23 March 2016

Show presents art created through maths

A colourful exhibition recreates the patterns and forms of the natural world through mathematics. Catch it at the Hargrave-Andrew Library.

Digital exhibition at Hargrave-Andrew Library
Monash Library presents Rise, Set, Ebb, Flow, Breathe, Grow: Evolving fractal geometry, a new digital exhibition at the Hargrave-Andrew Library at the Clayton campus.

The show is the first titled exhibition by the artist, Monash graphic software specialist Owen Kaluza.

While the work has been on show in the library since the start of Semester 1, staff and students will have the opportunity to meet the artist on Wednesday April 6 at 3pm.

Mr Kaluza is a senior visualisation specialist at the Monash Immersive Visualisation Platform. In this role he develops tools for viewing and interacting with scientific datasets in high-resolution virtual reality environments and works with researchers with visualisation related problems.

All are welcome to hear Owen Kaluza talk about his art. Refreshments will be served after the talk.

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21 March 2016

Managing your reading

Feeling bamboozled by all the things you have to read? Learning Skills Adviser Tami Castillo has some suggestions on managing your reading tasks better.

It’s week 4 - already feel like you’re falling behind? Can’t believe how much pre-reading, post reading, required reading and suggested readings there are? Not to  mention reading all the academic articles you need to complete your assignments?

Reading strategically and employing different  reading strategies can help you use your time more effectively.

Want to know more? Read on!

First of all, please don’t feel like you have to read everything from cover to cover. One of the keys to reading strategically is knowing there are different  reading strategies to use for different reading purposes. This video explains this succinctly.

Reading strategies

As you can see, using effective reading strategies can help you:
  • save time
  • prepare for assignments and exams
  • keep up with weekly readings, and
  • learn and revise your unit’s content.
Check out this infographic for more information, and have a go at using different reading strategies for your different study purposes. If you’re not sure how to begin, have a look at these questions to help you build effective reading strategies from the ground up!

Being an effective reader saves you time, and brings you closer to those higher marks and success rates in exams. Book into a Library workshop via the Library Class Booking System (search for ‘reading’ to find relevant workshops), or you can chat to a Learning skills adviser at your Library’s Research & Learning Point if you’re not sure where to start.

Happy reading!

Photo: jemimus on Flickr

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15 March 2016

Keep track of references: use Endnote

Checking references for your thesis is a long and tedious process, but you have to do it, right? What if we told you there was an easier and quicker way? ... by Paula Todd

Monash has the license for EndNote so all students have free access to the full version and can download it from the Library website.

By learning how to use this software you can save a lot of valuable time but the key is to understand your referencing style first and THEN use the software. A bit like the theory that to use a calculator to solve a mathematical problem, you need to understand the formula before applying it. Talk to your supervisor if you are unsure which referencing style you should use.

OK so you know your referencing style, how is EndNote going to help you? 

When you use databases or library Search you can export the details of the article, book etc. into your EndNote library. But this isn’t the end of the story, you can then use the ‘cite while you write’ function in EndNote to put your in-text citations into your thesis or report and at the same time EndNote will automatically start creating your reference list at the end of your paper in your chosen referencing style. No more painstaking typing of references!

How do you start?

It’s best to book into an EndNote class to get started, as the librarians will give you lots of tips and tricks to make EndNote run smoothly. Once your EndNote library is set up then most databases will have an export function to add references straight into your library.

You can attach the full text PDF’s of articles to your EndNote library which can save time when you are writing your thesis as the article and its citation are in the same place. With EndNote you can also highlight and annotate PDF’s (see right) which makes the relevant parts of the article more easy to spot when typing your assignment.

Another really cool feature is the Group option where references for a particular purpose (such as for a chapter in your thesis or a paper you are writing) can stay together. This becomes extremely useful as your EndNote library gets bigger and you want to easily see which references are relevant to different projects.

Can I share my references with others?

If the idea of having your EndNote library in the cloud to access anywhere appeals to you then check out EndNote Online  You can also use this version of EndNote to share the references in your library with your supervisor or other researchers you are collaborating with. 

