Tuesday, 31 January 2012

A 'Pedia You Can Rely Upon

Sick of being told not to use Wikipedia in your assignments (hey - there's good reason, see here for details!!) but can't find a viable alternative for your research?

Try our subscribed link to Encyclopedia Britannica. As this video shows, its far more than just a dusty tome of historical facts....:

What's more its 100% reliable, and a credible inclusion in your Reference List too!

Monday, 30 January 2012

Library Catalogue QR Code

For those of you who have a Smart Phone, here is the QR Code for our online Library System...:

Scan this picture with your phone and you can renew all your library items via your mobile, search for information and reserve books to pick up later.

Alternatively, if you don't have a Smart Phone, click on this link here, or the Library Catalogue logo at the foot of this blog, or ring us 24/7 on (0191) 200 4020 and leave a message on our answerphone - don't forget to include your ID number too!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Newcastle College Library circa 1984

Check out the video below to see what has changed (and what hasn't!) at Newcastle College Main Library over the past 28 years. (Here is what we look like in 2012).

The footage was originally taken back in 1984 - a time of BBC B Computers, dial-up internet, BetaMax Videos and a Card Catalogue that you had to thumb through in order to find the books that you were after (our online catalogue makes life just a little easier these days!).

If you are interested in what has changed in and around Newcastle College over the years, then why not come and see the new display in our Main Library foyer, featuring lots of photos and documents from our archives in the Library basement?

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Renew your Library Loans Online

You can extend the loan period of items you have borrowed from Newcastle College Library by renewing online.

Simply go to http://library.ncl-coll.ac.uk/, use the Library Catalogue link in the Library pages of NCG Online, or click on the Library Catalogue logo at the foot of this blog; then log in using your usual Newcastle College Username (eg 's' + your Student Number); the Password is "12345" (unless you have changed this for yourself).

Logging in to the Library Catalogue
Click the word "Loans" in the left-hand menu or, from the Home Screen, double-click "Current Loans" in the My Portal Summary section beneath the Search Box....:

The Renew Icon
When the list of items you have out comes on screen, click on the green "Renew" button next to the items you wish to keep for longer.

The new return date will be listed in the "Due Date" column.

The Renewal Screen

NB: You cannot renew items that are overdue or have been reserved by other Library Users.

Click here to get automatic reminders of when you need to renew your library items.

A guide with full details of our Online Catalogue's functions and features can be downloaded here.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Sequencing your Literature Review

A Literature Review is an informative overview of what is already known about the topic you are investigating in your Dissertation - a balanced yet critical evaluation of what previous studies have already uncovered, organised into a coherent. logical, well-organised narrative.

It is the evaluative "story" of what is known about your subject prior to your own investigation.

I recently posted about how to acquire and assess relevant sources for your Literature Review. Your next task to to try and organise all of the information that you have found into one coherent narrative.

There are a number of ways that you can do this...:

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

eBook Resources

We have lots of options if you need access to electronic books to carry out your Literature Review or research for other assignments at Newcastle College...:

Digitized versions of our most popular print books at Newcastle College Library are available through MyiLibrary, so if all the paper copies of any book that your tutor is recommending on a Reading List are on loan, check here - we may well have it electronically.

Select "Newcastle College" from the Institutional Access list then log in with your College Username and Password.

There are literally thousands more titles available, on a wide range of subject areas, from ebrary.

The best thing about this package is you can highlight text and add notes as you go along using the tools at the top of the page, and all of these annotations will be saved on your Bookshelf tab forever.

Simply enter your usual College Username and Password if asked to log in.


Newcastle Libraries Digital Collection
If you are a member of Newcastle Public Libraries (its free - you can join online or find a list of branches here) you can download free e-books and audio books from their Digital Collection.

(You will need to download this software to view e-books, and to install this to play the audio files).

Gateshead Libraries
Become a member of Gateshead Libraries (even if you don't live in Gateshead) and you can download up to four books onto most e-readers for a maximum period of 21 days from Gateshead Libraries' e-book service. Start downloading by entering your Gateshead Library Barcode and PIN Number here.

South Tyneside Libraries
Details of how to download the titles on South Tyneside Libraries e-book catalogue are available here. Fill in this form and return it to any South Tyneside Libraries branch to join their library.


Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg offers free electronic access to thousands of out-of-copyright works of both fiction and non-fiction.

The list of the most downloaded titles (updated daily) can be an interesting place to start browsing.

Google Books
... And not forgetting Google Books of course - Search and preview millions of works from libraries and publishers across the world, though bear in mind they are not always available in full text (select "full view only" on this Advanced Search page if you need complete books).


Even more online resources are available through the Library pages on NCG Online, or via the Research and Study Resources link at the top of this blog page.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Making MS Works WORK on Newcastle College PCs

Many computers come with Microsoft Works software pre-loaded on them.

This is a perfectly adequate word processing (and spreadsheets) package that avoids you having to shell out lots of money to buy the Microsoft Office suite (though check out this special offer if you DO want the latest versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc).

The problem is that Microsoft Works is not compatible with Newcastle College computers. All is not lost though - we can convert the files at the PITS desk in the Main Library, ... or you can cure the problem for yourself....:

Friday, 20 January 2012

Download information from the CIA

The Central Intelligence Agency is famously the US version of MI5 in the UK, responsible for national security and surveillance.

What many people don't know, however is that you can get access to much of the information that they gather about countries all over the world via their World Factbook.

Click on the map or select a country from the drop-down menu to get all sorts of information and statistics about that place and its people, ranging from its economy, its military, its geography to its communications and transportation, even down to the number of phone lines it has or how many kilometres of road there are in the country.

