Issues or difficulties when looking for material to support your research? If the answer is yes, come along to one of ouronline Q&A sessions starting this week. You will be able to ask us any questions you may have and we’ll do our best to answer them. All levels of student are welcome.
The sessions will be delivered via Collaborate. To find out more and to book a place, please visit: abdn.ac.uk/coursebooking and change the category to ‘Library Information Skills’.
Coming to the end of this year, we are sure many of you have plans for a relaxing break. These past twelve months may also have left you in a reflective and inquiring mood. Whether you want to escape into a fictional world; or continue exploring ideas from your studies, we hope that this blog post will give you some inspiration.
Philosophy deals with the largest, most complex questions and problems facing humanity. Movies, television and culture explore stories based on these questions and give an opportunity for scholars to debate and discuss what the stories mean. They can also give rise to creative and exciting new worlds. Here at the library, several e-books in our collections have explored various queries and theories with reference to some of our greatest literary works:
Lord of the Rings and Philosophy by Gregory Bassham and Eric Bronson: A fantastic primer on Tolkien’s famous trilogy, bringing together international academics to debate whether or not superhuman power can be used for good, or do humans always become addicted and corrupt?
How to Live Forever: Science Fiction and Philosophyby Stephen Clarke broadens the questions that science fiction can explore. Sections here discuss technology and its ability to influence and assist humanity; and the world of medicine and its attendant concerns with immortality.
A wealth of relevant fictional tales are available online from Aberdeen City Libraries using the ‘Borrow Box’ service. More information can be found here.Some examples of the items available include:
The Last Human by Lee Bacon: A story set in a dystopian world where humanity is (supposedly) extinct and Earth is run by machines. Everything seems perfect and in order without war, pollution, crime or poverty. What happens then, when a robot meets a 12-year old? Join XR-935 on this extremely unlikely friendship, and follow their poignant, funny adventure together as they work out what it really means to be human.
The Ghost Network: Activate by I.I Davidson: John, Slack, Akone and Salome are all passionate about computer coding, gaming and hacking; and are thrilled to be at ‘Wolf’s Den’, a specialist academy, with other technologically adept souls from around the world. Then they discover Project 31, a secret study run by the school’s leaders using the pupils themselves as guinea pigs, and two shocking facts: they are all legally dead, and John’s scientist father planted A.I inside him before mysteriously vanishing. In order to find answers and escape their enemies, the four of them must flee across the tundra.
Several of the themes here also work well in festive tales, where characters can build new lives and find new strengths. The following item is also available electronically from City Libraries:
The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher: A Victorian mystery where orphaned Seren has to work out what a mysterious package contains, with the help of the strange ‘Christmas Crow’, a supernatural being who will lead her to ‘Tom’. Who is he? Can Seren trust him? And why must she find him before the owner of the parcel finds her? A fascinating adventure story exploring themes of family and belonging.
Another philosophical book that you can findon Primo is inspired by Tolkien’s contemporary and friend C. S Lewis:
It could be paired with a number of modern day adventure stories that explore growing up, and the questions that come with facing difficult experiences and decisions. Examples of stories in this vein available from Aberdeen City libraries include:
The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman: Sally Lockhart must track down her father’s killer. She’s perfectly equipped to do it, having had an unconventional upbringing for a Victorian lady: being a brilliant accountant who can ride like a Cossack, shoot like a demon and speak fluent Hindustani. Following the trail of the titular jewel, the first in this series is a masterful adventure story that completely transports you to historic London, India and China.
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket: This series follows the Baudelaire children as they navigate the world of their eccentric extended family, outwitting and defeating their malevolent Uncle Olaf at every turn. Witty, absurd and extremely memorable. (Please note that the first of this series is available in audiobook format here, and you must be logged into the City Libraries online catalogue for this link to work. More information on how to join them can be found later in this post.)
The Storm Leopards by Holly Webb: A magical tale of family bonds and discovering new passions. When Isabelle and her family visit their local zoo, she comes across a beautiful snow leopard, and is entranced. Determined to help them, she soon finds out about conservation efforts in Mongolia centred on a mother leopard and her cubs.
Before you go, here are a further few suggestions for festive reading:
The Lost Casebooks of Sherlock Holmes by Donald Thomas: The game is afoot! Join Holmes and Watson for sixteen tales of intellectual derring-do that see them contend with ‘supernatural curses’, find lost treasures, assist Winston Churchill at Sydney Street and foil a German invasion.
Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle: If Thomas has whetted your appetite Aberdeen City Libraries have the original mysteries available in print and online, including audiobooks read by Stephen Fry.
Access to e-resources
To find out more about the City Libraries, their collections and services, please do visit their website here. Membership of Aberdeen City Libraries is available to people who work, live or study in Aberdeen City or Shire. If you are not already a member, you can join online now and start using the online services immediately. Sign up for free here.
To access our e-books remember to sign in to Primo; then in the ‘View Online’ section in Primo click on the name of the provider (e.g. Ebook Central) to link to the full-text of an e-book. If the e-book provider presents you with a Shibboleth authentication screen, enter your University username and password again.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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!
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 email@example.com 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:
Due 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 log in 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 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.
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.