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 online 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.

Can’t find the item you need in the Library? – info tip

It’s every student’s worst nightmare – you’ve finally found the perfect item for your assignment, only to discover that the Library doesn’t have it. But don’t despair! We’ve got lots of ways for you to get your hands on the information you need…

All the copies are on loan

The 'Place Hold' button.

You’ll see the ‘Place Hold’ button on the top right-hand side of the catalogue record.

  • Place a hold. When you’re on the catalogue page with details of the item, click the Place Hold button in the top right-hand side. Log in with your University details and click Place Hold again. That’s all you need to do! Whoever’s had the book out the longest will be asked to return it, and we’ll send you an email when the book is ready for you to collect on the Hold Shelf of the URS Building. We’ll automatically buy more copies of books with lots of holds. Note: you’ll only be able to place a hold when there are no copies on the shelf.
  • Check for an e-book version. Where possible we buy both print and digital copies of titles to make sure everyone can access them. Anything that’s available online will have a link saying Click here for online access – click that and sign in with your University details to start reading. E-books are particularly useful because you can access them anywhere: on campus, at home, on holiday – the choice is yours!
  • Check our Course Collection. This is a collection of high-demand items available for short loan – you can borrow any item in this section until 11am the following day. This can be really useful if you’re needing to read a particular chapter of a book before a tutorial, for example. Course Collection Books are listed as OVERNIGHT books on the catalogue, and their Status will be ‘Course Collection Ground Floor@URS’.
  • Check other books in the same section. Our books are arranged by Call Number, and books with the same Call Number will cover the same topic (for example, all books shelved at 658.8 are about marketing). If you can’t find the exact title you need, it’s worth browsing the area to see if you can find a similar book. Check the Books tab of your subject guide to find out where to find particular topics. You might also be able to find an earlier edition of your title – they will be shelved at the same place.

 

We don’t stock the book in the Library

 

I need a specific article or book for an assignment and the Library doesn’t have access

  • Place a free inter-library loan (ILL) request. We’ll then ask other libraries if they can give us a copy of the article or book. For articles, you can often have the PDF sent straight to your University email address. Undergraduate and taught postgraduate students can have up to 5 free requests per year; this number is higher for research students and staff – check out our ILL pages for more information. If you’d like to place a request, log in and fill in a short online form with details of the item you need.

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

This tip was written by Caitlin McCulloch, Trainee Liaison Librarian for Architecture, Chemistry, Construction Management & Engineering and Pharmacy.

Making the most of your Library – info tip

You don’t need to visit the Library to discover the range of resources we provide!

  • Need to know how to find things in the Library?
  • Unsure how to search for books and journals on Enterprise?
  • Need to find books on your subject which aren’t on your reading lists?

Try LibLearn!

LibLearn is an online course that you can do when you have time and at your own pace. It is available 24/7 via Blackboard, the University’s online learning system. Divided into three sections, LibLearn includes documents to read, and quizzes to test yourself on how much you’ve learnt and to provide more tips.

New to the University?

Then LibLearn One is for you. It will help you to:

  • find your way around the Library
  • search for books on your reading lists on Enterprise
  • locate books in the Library

Been at the University for a while or doing a Masters or PhD?

LibLearn Two and LibLearn Three will help you to:

  • find and access journals in the Library
  • find material on a subject using Enterprise and Summon
  • find academically reliable material on the web
  • evaluate what you find
  • understand the principles of copyright and referencing
  • develop effective search strategies
  • search databases for information, particularly journal articles

How do you access LibLearn?

  1. Go to the LibLearn course in Blackboard
  2. Click on the Enrol button on the left-hand-side of the screen
  3. Click on the submit button on the Self Enrolment screen and OK at the bottom of the next screen

You will now be taken to the course pages. Next time you log on to Blackboard the course will be in your list of  Courses in My modules.

Or watch one of our videos!

