29 July 2016

Find your chemical information in ACS Publications

ACS Publications, including Sci Finder,  are the go-to resources for any research involving  chemistry, writes Nhan Le, a subject librarian from the Library's Science faculty team.

It has been said that chemistry, within our own times, has become a central science, from which all things emanate, and to which all things return*. The American Chemical Society (ACS) concurs with this mantra.

Monash University Library subscribes to all ACS Publications.  The database consists of:
  • Journals  -  nearly 50 peer-reviewed journals contain cutting-edge articles across a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines. The ACS began the publication of chemical research with the Journal of the American Chemical Society in 1879.
  • Chemical & Engineering News  - the weekly trade magazine
  • eBooks - the peer-reviewed ebooks contain essential research conducted by the world's leading scientists across all disciplines and applications. They now include more than 1,400 titles developed from ACS-sponsored symposia. Approximately 30 new ebooks are published each year.
Selected features
  •  Browse the Journal  - this option allows researchers to browse the journal via either “List of Issues”, or precisely select a specific issue of interest via the option “Select Decade”, “Select Volume”, then “Select Issue”
  •  Article ASAP (As Soon As Publishable),  that are edited and published online ahead of issue
  • Graphical abstracts, which are displayed on the journal table of contents
  • SciFinder database,  that can be accessed directly on the article level.
Also, when searching in SciFinder, if a graphical abstract is displayed on the search results page, researchers can be sure that the reference is one of the ACS journal articles. Therefore researchers can access it electronically.

You can access all the scholarly material on ACS Publications through the Library-managed subscription - via Search or the Databases - chemistry page.

ACS Publications and Figshare

As ACS Publications partners with Digital Science’s Figshare** to promote open data discovery and use, the scientific community can expect to retrieve chemistry-related datasets on the Figshare research data management tool.

*The Literary and Scientific Repository, and Critical Review, vol. 2, p. 221,
**ACS news release, 2015 

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26 July 2016

Taking notes - with or without lecture slides

If you're a returning student here at Monash - welcome back! You’ve had some experience of being in lectures and tutorials, and have seen what works for you...and perhaps also what doesn’t. If this semester is your first, welcome to Monash! You can review our tips and tricks from last semester, but for those seeking to build their skills, look no further...

Materials used in lectures (such as slides) are typically made available to students either before or after the lecture - you’ll usually find them in Moodle. But what if the slides aren’t published? This does happen sometimes, for a number of reasons - it could be connected to the way the unit’s content is assessed, for example. It can be frustrating, but try to remember everyone else in that unit will be facing the same situation, so it’s still a level playing field.

Key ideas

So with no slides to guide you, how can you approach note-taking? Try to resist the urge to write down everything that you can see on the slides, along with everything that your lecturer’s an impossible task, and while you may be able to manage it for the first week or two, you’ll soon run out of steam. Think about information in terms of key concepts and explanations: Write down the key ideas presented on the slides, and listen to what the lecturer says to fill in your knowledge of these ideas. This handy infographic gives you some tips to help determine what information is going to be most useful for you later on, as well as some nifty shorthand for when the pressure’s on!

Get organised

Organising your notes once they’ve been written is an important step that is easier said than done - it can be difficult to find the time to go through what you’ve written, especially when assessments start rolling in. Try and set aside a few hours each week to go through the week’s notes for each of your units. Aim to organise them into something that will be useful later on, when you’re beginning your research for assignments, or revising for exams. You don’t have to do it all in one block - half an hour before dinner each night can make things a little more manageable. Apps such as Evernote are a popular organising tool, and if you’re a more visual person, a mind-mapping tool such as XMind may be the answer. It can be tempting to try to skip a step and just use these apps in class, but things move at such a fast pace, that it’s rarely a good idea. Plus, using tablets and other devices in class means infinite distractions at your fingertips, which only those with the strongest willpower will be able to ignore! Best to keep it lo-fi in class, and save the fun gadgetry for later on...

It goes without saying, of course, that during lectures you should not only try to minimise distracting yourself, but also distracting others - in other words, please don’t talk during lectures, unless you are asked to! It can be hard to concentrate for two (or more…) hours at a stretch, but you’ll receive far fewer death-stares from your classmates if you save the chatter for the all-important post-lecture coffee. If you were feeling really dedicated, you could even invite a few friends from your class and swap notes...okay, I’m pushing things a little too far here, but it’s not as crazy as it sounds!

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.

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20 July 2016

Time management - Many approaches, one goal

This post points you in the direction of some great time-management tools, whether you’re a first year returning for second semester, a PhD candidate, or one of our brand-new students! Librarian Romney Adams has a wealth of ideas. 

With semester one a speck in the distance, you're probably feeling more confident balancing your uni workload with other parts of your life. The mid-year break and the boundless freedom it offered may still be fresh in your mind and it can be tricky re-adjusting to uni and all its expectations.

Keeping short-term and long-term plans are a great way to manage your time well, and to avoid situations with nasty last-minute discoveries - you know, the “I had no idea I had three assignments due next week! I thought I only had one! Is it time for mid-semester break yet?!” kind of situations. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your progress both at a week-to-week, as well as semester-long level. For some people, planning ahead and setting goals comes naturally - they’re born organisers. For others, it can be more of a chore. If you fall into the latter category, why not check out some apps?

There's an app for that

Todoist has a simple design - no frills, yet visually appealing, which is great if you’re the type of person who gets distracted easily by shiny things. Habitica is a tool for those who get motivated by the idea of collecting points and winning rewards for chipping away at bigger tasks in smaller doses - and you get to create your own avatar! Producteev is great to use for group work, allowing for multiple people to manage tasks and deadlines.

