Library

17 October 2017

Where To Study for Exams - Your Library-by-Library Guide!

It’s Week 12, and exams are just around the corner! The good news is, you’ve still got time to get into a great revision routine before October 30th. And the even better news is, the libraries here at Monash have plenty of space for you to use. Subject librarian Romney Adams has put together your guide to exam revision spaces at Monash, library-by-library!

Caulfield



The refurbishment works at Caulfield have come to an end, and the seating capacity has doubled - which means plenty of spots across the four floors for you to knuckle down and hit the books, including seven bookable group study rooms! Those familiar with the old library will have memories of grey walls and artificial light - these have been replaced by a bright and airy space, with many examples of intriguing artwork...see if you can spot my favourite, Jeff Gibson’s Double or Nothing!


Caulfield Library


Sir Louis Matheson





With all the news about Caulfield, you may have forgotten the Matheson has been refurbished too. There are a multitude of bookable study spaces - some students like to add their personal touch to take the edge off of studying! - but you’ll need to get in early. If the rooms are all booked, there are no less than five levels comprising the behemoth that is Matheson, and there is seating available on each. What’s more, the Library will be open until 2am from Monday-Thursday during Swot Vac and the exam period, for all you night owls! If you need some sustenance, or perhaps just prefer to take a more relaxed approach to studying, you can relax with coffee and a sweet treat at Swift’s on the ground floor.


Group study rooms at the Matheson


Hargrave-Andrew





The Hargrave-Andrew can be a bit of a mysterious beast for those who aren’t familiar with its hallowed halls, and much attention seems to be focussed around the entrance: Why is it up a flight of stairs? What’s the story behind the babies halfway up the stairs? What’s this secret ‘basement’ level I’ve heard so much about? Some things will forever remain unknown, but to find out which areas of HAL are least busy, look no further than the snazzy Digital Wayfinders. And if a teaching space isn’t being used to run a class, you’re more than welcome to use it to study.


Hargrave-Andrew Library





Law



Traditional, compliant, and judicial - the Law Library may not sound exciting, but it really is a beautiful space. And what’s more, there are plenty of areas for study! Levels 2-4 are designated as Quiet Study areas, which is good if you’re going it alone. If you prefer to study as a group, there are four bookable discussion rooms - so all your bases are covered. When you’ve hit the study wall and need a well-deserved break, sink into one of the comfortable chesterfield couches...if you’re lucky, you might even get to meet Boof!


Law Library


Peninsula




Down by the seaside (well, almost), the Library at Peninsula has a variety of rooms available for you to notch up some hours of quiet study. Downstairs, there are large tables you can work at alone, or as a group. Known as a bit of a zen space, spaces on the first floor also boast sea views...on a clear day...if you squint…just don’t study too late into the night - you might be joined by one of the resident skeletons!


Peninsula Library


Parkville





It’s true - despite having the longest name, the CL Butchers Pharmacy Library is smaller than most - but thanks to some minor works earlier this year, it’s bigger than ever before! Out at 'The Pharm’, the quiet study area has increased in size by 42%, thanks to the addition of 16 private study carrels. The opportunity to hit the books has never been better!
Group study area at the Pharmacy Library.











Berwick



And last but not least, Berwick! It’s smaller and shares space with Federation University until the end of the year when we'll have to move out, but we’ve got lots to offer our students until then. We have plenty of quiet study carrels for you to make your own, and there’s also a separate group study room available for you to book. There’s also a beautiful courtyard space if you’d like to follow Isaac Newton’s lead and study under the shade of a tree - watch out for falling acorns!


Berwick Library Courtyard


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10 October 2017

Law Library services after semester 2 exams

With the scheduled closure of the Law Building over summer, the Library has made alternate arrangements to ensure Law Library users will continue to have access to materials.



The entire Law building will be closed for major construction works from 30 November 2017 through to mid-February 2018.

During this period, Law staff and students can:


  • use Search to request items held in the Law Library for pick-up at Hargrave-Andrew Library or Matheson Library at Clayton campus. Library staff will run a retrieval service once daily so please allow for some delay.
  • return items due at any library; after-hours returns available at Hargrave-Andrew Library.
  • access Summer Law unit texts on reading lists at Hargrave-Andrew Library.
  • find study spaces at the two other libraries on campus. Hargrave-Andrew Library will now be open until 9pm on Mondays and Tuesdays and 1pm-5pm on Sundays over summer.
  • get advice and ask questions at an Information point at any other library, through ask.monash or by telephone (03 9905 5054). Law Library research and learning skills staff can be contacted by email on lib-lawteam-l@monash.edu.


