Stay up-to-date on all the latest in business and technology with our new online resource

The O’Reilly Safari Learning Platform (formerly Safari Technical Books Online) gives students and staff access to a variety of formats including online training courses, interactive tutorials, books, videos, and case studies.
Subjects covered include: design, gaming, software development, programming languages, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, data science, engineering, team management & leadership, business, health & fitness and employability skills.

The platform includes more than 35,000 book titles plus 30,000+ hours of video, including early release titles and case studies from leading organizations. The learning paths and interactive tutorials are easy-to-follow, and allow you to learn at your own pace, enabling you to extend and improve your knowledge and develop new skills.

Easy to access using your college email.  With the option to create an account, students and staff have access to personalization features including: playlists for easy retrieval; tailored content recommendations; and content syncing across multiple devices, including notes, highlights, and bookmarks.

Why not give it a try and see for yourself?

O’Reilly Safari Learning Platform 

For more information please visit the Library Help Guides or email [email protected]

Independent Living in the Library

In November the library launched its special collection to support our Independent Living and Skills for Employment students.

For the past 3 years the Library has been situated next to their classrooms but most students never thought of borrowing anything – and some thought they were not even allowed to.  Realising this was quite disheartening, so we have been trying to make the library more inclusive to students from this area for a few years.

Students didn’t think there were any resources for them, so Julia Sherrington (our Academic Liaison Librarian) has been conducting introductions to the library with tours, talks and showing them how to borrow items.

We show students which books and subjects might be interesting to them, and any that relate to what they study in the classroom, e.g. health, nutrition, cooking and gardening.  We showed the journals in the library and asked what magazines they would like to see.  As result of this we ordered a few magazines such as BBC Easy Cook.

Following observations from tutors in this area, they felt that having a separate section for their students would help as being in the library might be stressful.  We have had to move shelving and study spaces around quite a bit during the past few years so not all subject areas remain the same so this can cause confusion.

It was decided that having a few shelves of stock against the wall near to their classrooms would be a good idea. Having their own collection would also create a sense of ownership. Placing this collection between the Reading Collection and Graded Readers would mean that students could venture a little further and look at these other collections to help improve their comprehension.  As with the rest of our collections, this area isn’t exclusive to Independent Living/Skills for Employment students, anyone is welcome to borrow from it; just as these students are welcome to borrow anything in the Library.

In order to differentiate their books and DVDs from other areas we coded them with “IL” in front of their shelf-mark, this appears on the spine of the item and on the Library Management System. “IL” of course standing for “Independent Living”. Some of the stock was transferred from the main collection and some DVDs have been donated by the dept.  In addition to that, we have been ordering new stock.  One difficulty is in finding appropriate level books for adults with learning difficulties.  Many books for are for children rather than adults, so in some cases we have had to order some material aimed at children, but we are trying to avoid that whenever possible.

Labeling on Independent Living collection books

We have had some recent comments about students now asking their parents or carers to take them to their public library.  This is wonderful as it shows that this is adding to their independent skills and interest.  The library has suffered quite a bit of disruption with stock moves and the lighting in this area is quite low.  We have asked our Estates to increase lighting to make the area less “gloomy” and more navigable.  We will monitor how well this collection is used in the next year to see whether it is still useful and whether it is on the right location.  So, watch this space – quite literally!

Library Research finds that the quality and quantity of research sources appears to impact on dissertation marks.

The quality and quantity of research sources appears to impact on dissertation marks.

Julia Sherrington, Academic Liaison Librarian for Art, recently undertook some investigations into the types of sources being used in dissertations within the School of Arts.  She looked at the bibliographies in 43 dissertations from the 2017/18 cohort and mapped them against their dissertation mark.

What it showed was that students, gaining a mark of 60 and above, evidenced the use of more sources on average.

 

The range of sources mostly included books, journal articles, websites, research papers, and video.

The quality of sources also showed a correlation between marks.  The average use of scholarly books and journals was higher with those gaining higher marks.  A total of 273 scholarly books and 83 scholarly journals were referenced.

Whilst this was a small study, it does hint at a relationship between the two.  It would be useful to undertake a more extensive study and widen this out for more meaningful results.

She also wanted to look at any impact the College Library may have on dissertation marks.  The starting point, was to look at the print books used to see if any were borrowed from the library; with journal articles it was whether the article was in stock in print in the library or available to view online through our electronic resources.

Out of all the sources in quoted 43 dissertations, 150 print books were borrowed from the library and 107 were scholarly in nature – although if we looked at journal articles the picture was less promising.  Out of 151 articles that could be found via the library only 35 were scholarly.    So what does this tell us?  Two things… that our students are finding and using a lot of lot of non-scholarly material though the library and that they are finding open access material to support their research.

What else can we take from this? Are our students using the library electronic resources effectively, do they know how to evaluate the quality of source, and in some cases are they using google and finding scholarly articles that have paywalls and viewing the abstract rather than the whole article?

Another interesting fact is that our requests for Inter-library Loans from the British Library had reduced drastically over the last 5 years.  There will be many books and journal articles that could be available and very relevant to students doing their research.  Why do students not want to request Inter Library loans anymore?  This is a question that we should be asking both ourselves and students; and if students will rely more and more on Open Access research, how to they easily find it?

The findings from this study have been forwarded to the relevant academic staff within Arts for further discussion.  One thing we have learned is that the library has an important role to play in helping students find the right scholarly sources. We want to give students the best chance of success whether it is research for dissertations or essays.

