Posts about: Environment and Life Sciences

Creating accessible documents with SensusAccess

26 June 2018
Tracy Breheny

Tracy talks about making documents accessible using SensusAccess.

Students and staff can use SensusAccess to convert documents into a range of alternate media including audio books (MP3 and DAISY), e-books (EPUB, EPUB3 and Mobi) and digital Braille.

SensusAccess can also be used to convert inaccessible documents such as image-only PDF files, JPG pictures and Microsoft PowerPoint presentations into more accessible and less tricky formats.

To use the service:

  1. Upload your file.
  2. Choose the type of file you would like returned.
  3. Enter your University email address. A link to your converted file will be emailed for you to open or download.

Information on different types of files

Conditions of use

You can make an accessible copy if you own the copyright (e.g. it’s your own work), have permission from the copyright holder, if the copyright has expired, or if it’s for someone with disability. If you use SensusAccess, so you need to agree to the following terms and conditions: read more

Sage Research Methods Videos

9 May 2018

Looking to undertake some research this year? Need some expert help and guidance? SAGE Research Methods is the essential online resource for anyone doing research or learning how to do research. With more than 800 books, reference works, journal articles, and videos, it provides information on writing a research question, conducting a literature review, choosing a research method, collecting and analyzing data, and writing up the findings. SAGE Research Methods’ coverage spans the full range of research methods used in the social and behavioral sciences, plus a wide range of methods commonly used in science, technology, medicine, and the humanities. read more

Exams… preparation is the key!

4 May 2018
Tracy Breheny

Tracy tells you how to find past exam papers to help with your exam preparation.

Got exams coming up?  Looking over past exam papers can be really useful when preparing for an exam.   The Library has a collection of past exam papers which are all available electronically.

To find past exam papers, you need to:

  1. Go to our past exam paper webpage here: http://www.salford.ac.uk/library/research/exam-papers
  2. Type in a couple of keywords to limit your search; often words from the module title bring back useful results.
  3. You will then be presented with a list of past exam papers we have access to that match your search. When you find the one you would like to look at, click on the title and you will be able to open it.
  4. If you are off-campus, you will be requested to sign in with your network username and password to view them.

Want to see how to find them?  Check out this video:

If you have any problem accessing past exam papers, please contact your Academic Support Librarian for further help: http://www.salford.ac.uk/library/help/academic-support

There is also lots of help with exam preparation and revision tecniques available on our Skills for Learning webpage here: http://www.salford.ac.uk/skills-for-learning/home/assessment-revision-and-exams so take a look! read more

Getting the most out of Library Search

16 April 2018
Tracy Breheny

Tracy tells you how to use Library Search smarter!

Trying to find sources for your academic work can be difficult, time consuming and overwhelming.  Sometimes, even deciding where to look can be tricky!  But fear not, help is at hand!

Library Search can make your academic life easier by helping you to find a range of reliable and trustworthy sources for your work.  It contains a wealth of information to help you make the most of your studies, including books/eBooks, journals/eJournals, articles, databases, past exam papers, the University’s research, the University’s Archives and Special Collections and more. read more

Using Dictionaries and Encyclopaedias

12 January 2018

Want to use something better than Wikipedia for your assignments? Anne suggests some alternatives.

When you get given a new assignment do you head straight to Wikipedia to find out what the words mean?

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – if you’re going to research a topic and write about it you need to know what it is, right? However, Wikipedia is a crowd-sourced resource – meaning you don’t know who has written the information, or more importantly, if they know what they’re writing about.

The Library provides online access to a wealth of dictionaries and encyclopaedias, and other publications such as directories and handbooks, which are known as reference works. read more

Specialist software locations

27 November 2017
Tracy Breheny

Tracy shows you where to find specialist software and MACs in the Library.

Clifford Whitworth Library contains a number of designated PCs with specialist software on them.

The PCs are labelled, indicating which ones have the software on, and are all available 24/7.

Specialist software available in Clifford Whitworth Library includes:

  • AutoCAD
  • AutoDesk BDS
  • ChemSketch
  • Datastream
  • Estate Manager
  • Inspiration
  • Linux
  • Sibelius
  • Wind

To help you find them, we have some maps showing where the PCs are located in Clifford Whitworth Library:

Clifford Whitworth Library specialist software locations

We also have MACs available in the Library, should you need them: read more

Is formatting your dissertation/thesis harder than you expected?

17 July 2017

If you’re struggling with word processing your dissertation/thesis, then you’re not alone. It can be a demanding task, with many students find this aspect of the process more time consuming and stressful than they anticipated. But MS Word provides tools and features that make this task so much easier to manage. You can save time, learn the skills to work more effectively and reduce your anxiety levels too.

