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.
It’s time for the second blog! These dissertation festival blogs are an opportunity for me to share my thoughts on the Dissertation Festival Events I have attended. For those who don’t know, the Library’s Dissertation Festival is a collaborative effort from the Library, Digital Skills department and Institute of Academic Development (IAD). They have shared a series of virtual events to provide students with the knowledge and resources to make the most out of their dissertations or theses. To find out more about the festival, click HERE, and you can see my previous blog HERE.
Hopefully, you should all be aware of the University Library and its associated buildings. Something you may not be conscious of are all the online and offline resources they have on offer. I must admit, even I (a student intern within the Library and University Collections department) am not 100% sure what “RaB” means or that you could easily filter your results on DiscoverEd (see the image below). I learned that and more in the “How to use the Library remotely for your dissertation” event.
The session began by covering the basics of accessing resources. For online materials, that meant a comprehensive tutorial on how to search on DiscoverEd and a discussion as to why you may need to use the University’s VPN to obtain specific resources. Print was a little bit trickier to communicate (understandably), but directions were given to regularly check the Library Services Update page for the latest information in response to Government Guidelines.
For finding resources about a particular research area, Library Databases are a great place to go. They can give you a window into the literature you are interested in and contain specialist resources produced by experts. If you are unsure what you are looking for, the Library has made searching easier as you can browse databases based on by subject or as a complete A-Z list!
Now, I am sure at this point you are wondering what is “RaB”? During the session, I learned that if the Library doesn’t have the book you require, or it is only available as a print version, you can … Request a Book (RaB). It is such an excellent service that I am sure be beneficial for anyone, not only those completing their dissertation. Another valuable service feature offered by the Library are Inter-Library Loans (ILLs) which enable you to request digital copies of articles and book chapters from other libraries!
Thoughts and Conclusion
If I were to summarise this session in just one saying, it would be “It’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks”. During the event, I was pleasantly surprised by all the new knowledge I gained, especially about DiscoverEd – a service I have been regularly using over the past 4 years! I was also reminded about other fantastic resources and features supported by the Library, which would help you with your dissertation, thesis, and even general studies!
If you are interested in the session and want to check it out, you can find it HERE!
Thanks for checking out the blog, see you at the next one.
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