Library

26 May 2017

Matheson Library turns a new page

The Sir Louis Matheson Library on Clayton campus has reopened from a stunning western entrance via the Forum. All study spaces are now available to students.



We celebrated the reopening of the Sir Louis Matheson Library this week, marking the completion of its transformation into a modern, vibrant and stimulating learning and research environment.


President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Margaret Gardner AO, said the reopening of the library – a place where students spend some of their most productive and formative hours – gave renewed life to the heart of the Clayton Campus.

“The Sir Louis Matheson Library is a cornerstone of Clayton campus life. More than just a repository for knowledge it is a space that contributes to vibrant academic, cultural and community life,” Professor Gardner said.

A key feature of the Clayton Campus Masterplan, the new-look library boasts a long list of benefits, including:

  • a welcoming and inspiring new entrance 
  • improved navigation throughout the three buildings 
  • four teaching spaces with a combined capacity for 200 students 
  • a range of individual and collaborative study areas, with an overall 15% increase in seating to 1620 seats 
  • technology-rich study areas, including 240 computers (67 are 27-inch iMacs and a range of laptops) 
  • 20 bookable discussion rooms 
  • Wi-Fi, powered workstations, and digital wayfinding pointing students to available study spaces. 
University Librarian Cathrine Harboe-Ree said the completion of the refurbishment marks the culmination of a journey.

"We set out to create a welcoming, inspiring and enabling facility for first-class scholarship at Monash. We are already hearing that staff and students agree that we have achieved that," Ms Harboe-Ree said.

The design of the library spaces is enhanced by an eclectic array of artwork from the University's collection, exhibition and function capacity, a digital wall to showcase Monash research activity and an in-library cafe.

The new-look Matheson Library will welcome over 10,000 visitors a day, complementing daily online activity of over 80,000 accesses and downloads of Monash University Library's electronic resources.


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25 May 2017

Where to find a study space at Clayton

Our three libraries at Clayton campus together offer the largest number and range of study spaces and they're open longer during Swot Vac and exams. But there are many more alternative areas available on campus. Check the list below.



We anticipate an increased demand for quiet study spaces on campus during the Swot Vac and exam period.

Refurbishment of Sir Louis Matheson Library has finished and the library has been reopend. New areas are proving very  popular among students.

Our Law and Hargrave-Andrew libraries have more seating and are open from 10am to 5pm on weekends.

In addition, Hargrave-Andrew Library will be open until 2am Monday to Thursday beginning 29 May until 23 June.

There are many more alternative areas available on campus. Check the list below.


In addition the following informal study spaces (non-bookable) are available to all students:
  • There are the lecture theatres foyers that have been set up with chairs and tables for study
  • Faculty Student Common Rooms
Monash Student Association are offering free tea and coffee in the Airport Lounge.

Clayton campus study spaces may be viewed on the Clayton campus map.

You may also want to check out '200 more study seats now available at Caulfield Library'.

Additional study spaces are also available at our other campus libraries. These include:
Berwick Library (120 spaces)
Peninsula Library (250 spaces)
CL Butchers Pharmacy Library at Parkville (120 spaces)

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Some revelations for effectively studying for exams

Want to ensure your study is effective? Learning Skills Adviser Roland Clements has a few pointers.


The rule for studying for exams is to study for understanding ... not just to get good grades! Be kind to yourself. Tell yourself: “I can do this” and think about the following...

What subjects should I start with?

Start with the material you like. Before you delve into a subject, a quick read of the entire topic is a great idea. Go through the relevant texts and notes to refresh your memory. Once you understand the scope of your subject, you can focus on the details. So start with the material you like, and then move on to the more challenging parts that require extra work.

Group or individual study?


Why not both? Here are a few pointers:
  • Firstly, all the group members should study independently. Once you all grasp the fundamentals of your subject, you can revise as a group, so that everyone is on the same page.
  • It might help to take turns teaching others what you have learnt. Be prepared to ask questions and to challenge each other. Studying this way also prepares you for later life and teaches you the value of collaboration and the effectiveness of collective effort to achieve a target.
  • Even if you chose to study by yourself, take some time to teach others, this will help clarify and retain the subject matter you are studying.
  • Have fun and laugh, but make sure you all get back to the work at hand.

Should I study for long periods of time?

It’s a good idea to work for an hour at a time. If you start to feel tired before an hour, then you need to discipline yourself and gradually build it up to an hour. Here is a structure of a one hour model:
  • 5 minutes: Prepare (what will I study now? How will I study?)
  • 45 minutes: Study (revise, synthesise, practice)
  • 5 minutes: Review (what did I learn?)
  • 5 minutes: Refresh (stand, stretch)
Do something you really enjoy and then come back to work. You will find you can go on like this for quite a while.

Some handy tips:
  1. Find a spot that you find comfortable and start work - the library is a good choice, as there will be minimal distraction and you can make optimum use of your time.
  2. Keep all the stuff you need at hand: your notes, pens, textbooks and water.
  3. If you can, study with one or two other people in the same room to keep you on track.
  4. Skim over all the notes you have at least two or three times so you get an idea of what you are in for in the exam.
  5. Eat a light dinner and keep some snacks for those hunger pangs.
  6. Take a fifteen minute break every two hours or so to relax. Do something you like which you can do quickly – stretch or take a short walk.
  7. Two hours before the exam do a quick revision but don’t learn anything new, just a review of everything you managed to study once or twice.
  8. Keep all the materials you need for the exam the next day packed and ready – pens, calculator, pencils etc.
  9. Check out the Library’s tutorials on Studying for exams and Examination strategies.

After the exam

Enjoy and celebrate – you’ve earned this one!

