Library

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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Getting group work done

Do you find group assignments difficult? It can be challenging to work with others, but that’s why these assignments exist - you’re being assessed on your teamwork skills, not just your content knowledge. Get the most out of your group with tips from librarian Clinton Bell.


Set team rules, goals and expectations before you start work

Before you actually start working on your assignment, it’s a good idea to set ground rules for the group. These include things like when and where you will meet, how you will communicate, and so on. Make sure everyone gets a say - it’s no good setting a meeting time if half your group can’t make it!

You should also talk about the task and make sure everyone is on the same page. Sometimes people interpret instructions differently, overlook an important detail, or have different expectations about how the assignment should be completed. Making sure everyone is clear about what needs to be done before you start helps you avoid a lot of problems later on.

Communicate with your team

It’s important for everyone in the group to communicate regularly. This helps make sure everyone is making progress on their tasks, and allows problems to be addressed before they cause if trouble. It also allows the team to make suggestions and improve on each other’s work.

If you’re having trouble, you’re not sure what you should be doing, or you’re not certain if what you’ve done is okay, let your team know! It’s better to sort it out early than wait until just before the assignment is due. Conversely, if someone else is having difficulty, help them out.

It can also be a good idea to keep a copy of documents in a shared space, such as Google Drive. This is great for providing suggestions and feedback, and helps everyone keep an eye on how the assignment is progressing. It also means that if something happens to one of your group you still have access to the stuff they were working on.

Everyone is responsible for every part of the end product

A group assignment isn’t “several individual assignments, stapled together”. As a group, you need to make sure you produce a coherent product and that all parts of the assignment are of an acceptable standard. It’s fine to put people in charge of a specific task, but they shouldn’t be working in complete isolation.

Throughout the assignment, everyone should share what they’ve done and provide feedback on the others’ work. You should also allow time before you submit to do a final round of editing. Look for differences in formatting, quality, and what you’re actually saying, and make sure everything is consistent.

Be a team player


Treat your teammates with respect. When giving suggestions or feedback, be constructive - focus on how to improve things, instead of complaining or assigning blame. Listen to your team and be prepared to compromise sometimes.

If you really want to do well, help your teammates get along with each other. If someone is having trouble being heard, ask directly for their opinion. If there are heated discussions and things get personal, try to smooth things over and refocus everyone on the task. When someone makes a good contribution, or compromises so the project can move forward, let them know you appreciate it.

If something is seriously wrong

Finally, if there is a major problem with the group, discuss it with your lecturer or tutor before the assignment is due. Dealing with minor problems is part of the task, but if something is seriously wrong it’s okay to raise it with your lecturer.


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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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11 April 2017

200 more study seats now available at Caulfield Library


New study spaces have opened at Caulfield Library as the builders progress steadily towards finishing the refurbishment.



Good news! There are 200 additional seats available at Caulfield Library, increasing the total to just under 800 seats.

A new area has opened for student use on level 1, adjacent to the teaching rooms. The bright and modern area has been finished just in time for students to make best use of them.

Access to this area as well as the three teaching rooms is temporarily via the Ian Potter Sculpture Courtyard. These spaces are open 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday.

The three teaching rooms are also available to students outside of Library class times. There are 30 fixed laptops that students can use for their study activities.

When the building works are completed, the library will have doubled its pre-refurbishment seating capacity from 750 to 1500 seats, offering a range of spaces for quiet study, collaboration and interactive teaching.

As the demand for study spaces has increased as the exams get closer, other study locations at Caulfield campus are available and are listed below for your convenience.



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Where to find a study space at Clayton

Our three libraries at Clayton campus together offer the largest number and range of study spaces and they're open longer during Swot Vac and exams. But there are many more alternative areas available on campus. Check the list below.



We anticipate an increased demand for quiet study spaces on campus during the Swot Vac and exam period.

While the refurbished areas in our Sir Louis Matheson Library have been opened and are popular among students, some areas are still under construction. We hope everything will be finished by the end of May.

Our Law and Hargrave-Andrew libraries have more seating and will be open from 10am to 5pm on weekends from 20 May until 23 June 2017.

In addition, Hargrave-Andrew Library will be open until 2am Monday to Thursday beginning 29 May until 23 June.

There are many more alternative areas available on campus. Check the list below.



In addition the following informal study spaces (non-bookable) are available to all students:
  • There are the lecture theatres foyers that have been set up with chairs and tables for study
  • Airport Lounge and Dining Room are also available
  • Faculty Student Common Rooms
Clayton campus study spaces may be viewed on the Clayton campus map.

You may also want to check out '200 more study seats now available at Caulfield Library'.