Paula Todd is a subject librarian for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. She is based at Peninsula Library.

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14 March 2016

Academic resources - where do I find them?

What exactly are academic resources and where can you find them? Our librarian blogger Romney Adams lets you in on the best secrets on becoming more effective in your assignment research.

We all search for information every day - for gig tickets or the weather, for example. During your time here at Monash, you’ll need to search for information for your assignments. When those times come, you’ll need to make sure you’re researching effectively to find academic resources.

Essentially, academic resources are those which meet certain quality-control standards by going through various types of review - the one you’ll become most familiar with during your studies is peer review. This is a lengthy process which ensures that material published in academic journals is of high quality, and suitable for others (like you!) to reference and build upon.

Watch the clip below, which points out some things you can look out for to determine whether the book you’re holding in your hand, or the journal article you’re reading online, is a suitable academic resource:


You can test your understanding of academic sources further through an interactive tutorial.

Where are academic resources found?

The next thing is knowing where to look. While the Open Access movement is growing, currently most academic journal subscriptions cost money - if you've ever used Google Scholar and been asked to pay to access an article, that’s why. But the good news is that now you're a Monash student, you won't need to pay again!

The Library subscribes to a huge amount of databases which give you access to academic resources. Monash Library Search is our resource discovery tool, and it's where we recommend you start. It will search not only our physical collections but also a number of the online databases we subscribe to. It'll retrieve a lot of results that you can quickly and easily narrow down to those that suit what you're after. We have plenty of videos that show you how to do this.

To make sure you’re researching thoroughly, look directly in databases too. Databases are often the place you'll need to go to find discipline-specific information, so don't forget about them!

To find the databases that are the best for your research, head to your Faculty- and/or Discipline-specific Library Guide, where you’ll find targeted information. For example, if you look at the Library Guide for Civil Engineering, you’ll see that Compendex, Inspec, and Scopus are the best databases for you to start with. Some other disciplines will have databases that are very topic-specific, as well as more general - check out the Library Guide for Middle East History to see what I mean. Alternatively you can can view the  A-Z List of all our databases,

It's important that you build your skills in evaluating information to make sure you’re using the right materials to support your own arguments in your assignment.

If you skipped the video clip above, go back to get started, or chat to a librarian at your library’s Research and Learning Point - they’ll be able to put you on the right track! Or, if you want to go more in-depth, check the Library Class Booking System for workshops on effective searching.

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9 March 2016

Get started on your writing task

Sometimes just sitting down and starting to type is the toughest hurdle to clear when you are submitting an assignment. The steps in this blog entry will help you fly over it, leaving it far behind you, write Tami Castillo and Damian Gleeson.

You’ve been working for days now and you still don’t have one word of your essay or report written. You really have worked hard but have nothing to show for it. Fear not! All the groundwork has prepared you well, and the writing should take nowhere near as long as the preparation. Sometimes just sitting down and starting to type is the toughest hurdle to clear. The steps in this blog entry will help you fly over it, leaving it far behind you!

Have you fully analysed the topic?

If you don’t analyse it fully, you may not avail yourself of all marks on offer. Assessment topics always have the same key ingredients: direction words that tell you what to do, topic words and limiting words that set the required scope. Be very clear that you understand what your topic is asking you to do and what your tutor requires from you. There are several possible genres that might form part of your writing assessment. Be sure that you know what each genre entails. The Library’s Research and Learning Online is a useful resource to guide you. Several faculties at Monash have their own style guides, like BusEco’s Q Manual and IT’s Style Guide. Check your unit guide and Moodle sites for further information.

Have you done your research?

This does not mean using Google - anyone can do that. The Library spends millions of dollars on subscriptions to databases and journals, and it is your privilege as a Monash student to use them. So use them! Library Guides are a good starting point for finding discipline-specific databases and journals, but a librarian can help you choose some great databases to start with, and also work with you to build your skills so you can get the most out of your searches. Also, don’t forget your lecture and tutorial notes and required/recommended weekly readings. When you start writing you’ll probably find you’ll need to go back and research some aspects of your topic more. This is normal and to be expected. It means you are becoming suitably focused on key aspects that require rigour. Good for you!

