Library

21 September 2017

#PhDshelfie: What books and libraries mean to me

Inspired by the #PhDshelfie movement, we asked a few Monash PhD students to share their 'shelfies' and reflect on the books that have become most meaningful to them during their candidature. The first piece in our #PhDshelfie series is written by Basil Cahusac de Caux, a doctoral candidate researching language reform in post-war Japan. 


The books I borrow from the library are like family. I pick them up and take them home with me, create a space for them next to my desk at university, and regularly take them out for lunch. I would find it difficult to live without them… though their very existence sometimes causes me to doubt myself as a capable individual. My family’s real home – for the time being at least – is in the library, of which my favourite part is the collection of Japanese language books and journals housed in the recently renovated Matheson Library (Clayton Campus), which serves as a sanctuary of intellectual wealth and comedy. There I pick up books on Japanese language policy, written by the very individuals whose testimonies and actions I study as part of my doctoral thesis on language reform in Japan.

There’s the book on the Romanization of Japanese by Kayashima Atsushi, which forces me to dig deeper in my analysis to produce more meaningful research findings. There’s the book on language policy in China, which helps me reflect on the potential impact of language policy and education. And of course, there are the National Language Council Reports, which form the bedrock of my thesis’ conceptual landscape. I find in these accounts of language and society, glimpses of the ideal language speaker, language as an efficient conveyor of ideas and vehicle of culture, mixed in with disgruntled criticisms of the past and its feudal characteristics – usually dominated by malicious power relations and hierarchies.


When I’m lost I often turn to Galan’s chapter on the changes and continuities that occur in the Japanese education system after 1945 in Japan’s Postwar (Routledge, 2011), perhaps due to my inability to fathom the totality of the postwar experience (in Japan or any other country). This chapter offers a window into the political makings of society in the aftermath of defeat. It teaches me the importance of upholding compromise and tolerance as principles, both in theory and practice; a unilateral approach to a problem unfortunately often results in the weakening of the standing of others. The chapter serves as a constant reminder of the need for balance and compromise – two attributes that are often missing in my writing.

When I read, I read through the eyes of my mind. I take the time to enjoy the spaces I occupy so that I can best internalise the books I discover. The ideal space in which to do this is the library, which embraces people from all walks of life. It is where our ideas and emotions are challenged, where introspection and interaction are encouraged. It takes us in and (if we’re lucky) learns from our mistakes. If knowledge had legs with which to walk, then the library would be an open park, green, silent, and welcoming, waiting for new faces and fashions to grace its grounds. Some people leave, while others remain, to age with grace. (If libraries were parks and knowledge the human race, what would that make us?)

Basil Cahusac de Caux is a doctoral candidate at the School of Philosophical, Historical & International Studies (SoPHIS), Monash University. He has conducted comparative research on the intellectual history of early and mid-20th-century linguists in the United Kingdom and Japan and is now focussed on the cultures and politics of language reform in postwar Japanese society. In his spare time, Basil runs the Kontemporary Japan Reading Group, a cross-institutional initiative promoting the discussion of Japan-related social issues and academic works.


Read More

19 September 2017

Broaden your research with grey literature


The internet has had a significant impact on the way that information is disseminated and used, allowing researchers to search more broadly than the formal, published academic sources to further their research. Tracey Whyte, a subject librarian, writes about how you can access 'grey literature' and incorporate it into your research

What kind of literature is considered grey?


Grey (or gray) literature “deals with the production, distribution, and access to multiple document types produced on all levels of government, academic, and business organisations in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing i.e. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body” [1].  This form of literature covers a whole range of formats including government reports, theses, bibliographies, case studies, conference papers, databases, legislation, interviews, patents, podcasts, posters, research proposals, standards, statistics, and clinical trials [2].    


Searching the grey way: How to find grey literature


Use a sound, thorough search strategy and refer to the Library’s developing a search strategy online tutorial for more advice about this. We recommend that you search Library databases for grey literature before searching government websites and search engines to retrieve grey resources.


Traditional Library databases and Search, the Library’s discovery tool, will retrieve grey resources including statistics, legislation, conference proceedings, theses, reviews,  as well as government documents from a range of disciplines both within Australia and internationally. 

Some databases like the National Library’s catalogue, Trove, will also retrieve sources from other Libraries outside of Monash that Monash staff and post-graduates can request. A comprehensive list of Library databases to search for grey resources follows this article.


How to evaluate grey literature?


There are many frameworks that can assist with evaluating information. Jess Tyndall, an academic at Flinders University and grey literature expert has created one such framework called the AACODS checklist, to appraise grey literature [3]. AACODS stands for:


Appraise
Authority
Accuracy
Coverage
Objectivity
Date
Significance.  

