Library service update

We have worked to reorganise our library spaces and services to ensure that they are COVID-19 safe for all of our staff and students. This work has followed Scottish Government guidance and has involved Library, Estates and Health and Safety professionals at the University. In order to allow safe access to resources and study spaces we have had to make a number of changes and the arrangements are outlined here. Please take the time to review these changes before you visit. We will continue to review our approach and welcome your feedback.  

Opening dates 

  • From Monday 14th September The Sir Duncan Rice Library will be open Monday to Friday, 9.00am – 5.00pm 
  • From Monday 21st September, it is anticipated the hours will be extended and will include weekends – further details will be confirmed shortly. 
  • Plans are progressing for the re-opening of the Medical Library at Foresterhill and the Taylor Law Library – dates for re-opening will be confirmed soon. 

Hygiene 

We are increasing the amount of cleaning being done throughout the building and introducing regular touch point cleaning. We ask our users to help by washing hands regularly, using sanitiser on entrance and elsewhere (it is provided on all floors) and using wipes to clean keyboards and printer/scanners. We also ask that no food or drink (except bottled water) be brought into the building.

It is also a legal requirement that face coverings are worn all the time you are in the building, unless using the café (see details below).

Capacity 

We need to maintain 2 metre physical distancing in the building and this has meant a substantial reduction to the number of desks we have available at this stage. We are providing 170 desks on the upper floors (of which, 22 have PCs). When we reach this number of users through the security gates, we will be unable to allow anyone else through until people leave. There will be a queuing system in place on the ground floor to allow a small number of people to wait. However, we do not expect to reach capacity in our first week of opening. We cannot provide for group working in the building. The building will be open to University of Aberdeen students and staff. External Library members cannot access the building but can use the Click & Collect service by arrangement. Access to visitors including schools and the general public is not yet possible.   

The Special Collections Reading Room 

Our Scan & Send service will continue to operate, enabling digital rather than physical access by researchers. Images will be provided for research, rather than publication purposes, and large-scale digitisation will not be possible as we focus on supporting numerous requests. We will try to prioritise photography and scanning according to the urgency of need. 

From 14 September, in-person bookable access to the Reading Room is possible for University of Aberdeen staff and students. Research visits will be limited to enable social distancing and enquiries should be made at least one week in advance. 

For more details of our service, please see here

Access to books and resources 

Books and other printed materials are available to browse and borrow but need to be placed on the quarantine trolleys provided after use, unless being borrowed. 

We will also continue to provide our Click and Collect service to allow you to order items for collection at the entrance. 

Service desks 

In order to protect staff and students we aim to keep interactions to a minimum. Library staff should only be approached if absolutely necessary and when they are behind screens at service desks. 

Café 

We plan to reopen the Hardback Café with appropriate safety arrangements in place and will provide news about this in due course. 

Whilst we are looking forward to welcoming students and staff back to The Sir Duncan Rice Library, please work with us by taking care to understand the requirements, being patient about these new procedures and following all the guidelines. This will help us avoid the need to impose further restrictions and make it easier for the Library staff working in the building.  

A summary of our new building use requirements 

These signs will be displayed on digital screens in the Library, to remind you when you enter the building.

Please observe the following rules when you visit: 

  • Remember to bring your staff/student card as access to The Sir Duncan Rice Library will be provided via swipe card through the card-controlled door to the left of the main sliding entrance door. Card scanning at the security gates is compulsory to meet Government Test and Protect obligations. 
  • Use hand sanitiser on entry and exit and wash hands or use sanitiser during your stay  
  • Wear your face covering at all times or display your lanyard or show your exemption card if you are unable to wear a face covering  
  • Maintain two metre social distancing and follow the designated one-way routes  
  • Clean surfaces, PCs and Multi Function Devices (MFDs) after use with the wipes provided  
  • Place any handled books which you do not subsequently borrow on the trolleys provided  
  • Only approach Library staff who are seated behind support desk screens  
  • Note that no food or drink other than water is permitted in the building.  

Once in the building:   

  • Lifts to be used by one person at a time, so please leave more time to move around the building
  • Only study spaces marked with a tick can be used, allowing 2m distancing  
  • The water stations on each floor will not be available – please bring your own water (no other food or drink must be consumed in the building)  
  • Due to the current restrictions and physical distancing, assisted evacuation from upper floors is not possible. However, study spaces will be provided on the ground floor for users who cannot safely access other floors.   
     
     Please speak to a member of staff at the Welcome Desk if you have any concerns or require assistance. Our updates page is at bit.ly/COVID-19LibraryUpdates

 

Click & Collect and Scan & Send Services have now restarted

The Library’s Click and Collect Service, and the Special Collections and Museums Scan & Send Service, have now restarted, following a short suspension.