Make a plan, Stan. Then use it to structure your work, Björk.

An unplanned essay is potentially a recipe for disaster. As a bare minimum, note your academic position/thesis and the subject of each body paragraph. This should assist you in maintaining a clear, structured response to the assignment question. Remember that each paragraph should consist of one idea that is explained in detail, supported by evidence and examples and linked back to the topic in order to prove its relevance. To do this in 1 - 3 sentences is impossible. If your paragraph is longer than a page, there is probably more than one main idea or there is too much detail. Don’t forget a clear introduction that
  • provides a general intro to the topic
  • tells your reader about your particular focus
  • offers a thesis statement indicating your academic position
  • previews your work’s structure, showing how you intend to achieve your stated goal. 
A conclusion is also necessary, summarising what you achieved and how you achieved it in your assignment, as well as providing a big picture statement of what is all means in the wider context.

Ready? Set? Write!

There are countless excuses to stop you from sitting down and typing your assignment. None of them is likely to justify your inertia. Once you actually start writing, you should find all that research, reading, planning and thinking has put you in a position where the flow quickly becomes a torrent. Get it all out of you as fast as you can! You can edit and proofread it all later. Go!

You may have doubts about whether your work is at the level your tutor expects or not. This may be because you are new to university, the first in your family or your friends to undertake tertiary study, or you are returning to study after a long break. See our Librarians and Learning Skills Advisers in your library’s Research and Learning Point -- they are available a few hours a day to see students or groups. At drop-ins, experts can provide tips, advice and feedback on all the research and academic work you need to do. There is no need for an appointment and you’ll be seen on a first-come, first-served basis.

Tami Castillo is a Learning Skills Adviser and Damian Gleeson is a Research and Learning Coordinator.

Images: Monash Image Library

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8 March 2016

MarketLine a major source of company data

MarketLine Advantage is useful to anyone studying business, international finance or globalisation, says David Horne, a subject librarian in the Business faculty team.

MarketLine is a leading producer of worldwide company, industry/market, and country information.
The MarketLine Advantage database provides extensive coverage via an intuitive interface which allows for both effective browsing and rapid pinpointing of required content. Its key components are:

·         More than 5,700 industry profiles, which include Porter’s Five Forces analysis;

·         Over 32,000 company profiles providing SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analyses, with separate sections of MarketLine Advantage focusing on company news, case studies and financial deals;

·         Country reports analysing the political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental (PESTLE) situation in 50 major countries;

·         A Databases option, where various types of customised data, such as country statistics and fast moving consumer goods market analytics, can be generated from the data sets in MarketLine Advantage.

While some MarketLine reports are accessible via other interfaces (e.g. Business Source Complete) these represent only a small fraction of the content of MarketLine Advantage. You may also have known these reports by their former brand, Datamonitor.

MarketLine Advantage will be of interest not just to Business School staff and students but potentially to anyone studying aspects of globalisation, and the global marketplace.

Access MarketLine Advantage from:

If you have questions or comments about using MarketLine Advantage, contact a librarian in the Library Business and Economics Team

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7 March 2016

New interactive screens to help you find your way

Students, staff and visitors using the Hargrave-Andrew Library have three interactive screens that will help them find their way to key destinations and points of interest in the library. Check out the maps to find a study space, a book or journal on shelf, a teaching room or discussion room.

We are excited to pilot a digital wayfinding solution at Hargrave-Andrew Library. It comes ahead of the completion of the refurbishment of Matheson and Caulfield Libraries where the digital wayfinder will be rolled out in 2017.

Ease of navigation, better known as wayfinding, is key to a successful library refurbishment. For libraries that have multiple levels, it could be difficult to find a destination without directions. The digital wayfinder will complement physical signage in the libraries.

Most of you are familiar with this self-help solution as digital wayfinding screens are used in other places such as shopping malls, airports and convention centres.

You can touch the screen to show the interactive map of the library.

The screen is also designed for accessibility so that you can switch the map display for easier reach. It highlights the lifts, adaptive technology room and other facilities for users with a disability.