Library staff have created the resource Academic searching on the Internet to guide searching and evaluating internet sources. This resource provides information about why you might use the internet for research, effective ways to search, evaluation tips and ways to manage internet sources.

Library staff have also created Google tips links in Library guides to provide advice about searching search engines.


Sources of grey literature

The following Library databases, listed in no particular order, search grey literature beyond the capabilities of a Google search. 

ABS
APO (Analysis and Policy Observatory)
Trove: National Library of Australia’s catalogue
Cinahl
PsycINFO
Social services abstracts
Sportdiscus
SPIE digital library
Global health
Business source complete
Pandora
Open grey
Web of Science
Scopus
Sociological Abstracts
Ageline
Australian Indigenous Healthinfonet
Proquest dissertations and theses
Cochrane Central register of controlled trials
Dart-Europe
Informit


References

[1] GL ’99 conference Program. Fourth International Conference on Grey Literature: New Frontiers in Grey Literature. Grey Net, Grey Literature Network Service. Washington D.C. SA, 4-5 October 1999.

[2] GreyNet International. (n.d). GreyNet International 1992-2017. Retrieved from                

[3]  Tyndall, J. (2010) Aacods checklist. Retrieved from http://dspace.flinders.edu.au/jspui/bitstream/2328/3326/4/AACODS_Checklist.pdf


Read More

13 September 2017

Knovel for engineering research

When researching projects, engineering students and researchers can be confronted with a deluge of information which may often be irrelevant. Subject Librarian Nhan Le writes about how students can use Knovel, an engineering database, to narrow their searches and enhance their research.



Knovel is an engineering database that provides a platform for e-books and gives searchable online access to books, dictionaries, encyclopaedias, and technical reference books. The database provides access to material from leading publishers and professional societies like AIAA, AIChE, ASME, IEEENACE, Elsevier, McGraw-Hill, Earthscan, and Wiley. It is used by industry professionals as well as academics and can provide research material for the following fields:
  • Aerospace and radar technology
  • Earth sciences
  • Chemistry and chemical engineering
  • Electrical and power engineering
  • Nanotechnology
  • Mechanics and mechanical engineering
  • Environment and environmental engineering
  • Sustainable energy and development
  • Transportation engineering
  • Biochemistry, biology and biotechnology
The technical information available within Knovel covers materials properties, best practices, safety, corrosion and process improvement.


How to use Knovel

Users can perform keyword searching to locate search items in full-text documents and interactive tables. 

Search results can be refined by document types, for example, text sections, conference proceedings, interactive tables, and regulatory information. They are also ranked by relevance or date, and grouped by publication.

Data searching is a key strength of Knovel and allows you to find specific materials property information. Once found, search results can then be exported to another application (Microsoft Excel, HTML or ASCII Text). Citations can also be exported to EndNote.

How to access Knovel

Monash staff and students can access Knovel via the Monash databases page or via Search.

If you have any queries on using Knovel please get in touch with your contact librarians for Engineering.


Nhan Le is a subject librarian for Chemical, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. 

Read More

Think critically!

Do you ever receive assignments back with the comment: “your essay is too descriptive” or “more critical analysis needed”? Learning Skills Adviser Bei-En Zou writes about what it means to be critical and how to go about developing your critical thinking skills. 


One of the key skills you want to develop during your time as a university student is the ability to think critically. Critical thinking is not only a skill for life but a quality that is becoming increasingly sought after in the workforce. 


What is critical thinking?

Critical thinking is not about being a critical person! Rather, in the academic context, it is about thinking in a way that does not take what you read or hear at its face value. Critical thinkers look at the evidence behind expert opinions, weigh up ideas against each other and make their own reasoned judgments about how compelling an author's explanations are for certain phenomena.


Practising critical thinking

Good critical thinking begins with asking questions. When faced with a new idea or piece of information, in a journal article or a book, begin by asking the big ‘W’ questions to orientate yourself:
  • What is the main idea?
  • Who wrote this?
  • When was this written? And what was happening at that time?
  • Where was it written?
  • What evidence does the writer provide to support his/her main point? 

Once you’ve done that, critical thinkers go a step further, by taking that information, and asking if any of it affects the credibility of the material presented. Here are some examples of things to look out for:
  • Scientific articles published more than five years ago might be relying on outdated methods and data. 
  • Research that is funded by corporations like this one might publish biased results designed to support a corporation's product instead of presenting their results impartially.
  • Legitimate sounding publications such as the Journal of Historical Review which are actually avenues to push forward a particular political ideology.  

