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.

Online Reading Lists at Royal Holloway

The College and Library have been investing in an Online Reading List System  to help you get to the resources on your reading lists.

Search box for OnlineReading Lists

We currently have over 400 lists inputted for 2015/16 and we are adding to it daily so keep checking if you are a student in:

  • Classics
  • Criminology
  • Biological Sciences
  • Drama
  • Economics
  • English
  • Geography
  • History
  • Law
  • Management
  • Maths
  • Media Arts
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Politics and International Relations
  • Psychology

Currently not all modules in these departments will have lists but if you want to see if yours does search using the main search box on the Reading Lists Homepage (http://readinglists.rhul.ac.uk).

Reading List example

If you are an academic and would like to get involved with the system please contact the Reading Lists Team on readinglists@rhul.ac.uk

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Click on the title of the item in your list to view further details about an item, where it is held in the Library, or to see if it is available.
  • You can sort your list by importance (e.g. ‘Recommended for student purchase’, ‘Essential’ reading, ‘Recommended’ reading etc.) or by resource type (‘book’, ‘journal’, ‘article’ etc.)  by clicking on the ‘Grouped by section’ button at the top of the list. This might help you to manage your time and plan your reading more effectively.
  • To print out your list as a PDF, just click on ‘Export’ at the top of the list and then ‘Export to PDF’.This will give you a downloadable PDF version which you can then print out.

For more information and FAQs see this blogpost: https://libraryblog.rhul.ac.uk/2016/02/11/faqs-about-the-online-reading-list-system-from-students/

FAQs about the Online Reading List System from Students

Online Reading Lists: Student Support

Online Reading Lists FAQ

Search box for OnlineReading Lists How do I access my Reading Lists?

Login to the Student Portal. Choose the Course Information tab and find the link for Reading Lists Online under the Useful Links menu. Alternatively follow the link here Reading Lists Online

I can’t find my reading list in Reading Lists Online

Your lecturer will be able to provide you with a reading list. Contact readinglists@rhul.ac.uk and let us know the module that you are studying. We can arrange with your lecturer to add the list to Reading Lists Online

My lecturer has given me a list, but it is not the same as the one on Reading Lists Online

Contact readinglists@rhul.ac.uk We will contact your lecturer to ensure that any changes made to your reading list are updated on Reading Lists Online.

Books

All the copies of the book I would like to read are out on loan

If all copies are out on loan try the link ‘Find other formats/editions’

Book availability

If there are extra copies of older editions, or published by different companies, they will be listed for you. There may also be an electronic version of the title. If there are no other copies, you can reserve the title through the library catalogue.

There is a book on my reading list, but it is not available in the library

Check Library Search to see if the book has recently been purchased. It may be that the reading list has not yet been updated. If the book title does not appear on the library catalogue, this means the library does not have the book in stock at present. These titles will be ordered as a matter of priority.

How do I know if an electronic version of the book is available?

Both the electronic and print versions of titles should be listed together on reading lists online. You will need to click on each link to access the version of the title you prefer.

Journals

The link to an article or journal is not working.

Contact readinglists@rhul.ac.uk with the module code and the article or journal title which is broken.

Websites

The link to a website is not working

Contact readinglists@rhul.ac.uk with the module code and the link that is broken.

Other

What is the Preview function?

Google provide a preview for some titles. This allows you to read the contents pages, and sometimes a selection of the text, but you will not be able to look at the full text. You can use this to assess the usefulness of the book. Google do not provide previews for all texts.

If you have any other questions that are not already covered on this list please contact readinglists@rhul.ac.uk

 

Feeling anxious about the library? We are here to help

Last week we did a small anonymous Twitter Poll to see how many of our users  feel anxious about the library.  Of the 21 respondents 48% said they didn’t, 28% said sometimes and 24% said yes they did.

 

 

We don’t want anybody to feel anxious about the library and believe it or not a lot of people have researched and written about “Library Anxiety” in the past so if you do feel anxious you are not alone.

Symptoms of Library anxiety include:

  • Fear and uneasiness with the physical space of the library, often related to how big the library is.
  • Fear of approaching a librarian or library worker to ask for help.
  • Fear that you are alone in not knowing how to use the library.
  • Feeling paralysed when trying to start library research.

If any of this sounds like you we are here to help!

Please see the college’s Support, Health and Welfare pages for help and support for anxiety and stress.

Library Anxiety

Here are some tips that can help you cope with library anxiety so that you can make friends with the library, or at the very least, be able to get in, get out with what you need, and get on with your life.

