Developing your research skills

Library Services offers workshops, appointments and subject specific Library Guides in order to help you develop your research skills.

Whether you are a brand new student just starting out, returning to study after a gap and looking to refresh your skills, or a postgraduate aiming to publish your work for the first time, there are lots of ways in which we can provide support, guidance and advice at a time and a place when you need it.

Dedicated Subject and Research Librarians along with Copyright specialists and our Digital Repository team are available to assist on an individual basis, or by providing embedded information literacy workshops tailored to individual course content and module requirements.

We also provide a range of opportunities for you to access help including: Help Desks staffed 7 days a week, Online Chat, and our Ask Us service: and we’re proud to have recently been awarded Customer Service Excellence accreditation.

All of our online services and resources can be accessed via the Library website, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as long as you have an internet connection and a smartphone, tablet, laptop, PC or other connected device.

And we’re always looking to improve our services and support too, so please do contact us with your feedback, comments and suggestions.

LFW stands for Library Fashion W…month, right?

With the buzz of London Fashion Week surrounding us, CityLibrary couldn’t help but highlight some of the more fashionable sections of our collections that many might not know we have.

Fashion display at Northampton Square LibraryRegardless of whether you are a fashionista or not, you might find something captivating here. Fashion embodies a lot more than the newest trends on the catwalk: it can help us understand what messages societies are and have been sending across to express ideas on class, changing beauty and societal standards, ideas on identity, sustainability, race, gender expression, and more.

Come and browse (and borrow from) our book and information display on Level 5 at Northampton Square Library this month, or use CityLibrary Search to find more. If you prefer to find your resources by catwalking through the Library, the best direction will be towards sections 746 and 391 on Level 5, or 070.4 on Level 3, if you are looking for fashion journalism.

Fashion display at Northampton Square LibraryAlternatively, if you are a distance-learner, or simply prefer reading online, there’s lots in stock electronically, too. Check out Vogue Archive for the entire run of Vogue magazine (US edition), from the first issue in 1892 to the current month, reproduced in high-resolution colour page images. PressReader has a whole section dedicated to fashion magazines in different languages, too. And, as always, CityLibrary Search will be the best place to find e-books and journal articles, just enter your keywords and use the “Full text online” filter on the left hand side. Have a look at some intriguing e-books below, and get inspired!

LGBT+ History Month in the Library

As you might have noticed from the colourful flags on Library Help Desks, celebration of LGBT+ History Month at CityLibrary is in full swing. So why not look behind the flags and find what else we have in store?

If you are at Northampton Square Library this February, stop by the book display on Level 5 to browse some of the LGBT-related print books in our collection. You can also search for more books at all Library locations on CityLibrary search, or request a new book on LGBT+ or other underrepresented topics to be purchased for the Library’s collection via Liberating CityLibrary. If you are a distance-learner or simply prefer to read online, CityLibrary Search will help you find lots of exciting e-books, too, some of which you can see in the book carousel below.

If you are looking for articles about LGBT+ topics, as always, check CityLibrary Search, or you can browse any of the journals that CityLibrary subsribes to, like Journal of Lesbian Studies, Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, Journal of Bisexuality, or Journal of LGBT Youth.

Don’t forget that with PressReader you have access to the latest issues of a wide range of magazines, including Gay Times and Attitude.

And finally, if you just feel like having a break with a good film, don’t be a stranger to our DVD collection which is right next to the Help Desk on Level 2 of Northampton Square Library: Call Me By Your Name, Carol, God Loves Uganda, The Crying Game, and many more fantastic films are there for you to borrow and enjoy. Or, if you are a distance-learner or don’t have a DVD player, Box of Broadcasts (or, as we lovingly call it, BOB) will be your best ally to find recordings of films and TV shows online.

Have a look at LGBT+ History Month’s events at or around City and nationwide, and we hope to see you around soon!

Liberating CityLibrary

This month we’re excited to launch our new initiative ‘Liberating CityLibrary’ where we’re asking students and staff to recommend books to help us improve the diversity of our collections.

We want to increase the range of books in the library written by people from a BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) background, books by and about LGBTQI+ people and titles which recognise overlapping identities and experiences such as gender, class, sexuality and disability.

