Information Skills workshops for PhD researchers now open for booking

The Library is here to help all postgraduate researchers as they begin, or continue their in-depth research with a series of Information Skills Workshops designed to their needs. With so much academic literature available through the University of Aberdeen, these workshops will give you the confidence and skills to locate and manage the materials you need.

The workshops will take place at the start of February 2018 and will help you understand the resources available to you as researchers here at the University of Aberdeen, and how to get the best out of them. Read on for further information on the workshops. To book workshops visit www.abdn.ac.uk/coursebooking and look for Library Information Skills classes.

There are three workshops on offer, each lasting two hours:

  • Literature searching – Part 1: Getting started
  • Literature searching – Part 2: Using databases
  • Literature searching – Part 3: Managing your references using RefWorks*

Across the three workshops we will look at:

  • Planning your search
  • Looking for books: using Primo and E-books
  • Databases of academic literature
  • Getting the best out of Google
  • Managing your references with RefWorks
  • Formatting Word documents with in-text citations and bibliographies

 *IMPORTANT NOTE: The workshop focusing on the management of references (Part 3) is not suitable for research postgraduates in the School of Law, as the software used does not support the OSCOLA referencing style required for legal theses.

We look forward to seeing you at the workshops.

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Information Skills Workshops for PhD researchers now open for booking

The Library is here to help all postgraduate researchers as they begin, or continue, their in-depth research with a series of Information Skills Workshops designed to their needs. With so much academic literature available through the University of Aberdeen these workshops will give you the confidence and skills to locate and manage the materials you need.

These workshops will take place in November 2016 and will help you understand the resources available to you as researchers here at the University of Aberdeen, and how to get the best out of them. Read on for further information on the workshops. To book workshops visit www.abdn.ac.uk/coursebooking and look for Library Information Skills classes.

There are three workshops on offer, each lasting two hours:

  • Literature searching – Part 1: Getting started
  • Literature searching – Part 2: Using databases
  • Literature searching – Part 3: Managing your references using RefWorks*

Across the three workshops we will look at:

  • Planning your search
  • Looking for books: using Primo and E-books
  • Databases of academic literature
  • Getting the best out of Google
  • Managing your references with RefWorks
  • Formatting Word documents with in-text citations and bibliographies

Feedback from those who have previously attended these sessions have been positive and they highlight how after attending they felt better equipped to find and manage the materials required for research. One quote from a previous attendee nicely sums up what we are aiming for with these sessions:

“I will definitely be searching smarter than before”

Our aim is that after you attend you will also leave feeling this way.

*IMPORTANT NOTE: The workshop focusing on the management of references (Part 3) is not suitable for research postgraduates in the School of Law, as the software used does not support the OSCOLA referencing style required for legal theses.

To find out more, and to book onto the different workshops please visit www.abdn.ac.uk/coursebooking and look for Information Skills classes. We look forward to seeing you at the workshops.

The Library launches induction sessions for PhD Students

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.

 

Browse the Sir Duncan Rice Library new books webpages

New books are always being added to the collections here in The Sir Duncan Rice Library and to keep up to date with the titles which are arriving we encourage you to take a look at our New Acquisitions webpages.

These pages are updated at the end of each month, and include title information and links to their entries in Primo, the portal to details of all our Library materials.

Selected highlights, amongst many others from the past month include:

Bookmark this page on the Library website or sign up to this blog on the right of this page to receive announcements every month of the new material we are continually adding to what is already over 15 miles of shelving in this library alone.

And, of course, the Taylor Library and the Medical Library also maintain similar pages detailing the new book stock which they receive each month, so that whatever subject you are studying, teaching, or researching you are always aware of the new material available to you through the University of Aberdeen Libraries.

 

Exporting to RefWorks – difficulties

Many users are experiencing difficulties today (Tuesday 2 February) exporting records into RefWorks from a range of databases. This is occurring at universities across the UK and the problem is under investigation by RefWorks. If at all possible we would suggest saving your search strategy or results by other means e.g. save to list, so that you can export to RefWorks later, once the difficulty has been resolved.

