Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Clever search strategies

The library databases are an excellent source of information when you are writing an assignment. Our library databases are made up of hundreds of thousands of online journal articles.   At ITB, you can search the online databases using One Search (2nd search box); this allows you to search all of the databases at the same time.  When you search a library database, you are searching the words within those articles.

So, the search engine does the legwork.

You, however, need to do the thinking! While the search engine is very good at locating search terms within articles, it isn't particularly intuitive. The search engine relies on your search strategy to find results. Therefore, the better your search strategy, the more likely you are to retrieve relevant articles!

With this in mind, have a look at this video from Berry Memorial College Library - Boolean Operators: little words, big difference...

Boolean Operators from Emily G on Vimeo.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Finding scholarly information online

Are you looking for information for your assignments? When you find information on the internet, are you unsure whether or not you can use it in your assignments? Online information does not always go through the same formal editing processes as most printed information. So it's important that we learn how to evaluate online information ourselves!

So, have a look at this video, from Western Libraries, that talks you through the CRAPP test for evaluating online resources...


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Referencing in 20 minutes!

Have you considered using RefWorks to gather the information sources you use in your work, or to generate your references and bibliographies?  It is a fantastic online tool, and these short videos make it easy to use!

Learn to use RefWorks in 20 minutes
  • Introduction: learning to use RefWorks in 20 minutes
  • Accessing RefWorks, creating an account and logging in
  • Adding references to RefWorks using Direct Export
  • Organising imported references into folders in RefWorks
  • Searching for references in your RefWorks account using Quick Search
  • Creating a bibliography instantly in RefWorks
  • Using Write n Cite III to manage citations or create bibliographies in MS Word
RefWorks fundamentals
RefWorks advanced
RefShare: sharing your RefWorks references
RefWorks output style editor

Or, if you prefer, you can access ITB Library's guides to RefWorks.  They include local knowledge, such as how to import references from our databases!  http://www.issuu.com/itblibrary

Photo Credit: Kirsty Andrews via Compfight cc 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Making plans for the summer?

Are you planning what you will do this summer?  The library is running two research projects this June-July that might interest you!

(1) Library digitisation project:


ITB Library has approximately three hundred language cassette and videotapes which are obsolete. The majority of these items are still of value to teaching and learning. The project is to transfer the tapes to a CD or DVD format. This involves weeding the current collection, digitising the remaining tapes using specialist software, and updating the library catalogue.

(2) Devising a student-centred marketing plan for ITB Library:

The objective of the project is to devise a student-centered marketing plan for the library; this will enable the library to streamline communication channels, such as the library blog and Facebook page, so that they are timely, effective and helpful in the information distributed.  A research student, from the ITB student body, could offer a uniquely relevant perspective to this project. 

If either of these research projects catch your eye, then have a look at your student email for full details (of all 8 ITB research projects) and application instructions!

Photo Credit: Jisc via Compfight cc 

Photo Credit: Cohdra viaMorguefile

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Library opening times

Early morning opening
In response to the increasing demand for earlier library opening during exams, this year the library will open at 8.15am from Tuesday 7th May until the end of the exams.

There will be no desk service until 9.15am, but students will be able to come, study and use the PCs.  The self checkout machine will also be operational.

Saturday opening
The library will also be open on Saturdays as follows:
Sat 11th May - 9.30am to 3.30pm
Sat 18th May - 9.30am to 3.30pm
Sat 25th May - 9.30am to 3.30pm

Please remember to co-operate fully with all library staff and to have respect for the library's regulations and for each other in the run up to exams!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Are you working in a group this semester?

Working in groups can be a challenge! Although it may not always be the most efficient way to achieve a goal, group work has a range of other benefits that make it worthwhile:
  • sharing the work load
  • covering more of the topic
  • seeing a topic from different perspectives
  • observing how your peers learn
  • learning to manage a project

So, a group project is unlikely to look like the work you do on your own!  Here are some tips for working with others...

Monday, April 15, 2013

Presentations: getting ready to speak in public

Are you giving a presentation next semester? How do you feel about speaking in front of a group of people? Public speaking can be daunting for a lot of people, but here are a few hints that may help you feel better prepared and less nervous.

