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Showing posts with label research. Show all posts
Showing posts with label research. Show all posts

24 April 2017

Researching organisms? Try BIOSIS Previews

Information about any animal, bird, organism or other form of life can be found in this database of journal articles from emerging and traditional areas of  biological science, says subject librarian Madeleine Bruwer.



Are you a life scientist researching organisms? 

BIOSIS Previews allows you to explore the entire field of life sciences by providing access to journal content from Biological Abstracts supplemented by Biological Abstract Reports, Reviews and Meetings. 

Our BIOSIS Previews coverage dates from 1926 to present, and includes the traditional areas of biological sciences, such as zoology, botany, microbiology, as well as emerging areas like drug discovery, gene therapy, biodiversity and biotechnology.

Searching for an organism using the taxonomic data field

Biosis Previews uses a relational indexing system, which provides hierarchical access to kingdom, family and common genus species names. Knowing how to best utilise the taxonomic structure of the database will assist in targeting your search to retrieve records with the required organism as the primary focus of the article.

Start by performing a topic search, listing as many variations as possible of the organism name, either the formal scientific name, Latin name or the common organism name.



Select a relevant result based on title information and scroll down past the abstract to the taxonomic data table.

The taxonomic data table displays the following categories: Super Taxa, Taxa Notes, Organism Classifier, Organism name and Variant. 


The Super Taxa field refers to broad categories of organisms, in this instance Mammalia, Marsupialia. The Taxa Notes supply the common names of broad groups of organisms, for example Marsupials, Mammals and more. The Organism Classifier provides the controlled term for the taxonomic rank of family as well as the five-digit Biosystematic Code for an organism. Organism name refers to the organism name as provided by the author and this will assist users unfamiliar with the taxonomic nomenclature to easily search for an organism. The Variant name is also captured if the article provides this information. Other details on the organism such as gender, its developmental stage and role may also be supplied.

Once you have a clearer picture of the appropriate terms to use, you would narrow your search by entering the organism name in the taxonomic data field.

The Super Taxa terms or Taxa Notes are useful for broadening a search. To broaden your search to include both kangaroos and wallabies, use the Organism Classifier term “Macropodia“.

BIOSIS Previews is listed our A-Z database list and is available through Web of Science. Select BIOSIS Previews from drop down list on Web of Science Core Collection home page.



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19 April 2017

Systematic Review Library Guide


A new guide has been devised to help researchers conduct a systematic review, says Subject Librarian Cassandra Freeman.


If you are part of a research team working on a systematic review for publication or undertaking a review for assessment purposes, the Library has developed a useful online resource to help guide you through the process.

What is a Systematic Review?



Systematic reviews are more commonly associated with medicine and evidence based research to inform clinical decisions and treatments. However, critical reviews or the systematic synthesis of research findings were already being published in disciplines such as the social sciences in the early 1970s in order to provide evidence to inform service and policy decisions. [1]

It was in 1972 that Archie Cochrane, a British epidemiologist, wrote about the need for more clinicians and medical practitioners to use randomised controlled trial findings to inform them about the best drug treatments and therapies for patients. [2]

In 1979, he went on to write that there was a significant lack of critical summaries of research evidence in the medical profession. Cochrane argued it was essential for clinicians to start periodically critically reviewing a range of randomised controlled trials to really ensure best practice in health care decisions. [3] This is how critical reviews evolved in medicine into the systematic reviews that are published today.
Systematic Review Guide

A systematic review implements a standardised approach to gathering evidence relating to a specific research question. The evidence is taken from a systematic search of an exhaustive set of studies, and the data analysed in context to assess the strength of the findings. The quality of systematic reviews varies, although published Cochrane Reviews use rigorous scientific methods and are sometimes considered to be the ‘gold standard’. A systematic review does not necessarily have to adhere to all the Cochrane requirements if it is going to be published elsewhere. There are organisations other than Cochrane that have developed standards for systematic reviews. Consult the new systematic review library guide for more detailed information.

Systematic reviews have some unique features that make them differ from standard literature reviews. Below are some requirements of published Cochrane systematic reviews.
  • Should have more than one author. This is effective in reducing potential author bias in selection of studies and data extraction, and to help detect any errors.
  • Can be replicated (and therefore verified) due to the comprehensive documentation of the search and selection methodologies used.
  • Poor quality studies are eliminated (via pre-defined exclusion criteria) even when there are few other studies available. This can provide clarity in areas previously thought to show opposing conclusions.
  • Where possible, an international perspective is taken and results considered in a broad context.
  • Must be updated every two years or include an explanation as to why this hasn’t happened.

Meta-analyses


Some systematic reviews will include a meta-analysis when assessing the effectiveness of a healthcare outcome. A meta-analysis is a statistical technique that combines the findings of relevant studies and analyses the resulting data set.   For more information see the Cochrane Handbook.

Rise of systematic reviews


There has been a proliferation of systematic reviews being published and the number continues to rise. According to a recent study, over a 10 year period from 2004 to 2014 the number of indexed systematic reviews in Medline database went from 2,500 to 8,000. The authors of the study suggest that the reasons for this may vary, including funder requirements for systematic reviews for research proposals and also the increase and availability of journals accepting systematic reviews. [4]

In order to ensure the quality of a systematic review, it is important to seek professional advice, particularly in the selection of appropriate library resources to search and methods of searching. The new library guide has been developed to address the needs of both students and researchers, and can be used at any step in the process of a systematic review for publication or as part of an assessment task. It provides valuable information to guide you whether you are new to conducting this type of review, but also if you want to improve and further develop your knowledge of systematic review requirements.

References

  1. Strech, D., & Sofaer, N. (2012). How to write a systematic review of reasons. Journal of Medical Ethics, 38(2), 121-126. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/medethics-2011-100096
  2. Cochrane, A. L. (1972). Effectiveness and efficiency : random reflections on health services. London]: London : Nuffield Provincial Hospitals Trust.
  3. Cochrane, A. L. (1979). 1931-1971: A critical review, with particular reference to the medical profession. In G. Teeling- Smith & N. Wells (Eds.).Medicines for the year 2000 (pp. 1-11). London: Office of Health Economics.
  4. Page, M. J., Shamseer, L., Altman, D. G., Tetzlaff, J., Sampson, M., Tricco, A. C., . . . Sarkis-Onofre, R. (2016). Epidemiology and reporting characteristics of systematic reviews of biomedical research: a cross-sectional study. PLoS medicine, 13(5). doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002028




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4 April 2017

Communicating your PhD research


Your PhD research is relevant to a range of audiences, but how will you reach them? Learning Skills Adviser Andrew Junor shares some of the key ways to communicate your research effectively.



