Meet your Librarian – Sian Downes

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

My name is Sian and I am the Information Consultant for the Schools of Law, Management and Psychology

Sian Downes

How long have you been at RHUL Library?

I will have worked here for two years come October

 What is your role within the Library?

I am the Information Consultant for the Schools of Law, Management and Psychology. I liaise with academics and the departments to ensure that we have all the resources that they need for your courses. I teach Information Literacy skills to all students within those departments and also run training courses throughout the year open to all students. I help students with their research problems and when they do not know where to start for their essays.

I also help run the Library Social media accounts (follow us on Twitter @RHUL_Library)

 Have you always worked in Libraries?

Whilst I was at University I worked in a lovely ‘old man’ pub and Claire’s Accessories. Then I worked at Waterstones for 18 months before getting my first library job at the British Library when I was 24.

 What did you want to be when you were little?

A librarian (my Uncle worked The National Library of Wales and I thought it was so cool there)

What did you study?

I studied Law at undergraduate level and Information Science at Masters level

 Do you have a favourite book, and why?

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – it is my favourite of the series

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

The superpower would definitely be flight. I live in South London and it would make commuting much easier if I could just fly here. I am not very imaginative with names, so I would just be The Flying Librarian

 Describe working in the library in 3 words

BEST JOB EVER

 What advice would you give to a new student?

Come and ask us anything!

and

A mug of peas made in the microwave with a little butter is a great and cheap snack

Meet Your Librarian – Leanne Workman

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

Hiya, I’m Leanne (Workman). I am the library information consultant for the Sciences. I look after the subjects: Biological sciences, Computer Science, Earth Science, Information Security, Mathematics, Physics and the Centre for Professional Studies!

 How long have you been at RHUL Library?

Aha a bit of a complex question! Technically I have been h

Leanne Workman

ere (in this post) since May 2016, but I worked in the library from 2012 to 2015 as an information assistant providing copyright-cleared digital copies of book chapters and articles for Moodle. (I was also a student here, so I should know the place quite well by now!)

 What is your role within the Library?

So my role is to work with all of the students, lecturers and researchers in the departments I look after to ensure that the Library has the resources they all need. I also provide information skills training (us library folk like to call it “information literacy”!) Basically we want to make sure our library users can recognise when they need info, where to find that information (i.e. what resources are available both inside and outside of the Library) and be able to evaluate & use the information well thereafter. I would like to think of us as the Jedis of the Information World!

Have you always worked in Libraries?

No, not always! I’ve worked in various administration & customer services roles, which tbh I did not find all that thrilling! I was a warden and tour guide at Windsor Castle for three years just after graduating, which was great fun! But it was when I volunteered in the Royal Archives for about a year that I worked out I love digging around for information, researching and organising  it all, so it got me thinking that perhaps this was something I could do for a living! From that I applied (and got) a graduate trainee information assistant role at the National Art Library in the Victoria and Albert Museum (you can see I really only choose very pretty buildings to work in/nearby!) After that, I started at Royal Holloway as an Information Assistant and the rest, as they say, is history…

What did you want to be when you were little?

Well, this is embarrassing *blushes*… I remember very distinctly wanting to be a Native American and to live with Pocahontas (whilst simultaneously being a ballerina of course and/or a nurse – until I realised I fainted at the sight of blood and rethought my career choice!)

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

I don’t really have any heroes- sorry that’s such a lame answer!!

What did you study?

I studied History at University of Essex. I then went on to do a Masters here in Gender History and I am currently studying for my Library and Information Studies Masters at Aberystwyth University (you could say I’ve got the ‘study bug’!!)

 Do you have a favourite book, and why?

Ah man it is like asking a parent to choose their favourite child!!

….

……..

I am of the Harry Potter generation and I am still a HUGE fan so I think I will say that! But tbh, I just love a good book!!

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

This is a tricky one as I am also a small-time closet comic book geek! I think I would like to be a cross between Buffy the Vampire Slayer (though I rather think I am more like Giles the Librarian than Buffy!) and Phoenix from the X-Men (telekinesis, telepathy and ability to manipulate matter on a subatomic level? Darn yes!)

 Describe working in the library in 3 words

CAKE! Fun; information-sharing! (I think I am technically cheating with the last but :P)

 What advice would you give to a new student?

Use the library- seriously. [That’s not just in the inner library geek coming out here!] The studying side of life is soooo much easier when you use the library & you get better grades top! We have lots of stuff you’ll need, and if you’re not sure where to find information, please just ask! We’re only an email or an email away (or pop by!) And it is our job to help YOU J

Meet your Librarian – Rachel Sleeman

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

My name is Rachel Sleeman and I am the Information Consultant for English, Media Arts, Drama & Theatre and the Centre for the Development of Academic Skills (CeDAS).

Rachel Sleeman

 How long have you been at RHUL Library?

I am relatively new to Royal Holloway and started at the end of April this year. I am looking forward to the new academic year and meeting all of the students!

 What is your role within the Library?

My role is to support several departments (English, Drama & Theatre, Media Arts and CeDAS) and to ensure the library has the resources the students and staff need. Another important part of my role is teaching information literacy skills. This involves showing users how to use resources, how to search effectively, how to recognise resources that are suitable to use and managing the information once you have found it.

 Have you always worked in Libraries?

Yes apart from a some part time jobs before and during University. I’ve worked in various libraries including a specialist library in The Met Office, Further Education Colleges and Universities.

 What did you want to be when you were little?