If you were unable to come to one of our ‘Finding your way’ workshops for new students, or just want to find out more about the Library and what we do, then check out our series of introductory videos.

Some of the videos currently available are:

Library staff…happy to help!

Although there is a wealth of information and help on our website, Library staff are here to help you, so please ask if you have any questions. You can always contact your subject liaison librarian for guidance on locating resources in your subject.

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

This tip was written by Learning Support Co-ordinator Sally Smith.

Get to know your online reading list – info tip

Now that lecturBlackboard menu with Reading Lists option highlightedes have started, you might be wondering where to find materials for your new modules. Many lecturers use online reading lists to recommend books, journal articles, and other useful materials to read each week and to help you find materials for your assignments.

You should find your online reading list via the left-hand menu on Blackboard, and it will contain real-time information on the availability of print materials in the Library, as well as links to e-books, e-journal articles, videos, and scanned extracts of key readings that your lecturer recommends.

Watch our quick video introduction with all the key features of your online reading list.

New-look online reading lists

If you’re a returning student, you might have spotted that your reading lists look a little different… Over Spring Term last year we trialled a new look and it received positive feedback.

The new look now displays:

  • Real-time information on library availability without leaving the main list – click on the title of the book you’re interested in, and you’ll see the call number and number of copies displayed below.

A particular item on a reading list with its availability highlighted

  • Online resources (including scanned chapters) are available via the ‘View Online’ button on the right.

An item on a reading list with the View Online option highlighted

  • You can use the drop-down menu at the top of the page to filter by physical/online resource; importance level (Essential, Recommended or Further reading); or by Week if this is available. This can help you to manage your readings week by week – but if you’re looking for a specific item use the Search at the top of the page.

The drop-down menu on Talis for choosing resource typesYou are also able to create an online reading lists account and make notes on items, or mark items as ‘Read’ – these notes and labels are only visible to you, and you can use these to manage and keep track of your readings.

For more information on using these features of your online reading list, or for any other questions, take a look at our guide for students.

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 Coles, Course Support Co-ordinator.

Finding your way beyond Welcome Week

Our finding your way sessions have now ended but there is still plenty of support available, online and in person, to help you make the most of the Library.

#FYWTips

We’ll be posting ‘Finding Your Way’ tips each week throughout the autumn term on all our social media channels. These tips will highlight ways to make the most of the Library and all the services we offer. We’ve already posted about finding a book and placing a hold – head to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for more information. Watch out for our new tip next week!

Who can you ask for help?

Liaison librarians

There is a dedicated liaison librarian for every subject at the University. Your liaison librarian can support your studies by:

showing you how to use information resources effectively – your librarian can offer training sessions for your School/Department and online library guides for your subject
showing you how to save time by making the most of all our Library services
giving you individual help with research – your librarian can offer in depth one-to-one help in finding information, including identifying the most relevant e-resources for you to use

Contact your subject liaison librarian to arrange a meeting.

Other help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help at an Information Desk! Go to the URS Ground Floor Information Desk for general enquiries. Go to the Library Building, 2nd or 3rd Floor Desks for help finding books.

Further information

To keep up to date with the latest Library news, visit this Library blog and our social media channels.

Katie Moore, Trainee Liaison Librarian

‘Finding your way’ sessions continue this week

Not sure how to use the LibrStudent finding a bookary? Don’t panic! There are still places available on our one-hour ‘Finding your way’ sessions. They will continue to run during Week 1 of Term (1 October – 5 October).

Sessions cover:

  • what’s where in the Library and URS buildings
  • going to the shelves to find a book
  • borrowing and returning books
  • plus other tips on making the most of your Library

Take the opportunity to find your way to the books you need before your reading starts to pile up!

Book your place via the ‘Library course bookings’ link, located in the ‘Actions’ tab on the RISISweb Portal.

