Study space on campus: Spring update

Whiteknights mapHere’s some info to help all you students, working hard on assignments/projects/dissertations/revision, find study space facilities across campus.

600-800 Library@URS study spaces

There are around 600 study spaces in the URS building term-time weekdays, which increases to around 800 at weekends and during vacation periods when the Large Lecture Theatre is not in use (there is a limit on the total occupancy of the building for fire safety). The closed rooms will therefore be reopened permanently during Library@URS opening hours from 6pm on Friday 23 March until the start of next academic year (except during the University’s Easter closure period).

900 more spaces across campus

As well as the URS Building, there are more than 900 other study spaces across the Whiteknights and London Road campuses. To help make it as straightforward as possible for you to find study space during this period, we’ve summarised the resources available as follows:

  1. Study Space Map

The University has had great feedback from students who have used this Study Space map to find alternative study space, in addition to that offered in the URS Building;

  1. Free Room Finder

The Free Room Finder online tool displays rooms available for immediate use and you can search based on campus area, time needed, and/or capacity required;

  1. PDF study space list

Updated every term, this list highlights spaces across our campuses that can be used for study (subject to scheduled teaching or departmental use);

  1. Live list of available PCs

This PC availability webpage shows where there are PCs available on campus in real time;

  1. RUSU’s The Study and The Study@TOB2

Study spaces available for all campus card holders;

  1. Extended Chancellor’s building opening hours

This building is available to use as study space from 6-9pm Monday to Friday during term time and also at weekends (between 10am and 6pm) at the discretion of the Library supervisor if study space in the URS Building becomes full. If you are having difficulty finding a study space in the URS building at the weekend please talk to Library staff at the Library@URS Ground Floor Information Desk;

  1. Additional study space at Eat at the Square

Eat at the Square will be open after lunch from 3-6pm Monday to Friday during term time, providing additional study space as well as refreshments from The Grumpy Mule;

  1. Central Room Booking service

Students can book rooms on campus in advance, for example, for group study;

  1. Anti-desk-hogging service in the Library@URS building

Help Library staff make the most of Library@URS space: If you see unattended spaces ‘booked’ with belongings, speak to staff at the Reception or the Information Desk on the Ground Floor;

  1. NOISYCHAT service in Library@URS building

Please text Library staff quietly if you experience noise in a silent study area and they will investigate as soon as they can.

Study space in Halls

The University has been working to create more than 100 new study spaces across our Halls of Residence, which includes refurbishing spaces so that they are more suitable for productive study. The spaces will be located in Wessex Library, St George’s Computer Room, Wantage Computer Room, Stenton JCR, Childs JCR and Mackinder JCR. It originally hoped these spaces would be ready by the end of February – unfortunately, although the refurbishment work is complete, we have experienced some unforeseen delays with our furniture supplier, which now means that the spaces will be ready in late March. The supplier is working hard to deliver the furniture within the next couple of weeks, and we will of course let you know when the spaces are ready to use.

In the meantime, there are other spaces in Halls that can be used for study, including the Bridges JCR, Benyon JCR and Sherfield Bar. Please call the Halls Hotline if you’re not sure where these spaces are or want to check opening times.

More on Library Refurb

Keep up to date with the latest study space and Library refurbishment news on our Library refurbishment webpage.

University Communications/Library Marketing Co-ordinator, Rachel Redrup

Planning your revision – info tip

Boy reading in sunshineEaster’s coming up fast, and you’re probably still completing assignments for the end of term. Exams might still seem a long way off now but they’ll be here before you know it. It’s a good time to start thinking about your revision – and the Library and Study Advice are here to help.

Working out a schedule

It’s important to have a plan, to make sure you have time to cover all the topics you need to. Avoid making your revision plan too detailed and prescriptive though – you will need to build in time for relaxation, exercise – and the unexpected!

The Study Advice guide on preparing for exams includes tips for planning your revision, including how to work out your revision schedule. You might also find our video tutorials on time management helpful – we have tips on planning and avoiding procrastination, for instance.

Finding materials for revision

You will probably start by reading through your lecture notes, and then looking at texts on your reading list. The Library has guidance on finding different types of publication as well as videos that will help you to get the most out of the Library.

You should also check the subject resources and guidance for information resources in your topic – much more reliable than ‘just Googling it’. And remember that, whether you’re revising on or off campus, our ebooks and ejournals are accessible 24/7.

Where will you revise?

