Tag Archives: information searching

Amazing day at Hon Sui Sen Memorial Library

2nd Aug 2014 turned out to be a pretty unforgettable day for us in Hon Sui Sen Memorial Library.

We wished everyone could be there to share in this unique experience. We, the librarians at Hon Sui Sen Memorial Library (HSSML), had the opportunity to participate in an AMAZING RACE with over 600 new Business School students!

Here are some amazing pictures from that special day.

 

1(Picture 1: students thinking of a good strategy for the game)

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(Picture 2: students rushing to get their answers)

 

The Amazing Race was organized by HSSML and NUS Bizad Club to welcome new Business students. The rules were simple: every group of students received a few questions which they had to answer by searching in the library. The first group to have all the correct answers wins!

 

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(Picture 3: Intense search for answers in the Periodical Section)

 

After the group got all the correct answers, they then performed a cheer for Kah Wei (our librarian who acted as Assistant Station Master). The group could only proceed to the next station when Kah Wei was satisfied with the cheer! She would not let them leave nor would they get any bonus points if she was not satisfied with their cheers for her.

 

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(Picture 4: students thinking of a Hokkien song to sing to Kah Wei)

 

A big thank you to all the enthusiastic participants of the Amazing Race and also for bringing so much fun and joy to HSSML on that day!

We wish you all the best in your studies and hope to see you in the Library again soon!

 

 

 

7 Things Freshmen Should Know But Usually Don’t

1. Your library pin is your smartcard pin

You probably know your NUSNET ID, since without it, you can’t access your NUS email as well as the all-important IVLE. But a surprising number of students don’t know their library PINs, which is the smartcard PIN issued during matriculation. The library PIN is needed for checking your loan record, renewing books and borrowing books using the self-service machines, among other things. You can retrieve it here.

 

2. RBR books can be borrowed overnight

Reserve Books/Readings (RBR) are highly sought after because they are recommended readings for various modules and can be borrowed only for 2 hours. However, few students know that they can borrow the an RBR book overnight just before the library closes and return it within one hour of the library’s opening the next day. For details look here.

 

3. Most books have a grace period

You probably know that the loan period for books is 14 days for undergraduates and 28 days for honours & graduate students. But did you know there is a grace period and that fines don’t start until the 4th day after the due date? Be careful to read the fine print (6. Rate of fines), as the grace period doesn’t apply to RBR books, 7-day loan books, bound journals and other materials.

 

4. You cannot renew an item if there is already a hold

Sure, you may know that you can renew books three times online, and you may even know how much extension a renewal gives. But what you may not know is that you cannot renew an item once there is a hold on it. That’s why it is a bad idea to bring books overseas for a long vacation as you cannot count on being able to renew the loan.

 

5. The proxy bookmarklet is your other friend

Google may be your friend, but what happens if it shows a journal article that requires you to pay? Instead of replicating your search in the catalogue, save time by using the proxy bookmarklet to access the article directly! Do note that the proxy bookmarklet only works on journals that the library subscribes to.

Using Google Scholar or PubMed instead? We have you covered as well. Also check out other useful search plugins that will allow you to access NUS Libraries resources seamlessly no matter where you are.

 

6. There are easier ways to cite and do referencing

We have quick guides to assist in referencing for various styles. But there are many ways to auto-enerate citations quickly. These range from using build-in functions in the library search engines, databases and Google Scholar, to using standalone citation builders you can find online. You can also consider learning how to use a full blown reference manager like EndNote (you can install this for free as a student or staff of NUS by following instructions in our EndNote guide), as these help you auto-insert citations into your Word documents.

 

 

7. Librarians have expertise and are here to help you

While librarians can’t do your homework, we can help you find books, papers and data sets relevant to your research and assignments. In addition, some of us are skilled in patent searching, use of reference managers, bibliometrics and may also have subject specific expertise. Contact your resource librarian today, or come for our orientations sessions to learn about using the library effectively for your assignments!

