Library

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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16 May 2017

Celebrate IDAHOBIT with the Library

International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia is Wednesday 17 May, and the Library is celebrating by putting together some of our best LGBTQIA resources, says subject librarian Carolyn Jones.

Gay Information
No. 11, 1982

May 17th is International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). It was created to draw attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by the LGBTIQA community, and encourage the global community to stand together. In honour of this day, Monash University Diversity & Inclusion is hosting a range of events throughout the week, so check them out and get involved!

If you’d like to do some of your own research around IDAHOBIT, look no further than Monash University Library.

The Law Library at Clayton campus, as well as the Peninsula Library, will have several key related resources on display throughout the week. At Law we will be showcasing law-related resources relating to LGBTQIA cases and legislation history, and Peninsula will have education and health resources available to explore.

The Library’s LGBTQIA resources reach far and wide, from our amazing new database Archives of sexuality & gender: LGBTQ history and culture since 1940, which we added to the collection last year, to extensive collections of LGBTQIA film and documentary material in all of our streaming digital collections. You can (and should!) spend hours on Film Platform and Kanopy, as well as Alexander Street Press learning about the history and the vibrant variety, struggles, and celebrations of the LGBTQIA community worldwide.

We also have special access to the Visual History Archive, a database with thousands of hours of interviews with Holocaust survivors, including many targeted throughout and following WWII due to their sexuality or gender identity. The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War Against Homosexuals tells the story of those in concentration camps that were marked with a pink triangle. They were not allowed to go free when Nazi Germany fell, and many continued to be incarcerated for years.

The Monash book and ebook collections have a strong focus on gender and sexuality issues and history from across many fields of study. Here is just a sample:


Keen for a soundtrack as you read? Smithsonian Global Sound Archive has a wide variety of music from around the world, from the iconically bisexual David Bowie to trans artist Rae Spoon to music from yesteryear, like 1973’s What Did You Expect...?: Songs About the Experiences of Being Gay.

Our fantastic eJournal platform Browzine also has an extensive collection of international journals to browse through, including GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies and Transgender Studies Quarterly, offering some of the best in LGBTQIA academic research and writing today. The resources available through our Newspapers Library Guide can help you dive into the up-to-date and historical happenings on the LGBTQIA community across the globe. Whether you’re interested in decriminalisation, public perception, or more recent news around marriage equality and Safe Schools, we’ve got you covered!

And, to round out our fabulous Library finds for IDAHOBIT, check out the many vintage items held in our Rare Books Collection! The brand new Special Collections Reading Room at the nearly-finished Sir Louis Matheson Library is open to all staff, students, and the public.



Blatant Lesbianism
Elaine Alinta
1978












     



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15 May 2017

Presentation skills: You need them, and the Library can help!

Whether you're an international or domestic student, speaking in front of your class can be daunting! If you need a bit of help, the Library is here for you, says subject librarian Romany Manuell.



Presentation skills: useful for work and life


Some people just love performing in front of a group! For others, delivering an oral presentation can be anxiety-provoking. Firstly, it can help to remember why you're being asked to deliver an oral presentation. Your lecturers and tutors are not trying to make you feel stressed out. It's all about helping you prepare for life outside the university. You'll probably be asked to give presentations to colleagues and peers in the workforce (if you haven’t already done so!). Why not start developing your employability skills now?

Watch and learn (and read)


The Library has plenty of self-help resources to help you improve your public speaking skills. A big favourite is the Lynda.com video tutorial platform (search for “presentation skills”). Set a time limit for yourself when venturing onto Lynda, or you might find it becomes an easy way to procrastinate.

 If you have more time (and you’re absolutely sure you’re not procrastinating… be honest, now!) why not peruse the Library’s extensive collection of books on the topic. In Search, try “public speaking” or “presentation skills” as keywords.


Plan, prepare, practise and present


If you’re just beginning to research for your oral presentation, this downloadable guide developed by the Library will point you in the right direction. It’s all about The Four Ps! If you’ve already finished your plan, why not use the dot points on this previous library blog post as a checklist to make sure you’re ready to go.

If you are still feeling anxious, you’re not alone! Monash University’s mindfulness programs and resources can really help. Or, perhaps it’s your English that’s giving you nerves? Check out what English Connect has to offer. Finally, don’t forget that Learning Skills Advisers are available at the Library’s drop-in sessions, whether you want tips and tricks, or just a quick run-through of your presentation. Good luck!



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11 May 2017

Access to Caulfield Library during exam study time - Bring your Monash ID card


Special entry arrangements apply at Caulfield Library beginning 15 May until 16 June for exam study.

Make sure you bring your ID card for hassle-free access to Caulfield Library during the period leading up to and including the exams.

While new study areas have recently opened at Caulfield, thanks to the refurbishment (see picture at right), there are still limitations on seats available there for study.

Caulfield Library will be open to only Monash staff and students between 15 May and 16 June, to ensure they have the best access to available study space.The Library introduced this restriction a few years ago because of the pressure on spaces.

If you plan to use this library over this period you must carry your Monash ID card to minimise inconvenience and delays at the library entrance.