Due to the temporary closure, 'Law' will not be available as a pick-up location for inter-campus loans.

If you have any comments or concerns about Law Library services during this period, email Law Library staff on lib-lawteam-l@monash.edu.




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9 October 2017

China Reconstructs: A resource for researchers of 20th century China

The Matheson Library has an amazing collection of Chinese periodicals dating to the 1950s. Xiaoju Liu, subject librarian for Chinese studies, writes about how researchers can use this collection as an English language primary source to gain further insight into 20th century China. 

What is China Reconstructs?


China Reconstructs is an English language periodical, first published in China in January 1952. Although the first issues were in English the publication gradually expanded to Spanish, French, Arabic, German, and Portuguese between 1960 and 1980. The Chinese version was added in October 1980.

This is the only multi-language publication that was issued by the Chinese government during that time. It was published by the China Welfare Institute (funded in 1938 by Soong Ching Ling, the wife of Sun Yat-sen). The idea was initiated by a conversation between Premier Zhou Enlai and Soong Qing Ling, as they were both looking for a way to introduce the achievements of modern China to the world. Soong Qing Ling named the journal China Reconstructs (中国建设) in memory of Sun Yat-sen, who started a short-lived periodical called Constructs (建设) in 1919.

What sort of information does this publication contain? 

This richly illustrated periodical covers various aspects of modern China, from economy and technology to social life, arts, sport, minorities, tourism, archaeology, infrastructure, and stories. Its special columns include Postbag, School life, International Notes, In the New Society, Language Corner and others. 

Language Corner was designed for foreigners who wanted to learn Chinese. It consisted of a short article with Chinese characters, pinyin (romanisation) and English. The column included explanatory notes on the use of key Chinese words and phrases as well as exercises.

International Notes reported on China's standpoint concerning international affairs. For example, in an article titled The Afro-Americans are fighting, the author noted that "Chairman Mao was voicing the mighty support of the 700 million Chinese people to the Afro-Americans. The world's people struggling against U.S. imperialism also saw in his statement the direction forward and were tremendously inspired."

School Life reported on what was taking place in China's schools particularly about how Mao Tsetung's principles were being implemented in education.

Why is this collection significant?


The variety of information present in this collection makes it a rich trove of material that can enhance research and teaching on various aspects of Modern China. In January 1990, the periodical was renamed as China Today (今日中国) and continues to function as a gateway into contemporary China. Researchers working on social and cultural life in the second half of 20th century China will benefit significantly from this great collection. For example, a special issue in February 1970 focuses on the Peking Opera Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy, contains English scripts and various discussions about how proletarian heroes were created and how negative characters were depicted. 

How do I access this collection?

The Matheson Library holds copies of China Reconstructs issued in 1953, 1955-1956, 1961-1989 in the closed Asian Special Collection area. If you're interested in using China Reconstructs (中国建设) contact Xiaoju Liu (Chinese Studies Subject Librarian) or Hueimin Chen (Information Officer) for access to this collection.  

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5 October 2017

Getting to Grips with Citing & Referencing

Academic integrity is one of the key skills you need to develop during your university studies. This includes acknowledging the work of others and disclosing the sources of your research. Bei-En Zou, a learning skills adviser, writes about the importance of citing and referencing and offers some tips to mastering this skill. 

Before we talk about the importance of citing and referencing, we need a few definitions! Most people often use these terms interchangeably, but they do in fact refer to two different things.

Citations are sources that you mention within your research. They're accompanied by a footnote or an in-text reference. A citation can be a key piece of information that you've drawn from someone else's work or a direct quote from a text. 

Referencing, on the other hand, refers to a list of all the resources you've used in your research at the end of an essay or article. This is also known as a bibliography.

Why do we need to cite and reference?


You probably know that it's a requirement to cite and reference properly in your assignments, but why is it important? Citing and Referencing is important because universities want to train you in thinking originally, and to contribute your own ideas about your subject areas and to produce original work. It's therefore important to distinguish which is your work, and which is the work of others. 

Acknowledging the sources that you have used in your work highlights where you have contributed your own ideas and research. 

Citing and referencing have other important roles too! Referencing is a way of providing evidence to support the claims that you are making in your essay. You can use the work of experts in your field to lend weight to your own research, to show how your work is built upon previous intellectual endeavours or how your work challenges and deviates from the traditional understanding in your field. An essay or report with appropriate and accurate references is always more convincing and persuasive than one without any!

A good set of citations and references also enables your marker to track down all the material you used and get a sense of how widely you've researched. You are showing your marker that you are aware of the breadth and depth of your field. Referencing also gives you a chance to acknowledge the hard work of others before you. 