Liberating CityLibrary will work in a similar way to the already established book suggestion schemes ‘More Books‘ and ‘Read for Research’. To get involved all you need to do is complete our online form and if the requested book costs less than £60 and there are no copies in stock, your order will be placed within five working days.

We look forward to receiving your suggestions and will be sharing monthly highlights via CityLibrary News and social media.

If you have any questions about Liberating CityLibrary please email library@city.ac.uk.

Northampton Square Library, Level 6

Great news!

The silent study space on Level 6 of the Northampton Square Library has now reopened, providing nearly 200 silent study spaces.

Photo of desks on Level 6 of the Northampton Square Library.
Level 6 Silent Study Area

We had to close the floor for the autumn term to allow disruptive surveying work to take place:  this was in preparation for the proposed development of Level 7.

The additional silent study space in B411C (Level 4 of the University Building) remains open Mon-Fri 08:30-18:00.

 

Sage Research Methods Video

Are you starting a research project? Do you need to refresh your knowledge of research methods?

SAGE Research Methods Video is a streaming video collection created to support every stage of the research process. Sage Research Methods Video is suitable for both undergraduate students undertaking research for the first time and more experienced researchers.  Key areas such as writing a research proposal, planning and designing a research project and securing ethical approval are all covered.

 

A few examples of the different types of videos on offer:

The videos are fully integrated with our existing SAGE Research Methods subscription which includes books, handbooks and encyclopaedias and the well-known little green books (quantitative methods series) and little blue books (qualitative methods series).

Accessing Sage Research Methods Video

You can access Sage Research Methods Video via CityLibrary Search or Databases A-Z List.

If you have any questions about this resource you can contact library@city.ac.uk.

CityLibrary gains Customer Service Excellence Standard

City’s Library Services Team has been awarded the Customer Service Excellence (CSE) Standard.  The standard assesses a huge number of elements and criteria, including feedback from library users, to determine the highest quality service.

This is something we could not have achieved if it was not for the help of our wonderful customers, both students and staff, who assisted in talking with the CSE assessors and who help us run a successful service in different ways.

Social Media

Our assessors picked up on several factors relating to our relationship with our students. Our social media game was praised as being beyond the standard and, without your interaction with our tweets and posts on CityLibrary News, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, these efforts would be wasted – so thank you so much for interacting with us online as well as in person.

Continous Improvement

We were also commended on our commitment to continuous improvement where, really, it is you who drive this, you who make us a success. Without your engagement with our Feedback pop-ups, for example, we would not know how we do better – because it is what You Say that We Do. We are currently looking at the feedback we received last month but you can let us know at any time what we are doing well and what are not doing well at our Help Desks where you can talk to our staff or fill out a form.

So thank you for making us a Customer Service Excellence success!

Hold that thought: Mind Mapping with MindGenius

Understanding, organising and retaining information can be challenging. While studying and working we often need to compose and organise our written work, understand complex topics and retain information. Mindmapping can be an excellent tool to help us meet these challenges.

Depending on the task at hand mindmapping can be useful for almost everyone, but can be particularly useful for Neurodiverse profiles such as Dyslexic learners.

Mindmapping is a way of graphically representing a topic, concept or problem, so we can visualise it, making it easier to understand. Mindmapping is a versatile technique which can have many applications. Here are some examples:

Brainstorming

Mindmapping is a great way to brainstorm. You can use it to better capture your thoughts or start exploring a topic. You may find that it can help to stimulate and generate more ideas.

Capturing all of your ideas can reduce the load on your working memory. Once you can see your ideas together on one page, you can then edit and arrange them into a more organised structure. This is also useful for group brainstorms, try it on our large screens in the group study rooms and technobooths.

Planning and organising

Bring order to chaos. Before you start a task it’s a good idea to plan how you are going to do it. Mindmapping can help you plan written work such as an essay. With most digital mindmaps, as you build your map you can add more substantial notes to ideas. This means that when you export your finished mindmap into a Word document you have a logical outline structure and some content to get started with.

You could even use a mindmap to plan your research or literature search in an academic database, plotting out which keywords, synonyms and antonyms you are going to use.

A mindmap breaking down a keyword search of " a comparison of the effectiveness of exercising versus a health diet in reducing obesity in children".
A mindmap to plan a database search [click to expand].

Revision

Make your revision notes into a map. When trying to recall information it’s easier to remember the spatial layout of a map rather than linear notes. Add additional memory hooks, such as colour and images, which can prompt you to recall the associated concepts.

