So, term has started and you know you’ve got some reading to do and you need to start finding those books and articles. Well, the Library is here to help! We have a fabulous reading list systems which stores all the reading lists we receive from the department. It then links directly to the Library Catalogue to show you how many copies we have and where to find them!
This post will show you how to:
Find reading lists for your course
Use reading lists to find library resources
Download your reading lists
Reading List Guide
Check out our PowerPoint here to find out all you need to know about accessing and using reading lists.
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, Electronic Engineering, 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 here in this post since May 2016, but I worked in the library in a different role from 2012 to 2015. (I was also a Masters 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 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 🙂
Resource of the Week is *insert drum roll here* Knovel!
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.
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.
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 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.
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!
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 coretitles, 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.
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:
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:
By clicking on the drop down button and selecting ‘Relevance’, the results now listed appear more relevant to my search terms:
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: email@example.com
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:
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.
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.