There was a very short period where I wanted to be a lorry driving! Not sure why this was especially as I don’t think I am the best driver, my Peugeot is plenty big enough! Since finishing University and getting my first part time post in a library as a library assistant all I have wanted to do is to work in libraries.

Long Distance Clara

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

Not sure about hero but I do love JK Rowling! I am a massive fan of Harry Potter and the novels she has written under the guise of Robert Galbraith. I also love the fact that she has recently dropped off the Forbes billionaire list due in part to the large amounts of money she donates to various charities.

 What did you study?

I studied English Literature at Swansea University

 Do you have a favourite book, and why?

I have lots of favourite books and would struggle to pick just one! I remember there were two books that I studied at University that stayed with me. One was Dracula by Bram Stoker and the other was The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. I loved both of these texts but did struggle to sleep after reading them both!

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

Not sure what my superhero alter ego would be, but I definitely know what super power I would like! I would love to be able to disappear on the spot and turn up anywhere in the world instantly (apparating for any Harry Potter fans).

 Describe working in the library in 3 words

Varied, rewarding, interesting

 What advice would you give to a new student?

My advice would be to make use of the library resources and if you are unsure about anything at all contact your information consultant, we are all more than happy to help!

Changes to the Copyright Licensing Agency Higher Education Licence

This licence covers the photocopying and scanning for education not for personal use. 

The College has recently signed the new CLA Higher Education Licence which runs from the 1st August 2016 to 31st July 2019. It is essential that all staff and students are aware of the new licence with the important updates and comply with the licence.The licence covers photocopying and scanning for the provision of print copies and digital copies on Moodle used in teaching.

Up to the following may be copied under the Licence:

  • One whole chapter from a book
  • One whole article from a journal issue
  • One short story, poem or play (not exceeding 10 pages in length) from an anthology
  • One whole scene from a play
  • One whole paper from a set of conference proceedings
  • One whole report of a single case from a volume of judicial proceedings

Or 10% of any of the above, whichever is the greater (this is an increase from the previous licence which stated 5%)

  • Where a digital publication is not organised in a similar way to conventional printed items, you are advised to exercise your best judgement to copy reasonable extracts.

You can make as many copies as are required to provide one for each student and tutor on the module.

Staff are reminded that all articles and chapters provided on Moodle must be digital copies as supplied by the Digital Copies Service in the Library. This ensures compliance with the licence which is monitored annually by the CLA via audit.

The Library’s webpages have been updated:

https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/library/teachingsupport/copyrightadvice.aspx

https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/library/teachingsupport/digitalcopiesforteaching.aspx

The CLA has provided a very useful page with the Licence in full at http://he.cla.co.uk/your-he-licence/your-he-licence/about-the-cla-higher-education-licence-2/cla-licence-documents/

 

 

Referencing Tools

You may have seen our recent Twitter polls that asked users which referencing tool they used. The results are in!

Poll 1                                                                                                                               Poll 2
EndNote 0%                                                                            Cite This For Me 18%
Mendeley 8%                                                                                                RefMe 29%
RefWorks 92%                                                                                              Other 14%
Zotero 0%                                                                                                          None 39%

From these quick polls we can see that RefWorks is popular among our students, a number of students have investigated other referencing tools and some students don’t use any. So what are referencing tools, and why are they useful?

What are referencing tools?

These are different types of software that allow you to store your references in one central place so you can easily access them again and find the referencing information you need for your work. They can also help you with creating your in text references, reference list and bibliography.

Some of these tools are only available for students and staff at Royal Holloway, such as RefWorks and EndNote. The others listed are freely available on the web.

Why use a referencing tool?

Referencing tools have a number of advantages which make them really useful for all students and researchers to use.

One of the main advantages is the ability to organise your references in one place. When writing an assignment or conducting some research you will read many different sources, it can be quite difficult to manage all of these and to remember where you found them! A referencing tool will allow you to save the details of different sources and you can also create folders to organise your references by topic. These tools will also provide links to the original source so you access it quickly and easily, some even let you save PDF documents within the software.

Another big advantage is the referencing support these tools provide. They will allow users to export bibliographies and reference lists into a number of different referencing styles. Some of these tools will also connect with Word and Google Docs, meaning you can quickly insert references, bibliographies and reference lists as you are working. However it is always important to check these generated references against the guidance outlined by your department.

The different tools available

Freely Available                                                                Available for members
on the web                                                                                      of Royal Holloway

Zotero                                                                                                                  RefWorks
RefME                                                                                                                     EndNote
BibSonomy
JabRef
Mendeley
CiteULike
CiteFast
Cite This For Me

Found out more about these tools by visiting our Referencing, Citing and Structuring Bibliographies: Referencing Tools Subject Guide: libguides.rhul.ac.uk/referencing

If you would like to learn more about these tools or learn how to use them contact your information consultant  libguides.rhul.ac.uk/informationconsultants

Blind Date with a Book

Do you judge a book by its cover? Put your trust in fate and take a chance on a blind date.

blinddateposter

We have collected together some mystery titles for you take away with you  – Fiction in Founders and Non-Fiction in Bedford.

To meet your blind date:

  • Come to the libraries from 24th Mayheart lonely
  • Choose a blind date book from the display.
  • Issue it using the self issue machines
  • Take it home and unwrap it.
  • Tweet us about it! As we all know, blind dates don’t always go well but some can lead to true love.
  • Help others with an honest review… #blinddatewithabook

Founders display20160523_160941

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.

 

%d bloggers like this: