The 2013/2014 academic year is here!

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Well, this is it, the 2013/14 academic year is upon us! For those of you who are returning, welcome back! I hope you have had a lovely summer and are as happy to be back as we are to see you (it gets very quiet in here in the summer months and we do miss our students!). For those of you who are new to Bolton, we’re very much looking forward to meeting you all and hope that we can help you make the most out of your studies. We can’t guarantee that the weather will be any better, but what we can do is make sure that we enable you to access all the material you need to ensure that you are successful.

As an electronic resources librarian, my primary concern is getting you connected with electronic resources. If you’re new to higher education, or have taken any sort of break from study, then a very quick tour of electronic resources might be in order. You may well have used electronic resources at your school, college, previous institution or place of work, but we will have different resources to the ones you are used to.

One of the first questions I am often asked is what is an electronic resource? A very good question. An electronic resource is an academic resource, so a book, database or journal, that is available electronically, and by electronically, we usually mean via the Internet. I am old enough to remember CD-ROMs, microfilm/fiche and even printed books and journals, the former two of which don’t see the light of day much anymore. These days, being able to access electronic resources via the Internet means that the resources are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. While the printed book will very much play a part in your research, being able to access electronic resources all the time should not only make doing your work easier, it will also mean that your studies are enriched, your research wider and ultimately may mean that your marks are better.

Here at the University of Bolton, we have access to around 70 indexing and full-text databases that allow to access a variety of materials, from bibliographic details and abstracts about work to fully downloadable journal articles, around 15,000 electronic journals and several thousand electronic books. And don’t forget about the library catalogue, where you search for books and journals. These numbers grow all the time, and all of our material is available from the library website. And it’s the library website where you should start your electronic resource journey. There’s a wealth of information on the website, and a useful starting place would be the subject resources pages, where not only can you find links to and information about the most appropriate resources for your studies, you can also find database guides and other information to get you going. Each subject area has a subject librarian assigned to it, and it’s worth getting to know you librarian. In addition, a librarian is always available at the Subject Help Desk in the Welcome Zone when the library is staffed. Why not visit us or drop us a line; we’re always happy to help.

Using electronic resources can seem daunting, and it cannot be denied that there are tricks you need to know about to get the most out of them. There’s a few things to remember here. First of all, the likelihood is that you are better at using them than you think you are! If you’re able to use the Internet in general to find information, then although there is a huge difference between using Google and using an academic electronic resource, the chances are you are well on your way to understanding how to go about finding information electronically. The other really important thing to remember is don’t struggle! Please talk to us if you’re having any difficulties at all, we can help!

Whatever your goal for 2013/13, I wish you every success, and hope to see you in the library soon!

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