Our Click & Collect Service, which allows readers to request items which are currently available in any of our libraries and then collect them from The Sir Duncan Rice Library, will allow our users to place requests by logging in to Primo. Staff will then fetch the items and issue them, and readers will be informed by e-mail when the books are available for collection.

Please note that this service is currently for items that are not on loan. Items held at the Medical and Taylor Libraries may take a little longer to provide, as we will need to retrieve them on demand and bring them to TSDRL.

After you have received an email notifying you that the item is available for collection, you should come to the front of The Sir Duncan Rice Library between 13.00 and 16.00. When collecting items, we ask readers to observe the 2 metre social distancing guidelines. You will require your ID card to collect items and only 1 person at a time will be permitted to enter the collection area.

Any items not collected within 5 working days will be returned and reshelved following quarantining.

Special Collections will also be providing a Scan and Send Service to enable digital rather than physical access by researchers.

Further details on both of these services can be found on the Library website.

Live Q&A sessions for PGT students: Referencing and citing

 

The hand-in date for your dissertation or technical report is likely to be looming. If you have any questions or difficulties with referencing and citing, come along to one of our Question & Answer sessions next week. In the meantime, you may find materials in Part 1 and Part 5 of our Refresher series of interest: https://bit.ly/32ZY4zA

sdrl steps left

The sessions will take place on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday next week
(August 5, 6, & 7)
and are open to all PGT students regardless of whether or not you have listened to the recordings or have received previous instruction on referencing and citing.

The sessions will be delivered via Collaborate. To find out more and to book a place, please visit abdn.ac.uk/coursebooking – just change the category to ‘Library Information Skills’.

Please get in touch with us if you have any questions.
s.mmcourt@abdn.ac.uk

Important: e-books on the Dawsonera platform – some changes

The supplier Dawson Books has ceased trading and electronic books on their Dawsonera platform will be switched off on Friday 31 July. We are working to provide access to the content via alternative suppliers and minimise disruption but there may be some temporary loss of access to titles while ebooks are switched from one platform to another.

Dawsonera

Unfortunately, it is not possible to transfer any notes you have made within e-books on Dawsonera. To retain annotations these must be downloaded before Friday 31 July:

  • Use Primo to find and link to the relevant title in Dawsonera
  • Look for the Notes tab (on the left – there are tabs for Contents, Search and Notes)
  • Click Export then Export notes
  • Your notes will be exported as a text file with a .rtf file extension
  • Save in an appropriate location for later use.

Library staff will update links within Primo and the new reading list service. If you have any difficulties or queries, please contact Susan McCourt (s.mccourt@abdn.ac.uk)

Click and Collect Library Service

The Library will be offering a Click and Collect Service while we are unable to allow entry into our libraries.

SDRL tueOur Click & Collect Service, which allows readers to request items which are currently available in any of our libraries and then collect them from The Sir Duncan Rice Library, will allow our users to place requests by logging in to Primo. Staff will then fetch the items and issue them, and readers will be informed by e-mail when the books are available for collection.

Please note that this service is currently for items that are not on loan. Items held at the Medical and Taylor Libraries may take a little longer to provide, as we will need to retrieve them on demand and bring them to TSDRL.

After you have received an email notifying you that the item is available for collection, you should come to the front of The Sir Duncan Rice Library between 13.00 and 16.00. When collecting items, we ask readers to observe the 2 metre social distancing guidelines. You will require your ID card to collect items and only 1 person at a time will be permitted to enter the collection area.

Simon - click & collect

Any items not collected within 5 working days will be returned and reshelved following quarantining.

Special Collections will also be providing a Scan and Send Service to enable digital rather than physical access by researchers. This started on Monday 13 July.

Please note that there will be no other access to library buildings at this time. See our FAQs page for more information.

 

Did you know…? – Continued access to additional e-resources

Previously we told you about the wealth of additional e-resources made available to us temporarily by publishers, in support of online teaching, learning and research during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Since our original post you may have noticed that some of those resources have been removed, as access was granted on a temporary basis. However, we would like to draw your attention to a number of these additional e-resources that remain available to our users.

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Make sure to visit our page and explore the many extra e-books and journal articles available to us via Biochemical Society, Elsevier, JSTOR, Kortext and others until the end of the summer and beyond.

 

Please email us with any questions you may have as we are always happy to help!
library@abdn.ac.uk

 

Introduction to Open Research – online session on 14 July – cancelled

Introduction to Open Research
Tuesday 14th July 12:00 – 12:30

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The Scholarly Communications Team in the Library are available to provide advice, guidance and support to help you make your research open.

Our next Teams information session ‘Introduction to Open Research’ on the 14th of July at 12:00 will give an overview of our services and give some tips on what you can do to improve open access to your research. Aimed at Postgraduate Research Students and academic staff, the session is available on the course booking-system now. To book a place, please visit: https://www.abdn.ac.uk/coursebooking (select category ‘Library and Information Skills’).

