b’Cause — Preview III

With the book fund raising sale coming up soon, let’s take a look at some of the interesting titles you can purchase for reasonably low prices. Do remember that all proceeds are going for a worthy cause to assist students with financial need in NUS!

Since, we’ve just celebrated Singapore’s 51st birthday, let’s take a look at some books for sale that were written by prominent figures in our short history.

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No Dream Too High. National University of Singapore Centennial Everest Expedition 2005. This book is a description of the sheer tenacity and grit a trip to the world’s highest peak requires. Buy this book to learn more about the journey and the challenges this inspirational team faced along the way.

SR Nathan in Conversation. Read about our former president’s thoughts and opinions on a variety of topics; from the importance of Total Defence in Singapore to the value of education and tolerance. This book was based on a series of informal interviews of the 92 year old who is currently recovering from a stroke.

George Yeo’s collection of writing and speeches is an interesting read. The title itself covers three whimsical elements which allude to the wide perspective that he represents; the Bonsai, Banyan and Taoism. It’s an interesting perspective from someone who has had a 23 year long career in Singapore politics.

From ideas to reality is a tribute book to one of Singapore’s founding fathers, Mr. S. Rajaratnam. Having written many books himself on his ideas and vision for Singapore and how he went about putting his plans into action, this book is an inspiring collection of key speeches and articles illustrating his cause and how it became the reality we enjoy today.

Lastly, the book which is a must-read for all Singaporeans, From Third World to First: The Singapore Story. Read about the vital first 3 decades of Singapore’s story from the point of view of Singapore’s Founding Father, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. In this book he talks about his widely-debated policies and approaches and follow his journey of Singapore’s quick rise to a first world country.

There are only 3 days left to our Fundraising Sale, which is held in conjunction with ERDD 2016, at Central Library!

Book Review: Big data at Work : Dispelling the Myths, Uncovering the Opportunities

One of the things that struck me about this book is how accessible it is. I had expected it to be a dry treatise on data, data models, databases and such, but Thomas Davenport quickly dispels my preconceived notions by adopting an extremely appreciated conversational tone throughout. In short, Big Data at Work: Dispelling the Myths, Uncovering the Opportunitiesir t deendot 20 l am2 o 1 a 1422168166, despite its ambitious name, reads like a coffee table book. At least, a coffee table book for nerds.

Big data has always been an unfortunate name, lending itself to the sort of questions that cannot be answered. How big is big, for example? Davenport assures that it is not the size that matters- for that is bound to increase in exponential magnitudes- but how we transform data into accurate insights, radical innovations, lean processes and better service to customers.

Some people say that big data is a brand new concept defined by the 3 Vs, volume, velocity and variety. Personally, I disagree. Back when I was tabulating survey scores in the dinosaur spreadsheet application that was Lotus 1-2-3, I had already begun to view data in terms of volume, velocity and variety.

Fact! There is nothing fundamentally new in the way we look at data. Back in the 1970s, big data was known as Decision Support. In the mid 1990s, Business Intelligence came onstage. From 2010 onwards, however, BAM! Big data was born. Held against the 3 Vs, big data is huge (really, really humungous), continuous, and presented in widely differing formats.

While Davenport skims adequately through the technologies, infrastructure and human resources needed for big data to happen, I feel that the book’s most inspiring part is its exposition on the culture that must be built for big data to have any chance of success, at least in an organisation’s initial foray. Davenport distills five essential qualities that drive big data forward.

  1. The first is impatience with the now, and gaining a sense of urgency- an attribute that is most pronounced in technology start-ups, and a challenge to sustain in mature organisations.
  2. The second is to be passionate about innovation and exploration- and these translate to a willingness to experiment as well as to make mistakes.
  3. The third is to accept technology as a source of incredible disruption, especially in a climate of open source sharing.
  4. The fourth is to demand a culture of absolute commitment from the senior management of an organisation to bold, audacious goals.
  5. And the fifth is to adopt an open, non-hierarchical and meritocratic climate, where big ideas can arrive from anyone and anywhere in the organisation.

These qualities might sound like common sense, but requires more than just words to implement. From me, at least, Davenport has succeeded in drawing out a growing enthusiasm to embed the redeeming qualities of a big data culture in my own work.