Susan McCourt, s.mccourt@abdn.ac.uk

Searching just got easier – new and improved Primo now live

Primo, the gateway to The University of Aberdeen’s printed and digital materials, including the holidings in our archives and the objects in our museum collections, has been re-launched today with a new look and feel designed to make the experience of finding the materials you need that little bit easier.

primo1

Starting with a complete redesign of the Primo homepage, Library staff have worked hard to simplify the interface.

primo tabs

There is a similar tabbed structure as before, with each tab allowing you to search across a different range of material types, and we have renamed the tabs to more accurately reflect just what it is that each of them will allow you to search across.

And the infographic now included explains just what range of materials each tab will be searching across.

primo infographic

The homepage also encourages you to login whenever you are searching in Primo, so as to improve your experience of linking out to electronic resources and also to allow you to manage those items which you do already have out on loan.

But it is not only the appearance of Primo which has been improved, we have also redesigned what is going on under the bonnet, with more searching options now available from the Advanced Search screen.

In addition to the Title, Author and Subject searches previously available, you can now also search by a Creation Date, or across a broad Date Range, as well as by Shelfmark or the ISBN or ISSN, if you know it. For those who don’t know, ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number, the identifying code for each particular book published anywhere in the world. Look at the back of any book and you will find it. ISSN is the equivalent number, but for Serials (journals).

The icons included in the infographic also feature in the results list, to help you more easily identify the types of materials included in your results.

primo results

The many filtering and refining features available from the results lists will be familiar to those who have used Primo before but we have cleaned up how they look, again making it easier to get to the most suitable materials for yourself.

One new feature of the results list worth mentioning is that, previously, when you were searching for journal articles your results would automatically include articles not available in full-text, often causing disappointment and frustration at not being able to access something that caught your attention.

primo expand

Well, when searching now for journal articles the initial results only contain those items which we do have in full-text, and there is now the option to expand your results to include those items which we as a Library do not have full-text access to, should you so want to.

One important aspect to remember, though, is that to access many of our electronic resources you need to do so directly from within many of the databases we subscribe to. That unfortunate limitation of Primo still exists, so there is still a clear link at the top of the screen to help link you out to particular databases.

primo top

From this top banner you can also link to an A-Z list of electronic journals and to the Help screens for Primo.

This has only been a quick introduction to some of the useful changes Library staff have made to Primo over the course of the summer, so we encourage you to go and try it out for yourselves, and also to contact us if you have any thoughts or comments on the redesign. More information on help and guidance available for getting the best out of Primo will be following soon as the new academic year fast approaches.

Contact us on:

Email: library@abdn.ac.uk

twitter: @aberdeenunilib

facebook: www.facebook.com/biblio.teque

 

Ewan Grant, e.grant@abdn.ac.uk

Microform collection now available again

The relocation of the microform collection within The Sir Duncan Rice Library (TSDRL) has now been completed, so that our users are again able to consult, and print from, our wide-ranging collection of often fascinating materials in miniature.

microfiche inside

Microfiche Area on Floor 2 of TSDRL

They are now located on Floor 2 of TSDRL, on the east side of the building. The microform reader and some of the collection are housed in the reader carrel on that floor, with the majority of the collection being kept on shelves located just outside the reader carrel.

The collection contains miniaturised Times and New York Times dating back to the 18th and 19th Centuries respectively, alongside some intriguingly titled materials, such as Hibernian Horrors and, dating from 1928, Five hundred Eskimo words: a comparative vocabulary from Greenland and central Eskimo dialects. The collection contains some valuable resources which we just do not have access to in any other format.

To find these resources on Primo simply include “microform” when you are doing a search.

If you need any help with using this collection please speak with the library staff based at our Information Centre on Floor 1 of TSDRL.

 

Ewan Grant, e.grant@abdn.ac.uk