Analysing Arguments

Next, focus on what the author is saying: their key point (this is also called an argument). Ask yourself:
  • Does the writer use evidence to back up their claims?
  • What is the quality of the evidence used? (How recent is it? Does it come from reputable, scholarly sources?)
  • Does the writer make any assumptions?
  • Does the writer go from point A to point B in a logical way? Is the overall flow of the argument clear and logical?
  • How convincing is the overall argument? What do I agree with? What do I disagree with? And why?

These questions will help you evaluate and critically analyse the strength of a particular argument.

Critical thinking is a journey

Thinking critically is difficult and will take time. It’s a skill to develop over the course of your degree. However, if you take anything away from your university studies, the ability to think and act critically is invaluable. Becoming a critical thinker will make your life much more rich and exciting!


Read More

7 September 2017

Resources for Korean Studies

Did you know that the largest university collection of Korean resources in the southern hemisphere is right here at Monash? Jung-Sim Kim, the Korean Studies librarian, tells us how to make use of this collection. 


The Korean resources at Monash consist of about 27,000 print items, over a thousand Korean multimedia items such as DVDs and more than a hundred sound recordings, as well as access to 15 Korean databases. Some of the electronic material in this collection has been partially funded by a grant from the Korea Foundation. 

Some of the Korean databases that you can access are:
  • KISS by the Korean Studies Information 한국학술정
  • DBpia by the Nurimedia 누리미디
  • RISS International by the Korea Education & Research Information Service 한국교육학술정보
  • Full-text databases by the National Library of Korea 국립중앙도서관
Korean databases are mainly in Korean interface, but some databases have interfaces in English or other languages.

Researchers or students who cannot read Korean can use various multi-discipline databases from the Databases and electronic resources guide to find articles related to Korea in other languages. For example, researchers can use the Web of Science platform to access the KCI-Korean Journal Database.

Researchers are also able to consult the Korean Studies Librarian, Jung-Sim Kim, who supports academics and students whose research areas are related to Korea.

HOW TO ACCESS THE KOREAN COLLECTION

  • Your first point of call is Library Search which will provide you with electronic and print resources relevant to the area you are researching.
  • You can also browse most of the Korean language print resources in the Asian Collections on Level 1 of the Sir Louis Matheson Library. 
  • If you wish to access electronic material you can visit the Korean databases  page at the Korean Studies Library Guide

NEED MORE HELP?

If you are unable to find a particular resource, use Document Delivery if you are eligible or ask the Korean Studies Librarian for help.

If you have any queries on Korean resources at Monash please contact the Korean Studies Librarian.



Read More

5 September 2017

Sorry, what? Improve your listening skills


Lectures can be overwhelming no matter what you're studying. There's so much content! Do you need to write everything down? Romany Manuell, a subject librarian at Monash, offers a few tips to help you with your listening and note-taking skills.




We all wish we had a photographic memory - with an audio component - so we can capture everything our lecturer says... These days, that wish is a reality! Many lecturers at Monash Uni make use of Learning Capture to record lectures, and then make the content available on Moodle through your unit site. But whether you're attending the lecture in person, or reviewing the lecture via Learning Capture, listening just isn't enough. You'll remember much more if you adopt some of these approaches:

1. Prepare to listen with purpose

A good way to prepare for lectures is to try to read relevant readings beforehand and come to the lecture with a series of questions you’d like the answers to. Listen out for the answers, and you’ll be listening with purpose! You don’t actually have to ask the questions out loud, but if they aren’t answered during the lecture, look for opportunities to discuss your questions with your lecturer, tutor or fellow students.

2. Practice your handwriting

Yes, it’s old school, but according to studies such as this one, writing by hand can actually help you remember. Researchers believe there’s something about handwriting that helps you to reframe content in your own words. So leave that laptop at home (it might help you stay off Facebook too… gulp!).

3. Listen out for signalling words

You may find that words such as first, second, also, furthermore, moreover, therefore and finally indicate stages in the lecturer's argument. Listen out for those words in order to grab the main points. There are more useful signalling words and other tips available on Research and Learning Online.

As you can see, listening and note-taking really work hand-in-hand. So if you need to brush up on your note-taking skills, watch the video below:



Read More

4 September 2017

Students, have your say via the Library user survey

Let us know what we do well and where we can do better. Complete the Library user survey and you can go in the draw to win a prize.  



Matheson Library entrance
Since our last user survey in 2015, we have completed the major transformation of the Matheson and Caulfield libraries and created vibrant and inspiring work spaces for our students. 

The Library user survey is your opportunity to give us feedback.

About 10 minutes is all you need to complete the Library survey.

Your opinion matters

We've listened to your opinions from previous surveys and taken your input on board. With your feedback, we've done big and small things to enhance your experience of using the Library.