As you begin your PhD journey, you first focus closely on the research process and development of your thesis. Before you know it, your research will generate new knowledge that people want to hear about. Below are some of the key ways you can share your ideas with different audiences.

1. Your thesis

Your thesis will express the clearest, most comprehensive statement of your research objectives and findings. Initially you will write your thesis for two small but crucial audiences: your supervisors and thesis examiners. In time, your thesis may be accessed more broadly by scholars in your field.

How can you make sure your thesis is communicating your ideas clearly?
  • Explore the Graduate Research and Writing resources on Research and Learning Online. Perhaps you need techniques for writing about research literature or reporting and discussing data?
  • Have a look at theses published by other researchers. These can provide helpful models for how to structure your ideas and write engagingly in your field of scholarship
  • Seek support for your English language skills, or discuss writing structure and academic communication with a learning skills adviser in your subject area
  • Attend a Graduate Education seminar on thesis writing, editing and proofreading. As a graduate researcher, you can book relevant professional development seminars through your MyDevelopment account


2. Academic publications

Academic publications such as peer-reviewed journal articles allow you to share your ideas with a broader audience of researchers within your field. Such publications indicate your research output and its degree of impact – but how can you reach your readers?


3. Conference presentations

Attending an academic conference is a great way to meet other researchers in your field and expand the reach of your ideas. By presenting a conference paper, you communicate your research to a niche network of scholars exploring research questions closely related to your own.

How can you make sure your conference participation inspires other scholars?
  • Prepare for an effective oral presentation: plan with a clear purpose and audience in mind, prepare a structure to convey your ideas succinctly, and practice the talk so your delivery connects confidently with the audience.
  • Anticipate how you might respond to questions from your audience. The discussion that follows a formal presentation is a crucial opportunity for communication: you might persuade a fellow scholar to change their thinking, or to remember you as an emerging talent in the field.
  • Share ideas with conference participants on social media before, during and after the conference. On Twitter, you can join the conversation by using the designated conference hashtag or interacting with the Twitter accounts of conference organisers and attendees
    .
  • Deposit your conference paper or poster on the monash.figshare digital repository. Your research document will be given a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), making it much easier to share on social media


4. Community and media engagement

Audiences beyond academia will want to hear about your research. As a graduate researcher, try to identify groups of people who will be excited by your findings: are these audiences found in particular industries, fields, professions, localities, or cultural or social groups? Where could your research have greatest public impact or engagement?

Here are some tips for communicating with a wider audience:
  • Organise media coverage of your research. Journalists are always looking for opportunities to connect interesting stories with relevant audiences. If you want help sharing your expertise with an appropriate media outlet, contact the Expertline service operated by the Monash media team
  • Give public talks. A wide range of cultural institutions invite graduate researchers to contribute to their public talks programs: these include local and state libraries, research institutes, museums, galleries and annual festivals. Think about the range of forums and audiences available in a city like Melbourne, and reach out to organisers when you see a good fit with your ideas
  • Discuss your research on social media. Like traditional modes of communication, social media can reframe your ideas in unexpected and rewarding ways. Maybe one of your Twitter followers will share a useful new resource or guide you towards more insightful analysis? As Altmetrics gain prominence, online engagement may become part of how your research impact is measured. The library can assist you to use author identifier tools such as ORCID to ensure you receive appropriate attribution when sharing research online
Research benefits from collaborative, open discussion. The more you share your ideas with others, the more clearly you will be able to communicate them - and the more likely it will be that others will be inspired by your research and offer feedback.

Still have questions about how you can effectively communicate your PhD research to relevant audiences? Talk to your supervisors or peers about their approaches, or have a chat with a learning skills adviser or subject librarian in your faculty team.

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29 March 2017

New architectural database: Explore by building type


Birkhäuser Building Types Online is a whole new way of searching for information on building types and specific projects, writes Romany Manuell, Subject Librarian for Art, Design and Architecture.


If you're an architecture student or researcher, you're probably familiar with many of the Library's database subscriptions. You've probably used Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, and you certainly will have found articles using JSTOR. But have you tried Birkhäuser Building Types Online? This new database by the publisher De Gruyter has articles (just like those other databases) but also includes vector-based drawings, architectural plans, photographs and much more.

The main feature of Birkhäuser Building Types Online is that it allows you to explore by building type or morphological type, rather than just by keywords. If you're looking to browse office buildings, you'll find 67 of them currently listed - with more coming every day! If you choose to view a particular office building in the list, such as VPRO Villa by MVRDV, you’ll see site plans, professional photos of the exterior, and a brief description of the project.

However, if you were to search for the architectural practice MVRDV, you’ll see all the entries for individual projects (including VPRO Villa, Villa KBWW and Mirador Residential Complex). You’ll also find excerpts from books in the De Gruyter collection that mention the architectural practice. This will give you an excellent starting point for your research into building types and specific projects. Explore and enjoy!


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20 March 2017

Using academic resources - what and how

Most units you undertake at Monash will have a research component - usually in assessments, where you will be asked to support your work with academic resources. Knowing how and where to find such resources can be tricky, says Romney Adams, Subject librarian.


The good news is the Library has plenty of expertise in the area of academic resourcesand can work with you to build your research skills. Read on to discover tips that will make your journey into the world of academic research a little easier!

One thing that confuses a lot of students is understanding what an academic resource actually is. Most of us will have had no reason to look further than a textbook prior to studying at university - but you can’t just rely on your textbook for research! Articles in academic journals will often be the type of resource you’ll be looking for.

