Tag Archives: Research

What is the USC Shoah Archive?

The USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s Visual History Archive contains 50,000 digitized interviews with survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust. Interviews are approximately two and a half hours long and some are supplemented with photographs, documents, and artifacts pertaining to the interviewee’s family and wartime experiences.

Interviewees speak on the following topics:

  • Jewish Survivors
  • Rescuers and Aid Providers
  • Sinti and Roma Survivors
  • Liberators and Liberation Witnesses
  • Political Prisoners
  • Jehovah’s Witness Survivors
  • War Crimes Trials Participants
  • Survivors of Eugenics Policies
  • Homosexual Survivors

In April 2013, the Visual History Archive expanded to include a collection of 65 audiovisual testimonies of survivors and witnesses of the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi genocide. Conducted in two countries (U.S.A. and Rwanda), and two languages (English and Kinyarwanda), this initial collection of 65 Rwandan testimonies was accomplished in collaboration with Aegis Trust and the Kigali Genocide Memorial.

In February 2014, 12 audiovisual testimonies of survivors of the 1937-38 Nanjing Massacre were integrated into the VHA. These testimonies are in Mandarin and were conducted in Nanjing, China through a partnership with the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall.

It’s a unique resource, and Royal Holloway Library is the only place in the UK with access to the collection – which means that researchers often come from far and wide to view the videos.

How do I use it?

There is a link on the Databases A-Z, under U, and once you’re on the site, you will need to create an account in order to log in, search, and view videos.

  1. Follow the link to the website
    • If on-campus, no login is needed to access the website
    • If off-campus, you will need to sign in with your Royal Holloway computer username and password
  2. Once on the website, you must register to create a personal username and password
  3. Due to high bandwidth, videos to be viewed must be downloaded to Royal Holloway’s servers rather than viewed directly from USC website.
    • Some videos already downloaded and available for immediate viewing; just click on the videos marked “Viewable now” to watch
    • Others must be requested for download. Because our server space is limited, students must get tutor’s permission before requesting a download.
  4. Once requested, the video will be added to Royal Holloway’s servers and will be available to view after 12-48 hours. Videos can only be viewed on campus, but you are able to log in and make a request for a video to be downloaded from any off-campus PC.

Searching the archive

Searching is easy, you can search on a topic, for a name, and use links in the videos to skip to particular sections relevant to your interests. The USC Shoah Foundation has a YouTube Channel with lots of information, but we’ve collected searching tips in this playlist.

Have you used the archive? Do you think it would be useful in your research? Contact library@rhul.ac.uk for more information, or leave a comment below.

Shut Up and Write 2014

After last year’s popular Shut Up and Write sessions for Postgraduate Researchers, we’re running the same programme this year, and we’d love to see you there.

It’s a pretty simple concept.. you turn up, you sit down, you write.. Then afterwards you get the chance to meet other PG students and staff in your own dedicated space.

It’s a great chance to crack on with some work, and then chat to those in a similiar situation.

Booking is essential as spaces are limited.

Monday September 15, 2014 from 1:45 PM to 4:30 PM in the Archives Reading Room (Founder’s Library)

Tuesday October 14, 2014 from 1:45 PM to 4:30 PM in the Archives Reading Room (Founder’s Library)

Monday November 17, 2014 from 1:45 PM to 4:30 PM in the Archives Reading Room (Founder’s Library)

Tuesday December 9, 2014 from 1:45 PM to 4:30 PM in the Archives Reading Room (Founder’s Library)

Tuesday January 20, 2015 from 1:45 PM to 4:30 PM in the Archives Reading Room (Founder’s Library)

Tuesday February 17, 2015 from 1:45 PM to 4:30 PM in the Archives Reading Room (Founder’s Library)

This year we’re thinking about adding another date to the schedule for a new Shut Up and Cite workshop – dealing with all of your referencing worries. If you’re interested comment below, and we’ll keep you posted!

As ever, if you’ve got a subject enquiry, contact library@royalholloway.ac.uk to contact your Information Consultant.

Library Sessions for PGR students

by neil conway on Flickr.