Grab Davenport’s Big data at Work from the Hon Sui Sen Memorial Library.

Researcher Unbound- A Research Journey Enabled by your Library

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Like most Library initiatives, Researcher Unbound started from conversations. In this case, the conversations were with the PhD students of NUS School of Business. We realised that though the journey that every PhD student embarks on is an arduous one, we could help make the road ahead a little less bumpy.

The eager beaver librarians of Hon Sui Sen Memorial Library thus designed a series of workshops which cover a range of diverse topics:

  • Inspiration for a good research topic for paper
  • Management of citation and documentation
  • Writing analytically and clearly
  • Identifying the right databases and using them effectively
  • Finding statistics in an infinite pool of data
  • Enhancing career planning and soft skills with a broad range of library resources

Because the PhD journey is understandably hectic, we are offering workshops once a month, starting this semester 2016/2017, so that you can better organise your schedule.

The First Workshop- Orientation

Researcher Unbound kicked off on 3rd August, when we conducted the first workshop (Orientation) for the new intake of Biz PhDs. Besides having loads of fun exploring the library and its collection, students quickly picked up on how to #discoverbetter using FindMore and databases like Business Source Premier. It was also a great opportunity for us to build an enduring friendship with you, one that will likely outlast your stay with us.

Here’s a what you can expect in the Researcher Unbound series:

All PhD students are welcome to these workshops! Note: the topics and case-studies discussed during the workshops will be more business-focused.

If you are interested to register, please contact:

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b’Cause — Preview II

With the book fund raising sale coming up soon, let’s take a look at some of the interesting titles you can purchase for reasonably low prices. Do remember that all proceeds are going for a worthy cause to assist students with financial need in NUS!

This week let’s take a look at one of the most popular categories in the Book Sale, fiction!

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Here are some selections from the fiction that we’ve collected for sale. The one thing they all have in common is that they all deal with historical characters and the enigmas they represent. Books like those pictured here, often bring you on an incredible journey with their protagonists and are so descriptive you feel the thrill of being on this journey with them.

  • The latest instalment in the Robert Langdon series, Inferno is based off the infamous epic by Dante and real picturesque locations that are associated with it. As with the earlier books, it’s a race against time to figure out the truth and solve the puzzles before it’s too late but this time Dr. Langdon is more personally involved in the plot than ever before.
  • Bring Up the Bodies is a fictional re-telling of the tale of the much-written about Anne Boleyn, introducing a new character to serve on the side of King Henry. Mantel has also been praised for providing an interesting cognitive perspective to the known history of Anne Boleyn.
  • The Guardians of the Covenant is a translated work from Norway dealing with an archaeologist’s dicovery of a viking conspiracy and it’s coverup leading the reader through the sights and sounds of Norway.
  • The Third Secret looks at the church and religion and introduces a conspiracy of a hidden truth/message. It has been compared to Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons and is a piece of fiction that is reputed to be quite balanced in terms of characterisation and pace of the novel.
  • Finally, the Testament is a novel that brings us on a rather familiar journey of discovering an ancient order that was charged with protecting a dangerous secret. The difference would most likely be in that the protagonist now has to follow his father’s footsteps in the Order but he has to discover the truth first. Also, this was written by the author who created the Bourne series.

We hope the titles here have piqued your interest and we hope to see you at the Fundraising Sale (in conjunction with ERDD 2016)  at Central Library!

P.S. If you’re interested in winning some attractive prizes, you might want to check out the ERDD Online Quiz , happening now!

New Library Portal – Faster, Simpler, Liberating

If you haven’t already noticed, our Library Portal has gone through an almost total overhaul, with:

  • intuitive quick links
  • faster access to electronic services
  • consolidated space for library happenings
  • powerful personalisation

And that’s not all. Your indispensable discovery service FindMore, as well as the online library catalogue have been given fresh, modern faces that deliver information in entirely responsive pages. That means you’ll now get your information anytime, anywhere, from any device.

If you want more information on the new Library Portal, we’ve even prepared a Frequently-Asked-Questions page.

