Planning your revision – info tip

Easter’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 schedulefree year planners
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!

See our Study Guide on Planning your revision for more on how to work out your schedule. And why not pick up a free year planner from the Study Advice office – perfect for making your revision plan!

 

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?
The Library is many students’ first choice of location for revision. We have dedicated group, quiet and silent study areas so whether you want to work alone or with a group of friends, there will be a suitable place for you. However, the Library can get busy in exam period. So for alternative places to revise on campus, check the list of study spaces.sleeping student

Wherever you revise, remember to take breaks. We 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 can watch our video tutorial on Effective revision – and save yourself a lot of wasted time. We also have a Study Guide 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. And have a look at our video tutorials on exams for guidance on the best way to prepare for different kinds of exams.

 

Where to get more help
If you have any questions about revising or taking exams at university, make an appointment to meet with a Study Adviser – they can give you friendly, expert advice.

 

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 and Sonia Hood (Study Advice team).

Restored! Off-campus access to Web of Science and EndNote Web

We are pleased to say that the problems with off-campus access to Web of Science and EndNote Web have been resolved and you should be able to login to both as normal. If you experience difficulties accessing any of our resources please fill in the E-resources problem report form.

Apologies for the inconvenience this has caused.

Jackie Skinner, Library Web Manager

Research beyond your reading list – info tip

male student readingAs you reach the middle of term, and the assignments start piling up, impress your tutors with essays that go beyond your reading list by using journal articles. This info tip will show you how to find the latest articles to use in your assignments.

Why use journal articles?

Journal articles are the best place to find the latest research, written by and for academic experts. They contain specialist, original research, and most go through a rigorous quality assurance procedure, known as ‘peer review’.

Finding articles using Summon

Summon is the Library’s discovery service. It is usually the best place to start looking for journal articles as it searches across most the Library’s e-journals and e-books. Everything that you find using Summon is available to read online; all you need is your University username and password. Summon uses relevancy ranking to show you the most useful articles at the top of your results. You can also use the limits on the left of the screen to specify a range of dates, so you just see the recent material.

Summon can be accessed via the search box on the Library homepage and is easy to use. Start off by searching for a couple of keywords for your topic and see what you can find. For more search tips check out our searching techniques guide, or watch this handy video tutorial.

Delving deeper into your subject

Summon is great for more general or interdisciplinary topics, but you may also get some irrelevant results because it covers such a wide range of journals. For a more focused search you might want to try a specific database tailored to your subject area. You can find these via our databases by subject page, this links to the key specialist databases for each subject taught at the University of Reading.

Before going any further it is a good idea to plan your search; identify the key concepts and think about what kinds of publications you want to find. Different databases work in slightly different ways and there are guides to each database on the Library website or you can look at our searching techniques guide and video:

[jwplayer file=”http://content.screencast.com/users/UniRdg_Library/folders/Library/media/dd1b4bed-6db0-47c7-be86-b434896cf99b/Plan%20your%20search.mp4″]

Looking beyond UoR

If you cannot find the information you need via Summon, or one of our databases, you could try Google Scholar. This includes references to journal articles, and many other materials. You can set it up to show links to full-text in our subscribed journals, as well as freely available articles which might not show on Summon.

If you are doing an extended piece of research and need an article which is unavailable at the University Library you can request an Inter-Library Loan from another library. Find out how to request an inter-library loan.

Keeping up to dateWeb of Science alerts

If you are a research student, or just want to stay up to date with the latest developments in your field, then there are a number of different services you can use. Zetoc, Web of Science and Scopus all allow you to set up email alerts which will notify you when new articles are published in your research area.

Many other databases also offer a more limited version of this service in particular subject areas. Find out more on our Keeping up to date page.

 

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

This tip was written by Rosie Higman, Trainee Liaison Librarian for Chemistry and Pharmacy.

Parking bays behind Library close during works

To facilitate enabling works for Library Refurbishment 2016-2019, some parking bays behind the Library are closed.

As of Wednesday 17 February 2016 this includes two disabled parking spaces. Unfortunately some large skips were wrongly placed on them. We hope to have them moved in the next few days. Meanwhile, disabled drivers may use disabled parking bays opposite the nearby Cedars Hotel and in the Cedars Hotel car park. (See Car Park 15 behind the Library, Building 2 on the Whiteknights campus map from the University’s  ‘Getting here’ webpage.)

We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator
for Robin Hunter, Facilities Manager

Architect's impression of Library building and landscaping

 

Cite it right – and avoid unintentional plagiarism! Info tip

11548You 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 and 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).

For more advice, Citing References combines previous guides 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 guidance on:

The guidance below focuses on three important points to help you avoid unintentional plagiarism.

Know when to include a reference

References in a footnoteWhenever 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.

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 a guide 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 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.

What should you do if you can’t find all the details of a reference?

Slide from tutorial on finding bibliographic detailsIf 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 Helen Hathaway, Library Head of Academic Liaison and Support and Dr Kim Shahabudin, Study Adviser.

Further Library refurbishment 2016-2019 approved

Architect's impression of Library building and landscaping

Architect’s impression showing the refurbished Library west front with enlarged café, new cladding and landscaping

A £40 million redevelopment and refurbishment of The University Library starting this June, has been approved by the University Council. This second phase of the complete modernisation and revamp of the Library will increase space for individual and group study, and will make better use of the space currently available on the Ground and 1st Floors. Work is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2019.

