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

#BlackLivesMatter: Library resources

Our University is open to all and we are committed to securing the highest standards of equality, diversity and inclusion. This week the Library was asked what more it could do to show how much we believe that #BlackLivesMatter.

We provide a large amount of relevant resources and our staff and students can find these via Primo. We are here to help you with this if you get in touch via library@abdn.ac.uk or @aberdeenunilib on Twitter. But it is right to challenge us to do more. Earlier in the week a student brought to my attention that we are missing some important titles. As a result, we have acquired two new e-books and added them to our catalogue:

Layla Saad, Me and white supremacy: combat racism, change the world, and become a good ancestor

Reni Eddo-Lodge, Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race

 
DSC_9161Due to the present situation, we are only purchasing e-books for now and not all the titles we would like are available in this form, but I am very happy to hear from University of Aberdeen students or staff if you have other recommendations. And if our academic staff are looking at reading lists and aiming to expand what you offer, the Library will be very pleased to help as we develop our new reading list service. We are ready to help if you need support sourcing new titles.

All of us at the Library stand with the University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen University Students’ Association (AUSA) and our whole #ABDNfamily to celebrate our values of inclusivity and to condemn all forms of discrimination, prejudice and racism.

#BlackLivesMatter

Simon Bains
University Librarian

 

Did you know…? – Off-campus access to OnePetro

OnePetro logo

In a previous post, we told you about accessing e-resources off-campus. In this post, we would like to draw your attention to OnePetro, an important database of technical literature for the oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) industry.

The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), who own the OnePetro database, have an authentication (login) system based on the IP address of the user’s PC. Signing in is very straightforward when users are on-campus using University networked PCs. However, it is a 2-step process when off-campus, as users are required to come into the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) first so that their personal device will look as if it is campus-based.

Please follow the guidance on the Remote Access section of Toolkit – select the Remote VDI link in the ‘Guides’ section. Once you have logged in to the VDI, navigate to ‘Library Resources’, and from there to Primo.

Library staff have created a very useful guide on accessing and using OnePetro.

Please note that via the VDI you can also access classroom software associated with your login details and your H: drive.

Susan McCourt, Elaine Fitzgerald, Lena Papadakou

Comet SWAN

 

Comet SWAN

Many thanks to Gerald Rehmann for picture of SWAN.

Comet-hunters and stargazers alike have had plenty to talk about this month. The brightest newcomer Comet SWAN has a tail of at least 18 million km long and was discovered by amateur astronomer Michael Mattiazzo from Australia. But he was not looking up at the time – Comet SWAN was spotted online, by studying images from the Solar Wind ANisotropies (SWAN) instrument aboard SOHO, ESA/NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory.

Comet SWAN is expected to reach perihelion (its closest point to the Sun) on 27 May. Look for it near the constellation Perseus as it may still be visible through binoculars.

You can still read about the comet’s performance and visibility in the UK. If you missed out on Comet SWAN, there are two more coming our way: Comet LEMMON and Comet NEOWISE will be visible by the naked eye in July. To learn more about these comets, http://astro.vanbuitenen.nl/comets is a good place to start.

If you’re frequently looking for the position of a group of Solar System objects, you can create a quick access page that updates just the data you need. Bookmark it or add it to your phone’s home screen and get fresh data with one click.

We also have access to some e-books that can help you with your observations:

  • ‘Comets and their origin: the tools to decipher a comet’ by Uwe Meierhenrich (2015)
  • ‘Make Time for the Stars: Fitting Astronomy into Your Busy Life’ by Antony Cooke (2009)

Access to these resources is via Primo; remember to sign in using your University of Aberdeen username and password.

For more information visit the following pages:

https://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/
https://www.skyatnightmagazine.com/advice/skills/comet-c-2020-f8-swan-visible-how-to-see-it/
https://theskylive.com/quickaccess-create

Jenna Storey,  jennifer.storey@abdn.ac.uk

Did you know…? – routes for off-campus access to e-resources

computer

To access the databases and e-book collections that the University of Aberdeen subscribes to you must prove that you are a member of the university. Most resources require a Shibboleth/institutional login, while for others authentication is via IP address (the provider is looking at the physical location of the computer you are using).

Off-campus access information for databases requiring an institutional login (most databases)

To access these resources, use the Find Databases option in Primo. Remember to sign in to Primo before you do any searching. When working off-campus, you may be asked to sign in to a resource via your institution, in which case you must select ‘UK Access Management Federation’. Then select ‘University of Aberdeen’ and lastly, enter your computer username and password.

Off-campus access information for databases requiring an IP address authentication (e.g. OnePetro, Kluwer Arbitration)

To access these resources off-campus, you must use the university’s Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). This makes your device look as if it is a campus-based device. Via the VDI you can also access classroom software associated with your login details and your H: drive.

