Tag Archives: writing

Session on Patent Searching: Learn Effective Skills

On 12 September 2014, the NUS Libraries Patent Team organized a patent tutorial jointly with the NUS Industrial Liaison Office (ILO). When the tutorial was announced on 2 September 2014, the class was fully registered within a very short time with a full waitlist! So here is a recap on what happened during the session for those that could not attend.


Mr Tan Kok Yong from ILO started the ball rolling with a brief introduction to patents and an overview on patent filing in NUS. Then the NUS Libraries Patent Team took over, where topics like how to read patent documents and introduction to patent classification were covered. We then proceeded with some hands-on training using the Patsnap database and also gave some practical tips on using the analyse patents function, finding other patents using cited references, saving search strategies and setting up alerts. In total, there were 31 participants for the tutorial, with an equal mix of NUS staff and students in attendance.




For those of you who missed the session, the presentation slides are available on our NUS Libraries Patent Libguide (http://libguides.nus.edu.sg/patents). Just click the section on “Guides, Tutorials, etc.” and look for:


You can also check out our list of patent related resources, available in either our NUS-subscribed databases or free online resources.


Also, do look out for more of such training sessions next year where you can embark on your patent-searching journey as well!


Loh Mee Lan

Welcoming Cambridge University Press to the Science Library

On 20 June 2014, the Science Library was honored with a visit from the Cambridge University Press team. They had specially invited Dr. Phil Meyler, the Publishing Development Director for Science, Technology, and Medicine at Cambridge University Press, for an enlightening talk at the Science Library’s Training Room.


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Titled “Academic Publishing in the Sciences and Engineering”, Dr. Meyler’s talk outlined the various stages of journal and book publishing. He provided various trends and insights into the modern publishing landscape and covered topics such as open access journals and some new and upcoming publishing models, e.g. the short book, open access book. During the talk, Dr. Meyler also dispensed several useful tips and practical advice on the preparation and submission of journal articles and book proposals.


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Most interestingly, Dr. Meyler explained how the publishing process in Cambridge University Press operates, from the submission of a paper or book proposal, through peer review, production, publication, and beyond. He also revealed how every single publication, book or journal article, in Cambridge University Press is scrutinized and reviewed by the 18 members of the Press Syndicate, also known as Press ‘Syndics’ – a governing body of curators who ensures that the content being published meets rigorous academic standards and upholds the prestigious reputation of Cambridge University.


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In the Q&A session after, Dr. Meyler received some thought provoking questions from the 33 participants, most of whom were graduate students. No worries if you have missed this talk, as we have Dr. Meyler’s presentation slides here.

If you are interested, you may also view or borrow the books mentioned by Dr. Meyler from the NUS Libraries. The links are provided below:

1)            Handbook for academic authors / Beth Luey

2)            How to write and illustrate a scientific paper / Bjorn Gustavii (Book)

How to write and illustrate a scientific paper / Bjorn Gustavii (Ebook)

3)            How to write and publish a scientific paper / Robert A. Day and Barbara Gastel

You may also wish to view our NUS Libraries’ collection on technical writing and academic writing to find more information.

~Science Library

ACS on Campus arrives at NUS!

On 9 April, 2014, the Science Library welcomed several distinguished speakers from the American Chemical Society (ACS) to the NUS Campus and co-organized the event, “ACS on Campus” with ACS. Comprising a resume writing workshop and a series of talks tailored to scholarly publishing for all fields of science, the event brought together the scientific research community – undergraduates, graduates and research staff alike – to learn, share and benefit from one another.

Dr. David Harwell, the Assistant Director of Industry Member Programs (ACS), provided the 34 participants with insightful advice and tips on crafting effective resumes, while offering an overview of the landscape of industrial hiring trends. Close to 80% of the participants found the workshop very positive.

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Kicking off the series of talks on scholarly publishing was none other than Dr. Andrew Wee, the previous Dean of Faculty of Science, who is also the Associate Editor of ACS Nano. He was most enthusiastic in sharing with the audience his many valuable tips on getting started in writing a scholarly manuscript.

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Dr. Lyndon Emsley from Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon took the microphone next. The Associate Editor of Journal of the American Chemical Society impressed upon the audience the importance of peer review and its advantages and limitations. Together with Ms Norah Xiao’s talk on copyright and ethics in scholarly communication, the participants certainly gained much knowledge in navigating the world of scholarly publishing.

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The last speaker, Dr. Burtrand Lee, Program Manager of ACS Petroleum Research Fund, shed much light on writing competitive research grants and proposals. Many critical questions were asked of Dr. Lee, based on his experience as a fund program manager; similarly, several questions and issues were discussed during the other speakers’ Q&A.