This link here even lets you compare different countries over a range of different issues too.

Another even better source for getting pan-country statistics across an even wider range of issues (such as crime, education, health, media ... even terrorism!) is NationMaster.

For UK data, try the Office for National Statistics or the Government's Data Gateway website.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

eJournal Resources

If you need journal articles for your Literature Review or other assignment, then you can explore and access thousands through Newcastle College Libraries, either from the Research and Study Resources link at the top of this blog; or, for the full collection, via NCG Online - click on the "Library" tab (top-right of the screen), then the "e-Resources" button.

IMPORTANT - No matter which option that you choose, select the "Full Text Only" or "Subscribed Content" option (which is usually available through the Advanced Search), or else you might be asked to pay to read more than the Abstract summaries.
We have specialist collections for Sport, Business and Education students, but by far the best for multi-disciplinary research are Academic Search Elite and Gale Cengage

Here's how to get them best out of each...:

Wednesday, 18 January 2012


The popular online website Wikipedia has deliberately shut down for 24 hours, in a protest about US internet piracy laws (Williams and Sanchez, 2012).

The English version will be unavailable from 5am on Wednesday 18th January until 5am on Thursday.

If you are doing your research, don't forget that there are lots of other (more respected and reliable, so better!) sources available through Newcastle College either on Blackboard (after logging on click the "My Courses" tab, then "FE Library" or "HE Library", then "e-resources") or on the Research and Study Support pages of this blog.

And we are open at Newcastle College Main Library every weekday 9am-7pm (4pm Fridays) if you have any other info needs.

Williams, Christopher and Sanchez, Raf (2012) Wikipedia to shut down for 24hours in piracy protest. [Internet]. Available at:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/wikipedia/9018912/Wikipedia-to-shut-down-for-24-hours-in-piracy-protest.html  [Accessed:18/01/12]

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Sources for your Literature Review

A Literature Review is an informative overview of what is already known about the topic you are investigating in your Dissertation - a balanced yet critical evaluation of what previous studies have already uncovered, organised into a coherent, logical, well-organised narrative.

Your first task is to gather as much relevant as possible, from books, journal articles (especially), reputable websites, etc.

You might want to use the Library Catalogue; the e-resources available on NCG Online if you are a Newcastle College student; and/or the links which you can access through the Research and Study Resources section of this blog.

Here are a few strategies to try if you' re getting not enough (or too much) information...:

Monday, 16 January 2012

Opening Open Office on Newcastle College PCs

If you got a new PC, tablet or laptop recently, you may need some office software (like a word processor, spreadsheet or presentation tool) to run on it.

Rather than spending a fortune on the latest Microsoft Office suite, you can get some equivalent, open source software which does exactly the same job to exactly the same quality for FREE from OpenOffice.org.

The bad news is that you can't normally open anything that you create on these programs on Newcastle College computers... unless you use this trick...:

Friday, 13 January 2012

Become a FAN(tast)FIC Author

(Max Braun on Flickr. Creative Commons)
Are you interested in becoming an author? Do you enjoy Fan Fiction? Fancy having a go for yourself, and getting published on the web? Then why not attend the free event at Newcastle City Library next Thursday evening (19th January 2012) when Hazel Osmond explains how this was her route to becoming a successful published author.

Full details, including information about how to get your free tickets, are available from Newcastle Libraries Online, or by ringing 0191 277 4100.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Dissertations - The Introduction Chapter

If you are working on your Dissertation right now, you might be struggling to get started on your Introduction - what should you write? How should this short section develop without turning into the full study in itself?

Based on my experiences (and all my previous mistakes!) of writing these extended projects, then this might help a little...:

Think of the Introduction as "setting the scene" for your study. It could usefully move through these stages...:

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Embedding Youtube videos in Powerpoint

One of the questions our Brians, the IT Customer Service staff at PITS, get asked most often is how to embed a Youtube video into a Powerpoint presentation.

The method is actually slightly different, depending upon what version of Powerpoint you have.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Enquiry Desk

If you ever need any extra help at Newcastle College Library, then why not drop by at the Enquiry Desk at Main Library?

From here we can help you track down resources for your assignments; show you how to use the e-resources; talk through your dissertation / project ideas; recommend some titles that have been popular in the past; check through your referencing; and deal with any extended queries that you have - the sort of thing that isn't always possible when there is a long queue at the Library Counter.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Resetting your Newcastle College Password Off-Campus

Its now possible to reset your Newcastle College IT/Blackboard password, or unlock your account, even if you aren't on the College Campus.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Resolutions, Revelations and Revolutions for 2012

(Smithi1 on Flickr. Creative Commons)
Happy New Year and welcome back to the Library Richard Blog. Hope you had a terrific Christmas and that you rounded off 2011 in style.

It's traditional in the UK to come up with some New Years' Resolutions at this time of year - things that you mean to do more, or less, to improve your life - New Year, New You (... and equally customary to have broken all of these resolutions before the end of the month, in spite of our best intentions!).

More interestingly though, in other countries such as Brazil, people write out Wish Lists for the year ahead, then see how many of their wishes came true by the end of the year.

This got me thinking - what do you wish for from Newcastle College Library in the coming months? What could we do to make your time at Newcastle College better? What are we getting wrong? (What, if anything,  are we getting right?). Do we need more books on a particular subject? Different stationery items on sale? Different facilities? Different procedures?

PLEASE give us some feedback (anonymously if you prefer). You could use the link at the top right of this page, the "Your Comments, Suggestions and Questions" option above or drop an email either to me or the Head of Library Services and you can help us make a difference.