Some academic sources undergo a process known as peer review - you can find out more about the peer review process in this dino-tastic video, but essentially it means the article has been verified by independent experts in the field. Peer reviewed articles are sometimes known as ‘refereed’ articles.

Books can also be considered as academic sources. Most books you find in the Library will be considered ‘academic’ in the context of your discipline, but if you’re ever unsure, you can always ask a Librarian at the Research & Learning Point.

Okay, so you know what academic resources are...now you just need to find them! While the Library has far less physical items than it used to, we have an abundance of academic materials online - including journal articles and eBooks. We recommend using Search, the Library’s resource discovery tool, as a launching point for your research - this will give you a great overview of the literature that’s available, and you’ll be able to find plenty of materials to get you started. Once you’ve used Search, it’s best to then look at some subject-specific databases. These databases contain even more materials - many of which you won’t be able to find using Search! The Library has a Guide to databases that are particularly useful for your discipline. Of course, there’s nothing quite like getting hands-on and browsing the shelves - if you have the time - you never know what gem you may stumble across!

Getting used to searching for academic resources takes time, patience, and practice. If you feel frustrated, confused, or just want to make sure you’re on the right track, chat to a Librarian at your Library’s Research & Learning Point, or book into a workshop. Together, we’ll ensure you’re finding the right kind of sources for your assessments as quickly and easily as possible.


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17 March 2017

High tech and emerging company and industry information

The Library has recently subscribed to two specialist databases which expand your options when researching rapidly evolving companies and industries, says David Horne, Business and Economics Librarian. 


Need in-depth intelligence on global pharmaceuticals, or other high tech markets?

BCC Research provides detailed market research reports covering the range of high technology sectors, including but not limited to, biotechnology, advanced materials, energy, food and beverage, health care and pharmaceuticals.

Need to have up-to-date news and data on Uber and similar emerging companies?

CB Insights
closely tracks emerging and evolving tech companies, including their performance, financing, industry trends and competitors. Once you have registered and accessed CB Insights, click the toolbar Help and view: “What can I do with CB Insights?” for a useful introduction.

The specialist focus and content of these new subscriptions complements the Library's existing key company and industry information sources including: DatAnalysis Premium, IBIS World, MINT Global, Passport and MarketLine Advantage.

Access them via the Company and Industry library guide: or via the Databases A-Z menu from the Library home page.

Can’t find the data you need? Consult your library’s Research & Learning Point or local Faculty Team librarian





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15 March 2017

Digital exhibition simulates medieval Angkor Wat

A dynamic simulation that shows how the metropolis of Angkor Wat in Cambodia might have operated in the 12th century is to be displayed at the Hargrave-Andrew Library from 16 March.


The project from the Faculty of Information Technology’s (FIT) sensiLab draws upon a wide range of archaeological and historical data and uses an immersive, 3D visualisation to test how historical assumptions about Angkor can be made more precise.

The FIT team coordinated by Tom Chandler includes 3D animators Brent McKee and Chandara Ung, games designers and programmers Mike Yeates, Elliott Wilson and Kingsley Stephens and archaeological advisors Martin Polkinghorne and Roland Fletcher.

Constructed by King Suryavarman II (1113 – 1150), the temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia is a world famous heritage site and the largest religious monument on earth. In 2013, LiDAR archaeological surveys confirmed a grid pattern of roads and household ponds, suggesting a regular layout of dispersed and substantial wooden dwellings.

In the simulation, the paths of thousands of animated ‘agents’ are tracked as they enter, exit and circulate within the temple enclosure over 24 hours. The detailed virtual world depicted in the simulation follows the pace of daily life in a tropical, preindustrial urban centre from dawn through to nightfall.

Hear about the technology behind the exhibition from Tom Chandler, at a “Meet the researcher” event. Light refreshments will be served. No RSVP required.

Date: Thursday 16 March at 1pm

Venue: Hargrave-Andrew Library, 13 College Walk, Clayton Campus

“Simulating 24 Hours at medieval Angkor Wat” will be on show until the end of semester two, 2017.













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Your literature review - getting it done

Do you feel as if your literature review has a life of its own and you don't always know what it's up to? Anne Melles, a Subject Librarian and PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education, shares some of the insights she has gained (and is still gaining) from her experience of writing a literature review.



Writing a literature review is a bit like working with multiple pots on a stove that all need attention at the same time. Now, I know that there are too many analogies about the literature review out there, but I’m sharing this one as I found the concept useful when writing the literature review for my confirmation document, which I’ve just submitted. So, keep reading - you also might find it useful!

The idea of pots on a stovetop refers to the way that a literature review develops over time. This means that:
  • you don’t sit down and start writing the review at the beginning and work until you get to the end 
  • the review is a work in progress on multiple fronts (or a war on multiple fronts if you’re having a bad day!) 
  • the different sections of the review all speak to each other and so sometimes where your thinking ends up in one section means that things have to be rewritten in another section. 
Some sources that I had thought were significant at the beginning of my writing later turned out to be less important. I also found that I wrote about some sources with a completely different emphasis. This can sometimes be stressful and it may feel as if you’re trying to get your head around too many things at one time.

However, getting your literature review organised is a slow process. It helps to acknowledge and embrace the messiness of the whole business. Don’t try taming one section and then moving on to the next. Try to encourage conversations between the different parts of the literature review, and also between them and your research questions.

There are different ways of doing this. Sometimes when I found myself in a dead end in one section, I left it and looked at another section. I also found that drawing mind maps helped me get outside the writing and see a bigger picture. Looking back on previous mind maps also gave me an idea of the ways in which my thinking had changed. It also showed me how sometimes I’d just gone on a long wander in the literature wilderness only to end back at an idea I’d had months ago. This isn’t as bad as it sounds as I often found that I was then able to develop this more extensively and with more conviction.

So when it feels as if your pots are going to boil over or burn their contents, take a break: turn the elements on the stovetop off and try a different approach!


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13 March 2017

Stay ahead with Research and Learning Online

Want to get the best marks for your assignments? Worried you might not know how to write an academic essay or a lab report? Never fear! Check the tips in this article.



At Monash, you are independently managing your own learning. Arm yourself early on with the necessary skills to achieve your learning goals by using our online modules. Designed to help you keep on top of your studies, the modules have strategies, advice and examples of writing in subject areas.

