Category Archives: Library Updates

Want to access exam papers? We’ve got your back…

So you’re looking for some past exam papers? Well, the College institutional repository is the place to find them, but if you forget that URL, you can always find a link to the Exam Papers on the Library homepage:

Exam paper link

 

 

 

exam papers login

 

Before you try searching for the exam paper of your desire, do make sure you log out as a guest at the top right hand side and log in with your Royal Holloway username and password…

To find exam papers, you can either search for the course code, e.g. IY5501 or you can browse by Department.

And the good news? All exam papers can be downloaded as PDFs!

If you have any questions, please let us know! Happy revising and good luck in all of your exams!

via GIPHY

What do you think of the Library systems upgrade?

From September 2015 – January 2016 we’ve been working hard on replacing our Library Management System (this powers loans, returns, your account, accessing ebooks, holding information on books, DVDs etc…) – and in January we successfully launched the new system. Now we’re working hard on making the necessary tweaks and changes to get the system as we (and you) would like it.

An important part of the upgrade process was finding out how it affected you as library users, and so we ran an online survey from 8th – 19th February to find out your opinions. We also offered two £30 Amazon vouchers, and these were won by two of students – congratulations 🙂

The Questions

We wanted to know if, after the changes made during the upgrade, you found Short Loan items easier to find and use; you found LibrarySearch easier to use; what kinds of Library notices and letters you found useful (or not!); and if you had noticed any specific issues as a result of or during the upgrade.

The Results

149 of you responded, which was great – thank you very much. 83% of respondents were undergraduates, but we also had responses from Postgraduate Taught students (7%), Postgraduate Researchers (7%) and Academic Staff (3%).

Short Loans

There is still uncertainty about how long you can borrow a Short Loan item. In September we changed the loan period of Short Loan items from a confusing 11am – 4pm and 4pm – 11am length to a straight 24 Hours from the time that you borrow the item.

From the results, it looks as though we need to do more to make this clear when you borrow a Short Loan item. All books are labelled as 24 Hour Loans, your receipts and account should let you know – but we’re going to try to improve the information available to you online, and in Library inductions and lectures. We will also investigate making this clearer on LibrarySearch.

Borrowing SL

Good news, in that it seemed that  Short Loan items were still available on the shelves, and changing the loan periods to a longer time hadn’t meant that you weren’t able to get hold of them when needed. Of those who had borrowed a Short Loan during the upgrade (56 people); 31% found them more frequently available on the shelves, 48% said they were the same as before, and 20% had found them less frequently available.

Availability SL

Using LibrarySearch

There was also a lot of good news around LibrarySearch, as it seems that overall the search was easier to use than before, or the same. We did notice that a higher proportion of those who had placed interlibrary loan requests and had been using LibrarySearch to check your loans and account information had found it more difficult since the upgrade. There have been some changes to the way in which you can request an interlibrary loan, and some teething problems with viewing your account online – so we’re going to work on improving the information available about interlibrary loans online and in person, and also act on any reports about your accounts not working properly. We’ve already fixed certain login issues that meant you weren’t able to view information when logging in, but we’re still working on this.

LibrarySearch

Emails from the Library

This was something we were really interested to find out about, as the emails that you receive from the new system are very different to those you have been used to receiving. We asked which you found most useful, and which you’d like to see more of less of:

Notices useful

Reponses were overall pretty positive about these emails, and most of the respondents found them useful. Our new emails, loan and return receipts, were received most negatively – with 23% of respondents stating that these were unhelpful and 32% stating that they’d like to receive them less frequently. It might be too early to say what the best option for these emails is, but please bear with us as we’re looking into the best way to implement this – if it’s something you’d find useful please let us know and we’ll keep you informed!

Notices frequency

Anything else?

Finally we wanted to know if you’d spotted any issues with the system during the upgrade or since January 2016.

  • 58% stated that they had not experienced issues
  • 9% stated that they had had difficulty accessing eresources
  • 7% stated that there had been difficulty renewing items (most of these comments mentioned the lack of a hyperlink to their account in the courtesy notice letters)
  • 4% stated that the services had improved since September 2015
  • 3% stated that they had experienced difficulties logging in.