 

Tay Chee Hsien Aaron
Central Library

Tips for your Honors Thesis (edited repost)

Not sure where to start for your Honors thesis? (Or any other research projects/assignments) Here are 6 tips from your friendly librarians:

 

1. Start off with a broad literature review for your area of interest

Everyone knows what a literature review is, right? If you only have a vague idea, watch this video by NCSU. Back? Good. The video talks about review articles, which are articles that summarise past papers in a given area. Sounds mighty useful, doesn’t it? But how does one find them? Refer to this guide on finding review articles.

Can’t find enough relevant articles? Some options:

 

2. Manage your references and citations with EndNote

Citing and proper referencing can be a chore. While you can use some of the methods listed here to make it easier, if you are reading and citing a lot, we highly recommend learning how to use a reference manager. NUS Libraries supports use of EndNote, a reference manager that allows you to pull in references from databases such as Scopus, ScienceDirect, and JSTOR, then cite them in your preferred citation style with a single click.

Attend one of our upcoming training sessions or check out the materials from our past sessions at your own convenience.

 

3. Check that you have the required software and data

If you are working in a field that requires statistical data or specialised software such as statistics software, do ensure that you have access to such items. Having problems finding statistical data? Refer to some of our library guides or the following tips.

 

4. Set up search alerts

So the review article you found gave you a good idea of the state of art in the research area. You’ve followed up leads with tons of reading, scoped out the area and produced a top class literature review linking and summarizing the work done while showing off your knowledge of the issues. Still, your work is not yet done. To avoid missing out on the latest published material after you finish your search, set up search alerts to keep up with the latest developments.

You can set up alerts:

  • based on keywords from the library catalogue for new additions to the library catalogue
  • from individual databases such as Scopus, Web of Science
  • from Google Scholar, using Google Scholar Alerts  to access paid articles via our subscriptions.
  • for your RSS feed reader using FindMore@NUSL
  • at your favourite journal’s homepage (not available for all journals). You can also use the free JournalTOCs feature to setup alerts together with the proxy bookmarklet to access paid articles via our subscriptions.

For more advice on tracking relevant research see the following article.

 

5. Know the library services you can access as an honours or graduate student

For honors and graduate students, we provide you with additional services to aid your research, which include the following:

  • Document Delivery Service. Sometimes an article you need may not be available via our subscriptions. You can request that the library obtain the article for you, but do take note of the conditions that apply. For more details, see this.
  • Interlibrary loan (graduate students only). Sometimes you may want a book that none of the seven libraries have. We may purchase the book if it is still in print, or borrow it from other libraries. Check out the interlibrary loan service.

 

6. Consult a resource librarian

Confused by any of the above steps or need further help? You can consult a resource librarian in charge of your subject area for more specialized help.

 

Try the new 2.0 version of FindMore@NUSL(beta)

One year after the launch of FindMore@NUSL, we would like to introduce the new 2.0 beta version of our library search at http://nus.preview.summon.serialssolutions.com/!

 

 

It’s totally redesigned based on a new take on the existing library search. New features include:

  • Modern, streamlined Interface
  • Jump start your research – 50,000 entries drawn from reference sources like Wikipedia
  • Content Spotlighting – Grouped news and images makes finding what you need easier
  • Discipline filter – Easily zoom in to one of 59 standard discipline-specific (e.g Economics, Physics) content
  • Automatic query expansion – FindMore@NUSL will include additional keywords and spelling variations for common topics for better results
  • Connect to your resource librarian – Dynamically recommends appropriate librarian to contact for more help
  • Infinite scroll – Need more results? Just continue scrolling, no “next page” click needed!
  • Redesigned Advanced search – Create precise controlled searches with title, abstract, subject field searches!
  • More!

 

We are rolling out it on a pilot basis so do try it out and let us know what you think! Try it at http://nus.preview.summon.serialssolutions.com/  or access it from the portal.

 

 

Look out for future posts where we will show you some nifty tricks FindMore@NUSL 2.0 can do!

Clinic Sessions for Engineering Students – Questions Asked After the Sessions (Part 2)

We did a blog post for the topic “social media and citizen journalism”, next up –

Social media and how it encourages teens to be promiscuous, display violent behavior because of online gaming, buy luxury goods because celebrities tout what they wear in their Facebook

Again, you would need to have either looked through the EG1413 Breeze presentation or attended our clinic sessions to fully apply the searches.

