Posts about: Information Skills

Finding pictures the legal way (1/3)

21 June 2017

When you’re looking for pictures to illustrate or enhance your academic work, how do you search? Do you ‘copy and paste’ from the internet, as a student recently told me? Or simply type your search term in that old reliable, Google?

Unless you’re careful, searching like this can contravene copyright law and potentially get you into legal trouble. Whenever you find an image through a regular Google search, there’s a good chance that it either:

  • has a license which forbids you to use it, or
  • has no license at all

Assuming that you didn’t ask for prior permission to use the content, it’s illegal to use it if either of these two cases applies.

Fortunately, there are various ways to search for images that are OK to use in your academic work, for presentations and in your professional life. Here are the two simplest ones.

  1. If you want to use Google, here’s how to search for pictures on Google the legal way:
  • Go to Google and type in your search term.
  • Do an image search.
  • Click Tools
  • Click Usage Rights
  • Select ‘licenced for reuse’
  • All the pictures that display are fine for you to use.

2) Another option is to use the inbuilt creative commons image search within Microsoft Word and PowerPoint (in versions 2013 and 2016). From within your document, go to the ‘Insert’ menu on the ribbon and select ‘Online Pictures’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This will take you to a Bing search engine which will return Creative Commons (ie safe to use) images for you.

Sometimes, the results from Google and Microsoft alone may be disappointing. Next time: some alternative safe search engines for pictures that will give you brilliant results.

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What’s more, you won’t find this information on Google or Wikipedia – in in many cases the data and information is unpublished and only available through ESDU.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

Looking for newspaper articles? – Try Nexis Business and News

22 May 2017

If you are searching for full text newspaper articles on almost any topic, Nexis Business and News is a great place to start. It provides content from local, regional and national papers from around the world.

You can find Nexis via Library search, which gives access to all the Library’s resources.

  1. Connect to Library Search
  2. Search for Nexis Business and News
  3. The database should be the first item in the search results. Click on the link for online access

You can use the search box to type in keywords, but your search will be more focussed, if you set some other criteria.

It may be helpful l to –

  • Select where your keywords must appear – either in the headline, at the start of the article, or maybe as “major mentions”
  • Select which dates you want to search.
  • Select what which news publications you want to search. For example you may want to restrict your search to UK National Newspapers, or to Major World Publications (English)

The full text of any articles you find can be read on screen, or downloaded as a file for you to save.

For more guidance, look for the links to help screens and video tutorials on the main search page.

 

 

Want to watch a good film? – Try Box of Broadcasts

12 May 2017

Did you know that you have access to an enormous number of films via Box of Broadcasts?

By Joanna Wilson
Academic Support Librarian

Box of Broadcasts (often referred to as BoB), contains recordings of TV and radio programmes, including recordings of lots of films.

Whether you want to explore the work of a particular director, watch a film from your favourite genre, analyse a classic film, or just take a break from your studies, you can check whether a film is available to you via BoB.

Connecting to Box of Broadcasts –

Go via Library Search, which gives access to all the Library’s resources.

  • Connect to the University’s Library Search (via this link, or use Google by searching for Library Search Salford)
  • Sign in to Library Search with your network username and password
  • Type Box of Broadcasts in the search box.
  • Box of Broadcasts should be the first item in the results list. Click on the online access link.
  • If you haven’t used BoB before you will be asked to set up a profile – it’s quick and easy, but make sure you use your university email address.

Tips for finding the film you want to watch –

 Simple search –

In Box of Broadcasts – click on the Search button and enter your film title.

Pick out the film from the results list, click on the title and enjoy!

 Search Options –

If you get too many results and can’t see your film, use the Search Options. Restricting your search to Title Only, may narrow down the results enough for you to pick out the film you want.

If the title uses very common words, you may need to add more information by including an actor or director’s name. If you do this you can’t search Titles only, so select Exclude transcripts or All fields instead.

Happy viewing!

Library Resources for Nursing Students

24 April 2017

The library subscribes to a number of databases which specialise in your subject area. They are not available freely via the web, so you won’t be able to find the resources we have here by using Google. They give you access to quality, up to date, peer-reviewed material such as journal articles, case studies and research papers.