It’s great news that so many of you didn’t experience problems, or even found the system easier to use! E-resource issues might be down to changes in the LibrarySearch display, or problems in making data available via the new system, but we’re going to monitor issues that are raised and look into these, and if we make any major changes we’ll be sure to let you know.

We’re going to try to include links to your account in due notices and reminder emails so that it’s easier to renew your books – hopefully that should help with those of you who weren’t sure how to renew your books with the new system.

This is an ongoing project, and now that the system’s in place, the work begins to get it all right – so we’re really pleased that so many of you responded to this survey, and let us know what you think. You can raise questions or issues in the Library, via email, or in Student-Staff Committee meetings and we’ll probably be asking your opinions more in future!

This isn’t the end of the changes that we’ll be making, and we’re always happy to hear from you, so if you’d like to let us know what you think of the upgrade, the issues raised above, or the Library in general, please leave us a comment or email library@rhul.ac.uk.

LibrarySearch Update: how to place a hold request

Over the Christmas break we’ve been upgrading our Library Management System, and with it, LibrarySearch has had a little update too.

You’ll notice that some of the functions look a little different, so for this week we’ll be updating the blog with guides to some of the essentials.

How to Place a Hold Request

Hold requests allow you to reserve a copy of book that is on loan.

  1. Choose ‘Get it’.
  2. Under ‘Request Options’, choose ‘Request’.
  3. Complete the form – make a note of the Pickup location!.
  4. Choose ‘Request’.

When the book is returned and you are next in the queue, you will receive an email to let you know. The book will be held on the Holds Request shelf behind the helpdesk in the Library.

LibrarySearch update: finding books and articles

Happy New Year! Over the Christmas break we’ve been upgrading our Library Management System, and with it, LibrarySearch has had a little update too.

You’ll notice that some of the functions look a little different, so for this week we’ll be updating the blog with guides to some of the essentials.

Finding a Book

  1. Search for the item in the Books, Music and Films search.
  2. Choose ‘Get It’. Under ‘Availability’ you will see how many copies of the books are available for loan – if you sign in you can view more information e.g. due dates.
  3. Choose ‘Sign In for more options’ and log in.
  4. Click on the link under location to see all items e.g.One week loan. You will also be able to see any books on loan once you have logged in.

Finding a Journal Article

  1. Search for the title or topic in the ‘All’ search.
  2. Click ‘View It’ to see where the article/ebook is available.
  3. Click one of the links after ‘Full text available at:’ to view the article/ebook.

Accessing the Library over the Winter Break

The Libraries are open until 23rd December, but the Library Service is closed on campus and online from 24th December – 3rd January inclusive. 

Books or DVDs that you borrow or renew from the last week of term will be due back once the Spring Term starts – please log into your Library Account before the end of term and check your due dates.

You will be able to access all electronic journals and electronic books over the Winter break – please use LibrarySearch or the Subject Guides to do this. For help over the break, take a look at your subject guide, or our YouTube Channel.

We are upgrading our system! This means that from 30th December until 6th January you will not be able to:

  • Place hold requests (hold requests that you place before 30th December should be carried over, but if you find that you need an item, please place hold through LibrarySearch after 7th January)
  • Pay your fines online (if you have an outstanding amount that needs paying before you can renew books, please do this before 30th December. We will be happy to look into any fines accrued over the upgrade period – please let us know when we’re back in January.)
  • Borrow or return books (if you’re back on campus on 4th/5th January, please bring any books for loan or return to the Library helpdesks)
  • View location or loan information about print books and DVDs on LibrarySearch (information may be out of date while we switch systems, so to find out whether a book is on the shelf please call or visit the Library once we are open on 4th and 5th January.)

Our new system also means that we will need more time to process and complete book orders: if you have requested a book after 30th October, it might not be ready at the start of the Spring Term. If you urgently need a book, please ask your Librarian for an alternative method to get hold of it, or consider visiting another library, such as Senate House.