The digital wayfinder will continue to be developed to integrate PC Finder and room booking, as well as indicate where study spaces are free, busy or packed.

You won't miss the kiosk upon entering Hargrave-Andrew Library. There is also a wall-mounted screen on level 1 and another kiosk on level 2.

Touch it, use it and find your way around the library more easily. We'd be happy to get your feedback. Email:

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2 March 2016

Level up, and get the most out of lectures!

You’ll have heard it countless times by now - “University is different from high school”. It’s true that you’ll need to tweak your practices to get the most out of your time here, but there are plenty of resources to get you on the right track, says Librarian Romney Adams.

Your listening and note-taking skills are incredibly useful, as they’re what you’ll rely on to take information away from your lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials, labs, and other classes - so don’t underestimate their power!

Now, you might be thinking - “I know how to listen, and I know how to write notes” - of course you do, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. But you can really supersize these skills, and use them to an even greater advantage.


Can I take this moment to emphasise the importance of writing neatly...or at least legibly? We’ve all experienced that moment of using your notes to revise, only to discover you can’t make sense of them. A common cause of this is writing at high speed, getting down every note from your lecturer’s slides, and every utterance and witty aside from their mouth.

Generally speaking, lecturers will make their slides available to you via Moodle, either shortly before or after a class - check Moodle for an announcement on this, or email your lecturer for clarification. If it’s before class, great! You’ve got a set of notes you can annotate. If it’s after class, that’s okay too - you at least know you don’t have to worry about noting everything down from the slides. Either way, you can focus on listening for important pieces of information your lecturer mentions verbally, to strengthen the content included in the lecture slides.

Remember, you don’t need to write down everything your lecturer mentions - you can usually tell what’s going to be useful simply by the lecturer’s tone of voice, emphasis, or even body language.

Tablets and laptops are a great solution to the ‘can’t-read-my-own-writing’ problem, but can prove an irresistible gateway to a plethora of other distractions. Consider going back to Classical times and just bring pen and paper - any doodling you do may actually help improve your concentration!


While of course, you are welcome to ask questions in lectures, your primary concern is to listen, and take notes. Talking is an obvious distraction, not only to yourself, but also to your neighbours - you’d be surprised at how far two whispering voices can travel in a lecture theatre.

It’s a different story for seminars, workshops, labs, and tutorials though, where greater participation is encouraged - and can even form a portion of your overall mark. Participation does not simply mean being present - you’ll be expected to engage with the teaching staff and ask questions - another good reason to listen to what’s being said!

What if I can’t make it?

Sometimes, things happen, and you can’t attend a lecture. However, there are still ways you can access the necessary material. Many lectures are captured and stored for your viewing pleasure on MULO. This is also a great source for exam revision at the end of semester!

If your lectures aren’t recorded, things are a little trickier - but not impossible. Teaching staff are usually understanding if you have a good reason for not being able to attend, and may be able to email a copy of the slides to you - it goes without saying that the after-effects of partying are not considered to be ‘good reason’! You can also ask your lecturer or tutor if you can have a quick consultation/appointment with them, to catch up on anything important you may have missed. If you know you’re going to miss a class, you can also ask friends to take notes for you - it helps if you shout them coffee or a pint in return, to show your appreciation.

Don’t forget to have a look at the Library Class Booking System - we run a variety of skills classes throughout the semester! Search using keywords such as ‘note’ ‘skills’ ‘lecture’ ‘listen’ or ‘study’ to see if there are any relevant classes you can go along to! Or, chat to a Librarian or Learning Skills Adviser at your Library’s Research & Learning Point - check for opening times here.

Memes: Romney Adams

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Search: Your gateway to the Monash University Library collection

I’m a new graduate research student. How do I explore and access the library collection? Katrina Tepper, Research and Learning Coordinator.

Search is Monash University Library’s resource discovery tool. It’s a great place to start if you’re looking for books, articles, journals, DVDs, databases and other items held in the Library collection, both print and online!

Here are a few useful things to know about Search:

1. Results are listed in relevance order. 

This means the most useful items should appear close the top of the list.

