Library

31 March 2015

Incorporating research into your assignment

How much of the assignment should consist of my ideas about the topic, and how much should consist of researched ideas? When my tutor’s feedback says “Where is your voice?”, what does that mean? How will my tutor know what my thoughts are in contrast with those of the authors I’ve read? This blog post will answer these questions and more …  by Damian Gleeson



It’s (mostly) all about you


Your tutors are interested in your response to the assignment topic. They are more than familiar with the experts’ thoughts on the matter; they may indeed have contributed significantly to the body of expert knowledge on the issue themselves. What your tutor wants to know is: after listening to the lectures, attending tutorials or labs and reading widely on the topic, what do you think about it? What is your stance? What can you prove and how can you prove it? For these reasons, the majority of most assignments should consist of your considered response to the topic.


Show your working
In terms of attribution, the majority of your assignment should comprise your particular response, but not all of it. Of course you need to incorporate the research you’ve done:

a)      to show off all the reading, note-taking, critiquing, evaluating and synthesising you’ve done
b)      to have published experts support what you want to say, adding weight and credibility to your academic position.


The voice
So the majority of your assignment comprises your response. The research you’ve done is introduced to back up your contribution. In doing so, you demonstrate your control and authority. Nice! Of course the ideas you’ve borrowed need to be acknowledged in-text with citations and at the end of your assignment with referencing. Check out the blog post on this, see the Library’s guides to citing and referencing to learn more, and always have one of these guides open when you are writing.


Some points about incorporating research
Borrowed ideas should generally not appear in the first sentence of a paragraph. You should show control of the topic by stating the point you want to make first. In simple terms, your paragraph should consist of


        a topic sentence summing up your main point,
        further explanation of that main point,
        evidence and examples to demonstrate the point in action and
        a link back to the topic and your point’s relevance to it.


Paraphrasing is preferred to quoting as it shows deeper understanding of the literature. Your choice of reporting verb (‘state’, ‘claim’, ‘assert’,  etc.) also demonstrates deeper understanding, and reminds your reader that you have processed published ideas and incorporated a response to them in your work.
If you remain uncertain about how to incorporate the thoughts and work of others, don’t forget a friendly Librarian or Learning Skills Adviser is available to speak with you at a drop in.

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30 March 2015

Heads up about Caulfield Library

If you read or heard that Caulfield Library was going to be redeveloped, you read or heard right. The library will undergo a major makeover and the architects' drawings are stunning! ... Heidi Binghay


You will not recognise the Caulfield Library when it's finished. 
  • It will be a bigger library with almost double its current seating capacity. 
  • It will have a welcoming and inspiring entrance from the side of the Campus Green. 
  • From what is currently a solid impenetrable box, the library building will be opened up by creating a transparency between the interior and the exterior. This means there will be more views inside out and vice versa. 
  • Finding your way inside the library will be easier. Navigation will be improved throughout the building.
  • There will be more learning spaces for quiet study and collaboration, not to mention advanced technology for students' use. 
Building is expected to start in mid-2015 and completed at the end of 2016, with the months prior to Semester 1 2017 as a contingency. 

The library will remain open throughout if possible, although it is likely that it may be closed over the 2015-16 Christmas period to allow for intensive building work to be done. The possibility of providing additional seating elsewhere on campus is being explored.

The collection will be relocated in several phases throughout the refurbishment, with as few moves as possible. 

There will be disruptions but we hope you are as excited as we are about getting a modern, inspiring and engaging Caulfield Library at the end of it.

Visit the website for more information and view the fantastic images. Check this blog to keep up to date with the library refurbishment. 


Image: John Wardle Architects


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25 March 2015

What are journal articles?

Warning: reading high quality journal articles can seriously damage your ignorance!  If that isn’t enough to inspire you, you’ve probably been told you must use journal articles in your assignments so read on for the lowdown… By Penny Presta.



What are journal articles?

Journal articles are where researchers report the findings of their research. They are published in journals (also known as serials or periodicals) which release new issues regularly making them a good source of current discourse. Journal articles tend to report on specific aspects of research rather than providing an overview of a topic that might be found in books.