CAVAL and ULANZ registered borrowers will be able to retrieve and borrow specific items, but will not be able to study in the library during the restricted access period.

Alumni and external fee-paying Library members will continue to have access by presenting their Library card. Students from Sir John Monash Science School and Nossal High School can also get in if they have their school ID.

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24 April 2017

Researching organisms? Try BIOSIS Previews

Information about any animal, bird, organism or other form of life can be found in this database of journal articles from emerging and traditional areas of  biological science, says subject librarian Madeleine Bruwer.



Are you a life scientist researching organisms? 

BIOSIS Previews allows you to explore the entire field of life sciences by providing access to journal content from Biological Abstracts supplemented by Biological Abstract Reports, Reviews and Meetings. 

Our BIOSIS Previews coverage dates from 1926 to present, and includes the traditional areas of biological sciences, such as zoology, botany, microbiology, as well as emerging areas like drug discovery, gene therapy, biodiversity and biotechnology.

Searching for an organism using the taxonomic data field

Biosis Previews uses a relational indexing system, which provides hierarchical access to kingdom, family and common genus species names. Knowing how to best utilise the taxonomic structure of the database will assist in targeting your search to retrieve records with the required organism as the primary focus of the article.

Start by performing a topic search, listing as many variations as possible of the organism name, either the formal scientific name, Latin name or the common organism name.



Select a relevant result based on title information and scroll down past the abstract to the taxonomic data table.

The taxonomic data table displays the following categories: Super Taxa, Taxa Notes, Organism Classifier, Organism name and Variant. 


The Super Taxa field refers to broad categories of organisms, in this instance Mammalia, Marsupialia. The Taxa Notes supply the common names of broad groups of organisms, for example Marsupials, Mammals and more. The Organism Classifier provides the controlled term for the taxonomic rank of family as well as the five-digit Biosystematic Code for an organism. Organism name refers to the organism name as provided by the author and this will assist users unfamiliar with the taxonomic nomenclature to easily search for an organism. The Variant name is also captured if the article provides this information. Other details on the organism such as gender, its developmental stage and role may also be supplied.

Once you have a clearer picture of the appropriate terms to use, you would narrow your search by entering the organism name in the taxonomic data field.

The Super Taxa terms or Taxa Notes are useful for broadening a search. To broaden your search to include both kangaroos and wallabies, use the Organism Classifier term “Macropodia“.

BIOSIS Previews is listed our A-Z database list and is available through Web of Science. Select BIOSIS Previews from drop down list on Web of Science Core Collection home page.



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Getting group work done

Do you find group assignments difficult? It can be challenging to work with others, but that’s why these assignments exist - you’re being assessed on your teamwork skills, not just your content knowledge. Get the most out of your group with tips from librarian Clinton Bell.


Set team rules, goals and expectations before you start work

Before you actually start working on your assignment, it’s a good idea to set ground rules for the group. These include things like when and where you will meet, how you will communicate, and so on. Make sure everyone gets a say - it’s no good setting a meeting time if half your group can’t make it!

You should also talk about the task and make sure everyone is on the same page. Sometimes people interpret instructions differently, overlook an important detail, or have different expectations about how the assignment should be completed. Making sure everyone is clear about what needs to be done before you start helps you avoid a lot of problems later on.

Communicate with your team

It’s important for everyone in the group to communicate regularly. This helps make sure everyone is making progress on their tasks, and allows problems to be addressed before they cause trouble. It also allows the team to make suggestions and improve on each other’s work.

If you’re having trouble, you’re not sure what you should be doing, or you’re not certain if what you’ve done is okay, let your team know! It’s better to sort it out early than wait until just before the assignment is due. Conversely, if someone else is having difficulty, help them out.

It can also be a good idea to keep a copy of documents in a shared space, such as Google Drive. This is great for providing suggestions and feedback, and helps everyone keep an eye on how the assignment is progressing. It also means that if something happens to one of your group you still have access to the stuff they were working on.

Everyone is responsible for every part of the end product

A group assignment isn’t “several individual assignments, stapled together”. As a group, you need to make sure you produce a coherent product and that all parts of the assignment are of an acceptable standard. It’s fine to put people in charge of a specific task, but they shouldn’t be working in complete isolation.

Throughout the assignment, everyone should share what they’ve done and provide feedback on the others’ work. You should also allow time before you submit to do a final round of editing. Look for differences in formatting, quality, and what you’re actually saying, and make sure everything is consistent.

Be a team player


Treat your teammates with respect. When giving suggestions or feedback, be constructive - focus on how to improve things, instead of complaining or assigning blame. Listen to your team and be prepared to compromise sometimes.

If you really want to do well, help your teammates get along with each other. If someone is having trouble being heard, ask directly for their opinion. If there are heated discussions and things get personal, try to smooth things over and refocus everyone on the task. When someone makes a good contribution, or compromises so the project can move forward, let them know you appreciate it.

If something is seriously wrong

Finally, if there is a major problem with the group, discuss it with your lecturer or tutor before the assignment is due. Dealing with minor problems is part of the task, but if something is seriously wrong it’s okay to raise it with your lecturer.


