Category Archives: Physics

Resource of the Week: KNOVEL

Resource of the Week is *insert drum roll here* Knovel!Knovel 1

It is totally the go-to resource for engineers, but it is also excellent for those studying biology, physics and computer science! This electronic resource provides technical information with specialised search tools and has three elements: an epic e-book collection, a nifty equation solver and a materials property database.

The e-books

Knovel’s e-books cover a wide range of subjects from biochemistry & biology to electronic engineering and nanotechnology. You can browse the different subjects we subscribe or search for items on a specific topic using the search box.

Its power lies in its ability to search the full text of books – so if you searched LibrarySearch for example, the search terms you entered will just be matched to title words or the subject headings, so you’d need to keep your searches simple and broad. With Knovel however, the search you put in will be matched with the content in the e-books, so you can be pretty specific and you’ll be taken straight to the part of the book it is on.

The equation solver

This is totally a hidden gem! You can find the equation solver under the ‘Tools’ heading at the top left hand side.

Knovel Equation solver

It contains hundreds of equation worksheets combined with browser-based calculation software with export capabilities. You can browse by subject and filter by keyword once you’ve picked a subject.

Data search

Data search allows you to search for property data of thousands of materials including metals and composites. You can find the link to the data search function under the search bar on Knovel’s homepage.Data search

You can search by material name, property name or both then manipulate the data easily. You can specify numerical values and/or ranges plus units of measurement. The results are usually presented in tabular or graphical form and some of the graphs are interactive, allowing you to manipulate the data further.

I find that it is really this search tool that make Knovel the bee’s knees of science e-resources!

For further help and guidance, don’t forget to check out Knovel’s own help pages and of course you can always contact your very own sciences librarian (me!) here: Leanne.workman@rhul.ac.uk

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!

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!

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

Meet the Library Liaison Team: Adrian Machiraju

The Library staff were interviewed about themselves, their roles and much more!

Adrian is the Library Subject Librarian for Biological Sciences, Earth Science, Computer Science, Mathematics, Information Security, Psychology.

He is also an expert in Reference Management Software- such as RefWorks & Endnote!

Find out more about your subjects through our subject guides.