For Instructions on how to use the VDI see our Remote Access section on Toolkit – www.abdn.ac.uk/toolkit/

Useful information

  • To check the authentication route for a database, type its name into the Find Databases search box in Primo, then click on ‘Available Online’. This will take you to the database’s information page
  • A very small selection of academic databases require a special username and password. A list of usernames and passwords for those resources can be found on this password-protected page
  • Please see our Library guide QG DBS005: Accessing Electronic Information

Questions?

For subject-related enquiries, please get in touch with the Information Consultant for your subject. Details can be found at https://bit.ly/InfoConsultants  

For IT-related queries contact the IT Service Desk:
servicedesk@abdn.ac.uk
https://uoa.freshservice.com/support/home

 

COVID-19 – Temporary access to additional electronic resources during Library closures

As academic libraries worldwide are committed to continuing support for teaching, learning and research during the COVID-19 outbreak, many publishers have made online resources, including e-books, e-journals and databases freely available.

Students and staff at the University of Aberdeen can now access more books and research materials than covered by our normal licences and subscriptions. Details on specific collections are available from our designated Library page, which will be updated regularly as changes are made to these temporary resources.

In addition to this highlighting of expanded content from commercial organisations, we plan on providing information about relevant and appropriate Open Access resources. Bookmark our web page!

bit.ly/COVID-19LibraryUpdates

 

 

Search our digital collections using ‘Find Databases’ on Primo

Primo will tell you about the hundreds of thousands of digital resources available through the University and will link you to one of over 200 different online academic databases to let you read the material that you’re interested in.

Did you know, though, that if you go straight to the website of specific academic databases you can perform even more powerful searches, often looking across every word contained in every item within that collection? A simple search in Primo is the best place to start a piece of research but using the Find Databases option is the next step, improving the quality of any academic research that you do.

These databases often focus on specific subject areas, meaning that your searching becomes more focused and efficient, saving you time looking and giving you more time to read and write. See below for details of how to use the Find Databases feature in Primo to link straight to digital collections best suited to your area of study.

find-dbs-screen-2

Use the Find Databases option at the top of Primo. Please remember to log in with your username and password.

find-dbs-screen-1

You can search for specific databases or you can filter by subject area. It is also possible to browse an alphabetical listing of all databases available.

Once you have identified an academic database that you wish to search, simply click on its name to link out to it. You may be asked to log in again.

Please note that it is not possible to search across multiple databases at once using the Find Databases option. You must link out to each database that you are interested in and search them individually. This method will allow you to perform the most powerful searches available to you.

For further guidance on using Primo please see our short videos on its various features. For guidance on accessing online resources, particularly when off campus, please see our Library Guide on Accessing Electronic Information and the Toolkit’s section on Remote Access.

Ewan Grant, e.grant@abdn.ac.uk

VLeBooks: changes to platform

VleBooks

Askews & Holts Library Services have designed a new online reader for their enhanced VLeBooks platform; this will be launched this summer. There are many great new features available with the new reader including highlighting, advanced note options, improved accessibility and, the reader will be mobile-responsive.

Important note:
The migration will take place in August and even though our access is not affected by this change, users are required to export any notes stored on the current reader, otherwise these notes will be lost. Users on the current platform are asked to export their notes by Friday 12th July. Bookshelves will also be reset and users are kindly asked to record details of any titles they may wish to add onto their new bookshelf.

Remote access to Library resources and personal filespace

Accessing Library Resources when off-campus

Did you know that if you are off campus you are still able to read all of the Library’s online books, journals and other resources, so that wherever you are in the world you can be studying this rich, varied and growing part of our collections?

To ensure that you can always access these materials when not on campus you need to be aware of the correct way to do so, as there are two different ways to read these electronic materials, depending on where they are located online. Read below to learn how to tell which online route you need to take.

The two routes to Library Resources when off-campus

Shibboleth/Institutional Login

The vast majority of our digital collections are accessed in the same way, whether or not you are sitting in one of our campuses or anywhere else in the world. This route is called Shibboleth, or sometimes Institutional Login. The only thing you need to take this route is your University of Aberdeen computer username and password.

Upon accessing the website of a digital collection you may be asked to use this information to show that you have permission to read the materials. If you are not asked, have a look for the Shibboleth or Institutional Login option somewhere on the page.

When you take this route you are normally asked three very simple questions:

  1. In which country is the University you are studying at located?
  2. At which University in that country are you a student?
  3. What is your computer username and password at that University?

shib steps img (002)

Having answered these questions you will be able to read any of the materials that the university has subscribed to on that site. Unfortunately, though, we do not have access to everything on the sites that you will visit, so even though you have taken the correct route it may still not be possible to read something you have located.

Access via IP Address – Using the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

Some digital collections do not use the Shibboleth route and only permit access according to the physical location of the computer being used to read the material. These can often be niche and well-focused digital collections that have chosen not to use the Shibboleth route mentioned above. The University of Aberdeen has no control over whether a website chooses to not use the Shibboleth route.

These digital collections only give access to computers that are located on one of our campuses and the website can tell if you are on campus by viewing the IP Address of the machine. But there is a way of legitimately “fooling” them into thinking you are on campus when in fact you can be anywhere in the world that has access to the internet. This route is called the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. (VDI). Further details on using the VDI are given below.

