Library

21 September 2017

#PhDshelfie: What books and libraries mean to me

Inspired by the #PhDshelfie movement, we asked a few Monash PhD students to share their 'shelfies' and reflect on the books that have become most meaningful to them during their candidature. The first piece in our #PhDshelfie series is written by Basil Cahusac de Caux, a doctoral candidate researching language reform in post-war Japan. 


The books I borrow from the library are like family. I pick them up and take them home with me, create a space for them next to my desk at university, and regularly take them out for lunch. I would find it difficult to live without them… though their very existence sometimes causes me to doubt myself as a capable individual. My family’s real home – for the time being at least – is in the library, of which my favourite part is the collection of Japanese language books and journals housed in the recently renovated Matheson Library (Clayton Campus), which serves as a sanctuary of intellectual wealth and comedy. There I pick up books on Japanese language policy, written by the very individuals whose testimonies and actions I study as part of my doctoral thesis on language reform in Japan.

There’s the book on the Romanization of Japanese by Kayashima Atsushi, which forces me to dig deeper in my analysis to produce more meaningful research findings. There’s the book on language policy in China, which helps me reflect on the potential impact of language policy and education. And of course, there are the National Language Council Reports, which form the bedrock of my thesis’ conceptual landscape. I find in these accounts of language and society, glimpses of the ideal language speaker, language as an efficient conveyor of ideas and vehicle of culture, mixed in with disgruntled criticisms of the past and its feudal characteristics – usually dominated by malicious power relations and hierarchies.


When I’m lost I often turn to Galan’s chapter on the changes and continuities that occur in the Japanese education system after 1945 in Japan’s Postwar (Routledge, 2011), perhaps due to my inability to fathom the totality of the postwar experience (in Japan or any other country). This chapter offers a window into the political makings of society in the aftermath of defeat. It teaches me the importance of upholding compromise and tolerance as principles, both in theory and practice; a unilateral approach to a problem unfortunately often results in the weakening of the standing of others. The chapter serves as a constant reminder of the need for balance and compromise – two attributes that are often missing in my writing.

When I read, I read through the eyes of my mind. I take the time to enjoy the spaces I occupy so that I can best internalise the books I discover. The ideal space in which to do this is the library, which embraces people from all walks of life. It is where our ideas and emotions are challenged, where introspection and interaction are encouraged. It takes us in and (if we’re lucky) learns from our mistakes. If knowledge had legs with which to walk, then the library would be an open park, green, silent, and welcoming, waiting for new faces and fashions to grace its grounds. Some people leave, while others remain, to age with grace. (If libraries were parks and knowledge the human race, what would that make us?)

Basil Cahusac de Caux is a doctoral candidate at the School of Philosophical, Historical & International Studies (SoPHIS), Monash University. He has conducted comparative research on the intellectual history of early and mid-20th-century linguists in the United Kingdom and Japan and is now focussed on the cultures and politics of language reform in postwar Japanese society. In his spare time, Basil runs the Kontemporary Japan Reading Group, a cross-institutional initiative promoting the discussion of Japan-related social issues and academic works.


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19 September 2017

Broaden your research with grey literature


The internet has had a significant impact on the way that information is disseminated and used, allowing researchers to search more broadly than the formal, published academic sources to further their research. Tracey Whyte, a subject librarian, writes about how you can access 'grey literature' and incorporate it into your research

What kind of literature is considered grey?


Grey (or gray) literature “deals with the production, distribution, and access to multiple document types produced on all levels of government, academic, and business organisations in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing i.e. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body” [1].  This form of literature covers a whole range of formats including government reports, theses, bibliographies, case studies, conference papers, databases, legislation, interviews, patents, podcasts, posters, research proposals, standards, statistics, and clinical trials [2].    


Searching the grey way: How to find grey literature


Use a sound, thorough search strategy and refer to the Library’s developing a search strategy online tutorial for more advice about this. We recommend that you search Library databases for grey literature before searching government websites and search engines to retrieve grey resources.


Traditional Library databases and Search, the Library’s discovery tool, will retrieve grey resources including statistics, legislation, conference proceedings, theses, reviews,  as well as government documents from a range of disciplines both within Australia and internationally. 

Some databases like the National Library’s catalogue, Trove, will also retrieve sources from other Libraries outside of Monash that Monash staff and post-graduates can request. A comprehensive list of Library databases to search for grey resources follows this article.


How to evaluate grey literature?


There are many frameworks that can assist with evaluating information. Jess Tyndall, an academic at Flinders University and grey literature expert has created one such framework called the AACODS checklist, to appraise grey literature [3]. AACODS stands for:


Appraise
Authority
Accuracy
Coverage
Objectivity
Date
Significance.  

Library staff have created the resource Academic searching on the Internet to guide searching and evaluating internet sources. This resource provides information about why you might use the internet for research, effective ways to search, evaluation tips and ways to manage internet sources.

Library staff have also created Google tips links in Library guides to provide advice about searching search engines.


Sources of grey literature

The following Library databases, listed in no particular order, search grey literature beyond the capabilities of a Google search. 

