All posts by Kim

http://libguides.rhul.ac.uk/profile.php?uid=86103

Who edits Wikipedia?

Wikipedia edits have been in the news this week…

But how easy is it to change what’s said on Wikipedia, and can we trust it?

Wikipedia can be edited by anyone, and this is part of what makes the site so brilliant: information from all over the world is being added all the time on all subjects. This is so much more comprehensive and efficient than a traditional print encyclopaedia in which a small group of editors can work for months and months to complete a book which may well be out of date by the time it goes to print! Wikipedia is current; as something changes in the real world, any one of us can log onto Wikipedia and make a note of it for all the world to see.

But did you know that Wikipedia has a pretty stringent editorial policy? Yes, you can make a change, but as anyone else in the world can change it again, there have to be some rules in place to make sure that it’s not chaos!

There are lots of guidelines that any edit must meet, and there must be a consensus of editors. Wikipedia encourage discussion of all edits, but especially major ones:

“Behind the scenes of Wikipedia articles, there is a large community of volunteer editors working to build the encyclopedia. It is not uncommon for editors to disagree about the way forward. That is when discussion and an attempt at reaching consensus should take place. Every article on Wikipedia has a talk page, reached by clicking the Talk tab just above the title (for example,Talk:Alexander the Great). There, editors can discuss improvements to the content of an article.”
(See: Discussion and Consensus)

Click on the ‘View History‘ page of any article to see the changes (and associated comments) that have taken place.

Occasionally arguments, or Edit Wars, break out between Wikipedia editors (and have even been the cause of academic studies…) Information is Beautiful have a nice visual of some of the most heartily fought battles.

So how can you tell who wrote what?

Listen to the Today programme on Radio 4 (skip to 1 hour 22mins) discussing the allegations made against Grant Shapps – it’s harder than it seems to work out who wrote what on Wikipedia.

And this uncertainty can be it’s downfall. It’s the reason Wikipedia isn’t considered a reliable source of information – the person editing the page on nuclear physics could be a world leading researcher, but they might not be. And they could at any time have their edits crossed out by another editor.

But there is a way you can try to make sense of the edits, and in doing so boost your own research. Plenty of us go straight to Wikipedia for an overview of a subject we know nothing about – but not many of us at all use the reference list at the bottom of each page.

Did you notice all these in-text references in Wikipedia articles?

wikipedia footnotes

Hover over them and they open up a window to an source.

wikipedia reference

You can click on these links and read the news, or academic article that the information came from. If the link asks you to pay for access, go straight to LibrarySearch and look for the title – you may find that Royal Holloway Library has paid for access to the article another way, and you can go ahead and read it! If not, there are ways to get hold of useful articles and books.

It is good academic practice to make use of references – perhaps the quotation on Wikipedia was taken out of context, or perhaps it’s the perfect article to use to support your essay. You can’t tell who wrote the article, but if they’ve provided supporting evidence, read that to see if it is valid!

How do you know if it’s valid? Think about these factors.

So, to conclude: Wikipedia is a good source of background and general information, but it’s more difficult to determine the quality of the information – so  make use of references provided, and if there are none: find them!

How to access Exam Papers

Very good luck in your exams! Here are some tips for reading past papers:

1. Are you on campus? If yes, carry onto 2.
If no, please use CampusAnywhere (If you don’t do this, you might not be able to see the papers.)

2. If you’re using Moodle: click on the Past Exam Papers link on the right to go through to past papers for that course code only.

past papers

3. To search the Past Papers database directly, go to the Library homepage, and click Exam Papers.

past papers homepage

4. Check you are logged in by looking in the top right hand corner – if it says log out your are logged in. If not then please log in.exam papers login

You can browse by Course Code, Department, and Year – and all exam papers can be downloaded as PDFs.

accesspaper

If you have any questions, please let us know!

Library Enquiry of the Month: How do I request a book?

If you want us to buy More Books for your course, or research, you can fill in our book suggestions form.

more books

Since September 2014, we have spent over £26,600 on More Books requests alone – these are in addition to books purchased from reading lists, and requests from staff members.

So if you find that there aren’t enough copies of a book, or you come across something really useful that isn’t in the Library, click on ‘Book Suggestions Form’ in your Subject Guide or Google search ‘more books royal holloway’ and fill in the form!

You will need to know:

  • the author(s)
  • the title and publication date of the book

But if you want to let us know the course code the book is for, and your student card, then we can put the book on hold for you and send an email when it arrives.

Ask your information consultant for more information on book orders.

Borrowing books over Easter break – 2015

The Library is open over the Easter Break – from 18th March – 18th April Bedford Library opens 24/5 and from 19th April onwards: 24/7.

But if you’re not going to be here, you can borrow books for extended periods over the break.

Loan StatusIssued fromDue back
Normal21st March1st May
One Week21st March30th April
Three Day25th March29th April
Short Loan1st April 9am8th April 11am

This goes for renewals also, so don’t forget to renew your books before the Easter break.

How to renew books

Watching Theatre Online – yes please!

Have you seen our new resource, Digital Theatre Plus?

Digital Theatre Plus productions. digitaltheatreplus.com

 

Digital Theatre Plus is an online video resource which provides access to a range of productions: Shakespeare, classic plays, new writing, classical music and opera. It will be useful for students studying Shakespeare, adaptations and those interested in playwriting.