In 2015, you said:
  • "Matheson Library needs to have a re-layout, too many study desks are in one place so study areas are always prone to noise. Also all the libraries are severely lacking in group study rooms, especially with AV equipment."
  • "I am looking forward to the redevelopment of Caulfield Library, it's pretty overdue. The study facilities of the library (desks, computers, capacity) is the main frustration."
  • "Merge the lab printing and online payment with the library system."
  • Caulfield Library front façade
  • "Another thing that should really be improved is being able to print directly from our laptops to the print station..."
What we have done:
  • In the Matheson Library, different types of spaces cater for a range of study styles, from quiet to collaborative group work. There are 22 bookable discussion rooms fitted with plug-and-play technology for devices and screens. Seating capacity has increased by 25% to 1,620 seats.
  • In the new Caulfield Library, an open plan has created more study spaces that suit different needs, with 7 bookable technology-rich discussion rooms and an abundance of large tables with screens to share for group work. Seating capacity has doubled to 1,500 seats.
  • With the rollout of single Monash UniPrint system, there is now one printing system at the libraries and computer labs. Wireless printing in the libraries can also be enabled by students.


Get a chance to win a prize

When you've completed the survey, simply provide your student ID number and you can go in the draw to win one of these prizes:
  •         One major prize of Coles Myer voucher worth $500
  •         Five minor prizes of Coles Myer voucher worth $100 each
      We publish the overall results of the survey but don't worry, your response is confidential. 


Read More

28 August 2017

APA - referencing with style, especially for Education

Are you stressing with assignments? To get great marks it is also really important to cite works and reference them well, says Irene Guidotti.


One of the most used and required referencing styles is APA (American Psychological Association) 6th referencing style. At Monash it is also the preferred citing and referencing style for the Education Faculty. It is based on two parts that you have to learn and create: a reference list and in-text citations, but there are several little rules to follow, and when you are in a hurry they can be hard to remember.

Fortunately, the Library is here to help you and offers a wide range of resources to help students (but also staff!) in producing the perfect reference in APA style.

A wonderful - and authoritative - tool is APA Style Central platform, a learning answer for scholars, that also includes videos and a comprehensive range of tools you can use whether you are just getting started or more experienced. The following are just some of them:
  • quick guides to remember APA style rules easily (e.g. use of colons, italics and how to create a reference list)
  • quizzes to test your knowledge and understanding
  • samples of references and papers essential to check how you are proceeding
  • templates to improve your citing and referencing and also to manage easily your references within your writing
  • search and browse thousands of journals (where a researcher could submit a finished paper)
The following additional Library resources will help answer any further queries you have with using APA style and applying it to your Monash assignments. Have a look below and good luck with your assignments!

Read More

15 August 2017

Attention postgrads! Your guide to specialised Library expertise

Postgraduate study is exciting, but challenging too - it requires you to step up your skills to reap the rewards. Librarian Romney Adams assures us that specialist library expertise is available.


If you’ve studied at Monash as an undergrad, you may be aware of some of what the Library has to offer. But did you know we have a whole variety of expertise and resources available just for postgrads? 

Firstly, don’t worry if you’re undertaking your studies by coursework, or research - all of the resources I’ll mention are available to all of our postgrads.

Although you may be studying by coursework, you’ll usually have some kind of research component to your degree - and while the Library has access to literally millions of items for you to use, sometimes we just don’t have that one paper that could inform your research. If that’s the case, never fear - our Document Delivery team is ready to go! Staff in this area will investigate getting the material you require from another institution - either within Australia, or overseas. This small group is the friend of many a researcher - simply fill out the document delivery form, and they’ll handle the rest!

You may know about our Research & Learning Point, where you can chat to a Librarian or Learning Skills Adviser for 10-15 minutes to get insight into the research and structure of your work. For postgrads, this offer goes a little further. If you’d like to have a more in-depth chat about your work, email your Subject Librarian or Learning Skills Adviser and ask for a consultation. These usually last between 30-60 minutes, and will give you the chance to discuss your work with a professional who has expertise in your area. They’ll be able to work with you to determine a good search strategy, some useful databases for you to use, and can usually offer a different approach to your research that you may not have considered. Or perhaps it’s your written communication you wish to fine-tune? We can also talk to you about refining your argumentation, structuring your work, and improving your synthesis of information. Not sure who your Subject Librarian or Learning Skills Adviser is? You can find a list of contacts on the Library website, or ask at your Library’s Information Point.