ABS
APO (Analysis and Policy Observatory)
Trove: National Library of Australia’s catalogue
Cinahl
PsycINFO
Social services abstracts
Sportdiscus
SPIE digital library
Global health
Business source complete
Pandora
Open grey
Web of Science
Scopus
Sociological Abstracts
Ageline
Australian Indigenous Healthinfonet
Proquest dissertations and theses
Cochrane Central register of controlled trials
Dart-Europe
Informit


References

[1] GL ’99 conference Program. Fourth International Conference on Grey Literature: New Frontiers in Grey Literature. Grey Net, Grey Literature Network Service. Washington D.C. SA, 4-5 October 1999.

[2] GreyNet International. (n.d). GreyNet International 1992-2017. Retrieved from                

[3]  Tyndall, J. (2010) Aacods checklist. Retrieved from http://dspace.flinders.edu.au/jspui/bitstream/2328/3326/4/AACODS_Checklist.pdf


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13 September 2017

Knovel for engineering research

When researching projects, engineering students and researchers can be confronted with a deluge of information which may often be irrelevant. Subject Librarian Nhan Le writes about how students can use Knovel, an engineering database, to narrow their searches and enhance their research.



Knovel is an engineering database that provides a platform for e-books and gives searchable online access to books, dictionaries, encyclopaedias, and technical reference books. The database provides access to material from leading publishers and professional societies like AIAA, AIChE, ASME, IEEENACE, Elsevier, McGraw-Hill, Earthscan, and Wiley. It is used by industry professionals as well as academics and can provide research material for the following fields:
  • Aerospace and radar technology
  • Earth sciences
  • Chemistry and chemical engineering
  • Electrical and power engineering
  • Nanotechnology
  • Mechanics and mechanical engineering
  • Environment and environmental engineering
  • Sustainable energy and development
  • Transportation engineering
  • Biochemistry, biology and biotechnology
The technical information available within Knovel covers materials properties, best practices, safety, corrosion and process improvement.


How to use Knovel

Users can perform keyword searching to locate search items in full-text documents and interactive tables. 

Search results can be refined by document types, for example, text sections, conference proceedings, interactive tables, and regulatory information. They are also ranked by relevance or date, and grouped by publication.

Data searching is a key strength of Knovel and allows you to find specific materials property information. Once found, search results can then be exported to another application (Microsoft Excel, HTML or ASCII Text). Citations can also be exported to EndNote.

How to access Knovel

Monash staff and students can access Knovel via the Monash databases page or via Search.

If you have any queries on using Knovel please get in touch with your contact librarians for Engineering.


Nhan Le is a subject librarian for Chemical, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. 

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Think critically!

Do you ever receive assignments back with the comment: “your essay is too descriptive” or “more critical analysis needed”? Learning Skills Adviser Bei-En Zou writes about what it means to be critical and how to go about developing your critical thinking skills. 


One of the key skills you want to develop during your time as a university student is the ability to think critically. Critical thinking is not only a skill for life but a quality that is becoming increasingly sought after in the workforce. 


What is critical thinking?

Critical thinking is not about being a critical person! Rather, in the academic context, it is about thinking in a way that does not take what you read or hear at its face value. Critical thinkers look at the evidence behind expert opinions, weigh up ideas against each other and make their own reasoned judgments about how compelling an author's explanations are for certain phenomena.


Practising critical thinking

Good critical thinking begins with asking questions. When faced with a new idea or piece of information, in a journal article or a book, begin by asking the big ‘W’ questions to orientate yourself:
  • What is the main idea?
  • Who wrote this?
  • When was this written? And what was happening at that time?
  • Where was it written?
  • What evidence does the writer provide to support his/her main point? 

Once you’ve done that, critical thinkers go a step further, by taking that information, and asking if any of it affects the credibility of the material presented. Here are some examples of things to look out for:
  • Scientific articles published more than five years ago might be relying on outdated methods and data. 
  • Research that is funded by corporations like this one might publish biased results designed to support a corporation's product instead of presenting their results impartially.
  • Legitimate sounding publications such as the Journal of Historical Review which are actually avenues to push forward a particular political ideology.  

Analysing Arguments

Next, focus on what the author is saying: their key point (this is also called an argument). Ask yourself:
  • Does the writer use evidence to back up their claims?
  • What is the quality of the evidence used? (How recent is it? Does it come from reputable, scholarly sources?)
  • Does the writer make any assumptions?
  • Does the writer go from point A to point B in a logical way? Is the overall flow of the argument clear and logical?
  • How convincing is the overall argument? What do I agree with? What do I disagree with? And why?

These questions will help you evaluate and critically analyse the strength of a particular argument.

Critical thinking is a journey

Thinking critically is difficult and will take time. It’s a skill to develop over the course of your degree. However, if you take anything away from your university studies, the ability to think and act critically is invaluable. Becoming a critical thinker will make your life much more rich and exciting!


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7 September 2017

Resources for Korean Studies

Did you know that the largest university collection of Korean resources in the southern hemisphere is right here at Monash? Jung-Sim Kim, the Korean Studies librarian, tells us how to make use of this collection. 


