Archive for the ‘Subject Guides’ Category

Subject Guides: your starting point

January 8, 2018

front page

Have you ever wondered how to start with accessing library material and making the most out of library services and resources? Wonder no more! The simplest way to find your way round our services and resources is to visit your Subject Guide. Here, you will find information on accessing our services, as well as links to Discover@Bolton, Reading Lists Online, our collection of Ebooks, the library catalogue, subject-specific databases and links to important web resources. You can also keep up to date with latest library developments and news and book a group study room. Subject Guides are accessible from the library homepage; bookmark yours today!




An Eresource Advent: Day 7

December 7, 2017

So I’m cheating a little today and talking to you not about an electronic resource, but a means of accessing electronic resources: Subject Guides. Each subject taught at the university has its own guide with information specific to that subject, and that includes information on and links to subject-specific resources. They also include information on and links to ebook services, library services in general, contact details for Subject Librarians and sections on getting the most out of all our services.

New! Links to Reading Lists Online and Subject Guides are now on the Student Portal

October 10, 2017

student portal

It is now possible to link to both Reading Lists Online AND Subject Guides from the Student Portal; look for the two icons above.

This seems like a good opportunity to talk about both of these services. Let’s take Reading Lists Online first of all. Reading Lists Online is exactly “what is says on the tin” (no apologies for the cliché there…!): reading lists, that are online. What’s the benefit of this? Quite aside from the fact that your reading lists are absolutely essential to your studies, an online reading list ensures that you can access your list wherever you are, and you can even link to online material from that list. Not only can you link to electronic books and journals, you can also find links to services such as Discover@Bolton, your Subject Guide and even important websites. Simply search for your module code and your list will be accessible. We are working on integrating Reading Lists Online in Moodle so this process will hopefully be simpler – watch this space!

So to Subject Guides. One of the questions we get quite regularly is “Where do I start?”, and actually, that’s a really good question: where should you start?! An excellent starting point is the Subject Guide for your course. Use the guide to access information about access resources, explanations and links to the best electronic resources for your studies, links to referencing, using the Library, accessing Inter-Library Loans and access to Discover@Bolton.


Subject Guiding the way…

June 2, 2017

It’s the start of a new month, and one of my tasks at the start of each month is to gather usage statistics. I must admit I rather enjoy getting hold of the raw data: it’s instant gratification. Run a quick report, and hey presto, data! One my favourite exercises at the moment (only an Electronic Resources Librarian can have favourite stats-gathering jobs…) is looking at usage of our Subject Guides, which was a new initiative for this academic year.

The different between looking at usage of Subject Guides as opposed to a database such as ScienceDirect or JSTOR, for example, is that as well as establishing how many times they have been accessed, we can also see how they are being used, and what we might consider to be the most important information presented by them. So when I’m looking at ScienceDirect, I might get very excited when I see that in March 2017, there were just short of 10,000 full-text downloads. That’s a lot of downloads, and a quick scan of previous years tells me that that’s the most we’ve ever recorded in a month. That’s fascinating, yes? Yes, it is. However, I don’t know what that actually tells me, besides “ScienceDirect had a lot of downloads that month”.

Now, I could get clever here. I can look at the JISC Usage Statistics Portal (JUSP) data, do a quick sort of my data, and look at the ten most popular (i.e. most downloaded) titles that month: International Journal of Production Economics; Psychology of Sport and Exercise; Journal of Business Research; Social Science and Medicine; Nurse Education Today; Aggression and Violent Behaviour; Body Image; Procedia – Social and Behavioural Sciences; Clinical Psychology Review; Industrial Marketing Management. Okay, that’s fascinating too, isn’t it? Yes indeed: that’s quite a multi-disciplinary list and if I go further down the ranking I can see this to a greater degree. Anecdotally, I’m aware of users thinking that ScienceDirect and its content may not be relevant to them, but this list confirms to me that there’s much, much more than science-related content available in this package.

So that’s all well and good but again, where does that leave us in terms of how folk use stuff.

Back to Subject Guides.

Who’d like to take a guess as what the most popular (i.e. most accessed) Subject Guide has been, month after month for the past seven months has been? Ebooks at the University of Bolton. In that seven month period, that guide has been accessed 6,489 times. Within that guide, the homepage, Using Ebooks, has proved the most popular, with the page on Ebook Collections in second place. The link to MyiLibrary is the most popular link on the page, and we know that MyiLibrary is our most popular ebook platform: it all joins up. We produce a variety of documentation to help you get the most out of our resources, and the Ebooks at the University of Bolton guide includes a link to a downloadable quick start guide to ebooks. This appears not have been downloaded much at all; the guide to MyiLibrary has, however. Why is this? Are we reaching a point where accessing ebooks is becoming more and more intuitive; you just don’t require the help? Is it more important to have directed help, i.e. platform/database-specific help? The granularity of the usage information from Subject Guides allow us to ask these questions.

Let’s look another guide, Health and Social Care. Health and Social Care doesn’t see anything like the traffic seen by Ebooks at the University of Bolton, Research Support, or Accessing Electronic Resources, but that’s what we’d probably expect: this is a guide specifically for students studying in this area. What I find immediately apparent is that after the homepage, the next most popular page is Databases, journals and articles. That’s of note because that doesn’t appear next to the tab for the homepage. In fact, this usage pattern appears to be the case with many, many Subject Guides. “How do I access journal articles” is a frequent question at the Library Help Desk: it’s all joining up. The most popular links on this guide are the links to CINAHL – by far our most popular health-related database – and ProQuest Central, our most-used database overall.

I’m going to leave this here, as I’ve a feeling I’ve probably asked more questions than I’ve answered, but what all this is telling me is that we can see how you are accessing our information, and we are able to piece together the story of how you are using that information in your studies.

Subject Guides back to normal

April 11, 2017

Very pleased to report that all Subject Guides are back to normal and fully accessible again.

Subject Guides limping back to life

April 6, 2017

We’re part way there: Subject Guides are sort of working normally following the work that disrupted access this morning. If you click on any links to Subject Guides and see a message to say that the server is moving, hit F5 refresh and access the guides.

Apologies for the inconvenience – although we had expected this work to be carried out, we were expecting that it would be done over the weekend, so we’ve been caught unawares! There’s probably a moral in there somewhere… In the meantime, keep checking the blog and our Twitter feed for further updates.

Get self-archiving!

February 17, 2017

As well as resolving (or attempting to resolve…) resource access problems this week, I’ve also been busy creating a guide to depositing research to UBIR which may be useful to anyone who has published research, and in particular who may be considering submitting to the next REF.

The guide provides support on how to actually deposit to UBIR – which is a simple process – as well as help on ensuring that any items deposited are copyright cleared. The benefit of self-archiving is that you can ensure that your research is uploaded when you want it to be, and as authors, you are often best placed to make decisions about subject classifications and indeed the school to which you are affiliated. Why not have a go and see what you think?

We have no plans to compel all authors to upload their own work and will continue to upload on your behalf. However, some of you may prefer to self-archive, and our guide is just one of things we have been working on to make this process as easy as possible.

If you would like any further help or information on any aspect of engaging in open access, don’t hesitate to contact the UBIR Team.

Problems with Discover@Bolton

October 13, 2016

We seem to be having a few problems accessing Discover@Bolton at the moment. We are working to resolve the problem and aim to rectify it as soon as possible. In the meantime, our electronic resources are still working. If you are unsure of which the best resources for your subject are, take a look at the relevant Subject Guide and head to the Databases, journals and articles section.