If your degree is research-focused, have a look at the Graduate Research Library Guide, which gives you a fantastic overview of and introduction to the work you’ll need to undertake over the course of your degree. This includes information about conducting your literature review, communicating your research, and managing your research data. Keep an eye out in myDevelopment for Library-run Graduate Education Workshops to register for as well. We really are here to work with you every step of the way!

We have some faculty- or discipline-specific resources available too, most notably the Systematic Review Library Guide. Systematic reviews are complex, and therefore a little daunting, but this Guide has been developed by staff from the Medicine, Nursing, and Health Sciences (MNHS) team, and contain a wealth of information to take you through the steps. Not in MNHS? Ask your Librarian if there are any specific postgrad resources available for your faculty.

Enjoy your time as a postgraduate at Monash - and make full use of the Library’s specialised expertise while you’re with us.

Read More

8 August 2017

'Secret files from World Wars to Cold War' database

Librarians Anna Rubinowski and Melanie Thorn let us in on a little known story from the Cold War era, as an example of what can be found by researchers using this database of secret files, available through the Library.


Attaching a dispatch on a carrier pigeon during the Cold War
On 14 August 1947, in the third meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on Carrier Pigeons, held at the Ministry of Defence in London, Flight Lieutenant Walker informed the Committee that civilian member Captain Caiger had “invented a form of box, by means of which to launch pigeons from high speed aircraft, and that he had constructed a prototype”. The Committee, made up of representatives from various areas of the British Armed Forces, agreed that the Air Ministry should arrange trials of this prototype in consultation with M.I.5 and report back to the Committee.

The minutes of this top-secret meeting are part of the British government secret intelligence and foreign policy files available through Secret Files from World Wars to Cold War. Sourced from the U.K. National Archives, the database centres around the Permanent Under-secretary Department’s files documenting British intelligence activities from 1873 to 1951 and their influence on foreign policy. All files are full-text searchable and point to related content, making it easy to discover the fascinating stories that shaped world history in the 20th century.

Following the trail of the carrier pigeons, the files tell the story of the Joint Intelligence Sub-Committee that was formed in November 1945 in response to General Menzies’ top secret memo summarising the use of pigeons in WWI by both sides (including that pigeons on parachutes were dropped over enemy-occupied zones with questionnaires for patriots, and that Abweher pigeon lofts were ‘contaminated’ by English pigeons disguised as German pigeons) and identifying a need to continue this work. The Committee’s role was to collect and circulate information on the latest developments in the area and to ‘be responsible for research, experimental work, and the training facilities required by personnel of the Intelligence Services’.

During its existence the Committee supported the publication of the ‘Pigeon Racing Gazette’ (through Caiger) in order to foster international contacts, tried to encourage pigeon racing from East to West as opposed to South to North, and mused whether experiments involving human powers of water-divining and coloured pieces of cotton on the face of a compass might be of interest in connection with the different coloured liquids in the eyes of pigeons.

Sadly, the Committee was unceremoniously disbanded in May 1950 because ‘the active use of pigeons was no longer contemplated by any of the potential user Departments’.

Caiger went on to publish ‘The secret of the eye’.

The purchase of the database was made possible through the Ada Booth Benefaction.








Read More

2 August 2017

Annotations and illustrations delight collectors

Inscriptions in children's books of the past can be of interest to both scholars and collectors, writes librarian Mia Goodwin.

Sometimes books inscribed by ordinary people can be valuable if the inscription gives insight into the context of the book’s history, production, reception or use.

Take, for example, Monash University Library Rare Books Collection’s copy of Tippoo: A tale of a tiger, by C. W. Cole (1905). This otherwise ordinary children’s book has become extraordinary due to the intriguing annotations inscribed by a previous owner. Mary M. Daubeney gifted the book to Peggy Morton, and carefully annotated each picture with quotations from some of Thomas Moore’s Irish melodies, often to comedic effect. See example above.

This demonstrates historical use of the book itself; how the owner engaged with it, adding textual layers and changing the book to become more playful and distinct for a gift.

Often, an ordinary book becomes especially unique, and therefore ‘rare’, if it was owned by someone famous, particularly if they inscribed their name or wrote a note in the book itself. For example, the Rare Books Collection is fortunate to hold a deluxe second edition of  Stories from Hans Andersen (1912), which includes a touching inscription by Nobel prize-winning author, Sinclair Lewis (1885 – 1951), who gave the book to his parents for Christmas in 1914, as shown below.


Sinclair Lewis was an American author famous for his wit and critique of the American literary establishment. That Lewis gave Andersen’s fairy tales to his parents demonstrates an appreciation of the Danish children’s author, and thus by examining the book in its context, scholarly conclusions may be drawn about Lewis’ literary upbringing and interests that could perhaps inform discussions around Lewis’ work. This is a benefit of examining rare books in context, and demonstrates one way that students and researchers can engage with the Rare Books Collection.

Deluxe books, especially for children, were often given as Christmas gifts in the early twentieth century. This stately edition is a collection of some of Andersen’s most loved stories, including ‘The Snow Queen’ and ‘The Mermaid’. The book is bound in pictorial cloth with beautiful inlaid gilt, as shown at right:

The book includes illustrations by French artist, Edmund Dulac (1882 – 1953). Dulac’s illustrations were exhibited by Leicester Galleries, and published by Hodder & Stoughton. The illustrations are of exceptional quality and were tipped-in separately. Dulac was a leading artist in the Golden Age of Illustration, alongside others such as Arthur Rackham, W. Heath Robinson, and Kay Nielsen. These artists largely provided illustrations for children’s books, and typically experimented with colour and rendering techniques. Their efforts were very well received:

Dulac's art, however, is not of the kind that only the critic may enjoy, for it is rich with poetry and imagination, and strong in the possession of that decorative element which renders a picture universally pleasing” (Stuart, 1910)

 For lovely examples of Dulac’s work see the Snow Queen and other characters below:






To view these books and other rare items, or for research advice and discussion contact Rare Books, or come and visit us at the new Special Collections Reading Room at Matheson Library.


Andersen, Hans Christian. Stories from Hans Andersen. Illustrated by Edmund Dulac, 2nd ed., Hodder & Stoughton, 1912.

Cole, C. W., and William Ralston. Tippoo : A Tale of a Tiger. New Ed., Simpkin Marshall / Hamilton Kent & Co, 1905.

Stuart, Evelyn Marie. “Edmund Dulac—A Poet of the Brush.” Fine Arts Journal, vol. 23, no. 2, 1910, pp. 87–102. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/23905910.

Read More

1 August 2017

All about the Research and Learning Point


Did you know there is a desk at every library, where you can talk about your assignments with knowledgeable staff? By Romney Adams, Clinton Bell, Romany Manuell and Bei-En Zou



It’s called the Research and Learning Point, and the opening hours for each library branch can be found here. Note that from Week 4, evening drop-ins until 7pm are offered at Hargrave-Andrew and Matheson libraries.

This service point is different from the Information Point where Library staff loan you books or assist you with printing. The Research and Learning Point is staffed by librarians and learning skills advisers, who are experts in researching information and presenting it effectively.

Best of all? You don’t need to make an appointment. Just drop in after catching up with friends, on your way to grab coffee, or in-between classes! We’ll work with you for up to 15 minutes, and make sure you’re on the right track… just be sure to bring the assignment sheet, and/or a copy of your work with you.

So, what are some of the queries librarians and learning skills adviser handle? Let’s ask them now...

What can you ask a librarian?


Librarians get asked a lot of questions! The most common questions have to do with finding high-quality, authoritative information. Maybe you’re working on an assignment and can’t seem to find a journal article on your topic. Or, maybe what you’re looking for is in a book you never knew existed! Librarians can talk to you about the keywords you’re using, and can suggest places you might like to look (in databases, or on the shelves).

Librarians are also referencing experts! We can help you with your reference list and talk you through some of the finer points of the different referencing styles.

What can you ask a learning skills adviser?

Not sure how to get started on that essay? Wondering how to best structure your assignment? Need some tips for the oral presentation that’s coming up? Wanting to get better results and manage your study time more effectively? Learning skills advisers are here to assist you in developing your skills in all aspects of your academic work! No matter what style of assessment you have, we can show you the way to plan your approach - we even have some tips for exam preparation.

We’re not all about assessments though. As well as time management tips, we can also work with you to develop your critical thinking, note-taking, and effective reading skills, which will be beneficial to you throughout your degree!

What’s available online?


If you can’t make it to a Research and Learning Point, don’t worry! Through Research and Learning Online you can find information and interactive tutorials on study skills, doing assignments, and graduate research and writing, as well as examples of assignments from each faculty. If you're in a hurry, there are also Quick Study Guides you can print out.

Our Library Guides webpage also has a lot of useful information, including the popular citing and referencing guide, which gives examples of correct references in many of the styles used at Monash. You can also find lists of important databases and journals for your study area, as well as guides to Turnitin and EndNote.

So, visit your Research and Learning experts - in person or online - before the assessment crunch begins!




Read More

31 July 2017

Beyond Google

Many students get into the habit of turning to Google when they need information for their assignments and it's not a bad place to start if you need an idea or two. The problems begin when you start using such general information to inform a university assignment, says librarian Sophie Wright.  


Much of what Google has to offer just will not be good enough. In addition, as with anything you find on a Google Search, the information you read could be fake. You need well-researched scholarly sources, such as academic books and journal articles in order to write from an academic perspective.