It is easily accessible from the English Subject Guide under ‘Multimedia Resources’. 

Once you’ve accessed the site, you can stream productions in full, or break them down by scene, act, or speech – and the database also includes interviews with the cast and creative teams behind a number of the productions. Digital Theatre Plus are always adding to the collection, and you can sign up for updates or follow them on Facebook.

If you’re watching from home please use CampusAnywhere to access the site without having to log in, but if you’re on campus you should find that you can watch any of the productions.

Any problems or questions, please contact Kim in the Library on k.coles@rhul.ac.uk.

Getting better search results

We just received an email on narrowing down search results – “I’m searching for books on the idea of performance but I always get thousands of results which are based around performance meaning how well something is performing such as a business etc. Do you have any suggestions for how I can search for more relevant materials?”

So I thought it might be useful to put the answer into a blog post – as we’ve all been there.

Things to Try to get better search results

1. Change your keywords.

If your search for ‘performance’ brings back unrelated items, try changing what you search for. Synonyms might include ‘drama’, ‘theatre’, ‘performing arts’ etc.

Try adding more keywords e.g. ‘audience participation’, or a particular theorist, theory or performer you’re interested in.

LibrarySearch and other databases have list of subject headings – click on these to find more examples of keywords.

moreoptions
Where to find the subject headings in LibarySearch

 

Select the headings which are relevant, and choose the checkbox to include or exclude them from your search.
Select the headings which are relevant, and choose the checkbox to include or exclude them from your search.

2. Combine your keywords.

Databases will accept certain combinations of words and use them to make your search more effective.

3. Change the database.

LibrarySearch is pretty general – if you’re after items on a particular subject, go to your subject guide and try the Finding E-resources link for a list of more specific databases.

4. Who’s cited what?

When you finish a recommended article, or book, go to the back and take a look at what they referenced when writing it – then look these up and carry on!

You can also use Google Scholar to see who’s cited the article or book you’re reading now – and see what they said on the topic.

Look for the ‘Cited by’ part, and click it to get information on other articles and books.

Click 'Cited By' to see other articles which reference this one above.
Click ‘Cited By’ to see other articles which reference this one above.

Try LibrarySearch to get hold of articles or books, and if it’s not there, don’t panic – we can get it!

5. Ask your Librarian!

Whether it’s a presentation or PhD thesis, you can always arrange a meeting with your librarian to go through the subject and searching with you, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Library Enquiry of the Month: Off-campus access

How do I access online resources off-campus? It’s one of our most common enquiries in the library@rhul.ac.uk inbox – but luckily it’s very easy to solve!

Road to nowhere in Iran

CampusAnywhere is a service that allows you to connect to your campus Y: Drive and restricted webpages such as Library databases which want you to log in every time you use them. This can be complicated, and repetitive, so using CampusAnywhere means you only have to log in once, and can access resources automatically – as though you were on campus.

It’s available for Internet Explorer (7, 8, 9, 10, and 11); Firefox; Mac OS X 10.7 (and higher); iOS (iPad/iPhone); Android – 4.x (Ice Cream Sandwich); and Linux. All you need is an internet connection and your RHUL username and passwords.

Sounds good? We know! Visit the IT webpages to get the right version for you.

Spring Term Library Workshops

Happy New Term! And with it comes new training workshops from the Library.

Last year, in the Autumn Term we saw 6547 students – that’s equivalent to all of the students in the Arts and Sciences faculties put together!

We’ve had some really nice and positive feedback on our sessions too…


 

[I] would definitely like to attend more of these workshops after attending this one

[The Librarian] who gave the workshop was very articulate, concise and knowledgeable.

this course showed me how to navigate [the Library website] efficiently to get to the parts that I need.

I thought everything we covered was of use.


But that’s not all – we’re always looking to  improve the workshops, so we’re keen to hear suggestions for more sessions, or changes we can make too.


I would be interested in attending a workshop on the more advanced features of EndNote.


So the workshops are great, but what’s on offer this term? All of our training can be found on the Training page of your subject guide, and you will need to register to attend (but this is free and easy to do – email us if you have any trouble).

Working on a dissertation or essay? Come to our Search Our Stuff and Find It Faster workshops on 17th and 26th February and practice search techniques.

New to referencing and bibliographies? RefWorks is a great resource for undergraduates, and EndNote is a powerful postgraduate referencing tool – come along on 28th January or 5th February to find out more. And if you’re already using RefWorks, but have questions, come to our Question and answer session on 11th March.
If you’ve only got half an hour to spare, or think RefWorks and EndNote aren’t for you, come to Bedford Library on 3rd March and get acquainted with free Zotero referencing. Researchers might find our half hour session on social referencing site Mendeley useful too.

Every Tuesday throughout Spring Term, Bedford Library room 2-03 hosts our Bitesize, subject specific workshops.

Something missing? Send an email to library@rhul.ac.uk and request a session!

Using LibrarySearch – RHUL Library on YouTube

If you’re just starting to use LibrarySearch to find information for your assignments you might find this playlist useful – we’ve a range of videos to help you get to grips with using LibrarySearch to manage your account and find what you need.

 

 

For more video help, go to LibraryRHUL on YouTube.