1. The question here is NOT the impact on lives is but a whole lot of “impacts” to work on. And then, there is the issue of contextualizing it in Singapore.

2. Let’s look at each behavior that the students brought up:

  • Prosmicuous behavior.
  • Violent behavior (correlating it to online gaming)
  • Buying behavior (correlating it to fashion of celebrities)

3. Use PsycInfo, Sociological Abstracts and Business Source Premier (include Communication Mass Media Complete and Communication Abstracts).  We are suggesting PsycInfo and Sociological Abstracts because of the “behavior” articles you need.

5. Do a separate search for each behavior. Some suggestions:

(“social media” or twitter or facebook or blog*) and (teen* or young people) and (sex* or promiscu*) and behavior*

(“social media” or twitter or facebook or blog*) and (teen* or young people) and (violen* or agress*) and behavior*

etc…

6. Look at the relevant results for each search and get a sense of the recommendations proposed in the articles retrieved. The question is – can these recommendations be applied to more than 1 behavior?

7. If so, would they be “tight” or “focused” enough to write your Position Paper without you falling into an abyss?

8. If not, do you have enough to work on only 1 behavior. Which behavior?

9. Once you select only 1 behavior, consider looking at it from a different angle. For eg. for promiscuity or sexual behavior among teens – how about relationships between a teacher and a student?

10. To explore this angle, your search could be:

(“social media” or twitter or facebook or blog*) and (teen* or young people or student*) and teacher* and sex*

11. Do similar searches in Factiva.  Apart from the 1st search which would not have any limiters, do other searches limiting to Singapore sources and Region Singapore.

12. We did not give examples for the 3rd behavior – the buying behavior and correlating it to celebrities’ fashion style as touted in their Facebooks, etc. This one requires more complex searching and more work. Those who are interested in this angle, please email us.

Ok. Email us if you any help: kahwei@nus.edu.sg.

Clinic Sessions for Engineering Students – Questions Asked After Sessions (Part 1)

So, it seems it ain’t over until the fat lady sings…

We have been receiving emails from some Engineering students after the clinic sessions.  Students were either not getting an angle on their topic or are pursuing the many diverse patterns and trends they read about.

So, they’ve got either too hazy a topic  or too many topics wrapped up in one supposed topic.

Here are some examples:

  1. Social media and citizen journalism
  2. Social media and how it encourages teens to be promiscuous, display violent behavior because of online gaming, buy luxury goods because celebrities tout what they wear in their Facebook.

We will address #1 in this post and #2 in the next post.

 

Here are some suggestions and searches to try out.

You would need to have either looked through the EG1413 Breeze presentation or attended our clinic sessions to fully apply the searches.

Social media and citizen journalism

1. Students wanted to know about social media encouraging online citizen journalism.

2. The question is – what is the impact of this on lives? Especially in Singapore.

3. Do a search in Business Source Premier, Communication and Mass Media Complete and Communication Abstracts:

4. Sort by Relevance.

5. Look at:

  • Subject Terms Thesaurus and Subjects frames.
  • Article title.
  • Subjects listed for each article.

6. Look out for aspects of the topic you are interested in. Read the abstracts.

7. List keywords describing these aspects.  Some examples:

  • Threats of censorship affecting online citizen journalism.
  • Business, marketing or advertising potential.
  • Credibility of news from such sites.
  • Effects on news reporting.
  • Its role in crisis management.
  • Etc…

8.  Select one aspect. Use just 1 or 2 keywords describing the aspect you have chosen. Run another search combining these keywords with your original search.

7. If you have dismal hits, apply the 3 main techniques of increasing your search results:

  • Use alternative keywords. 
  • Use truncation *.
  • Remove irrelevant keyword/s.

 8. Proceed to search from a different perpsective. Try something like this (Note: keywords for social media are removed):

9. Apply similar searches in Factiva. Do not limit to Singapore news sources or any regions in your first search.

10. Sort by Relevance.

12. Look at:

  • Keywords summary on left frame.
  • Headline and lead paragraph. 
  • Source.

10. Your next search would limit to a region you are interested in. Your choice will be guided by the results in the first search.

11. Continue applying search techniques and tips covered in clinic sessions and Breeze presentation until you can start brainstorming and suggest recommendations.