It’s good to think about the place that you study best. Some students prefer to study at home or in Halls, and 24/7 access to e-resources makes this a viable option without taking mountains of books home. If you do this, make sure you make a schedule and stick to it – it’s easy to watch just one more episode of that box set!

Many students prefer to study in the Library, and study spaces will be available in the URS Building as usual. However it’s worth considering some of the other places to study on campus; being somewhere different may help you to avoid distractions. Or consider other places off-campus like public libraries. Going to a new place that you’ve identified as a ‘place to do revision’ can help you to focus.

Wherever you revise, remember to take breaks. Library@URS may be open 24 hours but that doesn’t mean you have to work through the night – your brain needs rest and time for processing information.

 

Making your revision effective

If you can find six minutes in your busy schedule, you have enough time to watch the Study Advice video tutorial on effective revision – and save yourself a lot of wasted time. Our guide on preparing for exams also has tips on revision and memory techniques. If you’re taking exams in the UK for the first time, have a look at our information on assessment by examination in UK higher education to give you a clearer idea of how they may differ from what you have done in the past.

Remember that the purpose of revision is not to memorise everything you can find about the subject, but to prepare yourself to answer exam questions. Check the Past Paper archive on the Exams Office website to find examples of questions for your modules which you can use to write practice answers – to time and by hand, ideally. We have a Study Seminar on Writing for University Exams: Wed 14 March 2018, 2-3 in Palmer 104 – no need to book. And have a look at our video tutorials on exams for guidance on the best way to prepare for different kinds of exams.

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, Michelle Reid, Sonia Hood and Erika Delbecque (Study Advice team).

Temporary noise disruption possible

You may experience some noise disruption in the silent study Room G29 on the Ground Floor of the URS Building this week as windows are being replaced in the Wager building, which is just behind the URS building.Black young man in headphones and Asian young woman seated at Library study table

From time to time, construction noise can be heard in Room G29.  It is anticipated that the work on the elevation facing the URS Building will be completed in the next few days.  If you are finding the noise intrusive, please use the Silent Study rooms on the 2nd floor.

Remember you can always use the online room finder to locate alternative study areas.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Rebecca Ashley, Senior Library Assistant for Sharon Hill, LUS Team Leader

Count on statistics – info tip

You’ve come up with a great argument for your essay, but how do you prove it one way or the other? Well, one way is by using statistical evidence to support your position, and it might just get you a few extra marks as well.

What statistical sources are available?

Pie chart showing energy sourcesThe Library can provide you with access to a wealth of statistics covering a wide range of countries and subject areas.

The best sources of current statistics are online. For help on where to start looking go to the detailed guide to finding statistics.

A host of British statistics, covering agriculture, the environment, business, economic indicators, law, health, population and education, are freely available via the Office for National Statistics or as part of the Census data.

European statistics covering many of the same areas as the British statistics are available via the Eurostat service.

Comparative international statistics are produced by a number of bodies, the FAO, UNESCO, the IMF, the OECD and the World Bank amongst others, and many of these are available via the UK Data Service (don’t let the name fool you). You do have to register separately with this provider but it is free.

If statistics are particularly relevant to your subject area, your liaison librarian may have written a guide to statistical sources in your subject – check for one for your subject.

Some historical statistics are available online, for example in International Historical Statistics Online, but you may also find what you are looking for amongst our books and periodicals. Search the Enterprise catalogue and include the words ‘statistics’ with the subject of your choice. Try not to be too specific – a more general search will produce better results.

If you need help interpreting the statistics you find then why not ask for help from Maths Support.

Need further help?

If you need further help contact your subject liaison librarian who will be happy to help!

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

This tip was written by Gordon Connell, Liaison Team Manager for Business & Social Sciences.

Be fair and share books and space!

Library's 'Looking for study space?' card in red and greyHelp make the Library work effectively by respecting everyone’s right to resources and limited space. It can be as easy as checking when your Library loans are due back or clearing a desk space for other users. And don’t forget there are alternative study spaces on campus too.

Here are some simple suggestions on how to keep on top of your Library account, save time and money, and help provide a pleasant and productive working environment for all:

Please help us share study space in the URS building fairly. It is fine to pop over to the Library building for a book and return to your desk within a short time. However, we think it unfair for students to reserve desks with their belongings for long periods when other students want to use that space.

If you find unattended study places apparently ‘booked’ with clothes, stationery and the like, please ask Library staff for support at either the URS Reception desk by the main entrance or the URS Information Desk next to the Course Collection on the ground floor. We will give you a timed warning card you can place on the abandoned stuff. Put the belongings to one side and sit down. If the owner returns within the hour, they are entitled to the space back. If not, you can sit there. Also ask staff to help explain, should anyone returning after an hour and complain.

