Posts by Anne Sherwin

Finding Patents

4 July 2017

Looking for patents? Anne shows you where you can find them.

Patents are useful as they can show the latest technological development in a particular field, and often describe significant developments long before they are revealed elsewhere. If you are working in a field of engineering, for example, and need to think of a design solution to a particular problem you might like to look at some patents for inspiration.

Scopus

You might be familiar with Scopus for finding journal articles, but did you know it provides access to over 28 million patents from five patent offices as well?

  • European Patent Office
  • Japan Patent Office
  • UK Intellectual Property Office
  • US Patent & Trademark Office
  • World Intellectual Property Organization

To access Scopus go to the Library’s Resources page, click the letter ‘S‘, select ‘SCOPUS’, then click ‘Link to Database’.

Scopus search screen

re-order by relevance

Because the patents on Scopus are drawn from different offices, the pages you click through to will look different – but look for links called “Image” or “Original Document”, etc.

You might find some great designs:

USPTO 595629

And you will almost certainly find some strange ones:

JPS 6031276

I think this cat has every right to look alarmed, don’t you?

 

Do you know how to reference a patent?

A reference for a patent is in this format:

Inventor, A. B. (Year). Title of patent. Patent Office No. Patent number.

For example:

Ichihara, A., & Maruta, F. (1984). Cat Washing Bag. Japan Patent Office No. JPS59139052U

Now here’s the tricky part!

Your in-text citation uses the Patent Office number and year, but not the inventor.
So this one would be:
(Japan Patent No. JPS59139052U, 1984) or
Japan Patent No. JPS59139052U (1984).

If you wish though, you can include the inventors’ names in your text, for example:

Ichihara and Maruta’s innovative design (Japan Patent No. JPS59139052U, 1984) helped restrain cats for the purpose of washing …

World Giraffe Day

21 June 2017

Today is World Giraffe Day, an annual event supported by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation to celebrate the longest-necked animal in the world on the longest day of the year (or longest night if you happen to be on the other side of the planet).

giraffe

Not only is 21st June the longest day, it is also the First Day of Summer – and this means that the Summer Wordscope workshops are about to begin. This is a great opportunity to improve your academic writing skills – becoming a conscious, coherent and skilled writer will increase your chances of a higher class degree – and help you with your career after graduation.

Learn more about Summer Wordscope here.

Go on, stick your neck out!

Explore ESDU

15 June 2017

Need engineering design methods and data? Anne shows you where you can find these.

Do you need access to design methods and data for aeronautical, mechanical or structural engineering?

 

little logoESDU (Engineering Sciences Data Unit) provides data, software tools and design methods that have been monitored, guided and rigorously tested and validated by technical committees comprised of leading experts from industry, academia and government organisations from around the world.

In short, this is information you can trust.

 

What’s more, you won’t find this information on Google or Wikipedia – in in many cases the data and information is unpublished and only available through ESDU.

When you are designing or building something, you don’t want it to fall apart, do you?

 

Access ESDU through Library Search.

Go to sign in if you are working off-campus.
ESDU2

When ESDU opens read the Agreement and click the Yes, I accept… button.

Not sure where to start?

ESDU5

ESDU4

Once you are familiar with the types of information you can find on ESDU, try using the Search box to find the things you need.

Hop to it!

28 April 2017

Tomorrow is Save the Frogs Day

– the world’s largest day of amphibian conservation and education. You can read more about it on their website.

frog

Meanwhile, for many of you, your own year of education is nearly at its end –

and exams are just around the corner.

Many of us find exams quite alarming, but don’t worry, Skills for Learning has lots of advice to help with

You can find lots of good tips on Twitter too skillupUS and #SalfordSmart.

As well as the academic preparation for exams, taking care of your health will help you cope with stress and improve your chances of success. Try to eat well, get plenty of sleep and find time get some fresh air and exercise. The Wellbeing Service has lots of good advice to help you be at your best.

And if you are out walking this weekend, please take care where you step. You never know where a frog might be.

What is Critical Analysis…

27 March 2017

Want to improve your critical analysis skills? Anne shows you how.

and why do I need it?

 

During your time at university you will often be asked to critically analyse things – in your reading and writing, in essay titles, assignment instructions and exam questions.

Also, when your assignment is marked your tutor might comment that your work is “too descriptive” or that “there isn’t enough critical analysis”.

What does it all mean?

Descriptive writing is simply describing a situation or summarising what you have read.

Critical analysis shows that you have examined the evidence, understood the arguments and analysed the conclusions – and can discuss these in your own writing.
examine the evidence

You need to use both. If you are discussing a book, article or report you will need to provide some description of what it is about before you can analyse it, but the critical or analytical element of your writing is more important.

Why?

Because the ability to show that you can identify arguments, clearly analyse, evaluate and compare ideas, and synthesise the information to support your own arguments shows that you have learnt something.

This what your tutors want to see!

Unsurprisingly, the better your skills are, the better your grades will be.

Want to learn more?

This e-Learning will introduce you to critical analysis and help you to understand the difference between descriptive and critical writing.

Play Critical Analysis e-Learning

 

It’s Hedgehog Day

2 February 2017

hedgehog

Today, 2nd February, is Hedgehog Day, and this little fellow has been brushing up on his Skills for Learning.

He is doing his best to Get Ahead.

He has set up his device for learning, found his reading lists, learned how to find information for his assignments, improved his writing skills, and now knows how to reference the information he has used. What a great start to the semester!

Don’t you think he looks a bit tired now though?

Aren’t Librarians Lovely?

21 November 2016

Did you know that every School has an Academic Support Librarian, who has specialised subject knowledge and is here to help you use Library resources and get the most out of your studies?

You might have already met your Academic Support Librarian in an induction or Library Skills class, but did you know that you can also contact him or her for individual help?

