Everyone’s noticing the cost of living at the moment. And when you’re a student juggling your studies with a job, time is money. Here’s ten tips to help save money and time by using the library.
The LILAC 2022 conference in Manchester this April was a challenge and a pleasure to attend : my first real life, in person conference for two years! I put aside my laptop with the distraction of its constant stream of email to concentrate on being present in the conference and using my LILAC notebook and pen.
Alongside my colleagues, I was there to present papers about the projects we’d delivered in the COVID years, including LibSmart, our online information literacy course. We’ve developed LibSmart I to develop student information literacy skills to support student transition into the first years of an undergraduate course, and LibSmart II to support student transition into Honours and PG dissertation research. We had lots of great questions about the courses, and interest from Uppsala and Gothenberg Universities in Sweden who are keen to develop similar projects.
Student transitions in information literacy was a key theme of the conference. I attended a session by Paul Newnham on Information literacy and the transition to university education : Reflections and initial findings from Lancaster University. This research study aimed to understand student needs for information literacy and how the Library can support students with information literacy and critical thinking skills. Using qualitative data from groups in Blackpool Sixth Form College and Lancaster University, the study found that both lecturers and teachers thought that students’ ability to find information had deteriorated over the last 10-15 years. However there was wide understanding of the importance of referencing and plagiarism.
On 2-4 November I attended the LibPMC Conference (International Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries). The conference content was really varied, including a focus on the needs of stakeholders and communities and actively using qualitative and quantitative data to improve services and the user experience. Here are some highlights.
- But can it last? How the pandemic transformed our relationship with data. Dr Frankie Wilson, Bodleian Library
- Knowledge is PowerBI: How data visualisation helped inform services during the pandemic. Elaine Sykes, Liverpool John Moore’s University
- Using return on investment to tell the story of library value and library values. Prof Scott HW Young, Prof Hannah McKelvey – Montana State University
- Assembling a Virtual Student Library Advisory Board during COVID-19. Prof Chantelle Swaren, Prof Theresa Liedtka – University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
- Charting the Change: Analysing How Online Delivery Made A Difference to Who Is Accessing Academic Skills Programmes. Louise Makin, Academic Engagement Manager, Liverpool John Moores University.
On 7 June I attended a CILIPS conference session on Decoloniality and the library: the case at Goldsmiths, University of London, by Marilyn Clarke, Director of Library Services at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Marilyn started off with a quote from Desmond Tutu “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” What can we do as librarians to be more than neutral?
At Goldsmiths, a Liberate our library working group was set up to look at this question. They started out by asking : do students see library spaces, books on the shelves, which looks like them? Do students see themselves when they come into the library?
On Monday 5 May I attended the Critical Approaches to Libraries 2021 conference, a really interesting and dynamic gathering exploring all aspects of critical practice in libraries. My first session was A novel data solution to analyse the diversity of reading lists – The case of Imperial College London Masters in Public Health by Robyn Price (Bibliometrics Manager) and Mark Skopec (Research Assistant – Primary Care and Public Health) at Imperial. This was a research project piloted on a masters course at Imperial, which aimed to create a decolonisation reading list checklist/toolkit, addressing diversity and geographic representation in reading lists. Continue reading
When coronavirus restrictions began in March 2020, the University of Edinburgh had to close some libraries and change some library services. But Academic Support Librarians haven’t gone away. We may have been working from home, but we’ve been busy helping students to get the best out of the library. So what have we been doing?
- Keeping you updated
From the start of lockdown the Library Academic Support team web editors have maintained the Library Updates page to provide an overview of the library services available to you during coronavirus restrictions.
- Helping you to get the books and journals you need
Coronavirus restrictions made it difficult to access the print library collections for your courses. We listened to what you needed and worked with our Library Acquisitions colleagues to purchase new digital versions of texts you could access remotely. We couldn’t get everything we wanted – sometimes publisher prices were just too high (see this reported in the press) and sometimes what you needed simply wasn’t available as a library e-book. But we worked to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on new digital content to meet student needs.
- Giving help and advice for your dissertation research
We understand that researching your dissertation during coronavirus restrictions is a huge challenge. We’ve offered you help and advice on your library research by email and, if you needed it, a chance to meet online for a chat, with multiple librarian appointments available every week (we’ve met over two hundred students so far this academic year). Plus, we’ve run online Dissertation Festivals in October 2020 and March 2021 with events highlighting the wealth of digital resources available from the library and beyond to support your dissertation research.
- Writing an information literacy online course
We want every student to have the digital skills they need to use online library resources, so they don’t miss out on any of the resources and support that’s available to them. So we’ve written an online course, LibSmart, to help you develop key information literacy skills to navigate the library landscape for your studies and succeed at university.
- Making videos
We’ve delivered over two hundred live information literacy classes to students this academic year, but during coronavirus restrictions we know that you can’t always make it to a class when it’s happening. That’s why we’ve created over a hundred videos, many of them bitesize, so you can find out what you need to know about the library, when you need to know it.
Christine Love-Rodgers, Academic Support Librarian
Unfortunately, not every print book in our collections is available as an e-book.
So what can you do to source a digital copy of an essential book, when the library print collections are not accessible, e.g. due to Lockdown rules?
Firstly, double check on DiscoverEd for the title you need. You can filter your search results by “online resource” to double check in case there is an ebook there. For more guidance on how to do this, check out the recording of our session ‘How to find online library resources for your studies using DiscoverEd‘.
Then consider whether the Scan & Deliver service could be useful, if you just need one chapter of a print book or 1 journal article.
Consider using the Inter Library Loan service to get digitised journal articles or book chapters.
You can also use the student Request a Book (RAB) service to ask the library to purchase an ebook or another copy of a print book.
You could also try the various online archives of (sometimes ‘out of print’) books. Here is a list, in no particular order:
5: Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)
8: Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
If you need a complete book, consider whether you can purchase a cheap second hand copy yourself, eg using an ethical online bookshop such as wordery https://wordery.com/ or bookshop.org https://uk.bookshop.org/
For more information about open access educational resources and advice, take a look at the University of Edinburgh Open.Ed resource.
If you are feeling very stuck about what to do, please do contact your Academic Support Librarian for help, advice and support.
Jane Furness, Academic Support Librarian
Welcome to the Academic Support Librarians blog! You can find out more about the Library Academic Support team here.
We’ll be using this blog to highlight our generic information literacy activity, events and projects. We already have several great ASL blogs for individual Schools, but this will be a blog for every member of the ASL team. Above all we’re aiming to tell the story of the work our team does to support students and staff at the University of Edinburgh.