT Self-Service Portal.

See our EndNote guide to find out more.

Mendeley

Mendeley is designed to make storing references and PDFs as simple as possible. It has a nifty ‘watched folder’ feature – 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 to capture 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.

See our Mendeley guide to find out more.

Book your place

Sign up to either of these workshops through the Actions tab on RISIS. On booking you will be sent a link to the Collaborate session. 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 Academic Liaison Librarian.

Jackie Skinner
Academic Liaison Librarian

New Digimap service – Pilot Digimap

Pilot Digimap logoYou may already be aware that Digimap have launched a new service, Pilot Digimap.  This is a space where they can trial datasets to evaluate their potential.  The datasets available will change regularly so keep looking! They currently have two types of data available, one provided by Geomni and another with ESA satellite data, and they can be accessed through Roam to create maps, or Download to use with ArcGIS or QGIS software. However access is limited – these datasets will only be available until July 31, so should not be relied on for teaching or research.

Rate usefulness

Users can give each new dataset a star rating to indicate it’s usefulness – doing this will help Edina to make a decision on how valuable it is, and will also help us to decide if it’s worth getting if it becomes available as a permanent dataset.

Data available

Infrared ESA data

ESA infrared satellite data

The satellite data includes a colour near infrared set, useful for analysing plant density and health, and a natural colour cloud free mosaic dataset, both from the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel 2 satellite.

Geomni creates and maintains a range of spatial databases, and  we have access to

  • UK Buildings Use and Age – shows the use and age of commercial, public and residential buildings across the UK. Particularly useful in urban areas
  • UK Land – land classification dataset similar to Environment Digimap, but with more detailed breakdown of urban areas
  • UK Map (London only) has several parts:
  • UK Map base map – similar to OS MasterMap
  • UK Map Aerial – more detail than Aerial Digimap
  • UK Map Upper Floors – shows retailers on upper floors of shopping centres
  • UK Map Tree Canopy – shows indicative canopy of trees
  • UK Map DTM and DSM – available only in download
Geomni UK buildings

Geomni UK buildings use & age

Access

To access Pilot Digimap just click on the tab on the Digimap home page – the first time you use it you will be asked to agree to the End User Licence, as you did for other Digimap collections.

Judith Fox, Map Librarian

COVID-19: Focus on study with digital tools

Staying focused when studying and revising can be challenging at the best of times, and likely to be more so under the current conditions. If the home environment is proving distracting, why not investigate apps designed to keep you focused and working productively? Alternatively, you could save time by checking out the Study Advisers’ favourite digital tools and selected guides:

Tomato Timer

Based on the Pomodoro technique (working for short, focused periods, followed by brief rest-breaks), tomato timers aim to promote productivity while maintaining mental alertness. A multitude of these apps are available – for simplicity try Tomato Timer and, for extra features, try Pomello.

Flora and Forest

Apps like Flora and Forest help you resist distractions from your phone while you study. Simply ‘plant a seed’ in the app, and watch it grow from sapling to tree – if and only if, you don’t touch your phone. Yield to the temptation of using your phone and the sapling dies! Successful repetition results in a forest, which, if you are using the Forest app, can earn you points towards planting a real tree with the ‘Trees for the Future Scheme’.

Written? Kitten! and Focus Writer

Overcome writers block with Written? Kitten! Write 100, 200, 500 or 1000 words and get rewarded for your efforts with a picture of a cute kitty. Alternatively, try Focus Writer, which enables you to set a daily target for the number of words you write on a blank screen; you can then measure your progress against this target.

Online planners

While there are no real substitutes for having a clear time-management strategy (see our Time managment guide for help with this), some apps can help you manage your workload more efficiently. Try  Microsoft to-do, for organising tasks and managing deadlines, and Trello for monitoring your progress.  Trello can be synched with Pomello, enabling you to see how much time you’ve spent on individual tasks.

Turn off notifications and pop-ups

Minimise interruption and distraction from unwanted notifications and pop-ups by disabling them on your devices – temporarily or permanently. Do this for android and iPhone via the ‘Settings’ function on your phone, and see this brief guide on how to disable web notifications.

Blocking social media sites

Manage social media sites that vie for your attention, with the help of social media blocking apps. Specific websites can be blocked at set times of day, or the entire internet switched-off while you work. See 10 best apps to help you stay focused for a quick guide to help you decide on a blocking app that’s right for you. That said, if you’re a fan of social media, use it as a motivational aim by saving it for a reward at the end of the day.

Study Advice

Linda Schroeder, Study Adviser

COVID-19: studying at home with young children

White speech bubble to left, yellow background to rightYou may have got used to studying at home in the last few weeks, but then younger family members had homework to do too. Now that it’s the Easter holidays, how can you maintain the same momentum with your studies when you have children or younger siblings to occupy? It’s going to be more challenging, but here are some tips from your Study Advisers – who are also like you, trying to work and study at home with families.

Tip #1 Be patient. Give yourself and your family time to adjust to your new circumstances.

