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

American Meteorological Society platform change – check your saved searches

Open laptopThe American Meteorological Society will be moving to a new platform on Thursday 7 May. All links should redirect automatically, and we will be on hand to make any needed changes to authentication at our end.

Unfortunately, custom saved searches cannot be preserved during the migration. Therefore, we recommend you check your settings now and make a note of the criteria for your saved searches, so that you can rebuild them once the platform migration has taken place.

If you have any questions, please contact us at eresourceshelp@reading.ac.uk or submit a Problem Report Form.

Sophie Dorman, E-resources Team

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 update: additional online resources for homeworking

Open laptopTo support students temporarily unable to access their library’s print holdings during the Covid-19 situation, several publishers have responded by temporarily making certain resources free or extending access over the next few months. We’ve been signing up to many of these offers to provide you with extra material, in addition to our usual e-resources.

To explore resources relevant to your subject, go to the new ‘COVID-19’ tab in your own subject guide. This is provided by your subject’s Academic Liaison Librarian and will be regularly updated.

Alternatively, browse a list of items already set up below:

New resources and extended access

New resources

We now have access to the following new resources (please note that some content on these resources already falls within our subscriptions):

Please log into these via the institutional login, and check your subject guide for details on how long they are active for.

Extended access

Extended access is also available for the following platforms:

  • Box of Broadcasts is now available anywhere in the EU, not just in the UK!
  • Many books we have bought through Ebook Central are providing access to more users at once for e-books which previously were limited to a few users at a time

Further information

For further information, please contact us online:

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

Sophie Dorman and Lindsay Warwick, Collections Team 

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: 5 tips for studying @ home

Reading glasses and pens rest on an open bookStudying at home requires self-discipline, organisation and effective time management strategies. Follow our Study Advice top 5 tips to make the most of your study time at home.

Tip #1: Set up your home office

Make sure you have somewhere dedicated to studying. Set up your desk and keep your device, books, paper and stationery to hand. Try to keep the space separate from where you relax, even if it is just a corner in your bedroom. Leave it tidy, so it is more inviting to return to the next day.

Tip #2: Create a study timetable

It’s important to allocate time to study (and time to relax and do exercise). Think about when in the day you’re more effective (for most this is the morning). You might want to consider, for instance, taking a couple of hours off every afternoon to take some exercise and return to your studies in the early evening. Make sure you add in regular breaks and rewards along the way. For more on creating a timetable, watch this short video.

Tip #3: Set yourself weekly goals

It’s important to know what you hope to achieve each week – especially if you are working on a project like a dissertation or revising for exams. Goals help to ensure we stay on track but also help to motivate us to keep going and give us that sense of achievement. Work backwards from your deadlines to determine where you want to be at the end of each week. If you have a shorter deadline (like an assignment to write in a week), instead set yourself some daily goals. This video will help you do this.

Tip #4: Work with others

During these times, it’s important to continue to connect with others. Keep in touch with peers and motivate each other. Arrange daily catch-ups, virtual coffee chats or perhaps some revision groups, where you can test each other’s understanding. Do share your study goals too, as you are more likely to strive to meet them once you’ve declared them.

Tip #5: Use the advice and support available

It might feel that you’re on your own, but all the central services are still running.

Make the most of the support and expertise on offer and ensure you get the grades you deserve.

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