Additional study spaces are also available at our other campus libraries. These include:
Berwick Library (120 spaces)
Peninsula Library (250 spaces)
CL Butchers Pharmacy Library at Parkville (120 spaces)

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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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30 March 2017

VFG collection of musical scores at Monash

Have you been looking for repertoire for your ensemble or chamber group? You may find inspiration in a collection of over 1500 scores in the Sir Louis Matheson Library, says Jackie Waylen, the Subject Librarian for Music.


If you play a musical instrument, and have been seeking repertoire that is both excellent and perhaps a little less familiar, be it solo instrumental music, or music for your ensemble or chamber group, then you may wish to delve into the collection of over 1500 scores that were gifted to the Library by the Victorian Flute Guild in 2010. Over 300 of these scores have so far been catalogued, including solos, duets, trios, quartets and quintets. Flute music includes studies and exercises for improving technique, music for chamber groups with flute, and music for flute choir. Some of the scores have been digitised and will soon be available in a new online special collections repository.

Most of the works in the collection were composed in the 19th and 20th centuries. So, quite soon, a flautist and pianist will be able to access the fifth of Andersen's “Five easy pieces,” as it was published in 1894.

Some of the concert repertoire and pedagogical works were composed in the 18th century, but they appear in the collection as later editions. Many of the works are related to teaching. A survey of prominent flute teachers in North America and Europe, undertaken by Molly Barth, and published in The Flutist Quarterly in 2016, revealed that études were an "integral component of their teaching regimen". Of the 26 composers of études cited by these teachers, the Victorian Flute Guild's scores, which have so far been sorted, contain études by 17 of these composers.

The Victorian Flute Guild Collection includes many virtuosic concert pieces for flute and piano, and miniatures that would be suitable for encores. The range of European composers and publishers from the late 19th century is extraordinary, and so a finding aid for all the works is underway. Once the whole collection has been catalogued, performance students and others will certainly have an interesting collection to browse. 


The earliest works in the collection belonged originally to Leslie Barklamb (1905-1993) who, in 1969, founded the Victorian Flute Guild in order "to promote and encourage the learning of the flute, flute playing in all idioms, and to support all forms of music education". To attain this goal, a main aim was "to establish, build up and maintain a library of music of all types". Barklamb's personal library constituted a who's who of composers who both wrote for and played the flute, such as Andersen (1847-1909), Büchner (1825-1912), Doppler (1821-1883), Gariboldi (1833-1905) and Kuhlau (1786-1832). His library also included composers whose works or melodies have since been arranged for flute and piano.

In her centenary tribute to Leslie Barklamb, the current President of the Guild Mary Sheargold, refers to him as the "father of the flute in Australia." Over a teaching career of more than 65 years he taught many flautists who went on to become professional players (including some who had success overseas). Barklamb studied for two years (1917-1919) with John Amadio, an internationally renowned flautist, before learning from Alfred Weston-Pett. After obtaining a Diploma of Music at the Melbourne Conservatorium in 1925, Leslie Barklamb taught flute there (from 1929 to 1974), and he also played in Bernhard Heinze's University Orchestra and Alberto Zelman's Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. From 1958 onward he devoted his career to teaching, following hand problems and his retirement from the MSO. His pupils remember him as being a wonderfully enthusiastic teacher always happy to lend out his flutes and music. 


Amongst the countries represented in the Victorian Flute Guild Collection are Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The Ada Booth benefaction has enabled the cataloguing of over 150 of the scores relating to Slavic countries. Australian composers represented range from John Lemmoné (1861-1949, born in Vic.) to, Geoffrey Allen (b. 1927, living in WA., and soon to add a woodwind CD to his existing Iridescent Flute.)

Scores added to the collection since the 1970s tend to include works that have a particular focus on ensemble music, from flute duets to flute choir works; for instance, Kummer's flute trios have been added from Annette Sloan's personal library.

Not all of the music is for flute. Students seeking repertoire for other instruments may be interested to browse the whole range. On the one hand you might retrieve a ricercare from a canon originally composed by Palestrina (1525-1565), but arranged in the 1950s for oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn; or you might instead find violin music such as the Schubert lied, "Ständchen," arranged for violin and piano by Mischa Elman in 1910.

One can retrieve all the works that have been catalogued to date by entering "Victorian Flute Guild Collection" into Library Search. If "Leslie Barklamb" is added, then all the works that were part of Leslie Barklamb's personal library can be identified. To find trios, for example, enter "Victorian Flute Guild trios" and limit the result to scores. Or you might wish to look for Borodin's "Polovtsian Dances" from Prince Igor, as arranged for piano.

