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

Inter-Library Loans – research materials delivered to you

Are you currently researching a topic for a dissertation? If so our Inter-Library Loan service maybe able to help you! This service brings you material which is not held in our Library giving you access to a wide range of academic books and journals on request.

If you’re a member of staff or a PhD candidate you can make your ILL request online.

If you’re an undergraduate or taught postgraduate you can make your request in a few simple steps:

  1. Fill in a paper Inter-Library Loan form. Get yours from the Information Desk on the Ground Floor of the URS Building, or download and print an ILL form. Don’t forget to get your request authorised by your supervisor/tutor. They can sign your request form or email us from their University email address.
  2. Attach an ILL voucher to your form. This is a blue sticker available from your school. Alternatively, you may pay for your request at the Information Desk on the Ground Floor of the URS building – a loan or article costs £3.
  3. Hand in your form to the Information Desk and we’ll do the rest.

If you have any questions about requesting an Inter-Library Loan please get in touch with us either at the Information Desk at the URS Building or you can send us an email: ill@reading.ac.uk

Holly Thomas, Library User Services.

Overwhelmed by reading? – info tip

If your resolution this term is to be more efficient when studying, a good area to focus on is your reading and note-making. Independent reading and taking notes are likely to make up a large part of your study time at university, so a few small adaptations to your reading strategies could potentially save you a lot of time over the term.

Reading with a purpose

The Study Advice team has a guide on managing academic reading which includes ideas on how to select material, deciding how much to read, and reading techniques. We also have a brief video tutorial on reading academic texts that introduces the kind of reading needed for academic work and appropriate strategies.

To get started, use this simple three-step plan to make your reading more active and targeted:

 1. Understand the purpose for your reading:

2. Think about what you need to find out:

Ask yourself what you already know about the topic, from previous lectures, seminars or wider knowledge. Use this to identify your gaps and what you need to find out – it can be useful to phrase this as a series of questions so you can then search for answers to those questions.

3. Identify where you can find this information:

Your reading list is often a helpful place to start – the Library has a guide to understanding your reading list. But to get the best marks you will most likely need to go beyond your reading list – see the Library guide on doing your literature search for information on where to look, effective search tips, finding the items you need. For targeted resources and more advice on finding information in your subject, take a look at your subject resources pages or contact your subject liaison librarian.

An open notebook and pensNote this!

Efficient reading goes hand-in-hand with good note-making, so if you feel you are being slowed down by taking too many, or too few notes, have a look at our guide to effective note-taking and our video tutorial on critical note-taking.

The secret is not trying to capture everything you’ve read (or you’ll just end up with more notes than there are pages in the book itself!) but to keep good records so you know where to find the information again when you need it. Watch this short video tutorial on finding bibliographical details you need for note-making and referencing. If you find it hard to keep track of your references, consider using reference management software, such as EndNote.

Spending too long reading?

Reading is a potentially open-ended task – there is always one more book or journal article in the Library that you could read. If you feel your reading is taking too long, have a look at the Study Advice guides on managing your time and our video tutorial on how to make more hours in the day

If you find it difficult to focus on your reading, list the things that distract you and take steps to deal with these distractions. For example, disable pop-up notifications on your phone if you know social media can easily draw your attention away from your reading. Another helpful strategy is to think about the time of day when you are most focused and productive, and use your best thinking time to tackle the most difficult texts.

Putting limits around your reading time and stopping it from becoming an endless task can also improve your efficiency and your motivation! Make an estimate of how much time you need to do your reading, break your reading down into manageable chunks, and schedule it into a weekly study timetable. For more advice on how to make one, watch our video tutorial on making a study timetable.

Need more help?

If you need more advice on how to manage your reading and improve your note-taking techniques, contact the Study Advice team to book an appointment.

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 Michelle Reid and Erika Delbecque, Study Advisers.

Writing or speaking? Captivate your audience with multimedia – info tip

Planning a poster, presentation or report? Adding an image, video or audio clip can help your audience understand your ideas and engage them with your argument.

The Library has a number of sources of multimedia which you can use in your coursework assignments and teaching. Why not explore some of the resources listed below in order to enrich your projects with pictures, audio and video that illustrate your point?

Multimedia can be a persuasive addition to your argument – but remember to consider it critically, as with any source, and reference images and clips appropriately giving credit to the original source.

Images

Our main resource for images is Britannica Image Quest – it includes over 2.7 million images from various collections including National Geographic, Getty Images, National History Museum and more.

University image collections

The University also has several image collections available – Special Collections have many images of the objects in their collections on their website which can be used in unpublished and non-commercial works. Special Collections covers many areas including Samuel Beckett, early English coins, early anatomy books and publishers’ archives. Please contact them if you want to know more about using these images.

Video & Audio clips

Our main collection of videos and clips is Box of Broadcasts (BoB), where you can view over 2 million TV & radio broadcasts from free-to-view channels from the 1990s to the present day. Create a clip from a film, documentary or news item, or search and view clips and playlists from academics at other UK universities. Videos can be streamed for use in teaching materials or student coursework, but only in the UK.

Get on the right side of the law!

All the resources listed here have guidance on how you may use the content on the access page to help you operate within the rules! For further guidance on using multimedia for educational purposes legally, see the University’s advice on copyright.

Citing multimedia

Like everything you refer to in your academic work, you need to cite the author of your image or clip and where you got it from – see our advice on how to cite different types of material or the BUFVC’s guide on citing audiovisual materials.

There are lots of other resources for images, video and audio available – some specifically for certain subjects. See what’s available on our image and sound page.

Need further advice?

For more guidance contact your subject liaison librarian.

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

This tip was written by Natalie Guest, Multimedia Manager.