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22 May 2017

Insults in early modern Italy' - History Seminar in the Library 2017

Emma Swiney, Honours student, reports on this year's History Seminar in the Library.  

Watch the video of the full lecture below and view Jonathan's slides here.


Dr Jonathan Davies and guests view a Rare book display
 at 2017 Arts/Library History Lecture 

Among some beautiful examples of Early Modern pieces from the Matheson Library Rare Books collection, visiting historian Dr Jonathan Davies from Warwick University presented some of his research into the history of "Insults in Early Modern Italy".

In studying the history of insults in Early Modern Italy, one must contextualise these insults within the violence of the time. It is from this approach that Davies introduced us to Delle Considerationi e Dubitationi Sopra la materia delle mentite, e offese di parole ('Reflections and Doubts on the subject of Falsehoods and Verbal Insults') by Bolognese professor Camillo Baldi.

Davies has been working with this text, often overlooked by other scholars as a reprint of one of Baldi’s other works, as an alternative to the Judicial records that have most often been used to examine the history of insults. From this perspective Davies challenges the traditional conception of Early Modern insults as static and based around shared taboos, and instead posits that, based on research by Trevor Dean, the most powerful insults are, in fact, culturally specific.

Dr Jonathan Davies (R) Warwick University, with
 Peter Howard, Deputy Dean of Arts, Monash
Focussing on Early Modern Italy, these insults are directly related to a culture of honour, which is reflected in the levels of violence and violent crimes in Italy, more so than anywhere else in Europe during the same period. Davies uses evidence quoting homicide rates up to triple that of other contemporary European societies and, more recently, on research into the prevalence of factionalism and feuding in the Italian states. This type of violence shocked contemporaries, as reported by Sir Robert Dallington who travelled the Italian Peninsular in 1596-7. Dallington reported two ways that quarrels were often settled, being through Duals or Vendettas, the latter of which he says caused twenty-one deaths between Pisa, Siena, and Venice only during the time he was travelling in those cities. These two types of quarrels are intrinsically tied to the culture of honour throughout Italy at the time.

Nowhere else was this factionalist violence more pronounced than in Bologna, the city from which Baldi, the author of Davies’ focus text, was writing. Davies suggests that this was caused by the emasculation of the Bolognese aristocracy, upon the defeat of the city by Pope Julius II. The estimated homicide rate of the area quadrupled during this time, and it is in this context that Baldi wrote his Considerationi e Dubitationi. This work, wherein Baldi identifies situations that might arise, and theorizes the most appropriate outcome, was dedicated to the Bolognese Elite, indicating that the situation in Bologna was something that Baldi felt the need to comment on.




As Davies listed the focus of each of the numerous chapters in Baldi’s books, he asked that the audience consider which subjects Baldi highlighted or repeated most, and if there were any patterns they might notice. Additionally, the audience were asked to keep in mind how recent methodologies, such as Gender or Class, might be used to analyse the works. Certainly, notions of hierarchies (such as what do do when insult is handed down by a prince) and gendered concepts (seen in the many chapters on lovers and affairs) were clearly present throughout these texts.

Baldi’s Considerationi e Dubitationi reveals to us a wide range of insults which may have arisen in Early Modern Italy, and also examines the relationships between the quarrelling parties and how this may have affected the given situation. To conclude his presentation, Davies contended that, when looking at insults in this period, we need to examine texts such as Baldi’s alongside the often-used judicial texts, to get a richer view of the relationships between quarrelling parties.


The author:
Emma Swiney (@emma_swiney) is currently completing her Honours degree in History. Her research focuses on the formation of Identity in late-15th Century Florence, and how politically active men related themselves to their city through an understanding of Florentine traditions and history. She also commits some of her time to mentoring undergraduate students, especially in helping them to formulate questions for independent research. In the coming years she hopes to continue her studies in Renaissance history within the supportive framework of the Monash History Department.





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18 May 2017

Library educational resources on Indigenous cultures and histories


The Library's resources can assist student teachers and others to gain a better understanding of Indigenous culture, says librarian Zachary Kendal.


School visit to the Aboriginal tent embassy Canberra*.
Australia’s Indigenous history goes back tens of thousands of years. In our schools, how do we best engage with the current and historical richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and stories? Imagine you’re a school teacher, weaving Indigenous cultures and histories into your teaching—what resources could you draw on?

Fortunately for our teachers-in-training and educational researchers, Monash University Library's wide range of resources can be used to engage with our Indigenous cultures.

Consider these streaming video resources:
  • Informit EduTV: Indigenous Studies – This collection within EduTV contains a huge range of documentaries and TV series on Australian Indigenous studies, including the ABC Kids shorts Grandpa Honeyant Storytime, the ABC series Black Comedy, and the new NITV current affairs series The Point.
  • Kanopy: Indigenous Studies – This collection brings together videos about indigenous populations around the world. It’s also worth looking at Kanopy’s AIATSIS Ethnographic Collection, which focuses on Australian Indigenous cultures and histories.
  • Monash Country Lines Archive – A collaboration between Monash University researchers, animators, and postgraduate students, this project creates stunning 3D animations to assist in the sharing and preservation of Indigenous knowledge and stories. Take a look at this “Winjara Wiganhanyin (Why We All Die)” animation, which retells a Taungurung creation story.
If you’re wanting to do more in-depth research into Indigenous cultures and histories, you could explore some of the scholarly databases available through the Library, including
You can also take a look at our Indigenous Cultures and Histories Library Guide which includes links to these and other useful resources.



Monash University Library is developing services and programs that focus on improving access, participation, retention and success for students from low socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds. The social inclusion-related programs are being implemented across campuses. Contact Zachary Kendal or Roland Clements to find out more.


*Photo Craig Hodges 2010  CC BY 2.0

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