Where unattended stuff hasn’t been moved overnight, staff will remove it to URS Reception. If it is not claimed by the next morning, it will be taken to Palmer Reception, the centre for all lost property in the University.

Check out our ‘Using the Library’ and ‘Policies and Rules’ pages for more information.

Alternative Campus Space

Check the ‘FIND STUDY SPACE BEYOND THE LIBRARY’ section of the Library Refurbishment Project homepage for alternative space.

Holly Thomas, Library User Services

Temporary noise disruption possible

You may experience some noise disruption in the silent study Room G29 on the Ground Floor of the URS Building this week as windows are being replaced in the Wager building, which is just behind the URS building.Black young man in headphones and Asian young woman seated at Library study table

From time to time, construction noise can be heard in Room G29.  It is anticipated that the work on the elevation facing the URS Building will be completed by the end of this week.  If you are finding the noise intrusive, please use the Silent Study rooms on the 2nd floor.

Remember you can always use the online room finder to locate alternative study areas.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Rebecca Ashley, Senior Library Assistant for Sharon Hill, LUS Team Leader

How did you use Course Collection and Holds?

White ghostly imagined people sitting at wooden desks. Shelves of books in background.

After refurbishment, Course Collection and the Hold Shelf will return to the Library building and look something like this.

In spring 2017, whilst it was still in the Library building, we surveyed how students used the Course Collection and Holds Shelf. Here’s what you told/showed us could improve things now, whilst both collections temporarily occupy the URS building, and provides insight for their return to a refurbished Library building.

Research methods

We used two different techniques: we collected your opinions using a graffiti wall asking what users of the Course Collection liked about it and what they felt could improve it for them; we also did some behavioural mapping – observing how the space and services were being used. Although Library Refurbishment plans were already established, we felt observational techniques could inform whether plans were on the right track and give us practice on evaluating use of the new spaces for after refurbishment.

Results confirm refurbishment plans

You told us that you liked the Course Collection’s quiet, warm environment, conveniently close to the main entrance, toilets and café (for that all important caffeine fix!) Our observation exercise confirmed this, showing many users chose the space to work quietly – something we weren’t expecting! The planned Library refurbishment includes new toilets and refreshment areas throughout the building, so should bring this convenience to several study areas.

You also told us you’d like more study spaces in the Course Collection, and more sockets. Observation showed that the most Course Collection popular seats had plug sockets for laptops etc and/or were by a wall or divider, suggesting you can concentrate better when you can’t see anyone working opposite. Library refurbishment will deliver more Course Collection study spaces, all with sockets. There will also be individual comfy study carrels to accommodate that desire to study undisturbed.

Hold shelf improvements

A surprise to us was that a third of those went up to the Hold Shelf didn’t collect a book. It was really useful for us to discover where we could improve your experience of finding your hold and understanding what to do. We have now displayed flow-chart posters beside the Hold Shelf to indicate what to do if you do not initially find your hold, and added more labelling to the Enterprise Library catalogue where books are on hold.

Map of Course Collection annotated with coloured lines and arrows

UX technique employs coloured lines on a map to indicate how different people use an area

Our experience of ‘User Experience (UX)’

Observing how library spaces are used has been both fascinating and incredibly useful. We’re reassured our refurbishment plans will improve your experience of using the new Course Collection space and we’ve gained insight into where we can make service and system design more straightforward for you. We’re hoping to use observational techniques in the future to continue to improve library services and spaces. If you’d like to know more about User Experience (UX) techniques at University of Reading Library, please contact Natalie Guest: n.guest@reading.ac.uk.

Natalie Guest, Library user Services and
Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator

UoR Staff! Suggest titles to diversify stock

Rainbow flag coloursIn celebration of February’s LGBT+ History Month, the Library is once again inviting UoR staff to suggest books, DVDs or CDs to help Library collections support a more diverse curriculum. You then get two more months to provide requests – this year’s order deadline is 30 April 2018. We will resume taking orders for the 2018/19 session from 1 August 2018.

Suggest more diverse resources

What resources can you suggest in your specialism to represent more ethnic or LBGT+ groups or geographical areas? Complete our new Diversify our collections suggestion form to help us spend a special £1,000 fund, over and above resources supporting existing reading lists.

It’s great if you can suggest specific titles, but we still want to hear from you where you feel we just need more in a certain area. For example:

  • [name] is underrepresented in your collection, can you buy more of her novels/poetry?
  • I would like more books on the construction industry in Africa – are there any that can be bought?
  • there aren’t any books on the history/political situation in [country]
  • can you purchase some more books on LBGT issues in higher education?

