The pleasure of reading

It may not have escaped the notice of students and staff that a number of exciting changes have taken place to the College’s Library’s over the past few months and one of the key areas which has been focussed on is the Reading Collection.

The collection not only includes standard works of fiction but biographies and graphic novels. There are examples of nearly all Literary genres and titles which should appeal to any taste.

The relocation of the Reading Location presented an opportunity to merge it with the Junior Fiction from the Teacher Training Collection. This not only increased the number of the items available but also the range of genres.

All items in the reading collected are availabe on a term-loan. This means that rather than being issued with a book for the standard two weeks it will be on loan until the end of the current term. This means that if you take an item out at the start of term you get it for much longer than if you take it out towards the end of term. Not to worry though as you still benefit from the item being automatically renewed.

For more information about the Reading Collection you can read our Library guide.

The Library will also be running a reading challenge in 2020 which all students will be welcome to participate in. More details will be revealed in the next few months, but what we can reveal is that it will involve prizes.

The Library includes a number of winning and shortlisted titles for the following Literary awards :

While the Librarians have always been keen to promote a highly varied selection of fiction and non-fiction titles within the Reading Collection we are eager to hear which titles you would like to see included in the collection. You can submit a suggestion to the library about any title you think we ought to consider adding to our collection. Click here to complete the suggestion form.

Westlaw is changing how it will look in July.

One of our key legal databases is having a face-lift, and in this case we like what we see!

New Westlaw

There are some good things for students:

  • Greater promotion of Topic pages (the new version of Insight) as the way to start a search for content
  • More current awareness features (‘commercial awareness’)
  • Easier to find help on search terms and connectors
  • Easier to set up folders and alerts, and save favourites
  • Cases are marked ‘Significant’ and also if they include legal or procedural ‘Guidance’
Topic page in Westlaw

There are some new good things for staff

  • Easier to create links to cases / legislation / journal articles to put into Moodle courses
  • Easier to create alerts via Insight pages on topics, so you are emailed when there are new cases or journal articles on your topic.

If you want to know more, there’s a good introductory video here: https://youtu.be/BhGXg7gkK8k

We’ve added the Westlaw – New Platform link to the A-Z list of databases so students and staff can preview it, and will fully swap over from the old Westlaw in July.

Let us know your thoughts!

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Library Resource of the month – Journals

This month we want to highlight the fantastic print journals at your physical fingertips.

Do people still read print magazines?  Journal publishers are reporting that print is restrictive in terms of accessibility and content length. Academic articles are increasingly online, due to rising print costs and drops in demand for print subscriptions (see this THES article on the future of journal publishing in the ‘digital age’: As PNAS calls time on print, will more journals follow suit?, January 8th 2019).

It is certainly true that in our institution, students are heading online using our Discovery service or subject-specific databases to find high quality academic content for their research.  We have moved significantly in that direction too – 10 years ago we had over 400 print subscriptions, now we have 150 print titles and over 40 individual online subscriptions; but alongside these we subscribe to various journal rich electronic databases which give access to over 60,000 titles.

However there are good reasons to maintain print journals depending on their audience, content and cost.

Do you browse the contents of an online journal, or go directly to the article you want? Most of us tend to target our search, missing out on that chance discovery of an unexpectedly interesting article tucked away on page 5.  A scan read of trade journals such as Law Society Gazette or Police Professional gives a quick overview of developments in the field.  And spending a few minutes in the library flicking through the latest edition can be a nice break from the desk.

Our journals are displayed with the latest edition facing out into the library.  An interesting front cover can often catch your eye – even if it’s not in your usual area of interest.  For example, the latest edition of Fit Pro in the library has features on Yin Yoga, Snow Activities and the fitness of performers in musical theatre!  Art, law or education titles might not be your usual read but all may have topics of interest from time to time.

Sometimes we don’t have a choice:  decisions from publishers still impact on which format the library subscribes to.  Contrary to opinion, not all journals are published online; some publishers are quite restrictive with their electronic access and cost to academic institutions, and accompanying images may not always appear clearly.   The latter is extremely important when viewing Arts and Creative titles so we continue to subscribe to many art & design titles including Elle Decoration and Art Monthly.

Then there is the feel of the print journal – studies show that some of us recall information better when it has been read in print rather than online, partly due to the interactive nature of print reading.  There is something about turning the page that aids memory.   In fact, many online platforms are trying to replicate the look and feel of turning the page.  You might also be aware of the various studies on screen fatigue which can impact on a reader’s comprehension and learning.

