Love to ride?

Cyclist and walkers on a seafront.

Love to Ride Portsmouth has just launched its ‘Winter Wheelers’ – a reward scheme for grown-ups, although I understand anyone aged 18 and over can take part! 😉

Register with the scheme and cycle for at least 10 minutes each day and you could win daily prizes every day during December as the scheme opens the digital windows of its advent calendar.

Prizes include a reportedly “amazing” winter cycling kit from Proviz and Loffi, and they are giving away an entire e-bike on Christmas Day!

Click here to register and get your bike ready to ride!

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Posted in Uncategorised

Staying well

Restful image of a fallen leaf lying on grass amid Autumn dew.

Maintaining a sustainable routine, making sure your physical and mental wellbeing do not suffer, and staying on top of everything you need to do at university and in life in general can be a struggle at times.

There are little things you can do to make life easier, and there are apps, tricks and time-honoured techniques that can make things go a little more smoothly and support services that you can turn to for when they aren’t.

You can find a whole series of these tips, tricks, techniques and a wealth of advice here on the Library blog, including the #23 wellbeing things series I wrote to support students through the first lockdown last year.

Click on the #wellbeing tag to browse all these wellbeing posts.

Looking for a 10 minute chillout?

A concentric pile of smooth, round white stones resting on and reflected in still, dark water.

The lovely Steph from Sports & Recreation maintains a blog of quick audio meditations and a podcast series to help you relax and reset your concentration wherever you are.

Click this link to discover how you can learn to become Grounded in Stillness at will, wherever you are.

Need help now?

The University Wellbeing Service is here to help if you or your friends are in distress. So are Chaplaincy and your GP.

Out of hours, it is hard to beat the Samaritans for offering an understanding and non-judgmental listening service. You do not have to be feeling desperate or suicidal to call them, they are available 24/7 for anyone who just needs to talk.

Whatever happens, remember you are not alone and that more people than you would think really care about you, even if they are not always able to show it.

Posted in Thing of the Day Tagged with:

Resisting the siren call of predatory publishers and their journals

Penguin character looking in a hand mirror and adjusting a red rubber glover on its head prior to posing as a chicken while committing a crime spree.

Not all those that look like a chicken… (From “Wallace and Gromit: The Wrong Trousers” – reproduced for the purposes of commentary, criticism and review).

If it looks like an academic journal, reads like an academic journal, and claims to be an academic journal, you might be forgiven for thinking that it most probably was filled with quality information carefully researched and published only after rigorous scrutiny by other experts in the field.  Peer-reviewed journals do meet these criteria and are, for most subjects, the journals you should be citing.  Enter predatory journals: designed to mimic peer-reviewed academic journals, these journals flatter naive academics and offer to provide a fast track to publication, often for a minimal ‘open access’ publication fee.

Luring in unwary researchers as a venus fly-trap attracts insects it will feast upon, these journals accept absolutely anything, including articles that are dangerously misleading, cite literature that does not exist, and claim things like Covid-19 first spread to humans through the consumption of Pokémon (strange, perhaps cute, animé Japanimation creations that gained a cult television following and feature in numerous games but that definitely never existed to be eaten anywhere in the real world).  This particular article was submitted by an academic to prove that a particular journal was predatory in nature.  You can read their story here.

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Posted in About your Library, Services

New eBooks – October 2020

The following is a list of new ebooks received by the Library during October 2020 ordered by title. More complete details, as well as listings from previous months, are available on our website’s New Books page in the form of downloadable Excel spreadsheets.

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Posted in About your Library Tagged with: ,

New Books – October 2020

The following is a list of new books received in the Library during October 2020 ordered by classmark. More complete details, as well as listings from previous months, are available on our website’s New Books page in the form of downloadable Excel spreadsheets.

Read more ›

Posted in About your Library Tagged with:

Changes to visiting the Library

Making sure everyone is able to maintain social distancing while they study has meant that we have had to restrict the number of students who can use the Library at any one time.  In order to guarantee you a space to study that you can easily find when you visit the Library, we are about to introduce a simple study space booking scheme.  This study space booking scheme starts on Monday 2 November 2020 but you can already book study spaces in advance from Monday onwards.

When demand is low, you may be able to book two four-hour study slots in a day.  You need to make sure you turn up for your bookings.  If you do not scan in through the entry turnstiles during your booking slot, you will be sent a warning email.  Failing to scan in for a second shift will result in your being unable to book a study space in the Library for seven days.

 

Posted in About your Library

Brand new introductory bitesize video playlist

Getting started using Library resources?  We have a new series of bitesize videos introducing just about everything you might want help with in a brand new playlist on YouTube.

Take a look!

Posted in Services

Smile for the webcam

People gathered in a business meeting in front of a poster reading "Big Brother is watching you".

Artist’s impression of a tutorial group shortly before lockdown.

“Big Brother is watching you” beam into student bedrooms everywhere from the pages of Moodle as laptops are turned into Orwellian devices to watch students, beaming the reassuring words from the Ministry of Truth (or Minitru, to give it its proper name in Newspeak), to all those herded into ghettos, locked away, forgotten about, and left to suffer.  Young people, who in exchange for exorbitant student fees have been subject to forced labour (well, study) and their laptops turned into surveillance devices so that academics may invade the privacy of their bedrooms to watch, to judge, and to decide in secret congress how students should be punished according to unpublished standards in the absence of any governance or oversight in a scene taken directly out of George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984”.

At least, that is what you might imagine is happening if all you had to go on was the somewhat naive and reactionary article Wired just published.  All I can suggest is that they must be desperate to entertain their readers.  That or the author genuinely envisages terrified youths in halls of residence up and down the country huddled around the dying light from a mobile phone screen, waiting for the Thought Police to burst in and drag one of them away for a ‘chat’ with their personal tutor in Room 101. Read more ›

Posted in Thing of the Day

Black History Month and our Rare Books Collection

For Black History Month last year we found a real gem of a book in our Rare Books Collection by the artist Paul Peter Piech (1920-1996). Piech started out his artistic career working in advertising and found his style worked well in communicating a message.  Piech used bold colour, typesets and graphics to highlight social, political and racial injustices.  His work is at times deliberately provocative, demanding us to take notice and take action. His linocuts often include phrases and snippets of speeches from key figures in society as is seen in our pamphlet ‘Words and Wisdom of Martin Luther King’, which is a signed limited edition – number 243/300.

This year we have used the pamphlet again firstly as it is still so relevant and as I cannot lie, it’s actually very hard to find items in the Archives and Rare Books that offer a diverse and culturally different point of view.  This is something we are working on though.

Our Rare Books collection is constantly being added to and we are actively working to decolonize the entire library collection to reflect diversity. It is important for you as students to have a multitude of viewpoints and an understanding of historical contexts.

As part of the Rare Books Collection this pamphlet cannot be borrowed, but you can see it in the Display area on the first floor of the library

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorised

Celebrating Black success

Traditionally society has held up role models for success that have been almost exclusively white.  As part of Black History Month, I want to try to redress this balance and hold up some role models that have impressed me over my lifetime and who are still alive and active, rather than focusing on the many impressive black entrepreneurs, inventors, statesmen, thinkers, scientists and politicians of the past.

Zadie SmithZadie Smith – writer and lecturer

An extremely successful author who published her first book at the age of just 24, Zadie Smith writes books inspired by her experience of issues around race and society that have won many prizes as well as essays and short stories.  She also lectures at New York University.

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