How to tell which route to take?

If you know the name of the site on which you are trying to read some online materials you can use Primo to determine the correct route to take when off campus. Follow the steps below to learn how.

  1. Within Primo select the Find Databases option near the top of the page.
  2. To locate connection details about that collection you can search by name or browse through an alphabetical list
  3. Click on Show Info for that collection
  4. Locate Authentication Route details:
    • If it states “Shibboleth/UK Federation and IP” you will only need your computer username and password to access it
    • If it states “IP” you will need to use the VDI option when off campus

Guides to using each of these routes when off campus

Shibboleth/Institutional Login

Consult the Library Guide Accessing Electronic Information

Using the VDI

Consult the guidance available on the IT Service Toolkit:

Video briefly explaining the operation of the VDI

Online Guide detailing the steps needed to use the VDI

Once you have set up VDI access you will be able to navigate to Primo from within it and then conduct your searching and linking to digital materials as if you are on campus.

If you have located resources when using the VDI that you want to save for use later you will need to save them to your own personal file space on the servers at University of Aberdeen, your H Drive. The VDI restricts you to saving materials there. So, if you want to access them later from off campus you will need to use another route which is very simple to operate, the University’s Virtual Private Network (VPN). Read on below to learn and about using the VPN.


Access your personal network filespace from off-campus – Remote the VPN

The H: drive is your personal area of file storage on the University network. It provides you with 10GB of secure filespace and is the most secure location to store your course work and files. It appears as HOME on any classroom PC you sign into and is backed up by IT services on a daily basis.  

To access your saved work, simply sign into any networked PC and click on the desktop icon This PC, then select HOME.  

But did you know that Remote VPN provides you with remote access to your H: drive? It also provides access to web-based resources via your personal device, whether on campus, at home or in a wireless hotspot. All you need is an internet connection and a valid University of Aberdeen username and password. 

How do I access it? 

Read on, to find out how to access important files saved to your H: drive, when working from home.  

  • Open your browser and navigate to https://sma.abdn.ac.uk/  
  • You will be asked to read and accept the security guidelines outline in the VPN disclaimer – click Accept  
  • Log in using your username and password (if you are presented with a security warning click ‘Allow’) 

Using the VPN 

  • Staff will see a Home button and a User Apps button, providing links to network shared drives and also a link to their Home filespace (H: drive). Students will see a link to their Home filespace (H: drive) 
  • Click on the Home filespace button. A new window will open, displaying your Home filespace and file structure 
  • Click on a folder in the pane on the left of the window to view its contents. It is recommended that you copy any files from your H: drive, to your computer before editing them.  
  • Select a file and click Download from the top menu bar. Depending on the browser, the file may automatically download to your Downloads folder or, a pop-up may appear with the option to save the file where you want, in which case navigate to the area on your local hard drive (in your computer) that you want to save your file to. 
  • Work on the document as normal.  
  • When you are done, save your changes, close the file and return to the VPN to upload the document there. You can do this by dragging and dropping the file from your computer’s local drive onto VPN’s DROP FILES HERE area or by selecting Upload from the top menu bar. 

Remember to log out of the Home filespace and the VPN home page itself.  

Note: Before you begin, make sure you have an up-to-date antivirus software and that your Windows or Mac updates are current. 

For more information and help, contact the IT service desk by emailing servicedesk@abdn.ac.uk, phoning 01224 273636 or dropping in at The Sir Duncan Rice Library (Floor 1).  

Eleni Borompoka, eleni.boro@abdn.ac.uk

Ewan Grant, e.grant@abdn.ac.uk

Search our digital collections using Find Databases on Primo

Primo will tell you about the hundreds of thousands of digital resources available through the University and will link you to one of over 200 different online academic databases to let you read the material that you’re interested in.

Did you know, though, that if you go straight to the website of specific academic databases you can perform even more powerful searches, often looking across every word contained in every item within that collection? A simple search in Primo is the best place to start a piece of research but using the Find Databases option is the next step, improving the quality of any academic research that you do.

These databases often focus on specific subject areas, meaning that your searching becomes more focused and efficient, saving you time looking and giving you more time to read and write. See below for details of how to use the Find Databases feature in Primo to link straight to digital collections best suited to your area of study.

Use the Find Databases option at the top of Primo. Please remember to login with your username and password.
You can search for specific databases or you can filter by subject area. It is also possible to browse an alphabetical listing of all databases available.

Once you have identified an academic database that you wish to search simply click on its name to link out to it. You may be asked to log in again.

Please note that it is not possible to search across multiple databases at once using this Find Databases option. You must link out to each database that you are interested in and search them individually. This method will allow you to perform the most powerful searches available to you.

For further guidance on using Primo please see our short videos on its various features. For guidance on accessing online resources, particularly when off campus, please see our Library Guide on Accessing Electronic Information and the Toolkit’s section on Remote Access.

Ewan Grant, e.grant@abdn.ac.uk