Some Journal types include:
  • scholarly/academic -  often these are peer reviewed
  • trade/professional
  • magazine
Journal Articles may be:
  • primary articles - in which the authors are reporting on their own research findings
  • secondary articles - in which the author summarises the findings of other people’s research (e.g. review articles).
What to look for

As a student you will predominantly be required to use scholarly and peer-reviewed journal articles. Scholarly articles usually follow a set format. To identify a scholarly article look for the inclusion of:

  • Author credentials, affiliations etc.
  • Abstract (summary of the findings)
  • Introduction (statement of topic including purpose and context)
  • Method - if it’s a primary article (a description of the study with enough detail to allow it to be replicated)
  • Results and discussion (actual data or findings, analysis of results in relation to the purpose of the research and any limitations)
  • Conclusion (take home message, suggestions for future research)
  • References.

Finding known articles

If you already have the details of the journal article, the easiest way to find out if the library gives you access is to search for the Journal Title using the eJounals A-Z. Then navigate to the publication year and volume you are looking for.

Alternatively go to Search and use the Citation hyperlink and enter some details in the fields provided.

Finding articles on a topic

If you are not looking for a specific title you can use Search. Search is a ‘discovery layer’ that includes both local and remote resources. Limit your results to journal articles or peer-reviewed journal articles. See Paula’s blog post for more on how to use Search.

Library databases may provide more comprehensive coverage of journals in a particular discipline, and may contain many articles not available via Google due to their licensed or copyrighted nature. See Romany’s blog post for more on Library Databases.

Why am I expected to use journal articles?
  • Using academic articles promotes an understanding of how experts carry out research and report their findings.
  • Exposure to key research papers assists in obtaining an understanding of the fundamental ideas and vocabulary of a discipline.
  • Supporting your writing with evidence allows you to demonstrate you have necessary skills in searching for and critically evaluating sources.
  • The ability to extract key information from the literature and synthesise ideas is essential for professional expertise and engagement in a field.
Still stuck?

For assistance with locating journal articles, attend a drop-in at your library’s Research & Learning Point and chat with a librarian.




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24 March 2015

Managing your reading

You’re expected to do 12 hours of study per unit per week. Two to four of these hours are in class, leaving the remainder for private study. The majority of this should be spent reading, and this intensifies when you are researching for assignments. So there’s a LOT of reading you have to do, and you’ll need some strategies to manage the load. ...by Damian Gleeson




Watch this short video to learn how to read effectively. Using effective reading strategies can help you:

  • save time
  • prepare for assignments and exams
  • keep up with weekly readings, and
  • learn and revise your unit’s content.







It’s impossible to succeed in your assignments or exams without being an effective reader. The sooner you can master effective reading strategies, the more likely it is that you’ll get the high grades you desire. End transmission.

Have a look at these questions to help you build effective reading strategies, and download this Quick Study Guide to efficient reading.

 

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23 March 2015

Being a survivor at uni

Is university different to what you expected? Are you unsure how to get started on your
assignments or if you're doing it right?


At the libraries we offer drop-in sessions where you can get advice or suggestions on how to make progress in your studies when you are feeling uncertain.

Please visit - you are welcome to attend and no appointment is needed.

Our learning skills advisers and librarians have written blog articles for you that may give you a lead in to getting started on that assignment:
At Clayton, the Matheson Library is offering Life Hack videos which will give you tips too.
 
At Caulfield this week, special Survival Week fast classes on Using the APA reference style and Using multi-disciplinary databases are offered at the Caulfield Library. Again, bookings are unnecessary.

Survival Week (23-27 March 2015) offers you a chance to check in and ask yourself how you're coping so far. Check out activities on your campus.


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19 March 2015

Citing and referencing

New students can sometimes become very anxious about citing and referencing, what it all means and how to get help. The Library has a number of resources and people to help you, so don’t worry and start reading!...... By Cassandra Freeman



Following the right path

It’s never ok to try and pass someone else’s work off as your own, like copying and pasting text from a random page on the internet into your essay and claiming you wrote it. This will be viewed as plagiarism. Your unit guide will state you need to cite and reference all of the ideas and theories you have used to write your assignment tasks.

Academic Integrity

Monash University has very strict guidelines and policies about the expectations they place on their students and staff when it comes to acknowledging the work of others in your written research. So make sure you spend some time working through the Monash Academic Integrity online modules to ensure you understand.

How do I know if I am doing it the right way? 