Our learning skills advisers and librarians have been hard at work creating tutorials, guides and activities for the Research and Learning Online (RLO) website, providing you with the tools you need to stay ahead of the game.

These RLO e-learning materials cover effective study strategies including note taking in lectures, reading critically, and how best to tackle your labs to get the most out of them. There’s advice on brainstorming for assignments, thinking critically, communicating clearly and which citing and referencing method you’ll need. They also have heaps of tips on how to write academically, manage your time, and approach your exams with confidence.

See? We’ve got you covered.

Stuck on that BusEco essay? No worries! There’s a sample assignment for that for you to refer to, with lecturer’s comments and activities to enhance your understanding. There are guides for whichever field you’re in, with detailed instructions and advice.

For research and postgraduate students, there’s plenty of information about how to manage your research process, the trick to writing a great proposal, navigating copyright and demystifying the peer review process.

And the best part? It’s totally free, and accessible by you around the clock! Just visit monash.edu/rlo and find the help you need. Don’t forget that if you have any questions about your assignment or need some clarification, our learning skills advisers and librarians are available at our drop-in sessions.



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1 March 2017

Solve agricultural and environmental problems with scientific knowledge


Science librarians, David Smith-Chitty and Madeleine Bruwer, introduce this new resource in the fields of agriculture and applied life sciences.




CAB Abstracts is the leading database for applied life scientists performing research in animal health and production, biofuels, biosafety and bioterrorism, climate change and environmental sciences, ecotourism, invasive species and horticultural sciences and more. With a focus on solving problems on a globalised but local scale, CAB Abstracts is a tool to find practical solutions for issues in the applied life sciences.

CAB Abstracts is produced by CABI (Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International), an international non-profit organisation, with development and research projects around the world. The database has an international focus with publications from over 120 countries, including developing countries, and in 50 languages.

CAB Abstracts contains more than 8.3 million records from 1973 onwards and keeps increasing with over 360,000 new abstracts added each year. In addition, Monash University has access to 1.8 million records dating back to 1910 via CAB Abstracts Archive.

Build a sophisticated search using the CAB Thesaurus, which allows users to utilise specific terminology for all covered subjects (including plant, animal and microorganism names), across different languages (Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish equivalents are available for most English terms). Filter search results by organism descriptors based on terms used, timeframe, location, full text availability and publication type.

Register for a MyCABI account to save your search history and receive email alerts for your favourite searches. Organise your searching with the My Projects feature which will sort your searches and results into separate folders based around specific research topics and focuses.

To access the CAB Abstracts database select the CAB Direct online platform from our A-Z database listing.

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28 February 2017

Planning your PhD journey

What does it take to go through the journey to a PhD successfully?  Learning Skills Adviser Anita Dewi offers answers to key questions asked by new candidates.


Are you commencing a PhD journey at Monash? A PhD is a great avenue to build your career in academia and other areas as well - the penultimate qualification! Through a PhD you have opportunities to share ideas and knowledge in your relevant field. But what does it take to go through the journey successfully?

One of the keywords in your PhD journey is planning. Your plan needs to cover  all aspects relevant to your PhD journey. Below are some key questions that you should ask yourself and find the answers when planning your PhD:

1. How do I manage my supervision?

Your PhD is YOUR journey! This means that you need to take the responsibility for these aspects in managing your supervision:
  • Maintain good communication with your supervisors.
  • Negotiate how frequently you will need to meet with your supervisor (this will vary over time).
  • Take responsibility for scheduling supervisor meetings.
  • Take notes from these meetings and send your supervisor(s) emails that confirm mutual understanding of what is or is not expected after each discussion.
  • Think of a few alternative solutions to issues arising, and then discuss them with your supervisor.
  • DON’T rely on your supervisor(s) to solve your problems for you.
Keep reminding yourself that you’re in charge of your own journey.

2. How do I manage my 3-4 year candidature?

Managing time is not always easy. A PhD journey is a “marathon” rather than a “sprint”. A key tip is to prioritise your tasks. One of the best ways to prioritise your tasks is by implementing, and possibly modifying, the Eisenhower method to suit your needs. To give you an idea of how this method can be implemented in real life situation, have a look at this link.

3. Where can I find relevant resources and advice?

The Library has a great range of resources that you can use to facilitate your PhD journey. Below are some examples that the Library provides:
Also keep in mind that the Library provides you with one-on-one consultations with a learning skills adviser or a subject librarian dedicated to your discipline. Highly motivating writing groups are also available at different campuses. The list of these contact people are here.

4. What will I do after completing my PhD?

Don’t forget to consider what kind of career you will seek upon completing your PhD. Understanding what responsibilities and skills needed to function in this dream role or job will help you in incorporating relevant skills development into your PhD journey plan.

5. What skills do I need to develop for my PhD to be a successful journey?

Here is a researcher skills questionnaire that you will find useful. Feel free to download, fill out, and hang on to it for the duration of your PhD journey. Get back to it and reflect on it from time to time, as a reminder of the skills you need to maintain and perhaps develop to enable you to succeed in your PhD.

6. What do I need to do and when should I do them?

It is best to have a map of your PhD timeline, along with the relevant milestones, e.g. confirmation seminar, progress review, pre-submission seminar, and the thesis submission at the end of the journey.

Finally, don’t hesitate to contact learning skills advisers and subject librarians at the Library for advice. All the best with your PhD journey!


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23 January 2017

Statista – a new source of data

Subject Librarian David Horne tells us in this article about an online statistics portal that can provide very useful information for many areas of research.  



Statista is a portal for data relevant to business, economics, media and social topics, with international coverage. Its content, ease of use and range of output options make it a key Library resource to consult when seeking data for written assignments, presentations and lectures.

The data encompasses statistics, forecasts, industry reports, dossiers (topic overviews), studies, and infographics. Statista’s intuitive search interface provides easy sorting and filtering of results, and links to the information providers for a given search result.  An example of the kind of clear information Statista provides is given in the graph below showing the change in the number worldwide Internet users between 2006 and 2016.