How do I find better information?

You may ask: but where do I find this information? And how do I navigate my way through the thousands of results returned in Search or databases to find resources specifically on my topic? This is a librarian's area of expertise and we are here to support you in this journey.

Being smart about how you go about locating resources for your assessment has many benefits. The main one is the hours (potentially hundreds over a standard Bachelor's degree) that you will save if you choose to invest just an hour or two learning some tips and tricks for information searching. Secondly, you will increase your marks. Your lecturer will be looking very carefully to see what you have read to inform your arguments and conclusions in your written work. Sometimes you will be expected to pay close attention to prescribed readings from your reading list. Other times, you will be expected to locate your own resources.

Can I take a class?


There is a bit to do here - but do not fear we've got you covered. Firstly, please come along to a free class run by the Library called Beyond Google. This class will teach you the basics to get you up and running and finding the resources you need straightaway. We'll take you through it step by step and answer all your questions.

Alternatively, we have prepared some Quick Study Guides to help you on you way. If you are an online student you would gain a lot from completing our tutorial on Developing a Search Strategy.

Remember, librarians are available at the drop-in sessions Monday to Friday to answer any specific questions you have as well. In many academic courses we offer programs in consultation with the lecturer which cover finding information as part of the curriculum. We also have other free classes running in the library to help you, depending on your study needs. We look forward to meeting you soon!

In summary- some options for you:

Beyond Google: Classes on searching & databases - Sign up here

Quick Study guides on the library website - Here

Online tutorial on developing a search strategy - Here

Attend a 15 minute drop-in with a librarian - At these times / places

Attend another class on study skills in the library - Sign up here

Read More

27 July 2017

Factiva news database, and Fairfax newspapers digital editions

Find out what is happening in Australia and internationally with Factiva and/or Fairfax Media writes David Horne, Subject Librarian for Business and Economics.


Factiva is is a database of over 30,000 international news sources, encompassing print, electronic media transcripts and free Web-based publications. Content is added daily. It is an invaluable tool for keeping up to date with current and business affairs in a particular part of the world, for investigating past events, or for studying the way news is reported.

Australian coverage includes not only the major city and national papers, such as The Australian and The Australian Financial Review, but regional and local newspapers.

Search results can be readily sorted by date, or filtered according to a range of criteria, including source, article author, company, industry, and region. The articles from print publications do not include images.

While the key content is news, Factiva also provides brief company and industry profiles and global financial market data.

Complementing Factiva, the Library can now provide daily access to the full digital versions of the Fairfax newspapers: The Age, The Australian Financial Review and The Sydney Morning Herald.  
Click the links below to access each Search record, click "View It" , then "Fairfax Newspapers".














Read More

24 July 2017

Time management tips: How to get organised

Juggling readings, assignments and revision can be one of the most challenging parts of university. Here’s how to get organised and make the most out of your time! By Clinton Bell


You probably already know procrastination is a bad idea. If you put off doing assignments or don’t revise regularly, it’s easy to fall behind and end up with way too much stuff to catch up on. Unfortunately, even if you know you should study, it can be difficult to make yourself do it - especially if you’re busy with other things.

If you find yourself struggling to make time for study, or you feel like you just have way too much going on, try planning your time with a study schedule! There’s an example of how to make one on the library website.

Making a schedule has several benefits:
  • It helps you work out how much time you have, and plan your study around your work, social life, and other commitments
  • It’s easier to keep track of tasks and due dates if you have them all written down in one place
  • You’re less likely to procrastinate if study is a regular part of your routine. Scheduling study in advance can also make you feel more committed to actually doing it
  • Having a plan can help you feel less stressed and more in control of your study.
When making your schedule it’s important to prioritise. Consider how important things are as well as when they’re due - if an assignment is worth a lot of marks you’ll probably need to spend more time on it. If you need to do something which requires other people, special facilities or equipment, you may also need to work around when those things are available.

For large assignments, it can be helpful to split the task into smaller goals. For example, you might aim to write one paragraph of an essay each night. Splitting the task into chunks can make it less intimidating to get started, and can also help you stress less - if you’re meeting your goals you know you’re on track to get the assignment done.

As well as planning your time, it’s important to use it effectively. Using good study methods and improving your skills can give you better results in less time:
Time management can be challenging, but with good planning and study skills you can get everything done on time. So best of luck with your study in semester 2 - and remember, come see us at a drop-in session if you need help!




Read More

17 July 2017

Kashgar: a digital exhibition


John Gollings, 2005 Kashgar Old City
New technology has enhanced an evocative exhibition at Matheson Library.