Most new students to university have had some experience of having to create a reference list at the end of an essay or report but are not familiar with the extensive rules required when citing and referencing. The further you go in your studies the better you will become at academic writing and being able to incorporate thoughts and ideas of other academic writers with your own ideas and arguments.

  • Each time you refer to a theory you have read about or mention a study that perhaps supports your idea or argument, you must include abbreviated information about who wrote it and where and when. This is called a citation. 
  • A full reference list or bibliography is included at the end which gives the complete details of the author and title of the work and year. 
  • Citing and referencing can show how widely you have read and researched your topic and enables anyone reading your paper to find the actual authors and studies you have cited.
Feeling confused and mystified about what it all means? Then you should definitely complete the Library Demystifying Citing and Referencing online tutorial.

Your unit guide will also state you will need to follow a particular style of citing and referencing.

What’s your style?

So you go to get citing and referencing help from a Librarian or Learning Skills adviser at the Research and Learning point at your campus library and they ask you, “So what is your style?” You think street style maybe? Skater? Prepster?

More like Chicago, APA, or Harvard. Depending on the faculty you are studying in, you will be required to follow the rules of a certain style when citing and referencing. The Monash Citing and Referencing Library Guide will help you to find your faculty style and examples of how citations and reference lists should look.

 So remember to always follow the right path and you will never lose your way!









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18 March 2015

6 things to note about your Library loans


As a Monash staff or student, you enjoy generous borrowing entitlements. It would be useful to take note of some important things regarding your loans...By Rosemary Miller




1. Borrowing limit

Undergraduates can borrow up to 30 items for two weeks. Postgraduates, honours and staff can have unlimited loans for six weeks.

2. Automatic renewals

Once you have borrowed an item, except for items in high demand or those requested by other users, it will be automatically renewed up to six times.

Pay attention to emails about your loans, as if an item has been requested by someone else, you will be notified to return it.

3. Returning items

You can return items to any of our libraries most convenient to you. Use the return chutes. 

4. Overdue items 

If you have an item that is overdue, you cannot borrow and your loans will not be automatically renewed. You will also incur a fine. 

5. Fines information available

You can see information about any library fines you have accrued to date when you log in to Search and go to “MyLoans".

6. More equitable requests

When you request an item, and the item is currently on the shelf at a library at your pick-up campus, you will not see that campus as a request option. You should go directly to the library shelves and borrow the item yourself. Reducing the time that books spend travelling between campuses and libraries leads to greater availability of books to students and staff in general. 

Off-campus students can request postal loans free of charge through Search.


Image: Robert Taylor Red Squirrel_7674 CC



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17 March 2015

Slavic language specialist at Matheson

A new appointment bolsters the support for the study of European languages and culture at Monash ....by Rosemary Miller




Anna Rubinowski at Clayton campus

Monash University Library recently announced the appointment of Anna Rubinowski to the new position Subject Librarian Slavic Studies (Ada Booth Librarian) at the Sir Louis Matheson Library.

The Ada Booth Collection was established in 2011 as a result of the Library receiving a large benefaction from the will of the late Ada Phyllis Booth (1921-2008), physicist and lecturer at the University of Melbourne. The main subject areas covered by the collection are Russian, Ukrainian and other literatures, Slavic linguistics as well as Translation Studies topics in Slavic languages. Other strengths of the collection include histories of Russia and Eastern Europe, politics and art. The collection's ongoing electronic and physical development is funded through the benefaction. The Library has for example been able  to purchase several electronic databases pertaining to Russian and Ukrainian Studies.

Anna Rubinowski is fluent in many languages: Slavic, including Cyrillic script, English, and German and has an understanding of other languages. She will be working closely with Library’s Research and Learning team to develop information research skills programs to inspire the use of the Ada Booth Collection and other resources within the Faculty of Arts and to develop and promote the collection to other potential researchers.

Anna Rubinowski can be contacted at the Matheson Library. 

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13 March 2015

Numbers tell a story

 It was a very busy start of the semester for the Library and we know why... by Heidi Binghay



The start of semester is a much anticipated time not only for students but for Monash staff. As with other areas of the university, Library staff put in a huge effort during Orientation Week and Week 1, and in the weeks beforehand in preparation.

We know that this is just the beginning and the momentum will continue to build through the semester, past survival week, through assignment deadlines and towards exam time. We are there with students every step of the way.