Data can be customised using Statista’s style options, and exported in PNG, XLS, PDF or PPT formats. This allows easy inclusion of images and data from Statista in presentations and documents.

Access Statista from its record in Search, or from the Databases A-Z menu. http://guides.lib.monash.edu/subject-databases


Can’t find the data you need? Consult your library’s Research & Learning Point or local Faculty Team librarian. http://www.monash.edu/library/skills/contacts


An example of a Statista graph, available to Monash staff and students.






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3 January 2017

SAGE Research Methods Online

Undertaking research for a project is an exciting prospect - but it can also be intimidating, especially when starting out, says librarian Romney Adams. SAGE Research Methods Online (SRMO) is a powerful tool researchers can use throughout their journey - from familiarising yourself with methodological concepts via the Methods Map, to materials designed to inform your practice.


For new researchers, a fascinating place to begin is with the Methods Map - an interactive component of SRMO which allows you to ‘drill down’ to a set of methodologies that may best suit your needs. For example, perhaps you are undertaking a qualitative study, but are unsure of the data collection options available to you. Using the Methods Map, you can obtain an overview of a number of qualitative data collection methods - including ethnography, narrative research, and interviewing - and determine which may be best-suited to your needs. Or, perhaps you’d like to learn more about research design? Again, using the Methods Map, you can explore different research design theories and principles - including phenomenology, longitudinal research, and systematic reviews. You can choose to get a basic overview, or drill down to more specific information concerning these types of research design.

When beginning your research, you can move on and access some of the materials housed in SRMO. These include case study examples from researchers in the field, video tutorials showing chosen research methods in action, and full-text items. SRMO houses over 1,000 academic books, reference works, and journal articles, all with full-text online access - with a particular strength in the social sciences. To access these materials, enter your search terms into the simple box on the SRMO homepage - you’ll be able to tweak your search by specifying date ranges, material types, and other limiters once your results have been returned.

By running a simple search on ‘ethnography’, for example, you can then refine the returned materials by using the limiters. This will make the results more relevant to your needs - from ~4,000 items relating to ‘ethnography’, to ~150 eBooks relating specifically to ethnographic research in the field of education, published in the last 10 years. As you can see, a quick and easy way to be connected to high-quality materials!

If you think your search is complex, just use the Advanced option to use multiple terms and construct a more robust approach to exploring SRMO’s collections.

SAGE Research Methods Online can be found through Library Search, and Databases A-Z.

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2 December 2016

ASTM online standards collection

Hilary Luxford, subject librarian, explains how to use the ASTM online standards available through the Library's databases.


Standards in  materials are important in construction 
A range of American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) publications is available to staff and students. After logging in through the Library’s ASTM Digital Library, users need to create their own profile to use these particular collections, ASTM standards through 'IHS Standards Expert' and a wide range of other ASTM publications through the 'Digital Library' interface.

About American Society for Testing and Materials

ASTM, began in 1898 and has become one of the largest standard bodies with offices worldwide, now known as ASTM International, written by experts for experts. ASTM standards and allied publications main users are from the engineering fields which include: aerospace, biomedical, chemical, civil, environmental, geological, health and safety, industrial, materials science, mechanical, nuclear, petroleum, soil science and solar engineering but also used by other STEM disciplines.

Why do we need standards?

“Standards are documents setting out specifications, procedures and guidelines”.  Forty percent of ASTM standards are updated annually, and now Monash staff and students can access the latest standards 24/7, anywhere from lab or home. Formerly, researchers had to visit the Library to consult individual volumes, which because of their value, could not be removed from the Library, copyright law would not allow users to scan or photocopy the entire standard.

Users are now able to access the active standards online, and download a copy for their research and study purposes.

Two different platforms

ASTM standards (1931 to present) can be searched also from the 'Digital Library' interface which has useful features for searching exclusive to this interface. If searching for standards for a particular area, where the title/number is unknown, the 'Digital Library' search interface may be more effective, but also a reconnection to 'IHS Standards Expert' will be required to access the full-text of the 'active' standards. One of the peculiarities of this platform is that to access ‘IHS Standards Expert’ will require you to log out, log in again and go to the ‘IHS Standards Expert’ heading in order to access the full text of the standards.

About the ASTM Digital Library

ASTM Digital Library is accessed by choosing ASTM Digital Library, then Digital Library after logging in and registering. ASTM Digital Library provides full text to a range of publications including:
  • eBooks and manuals
  • symposia papers, and peer reviewed papers known as 'Special Technical Papers' which address the latest research from which the standards are developed
  • journals
  • data series
  • bulletins containing technical papers
  • retrospective proceedings (1909-1965).
Hover the mouse over these publications to see a description of the publication.

In addition, the ASTM Digital Library interface searches but does not provide full-text to the ASTM standards, but the search features unique to this interface such as the ‘Refine the results’ options may be advantageous if the user wants to explore standards by combining one or more of the following :
  • category such as materials, properties, test methods and the like
  • technical committee – these specialise in areas such as ‘Corrosion of Metals’ that produced the information in the publications eg. Corrosion of Metals, Concrete and Concrete Aggregates
  • topic eg. consumer product safety and evaluation
  • industry sector, such as ‘building and construction’, ‘mining and mineral processing’
  • date range.
These same filters/options for refinement can be combined to search for the other publication types available on this interface as outlined previously.

In addition to the ‘Refine your results’ options outlined, these filters can be combined or searched separately with the search box located above labelled 'ASTM Compass'. This enables search functions such as search for keywords within a type of publication or you may choose the ‘Advanced Search’ to search within Titles, abstracts or the full text

The ‘Advanced Search’ is useful for searching for known elements of a particular publication eg. DOI, author details, which can be combine with keywords

Searching ASTM standards accessed from the ASTM IHS interface


Here you can locate and access the ASTM standards in full-text for ‘active’ standards. Retrospective standards can be searched on this interface, but only the record will be provided. A search option for a known standard, "ASTM C1582/C1582M-11 Standard Specification for Admixtures to Inhibit Chloride-Induced Corrosion of Reinforcing Steel in Concrete” could be simply searched by the prefix ‘ASTM C1582’ in the document number box. After locating the record, you can view the ‘Document Details’ tab where you can view ‘Document abstract’, Document history which shows the earlier and
current versions. The full-text of active standards can be accessed by scrolling down to the ‘Document History’ and clicking on the blue page icon , or alternatively choosing the ‘View Document’ tab at the top of the screen. To locate standards that reference or relate to your standard, eg., "ASTM C1582/C1582M-11”, choose the ‘Related Documents’ tab.