Let us know what you think, okay?

b’Cause – Preview

Our annual fundraising sale is coming up soon and this year and every year this Librarian gets very excited to ‘help’ with the pricing and sorting of books that are donated. Partially because I love books and the sheer variety of books we get every year is absolutely amazing. So, in this post, and a few more over the next few weeks, we will be sharing some interesting finds with you.

 

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I think this picture illustrates the variety we’ve received. In this picture alone, we feature:

  • A scientific take on the preparation of food and studying how and why different ingredients come together
  • Compilation of commentary from historians, sociologists and more on the rapid expansion of urban spaces in Asia
  • A book that teaches the importance and value of being able to have and understand different perspectives even that of our canine friends
  • An adult colouring book illustrating the majestic beasts we share our planet with
  • A psychology text book looking more at practical applications of the topic to our real life

We also have books on business, medicine, science and of course, fiction! You can come check them out yourself when the sale happens on 25-26 August 2016, at Central Library. See you then!

 

NUS Libraries Cares for the Environment Week 2016

NUSLibraries-Cares-For-the-Environment-2016-2059The library’s green action team, known as GreenSprouts and more affectionately as the Taugeh team, kicked off the inaugural NUS Libraries Cares for the Environment Week on 6 June, through a series of activities:

  • inviting colleagues to undertake an online pledge to perform concrete green actions.  These include measures like reducing aircon usage at home, to using less water during mundane tasks as teeth brushing
  • soliciting old spectacles from colleagues in a rare but well-received spectacles donation drive
  • developing a simple Green Policy that will become the basis of NUS Libraries continued commitment to environmentally-responsible activities
  • hosting a mini exhibition that displayed posters on environmental sustainability.  A grateful shout-out to NUS Office of Environmental Sustainability for providing most of the artwork
  • bringing in Mr Tan Yi Han, co-founder of PM.Haze, to deliver the illuminating “Stop the Haze” talk

A lot of people, I think, went away from Yi Han’s passionate talk armed with a deeper understanding on why haze seems to return to our shores every year without fail, and what we can do on an individual basis to literally #StopTheHaze!  For example, because some ordinary household stuff contain raw materials derived from crops that are grown on haze-producing property, consumers can help stop the haze by only buying products that bear the RSPO label.  These labels bear testimony that the companies making these products do not engage in destructive slash-and-burn tactics.

Do you have any practical ideas on how we can keep the haze at bay?  Share them by leaving a comment on this space.  The Taugeh team loves all your feedback!

Meanwhile, click on the photo below to get to our official gallery. Stay tuned.  Stay green.

NUS Libraries Cares for the Environment Week 2016

NUS Libraries Cares for the Environment Talk: Will the facemask become part of our wardrobe

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Besides triggering the worst incidence of air pollution in recent memory, last year’s haze cost Singapore about S$700 million. Though the problem has been with us since the seventies, little has been done to stop the soot and smoke blowing in from neighbouring regions. Why?

Just two commodities, palm oil and paper, play huge roles. Tan Yi-Han, co-founder of the People’s Movement to Stop Haze, unearths the trail of money that begins right from our very shores. Learn how ordinary consumers like us can take action to stop the haze in its tracks.

Talk details:

  • 6 June 2016, 9:00 am to 10:30 am (Central Library’s Theatrette 1)

All NUS staff and students are welcome. Register here

That’s not all. Keep your university ID cards and Library PIN in hand, and you’ll be able to borrow the latest and brightest works on environmental sustainability from our #powerpicks.

University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos visits NUS Libraries

In collaboration with the International Relations Office (IRO) of NUS, NUS Libraries hosted a group of 12 faculty and library staff from the University of Negros Occidental-Recoleto (UNOR) on 27 April 2016, who were keen to learn best practices from top universities like NUS. Founded in Bacolod, Negros Occidental (Philippines) in 1941, the UNOR is a Roman Catholic university administered by the Order of Augustinian Recollects. The highlight of the visit was a tour of both the Central Library and Chinese Library, where our guests had the opportunity to interact with NUS librarians, as well as observe the innovative ways we engage and deliver service to students and faculty.

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University Librarian, Mrs Lee Cheng Ean, with the delegation from University of Negros Occidental-Recoleto

 

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