Sally Smith, Learning Support Co-ordinator

Library building areas reopen after refurbishment

Parts of the Ground and 1st Floors of the University Library building have reopened as our refurbishment progresses!

New Library Café

The ground floor has a brand new Library Café, which offers hot drinks made by a barista and a ‘grab and go’ menu – including sandwiches, fresh soup and toasties. Two Freestyle machines offer water and a range of soft drinks.

If you would like to sit in the café, there are a range of seating options – including comfortable cushioned benches with plug sockets for phone and laptop charging. You will be able to order from a broader range of food and drink options.

A limited menu of coffee, pre-packed sandwiches and snacks is available this week (Welcome Week) and the cafe will be open from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm. From Monday 1 October, the café will stay open later and close at 9.30 pm with the fuller menu available.

Some Library study areas

The Library’s ground floor offers other study seating options, while the first floor offers a range of group study seating options.

Students are welcome to use these study spaces (no food in these areas please!), but please bear in mind that Library refurbishment continues on these and other floors until autumn 2019 and it will sometimes be noisy or disruptive. Therefore, study space and services remain in Library@URS for the whole of the academic year 2018/2019. Library@URS provides a quieter environment for study while still being close enough to borrow and use the Library’s printed materials. Students may also use the variety of alternative study space around the University.

Further information

To keep up to date with the latest study space and Library refurbishment news, please visit the Library refurbishment webpage and this Library blog.

Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator
and University Communications

New student? Make the most of your Library – info tip

Welcome to University of Reading Library!

We are here to support your studies, providing you with access to information – online, multimedia or printed – and the skills to make the most of it.

What you need to know

For a general intro, check out our guide for new students.

This year Library services are operating from two buildings. Study space and services are in the Library@URS Building, whilst printed materials are still available to borrow from the main Library building next door. The Library building also has some study space.Two students using laptops in the study space in the URS Building

Come to a ‘Finding your way’ session

Our interactive workshops run throughout Welcome Week and Week 1. Discover how to find books in the Library and borrow them, and have a tour of the services and facilities in the Library@URS Building. Each session lasts around one hour, but could save you a lot more time in the long run!

Visit our website to find out more and book your place.

Explore in Welcome Week

We are open through Welcome Week, so why not explore before all the other students return? Between 09:00 and 17:00 you can:Students outside the URS Building

  • Visit the Library to find resources for your subject – pick up a guide to your subject there and pick up some freebies.
  • Pop in to the Library@URS next door to discover your favourite study areas on the 2nd Floor and the largest PC facility in the University on the Ground Floor (along with IT help from the Service Desk).
  • Meet Study Advice and Maths Support on the Ground Floor of the Library@URS and pick up a free planner to organise your new University life!

Visit us in the Marquee

On Tuesday 25 September, Library staff and the Study Advice and Maths Support teams will be in the Marquee for the Academic Success Fair. Please pop in and have a chat with us about how we can support your studies. We’ll have freebies and a photo booth too!

Explore our online help

We’ve got lots of resources on our website to support your studies and develop your skills.

Get individual help

Liaison librariansYour friendly subject liaison librarian will be happy to give you individual help with any subject-related enquiries, or questions about the Library. You might also see yours as part of a Library session organised by your Department.

For one-to-one help with study skills contact the Study Advice Team.

Prepare yourself for life at university

Have you completed the Study Smart online course? This short course has been designed to help you make a smooth transition to University learning. It covers academic integrity, communicating at University and being an independent learner. Why not find time in Welcome Week to complete the course if you haven’t already done so? You should have received an e-mail with instructions on signing up – if not, contact Study Advice.

Find us on social media

Look out for our Finding Your Way tips throughout the Autumn Term on how to make the most of your Library. You’ll find them all on social media under the hashtag #FYWTips – feel free to add your own! We’re active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – we’d love for you to share how you’re getting on, and you can ask us questions there too!

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

This tip was written by Learning Support Co-ordinator Sally Smith.