However, as we become increasingly used to reading online, and the technology improves to encourage more interactivity while reading, this may not be the case in the future (see “Screen vs. paper: what is the difference for reading and learning?” https://insights.uksg.org/articles/10.1629/uksg.236/). How we interact with online reading depends on our own preferences, experiences, and the technology.  So we in the library are always aware of the need to be flexible in ordering and maintaining journals collections.

Either way, we think that our 150 journals are worth keeping.. and we hope that you do too. So come along and discover something new in the library today!     

Access to Bradford College online library resources directly from Google Scholar

Did you know that you can now access articles directly from a Google Scholar search if we have a Bradford College subscription to them?

If you haven’t used it before, Google Scholar is a search engine that covers scholarly literature, including articles, theses, abstracts and reports from a wide range of disciplines and types of information.  It is a great way to find free material such as open source articles and reports by organisations which may not be indexed by our subscription databases. However, Google Scholar also includes links to journal articles that are behind a database paywall – in which case you can only view the citation details and abstract.

The good news is that you can now connect Google Scholar to Bradford College Library’s journals collection so that when you have access to an article, you will see a PDF or a Full-Text link appear in your results. It just takes 4 easy steps:

  1. Go to Google Scholar , click on the 3 bar icon at the top left of the page, and click on Settings. 

2. Click Library Links and search for Bradford College. You may see two options – just click on the option Bradford College – Full Text Available

 

3. Click on Save. Now when you run a search you will see a link to Full Text Available – this will take you to the Library resource.  If you are off campus you will have to sign in.

4. If you see a screen like the one below saying “If the page does not display”, click on open the page in a new window. This sometimes happens if the article is from a third party database (eg Emerald) or if EBSCO needs a prompt to display properly!

 

caution icon If you have any problems accessing our resources in this way, please let us know.  We may need to tweak our settings!

Remember – not all the content on Google Scholar will be available through the Library or free online.  If you find something on Google Scholar that you can’t access, get in touch with us and we may be able to help.

Library Resource of the Month – Library Help Guides

This month we have been promoting December’s Resource of the Month – our new Library Help Guides.  These are also known as Libguides and are widely used by librarians across the UK and worldwide to curate library collections and share information to support teaching and learning.

The guides showcase the library resources, and are intended to be an easily accessible portal for students to find library resources easily and quickly.  They help guide library users through a sometimes bewildering range of resources.  We have embedded video help, guides and worksheets to help students select the best resource for their task.  We provide direct links to our catalogue so students can view real-time availability of books on the shelf, or directly access our E-Books.

Our expert Libguide librarians have created a template so information on different subjects is presented in a standard format, making it easier for students to switch between subjects.  Each subject page has a Getting Started tab with useful links and library news.  Students can then click on the tabs to find subject specific information like key books and e-books with links to the catalogue, course reading lists, links to key databases and guides on how to use them, help on using journals in their research, finding articles and evaluating the results, and study skills resources.

We’re interested in any feedback, and collaborations with students and teaching staff.  Please get in touch with any comments!

[email protected]

Inter-library Loans from Bradford College Library

When you are carrying out your coursework and research for your dissertation the Library is here to help. We provide over 70,000 printed and electronic books and access to the full text of over 60,000 journals online on all subjects that the College teaches. The books in the library are recommended by teaching staff to help with your course so  if you are researching your subject in more depth we might not always have the specialist books or journals you want.

The Library can still help though through our Inter-Library Loans service. You can put a request in by filling a form in on the Inter-Library Loans Moodle page and then we will ask the British Library if they have a copy of the book that they are willing to lend to us.  You are allowed to borrow the book for 4 weeks initially though you can renew if you want the book for longer, just let us know before the book is due back.

This service also applies to journals; fill in the form on Moodle telling us which article you want and we will approach the British Library on your behalf.  You will receive a photocopy of the article to keep.

Once you have filled in the request form on Moodle the Library will contact you through your College email to let you know the progress of your request so you should check your email regularly.

This service is heavily subsidised by the Library although we do have to charge a small fee of £2.00 for your first ten inter-library loan requests.

You can find full details of how the service works on the Inter-Library Loans webpage or the Inter-Library Loans Moodle page. Search for Inter-Library Loans on Moodle to see the course.