Breaking down complex ideas

Some topics are complicated such as land law, who is related to who in Wuthering Heights, or potential Brexit  scenarios, requiring flow charts and maps to make visual sense. It’s difficult to keep all that information in your head or to understand the connections when going backwards and forwards though linear notes.

A mindmap of Wuthering Heights characters and their relationships.
The characters of Wuthering Heights [click to expand].

So, how can I start mindmapping?

To me, Mindmapping has no strict rules, but there are some basic guiding principles you may wish to follow to keep your map effective:

  • Put your topic or essay title in the centre this is useful for keeping you on track or remind you to answer the question in hand.
  • Use single keywords (or very short phrases) so you can see at a glance what the map means when you come back to it. Key words are easier to digest and remember if you are using the map for revision. Keywords are also useful because at the mapping stage our ideas may not be fully formed sentences, but we can still easily capture and build on them.

Using MindGenius software

MindGenius 2019 software is now available on any City student Windows pc.
Staff can download the software onto their City staff desktop computer via the Software Centre. MindGenius is excellent for project management and has some advanced features to facilitate this, such as the ability to create a Gantt chart from your map at the click of a button.

MindGenius Functionality

The software is simple to use with “type and return” functionality to build you map. You can also:

  • Add attachments to keep the documents you are reading for a project or essay organised by linking them to relevant branches within the map.
  • Add notes: Add more substantial notes to each branch. As mentioned, this feature is excellent when planning an essay.
  • Export to Word: You can export your finished mind map to Word to create draft written work. In Word you will have a linear structure to work with along with your added notes.
  • Export to PowerPoint: You can use the software to help plan and create presentations.
  • The mental connection tool allows you to link ideas on different areas of you map and describe the relationship between them.
  • Categories and Filter: You can use colours to code or categorise ideas across your map. If your map becomes quite large and complex you can filter by category to concentrate on particular themes.
  • Templates such as the SWOT and PEST analysis can help encourage exploration of a topic and apply critical thinking to it.
  • If you’re really not sure where to start there are guided brainstorm tools, such as ‘solution finder’ and ‘question sets’.

A real life example

I find mindmapping incredibly useful for organising complex, but otherwise unordered ideas. To write this article I planned it first in Mind Genius.

I started by brainstorming in an unstructured way, getting every one of my ideas down on the page (which is very cathartic!). This reduced the load on my working memory. I also used the Who? What? Where? When? Question set to stimulate more ideas and identify gaps in my thinking.

Once all my ideas were on the page I could move on to organising and structuring the information using the drag and drop functionality to group ideas which came under the same theme.

Then I could think more critically and reject any of the weaker or less relevant ideas. i.e. in this article I’m not going to talk about other mindmapping software so I have deleted those branches on review.

A mindmap bout mindmapping, many ideas have been added with no real structure.
Stage 1. An unordered mindmap. [Click to expand]

A mindmap about mindmapping with more structure
Stage 2. An ordered mindmap. [Click to expand]
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Stage 3. Mindmap exported to Word as outline text. [Click to expand]

Need Help?

If you need help or have any questions about Mind Genius contact us. We’d like to hear what you think so please add your comments below or share with fellow students how mind mapping works for you.

New titles for School of Health Sciences

Print and e-book collections for School of Health Sciences students have been updated and expanded over the summer.

Brand new titles, latest editions, plus extra copies of essential titles were ordered, processed and catalogued and are now available for you to access or borrow.

Watch out for the latest version of your favourite textbook on the shelves or available online via CityLibrary Search.

For more information on using e-books, have a look at our E-books Guide.

Improved access to full-text articles via PubMed

It’s now easier than ever to check if the articles you’ve found on PubMed are available in full-text via CityLibrary.

Use the direct link to PubMed on the Databases A-Z and each time you search and select an article, look for the ‘isit@citylibrary’ link on the top right-hand side of the screen. This link will then:

  • display a pdf. if available
  • take you to a log-in screen, or
  • show information on how to use the Inter-Library Loan service to obtain a copy.

If you have registered for an account with PubMed you can also change your settings by logging-in to MyNCBI and changing the Outside Tool setting.

If you have any problems accessing full-text articles drop us an email, Ask Us or speak to a member of staff at a Help Desk during staffed hours.