Your Librarian can help you design search strategies, access key databases for your subject area and use them effectively so you find the best information for your assignments or research, show you how to reference that information correctly, provide support for Distance Learners, and use the myriad of Library resources and facilities available to you at Salford.

Here we all are!

lovely librarians 2016

Do you know which one is yours?

To find your Librarian go to http://www.salford.ac.uk/library/help/academic-supportor collect our business cards from the Service Desk when you next visit the Library.

Then please get in touch with us!

Ambiguous Citations

15 July 2016

Or, how do you know what is what?

questions

Let’s start with the basics:

When you are referencing your information sources you use citations within your text. These are brief, just names and a date in brackets, in your text.

Then at the end of your essay or assignment you have a reference list. This is a list of everything you have cited, with each reference providing the full details of the works you have cited in your writing.

This means if someone reading your work sees an interesting idea they can use the citation to find the matching reference, and then use the details in the reference to find the original work to read for themselves.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Yes, usually it is. But sometimes a citation might match two references, for example, an author might have written two papers in the same year and you have used both of them in your essay, or you might have two different authors with the same surname writing in the same year.

Which one is which?

These are called Ambiguous Citations, and when this happens you need to add extra information to your citations to differentiate them.

Part 1: Same author, same year

zombie writing
The same author has written two or more works in the same year.

To tell these apart, simply add the letters a, b, c, etc. after the year, for example:

(Davis, 1983a) and (Davis, 1983b)

If you are citing these two works together, treat them like this (Davis, 1983a, 1983b).

Here’s the tricky part! Assign the letters a, b, etc. in the order the works will appear in your reference list – which is not necessarily the same order they will appear in your writing.

You reference list is arranged alphabetically by author, then year, then title. P comes before T, so these two references will be ordered like this:

Davis, E. W. (1983a). Preparation of the Haitian zombi poison. Botanical Museum Leaflets, Harvard University, 29(2), 139-149.

Davis, E. W. (1983b). The ethnobiology of the Haitian zombi. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 9(1), 85-104. doi: 10.1016/0378-8741(83)90029-6

Part 2: Different authors, same name, same year

two zombies writing

Sometimes you might cite two or more works by different authors who have the same surname. If they have been written in different years this isn’t a problem, your reader will be able tell the apart. But what if they have been written in the same year?

Add each authors’ initials to the citation, before the surname:

(F. Parker, 2011) and (J. Parker, 2011)

Now when your reader looks at your reference list it is clear which work is which:

Parker, F. (2011). What would Foucault Think about Speed Runs, Jeep Jumps, and Zombie? In L. Cuddy (Ed.), Halo and Philosophy: Intellect Evolved (pp. 161-175). Chicago: Open Court.

Parker, J. (2011). Our zombies, ourselves: why we can’t get the undead off our brains. Atlantic Monthly, 307(3), 32-33.

Ahh, but what if the authors have the same surname and the same initial? Then you should write their given names in full:

(James Parker, 2011) and (John Parker, 2011).

Part 3: Multiple authors, same first author, same year

Okay, this is getting complicated now. Bear with me.

Quite often you will get research teams working together and writing papers together, and sometimes they will write several papers in a year.

research team

If you are familiar with the APA 6th style of referencing used here at Salford you will already know that when you have a work with three to five authors you list all their names the first time you cite the work, and in subsequent citations, just the first author followed by et al. – which is an abbreviation for “and others”.

So if you have a work written by five people list all their names the first time you cite it, like this (Maxwell, Scourfield, Holland, Featherstone, & Lee, 2012) and then when you cite it again you only need to name the first author followed by et al., like this (Maxwell et al., 2012).

But what if Maxwell and her research team wrote more than one paper in 2012?
They did.
Here’s the other one: (Maxwell, Scourfield, Featherstone, Holland, & Tolman, 2012).

In a case like this you can’t use (Maxwell et al., 2012) for subsequent citations, because you won’t be able to tell which work is which in the reference list.

To differentiate them you need to add more authors until the citations are unique.

In this example the first two authors are the same so you will have to list the first three authors in subsequent citations: (Maxwell, Scourfield, Featherstone, et al., 2012) and (Maxwell, Scourfield, Holland, et al., 2012).

To sum all of this up: if you can’t tell which reference a citation is pointing to, add more information to the citation until you can.

Explore ESDU

4 July 2016

Do you need access to design methods and data for aeronautical, mechanical or structural engineering?

 

little logoESDU (Engineering Sciences Data Unit) provides data, software tools and design methods that have been monitored, guided and rigorously tested and validated by technical committees comprised of leading experts from industry, academia and government organisations from around the world.

In short, this is information you can trust.

 

What’s more, you won’t find this information on Google or Wikipedia – in in many cases the data and information is unpublished and only available through ESDU.

When you are designing or building something, you don’t want it to fall apart, do you?

 

Access ESDU through Library Search.

ESDU6
 
ESDU2

When ESDU opens read the Agreement and click the Yes, I accept… button.
 

Not sure where to start?

ESDU5

ESDU4

Once you are familiar with the types of information you can find on ESDU, try using the Search box to find the things you need.

World Giraffe Day

21 June 2016

Today is World Giraffe Day, an annual event supported by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation to celebrate the longest-necked animal in the world on the longest day of the year (or longest night if you happen to be on the other side of the planet).

giraffe

Not only is 21st June the longest day, it is also the First Day of Summer – and this means that the Skills for Learning Summer School is underway. From now until the end of June we are running workshops which cover a range of areas, from finding information for your assignments, improving your study skills and building or refreshing your IT skills.

Click the link above to see what’s available, and book on to some courses to help you get a head start on your work. We’ll look forward to seeing you there.

Go on, stick your neck out!