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Tea breaks were also offered for the students, staff and speakers to interact and network professionally. The delicious food certainly was a boon to this beneficial event, as was the lucky draw held at the end of the day! One winner was drawn out of the 186 participants and he won a mall voucher.

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If you had missed this exciting slew of workshop and talks by ACS, do not worry! You can view the speakers’ content presentations at the following links:

1)          Introduction to ACS: http://libapps.nus.edu.sg/pdf/knowledge_creation/ACS/Introduction_to_ACS.pdf

2)          Basics in Scholarly Publishing: Getting Started: http://libapps.nus.edu.sg/pdf/knowledge_creation/ACS/Getting_Started.pdf

3)          Basics in Scholarly Publishing: Peer Review: http://libapps.nus.edu.sg/pdf/knowledge_creation/ACS/Peer_Review.pdf

4)          Copyright and Ethics in Scholarly Publishing: http://libapps.nus.edu.sg/pdf/knowledge_creation/ACS/Copyright_and_Ethics.pdf

5)          Writing Competitive Research Grant Proposals: http://libapps.nus.edu.sg/pdf/knowledge_creation/ACS/Research_Grant_Proposals.pdf

6)          Working in Industry: Preparing a Resume Workshop: http://libapps.nus.edu.sg/pdf/knowledge_creation/ACS/Working_in_Industry.pdf


Science Library

How Can TNL Get Her Groove Back?

TNL can’t write.

Words don’t come out easily. There is this constant irritating use of the backspace and delete keys. And there is a constipation of words and expressions. Stuff are stuck in between a dark and a darker place. Ok, too much information already.

Even when they do eventually get out, the stuff just stays there insipidly staring into space.

They are just simply words. Why can’t they get out? They don’t even sit on the tip of her tougue. They are just nowhere.

What’s that word for cats again? She wanted to describe a friend’s cute cat, Jesse. Is it funky.. fishy.. furry.. fluffy? No, it was frisky.

And what about the word she wanted to describe relationships? Relationships that have been in the news of late. Illegitimate, ill-gotten, immoral? No, it was illicit.

It is just sapping away. Hang on, is it zapping away? No, it’s sapping away. As in a tree’s sap, bleeding, dripping away… whatever.

TNL hates this.  Put her out of her misery already!

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*


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.

TNL meets Rambling Librarian

I met the Rambling Librarian last week.

A rambler he ain’t. But he is one rockin’ librarian. The guy does all sorts of things – draws, composes music, reads like there is no tomorrow and top of it all does a pretty good job at facilitating and teaching.

I was at NLB Academy learning how to write for the new media. It was a nice, cozy class. RL gave quite a few good examples.

I like the story of the broken links and how it was a treasure hunt of sorts. That killed me. Which brings me to a point RL made.

His point was say something without saying it. Using imagery, symbols. We have to admit that even in this new age of sledgehammer approach, the age old use of visuals and suggestive subtlety is a whole lot more effective and … beautiful.

Ask yourself. If you have to create something – the first thing that comes to mind is – “I want it to be beautiful”. Whatever it is – a piece of writing, a sketch, a jingle, a card for a friend, a table setting, an outfit, etc. There is that sense of aesthetics in us that rises above all else when the word “create” pops in our head.

Whether what is created is beautiful is another story.

This good friend of mine (and she is reading this, I am sure) and I have this nasty habit of checking our Cringe-o-Meter. It measures the cringe-worthiness of a piece of art. How is it measured? By the goosebumpy feeling we get. How far our skin crawls. Oh yes, it is thoroughly and absolutely subjective. That’s why we can’t patent it.

Anyway, we keep all our measurements private. Not so nice -lah. We don’t normally dissect the piece to bits but I suspect our main criterion is subtlety and the use of imagery.

So, RL, you are right. Sledgehammer begone! Don’t tell it but show it. Subtlely.

My Aunt

My aunt’s animated face in full color jumped out at me when I flipped through yesterday’s newspapers. “She’s writing again?” Hey, don’t get me wrong – I love my Aunty Poh. She’s the only aunt who appreciates my Mum for who she really is. That is one single quality of her that many do not see. Thanks, Aunty Poh.

No, we do not share similar writing styles. Although, we do like to tell stories (Ok, can you hear that high pitch scream of protest?). We both enjoy observing life as it goes by and we take delight in telling people about the little things that we see, hear, love or hate. She tells it a lot better than I do, of course. She started blogging before I did but she doesn’t quite know that she is doing it. Funny lady.

Anyway, will you please tell them to choose a better photo next time, Aunt?