Archive for the ‘Spotlight’ Category

Spotlight on… Open access

January 12, 2015

I feel as if 2015 has got off to a somewhat negative start as regards this blog as I seem to have had to flag up numerous incidences of resource access problems. This does not a happy Electronic Resources Librarian make. So I thought I would maybe provide you all with something more interesting with less “this isn’t working now” which seems to have 2015’s theme so far.

Readers of this blog will know that I have two ‘hats’ here at Bolton, so just for a moment, I will do a swap and have a think about open access, which is very much the key to the University of Bolton Institutional Repository (UBIR). If you’ve walked through the Library, you might spot that the “Spotlight on…” poster concerns open access, detailing the two ways in which authors can engage in open access and the main benefits of open access. There is another, crucial, element to open access that I’ll come to later.

The first question, of course, is “What is open access”. Briefly, the main principle of open access, is that research is free at the point of access. In other words, the only barrier to that research should be technical barriers of accessing the Internet itself. It means that research should not be ‘hidden’ behind access controlled subscriptions, and anyone, anywhere, should be able to access that research. There are two main ways to engage in open access: deposit research in an open access repository such as UBIR, or publish research in open access publications, such as those listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals. The former is known as the green route to open access; the latter as the gold route. Here at Bolton, open access is being achieved mainly by the green route.

Both forms of engagement in open access have advantages and disadvantages. The green route relies on having access to a repository, and we are very fortunate at the University of Bolton that this is the case: UBIR accepts all intellectual output of the University of Bolton, from journal articles to book chapters to conference proceedings and post presentations. The gold route, although considered by many to be the future of the open access movement, is more complex, and brings with it concepts that can seem quite alien to anyone who is comfortable with the traditional modes of scholarly communication. The gold route requires authors to submit their work as open access publications, and can often involve the payment of what is known as an APC (Author Pays Charge, or Article Processing Charge). Where that payment comes from can be a cause for concern, and the whole concept of open access publications has led to a lot of debate within academic communities. A number of very specific concerns have been raised, such as concerns over the quality of the publication and the possibility of ‘fake’ publications taking APCs either not publishing the research or publishing it alongside research that is incorrect or ethically questionable. Some are concerned that open access effectively closes the door on traditional modes of scholarly communication, and quality of published research may be affected. All valid concerns, but ones that it is usually possible to allay.

I mentioned earlier that there one very crucial element to open access which means that this method of making research available is not going to go away. You may or may not be aware that HEFCE have made it policy that any research accepted for publication after 1 April 2016 must be made open access if it is to be considered for the next REF exercise. The policy is available in full here and states:

“To be eligible for submission to the post-2014 REF, authors’ final peer-reviewed manuscripts must have been deposited in an institutional or subject repository on acceptance for publication. Deposited material should be discoverable, and free to read and download, for anyone with an internet connection.

The requirement applies only to journal articles and conference proceedings with an International Standard Serial Number. It will not apply to monographs, book chapters, other long-form publications, working papers, creative or practice-based research outputs, or data. The policy applies to research outputs accepted for publication after 1 April 2016, but we would strongly urge institutions to implement it now.”

If you are in the position of considering submitting to the next REF, now is the time to be thinking about open access, and I’m happy to answer any queries you may have. Just drop the UBIR team a line.

If you want to learn more about open access, including open access at the University of Bolton, take a look at this presentation as well as this poster from the 2014 Research and Innovation Conference, held here at Bolton. Remember, if you want to deposit your work in UBIR, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the UBIR team.


Spotlight: Social Media @ the Library

June 18, 2013

Regulars to the library will know about our Spotlight series. The most recent display focusses on social media, and the various channels of social media that the library uses to engage with you, our users.

We’re using five means of social media to keep in contact and keep up to date: Twitter, Facebook, Google+ YouTube and blogs.

If you use Twitter, for general library tweets, follow @BoltonUniLib. Stay up to date, find out the latest on opening hours and learn about new developments in the library. For more subject-specific tweets, you can follow @BusinessUofBLib for business news, while if you’re studying a health-related discipline, why not follow @HealthUofBLib. A few simple clicks and away you go!  If Facebook‘s your thing, you can like us on Facebook. If you add the library on Google+ to your circles, you can get useful updates. If you want to want to see videos that will help you get the most out of our resources and facilities, then check out YouTube.