Using different citing and referencing styles. 


Harvard, Chicago, IEEE, APA... there are at least a dozen citing and referencing styles that are used at Monash. Each faculty has their own preferences, and even within the one course, you might find yourself using different styles for each of your subjects! You can usually find all the information you need about citing and referencing styles in the Unit Guide for your subject, or by asking your tutor, demonstrator or lecturer. The key is to maintain consistency and watch out for the finicky little details in the commas, italics and ampersands. 

Resources to help you.


Referencing can be a fiddly and frustrating process, as you come to grips with all the intricacies and variations among different styles. The library has created a number of excellent resources to help you navigate all elements of citing and referencing. 

Here are our top links:

This is your go-to place for all things citing and referencing. Bookmark it on your computer and refer to it frequently for all examples and explanations of all the referencing conventions for you to follow. 

If you're feeling a little unsure about citing and referencing, this is a great tutorial that will explain the basic principles, and you can test out your knowledge at the end with quizzes.

One of the most common citing and referencing styles used at Monash is APA (American Psychological Association). If that's you, APA Central is a great resource. It contains videos, quizzes, templates and quick guides for you to get on top of APA style. 

  • Research and learning point - drop-in sessions
Drop in without an appointment to see a librarian or learning skills advisor for some advice on researching for your assignment, including citing and referencing. You can find a list of session times here. 

(*) Please use either Firefox or Internet Explorer to complete this tutorial. 

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2 October 2017

#PhDshelfie: Encountering remarkable medieval women in the Matheson

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 second piece in our #PhDshelfie series is written by Jennifer Lord, a doctoral candidate researching religious communities of lay women in 13th century Marseille. 


I have to admit, in response to Basil's article, that the books I borrow from the library aren’t like family! They are more like promising new acquaintances whom I enthusiastically embrace in the hope that we’ll soon get to know each other. This quickly morphs into guilt as they sit neglected on my desk because I haven’t made enough time for them in my schedule. 

Still, there are books on my topic that I have definitely enjoyed coming to know well, not least my main primary source. I’m researching a Beguine community established in Marseilles in the late thirteenth century. (Beguines were women who aimed to lead a celibate life of prayer and charitable work without permanently withdrawing from the world into a nunnery.) My community is described in a work written in old Occitan (Provençal) in the late 1200s, a work that was forgotten until the 1870s when its only known manuscript was translated into French. In 2001, it was published in English as The Life of Saint Douceline, A Beguine of Provence, and I was able to discover it in the Matheson. Trying to unlock the cultural and historical meanings of this text is at the heart of my research. 


To understand the heightened emotional and somatic spirituality of women like Douceline, I’ve also been exploring the Matheson’s collection of the Lives of other celebrated thirteenth-century women mystics, such as Lutgard, Margaret of Ypres and Christina ‘the Astonishing’. I’ve felt, though, that behind this handful of exceptional women must have stood many hundreds of ordinary laywomen/beguines whose deep piety was expressed in less remarkable ways. So I’ve really enjoyed discovering Partners in Spirit,  a collection of essays by Fiona Griffith and Julie Hotchins which shed light on numerous communities of less notable religious women in twelfth-century Germany, while also revealing the co-operation and collaboration of male clerics with these women, thereby challenging some received ideas about the workings of gender in medieval religious culture. 

The text I’ve found most useful for overall historical background on the beguines is Walter Simons’ Cities of Ladies, which puts northern Europe’s beguine communities into a social, economic as well as religious context. However, the stand-out, most rewarding encounter in my reading so far has been with Caroline Walker Bynum’s essay collection Jesus as Mother: Studies in the Spirituality of the Middle Ages, particularly her discussions of medieval religious conceptions of community and the individual. I’ve even bought my own copy because I know it will repay multiple readings.

And when I needed light relief but felt nervous about wasting time, I visited my topic as a tourist, via Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. Against the backdrop of the conflict between Empire and Papacy, Eco takes the anxieties of the men* of faith about the outcomes of reason, the desire of the men of reason to hold on to faith, the world of the scriptorium and the library, of scrolls and codices, and rolls them all together in a murder mystery in the early fourteenth century. Great tour guide!


*Sadly, yes. There is only one woman in the entire book, and she is there as voiceless object-of-desire/occasion-of-sin.


Jennifer Lord is a PhD candidate in the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies (SOPHIS). Her research topic is Les Dames de Roubaud: Contextualising a community of lay religious women in thirteenth-century Marseille. She also has a Masters degree in sociolinguistics and is  a professional editor and writer of many years’ standing, with publishing and communications experience in the community, public and private sectors. 



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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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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.

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