Tag Archives: subject guides

Subject Guides

Time flies. You’re just starting to enjoy the school vacation and it’s almost time to slog again. Since you’re hardworking enough to check out this blog, I’m going to reward you with a tip! Check out the 63 subject guides prepared by our diligent librarians; it’s a good place to begin if you’re just starting to do “proper research” for your assignments.

Here’s a glimpse of the latest subject guide fresh from the oven, for module BMA5112 Asia Pacific Business:


Like most subject guides, it shows the databases, magazines/journals, and internet resources that can be used for your research. For those of us who are visual learners, there are even links to DVDs and videos in our catalogue, as well as youtube videos. For more in-depth guidance, links to PDF articles and PowerPoint slides are also provided, and there’s also a page on writing.

Apart from subject or module-specific guides, there are also guides on Effective Teaching Methods for academics, EndNoteGraduate Students’ Orientation and Singapore Statistics. Well, check out the guides today and let us know how useful they are by leaving your feedback.

Have a good new year!

Oh, Sweet, Sweet Silence…

TNL lost her voice.

It may have been somewhere between Sentosa and Upper Bukit Timah. Very likely between Sunday afternoon and evening. And no, it wasn’t typically careless of her. She doesn’t quite lose it often. The loss, as you can imagine, was an inconvenience the poor old girl would rather not have.

What is a librarian without her voice? A quiet one, silly.

Her colleagues will tell you what a relief it is not to have hear that crotchety voice gradually building up to a high-pitched whine. The only reason her colleagues may want her voice back is when the Semester starts and her information literacy programmes start with its usual high numbers. Such friends she has.

But you know good old TNL. She can’t quite stay away. You can just about hear her nasally whine on online chat at the Marketing Subject Guide or the Strategy & Policy Subject Guide (“Why doesn’t anybody want to hear me talk?”).

I “Heart” Google

GoogleContrary to what many think, there are librarians who love Google.

I, for one, can’t imagine life without it. I use Google several times a day to verify citations, unearth nuggets of information, read reviews and pursue my hobbies. I have colleagues who are such power users of Google that watching them will leave some of us quivering in our shoes. Okay, I exaggerate but you get the idea!

But why do some professors tell you not to rely on Google or Wikipedia? As a first step in your research process, Google—or any other search engine—is fine for filling those little gaps of knowledge. But it is risky to rely on information that you find on the Internet without evaluating it. So what do you need to check? Among other things, you should evaluate a website for its currency, accuracy, objectivity, and authority. Well, google (I love using this as a verb) evaluate websites site:edu and you will find all that you need to know.

There’s another wrinkle in the otherwise perfect picture. Many of us may not be aware that Google and other standard search engines only trawl the surface of the web, but do not retrieve information from what is known as the “deep web”. The deep web contains information from databases and other Internet sources that are either dynamically created or too deep down to be accessed by the standard search engines. Thus, if you rely entirely on search engines, you are missing a lot of good stuff.

In addition, in-depth research for most disciplines entails using different types of sources. Each type of source has its inherent advantages and disadvantages. For example, books may contain information that are not as up-to-date as those from journal articles, due to the lengthier publishing process. Thus, if you cite only from books and websites, there is a high chance that your research is incomplete. Consider using databases to look for relevant journal articles and conference proceedings, and your professor may give you a few brownie points. If the thought of using databases makes you swoon, try Google Scholar for a start, together with the proxy bookmarklet.

But if you’re adventurous and prefer to use a database that NUS Libraries subscribes to, but don’t know how to start, do ask a librarian. Can’t tell a librarian from a regular two-legged being? Just ask for one at the information desk of any of the NUS Libraries. You can also email or tweet us. If you’re too far away from the ivory tower and find it cumbersome to describe your research woes, check out our subject guides to get a headstart before the stampede begins in August.