Also from the ‘IHS interface’ you can also search within titles, abstracts, and within the full-text, referred to as ‘All document text’. Another key feature of this interface is the ability to alert users to the when a particular standard has been updated, referred to as ‘Watch list’.

Getting help

Please contact your subject librarian if you would like any further details:
  • Ms Nhan Le, subject librarian for Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering. Email: Nhan.Le@monash.edu
  • Ms Hilary Luxford, subject librarian for Civil Engineering, Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering, Materials Engineering. Email: Hilary.Luxford@monash.edu
To find out more about standards resources at Library refer to the Standards guide.

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1 December 2016

Writing in books: Marginalia in the Rare Books Collection

When you are reading for study or pleasure, do you underline words, highlight parts of the text or draw asterisks next to important lines? Do you write notes to yourself in the margin to clarify what you’ve just read or to remind yourself of an idea that the passage has brought up? If you are using an ebook or reading an article online, do you use the annotate tool to highlight passages or to create notes? Perhaps you annotate as a way of replying to the author or to question, approve, or refute his or her viewpoint.  If you do any of these things, you may not have realised it, but you have been engaging in the scholarly process of creating marginalia.  By Lauren Buchanan



Recently, a conference on marginalia - Marginal Notes: Social Reading and the Literal Margins - was held at the State Library of Victoria in conjunction with Monash University and University of Otago’s Centres for the Book. It included a masterclass where participants could bring and discuss examples encountered in their work or study, learn about different kinds of annotation, and consider the underlying meaning and significance of the practice. Attending the conference led me to consider the examples of marginal notes I have seen in the Rare Books Collection at Monash and pick out just a few favourites to share. These items are available for you to view in the Special Collections Reading Room at Sir Louis Matheson Library, Clayton. (Note: The library is currently closed, reopening on 30 January 2017.)

Marginalia is generally produced as part of the reading and studying process (Jackson, 2001) and can also serve a communicative function (Fajkovic & Björneborn, 2014). Annotations to the text can act as an imaginary conversation between the reader and the author, as well as initiating an ongoing conversation between subsequent readers of the marginalia. Once they have been written, “marginalia become physical artefacts, whose function is a constant and inseparable part of both the text and the physical book” (Fajkovic & Björneborn, 2014, p. 914).

In the realm of marginalia, there are many different kinds of markings. From an innocuous pencil underline of a keyword to the vertical line next to a paragraph indicating its importance; from an exclamatory “No!” scrawled by an outraged reader to an earnestly written argument debunking the author’s viewpoint in the margin of the page. Stars, asterisks, curly brackets, scribbles, doodles, sketches, even the elegant outline of a hand with a finger or fingers pointing to specific parts of the text, known as a manicule, are all marks of marginalia.

Decoding handwritten annotations

The first image is an example from one of our manuscripts, probably written in France during the eighteenth century. A professional scribe was employed to transcribe Jean de la Fontaine’s Transformation metallique, trois anciens tractez en rithme francoise (Paris: Guillaume Gillard, 1561) and an extract of Le roman de la rose by Jean de Meung (c.1240). The manuscript’s owner has interacted with the text by underlining important passages, inserting a curly bracket to emphasise another passage, writing extensive notes in the margins, and also excising large passages by crossing them out. The reader has also drawn a manicule in the left-hand margin, a name that comes from the Latin maniculum, meaning "little hand”. Manicules originated in the scribal tradition of the medieval and Renaissance period and functioned as punctuation marks to signal corrections or notes. They were later used as a printer’s typographical symbol to mark notes and also act as a means of signifying noteworthy passages and in advertising displays (Houston, 177).

The next item that caught my eye is an edition of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Du contrat social, ou, Principes du droit politique (Strasbourg: De l'Impr. de la Société typographique, 1791). Our edition has an ownership inscription on the front cover that reads, “A. Lewis Parkes” and contains a number of handwritten annotations. Unlike the previous example, in which marginalia accompanies the text throughout, the Rousseau edition has only been annotated on the front and preliminary papers and the endpapers. This particular example also highlights one of the problems inherent in decoding handwritten annotations. Sometimes, the handwriting is extremely difficult to read and its meaning and significance remains opaque. Interpreting marginalia can often prove a tantalising but frustrating and difficult task!

 The last two examples of marginalia are both connected to the author Jonathon Swift. This image is from a pamphlet with a rather interesting lineage. Swift’s pamphlet, The Presbyterians Plea of Merit (1733), attacked the Whig government for their intention to remove the Test Act for dissenters. We hold the anonymously printed reply to Swift’s pamphlet, entitled, A Vindication of the Protestant dissenters (Dublin, Powell: 1733), which contains handwritten notes penned by Jonathon Swift himself as he read the attack upon his work. Unfortunately, some notes were cropped in the binding process but we can immediately see some of his reactions in the margins, including his rebuttals of certain points. These comments were later reworked as part of Swift’s ironic reply, Reasons for repealing the Sacramental Test & c. in favour of the Catholics (1732).

The final example shows an anonymous commentator’s interaction with another of Swift’s pamphlets, The management of the four last years vindicated….(London: J Morphew, 1714). It was written by Swift as a reply to Charles Povey's An inquiry into the miscarriages of the four last years reign (London: Robinson, c.1714). As you can see, the commentator has drawn a manicule, signalling the importance of the passage. There are also underlinings, vertical lines to emphasise a paragraph, comments written next to the printed text, as well as copious notes at the foot of each page. Like previous examples, the handwriting here is difficult to decipher, rendering the task of interpretation problematic. However, for a student or researcher interested in either Swift or the historical period, grappling with difficult marginalia may provide a rich reward.