Some key insights drawn from collecting the data:

  • The number of people coming to the libraries confirms that our libraries are some of the largest learning spaces on campus where students spend time doing academic work outside of lectures. 
  • The use of our collection in print and electronic formats and the number of recorded lectures streamed is evidence of the availability and accessibility of the scholarly collections and resources provided by the Library. 
  • The skills development programs delivered by the Library are increasingly built on partnerships with faculty to ensure students develop the information research and learning skills within disciplinary content. 

Here is a neat little summary of what happened in O-Week and Week 1.




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11 March 2015

Get started on your writing task


You’ve been working for days, even weeks, and you still don’t have one word of your essay written. You really have worked hard but have nothing to show for it.

Fear not! All the groundwork has prepared you well, and the writing should take nowhere near as long as the preparation. Sometimes just sitting down and starting to type is the toughest hurdle to clear. The steps in this blog entry will help you fly over it, leaving it far behind you! .... by Damian Gleeson, Learning Skills Adviser.


Have you fully analysed the topic?

If you don’t analyse it fully, you may not avail yourself of all marks on offer. Essay topics always have the same key ingredients: direction words that tell you what to do, topic words and limiting words that set the required scope. Be very clear that you understand what your tutor requires from you. There are several possible genres that might form part of your writing assessment. Be sure that you know what each genre entails. The Library’s Language and Learning Online is a useful resource to guide you. Several faculties at Monash have their own style guides, like BusEco’s Q Manual and IT’s Style Guide. Check your unit guide and Moodle sites for further information.

Have you done your research?


This does not mean using Google. Anyone can do that. Monash University spends millions on subscriptions to databases and journals, and it is your privilege as a Monash student to use them. So use them! Library Guides are a good starting point for finding discipline-specific databases and journals. Also, don’t forget your lecture and tutorial notes and required/recommended weekly reading. When you start writing you’ll probably find you’ll need to go back and research some aspects of your topic more. This is normal and to be expected. It means you are becoming suitably focused on key aspects that require rigour. Good for you!

Make a plan, Stan. Then use it to structure your work, Bjork.

An unplanned essay is potentially a recipe for disaster. As a bare minimum, note your academic position/thesis and the subject of each body paragraph. This should assist you in maintaining a clear, structured response to the assignment question. Remember that each paragraph should consist of one idea that is explained in detail, supported by evidence and examples and linked back to the topic in order to prove its relevance. To do this in 1 - 3 sentences is impossible. If your paragraph is longer than a page, there is probably more than one main idea or there is too much detail. Don't forget a clear introduction that
  • provides a general intro to the topic
  • tells your reader about your particular focus
  • offers a thesis statement indicating your academic position
  • previews your work’s structure, showing how you intend to achieve your stated goal.
A conclusion is also necessary, summarising what you achieved and how you achieved it in your assignment, as well as providing a big picture statement of what it all means in the wider context.

Ready? Set? Write!

There are countless excuses to stop you from sitting down and typing your assignment. None of them is likely to justify your inertia. Once you actually start writing, you should find all that research, reading, planning and thinking has put you in a position where the flow quickly becomes a torrent. Get it all out of you as fast as you can! You can edit and proofread it all later. Go!

You may have doubts about whether your work is at the level your tutor expects or not. This may be because you are new to university, the first in your family or among your friends to undertake tertiary study, or you are returning to study after a long break. Fear not! Librarians and Learning Skills Advisers work at your library’s Research and Learning Point for a few hours a day at most branches. At drop ins they can provide tips, advice and feedback on all the research and academic work you need to do. There is no need for an appointment and you’ll be seen on a first-come, first-served basis.


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10 March 2015

eBooks: All the goodness of a print book in a convenient electronic package!

eBooks! They seem like such a great idea. You can read them on your computer screen and download them to read on the go. But when it comes to eBooks and libraries, there are some extra things to remember… by Romany Manuell

You may already be familiar with eBooks. Perhaps you’ve purchased the latest bestseller on your Kindle. Maybe you’ve downloaded a textbook from iBooks on to your iPhone. In the Library, you will find yourself bumping into some other brands that have set up special rules to allow students to borrow their eBooks. Over time, you’ll find yourself reading books from EBL, ebrary, EBSCO and other companies. But let’s deal with the basics first.   