These are extraordinary times. Up until now, it has not been the norm for families to be together all-day, every-day. Don’t worry if things don’t run smoothly to begin with. Be patient and give yourself and your family time to adjust to the new set of circumstances you find yourself in.

Tip #2 Find a routine that works for you and your family. Resist the urge to compare yourself with others.

Studying at home with younger members of the family means that you not only have to get yourself into a routine, but you may also need to establish routines for your family, this comes with its own set of challenges – especially if children get bored easily. At this stage, you may find it tempting to compare yourself to others – especially those who appear to have things under control. Resist the urge to do this. Remember, there are no right or wrong routines.

Tip # 3 Designate study/activity spaces for children

Just as you would for yourself, designate study or activity spaces for children; get them to create timetables and set themselves goals for things they’d like to achieve, this gives them a sense of ownership which can be motivating.

Tip # 4 Make the most of technology

Make the most of technology by tapping into the plethora of available apps, games, and websites, which are both educational and entertaining (TED-Ed and Duolingo are popular in our household). Also, don’t forget, children can connect with school friends online too.

Tip # 5 Be realistic about how long things take

When planning your workload for the day or week ahead, try to be realistic about what can be done in the time available and don’t get discouraged if things take longer than anticipated.

Child with a painted faceTip # 6 Ringfence study periods – this could be when children are occupied by a partner or siblings

Set aside fixed times in the day and week for study and make a commitment to stick to them. Try to avoid interruption/distraction during these times by enlisting the support of a partner or family member to keep children occupied.

Tip # 7 Make study active!

There are likely to be many competing demands on your time, so make study periods count by making your learning active. Avoid passively reading through or copying-out course notes and other texts. Instead, do something with the material you are learning – such as applying it to solve problems and answer questions.

For individual help on managing your time and meeting deadlines contact us at studyadvice@reading.ac.uk or book a 1-2-1 appointment.

Linda Schroeder, Study Adviser

COVID-19: Preparing for take home exams?

Hand holds penciel on paperPreparing for take home exams? Follow our top 5 study tips.

Like many students, you may be experiencing a new type of exam this year: the ‘take home’ exam. In due course, you’ll be given more details about what this means for your course and we urge you to follow the advice your lecturers give you. Below are our Study Advice tips about revising and preparing for this form of assessment

Tip #1: Revise as you would normally

Right now, you should be revising as you would normally for your modules. Make a revision timetable and start going over the content. You won’t have long between having the paper and submitting your answer; the exam will be available for 23hrs in most cases but you are strongly advised only to spend the normal exam duration actually working on it. So now is the time to reflect on what you’ve learnt. It’s also important that you revise according to the type of exam you’re taking, we have videos covering all types of exams, from MCQs to essay based exams to help guide you.

Tip #2: Practice active revision

Make your revision as active as possible using a variety of techniques; make an online study group with friends, mind map the content, use post-it notes and revision cards to test key concepts. Whilst your exams will probably take a different form to previous years, you can still make effective use of past exam papers to test your understanding and application of knowledge. Above all, don’t waste time re-writing out your notes or just reading through content; these are passive techniques and are unlikely to help.

Tip #3: Be organised

It’s likely that you won’t have long to submit your answers, once you are given the paper. Make sure you create a system for organising your notes on any particular subject; you’re going to want to access the most relevant information as quickly as you can.

Tip #4: Watch for unintentional plagiarism and collusion

It’s OK to revise with others (in fact this can be an effective way of testing yours and your friend’s understanding) but once you have been issued with the paper, it’s important that you work on it alone. You will be asked to submit your work through Turnitin, which will match your work with others that have been submitted, as well as information from the internet, books and journals. Make sure it’s all your own work, as you would any other assessment.

Tip #5: Prepare for the day

You may be given a set time to sit the exam and submit your answers. Make sure you are fully prepared beforehand by:

  • Ensuring you have somewhere quiet to work, where you won’t be disturbed
  • Checking you have the technology you need: access to Bb, Turnitin and Wifi
  • Having access to all the material you need. I’d also suggest a clock to ensure you’re keeping on track
  • Ensuring you fully understand the format of the exam, how you are being asked to submit answers and have done any trial runs that have been made available to you

Good luck!

Dr Sonia Hood, FHEA
Study Advice Manager, Study Advice & Maths Support

COVID-19 update: Library services move fully online

Silvery-gold clad University of Reading Library buildings in distance, surrounded by green trees, green grass in foregroundIn line with the University’s move to online teaching, the University Library moved services fully online with effect from Monday 23 March 2020.  Please be assured that we will continue to provide you with our services.  We will ensure that all online resources and additional online help are available to you during the current, unprecedented public health situation.

Using Library online services

A significant proportion of our resources are already available online. There will be no change to this service and everything that you previously used will continue to be available. A simple way to find existing and new resources in your subject is to check our online subject guides: the new COVID-19 tab lists extra resources provided to UoR during the lockdown period.

Online resources

Undergraduate and post-graduate taught course students: you can still access UoR online reading lists directly and via Blackboard. Many of the items on your reading lists are accessible online, with some lists fully available online.