Studying marginalia can provide a deeper insight into an author and his or her readers as well give a greater appreciation of the wider context in which they wrote. Marginal notes and annotations help make an item unique and offer a glimpse into the lived experience of the book itself. They raise questions of provenance, use, and appreciation. In the digital landscape, we may question whether the process of creating marginalia will continue and what this means for the study of marginalia. We would love to see you in the Special Collections Reading Room deciphering these works or puzzling over other books with accompanying marginalia.



References

Fajkovic, M., & Björneborn, L. (2014). Marginalia as message: Affordances for reader-to-reader communication. Journal of Documentation, 70(5), 902–926. doi:10.1108/jd-07-2013-0096 

Houston, K. (2013). Shady characters: the secret life of punctuation, symbols, & other typographical marks. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.


Jackson, Heather J. (2001).  Marginalia: readers writing in books. New Haven: Yale University Press.






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3 November 2016

The Lyell Collection – a wealth of valuable Earth Science resources

Jennifer Kain, Subject Librarian, lets  us know about a specialist geology resource, that includes information from the early nineteenth century.

Named after Charles Lyell, the eminent nineteenth-century geologist, the Lyell Collection is a highly regarded and comprehensive online collection from the Geological Society (London).  It includes journal titles, Special Publications & Memoirs, along with key Book series and material published on behalf of other related societies.

Cutting edge science sits alongside important historical material, all captured and presented via the HighWire Press platform, and available to us as HTML or high quality PDF.

Content, from 1811 onwards, covers a wide range of topics in the Earth Sciences, including; Geology, Hydrogeology, Geochemistry, Palaeontology, Geo-engineering, Petroleum, Mining, Environment, Climate, Volcanology, Planetary sciences and many other related areas of interest to Monash reserchers.  You might be surprised to find what gems could be discovered!  Try a search on your own topic.

For each item found you may also discover fully linked references embedded, enabling users to navigate from the original journal article to other cited references.  These may also be available in full-text if these cited references are part of our wider HighWire Press collections, or be available as part of another Monash subscription.

Lyell Collection is an excellent resource for the Earth Sciences in particular, but includes some valuable material for the wider Science/Engineering areas as well.  Enjoy exploring the Lyell Collection from the Monash University Library.

Contact the Subject Librarian with any enquiries.  jennifer.kain@monash.edu

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5 October 2016

A welcome resource: New LGBTQ database


The Archives of sexuality and gender : LGBTQ history and culture since 1940 gives access to a range of resources surrounding the social, political and health issues relating to the LGBTQ movement since the 1940, by Rod Rizzi


The Library has acquired a subscription to a new database that contains a wealth of information and resources across the social science, humanities and health subject areas.

The Archives of sexuality and gender: Part 1, LGBTQ history and culture since 1940 database provides access to articles on a broad range of political, social and health issues that have previously not been available as part of the mainstream media. It allows us to look back at stories as they broke from a perspective that has not always been available via our traditional and indeed existing databases.

Using the unique ‘Term Clusters’ visual wheel to look at related subject areas can uncover relevant information that a simple search may have overlooked.

The database content is drawn from more than 35 countries sourcing relevant material in the form of reports, policy statements, articles and the like. The coverage of the AIDS crisis is a particular feature, but equally the inclusion of material in relation to feminism and women’s rights are notable features.

Archives of Human Sexuality and Identity can be found by going to Library Search and the Databases A-Z page.


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29 September 2016

Making the ordinary extraordinary


By Daniel Wee

Old and special books are an important element of any rare books collection, and people are often surprised by some of the items we acquire for Monash University Library. Our recent acquisition of over 400 school readers from the Whitcombe and Tombs series certainly fits into this category. Individually the readers are well used, somewhat unimpressive in appearance, and incongruous amongst the typical rare decorative cloth, fine gilt bindings and delicate engravings. However, when these singularities are merged to form a collection, the seemingly subdued suddenly takes on a new lustre.




Taking advantage of the Antipodeans’ late 19th-century interest in children's literature, New Zealand bookseller, George Hawkes Whitcombe, and printer, George Tombs, created “low-priced, paper-wrapped children’s supplementary readers” en masse (McLaren, 1984). The series became known in Australasia as ‘Whitcombe’s Story Books’. The printing of 12 million copies of original Australasian and classic literature from 1908 to 1962 is a testament to the proliferation of leisure reading amongst the masses over this time and the unyielding demand for cheap books.

These little readers demonstrated a delineation from prescribed canonised texts and inflexible school syllabuses to the 'democratisation' of education and availability of books to the masses. By creating cheap and accessible alternatives and supplements to school curriculums, Whitcombe and Tombs contributed to the cultural phenomenon of child readership. Jeff Prentice, muses in 'A History of the Book in Australia' that the 1930s and 1940s saw a movement that “reflected the needs of real child readers, and an increased willingness to address a child reader directly” (Prentice, 2001).

Unlike the rigidity of the 'School Papers' (a compulsory Education Department (Victoria) publication built into the curriculum), ‘Whitcombe’s Story Books’ amalgamated supplementary leisure reading with prescriptive texts. Whitcombe and Tombs’ encroachment into the school curriculum was met with a failed Victorian Royal Commission in 1935-36 after it was suggested that the bookseller was 'hijacking' the syllabus (Prentice, 2001).

The new acquisition of ‘Whitcombe’s Story Books’ are housed in the Lindsay Shaw Collection in the Rare Books Collection of the Library. This collection of over 12,000 items from the 19th and 20th century form one of Australia’s premier children’s literature collections.

Lindsay Shaw was the Secretary of the Monash Faculty of Education when he began to donate books to the Library in 1979. Lindsay was a major collector of Australian children's books and began his gift to Monash by donating sets of Ethel Turner and Mary Grant Bruce. As part of the development of this impressive collection, the Rare Books team posthumously supplement his collection by purchasing rare and important English, American and Australian children’s books.

The collection is available for viewing and research purposes Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 5.00pm.  Items can be found through Search and our knowledgeable librarians can work with you to discover some of the treasures that are housed in your Rare Books collection.



References

McLaren, I., and Whitcombe Tombs Limited 1984, Whitcombe's Story Books : A Trans-Tasman Survey. U of Melbourne Library, Parkville.