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19 April 2017

Systematic Review Library Guide


A new guide has been devised to help researchers conduct a systematic review, says Subject Librarian Cassandra Freeman.


If you are part of a research team working on a systematic review for publication or undertaking a review for assessment purposes, the Library has developed a useful online resource to help guide you through the process.

What is a Systematic Review?



Systematic reviews are more commonly associated with medicine and evidence based research to inform clinical decisions and treatments. However, critical reviews or the systematic synthesis of research findings were already being published in disciplines such as the social sciences in the early 1970s in order to provide evidence to inform service and policy decisions. [1]

It was in 1972 that Archie Cochrane, a British epidemiologist, wrote about the need for more clinicians and medical practitioners to use randomised controlled trial findings to inform them about the best drug treatments and therapies for patients. [2]

In 1979, he went on to write that there was a significant lack of critical summaries of research evidence in the medical profession. Cochrane argued it was essential for clinicians to start periodically critically reviewing a range of randomised controlled trials to really ensure best practice in health care decisions. [3] This is how critical reviews evolved in medicine into the systematic reviews that are published today.
Systematic Review Guide

A systematic review implements a standardised approach to gathering evidence relating to a specific research question. The evidence is taken from a systematic search of an exhaustive set of studies, and the data analysed in context to assess the strength of the findings. The quality of systematic reviews varies, although published Cochrane Reviews use rigorous scientific methods and are sometimes considered to be the ‘gold standard’. A systematic review does not necessarily have to adhere to all the Cochrane requirements if it is going to be published elsewhere. There are organisations other than Cochrane that have developed standards for systematic reviews. Consult the new systematic review library guide for more detailed information.

Systematic reviews have some unique features that make them differ from standard literature reviews. Below are some requirements of published Cochrane systematic reviews.
  • Should have more than one author. This is effective in reducing potential author bias in selection of studies and data extraction, and to help detect any errors.
  • Can be replicated (and therefore verified) due to the comprehensive documentation of the search and selection methodologies used.
  • Poor quality studies are eliminated (via pre-defined exclusion criteria) even when there are few other studies available. This can provide clarity in areas previously thought to show opposing conclusions.
  • Where possible, an international perspective is taken and results considered in a broad context.
  • Must be updated every two years or include an explanation as to why this hasn’t happened.

Meta-analyses


Some systematic reviews will include a meta-analysis when assessing the effectiveness of a healthcare outcome. A meta-analysis is a statistical technique that combines the findings of relevant studies and analyses the resulting data set.   For more information see the Cochrane Handbook.

Rise of systematic reviews


There has been a proliferation of systematic reviews being published and the number continues to rise. According to a recent study, over a 10 year period from 2004 to 2014 the number of indexed systematic reviews in Medline database went from 2,500 to 8,000. The authors of the study suggest that the reasons for this may vary, including funder requirements for systematic reviews for research proposals and also the increase and availability of journals accepting systematic reviews. [4]

In order to ensure the quality of a systematic review, it is important to seek professional advice, particularly in the selection of appropriate library resources to search and methods of searching. The new library guide has been developed to address the needs of both students and researchers, and can be used at any step in the process of a systematic review for publication or as part of an assessment task. It provides valuable information to guide you whether you are new to conducting this type of review, but also if you want to improve and further develop your knowledge of systematic review requirements.

References

  1. Strech, D., & Sofaer, N. (2012). How to write a systematic review of reasons. Journal of Medical Ethics, 38(2), 121-126. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/medethics-2011-100096
  2. Cochrane, A. L. (1972). Effectiveness and efficiency : random reflections on health services. London]: London : Nuffield Provincial Hospitals Trust.
  3. Cochrane, A. L. (1979). 1931-1971: A critical review, with particular reference to the medical profession. In G. Teeling- Smith & N. Wells (Eds.).Medicines for the year 2000 (pp. 1-11). London: Office of Health Economics.
  4. Page, M. J., Shamseer, L., Altman, D. G., Tetzlaff, J., Sampson, M., Tricco, A. C., . . . Sarkis-Onofre, R. (2016). Epidemiology and reporting characteristics of systematic reviews of biomedical research: a cross-sectional study. PLoS medicine, 13(5). doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002028




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11 April 2017

200 more study seats now available at Caulfield Library


New study spaces have opened at Caulfield Library as the builders progress steadily towards finishing the refurbishment.



Good news! There are 200 additional seats available at Caulfield Library, increasing the total to just under 800 seats.

A new area has opened for student use on level 1, adjacent to the teaching rooms. The bright and modern area has been finished just in time for students to make best use of them.

Access to this area as well as the three teaching rooms is temporarily via the Ian Potter Sculpture Courtyard. These spaces are open 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday.

The three teaching rooms are also available to students outside of Library class times. There are 30 fixed laptops that students can use for their study activities.

When the building works are completed, the library will have doubled its pre-refurbishment seating capacity from 750 to 1500 seats, offering a range of spaces for quiet study, collaboration and interactive teaching.

As the demand for study spaces has increased as the exams get closer, other study locations at Caulfield campus are available and are listed below for your convenience.



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