Do you know how to…?

  • Create an automatic table of contents for your document headings?
  • Apply Word’s ‘Captions’ for figures and tables, and create automatic listings for them?
  • Apply different page numbering formats to the different parts of your document?
  • Change page orientation mid-document, e.g. to accommodate a large chart?

No? What??? Then you need to check out our handbook and video resources… read more

Email etiquette tips

30 June 2017
Email etiquette cartoon

Cham, J. (2015). How to write an e-mail to your instructor or T.A. Retrieved from http://phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=1795

When emailing friends it is fine to use an a familiar and informal style, however, when you write an email about a job application or internship, an interview or when emailing your tutors it is good practice to adopt a more formal style.

Tips for writing a formal email:

  • First impressions count – Think about your email address a prospective employer might remember you for all the wrong reasons if you contact them using an email address such as wildandcrazygeek@gmail.com.  It is a much better idea to use your university email account – you can forward emails from this account to your personal email using the instructions here.
  • Include a greeting– if you know your tutor using their first name in the greeting is fine. If you do not have a familiar relationship with them then use their family name e.g. Dear Dr. Smith.  If you are applying for a job and don’t know the name of the person who will be reading your email it is good practice to include the greeting Dear Sir or Madam.
  • Use the subject line and be informative – try to avoid just typing “hello” or “help”. If emailing your tutor tell them why you are contacting them e.g. Query about case study in Clinical Skills lecture.  If you are applying for a job include details about the job being applied for e.g. Application for Library Assistant post ref: LIB/6291.
  • Avoid text speak – Save ROFL and YOLO for emails to friends. Use full sentences and punctuation when emailing tutors and prospective employers.  Use the spell check to make sure your message is correct before pressing send.
  • DON’T SHOUT – Names, dates, places, most acronyms and the start of a new sentence should be capitalised, entire sentences shouldn’t.
  • Size matters – Tutors and employers are busy people so be as concise as possible. Also avoid sending large attachments – find information about compressing files here.
  • Provide details – Give the person you are contacting the information they need to answer your query effectively e.g. if you are querying something that was said in a lecture include the date and time.
Good manners cost nothing but are always appreciated – include a please and thank you when making a request.

Photo of Sue

Sue is blogging about email etiquette.

  • Include a sign off:
    1. To a tutor – “best wishes” or “regards”
    2. To a prospective employer you have addressed as Dear Sir or Madam the sign off should be “Yours faithfully”.
    3. To a prospective employer when the name is known e.g. Dear Mr. Smith the sign off should be “Yours sincerely”.
  • The sign off should be followed by your full name. read more

    Looking for dissertations and theses? Library Search can help!

    29 May 2017
    Tracy Breheny

    Tracy talks you through finding and accessing dissertations and theses.

    During the course of your studies, you may find that you need to look for dissertations or theses.  Maybe you would like to see what other research has been undertaken in relation to your topic, or perhaps you would like to see what a dissertation or thesis looks like.

    You can use Library Search to help you find them and there are a number of different ways to search depending on what you want.

    Finding University of Salford dissertations and theses

    You can use the ‘Advanced Search’ option in Library Search to find the dissertations and theses by previous University of Salford students. read more

    Surviving your exam

    1 May 2017

    If you have exams coming up, here are some top tips to help you do your best

  • Double check the time, date and location of the exam. You don’t want to go to the wrong building or miss the exam! Also check what you’re allowed to take in with you.
  • Try not to stay up late the night before doing last-minute revision.
  • Eat a good breakfast / lunch beforehand.
  • In the exam, make sure you read the paper thoroughly from start to finish before you try to answer anything. Check the instructions (e.g. do you have to answer all of part A and choose one question from part B?) Don’t rush!
  • If it’s an essay-based exam, look at how many marks each part is worth, and split the time between the questions accordingly.
  • Plan your answer – jot down the main points you want to include, and think about how you’ll structure your answer before you start writing. If your mind’s gone blank, try and write down anything relevant you can think of, and hopefully this will help you to remember more information.
  • You don’t always have to answer the questions in order, as long as it’s clear which answer goes with which question. This is particularly useful for short answer papers, where you might want to leave a tricky question out and come back to it later.
  • Answer the question! Don’t just waffle on and tell the marker everything you know about the topic.
  • Read it through afterwards to check your answers make sense.
  • Ignore everyone else! The person next to you might have filled four answer booklets, but they could have written complete rubbish…
  • read more