Significant improvements

Specific key areas of improvement will include 200 more study places and increased toilet capacity with toilets available on all floors, including disabled and gender neutral provision. Café space will be expanded, including opening glazed doors onto external al fresco areas. New lifts will be installed, and an improved system for borrowing and returning books will be put into place.

The redevelopment will provide better access and security as well as improving its energy efficiency, through improved insulation and ventilation. The exterior of the building will be totally re-clad and will have replacement windows fitted throughout, providing a striking focal point at the heart of the Whiteknights campus.

University investment rates Library highly

The University Council approved the £25 million building costs, with an additional £15 million costs of keeping the Library fully operational, contingency funding, VAT and project management. This comes after the first £4.4m phase revamped the study spaces and furniture on the 2nd to 5th Floors in 2013 and 2014. Planning permission was granted by Reading Borough Council last December.

Our Vice-Chancellor’s view

“The Library has always played a central role in our life and work, with its location at the very heart of the University’s Whiteknights campus,” says Vice-Chancellor Sir David Bell. “We have invested £4.4m in the top four floors of the Library as a first phase of redevelopment and this major new investment of £40m will complete the project. We will combine traditional and crucial functions such as book and journal collections with group study facilities, great digital access and multi-purpose spaces. Our Library has never been a static, sepulchral space. It has continued to evolve over its 50 year history and as these excellent new facilities become available to students and staff.”

Keep calm, we’ll carry on!

The Library will remain fully operational to students across the entirety of the redevelopment. No building work will take place at all during exams. To minimise disruption for Library users, books held on floors being refurbished will be relocated elsewhere in the Library. Print journals will move off site, but as the majority of Library users access journal content online via the Library website, this should cause minimal inconvenience.

In addition, the University will provide alternative study space across the centre of the campus during exam and periods of high-demand – with details being confirmed in due course.

Further information

The Library Refurbishment 2016-2019 webpage gives further information, including a proposed work schedule, frequently asked questions and links to the latest refurbishment news on the University Library News blog (where day-to-day advice will be given to Library users).

A wider Campus Projects website is also in development, in which the Library redevelopment will be featured. Many other communication channels will also be used to help provide as much information as possible across the development of the project.

Rachel Redrup, Library Marketing Co-ordinator

Ramp up your reading efficiency – info tip

Male students reading booksIf 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:

Understand the purpose for your reading:

 

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.

 

Identify where you can find this information out:

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.

 

Note this!Coloured pens and notebooks

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 some 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 including advice on getting organised, making more time in the day, and avoiding distractions. Putting limits around your reading time and stopping it from becoming an endless task can improve your efficiency and your motivation!

 

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

This tip was written by Michelle Reid, Study Adviser.

Carry your Campus Card for 24-hour access

University of Reading Library at nightPlease carry your Campus Card in the Library to prove you are a University member and entitled to access. This is especially important overnight during 24-hour opening when it will open the door for you.

From 19:00 to 08:00 please enter by the right-hand Library door – the revolving door is locked.

  • University members can gain automatic entry by placing their Campus Card on the ‘proximity reader’ beside the right-hand door.
  • Visitors and University members without their Campus/Library Cards will be asked to show ID and sign our Visitors’ Book.

The Library reserves the right to refuse access to anyone, including University members, who cannot identify themselves adequately.

Campus Card faulty?

Did your Campus Card fail to open the Library’s front door with the card reader overnight 19:00-08:00? Please ask Campus Card Services to fix the fault via their Campus Card non-residential door access report form or email campuscard@reading.ac.uk.

Summer exam-time exclusive access

Please note that during the April-June examination period, we operate a ‘no card, no access’ policy 17:00-08:00 in order to preserve our fantastic University Library facilities for University members only.

Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator

Pay your fines online!

Staff and students with campus cards! You, (but only you) can pay Library fines online! If you haven’t tried this before, here’s a guide on how to do it.

Step 1: Logging in 

Go to the University of Reading Campus Card Portal at cardfinance.reading.ac.uk and login with your University username and password.

Step 2:

Click on the ‘Library Fines’ link on the left side of the page.

1Step 3:

This page will display how many fines/bills you have to pay and what available funds you have. Before you tick the box, the text below will be orange. Tick the box to select your fines.

Step 4:

Now the box is ticked and your fines are selected, the text will turn green. Beside the ‘Pay Now’ button, you will see the total amount you are about to pay. Click the ‘Pay Now’ button to confirm the transaction. The total amount will be deducted from your available funds.

3

Step 5:

Once the transaction is complete, red text will tell you how much in total you have paid. Your fines should now be clear.

5Other Library members

You can pay fines at either the Ground Floor Information Desk or Self-Service Point fines payment machines; or by payment card over the telephone (0118 378 8770) for amounts over £5.00.

Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator

Library heating on

Man using a loud hailerThe Library building is now heating up! This morning a failed valve caused a fault with the main heating system. However, thanks to Estates and Facilties Management, we’re now switched over to the back-up system.  It may take a short while before the whole building reaches a comfortable temperature since it has been off for 11 days over the University’s Christmas Closure.

For more on challenges and opportunities for the Library’s heating and ventilation system, see our previous blog.

Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator for Robin Hunter, Facilities Manager