Library sessions for PGR students will run from 19th June until 7th August from 2-4 every Thursday in the Tea House (in the Foyer of Bedford Library). They will be quite informal with plenty of opportunity for questions and participants to exchange ideas.

Tea, Coffee and cake will be provided and if you have children they are welcome to come (we will have some colouring crayons and paper available) – please email libraryliaison@rhul.ac.uk if you are bringing children.

Booking is currently open for the first three sessions. We will be opening booking for the following 5 once we have confirmed speakers and dates.

Please check our training page for information about booking the later sessions.

Metropolitan Museum of Art books

New York’s famous Metropolitan Museum of Art has a catalogue of 1,300 books published in the last five years available for free via Google Books. Current book titles that are in-print may be previewed and fully searched online, with a link to purchase the book. The full contents of almost all other book titles may be read online, searched, or downloaded as a PDF.

Check out this list of full-text items freely available online!

The Met is a great source of Art history material – a perfect Resource of the Week for LibraryLovesArt Month!

MetPubs_SmallBanner

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

Focus on an Archive Researcher: Mel Stewart

Mel Stewart is a third year undergraduate in the History department.

What research are you carrying out at RHUL Archives and which collections are you using?

Currently I am a third year history undergraduate at RHUL and last year, as part of the preparation for my final year dissertation, I had to write a five thousand word essay based on independent archival research.  The essay was entitled “In what ways did wartime conditions influence experiences of domestic living space at Royal Holloway in the years 1939-45”.  The archive collections I chose to use were the Principal’s Correspondence, the Minute Books of the Student’s Union, the College Letter, The Papers of the Post-War Policy Committee and a selection of reminiscences of former students.

What do you enjoy about archival research?

I enjoyed carrying out my own archival research as up to that point my life as a student of history was largely and unsurprisingly taken up by reading about someone else’s historical research.  Annabel made my life very easy by highlighting documents which she thought would be of use, but at last, I had an opportunity to carry out some original research, to collate my findings and to assess where my work fitted within the current secondary literature.  I especially enjoyed reading the testimonies of students at Royal Holloway during the Second World War who brought to life the dry details of officialdom.

Have you experienced any difficulties in using archive for your research?

I did not experience any major difficulties in using the archives for my research although it was not always easy to decipher the handwriting in the reminiscences of former students.  Gaps in the chronology and unfamiliar terminology were problematical, but they are part of the challenge of historiography.

Any tips for other people thinking about archive research?

Always contact Annabel in advance of a visit, whom you will find endlessly helpful.  Be realistic about the amount of material you can look at and try to maintain focused on the aims of your research.  I found it very easy to ‘get lost’ in the archives, distracted by details not always relevant, but nevertheless fascinating.

 

To find our more about our archives visit out wesbite: www.rhul.ac.uk/archives

Royal Holloway celebrates Open Access Week with doctoral students

The third week of October, 21- 27 October 2013, Royal Holloway celebrated International Open Access Week. More specifically, on 22nd of October the College’s Library Services planned an event dedicated to its doctoral students, entitled “Make your research stand out”.

Picture1

The event turned out to be very popular, which mostly reflects the students’ interest in open access. If you are new to the open access concept, you can find plenty of information about open access on the library’s webpages.

We invited two guest presenters to this event; Tom Pollard, a PhD student at University College London and an open access advocate, who explained why he is supporting open access and how open access helps him by either acquiring access to research papers or ensuring his own research is open and available to everyone in the world.  Tom’s presentation can be downloaded from here.

Martin Donnelly, from the Digital Curation Centre, touched upon the importance of Research Data Management (RDM) and presented the drivers and best practices for managing research data. His presentation is available here.

The library staff gave a short presentation on the routes to open access, the RCUK Open Access Policy, which affects RCUK-funded students and the library services available to help. The presentation is also available online.

We are pleased that this event was so popular and we will be planning more open access events in the future.

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

Time Management Tools: focus booster

Faces of Time
Faces of Time. Todd Lappin. Flickr. CC-BY-NC.