Much of the earliest repertoire is in a fragile condition and needs to be consulted in the Special Collections Reading Room. In the spirit of continuing Leslie Barklamb's and the Victorian Flute Guild's legacy, our Library has first set about digitising the repertoire that is not readily accessible elsewhere, so that performers, teachers and students can enjoy a wider range of solo and chamber music.

Researchers will also be able to look at those rarer works from the 19th century that reveal fascinating insights into the publishing and dissemination of printed music, especially of sheet music for flute.

The Library is also digitising the back covers of these scores. The covers often contain useful information, such as advertisements for other music that would have been available at the time of the publication (see example at left).



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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

Access to General Collection at Matheson Library

Beginning Wednesday 22 March, the South stairwell and lifts in the Sir Louis Matheson Library will be closed to users to allow the builders to speed up the internal works in this area.

Users can access the General Collection via the rear stairs (East). These stairs are located behind the computer area to the left of the Library's temporary entrance on the lower ground floor. You can access the ground floor up to level 5 via these rear stairs.

Users with a disability may request Library staff assistance at the Information point to retrieve items from the General Collection.

The quiet study spaces in the General Collection will be affected by noisy works. Please find alternative quiet spaces in the Matheson Library, or at either Law or Hargrave-Andrew Libraries on the Clayton campus.

The South stairwell and lift works are expected to be completed between 29 March and 4 April. We will provide updates as works progress.

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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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Citing and referencing - a guide for teaching staff

Citing and referencing is an essential academic skill that students enrolled in your teaching unit may struggle with, says Librarian Louise Micallef. She outlines some ways the Library can help your students.

Despite the fact that they have undertaken research for school assignments, work or personal purposes, for most students, the university is often the first encounter they have with academic literature. The need to reference their work accurately according to a prescribed style can cause some anxiety, particularly as it affects overall marks.

At the Library, we are experts at citing and referencing and can help your students to understand and apply this crucial skill, which is required in assignments at university level to:
  • demonstrate the credibility of their ideas 
  • validate their work 
  • give due credit to the research of others, and
  • allow readers to locate the original sources used for ideas and evidence in an assignment.
In my experience as a subject librarian, some of the most common citing and referencing mistakes made by students are:
  • incorrect use of commas, italics and ampersands
  • spelling inconsistencies
  • overuse of direct quotes
  • incorrect use of ‘et al.’
  • wrong order of multiple citations in a single parenthesis
  • failure to include a DOI for journal articles if appropriate for the style
  • failure to list all cited sources in the reference list and to do so in accurate alphabetical order
  • general formatting errors such as spacing and use of hanging indents
  • inability to correctly identify the resource type they are dealing with.
Evidently, the protocols and intricacies of referencing are often overwhelming and quite daunting for some students. So where can  you direct your students so they can learn the principles of citing and referencing  and how to effectively and accurately apply it to their work? The Library has created a number of excellent resources and opportunities for students to develop these crucial academic skills.

Five ways the Library can help your students with citing and referencing

1. Library Guides – Citing and Referencing and EndNote

We create Library guides to pull together useful resources on a variety of research skills topics or subject areas all in the one place. The Citing and Referencing Library Guide  covers the full range of citing and referencing styles used at Monash. Students can learn about why, how and when to cite and reference for their next assignment or research paper there.

Similarly, EndNote is a very useful reference management software that stores and automatically creates citations, references and bibliographies for assignments in the required style. Of course, EndNote is not foolproof, so we recommend that students understand how citations and references are used in academic writing when using the program to ensure accuracy. For a comprehensive guide to using Endnote, including "how to use it"  tutorials, see our EndNote Library Guide

2. Demystifying Citing and Referencing - tutorial

The Library has also created an online, interactive citing and referencing tutorial which includes activities and short self-assessment quizzes. It has been designed to teach the principles of citing and referencing, and understand how to avoid plagiarising when integrating source material. This valuable tutorial takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.

3. Research and Learning Point – drop-in sessions

Students can drop in for a 15 minute consultation with a Subject Librarian or Learning Skills Adviser at the Library. At a drop-in session students can get advice on research for their assignments, academic communication and study skills including citing and referencing.

There is no need for them to make an appointment and students are seen on a first come, first served basis. This service is offered between week two to twelve at all Monash libraries. See session times here.

4. Library program, resource or activity embedded in curriculum

We can work with you to design and teach a particular segment, class or resource as part of the academic curriculum for your unit, to ensure that students know the principles of citing and referencing and how to apply them for your assignments and projects.

