Category Archives: Geography

Resource of the Week: Web of Science

Web of Science (WoS) is a bibliographic database; that is, a database which shows what has been written on a topic, but does not necessarily provide you with full-text access. Despite the name, Web of Science (WoS) contains something for everybody. It includes the Science, Social Science, and Arts and Humanities subject areas. WoS cannot cover everything in such wide areas as those: in fact, it only covers about 5% of the journals published. However, it covers the core titles, the journals which are most cited in each field each year.

This makes it an excellent first choice for exploring a subject. You get to see what has appeared in the main journals for that subject area, and it does not include anything that will be too obscure or hard to find. For undergraduate work, this is ideal! Researchers have the further option to search for papers which cite the key papers on their topic, to see how the field has progressed.

SEARCHING

The search form is a single search bar, like Google and LibrarySearch. What WoS does, even better than Google, is help you make better, more relevant searches by clicking on “Add another field”. This option allows you to build a really clever search string using combining words such as AND to make your results more specific, or OR to broaden your results. (NOT is also very handy if you find you’re getting a lot of irrelevant results, e.g. you’re searching for AIDS the disease, but you’re finding a lot on hearing aids, using NOT hearing will exclude those irrelevant results!)

An example search using the above combining terms:

WOS Example search

Note the quotation marks around “United Kingdom”, which specifies that we only want those two words together as a phrase.

Notice in the black banner at the top that we are searching “Web of Science core collection” but there is an orange arrow by it. Clicking that gives the option to search other databases, in particular Biosis Previews, which lets you search the largest single life science database from 1969 to 2008. You can also choose “All databases” to search them all at the same time. This makes WoS the core resource for biologists.

When the results appear, the FindIt@RHUL tab appears underneath each result. Click on this and it will take you to a LibrarySearch page to see if we have access to the full-text.

REFINING YOUR SEARCH RESULTS

Below shows the results for the above example search terms. Looking at them, you may notice that they really do not seem to be that relevant to my search terms. You’ll notice at the top of the results there is a ‘Sort by’ option and it shows that these results have been ordered by the date they were published, not by relevance to my search terms:

WOS Search results

By clicking on the drop down button and selecting ‘Relevance’, the results now listed appear more relevant to my search terms:

wos 4

On the left hand side, you can refine your results further by searching for an additional keyword within these results. On the right hand side, you can see there is a ‘Times Cited’ option. This shows you who else has referenced this article and may lead you to find other useful articles on the same topic.

(You can even sort the results to show those articles cited the most times, but beware: they may may not necessarily be cited for the right reasons! Other researchers may have found a flaw in the author’s research!)

SAVING YOUR SEARCHES

You can create yourself a free account to save your searches and relevant results. You can also send the results to a Reference Management Tool such as EndNote Online, RefWorks or other similar tools.

You’ll notice that above the results, there is a “Save to EndNote online” option. This is because the owners of Web of Science also own EndNote(!), so do not be put off if you prefer another reference management tool! Click on the arrow beside this option and you will find more options to save your results.

This is very much a whistle-stop guide to Web of Science and its various functions! If you have any questions about WoS or want to learn more, please do contact us: library@rhul.ac.uk

Happy researching y’all!

Mass Observation Archive Online

The library now has access to the Mass Observation Archive online.

Mass Observation Archive Online is an online archive of British social history from 1937- 1972, with a focus on the World War Two period (1939-1945). The Mass Observation research project involved the scientific observation of public attitudes and opinions. Mass Observation online is an online archive of the original research documents created by the University of Sussex library. There is a large amount of help information available here.

Key features

  • File reports on a range of subject areas (1937-1972)
  • Day Surveys and Diaries recording every-day experiences and opinions of the general public (1937-1945)
  • Directives recording opinions of the general public on pre-determined research topics (1939-1945)
  • Books and Essays published by the Mass Observation project
  • Other personal papers collected by the Mass Observation research project

Subjects who might find this useful

  • History
  • Politics and International Relations
  • Sociology
  • Criminology
  • Media Arts
  • Geography

To read about using the physical archive you can view this post by one of our librarians who used it in her MA.

Meet the Library Liaison Team: Emma Burnett

Could you introduce yourself, and let us know your job title?

I’m Emma Burnett and I work as an Information Consultant within the Library’s Academic Liaison team.

work_profile-web

How long have you been at Royal Holloway Library?

Just over 2 years.

What is your role within the Library?

I work with several departments (Economics, European Studies, Geography, Philosophy, Politics & International Relations and Social Work) and try to ensure that the Library has the resources they require. Another key part of my role is providing information literacy training. Information literacy is a skill for life, not just for University. It involves recognising your need for information, having the ability to know where and how to access that information, managing the information once you’ve found it and using it in an ethical manner. For more information, please see http://libguides.rhul.ac.uk/infolit

Have you always worked in Libraries?

Since I joined the real world, after taking a post-university gap year to see the world, yes.

What did you want to be when you were little?

I wanted to be a vet! I’ve always loved animals, especially cats. I have 2 gorgeous cats at home.

Do you have any heroes and if you do, why are they your heroes?

I don’t really have any heroes but I do very much admire Margaret Atwood. I’ve seen her speak a few times and she’s got such an incredible mind.

What did you study?

I hold a degree in European Studies from the University of Hull, which included a year in Italy. I also have a Masters in Librarianship from the University of Sheffield.

Do you have a favourite book, and why?

I have many favourites! Remains of the Day is one of them. I studied this at A Level and think it’s a beautifully written novel. Also a great film (if you haven’t ever seen it, you can watch it for free on BoB https://learningonscreen.ac.uk/ondemand/index.php/prog/000809CD).

If you had a superhero alter ego, what would they be named, and what would your super power be?

Completely drawing a blank here, sorry! My favourite superhero(ine) is batgirl, as she was a librarian too 🙂 batgirllibrarian

What project/event are you most looking forward to in the upcoming year? (Library related!)

Piloting an Information Literacy Award to second year Geography students. And the new Library, of course!

Describe working in the library in 3 words

Lots of tea!

What advice would you give to a new student?

Use the Library’s vast array of resources! These are a huge privilege of being at University so take advantage of them and you’ll reap the benefits in your studies.

Check out the Subject Guides to find out who your librarian is, and read more interviews here.

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!

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!

Web of Science – new interface

Web of Science was the first major database made available for online searching by students themselves. It launched in the U.K. back in 1990 as BIDS (Bath Information and Data Service, as it was based at Bath University.)

Despite the name, Web of Science (WoS) contains something for everybody. It includes the Science, Social Science, and Arts and Humanities Citation Indexes.  Clearly it cannot cover everything in such wide areas: in fact, it only covers about 5% of the journals published.  However, it covers the core titles, the journals which are most cited in each field each year.

This makes it an excellent first choice for exploring a subject. You get to see what has appeared in the core journals, without anything that will be too obscure or hard to find. For undergraduate work that will usually be ideal. Researchers have the further option to search for papers which cite the key papers on their topic, to see how the field has progressed.

The latest WoS interface has a black banner with orange lettering, very like the new RHUL style.  Perhaps we were ahead of a trend? Beneath it the search form has been reduced to a single search bar, like Google’s (and LibrarySearch). For more complex searches you can click “Add another field”.

It is still possible to narrow your search to just some of the indexes, to save time and reduce unwanted results.  Just click on “More settings” to see the indexes and deselect those that are not needed by unchecking their boxes, as in this example:

WoS science search

In the search above, the inverted commas around “honey bees” specify that we only want those two words together as a phrase.  The asterisk after disease* is a “wild card” which will also search for ‘diseases’ or ‘diseased’.

Notice in the black banner that we are searching “Web of Science core collection” but there is an orange arrow by it.  Clicking that gives the option to search other databases, in particular Biosis Previews, which lets you search the largest single life science database from 1969 to 2008.  You can also choose “All databases” to search them all at the same time. This makes WoS the core resource for biologists.

When the results appear, the FindIt@RHUL  lozenge which previously appeared under every result has disappeared.  Don’t worry, just click on the solid block labelled “Full Text” and the familiar blue button will reappear.

WoS search results

The range of saving buttons above the search list has been replaced by a single block labelled “Save to EndNote online”.  But it has a down arrow beside it.  Click that, and you will get more options, including “Save to EndNote desktop” and “Save to RefWorks”, the main supported options at Royal Holloway.

If you liked the old interface, don’t be put off by the solid blocks of the new one, everything still works as it did.  Whether you are researching for a first year essay or a doctoral thesis, WoS is a good place to start.

 

Adrian Machiraju