As well as working as an Information Consultant for the Drama and Theatre, Media Arts, and English departments here at Royal Holloway, I had the bright idea of taking my Library and Information Science MSc part time. It has been very challenging and very interesting – and it’s nearly done! My final year of three has just begun and I’m currently making the first steps towards writing my dissertation (a study into first year arts undergraduates experience of libraries before university and how this influences the way in which they find information at higher education level, since you ask).

So I was browsing through the Library’s helpful Tools for Researchers prezi and I discovered (among other things): focus booster. http://www.focusboosterapp.com/  Focus booster is great.

What is it for?

Do you ever have those moments where you just don’t know where to begin? Or you’ve too many tasks and not enough time? Or too much time and you feel that you’ll never settle down and get something productive done. Focus booster allows you to set yourself short tasks in a timed period, followed by timed breaks, and is great for knuckling down and getting things done.

How does it work?

Focus booster uses ‘The Pomodoro Technique’, a time management method that “uses a timer to break down periods of work into 25-minute intervals (referred to as “pomodoros”) separated by breaks and is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility.”

As the website states:


There are five basic steps to implementing the technique:

    • decide on the task to be done
    • set the pomodoro (timer) to 25 minutes
    • work on the task until the timer rings; record the task status
    • take a short break (5 minutes)
    • every four “pomodoros” take a longer break (15-20 minutes)

How do I get it?

You can download the app to your PC or Mac from http://www.focusboosterapp.com/download

Even better (for me, as I use a Chromebook), it’s available online: http://www.focusboosterapp.com/live

Both versions will tick to let you know a pomodoro has begun, change the timer colour to indicate how close you are to your next break, sound an alarm to let you know when time is up, and also let you adjust the time of pomodoros and breaks.

(There are whispers on Twitter that this will soon be available for iPhone and Android, so watch this space.)

Why should I use it?

Focus booster is a great psychological trick: you know you have a lot of work to get done, but the timed aspect means that you need to break your work down into manageable chunks – great, it already feels easier! Also, rather than thinking that you have the next seven hours to get something done, you have 25 minutes: long enough to focus, but not so long that you get distracted or tired.

If you’re easily distracted, this can be a great way of ensuring that short bursts of time are well spent; or if you find that you spend long periods staring down your computer screen this technique can encourage you to take regular breaks and relax rather than stress out. Personally, I find it really great for getting started; 25 minutes is just long enough not to be frightening, but I often find that I’ll get into what I’m doing, safe in the knowledge that a break is imminent, and then find that I’ve missed a break as I’ve got so into the task.

Burning the Clocks Cup Cakes
Burning the Clocks Cup Cakes. somewhereintheworldtoday. Flickr. CC-BY

 

 

Try it out – and comment below: was it useful?

What are your best techniques for managing your time and being more productive? Share in the comments below – tips are always appreciated!

Academia.edu

Academia.edu is a platform for academics to share research papers. The company’s mission is to accelerate the world’s research.

Like LinkedInAcademia.edu focuses on professional connections. Academia.edu is essentially a LinkedIn focused on the academic world, so it provides improved features for things like listing publications. LinkedIn and Academia.edu profiles tend to feature high in Google searches, so a well-constructed profile can be a great way to develop your online brand.

You can search for people, research interests and universities to build up connections.

You can view members for Royal Holloway here.

It is about more than networking, you can search for papers and promote your own research there too. You can easily link to your papers in  Royal Holloway Research Online.

There are other sites where you can post your research profile and link to papers, which we will look at in future blog posts. It is useful to post on several of them to publicise to the biggest audience of people.

StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon is a serendipitous web-discovery tool.  You let it know you interests and it will find relevant pages.  ‘Like’ or ‘dislike’ pages, and it learns your preferences. Makes finding and rating new sites easy, especially with the SU toolbar and SU icons on other sites.

You can follow channels to find information quickly for example the TED channel will keep you updated on TED information.

StumbleUpon can also provide media and resources for keeping teaching sessions fresh and up to date.

Use the StumbleUpon getting started guide to begin stumbling.

When you have created an account you just click the Stumble button in the top right hand corner to start stumbling and finding webpages.

Stumble bottom

This video shows you how to use the lists feature:

This video shows you how to manage your interests, connections and channels: