We understand that research can be a daunting and difficult task, here at Westminster Reference Library, we’ve teamed up with the specialists at London South Bank University to give you some tips, tricks and advice on how to undertake your research and how to best utilise your online software!
An introductory digital skills session into Microsoft Office: including Word, PowerPoint and Excel!
Literature hunting – What is a journal article? How to use Google Scholar & learning how to evaluate information!
IT Security – Protecting your device and your files, avoiding dangerous sites and documents!
These workshops are designed for students, researchers or anyone working on a project that involves searching the internet for information. Whether you’re just starting or a more advanced researcher, we’ve got something for everyone!
Janice Johnson is the Digital Skills Training Manager at the Digital Skills Centre, London South Bank University. She has over 16 years’ experience teaching digital skills to staff, students and professional organisations.
Emma Perry is an Information Skills Librarian within the library at London South Bank University. Having worked there for over 8 years, her main role is to teach students in classes and one-to-ones about research, evaluating information and referencing.
Please note, this will be a Microsoft Teams meeting/Teams Broadcast, and, although you do not have to have Microsoft Teams downloaded to your device, you will get a better experience if you have the app.
***Please avoid using Safari – we have had reports that Safari users have issues accessing Teams live broadcasts. Please try using Chrome or any other browser – most people who experience problems when signing in find them resolved if they try using a different browser. We are really sorry for the inconvenience this may cause and are working on finding a solution.
I have recently been making the most of my time by using the very popular library edition of Ancestry, as a library member, via the RBKC libraries website. In Ancestry, censuses from different years are widely used as a tool for researching a particular address or person. It’s possible to find out more about how they lived, who they lived with, names, ages, occupations and so on. It’s a great resource if you are interested in your family history, or even the history of the house you live in. Continue reading “Census from Punch Historical Archive”→
‘Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expand access to research publications’. There’s a snazzy title for a document that I’m sure all of you have pored over. Or maybe you know it better as the Finch Report. Or maybe you don’t know it at all?
To be honest, it doesn’t matter – all any of us need to know is that it’s a Jolly Good Thing because it recommended that publicly funded research should be available to the people who paid for it: the public. Us, in fact. So Proquest (who some of you may know as the publishers of Ancestry, the fantastic online genealogical resource) were signed up to provide the ‘Access to Research’ front-end, which is about as user-friendly as it’s possible to be, and various publishers were brought on board. The current “offer” is impressive – 8,000 journals, many with long back files, containing 4 million freely-available articles. And these are from top academic publishers, 17 of them and counting, including big names like Oxford University Press and Wiley.
The range of subjects is extraordinary – some of the topics are obscure (Journal of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, anyone?) but there is plenty of more mainstream stuff (Journal of popular film and television for example). The point is that if you need access to research, esoteric or otherwise, and don’t belong to an academic library or have an awful lot of money at your disposal, you now have it.
So how does it work? You simply visit your local library – access is available in Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster, and Hammersmith & Fulham libraries, as well as many other participating library services across the UK. Log onto a library computer and, in Kensington & Chelsea, go to our Online Databases page (the Access to Resource link is available at the bottom of the page). The interface couldn’t be simpler. Just enter your search terms (as with Google, you can use inverted commas around the term if you want to search for an exact phrase, so “joan crawford” will return 102 results and joan crawford 1494). You will be asked to accept the Terms and Conditions (don’t worry – you only have to do this once each session). Do have a look at them – the most important condition is that users can’t save documents electronically although they can print out one copy of each article. Accept the T&Cs and then look at the results.
When you click on an article, it will open up in a new tab so your results list remains open. You can read most of the articles as HTML format (like a straightforward webpage) or as a PDF (probably better if you intend to print it out ).
You don’t have to do a keyword search – you can Browse All Journals, using a drop-down menu to choose a subject. Or if you choose Advanced Search you can search by Author and narrow down your results by date.
Don’t forget to return to the original search screen to make each new search. The search results pop up on the websites of the various publishers, but if you stay there and use their own search boxes, you may find that you reach areas which are not part of the scheme, and get asked to pay unnecessarily.
This is all material that has previously not been available to The Public, only to those attached to academic institutions. So we should certainly make the most of it. Happy researching!
Did you know that the name Vera is Slavic for “faith”?
Or that the Oscar statues given out at the Academy Awards are 13 1/2 inches high?
Or who said “When I was young, I found out that the big toe always ends up making a hole in a sock. So I stopped wearing socks”?*
Or what the aberration of starlight is?
You can find the answer to these questions- and more questions!- in our Oxford Reference Online database.
Oxford University Press publishes many reference, professional, and academic works including the Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford World’s Classics, and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. A number of its most important titles are now available electronically in a package called Oxford Reference Online, and are offered free to those with a K&C library membership.
Oxford Reference Online is a vast online reference resource which combines in-depth content offered by titles in the acclaimed Oxford series with authoritative, quick-reference coverage of the full subject spectrum from art to zoology and has:
Over 2 million entries across Oxford’s Dictionaries, Companions and Encyclopaedias spanning 25 different subjects
English dictionaries and bilingual dictionaries of French, German, Spanish, Italian and Latin
Thesauri, and guides to English grammar and usage
Timelines to over 2,000 key events in history including Art, Literature, Science, Technology and War
Over 12,000 illustrations – including 6,000 in full colour with fully searchable captions and 500+ full-colour maps and flags
Over 2,600 high-quality and carefully researched web links
Why not take a tour? It’s perfect for serious researchers and casual browsers alike! It is free to use and available 24/7 to library members.
A full list of online resources which the library service currently offers is available on our website.
Who’s Who is a very popular resource both locally and nationally at public libraries. It is free for library members and what sets it apart from its competitors is that each entry is provided by the biographee which essentially makes it autobiographical. It has been published annually since 1849 and is the first biographical work of its kind with approximately 1,000 entries added every year.
Inclusion has always been by prominence in public life or professional achievement. Inclusion therefore carries a considerable level of prestige.
Once someone is included in Who’s Who, he or she remains in it for life, so for example MPs are not removed when they leave Parliament.
When someone dies, their biography is transferred to Who Was Who, where they are usually printed as they appeared in the last Who’s Who, appended with their date of death.
Accessibility: Free to use and available 24/7!
Below is an example of a typical entry which includes options to print, email and cite references as well as the first time the individual appeared in Who’s Who;
This week Nina demonstrates how two very different subjects – the Titanic and Pablo Picasso – can be researched on the Times Digital Archive and UK Newsstand.
Sinking the Unsinkable
You can experience the drama of events such as the sinking of the Titanic, for example, and follow the awful event as it was reported as the news trickled in.
This is a string of some of the results you get when you search the database inserting a single search term: Titanic.
Launch Of The Titanic. Vessel Successfully Takes The Water. (News) from our special correspondent
The Times Thursday, Jun 01, 1911
The Largest Vessel Afloat. Maiden Voyage Of The Titanic. (News)
The Times Thursday, Apr 11, 1912
The Titanic Disaster. (Editorials/Leaders)
The Times Tuesday, Apr 16, 1912
Titanic Sunk. Terrible Loss Of Life Feared., Collision With An Iceberg., Official Messages. (News) (FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT.).The Times Tuesday, Apr 16, 1912
Position Of The Titanic At The Time Of The Disaster. (Picture Gallery)
The Times Tuesday, Apr 16, 1912
The Marine Insurance Market. The Disaster To The Titanic. (Shipping News)
The Times Tuesday, Apr 16, 1912
The Titanic Disaster. A Death Roll Of 1,328., List Of Survivors., World-Wide Expressions Of Sympathy. (News)
The Times Wednesday, Apr 17, 1912
New York Stock Exchange. Dull On The Loss Of The Titanic. (Stock Exchange Tables)
The Times Wednesday, Apr 17, 1912
Help For Titanic Victims. A Mansion House Fund., Donations From The King And Queen. (Letters to the Editor) THOS. BOOR CROSBY, Lord Mayor
The Times Thursday, Apr 18, 1912
The Titanic. Number Of Survivors Still Doubtful., The Supply Of Boats., Relief Fund Opened In London. (News) (FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)
The Times Thursday, Apr 18, 1912
The string of newspapers headlines eloquently illustrates how the ‘unsinkable’ ship went from this:
To this in one short week:
Fall and Rise of Picasso
In another example, the first article published in The Times about the artist, Pablo Picasso is dated 12 April1912 following the exhibition of his drawings in Stafford Gallery in Duke Street in London. It defends the artist from the accusations of being the ‘incompetent charlatan’ and discusses how the advent of photography ‘spooked’ artists like Picasso into exploring the abstract and moving away from representing form in the conventional way.
268 further results reveal the bewilderment of the established critics at the developments of this new way of artistic expression. They chart the artist’s rise through countless exhibitions, record-breaking sales, stolen works, attempts at forgery of his paintings, right through to the platitudes piled on him on the occasion of his 75th birthday, on 25th October 1956, in the article which declares him ‘among the greatest draughtsman to have appeared in the history of European art.’
…and finally his death at 91 on Monday, 9th April 1973, with The Times depicting him as the ‘greatest painter of modern times’ and a national treasure of several countries. Henry Moore calls him ‘probably the most naturally gifted artist since Raphael’ and the director of Tate hails him as ‘beyond comparison and the most original genius of the century.’
“When I was a child, my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk you’ll end up as the Pope.’ Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”
It is interesting to note how the emphasis of the whole body of writing on the subject of Picasso on the Times Digital Archive is overwhelmingly his art, despite the fact that he had a very colourful private life. Out of 268 articles only a handful refer to his private life, briefly and respectfully.
The true fall-out of his manner of life and the fact that he left no will to help the family manage his gigantic legacy can be much better traced using UK Newsstand, reflecting our modern obsession with salacious detail and Picasso himself. Search for “Picasso women” yields staggering 9222 articles in UK Newsstand.
All this is interesting on its own merit, but if you are a student or a researcher or have a special interest in anything that happened or was talked about in this country in the last 200 years – Times Digital Archive can enrich your understanding and widen you research through its particular take on people and events captured in news articles as they unfolded.
If you wish to have a demonstration of the Times Digital Archive or UK Newsstand please contact Kensington Central Reference Library on email@example.com. A reference librarian will be delighted to help you get familiar with the databases and set you off on your own journey of discovery. Kensington Central Reference Library has 5 dedicated computers available for researching our online databases.
We read newspapers and magazines to keep informed of what is happening in the world around us. Libraries have traditionally provided access to current news by making hard copies of newspapers and magazines available to their readers. In more recent times developments in information technology have turned your library card number into a code that opens a powerful gateway to news, both ‘old’ and current, without you having to set foot in a library building.
Where before it was all about old newspapers stacked in library stores and long lines of bound volumes of magazines, now we can offer all that and more through databases such as Times Digital Archive (TDA) and UK Newsstand. They (and a number of other online databases) are available to members through Library pages on the Royal Borough’s website.
And it is all free!
All you need to do is click on the link above, choose the database from the links on the right of the page (under the heading “24 hour Online Reference”) and insert your library card number when prompted.
Why not give it a go now?
Not a member? Click here for information on how you can join.
So, whether you fancy researching ‘old’ news or you wish to keep up with current affairs and news as they develop, through your library membership you can access your favourite newspapers from home or anywhere in the world where you have access to the internet.
It may actually be a good idea to note down your library card number (or carry your card with you!) when travelling if you want to have continuous access to news and information while away, or wish to do a bit of research on the subject that interests you.
If you wish to have a demonstration of TDA or UK Newsstand please contact Kensington Central Reference Library by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 0207 361 3031. A reference librarian will be delighted to help you get familiar with the databases and set you off on your own journey of discovery. Kensington Central Reference Library has 5 dedicated computers available for researching our online databases.