To begin with, you may want to search for books using Library search. If you want to do an in-depth search for journals relating to a particular topic you might find it easier to search within a subject database.

It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with these databases and learn how to use them. They’re a great source of information and will be useful throughout your time at Salford.

 

Key Databases

CINAHL stands for the Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature. Designed specifically for academic institutions, it is a multi-disciplinary database of over 1200 peer reviewed midwifery and nursing journals and publications dating back to 1982. It is part of the EBSCO collection of databases. We have a number of user guides and support videos here.

Medline

British Nursing Index is a leading database for support of practice, education, and research for nurses, midwives, and health providers in the UK or following UK practice. It provides references to literature in the most relevant nursing and midwifery journals. Also included are relevant nursing articles from selected medical, allied health, community and health management journals.
Coverage is mainly titles published in the UK from 1994 to present.

Intermid, Internurse and MA Healthcare

Alexander Street Video – great resource for all subject areas

11 April 2017
Andy Callen

Andy describes how Alexander Street Video might be a useful audio-visual resource for you.

Do you need to get hold of video material for your study or teaching, but it’s not on Box of Broadcasts or in the Library’s DVD collection?

Try Alexander Street Video, an online collection of non-fiction video material for educational use, potentially useful across all subject areas. It includes:

  • News clips from ITN
  • Instructional videos for teachers
  • Over 1,000 films on psychology and counselling
  • Numerous documentary films on artists and designers.

Access Alexander Street Video from the Databases link on Library Search, OR directly from search.alexanderstreet.com. Your Network username and password are required.

Any questions? Contact me at mailto:A.Callen@salford.ac.uk.

Fake News

7 April 2017

Be a savvy news consumer – Joanna gives some useful reminders.

Fake news has become a hot news topic! We all want our news to be accurate, truthful, and honest, so how do you sort out truth from lies, or identify exaggerated stories, or facts reported out of context?

The simplest strategy is to make sure you get your news from a variety of sources – don’t get stuck in your own media “bubble”. Be critical and analyse any news you share on social media.  We all have a responsibility not to spread lies.

There are no hard and fast rules, but here are some things to think about –

  • Beware sensational headlines. Not every shocking headline is associated with fake news – but it’s a warning sign.
  • Be very cautious about stories intended to prompt an extreme emotional response, particularly anger. Verify the story from other known, reliable sources.
  • Check whether other “mainstream” news sources are reporting the story.
  • Take a look at the domain name. Does it suggest a bias, or potential unreliability?
  • Check out the “About us” tab, or look at the contact details. Is the content attributable to a “real” person, or an identifiable organisation? Do they have a particular agenda? Look for more information about the author or organisation.
  • Look for supporting evidence. Use a fact checking site if appropriate (FullFact.org Factcheck.org, Politifact.com, Snopes.com etc). Follow up links to research studies, or data sources. Ask yourself if they are authoritative. Look for other reports about the same study. Remember fake news doesn’t have to be “made up”. Facts reported selectively can be dangerously misleading.

Looking for more?

For a more comprehensive overview of Fake News and how to spot it, check out the University of Rhode Island’s excellent resource

News Literacy and Alternative Facts: How to Be a Responsible Information Consumer

And Remember –

As University students you should routinely evaluate all the resources you use for your own research and assignments, particularly anything found via internet sources.

  1. How up-to-date is the information? Is it still current?
  2. Is this information source going to help me write my essay? Is it relevant to my topic?
  3. Is this “the right sort” of information – is it suitable for academic purposes? Is the author an expert in this subject area? Is the information reliable and accurate?
  4. Why has this information been written? What is its purpose? Is there any bias I need to take account of?

Planning and writing your assignment – your 5 steps to essay success!

20 March 2017
Amy Pearson

This time of year is all about assignments. Amy has shared the Skills for Learning 5 steps to essay success!

It’s that time of year again when deadlines are looming so we thought we’d share with you our 5 steps to essay success.