Arts, the Library, and an IT student have come together to present a digital exhibition of original photographs, enhanced with new technology, to welcome the viewer into a remote part of China.

Kashgar is an exhibition of evocative photos by Australian photographer John Gollings, collected as part of a Monash Asia Institute international research project to document, measure, and define the most significant cultural monuments and spaces of Kashgar in Western China.

Gollings’ photographs lead the audience on a personal journey through China’s largest oasis city, nestled between sun-scorched deserts and towering mountain peaks, where the long-distance trade routes of numerous old Silk Roads once converged. A constant feed of tradeable goods, merging cultures and varying religions kept the thriving markets of Kashgar alive for thousands of years, now for you to experience through a selection of photographs from the Library’s John Gollings’ Kashgar collection.

Visitors to the Library can continue their exploration of this ancient city on their mobile devices by accessing an interactive tour of the region, thanks to content created by Information Technology student Vinu Alwis. Access the interactive experience by scanning this code with the free Zappar app. Here you can access additional photos, insightful videos, and descriptions of Kashgar city and surrounding towns.

David Groenewegen, the Library’s Director, Research, said that the Library was delighted to have the opportunity to work with a student to help expand access to the amazing materials collected by this project. Innovative digital techniques and apps have the potential to help libraries and other cultural institutions grow awareness of their collections.

The exhibition will be on display at the Sir Louis Matheson Library, Clayton until December this year.

Get a taste of the exhibition with this video of project director Marika Vicziany and John Gollings recounting their experiences of Kashgar.


Read More

6 July 2017

Contribution to Jewish studies recognised

Items from the Laura and Israel Kipen Judaica Collection 
Monash University Library respectfully notes the recent passing of Mr Israel Kipen. Mr Kipen was former Chair of the Joint Committee for Tertiary Jewish Studies, a group that was instrumental in establishing the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University and the Arnold Bloch Lectureship in Jewish History at the University of Melbourne.

The Library acknowledges the generous benefaction from Mr and Mrs Kipen, materials known as the Laura and Israel Kipen Judaica Collection and officially launched by the Library on 23 October 1995. These works are located on level 1 of the Sir Louis Matheson Library, Monash University, Clayton. Students and staff and members of the public interested in viewing material from the Laura and Israel Kipen Judaica Collection can use Search to discover, locate and borrow items. For assistance with this please contact Louise Micallef, Subject Librarian for Jewish Studies at louise.micallef@monash.edu

The Library also holds a unique collection of approximately 200 Australian testimonials from Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. These are kept in our Special Collections area on the ground floor of the Sir Louis Matheson Library, Monash University. Clayton. Students, staff and members of the public interested in viewing these items are welcome to contact specialcollections@monash.edu. prior to visiting the Library. The specialist nature of these materials requires them to be read only within the Special Collections Reading Room at the Matheson Library.

Read More

4 July 2017

Welcome to all new students

Hello to those who are newly enrolled. We hope you are looking forward to your time at University, despite the cold weather we are experiencing at the moment.


If you're new to Monash, we've put together the Library orientation guide to give you the basics about using the Library.  You will also find Library activities in the Orientation planner.

But first, some interesting facts: did you know that research shows that students who use the Library achieve better results than those who don't? [1]

At Monash 79% of students who used the Library achieved at least a Distinction, based on students' best estimates of their academic results. In the user survey, “Library use” meant either coming in to the Library or accessing it online daily or 2-4 days a week. [2]


Study spaces and facilities

New students will find that they are using smart refurbished areas with facilities like bookable discussion rooms for group projects and study, in the Caulfield and Matheson libraries. 

At Caulfield some inconvenience may apply until the building project is finalised. At present you will enter the library from the arcade level 1 between Buildings A and B (opposite Monash Connect), but very soon the main entrance facing the Caulfield Green will be open.
    
Programs, resources and activities
As well as working with you in your courses and units, we provide a range of programs and drop-in sessions related to your assignments and other tasks. Drop-ins begin from Week 2.

We’ve developed a new Research and Learning Online site as your gateway to the Library’s online learning materials. Check it out to access online modules such as academic integrity, citing and referencing, and more.

Visit the Students’ page for a complete list of Library programs, resources and activities.

Don’t forget to check this blog for useful articles with tips and advice for your study. You can also find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.


1   Soria, K. M., Fransen, J., & Nackerud, S. (2013). Library use and undergraduate student outcomes: New evidence for students’ retention and academic success.  Portal : Libraries and the Academy, 13(2), 147-164.  

2  2015 Monash University Library User survey

Read More



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.

If you believe that copyright material is available on this blog in such a way that infringes copyright, please contact our designated representative

.