Lastly, we also produce two blogs: this blog is one of them! You can also let us know what you think of our services by checking out our We’d like to hear your comments blog.

We hope you find these useful!

All change! Developments in accessing electronic resources

February 18, 2013

The sun is shining; spring is clearly in the air. So it’s time to start thinking about some developments in the way in which we access electronic resources that will hopefully make things easier.

Those who are familiar with our “Spotlight on…” series may have noticed that the recent display centres around accessing electronic resources, and the fact that you no longer need to login to OpenAthens before accessing an electronic resource. Instead of logging in before you try to access any resource, in order to access electronic resources, all you now have to do is go to the link for the required resource on either the subject page or the A to Z of electronic resources, click on the link and enter your Bolton network ID and password if prompted to do so. It’s that simple! Over the coming few months, the blue button currently used to access the OpenAthens login will be disappearing, but we will issue plenty of reminders, so hopefully it won’t come as too much of a shock. We’re always here to help if you are having any difficulties access electronic resources; just visit the Subject Help Desk or e-mail a librarian at

Go on, I know you’re thinking it: why are they changing things again?! A very good question. So, why are we changing things? The answer is simple: we want to ensure that your experience of accessing electronic resources – and the information you need to undertake your research – is as easy as possible. And while it may not seem like it sometimes, changing the way we access electronic resources is part of this process. Changing the way we do things is seldom without issue, and there are a number of issues we currently have with logging into resources: some of our links on the library catalogue in particular are incorrect, and a number of resources are not working as they should be. We’re working on these and we’re getting there. 

Accessing electronic resources has become one of my professional bugbears (is there such a thing?). All I want our users to be able to do is click on a link, access an electronic resources, and get on with it. This should be easy, and, happily, most of the time it is. Even when a little extra help (or clicks) are needed, most of the time we get to where we want to be. But there are times when things don’t work, and even getting to that point requires many, many extra clicks: I appreciate that sometimes it may feel like you’re going round and round the houses for no gain. Very frustrating. The good news is that I’m not the only one who has made it something of a mission in life to improve access to electronic resources and suppliers are listening.

Keep a look out for further information about changes to logging into electronic resources. Here’s hoping that 2013 will be the year of the seamless resource access!

Spotlight on… MLA International Bibliography

November 20, 2012

Now that we’re fully into the swing of the new term, it’s time to welcome back the Subject Librarians’ “Spotlight on…” series to this blog. This year, the “Spotlight on…” feature can be found in the open access computer zone in the library, and we hope that the new look displays are an improvement on the displays of the previous academic year. As before, “Spotlight on…” will cover a range of topics from information about resources to essential study skills such as referencing your work.

The current “Spotlight on…” features the MLA International Bibliography. The MLA International Bibliography, published by the Modern Langauge Association (MLA) “indexes books, articles and dissertations published on modern languages, literatures, folklore, and linguistics, providing coverage from 1926 to the present”. With such a significant date range covered, it is clear that this is an important resource for anyone studying in the field of literature. Also included in the MLA International Bibliography is the MLA Thesaurus and MLA Dictionary of Periodicals which details over 5,000 journals.

If you wish to use the MLA International Bibliography, login to OpenAthens via the library website, go to Databases to find the link ,or alternatively look under the relevant subject resources pages. On the following page after you have clicked the link, you will see a button with ‘proceed’. Click this button, then on the following page, find MLA International Bibliography at the end of the list of our Gale databases.

For further information about the MLA International Bibliography, or using any of our databases, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a librarian either in person at the Subject Help Desk in the Welcome Zone, by e-mail to or by phone on 01204 903404. Happy searching!

Spotlight: Information Literacy

April 2, 2012

Spotlight for April focuses not on a particular resource, but on a very important concept: information literacy.