  • Step 1: Analyse and Plan
  • Step 2: Search and Evaluate
  • Step 3: Read and Make Notes
  • Step 4: Write your Essay
  • Step 5: Review and Submit

Read on to learn more about each step!

 

 

 

Step 1: Analyse and PlanStep 1: Analyse and Plan

When you are given a question or task to complete you need to make sure that you understand what you are being asked to do and then plan how you will approach it. If you don’t answer the question being set you are more likely to get a low mark. With this in mind, the first step to essay success is to ANALYSE and PLAN. This involves analysing your task, making a plan and identifying useful words that describe your topic. You need to make sure that you pay attention to the instructions you have been given, be clear about the topic you have been asked to explore and any restrictions to the scope of your answer.


Step 2: Search and EvaluateStep 2: Search and Evaluate

Next you need to search for information and evaluate the usefulness of what you find. You need to think about what you already know and where you could search for information. A useful way of evaluating sources is to ask yourself these questions:
1. How up-to-date is the information? Is it still CURRENT?
2. Is this information source going to help me write my essay? Is it RELEVANT to my topic?
3. Is this “the right sort” of information – is it suitable for academic purposes? Is the author an expert in this subject area? Is the information reliable and ACCURATE?
4. Why has this information been written? What is its PURPOSE? Is there any bias I need to take account of?


Step 3: Read and Make NotesStep 3: Read and Make Notes

Now you have your materials together, it’s time to start getting the information that you need from them. There are different ways to approach this task depending on what you are reading. If it is books then you might want to start by looking at the chapter headings to decide which will be most useful. If it is a journal article then it is a good idea to read the abstract first as this help you decide whether it is worth reading in detail. Next you need to read the introduction as this will tell you about the main argument of the article. Read the conclusion next for a summary of the main ideas and finally if you still think it is relevant you may want to read the rest in detail. Make sure you annotate and summarise as you read.

 


Step 4: Write your EssayStep 4: Write your Essay

By now you should have a good idea about how you are going to answer the question. It is a good idea to re-visit your plan as it may have changed as a result of all the research and reading you have done! Give some thought to how you will structure your essay – it will need an introduction, a main body and a conclusion. The introduction tells the reader how you will answer the question. The main body is the ideas and analysis to support your argument, it is your opportunity to critically analyse the topic. Finally, the conclusion tells the reader how you have answered the question. Don’t forget to paraphrase, summarise and reference correctly as you write.

 


Step 5: Review and SubmitStep 5: Review and submit

Leave plenty of time to proofread your work paying particular attention to spelling, grammar, the question, word count and references and citations. When you are happy with your essay and confident that you have done your best to answer the question you can submit it.

 

 


Learn more

  1. Have a look at our 5 Steps to Essay Success online resource for more detail about each step.
  2. Read our study guides:
    – Writing your assignment
    – Reading and note making
    – Spelling and apostrophes
    – Proof Reading
  3. Book on to the Planning and Writing your Assignment workshop

LS:N – reminder of a great resource in Design

20 February 2017
Andy Callen

Read why Andy thinks LS:N is a great electronic resource.

Just wanted to remind you about the excellent electronic resource for all Design subjects, LS:N Global. LS:N is a trend prediction database that complements the use of WGSN (for Fashion) and Mintel (general business reports). It is extremely useful for business information and analysis, it has up-to-date and easily readable articles that can inform your written work, and great illustrations to inspire your creative work. LS:N is also potentially very useful for other subject areas such as Business and Management.

It’s the kind of database that is best explored by clicking on all its links, but particularly recommended are:

  • The Search function if you’re looking for a particular topic; there are also Filters to limit your search further. Try a search for youth to get results on youth fashion and the importance of youth trends in influencing design.
  • The Trends link for the consumer trends that drive innovation and change in design.
  • Inform for the opinions of industry experts, which would be especially useful for your assignments.
  • There is a Glossary at the bottom of the screen that gives you definitions for the terms used in the articles.

You access LS:N from www.lsnglobal.com  or from the A-Z list in Databases, from Library Search (the Library Catalogue). Please note you will need your Network username and password to access it off campus.

Any questions? Please contact me (Andy Callen) at A.Callen@salford.ac.uk .

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?