Know your topic: it is important to be familiar with the topic of your presentation so that you can feel confident to speak about it and answer questions. Reading your slides, or reading from notes, is not very engaging for the audience. Use your slides to state your core points but tell your audience about any supporting information or examples. They could read your slides at home; if people have turned up at your presentation it is because they want to hear what you have to say!

Rehearse: as well as knowing your topic, it is very helpful to know how you sound before you stand in front of an audience. Even if it feels odd, practice your speech aloud. Consider how you appear to an audience: are you shy and mumbling or are you confident and clear? Time yourself to ensure that you can fit the whole presentation into the time allowed. Rushing the end of your presentation, or running over-time, makes a poor impression.

Know the environment: always turn up early to ensure that the room is organised in the way you want it to be. Ensure your laptop/USB/projector works in that room; if you need sound, ensure that there are speakers. Solve any technical difficulties before your audience arrive.

Every Presentation Ever: Communication FAIL! from Growing Leaders on Vimeo.

Friday, April 12, 2013


Will you be creating a presentation this semester? Visual aids, such as MS PowerPoint or Prezi, can add an important dimension to your presentation.

Here are some of the ways in which you can best use these tools:

Using MS PowerPoint
Creating a presentation
Testing and printing your presentation
MS PowerPoint is available on all ITB PCs.

Using Prezi
Getting started with Prezi
Grouping and layering with Prezi
Sharing your Prezi
You can find Prezi online here

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Previous exam papers

Are you starting to prepare for the exams?  Have you had a look at the previous exam papers for your modules yet?

The previous exam papers are located on the college intranet; they can only be accessed on-campus: http://itbstudenthub.ie/?p=62
  • Click on your course code
  • Click on the appropriate semester, e.g. semester 2 is usually the summer exam of Year 1, semester 4 is usually the summer exam of Year 2 etc.
  • Click on the PDF of the module you require
Previous exam papers can be viewed, saved and / or printed on-campus.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Busy times in the library!

It's great to have such a busy library in the run-up to the exam period.  But, inevitably, a busier library leads to a nosier library! 

Please co-operate with John, the library attendant, who is working to create an environment in which all of our students can study.  If you are studying in a group, please sit in the green zone.   If you are studying alone, please sit in the orange zone.  The red zone is available for silent study.

Please note that, if you wish to work as a group elsewhere on campus, you can borrow a laptop from the library.  All library laptops are wifi-enabled on campus.

The library is a shared study space.  Please respect the study needs of the other students around you!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Have you tried RefWorks yet?

We are delighted to say that, since we launched RefWorks last month, 90 ITB students and staff have created an account. 

For those of you who have yet to create an account, or those of you who have created an account but not used it much yet, here are some of the things RefWorks can help you with:
  • Keeping a record of the different sources of information you read
  • Using folders to organise the information you read for each subject/assignment
  • Importing citation information directly from the ITB databases
  • Creating citations within the text of your assignment as you write
  • Creating a bibliography of the sources you used in your assignment
Not bad, eh!

If you have ever signed up for any online account (or even if you haven't), creating an account is easy.  Just follow this guide.

Our introductory guide will show you how to add a reference, organise your references into folders, and how to create a bibliography.  To learn how to import references for articles you read in the ITB databases, have a look at the database guide.

And finally, the Write 'n Cite guide will help you to use the MS Word plugin to import your references into your work as you type.

If you have any questions, we are happy to help!  Contact us at libraryinfo@itb.ie

Monday, April 8, 2013

Reserving the books you need

Welcome back to everyone after the Easter Break!  We notice that there has been a big increase in book reservations/holds this year.  Is the library book you need often out on loan? 

If you like it then... you should have put a hold on it!

Then, when a copy of that book is returned, we will hold it for you at the library desk. We will send you an email, to your student email account, letting you know that you have 3 college days to collect it.

Follow these instructions (or this video) to reserve a library book:
  • Go to the library catalogue: http://blanchlib.itb.ie
  • Search for the book you need
  • At the top of the page, click on the Request icon
  • Enter your name, student number and PIN
  • You should get confirmation of the reservation on screen

If you are not sure what your library PIN is, just email us at libraryinfo@itb.ie