Contact our specialist staff  to discuss further

5. One on one consultations (postgraduate students)

Librarians and learning skills advisers have specialist knowledge of resources and publishing in various subject disciplines. Postgraduate students are entitled to make individual appointments with their subject librarian and learning skills adviser at any stage of their research. We can provide you with specialist advice about citing and referencing for thesis or journal article submission.

Contact our specialist staff  to make an appointment.

So, if citing and referencing evokes a sense of dread in your students, help is always available from the Library both in person and online!





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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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9 March 2017

Looking for advice on English grammar?

Are you looking for advice on English grammar for your assignments? Then come to a drop-in session with a Peer Support facilitator from English Connect!




Beginning week 3 of semester, these Peer Support sessions will be conveniently available alongside the Library’s Research and Learning point in the  Matheson, Hargrave-Andrew, and Caulfield libraries. This arrangement has been in place at Peninsula Library since 2016.


This means that you can drop in at the Research and Learning point for professional advice from Library staff on your research, citing and referencing and assignments, then visit the Peer Support table for all your grammar questions. Please note that neither the Library nor Peer Support offer proofreading services.


In the free 20 minute Peer Support session you can speak to a trained student-facilitator one-on-one. If you bring along one or two paragraphs of the assignment or essay you’re working on, you’ll be able to read through them together to get advice about your English grammar. You will also get tips and resources to help you in the future.


Drop-in sessions are available at the following times:
  • Matheson Library Monday to Friday: 11am to 3pm
  • Hargrave-Andrew Library (HAL) Monday and Wednesday: 11am to 3pm
  • Caulfield Library Monday to Thursday: 11am to 3pm
  • Peninsula Library Tuesday and Thursday: 1pm to 3pm

Visit the Peer Support website for more information.

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6 March 2017

New online lectures for 2017

Not only are lecture recordings easier to access now, the change to Learning Capture means you can do a lot more to participate in discussions, take notes, create your personal study guide and more. It's about your learning, not just the recording.


From 2017, online lectures are available to students through Moodle. Previously, online lectures were available through the Library website.

The new Learning Capture system is a more exciting system as it lets you view a class online while it is being conducted, and allows you to participate, take notes and bookmarks, and contact your lecturer.

By visiting the Learning Capture Getting started site you can find out how to:
  • Use the Dashboard
  • View classroom lectures and answer questions during class
  • Take notes on the material and bookmark locations to return to later
  • Participate in after-class discussions and Question and Answer forums
  • Review your class Study Guide, including your notes and bookmarks.
Lectures may be broadcast live, so that you can view the lecture from elsewhere and participate as if you were in the room. If it is a live broadcast, there will be a green icon.

Later, after a class is over, you can still participate in activities like Question and Answer forums and sharing materials with other students as well as downloading the lecture, notes, and other content, and maintaining your own personal study guide.

On the “all classes” list you will see earlier lectures and materials your instructor has posted for you to read for upcoming classes.

To download a lecture you have missed: 
  • go to your unit page in Moodle
  • click on “Learning Capture” 
  • select 'all classes' for your unit
  • click the class you wish to download
  • click on the video icon and selecting 'download original'. 
Please note, you will not be able to download a lecture if your lecturer has disabled downloads for your unit. If he or she has, the Learning Capture link will be “greyed out”. If this is the case, check with your lecturer whether online lectures will be available in the future.

Please check the Learning Capture help site if you have trouble downloading your lecture or using the features of the new system.



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Borrowing basics


Now that you’ve been to your first week of classes, you may be thinking about how to find a copy of your textbook for those pre-tutorial readings, or even for your first assignment. In this article, Clinton Bell takes you through the process of borrowing your first book from the library!



The refurbished libraries have new loans machines

How do I find the book I want?

Start by finding it in Library Search! You can get to it via the Library tile in your my.monash portal, or use the search box halfway down the library homepage. You can find most books just by typing in the title and the surname of one of the authors.

When you find a record for the book you want, there will be a “Get it” or “View it” tab underneath it. The “View it” tab will give you a link to an electronic copy of the book, if we have one. The “Get it” tab shows you how many physical copies we have, whether they’re available, and which library collection they’re in:



If the book you want is available at your campus, you can go and get it off the shelf. To find it you’ll need the call number, which is also shown on the “Get it” tab. A call number is a bit like the number in a street address - it tells you how far along the shelves your book will be.

If the book you want is only available at a different campus or all the copies are on loan, you can place a request, and we’ll send the next available copy to the library where you want to pick it up. Make sure you’re logged in (there’s a “Sign in” button in the top right), and then you should see a “Request” button near the top of the “Get it” tab.

If you’re having trouble finding what you want, just ask the Library staff!