Finding eBooks in Search
When you’re looking for information in Search, it might not be immediately obvious that you’ve found an eBook. You will need to look for clues. In the image to the right, you’ll see that the first version of The objects of thought is available to view in full text. Therefore, it must be an eBook! Just click on that “View it” button, and follow the links.

Reading eBooks: Eat in or takeaway?
You can read an eBook on your computer screen, just as you would read a journal article. But what if you want to borrow the book, and read the whole thing on your tablet or phone? What if you want to download a book to read when you are not connected to the internet? Well, there are specific rules for different eBook providers. Not all eBooks are available to download and read offline. That’s why you’ll find comprehensive instructions on the eBooks Library Guide.

However, it is pretty easy to download eBooks from the major providers: EBL, ebrary and EBSCO. You’ll need to grab the app called Bluefire Reader (available for iOS and Android). You’ll also need to create a free Adobe ID in order to login to the app. On your tablet or phone, find the Library and search for the book you want. If an option to download is available, your eBook should automatically open in your Bluefire Reader. Ta da!

But of course, sometimes it’s just not that simple. If you run into any trouble, please don’t forget to ask a librarian, or Ask Monash. We are always here to help you find better ways to use all the amazing online resources we have in the Library. 

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9 March 2015

5 reasons for attending a Library drop-in

You can get advice at a Library drop-in session. Here are some reasons that you might wish to take this option....by Rosemary Miller

Library drop-in sessions commence this week and will continue through the semester. Students seek advice at these sessions on a range of topics and for many reasons. See if you can relate to any of these examples.

1. Need a handle 

Simon is unsure where to start with his first University-level assignment – so different from school.

2. If you feel stuck

Elena wants to know where she would find articles on her essay topic as her search attempts on the internet and on the Library site have found nothing.

3. Make group work work

Adam and Zhang need advice on how their project group might make an effective oral presentation to their tutorial group.

4. Talk to an expert

Sophia thinks that she cited all her sources properly in her work but her lecturer suggested she needed to include more details.

5. More tips

Taking notes in lectures is difficult for Jing. She needs some tips on how to go about it effectively.

You can get advice from a learning skills adviser or librarian at your library's Research and Learning point. Check when drop-in sessions are offered. No bookings are necessary .


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6 March 2015

Online streaming of 10,000+ television programs



Studying Education and wondering how to give more pep to your lesson plans and engage your students when you are on placement? Or are you a lecturer who wants to ensure your students have  access to particular program content? .... by Ellen O'Hehir



EduTV is for you! It is a TV online streaming resource that makes it easy for both students and lecturers to find and instantly watch television content and embed clips from TV shows into their presentations, projects and lessons.

There are an amazing number of programs (over 10,000!) to choose from including documentaries, dramas, series and shows from both broadcast and pay TV. Each week there are 80 new programs added and the archive spans back to 2006. That’s nine years of television!

EduTV provides content across a huge variety of learning areas such as History, Politics, Languages, Indigenous Studies, Performing Arts, Science, Health, Business, Technology and many more.

The database comes with heaps of features:
  • Recent TV programs can be watched on your computer, tablet or even smartphone;
  • program study guides, found under the ‘Resources’ tab, are created by Australian Teachers of Media. The study guides, which are downloadable, are written by experts in film, documentary and media studies and are an excellent resource for Education students;
  • there are advanced searching options and the ‘Quick search’ box allows you to search for programs by simply typing in keywords;
  • you can create clips from shows to show in your classes or lectures;
  • closed captions are available;
  • you can share videos with other EduTV users via email, Facebook and Twitter.  
Best of all - there are no ads!

If you are a Monash staff or student, you have free access to EduTV as one of the Library’s many database subscriptions.  Get in touch with your subject librarian if you have questions about this or other streaming video databases available through the Library.


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4 March 2015

Your VIP access to library databases


I'm searching for information using Google Scholar, and all of a sudden, I come up against a brick wall. Twenty-five bucks to read a journal article? No way. It's a uni assignment, not a nightclub! How can I get VIP access? Keep reading to get on the other side of the velvet rope… by Romany Manuell

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3 March 2015

Lectures, listening skills, and note-taking

Whether you’re in a first-year class with 200 others, or a cosy, intimate third-year lecture featuring you and 15 classmates, your listening and note-taking skills are crucial for success....by Romney Adams.