The Korean resources at Monash consist of about 27,000 print items, over a thousand Korean multimedia items such as DVDs and more than a hundred sound recordings, as well as access to 15 Korean databases. Some of the electronic material in this collection has been partially funded by a grant from the Korea Foundation. 

Some of the Korean databases that you can access are:
  • KISS by the Korean Studies Information 한국학술정
  • DBpia by the Nurimedia 누리미디
  • RISS International by the Korea Education & Research Information Service 한국교육학술정보
  • Full-text databases by the National Library of Korea 국립중앙도서관
Korean databases are mainly in Korean interface, but some databases have interfaces in English or other languages.

Researchers or students who cannot read Korean can use various multi-discipline databases from the Databases and electronic resources guide to find articles related to Korea in other languages. For example, researchers can use the Web of Science platform to access the KCI-Korean Journal Database.

Researchers are also able to consult the Korean Studies Librarian, Jung-Sim Kim, who supports academics and students whose research areas are related to Korea.

HOW TO ACCESS THE KOREAN COLLECTION

  • Your first point of call is Library Search which will provide you with electronic and print resources relevant to the area you are researching.
  • You can also browse most of the Korean language print resources in the Asian Collections on Level 1 of the Sir Louis Matheson Library. 
  • If you wish to access electronic material you can visit the Korean databases  page at the Korean Studies Library Guide

NEED MORE HELP?

If you are unable to find a particular resource, use Document Delivery if you are eligible or ask the Korean Studies Librarian for help.

If you have any queries on Korean resources at Monash please contact the Korean Studies Librarian.



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5 September 2017

Sorry, what? Improve your listening skills


Lectures can be overwhelming no matter what you're studying. There's so much content! Do you need to write everything down? Romany Manuell, a subject librarian at Monash, offers a few tips to help you with your listening and note-taking skills.




We all wish we had a photographic memory - with an audio component - so we can capture everything our lecturer says... These days, that wish is a reality! Many lecturers at Monash Uni make use of Learning Capture to record lectures, and then make the content available on Moodle through your unit site. But whether you're attending the lecture in person, or reviewing the lecture via Learning Capture, listening just isn't enough. You'll remember much more if you adopt some of these approaches:

1. Prepare to listen with purpose

A good way to prepare for lectures is to try to read relevant readings beforehand and come to the lecture with a series of questions you’d like the answers to. Listen out for the answers, and you’ll be listening with purpose! You don’t actually have to ask the questions out loud, but if they aren’t answered during the lecture, look for opportunities to discuss your questions with your lecturer, tutor or fellow students.

2. Practice your handwriting

Yes, it’s old school, but according to studies such as this one, writing by hand can actually help you remember. Researchers believe there’s something about handwriting that helps you to reframe content in your own words. So leave that laptop at home (it might help you stay off Facebook too… gulp!).

3. Listen out for signalling words

You may find that words such as first, second, also, furthermore, moreover, therefore and finally indicate stages in the lecturer's argument. Listen out for those words in order to grab the main points. There are more useful signalling words and other tips available on Research and Learning Online.

As you can see, listening and note-taking really work hand-in-hand. So if you need to brush up on your note-taking skills, watch the video below:



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4 September 2017

Students, have your say via the Library user survey

Let us know what we do well and where we can do better. Complete the Library user survey and you can go in the draw to win a prize.  



Matheson Library entrance
Since our last user survey in 2015, we have completed the major transformation of the Matheson and Caulfield libraries and created vibrant and inspiring work spaces for our students. 

The Library user survey is your opportunity to give us feedback.

About 10 minutes is all you need to complete the Library survey.

Your opinion matters

We've listened to your opinions from previous surveys and taken your input on board. With your feedback, we've done big and small things to enhance your experience of using the Library.

In 2015, you said:
  • "Matheson Library needs to have a re-layout, too many study desks are in one place so study areas are always prone to noise. Also all the libraries are severely lacking in group study rooms, especially with AV equipment."
  • "I am looking forward to the redevelopment of Caulfield Library, it's pretty overdue. The study facilities of the library (desks, computers, capacity) is the main frustration."
  • "Merge the lab printing and online payment with the library system."
  • Caulfield Library front façade
  • "Another thing that should really be improved is being able to print directly from our laptops to the print station..."
What we have done:
  • In the Matheson Library, different types of spaces cater for a range of study styles, from quiet to collaborative group work. There are 22 bookable discussion rooms fitted with plug-and-play technology for devices and screens. Seating capacity has increased by 25% to 1,620 seats.
  • In the new Caulfield Library, an open plan has created more study spaces that suit different needs, with 7 bookable technology-rich discussion rooms and an abundance of large tables with screens to share for group work. Seating capacity has doubled to 1,500 seats.
  • With the rollout of single Monash UniPrint system, there is now one printing system at the libraries and computer labs. Wireless printing in the libraries can also be enabled by students.


Get a chance to win a prize

When you've completed the survey, simply provide your student ID number and you can go in the draw to win one of these prizes:
  •         One major prize of Coles Myer voucher worth $500
  •         Five minor prizes of Coles Myer voucher worth $100 each
      We publish the overall results of the survey but don't worry, your response is confidential. 


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