So, what is information literacy? In the library world, it is taken to mean being able to find, assess and use information. It is important to gain these skills in order to complete your course of study and enrich your assignments. I’ve already written about the importance of finding and using the best of the web, and applying this is all part of gaining skills in information literacy. It’s also about saving time when you are researching your assignments, and establishing exactly the information you need for your work. For example, you might have an essay on the funding of Sure Start Centres in England. Being information literate is appreciating that this simple-sounding brief is concerned with early years, the political agenda surrounding such initiatives, the purpose of Sure Start Centres and their position in England. By appreciating the many facets of your research, and starting to think about keywords, synonyms and search strategies, you’ll be making excellent headway with your research, and it might make the difference between getting average marks and getting good marks. And of course, will augment your understanding of the issue. 

The Spotlight display can be viewed in the library just beyond the Link Zone. Remember that there is always a librarian available at the Subject Help Desk, so do pay us a visit if you need any help with your studies.

Spotlight: MEDLINE

February 9, 2012

Each month during term time, the librarians select a resource to highlight to all of our users. The spotlight series displays can be found just beyond the Link Zone in the main library, so do take a look, even if the resource isn’t something you may ever have cause to use.

In the spotlight this month is MEDLINE, regarded as one of the most important resources related to medicine and related disciplines. Containing over 4 million citations and abstracts, MEDLINE covers a wide range of topics relating to medical research, clinical practice and health care services to name but a few. It has also included all records published in Index Medicus since 2002. In addition to the citation and abstracts only version of MEDLINE, the University of Bolton also has temporary access to MEDLINE Full Text. This version of MEDLINE presents all the features of the citation only version, but adds full text documents. It is possible that we will not have access to MEDLINE Full Text beyond the summer of 2012; the citations and abstracts only version will still very much be available beyond this time.

Links to both resources can by found in the A to Z list of electronic resources and Subject Resources pages; don’t forget to login to OpenAthens first.

Take a look at the display in the library to find out more. Don’t forget that you can also talk to a librarian at the Subject Help Desk in the Link Zone at any time when the library is open for further help of using the best resources for your studies.

Spotlight: Global Library of Women’s Medicine

January 29, 2009

Under the Spotlight this week is the Global Library of Women’s Medicine. A freely available resource, the Global Library of Women’s Medicine contains peer-reviewed articles and book chapters concerning all elements of women’s medicine. An open access resource, all the material included in the Global Library of Women’s Medicine is available to read without charge or without having to login to Open Athens first.

Spotlight: Archival Sound Recordings

January 14, 2009

The first Spotlight of 2009 will take a look at a one of the electronic resources to which the University of Bolton subscribes. Archival Sound Recordings is a JISC-funded project that aims to increase access to the Sound Archive collections of the British Library. When the project ends in March 2009, it is hoped that 8,000 hours audio will be available to the higher education community, which will equate to around 32,000 recordings.

To access Archival Sound Recordings, login to OpenAthens first and follow the links from the library website.

Spotlight: First World War Poetry Digital Archive

December 17, 2008

This week, the First World War Poetry Digital Poetry Archive  is under the spotlight.

Highly commended by the Times Higher Educational Awards for ‘Outstanding ICT Initiative’, the First World War Poetry Digital Archive was launched in November 2008. The archive is an “online repository of over 4000 items of text, images, audio, and video for teaching, learning, and research”. Freely available, the archive is searchable and browseable and includes collection highlights. Members of the public were invited to contribute material for the archive.

The First World War Poetry Digital Archive  is funded by the JISC Digitisation Project and is based at the University of Oxford.

Spotlight: OAIster

December 10, 2008

Every week, this blog will highlight a website that might be of interest.

This week, let’s look at OAIster. OAIster is a service that cross-searches over 1,000 open access repositories, providing free access to quality, academic research. Most of the repositories are based at universities. An open access repository is a digital library of the intellectual output of the institution in question, and can also be subject-based.  OAIster is fully-searchable, and freely available, with no need to login.

The University of Bolton’s Institutional Repository (UBIR) is indexed by OAIster. If you’re interested in finding out more about UBIR, visit the homepage at