  • Recognise that what you’re feeling is common and that you aren’t alone in feeling overwhelmed by the libraries. Sometimes being able to put a name to a problem really helps in dealing with it. If you know library anxiety is affecting your work, you can take steps to deal with it.
  • Ask a librarian or library employee for help. It can be hard to ask for help. Many of us have grown up with strong impressions of the value of independence and self-reliance, and may feel like we should be able to figure out libraries all by ourselves and sometimes librarians may look a bit intimidating behind the reference desk. But librarians are here to help you, and, even though it may be hard to believe if you are stressed out, librarians like helping you and want to see you succeed.
  • Ask your tutor for help. If you are really struggling or feeling paralysed when you try to do your library research, let your tutors know. They may have some ideas of places to start and may be able to talk with you about ways to make your research easier.
  • Try to plan ahead. It’s very, very easy to procrastinate when feeling library anxiety. Unfortunately, procrastinating only makes it worse. As deadlines approach and the amount of time you have to work with shrinks, chances are good your anxiety levels will go up, not down. So try to nip this cycle in the bud by getting into the library and asking for help early on.
  • Take deep breaths and work on focusing. When we are under stress, even fairly simple navigational tasks can become difficult. You are more likely to be able to find what you need if you slow down, look around, and read carefully. And, again, you can ask for help if you feel lost or panicked.

Remember that unlike many librarians in popular culture (would you like to ask Madame Pince, the librarian at Hogwarts, a question?) we are friendly and here to help. Sadly, some people have encountered unfriendly librarians in real life, librarians are just people, like you, with special training in locating and accessing information. And most of us are quite friendly and helpful – try and ask a question.

Please see the college’s Support, Health and Welfare pages for help and support for anxiety and stress.

 

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)

5 Things Freshers Need To Know About RHUL’s Libraries

Using the Library and its resources could well help you get a better grade. Fact. So here are some tips to get you started and make sure your library experience is more this:

GoodLibraryExperience

than this:

BadLibraryExperience

So here are the top things you need to know to get started with the libraries on campus.

1. Where even are the libraries?

There’s a lot going on in Welcome Week and finding the libraries might not be the first thing on your Fresher’s bucket list. When your first essay drops, though, the libraries are the place to be on campus so you’re better off getting ahead of the pack and finding them early.

1.Lost

Don’t worry, campus takes a bit of getting used to but you’ll have it worked out in no time. The main things you need to know are that there are two libraries on campus: Founder’s and Bedford. Each has different subjects in them, so check which one holds the books relevant to you. We’ve ringed the two libraries on the campus map below (click on it for a larger version).

campusplan

Come by and see us any time – we’re open 7 days a week during term time (full opening hours are here) – you can even enjoy a virtual tour before you arrive!

2. Ok, that’s a lot of books – how do I find the stuff I actually want?

2.TooMany

Academic libraries are way bigger than school or public libraries, and it’s not just books – we’ve got journal, electronic resources, databases – you can even borrow laptops! So how do you find what you actually want?

Well, that’s where LibrarySearch comes in. This is the tool that searches all of our collections  and helps you locate the resources you need. So don’t get in a spin over our collections, read our guide to searching for items and you’ll be sorted.

2.TooMany2

And if you want to make sure you’re finding the A* quality resources to make your essays really sparkle, you can always come along to one of the regular training sessions we run to help you with search strategy and advanced skills.

3. Perfect book found, now how do I actually borrow it?

3.BorrowBooksHermione

Don’t worry – you’ll have a lot of reading to do and we don’t expect you to work through those big textbooks in the library. That’s why undergraduates can now borrow up to 25 items at any one time. (You’re welcome.)

Borrowing couldn’t be easier – your College Card doubles as your library card while you’re with us (so make sure you bring it with you every time you visit the library). All you need to do is pick the items you want to borrow and check them out on our self-service machines (don’t worry, staff are on hand to help if technology hates you).  Best of all, it’s completely free to borrow items (just bring them back on time, or – fines!)

4. This is all great, but I still need HELP, where do I turn?

4.OMGNeedHelp

Hey, this is what librarians are for – helping you get the resources you need is what we do.

Every department is assigned a librarian to help support you, and you can read handy guides from each of them online here: http://libguides.rhul.ac.uk/home

And if that doesn’t answer your question you can always pop in to see us – the helpdesks in both libraries are staffed during core hours – or you can email us at library@rhul.ac.uk or start up a live chat with a librarian right now.

5. Sounds good, anything else I should know?

Correct, and yes, go on then, one more information morsel for you:

As a member of the University of London, we have full access to Senate House Library and all of their e-resources. You don’t even have to go into London to register, you can do it online. Want to know more? Read our guide on accessing Senate House Library.

 

We hope that’s been a helpful introduction to us and our services. Come in and chat to us any time to find out more, or visit our website: www.rhul.ac.uk/library

And remember, getting the job done isn’t hard…

Sign-off

Enjoy your time with us!

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