For more information, please contact Joanna Adams: openaccess@abdn.ac.uk

Reading for Pleasure

 

For many, picking up and reading a book may seem daunting. You may not have done much reading other than academic work for years, or maybe it’s just something you’ve never really got into the habit of. With a little more time on our hands, reading can be a great way to spend some of this time. It’s also a great way to escape some of the challenges around us and lose yourself in a different world.

If you haven’t read anything for fun in a while, it may seem difficult to know where to start. Start somewhere easy; choose a book that you know will make you smile, your favourite book as a child, something that you know will keep you reading! GoodReads is a great place to see reader reviews to find books that you might enjoy.

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And of course, you don’t have to pick up a physical book. If e-books and audiobooks work better for you then why not check out what Aberdeen City Libraries have to offer? See what’s available in their collection here.

Read on for some e-book recommendations…

The Secret War: Discovering new outlooks on World War II

75 years ago, the world was looking forward to a vastly different future than many people living then could have imagined 6 years previously. When World War II ended, much like today, everyone wondered what would come next and how and when ‘normality’ would resume. As we have discovered more about this seminal conflict, new and exciting stories have been told.

Aberdeen City Libraries have put together an excellent online collection of Wartime Stories to commemorate this anniversary. Several of the items include uplifting tales of wartime espionage, courage under fire, and dealing with impossible situations. 

Some highlights below: 

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The Volunteer: The True Story of the Resistance Hero who infiltrated Auschwitz by Jack Fairweather 

The captivating, almost unbelievable true story of Witold Pilecki, an operative with the Polish Resistance, and his two years smuggling information on the Holocaust to Western contacts from inside Auschwitz, alongside saving thousands of fellow prisoners.

The 21 Escapes of Lt Alistair Cram by David Guss 

Another true-life tale, in which you’d be readily forgiven for thinking this man’s middle name was ‘Houdini’. Captured in 1941, Lt Cram was held in 10 different POW camps and prisons and made 21 escape attempts. Courageous and defiant to the end, his partnership with David Stirling led to his last, successful escape and the Military Cross.

Many more wonderful items are available online from Aberdeen City Libraries. Please note that Aberdeen University students and staff can join Aberdeen City Libraries and use their online services immediately. For more information, please see our blog post. Once normal operation resumes, you will also be able to borrow books from the ‘Old Aberdeen Library’ on the Ground Floor of The Sir Duncan Rice Library. 

For further study of the conflict, Primo offers you a gateway into a plethora of information sources. Do get in touch with us if you need help searching Primo or see our Library guides for guidance. 

Harry Potter chapter readings

We may not be able to be back on campus yet but we can go back to Hogwarts. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is being released chapter at a time with a different celebrity reading each chapter; with Daniel Radcliffe himself reading the first chapter. These are available on Spotify and via the Wizarding World website. 

Green lifestyle 

As well as reading purely for pleasure, you may be looking for inspiration on what you can do to improve the world you live in. One aspect of that could be reducing your personal carbon footprint. Here are a couple of easy-to-read e-books from Aberdeen University Library, which might help you find ways to live in a more sustainable manner:

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How bad are bananas: the carbon footprint of everything by Mike Berners-Lee 

Cooler smarter practical steps for low-carbon living: expert advice from the Union of Concerned Scientists by Seth Shulman et al.

To access the above two items, remember to sign in to Primo; then in the ‘View Online’ section in Primo click on the name of the provider (VLeBooks, SpringerLink) to link to the full-text of an e-book. 

Please email us with any questions you may have. Until then, happy reading! 

Laura Bain, Lucy Drysdale and Elaine Fitzgerald

Returning Books and Planning for the Restart of Library Services

Library books can now be returned by using the external book drop slot at The Sir Duncan Rice Library, following the move to Phase 2 of the Scottish route map. Please use this facility for any of your University Library books, irrespective of which of our Library sites you borrowed the book from.

You will need a current student, or staff, ID card to use the book drop slot. If you have any difficulties in using this facility, please contact Library staff on libnotice@abdn.ac.uk.

Also, the Library is now in the process of planning how we can begin to restart some services for our students and the wider academic community. Details on this planning are available on our website.

What is Scholarly Communications? – online session in July

What is Scholarly Communications?
Tuesday 7th July 12:00 – 12:30

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Brought to you live from the home office! A short introduction to the Scholarly Communications Team in the Library. This session will give an overview of our services and provide information on how we can help you navigate the process of making your research open access.

Aimed at academic staff and postgraduate researchers (and any library staff that may be interested) the course will be delivered via Teams and is available on the course-booking system. To book a place, please visit: https://www.abdn.ac.uk/coursebooking (select category ‘Library and Information Skills’).

For more information, please contact Joanna Adams: openaccess@abdn.ac.uk