Email us if you need more help: kahwei@nus.edu.sg.

Clinic Sessions for Engineering Students

Nothing beats the flexibility of coming to a library session, get a head-start on your project and leave without having to worry about time or rushing for your next class.

That’s what the librarians wanted 1st Year Engineering students of EG1413 (Critical Thinking and Writing module) to have when they developed the 3-hour clinic sessions.

So for 2 days, from 9am-12nn and from 1-4pm, students came into the clinic sessions and left after their questions were answered.

 

 

 

 

 
  
 
 
 

Some stayed on for the whole hog.  It was very much on-the-fly based entirely on topics or questions posed by the students. And boy, was there ever a deluge of questions.

Students wrote their topics or questions on yellow 3-by-5s (old cataloguing cards) and passed it to the librarian.  The librarian would then show how to search and retrieve the articles based on the topics.

Some topics were similar – social media and privacy, social media and the Singapore political landscape, social media and how it affects teens or the elderly, social media and intellectual property violations, etc. These were grouped and search techniques were taught.

 

More than 80 students attended the 2 clinic sessions. At any one point in a session,  there were at least 15-20 students in the class.

It was not just a matter of searching for articles.

Some had topics in mind that were kind of hazy. Some had started reading and found interesting patterns and trends but did not know what to make of it. The librarians guided them to see how headlines, keyword summaries, Subject Terms, etc could guide them in scoping or framing their topic, making it easier for them to manage the deluge of information or a run-away topic.

Differences in the types of information retrieved from the databases Business Source Premier, Communication and Mass Media Complete and Factiva were also demonstrated with the students’ topics.

Those who had to leave gave their email addresses on the yellow cards so that the librarian could email them after the clinic sessions.

What was the question again? (Part 2)

Last weekend, there was an article that says researchers at ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories “created a technology that could eventually display on a computer screen what people have on their minds”.  <http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081211/sc_afp/sciencejapanbrainoffbeat_081211052641>

So if our tall, blond, blue-eyed friend had walked through some fancy machine that scans what he had in his head, TNL would have known he wanted to use our stapler straightaway. What about search engines then?

There was this article on good old Google in our good old ST. Sorry no article link because you know how ST access is given now. So check out Grace Chng’s “Google re-tools to beat back competitors” in print.  <http://linc.nus.edu.sg/record=b1196337>

There is this thing called a contextual search and providing “relevant and presonalised answers” by looking at “user’s search patterns”. “Search engines will understand more about you as a user, your location, the language you speak and your preferences.”

But of course, “we’ll use the information only if users give us permission.”

So the next time I look for the nearest post office, I will be mighty glad that I will have an updated map, the bus numbers, the opening hours, landmarks. After all, I have been searching and googling quite a bit. My “user pattern” should be archived somewhere. I will be retrieving relevant and quality information.

So why do I see writing on the wall? And does it matter what it says?

What Was the Question Again?

A tall, blond, blue-eyed student came up to me at the Information Desk a few weeks ago and asked, “Do you use a stapler?”

Uhh, yes… I use a stapler… But the librarian in me kicked in and after a little probing, I discovered that the young man wanted to use our stapler.

There was an interesting article on the quality of information in the Internet and the use of semantic technology. Basically, it is about how semantic technology could be used to search and retrieve quality information.In my work, I am constantly trying to teach students how to discern quality information or sources of information. If I want to find the location of the nearest post office, I would certainly hope to get the correct address, an updated map, the buses that get there, the post office’s opening hours and perhaps a little help on what landmark to watch out for before I press the bell (yah, I get disoriented very easily).Ask anyone who has been using the Internet, how to locate the nearest post office, and they will give their fave site for locating places. They don’t tell you how to search. The search itself is never the issue. It is figuring out which site would give you what you want that counts.

Yes, of course, the search engine still matters. Yet, I am wondering about the questions we ask.

“Do you have annual reports?” is usually translated to “Do you have 10 years of Sales Turnover of XYZ Co.?” We get that a lot.

The article I mentioned tells us that “the underlying idea behind semantic technology is to teach computers how the world operates”, my question is do we even know how the world operates?