The Inter-Library Loans service will be closed and not accepting requests between 11th December and 11th January. If you are waiting for an item, please contact ill@rhul.ac.uk for more information, and if you need an item urgently you may need to visit another Library to access it.

Apologies for any inconvenience. Our new Library system should be more efficient and user friendly, but if you have any questions about using the Library over the Winter break, please contact library@rhul.ac.uk.

 

Merging your Box of Broadcasts accounts

The Library’s authentication system is being updated in December, and this will affect logins to resources with personal accounts, such as Box of Broadcasts.

The change is due to take place on 30th November, so from 1st December you will find that logging in will be simplified, but first that you will need to create a new account and merge your old account in order to retain access to programmes and playlists.

To do this, please see the guidance below:

  1. Once you log into Box of Broadcasts, you will be treated as a new user. Enter your RHUL email address to update your account details.
  2. You will be asked if you would like to merge accounts with your old Box of Broadcasts account.
  3. Choose ‘user account merging process’ to start merging your old account with your new.
  4. When you receive your Merge User Account email, follow the link provided.
  5. Confirm that you would like to merge your accounts.
  6. Once this is completed, you will be notified – you will now find that all of your old videos, playlists etc. are in the MyBoB areas of your newly-set up account.

NB. If you enter an email address different from the one you originally used to access BoB you will not be asked if you wish to merge accounts. You can do this from your MyBoB area, using the options on the right hand side.
If you no longer have access to the email address that you used to register with BoB originally, please let us know. We are investigating merging accounts in this case.

If you have any questions, please contact library@rhul.ac.uk.

Merging your Box of Broadcasts accounts v2_Page_1 Merging your Box of Broadcasts accounts v2_Page_2

Export your saved results to RefWorks

This December we’re upgrading the authentication system that allows you to log into our e-resources, and some saved searches and results will no longer be accessible after the upgrade. So, if you use the LibrarySearch E-shelf, Web of Science or Scopus saved results, please take a look at the instructions below!

It’s good practice to backup and export your saved results, and if you’re not already using RefWorks to do this, take a look at the information below to find out how to set up a RefWorks account, and how to export your saved results. You can also email saved records to yourself – look for an Email option when viewing the saved results in the database. For more information on using RefWorks in future to manage your references, please visit http://libguides.rhul.ac.uk/RefWorks or contact library@rhul.ac.uk.

ExportingeshelftoRefWorksguide (2)

Coping with exams

Summer term began this week and that means exams season is here. It can be a stressful time revising, and taking exams so here are some useful tips and tools to help ensure you have a stress free time.

Check out the Buzzfeed style 14 top tips for exam success at RHUL courtesy of Campus Life.

It’s all too easy to forget to look after yourself. So consider taking advantage of the fun activities offered around campus in the Stressbusters Guide produced by the Students’ Union and College.

There are lots of tools which can help your organise your revision.

Braineos – Allows you to create flashcards and games to help recall.

Evernote – you can use this to keep track of your notes as it has a great search function so you can search for notes on a subject. You can also create check lists to keep yourself organised.

Mind mapping – There are several tools, both free and paid for available. Here are a few:

  • Popplet – allows you to add images, video and links.
  • us – A very simple mind mapping tool
  • Inspiration – this is a paid for piece of software which has a cheaper iPad app version which is easy to use and very good for revision.

Looking for past exams? You can find them via the library home page or this link.

The Library holds a number of books which provide you with exam tips. Many are shelved at 378.170281.

There are also several Ebooks with helpful tips:

Chapter Eleven of The Ultimate Study Skills Handbook has lots of tips.

4.7 of Study skills for psychology students has lots of general tips, not just of use to Psychology students.

Chapter 23 of  Study Skills for geography, earth and environmental science students

Pages 195 – 199  The Business Students Handbook

Library@ – find study spaces on campus!

We know there is a lot of pressure of study spaces at this time of year. To help address this, the College, the Library and the Students’ Union are working together to provide you with additional quiet spaces to study during this time.

For more information, please see the website.

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!