For your research, you can still access e-resources through the Library website, to find our extensive collection of e-books, e-journals and databases. The following tools will help you:

Online Library help and assistance

All Library staff are still available to help and assist with your studies and research.

Library materials currently on loan

Whilst the Library building remains closed the printed book collection will not be available.  If you currently have books on loan that are due back do not worry!  We will automatically renew them for you so that you do not get fined.  And if you incur any fines during this period of online working you will not be charged.  Books that you currently have on loan will not be recalled and you will not be expected to return them whilst the building is closed.  If you want to place a reservation (hold) on a book you can continue to do so and we will seek to satisfy your request.  For loan and general enquiries, please email library@reading.ac.uk

Interlibrary loans

You can still request Inter-Llibrary Loans in the usual manner, completing the online request form.  If you currently have Inter-Library Loans (books) from another library do not worry, we will arrange for the return date to be extended for you.  For Inter-Library Loan enquiries, please email ill@reading.ac.uk.

Other enquiries

If you have any other enquiries or require any additional support, please email library@reading.ac.uk.

Look out for further Library service updates on the Library websiteUniversity Library News blog, Twitter and Facebook.

Stuart Hunt, Director

Get Library help with exams and dissertations

figures at table beween book shelvesThis time of year, we know many of you are busy preparing for exams or working on those dissertations. Why not take a moment to check out the advice and support that we have on offer; it could save you time in the long run!

Our Study Advisers have a series of video tutorials and study guides providing essential advice on effective revision techniques or dissertation writing. Or why not visit us on the Ground Floor of the Library and collect your free year planner to help you plan your revision, or those dissertation and major projects

Your Academic Liaison Librarian can point you towards the best sources in your subject to find good quality literature supporting your work. Take a look at the guides they have created to your subject resources.

We can also offer you individual advice:

Find out more on our Library website or come along to our Study Advice Desk on the Ground Floor of the Library and find out how we can support you.

Sonia Hood, Study Advice Manager and Rachel Redrup, Academic Liaison Librarian

Library research guide for LGBT+ related topics

Rainbow Logo create for LGBT+ history monthLGBT+ Guide

LGBT+ is an area of research which can cover a wide range of academic disciplines.  Continuing our celebration of February’s LGBT+ History Month, the Library would like to highlight the online guide to support research into LGBT+-related topics.

Taking the same format as our subject guides this guide focusses on the range of materials available from the Library and Special Collections relating to LGBT+ topics.

It is one of a series of cross-disciplinary research guides we have developed to support research in areas such as disability and inclusion, gender, and race and ethnicity (forthcoming).

It has been created, in consultation with staff and student representatives, to help you find some of the key resources the Library can provide in this area, as well as point you towards other useful online resources, libraries and archives.

We’d love to hear your feedback on the guide, so let us know what you think!

Suggest resources to help diversify our collections

You can also help us to diversify the Library’s collections by putting forward your suggestions for Library materials to help support a more diverse curriculum.

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

You can see all the Diversity fund titles purchased in current and previous academic years on our dedicated Library Diversity fund reading lists.

Tim Chapman, Academic Liaison Team Manager

Welcome new students! Tour, borrow and craft!

Hands hold our map infront of library entrance gatesWe’re really excited to welcome all new students starting this week, with various events to help you get to know your Library.

  • Why not take a self-guided tour of the Library? Grab a ‘Your Library Tour’ map from the Library Welcome Desk on the Ground Floor of the Library and explore the building.
  • Brown paper bag with a question mark on it, and 3 origami folded bookmarks next to the bag.Come and chat with our friendly staff at the Induction Marketplace on Wednesday 15 January 13:00-17:00.
  • You are all welcome to attend a Library Leisure Time event, Friday 17 January 13:00-15:00.
    • Did you know that we have fiction too besides your course text books at the Library? Not sure which to choose? Come along to borrow one of our lucky-dip print books!
    • Take a moment to relax by crafting your own origami bookmark with us!

For more information and help with Library resources ask at the Welcome Desk or have a look at our YouTube channel.  Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for library updates.

Ruth Ng & Karen Drury, Academic Liaison Librarians

New gender studies guide celebrates ‘Astor 100’

Gender studies is an area of research which can cover a wide range of academic disciplines. In celebration of Astor 100, marking 100 years since Nancy Astor became the first woman to take her seat in British Parliament, the Library has introduced a new online guide to support research into gender-related topics. The guide takes the same format as our subject guides but focuses on the range of materials available from the Library and Special Collections relating to gender studies. It has been created to help you find some of the key resources the Library can provide in this area, as well as point you towards other useful online resources, libraries and archives.

We’d love to hear your feedback on our new guide, so let us know what you think!

Suggest more diverse Library resources

You can also help us to diversify the Library’s collections by putting forward your suggestions for Library materials to help support a more diverse curriculum. All you need to do is complete our Diversify our collections suggestion form to suggest a book, DVD, topic or author for purchase in an area you feel is currently underrepresented in our Library collections. We’ll do the rest!

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

Tim Chapman, Library Diversity & Inclusion Group

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!

 

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