Doodles on a notepad

Nothing is worse than getting to the end of the year and finding stuff like this in place of notes =>

Entertaining? Yes. Useful? ...not so much. Here’s our quick guide to surviving in the lecture theatre.

Sit down, shu-- ... be quiet

While of course, you are welcome to ask questions in lectures, your primary concern is to listen, and take notes. Talking is an obvious distraction, not only to yourself, but also to your neighbours - you’d be surprised at how far two whispering voices can travel in a lecture theatre!

Mary and Lucas had this huge fight, but then....Listen up, and take notes

Generally speaking, your lecturers will make their slides available to you, before or after class. So, you shouldn’t think of note-taking as simply copying down what your lecturer has on their slides - chances are these will be given to you, so writing their content down will simply be a waste of time.

What’s better is to listen out for important pieces of information you can use to strengthen the content of the lecture slides. If you’ve been given the slides beforehand (check Moodle!), you can print them off, and annotate them in-class.

It’s not necessary to write down everything your lecturer has to say - you can usually tell simply by the lecturer’s tone of voice, emphasis, or even body language, as to whether the information you’re about to receive is of particular importance.

Tablets and laptops are great to bring to class, but, as we all know, they can be incredibly distracting. Consider going back to Classical times and just bring pen and paper - you won’t find yourself scrolling through StalkerSpace, and any doodling you do may actually help improve your concentration!

Participate

When using Allocate+ to submit your preferences, you may have noticed the lecture component of your classes are sometimes referred to as ‘seminars’, or ‘workshops’. These still follow the basic principles of a lecture, however greater participation is encouraged - it may even form some of your overall mark for the unit. Participation does not simply mean being present - you’ll be expected to engage with the teaching staff and ask questions - another good reason to listen to what’s being said!

What if I can’t make it?

The life of a student is busy, and sometimes, due to seen or unforeseen circumstances, it’s not always possible to attend your lectures. If this is the case, don’t worry! Many lectures are captured and stored for your viewing pleasure on MULO. This is also a great source for exam revision at the end of semester.

If your lectures aren’t recorded, things are a little trickier - but not impossible. Teaching staff are usually understanding if you have a good reason for not being able to attend, and may be able to email a copy of the slides to you - it goes without saying that the after-effects of partying are not considered to be ‘good reason’! You can also ask your lecturer if you can have a quick consultation/appointment with them, to catch up on anything important you may have missed. If you know you’re going to miss a class, you can also ask friends to take notes for you - it helps if you shout them coffee or a pint in return, to show your appreciation.

Do you have any tips or tricks for listening and note-taking in lectures? Or perhaps a suggestion of how not to behave? Comment below!

[Illustrations created by Romney Adams]

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2 March 2015

What’s new in 2015

Welcome back and best wishes from the Library for a successful year. 



Image: Elenapaint (CC BY-SA 2.0)
We hope you had a wonderful summer break. 

So what's up at the Library? There are a few important changes to note this year:

Refurbishments
  • If you are a frequent Matheson Library user, you will see that the refurbishment has commenced; building work is taking place in back areas of the building currently. Some collections and areas have been moved or closed, so keep a look out for those popup signs redirecting you to their temporary locations. 
  • Additional seating at Matheson Library is available on Level 5 of the General Collection and Level 2 of the Journal Collection. All levels 1-5 have some quiet seating.
  • The Hargrave-Andrew Library and Law Library have additional seating available to help students find a quiet spot to study over the Matheson refurbishment period.
  • The refurbishment of the Caulfield Library is in the planning phase.

Room bookings

Group study rooms can now be booked by students directly at  Berwick, Law, Peninsula and  Matheson Library. This is a trial and your feedback would be appreciated before we roll out the system to all libraries. To book  a room, go to http://monash.libcal.com/.

New Library blog

This new Library blog you are reading will have articles written by experts to provide you with advice and tips for your studies. You can keep up with the latest about the Library’s resources and services by subscribing to the blog. 

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About the Blog

Welcome to the Monash University Library blog. Whether you are engaged in learning, teaching or research activities, the Library and its range of programs, activities and resources will contribute to your success. Here you will find useful information, ideas, tips and inspiration. Your comments on any of the articles are welcome.

If you believe that copyright material is available on this blog in such a way that infringes copyright, please contact our designated representative

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