Your subject Liaison Librarian will be dealing with your suggestions. She or he can also help you with other Library matters, including queries about items on reading lists.

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 last session include:

Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator
for Kerry Webb, Associate Director (Academic Liaison and Support)

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 Web 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.

New subscription to IEEE Xplore

We have a new subscription to IEEE Xplore, a collection of more than four-million articles from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (and partners,) in electrical engineering, computer science, and electronics.

In November 2017 the Library undertook the difficult decision to cancel our subscription to IEEE Xplore. Since the subscription ceased we have been involved in constructive discussions with the publisher and their representatives, and we are pleased to report that we have now reached an agreement, which will see access to IEEE Xplore restored from February 2018.

We understand that this has caused considerable disruption for academic staff and students in some subject areas, so we would like to thank everyone for their patience while negotiations were taking place.

We are currently updating Enterprise, the library catalogue, Summon and the E-Journals Finder to show IEEE Xplore content, but access is available immediately via the IEEE Xplore database

Paul Johnson
Associate Director – Collections, Research and Space

Take the stress out of referencing with our EndNote Web workshops!

Students working together on a laptopThere are still spaces available on our upcoming EndNote Web workshops for undergraduates and masters students.

Come along to learn how to use EndNote Web to…

  • store details of the books and articles you read
  • download references from databases such as the Web of Science
  • insert citations in your Word documents
  • build a bibliography in a style of your choosing at the click of a button

Workshop times

Wednesday 21 February, 14:00 – 15:30
Wednesday 7 March, 14:00 – 15:30

Book your place

Book your place via the ‘Library course bookings’ link on the RISISweb portal. The bookings link is located in the ‘Actions’ tab if you’re a student. If you’re a member of staff click on ‘Specialist Actions’ in the ‘Specialist Actions’ tab.

This workshop is part of the Student Training and Experience Programme (STEP) and counts towards the RED Award.

Can’t make these dates?

Contact your Liaison Librarian who can offer individual advice on using EndNote Web.

Getting help with your dissertation – info tip

A shelf of books and some lightsNo matter how many essays you’ve written, working on a dissertation or research project can be overwhelming. They can involve lots of new skills from deciding on research questions through to those tricky final citations.

Whatever stage you are at, there is lots of help available from the Library and Study Advice team!

Starting out: Search strategies and finding information

It can be a little daunting starting such a big project so you might want to start with the Study Advice guide on dissertations and major projects or their video on defining your research question.

Once you have sorted your research questions you will need to start researching your topic. Look at the Library subject guide for your department to find key databases in your area. There is also a guide to doing a literature search, the LibLearn tutorials on Blackboard, or you could watch our videos on literature searching if you would like a break from reading!

If you are struggling to find the information that you need then you can contact the Liaison Librarian for your subject.

railroad tracksStaying on track

Once you have started your research the Study Advice team have some resources to help you keep going. If you are trying to tackle the literature you have found, it might be a good idea to watch their videos on reading academic texts and critical notetaking.

With large projects like dissertations it is easy to feel like you have lots of time left only to find the deadline creeping up on you. When you are trying to balance your dissertation with lectures, other coursework and revision it is easy to fall behind so take a look at the Study Advice video on managing your time to get some tips.

Dissertations and research projects can also be harder to structure than a normal essay due to their size. This Study Advice video on structuring your dissertation has some helpful suggestions to get you started.

Writing up and referencing

When you have a structure in place you will be ready to start writing up. If this seems a little overwhelming take a look at the Study Advice guidance on writing up your dissertation.

As it is a longer piece of writing than you are likely to have written before it is a good idea not to leave your referencing until the last minute – you don’t want to lose precious marks because you ran out of time to format your bibliography! Luckily there is a way you can speed this process up; EndNote Web is a reference manager which can store details of what you have read, insert references into Word and automatically format your bibliography. There is a detailed guide on the Library website to get you started.

If you choose to insert your citations manually, and are not sure how to reference a particular resource or would like a refresher, there is lots of guidance on the Citing References guide. But don’t forget to check your student handbook for details of the referencing style required by your department.

Further help

If you would like more information you can contact your Liaison Librarian or the Study Advice team.

Good luck with your 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:

  • Ruth Ng & Karen Drury, Liaison Librarians for Art, Typography and the Henley Business School
  • Sonia Hood and Dr Michelle Reid, Study Advisers