The Library Service has recently introduced new and regular induction sessions to our services and resources for new PhD students and they are proving popular. Complementing the Information Skills Workshops which we have been delivering to them for a number of years, these induction sessions introduce the fundamentals of how to get the best out of the Library, while the workshops go into much greater detail on the research cycle they will be undertaking during their time here in Aberdeen and the role that the Library can play in that.
The second of these definitions is what we aim for in the induction sessions, and we hope for them to be regular, not rare.
The need for these regular sessions was identified due to the fact that PhD students now arrive at the University of Aberdeen throughout the academic year and, more importantly, from all around the world. The culture of libraries and how they operate differ greatly throughout the world, and also vary between each academic institution, with the systems of one library being designed for the specifics of the particular University of which they are a part. We recognised, therefore, that many of these PhD students needed more basic guidance in terms of how to use our services.
The induction sessions begin with the basics of library opening hours, how many books they can borrow and how to search for them with Primo, and even how they can find them on the shelves. In some countries, for example, students themselves do not go and get the books from the shelves as that would be the work of a librarian. That is not something we normally do here in Aberdeen, unless, of course, someone is struggling to find it themselves. We also cover how to borrow and return them using our self-issue and returns machines.
We then move on to introduce the vast range of online resources we offer, such as e-book collections and academic databases, and their importance to doing great research. We also outline how to access them easily when away from our campuses – important when much research is done in the field and all around the world. The Information Skills Workshops we run are also introduced to let them know that further detailed help is available to help them get the best out of these online materials and our paper resources, and make it clear that Library staff and subject-specific Information Consultants are here to help throughout the time they are working to achieve their Doctorates.
After introducing these services they are given a tour of the impressive Sir Duncan Rice Library to begin to turn the theory of the library which we have just introduced into reality. This also gives them the opportunity to ask any questions about any aspect of the library which we have not already covered.
These inductions sessions are a great opportunity for us to begin to build the relationship with the Library Service that these early career researchers will need over the next few years. It is an exciting time as they set out on the start of their research, but can also be a daunting time with so much to take in and learn in a very short space of time and often in a new country and culture, and our aim with these sessions is to simplify and clarify the Library Service as much as possible for them and make it clear that we are here to support them in their information needs, so that they can focus on the fundamental research questions they are here in Aberdeen to investigate and answer.
To book on one of these induction sessions, or any of the workshops offered by the Library Service visit the University’s Course Booking System and search for Library Information Skills. There are two sessions on offer this week and another on May 12, but do keep an eye on the Course Booking site for details of our next Workshops (not yet confirmed) as well as other excellent classes delivered by other areas of the University.