Okay, I found it. Now how do I borrow it?

You can borrow books using the self-check systems around the library. You need to scan your ID card, then slide the book into the cradle until the barcode on the front (not the back!) is under the scanner. The machine will go “thunk!” and the book’s title will be highlighted in green on the screen when it’s ready - it does take a second or two, so don’t pull it away too fast!

There are some items which won’t work with the self-check, for example because they’re too big, a weird shape, or they don’t have a barcode on the front. If you have one of these items, or you’re just having trouble with the machine, you can also borrow at the information point.

One of the books I want has a coloured sticker on it.   What does that mean?

If we expect a book to be in high demand, we may place limits on how long some copies can be borrowed, so that more people have a chance to read it. The stickers pictured above mark books which have these restrictions.

If a sticker has a year on it, the restriction only applies for that year, so don’t worry about stickers from 2016 or earlier!

More questions?


If you have more questions about borrowing, you can view detailed information on our website, read the FAQs on ask.monash, or ask our friendly staff in person. Happy borrowing!










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3 March 2017

First in family – A world of opportunities

If you are the first in your family to start at Monash University, you might feel you are embarking on the most thrilling and yet frightening journey of your life, says Roland Clements, Learning Skills Adviser. In this post he shares with you the ‘absolute essentials’ that will help you during your first year at university.



You may be the first in your family to have ever thought about going to university. Whatever inspired you to want to study, you are here, which is wonderful - so make the most of it because education and learning can be joyous!

Until the early part of the 20th century, people went for higher education because their subjects fascinated them. They were passionate about what they were studying and intensely curious about the world around them. You are such a person, so don’t be scared or have any reservations.

I’m not going to give you an Alice in Wonderland-style tour of fascinating facts and tricks on how to get the most out of your studies. Our Library offers you a wide range of resources and services which can help you in many of these areas, and they have online tutorials to help you with your study and assignments. What I can share with you are the ‘absolute essentials’ that will help ease the stress of your first year at university. If you have these on hand you won’t feel like a castaway on a desert island (remember Tom Hanks and Mr. Wilson!).

Here are a few essentials you will need for your survival at university at the start of the year. 

1. Campus maps and Library opening hours - Good to have if you need to visit other libraries - Monash students can visit any of our branches.

2. Your Library - Get to know your Library and what it offers: computers, printers, photocopiers, physical items (such as books and DVDs), and online eResources (such as databases and academic journals). The Library staff are always here to work with you through any queries you have, no matter how trivial or complex.

3. Librarians and Learning Skills Advisers - They can work with you to build a number of skills that will be useful both during your time at Monash, and beyond! Librarians have expertise in selecting appropriate databases, searching for academic resources, evaluating sources and citing and referencing. Learning Skills Advisers can build your skills in understanding assignment tasks, structuring your work, academic writing, effective reading, and note taking.

4. Monash M-Pass -Your M-Pass is linked to an online account - you can use it to add credit, copy, print, and pay fines at the Library. You’ll also need it for exams as your student ID!

5. Your username and password - You’ll need this to log in to computers, your my.monash, and to access electronic resources (such as databases) through Library Search.

Throughout the course of a regular day at university, you will meet students and lecturers from various corners of the globe who bring their educational knowledge and experience with them. You will learn to work with people from various disciplines and how to work as a team member. No matter what stage in life or circumstances you find yourself, remember that we are all human beings and always learning. So think about the events that brought you to Monash University and make the most of it - persistence and perseverance will lead to success!

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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

A teaser book display at Peninsula Library

A new book display at Peninsula Library provides a teaser about the exhibition that's opening soon in the Sir Louis Matheson Library at Clayton campus. 


An interesting display at Peninsula Library features a number of books chosen to complement the exhibition that will open soon in the Sir Louis Matheson Library at Clayton.

The Peninsula Library display is about journeys for the young and the young at heart, says Daniel Wee, a librarian who's part of our Rare Books team and who chose the items for the display.

"From skirmishes with swashbuckling pirates to voyages to the farthest outreaches of our galaxy, tales of adventure and discovery play an integral role in the creation of children's literature. Before movies and television, fantastic stories fired the imagination of young readers," says Daniel.

Books, like the boys' and girls' annual -- gift books which contained many stories and pictures -- and much loved favourites, The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland, are held in various forms in Monash University Library's collections.

The Library has four collections of children's books located in the Peninsula Library and the Matheson Library-based collections of Teaching Materials, the Melbourne Centre for Japanese Language Education (MCJLE) and the Lindsay Shaw Collection in Rare Books.






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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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About the Blog

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

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