To narrow your search results, use the options in the left hand column e.g. limit to specific publication years, or resource types.

2. Reference details can be saved to your eShelf

This is a great way to save the reference details of books and articles you’d like to refer to in future.
 Sign in to Search at the top right of the screen.

As you browse records in Search, click the small star to the left of the title to add a reference to your eShelf. The star will turn yellow.

If you’re signed in, these details remain in your eShelf until you delete them.

3. You can request print items which are on loan or held at another campus

Click the Get it tab, to view the location and call number of an item, and find out if it’s available.

If the item is on loan or at another campus, Sign in with your Authcate at the top right, then click “Request” in the Get it tab. You’ll receive an email when the item is ready to pick up and borrow.

4. You can browse the shelves virtually

The Virtual browse tab appears on the records of print items (e.g. books), and allows you to browse similar items held in print in the Monash University Library collection, based on their call number.

5. The “View it” tab provides access to electronic resources

The library collection includes a large number of e-books, journals and other online resources.

To access these use the link(s) provided in the “View it” tab, and login with your Authcate username and password.

6. Sign in to view your loans or renew

Sign in with your Authcate username and password to:

-view items you have on loan and check the due dates
-renew your loans

As a graduate research student you can borrow unlimited loans for 6 weeks (excluding short loan items). All items, except those in high demand and those requested by other users, are automatically renewed.

7. You can transfer reference details to EndNote

Instructions are available on the EndNote Library guide.

8. You can make Document delivery requests 

If you find an item in Search, which isn’t available in the Library collection, as a graduate research student you can place a Document Delivery request.

Sign in and click Document delivery to place your request.

For more information refer to the Search Library guide or get in touch with your contact librarian.

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1 March 2016

Spaces to study in the libraries

A combined total of 103,486 people came to our libraries in Week 1 of Semester 1 last year. This year we're expecting about the same number, if not more. And it will only build momentum as the semester progresses. Here's a heads-up on the available study spaces in the libraries.

The libraries at Monash are great places to study, whether you want quiet or a place to work together. All the libraries will be open this year despite the refurbishment work at the Matheson and Caulfield libraries. These two libraries will have fewer seats than usual. We’ve added extra seats at the other libraries instead so there will be plenty of areas where you can settle down.

We’ve kept the reductions at our busiest libraries as small as we can, but they’re important to make sure that the refurbishment projects can finish on time (Matheson by the end of 2016 and Caulfield by March 2017).

Here’s how the study spaces work:

  • Matheson: 1,058 seats (down from 1,419 in 2015 because of the refurbishment)
  • Hargrave-Andrew: 790 seats
  • Law: 764 seats
  • Caulfield: 600 seats (down from 750) but there will be another reduction from May onwards as the building works move between levels
  • Berwick: 119 seats
  • Peninsula: 246 seats
  • Pharmacy: 122 seats.
During busy times, it’s good to remember that multi-level libraries may have more seats upstairs – at Matheson, there are extra study spaces on levels 2-5 in the General Collection. You can also use the teaching rooms at any library if there isn’t already a class there.

Bookable discussion rooms

Matheson, Law, Berwick and Peninsula libraries have discussion rooms for group study. You can book a room at


Every library has wifi and power is available at many of the desks, so you can bring your own device or you can use computers that are already set up. PC Finder on the Library website or in the Monash app will help you find a computer that’s available when you get to the library. The computers in both Matheson and Caulfield Libraries have been temporarily taken off PC Finder as these are constantly being moved around during the refurbishments.

Alternative spaces

If you can’t find a space in the libraries, there are alternative study areas which are open to all students at Clayton and Caulfield campuses. Try the airport lounge or the IT lab at the Campus Centre if you’re at Clayton, or the C1 study lounge in Building C at Caulfield.

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About the Blog

Welcome to the Monash University Library blog. Whether you are engaged in learning, teaching or research activities, the Library and its range of programs, activities and resources will contribute to your success. Here you will find useful information, ideas, tips and inspiration. Your comments on any of the articles are welcome.

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