 

ESOL Reading Week at Bradford College

It’s ESOL Reading Week at Bradford College! The Library has organised a set of quizzes and a display to inspire and enthuse our ESOL readers taking part.

Julie, librarian for ESOL in Bradford College, says “the Library hopes you will have a great week. Read, read, read!”

Have a go at:

  • Library quiz – quiz sheets for Pre-entry/beginner, Entry 1 and Entry 2
  • Write a review of a story you have read
  • Write a story or poem

PRIZES TO BE WON!

Call in to see us at the Library Information Desk for; quiz sheets, to hand in completed quiz sheets and to get suggestions for books to read.

Remember: “Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labelled ‘This could change your life’.” ― Helen Exley

To Renew or Auto-Renew… our Librarians give a paper at the Koha User Group, November 2018

To Renew or Auto-Renew… our Librarians give a paper at the Koha User Group, November 2018

In 2016/2017, the Library undertook a major review of our Library Management System with the result that we moved all our data and systems over to an open source LMS called Koha. The review gave us the opportunity to look at our existing practices and procedures and, following extensive discussion, consultation and research, we introduced auto-renewals in September 2018.  In November 2018, two of the Librarians responsible for managing Koha, Simon Lyes and Haydn Clark, gave a short presentation of our experiences at the Koha User Group.

The talk looked at 3 main areas:  Why auto-renewals, Obstacles, and What we learnt.

Simon and Haydn explained the reasons why we decided to introduce auto-renewals.  In their talk they identified the key reasons as simplification, fairness, efficiency, peer pressure and popularity.  As with many academic libraries, we had a complex system of loans and renewals aiming to satisfy different student needs.  One title may have some copies for long loan, others on week loan, reference only or short loan (3 hours).  Each loan had different levels of fines attached, and different renewal rules.  Students would have to remember to renew their books or risk a fine, even when the books weren’t required by other library users. Auto-renewals meant that we were able to simplify all our loans (other than the Teacher Training Collection) to just 2 weeks each, with just one fine system. Students who borrowed books that weren’t required by other students would be able to keep them for up to 6 months. We expected a reduction in staff time used in labeling books, explaining different loan types, and reminding students to renew. And we hoped for a reduction in fines as only students who didn’t return books in demand would be penalised.

There were some obstacles that we resolved through compromise and a great deal of promotion.  Some colleagues felt auto-renewals would be difficult to explain to some students, particularly those with English as a second language.  We were also  concerned that it might be easier to forget about loans without the regular need to renew. Auto-renewals do depend on borrowers checking their college email, so we heavily promoted student email information in our inductions, at the library counter and to teaching staff.  We also hoped that with the introduction of Office 365 for students and staff, use of college email would become standard.  There was a concern that books may be kept out longer, leaving fewer copies on the shelves to browse.  Again, the solution was to educate students on using the library catalogue for discovery and reservations.  In terms of staff workload, there was the major job of removing loan stickers from thousands of books that had the week loan status.  Simon and Haydn also also talked about the technical problems in switching item types for over 70,000 items from 3- and 1-week to the 2-week loan type, and how PTFS had helped by running the switch for us.  We had to return and reissue everything that was on loan so that these would auto-renew going forward We also made sure that we consulted with students and staff, through the policy approval process, in student course committees, and by liaising with the student union.

We learnt a number of lessons that we were happy to pass on.  Firstly, anyone thinking of introducing this service must be sure that they are on the right version of Koha.  This is because there was a bug on the version of Koha that we were on, that caused significant problems with calculation of fines for items where auto-renewal was not possible. This bug was eliminated in the subsequent version of Koha.  Our second piece of advice was to Read the manual.  We had problems with the set-up of how the email notices worked, and what information could be sent for each email.  There was some confusion with the first emails as they didn’t contain the expected information.  Finally, Consult other Koha users.  Simon and Haydn used this as an opportunity to thank other teams in the room that had given us input from their experience of auto renewals.

Our conclusion was that overall the service has so far been successful.  Fewer fines were being collected from students, and feedback has been positive. We like the simpler loan system, and we are seeing students take control of their library records and check their emails.  We have reached our 6-month mark and have not seen any problems in recovering books. As for the talk, Simon and Haydn enjoyed their day.  The talk was received well, with a surprising number of questions asked, given that they were the last presentation of the day and people had trains to catch!

 

 

 

 

 

 

IBISWorld gives students an edge in job interviews

You may have already used IBIS World to find industry information such as trends, forecasts and statistics – but did you know that it might also help you in preparing for an interview?

Companies always like to see applicants who have done their research, and we think that IBIS World gives a really good overview of the most important issues facing your industry today.

Find out key trends (useful for interview questions), the biggest companies, operating conditions (good for ideas on the challenges faced by the industry) and different types of roles available in the industry (to help with career planning).  Each report includes the value of the industry in the UK and the number of employees. You can see if there are lots of smaller businesses, or whether the industry is dominated by a few key players.  There are also a full set of Brexit Impact Statements – just in case that question comes up too!

So if you’re thinking about working in the Arts, Construction, Beauty, Catering or Finance, these short reports will make sure you have a comprehensive overview of your industry.

Click here for IBIS World’s own guide on IBISWorld for job interviews

For more information, come and visit us at the Library Information Desk on floor 2 of the David Hockney Building, or email us at  [email protected]