Prentice, J 2001, ‘Case-study: Textbook publishing’, in J Arnold, A history of the Book in Australia 1891-1945 : A National Culture in a Colonised Market. U of Queensland, St Lucia, Qld , pp. 294-297.


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14 September 2016

Jay Winter's Photographing War: the Kodak revolution

Yale historian Jay Winter presented a provocative lecture on the Kodak revolution of World War I, and the vast trail of unofficial photography it left behind. In this article Monash University graduate student Sam Prendergast discusses the concept of dignity in death, and the questions raised by what the soldiers chose to photograph. [Scroll to the bottom for a full recording of Jay Winter's lecture.]

Jay Winter at the lecture held at Matheson Library
Few 20th century events have been so heavily memorialised as WWI. In Australia, the process of commemoration starts early. Every April, Australian primary school children draw crayon depictions of Gallipoli. They group uniformed men in wide-brimmed hats and spend their red ink on poppies. The official iconography of war makes its way through generations; as we move further from the event we become increasingly reliant on what we have learned to remember.


This is the context in which Jay Winter spoke about the ‘Kodak revolution’. While official war photographers captured a censored record of WWI, soldiers left a vast trail of unofficial photographs. They did so with the help of pocket-sized Kodak cameras. In moments of boredom, action, significance, or reflection, individuals recorded their experiences of war. Few of the images have made their way to the textbooks, but that might change; as archives of the Great War grow, the photographs move out of family photo albums and into the public domain.


For historians, the significance of the ‘Kodak revolution’ is realised in the archives. As Jay Winter stressed throughout his talk, the collected Kodak photos hold some democratic potential: soldiers’ photographs can counter prevailing assumptions about the nature of WWI. In one of Winter’s selected videos, we see men piling corpses on a truck in a fashion that evokes the Holocaust. The image of men stacking bodies is haunting in a way that statistics are not. In images, we lose the accuracy of numbers but we gain a sense of what it means to deal with death on a mass scale. Unofficial photos do a good job of portraying the gruesome practicalities of war.

World War I items from the Rare Books Collection at Monash
The soldiers’ photos tell us less about what they wanted to remember than about what they wanted to record. As Jay Winter guided us through a collection of images, I found myself wondering why these amateur photographers thought to pull out their cameras at particular points. This was especially so when Winter called our attention to a set of photos that belonged to a doctor. At war, the man had captured images of people in their dying moments. Some of the photos seemed curated: a head tilted, unnaturally; a body placed in position. In one image, an injured soldier laid in the dirt, his face in pain. The photographer had titled the image, ‘A dying Serb’. When Winter showed us the photo he asked: is there no dignity, even in death?


It was a provocative question, designed to make us question the photographer’s motivations. The assumption, on Winter’s part, was that the photographer, a soldier, acted unethically when he captured an image of another man dying. I was not so sure. The value of the Kodak photos is that they show us how soldiers’ experienced the war. Without one man’s photo, there would be no record of the other man’s death. I wondered what the dying man might have thought about having his image captured at that moment. Perhaps he, like Winter, wondered why the photographer would strip him of all dignity in his final moments. Perhaps he felt relief that someone was bothering to capture an honest portrayal of his death at war. Or maybe he was just consumed with whatever consumes a person when they’re lying, near-death, in the dirt.


Either way, the photo tells us about something about the reality of the man’s death, and there must be some dignity in having that experience recorded and remembered – if not for the photographed man, then perhaps for the many others who died similar deaths, or for those who returned home, having witnessed friends and strangers die. Because of the Kodak archive, the man is, at least, remembered as something other than a number. In capturing images, the amateur photographers left us with a democratic scaffolding around which to construct meaning. That one man could photograph another, as he died, reveals something about the battle front; it is at once tethered to the home front and, yet, removed from the home front’s norms.


War strips people of their dignity long before they die; the question is whether or not the archive can restore it. The ‘Kodak revolution’ created a wealth of source material, but the value of an archive is realised through its use, not through its mere existence. As more ‘democratic’ records of war make their way into historians’ hands, we face new questions about how to use the materials – how to read them, select them, and present them. Perhaps there is rarely dignity in archives: the respectable, legitimised trash cans of the past. But there might be some dignity in using them to restore a lopsided version of history. As a graduate student, Winter’s lecture raised unexpected questions about the ethics of trawling through documents and guessing at the motivations of people who are long-dead.




A video recording of the lecture is available, with permission from Jay Winter.

Sam Pendergast is a Masters candidate in the History Department, Faculty of Arts. Her research focuses on the question of how historians can overcome the limitations of long-archived oral histories in order to bring forth "unheard" narratives. Currently, she's working with a collection of post-WWII Soviet displacement narratives; in 1950s Munich, US scholars created translated transcripts of their non-recorded interviews with Soviet DPs.


Follow Sam on Twitter:  @samprendergast_. 


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1 September 2016

Migration to new worlds

Migration to New Worlds is a digital primary source collection that explores the journeys of 19th and early 20th century immigrants from around the world to the United States, Canada and Australasia. ... by Melanie Thorn



'Canada Docks', 1860, watercolour. 
Most of the material is from the period 1800 to 1924, the ‘Century of immigration’, and comes from institutions in the U.S., U.K. and Canada, with a small number of items from Museum Victoria and the Maritime Museum of Tasmania included. The material incorporates Colonial Office files, manuscripts, watercolours, rare printed books, ship logs and plans, legal papers, maps and scrapbooks, and objects related to migration. There is also a significant collection of first hand accounts in the form of letters, diaries and oral histories. The database includes an interactive Migration Map which allows you to analyse and visualise migration trends using data from around the world, and also provides some secondary research aids such as the biographies of major immigrant agents and Tasmanian migrant stories. Content can be discovered by browsing thematic areas such as ‘Motives for Emigration’, ‘Departures: Port Conditions and Organisation’ and ‘Journey Conditions’, or browsing or searching the Documents, Galleries, and Oral History sections. Migration to New Worlds is available through Library Search and the Databases A-Z. For other primary source databases, the Primary Sources for Humanities Library Guide is a great place to start!



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