These apps may help make time management more fun (or just more doable), but to really make them work for you, you need to build your own time management skills. Staff at the Library are real task masters, and we offer plenty of online resources and face-to-face sessions to put you on the right track.

Library resources

Our Research & Learning Online site has some great infographics on short- and long-term time management, as well as some time-friendly study strategies for you to consider. We also have some information on optimising your study space, and the difference between research and writing, and how you can approach both.

If talking things through in person is what you like best, come along to one of our workshops! Log in to the Library Class Booking System and search for ‘time’ or ‘study skills’ to see what's on offer from our expert staff. Or, if you don't have time to attend a workshop (how ironic!), you can chat to a Learning Skills Adviser at your Library’s Research & Learning Point. At 15 minutes, these sessions are shorter, but provide one-on-one time with expert staff. You don't need to book, just check out our advertised times and turn up!

It can seem like a boring topic, but nailing time management early on really does make your life so much easier, and enjoyable. It doesn't matter how you go about it, just do it!

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18 July 2016

Matheson Library reopens

The Sir Louis Matheson Library at the Clayton campus reopens on Monday 18 July via a temporary entrance on the eastern side in the Performing Arts courtyard near Robert Blackwood Hall.

Following a three-week closure, Matheson Library opens its 'back door' to students, staff and visitors. Half of the library has been refurbished and available for use, including more and modern, well-appointed study spaces, 15 bookable discussion rooms fitted with technology, and two adaptive technology rooms for users with a disability. Computers, wifi and printing are available.

Three teaching rooms are also now available. These rooms can be used by students as study spaces when they are not booked for library teaching programs.

Some areas are still hoarded off to allow the final stage to be completed. The final stage is due for completion in December 2016, although the front entrance will not be commissioned until the landscaping work in front of the library is completed by Orientation Week 2017.

The temporary entrance takes visitors to the lower ground level. Library staff will be available at a service point located in that atrium area to respond to queries. Temporary directory and signage will direct users to the areas that are open for use.

Key things to note:
  • The Information and the Research and Learning points are on the ground floor - take the north lift which is to your right as you enter the library from lower ground.
  • Access to the General Collection is through the south lift from lower ground. This lift currently services lower ground and  levels 2 to 5. Ground and level 1 in the south are closed for refurbishment.
  • Access to the Special Collections (Ada Booth, Asian, Kits, Teaching materials, Music, Multimedia) and Journals is through the north lift.
With the reopening of the library, users can again request items from other campuses via Search and choose Matheson Library as the pick-up location. Holds are now located on the ground floor next to the Information point.

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5 July 2016

Working towards an inclusive learning environment

Small steps can be taken towards creating a more inclusive style of teaching, suggests Diana Thompson.

With the Monash student cohort growing in size and diversity are we doing all that we can to grow with our students?

The University's new strategic plan identifies “inclusive” as a key goal.  Being inclusive is a proactive approach involving planning with a wide range of learning styles, abilities and backgrounds in mind and being responsive rather than reactive, that is, only modifying your classes out of necessity. Inclusive teaching is not intended to dilute the standards of a course.  But a “one size fits all” approach actually does not fit most.  Just because a student may have different needs or learn in a different way does not make them any less academically capable than another student.

The first steps towards an inclusive approach do not need to create an abundance of additional work. Being conscious of practices during the planning phase, determining what you include and the design of your lecture slides can begin to foster an inclusive environment and an easy first step.  If this has already been a focus of your planning in the past, then perhaps the next stage could be looking at assessments and marking rubrics to determine if all students have opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge.  Or maybe activities that take into account the rich experiences that student already have and using this as a learning opportunity.

Some guidelines that outline good practices, developed by Monash, are on the Better Teaching Better Learning page for both inclusive teaching for disabilities and inclusive education guidelines for diverse genders and sexualities.  These can help to challenge the thought process of your planning and are a great start for building an inclusive environment.  What they both have in common is that they identify that an inclusive approach will benefit all students in your class regardless of background or educational experience. It also acknowledges that inclusive teaching is more than just making lecture notes accessible for download.  It can be through multiple means of representation and delivery and by focusing on the context of the material rather than just the content.

Small steps in this area are better than no change at all. Remember the Library has Learning Skills Advisers and Subject Librarians who can work with you towards creating an inclusive environment. Alternatively you can contact the Office of the Vice Provost (Learning and Teaching) or Disability Support Services about how to implement their guidelines in more detail or look at the CEED modules that are being run.

Diana Thompson is a subject librarian based in the Berwick Library. She works with other Library staff academics and other teams in the University for social inclusion-related programs being implemented across the campuses. Contact Diana to find out more.

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4 July 2016

UpToDate - the key to evidence for doctors

Subject Librarians Penny Presta  and Anne Young let us in on an invaluable source used by doctors. Medical and other students can now access this database and practice using it for when they are a professional.

Have you ever wondered what it is your doctor is looking at on their mobile device? You’ll be pleased to know that it’s probably not their share price or their next trip on! Doctors rely heavily on evidence to make the best decisions for your care.

Using decision support tools such as UpToDate means that doctors can find the evidence they need quickly, rather than spending hours reading articles in library databases.

UpToDate makes it easy for health professionals to find symptoms, tests, diagnoses and treatment options for medical conditions. If they need more information they can link through to further information in references provided in each entry.

UpToDate is an indispensable tool, in fact it is like Google for doctors, but with all content written and reviewed by a team of physicians and clinical experts in each specialty. Enthusiastic feedback from one of our Medical students indicates that it is “an absolute lifesaver ….”.

Find out more in UpToDate tutorials

Access: All students can access UpToDate anywhere, anytime with their Monash username and password from the library databases page. However staff are restricted to accessing UptoDate from some Monash campuses only.

Please contact a member of the Library's Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences team  if you would like any further details

Image by Ambro at

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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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