The artful editor – all you need to know at this time of the year

Creative editingAround Easter time, it is final hand in for a lot of you, from essays to end-of-year reports or dissertations. Now you have done the hard work researching your topic and formulating your arguments, how do you make sure you get the best marks possible?

The final presentation of your work requires you to proof read to ensure it says what you mean. Did you know there is a difference between editing and proof reading? A lot of people mix up editing and proof reading. The latter is the very last stage of the editing process. Let’s shed some light on this.

To start with, you have most likely been given a set of instructions regarding how to present your assignment. These often include word limits (sometimes allowing for +/- 10% variation in length), a required standard of academic language, clear logical order, good standard of spelling, grammar, etc. A number of these points are not quite clear initially. You might have missed that vital session with your Faculty Librarian, Course Tutor induction or someone else. Perhaps it just did not feel all that important back then .

In order to finalise any text, you will have to edit it after you have produced one or more drafts. A definition by states the process includes: “arranging, revising, and preparing a written, audio, or video material for final production”. Only thing is, at uni you don’t have somebody else doing the work; you are your own editor. Read more ›

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23 things to enhance your wellbeing


Introducing the 23 things

23 things was originally a project by an American librarian back in 2006 to encourage others in the profession to put down their date stamps, push the horn rimmed spectacles up to the bridge of their nose and engage with the new-fangled social media of the day.  Since then, it has grown and blossomed into a way of encouraging anyone to pick up any of a suite of independent, quick introductory lessons on a topic they might find useful and come away having learned something useful.

Starting tomorrow, you will find 23 posts on how to stay feeling good and pointing you to apps, podcasts, websites, and more that can help you get the most from life and study with a minimum of stress.  These will appear over the next 23 working days, so there’s no need to check at weekends or on Bank Holidays.

Please comment and share any you find useful.  If you have any techniques you enjoy best yourself, please share these with everyone as well.

And remember – if you need wellbeing support, your GP and the University Wellbeing service are there to help you.

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Looking for an eco-friendly alternative to Google?

forestLooking for a different, more environmentally friendly alternative to Google?  Try Ecosia – the search engine that seeks to reforest the planet.

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University Easter Egg Hunt – Library clue

Easter eggs in nestsHere is the Library clue for the Easter Egg Hunt:

My third is riding the waves, and feels ill after “S”.

My second is dingy inflated by “h”.

My first is in “T” and is to “each” but not their own.

Hopefully these three riddles all float your boat.  

They describe the three words of a book title. Find this book on the shelves and you will find your next clue!

Good luck!

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Maths Cafe closed over Easter (8-26 April 2019)

Maths Café will be closed during the Easter holiday period (8-26 April).

Drop-ins will resume on the 29th April for the remaining two weeks of the teaching term (after which Maths Cafe have promised a further announcement).

During the Easter Vacation, maths/stats support is available:

  • through Maths Cafe online resources on Moodle;
  • from lecturer(s) and project supervisors;
  • from Support Tutors in some departments.
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New eBooks – March 2019

What follows is a list of new electronic books received by the Library during March 2019 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.

Read more ›

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New Books – March 2019

What follows is a list of new books received in the Library during March 2019 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 ›

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Of marbles lost and faculties retained… dispelling dementia myths

An older and younger man talkingMost people’s perceptions of dementia are excessively negative.  Many of the signs of dementia are misunderstood and made worse by a lack of reasonable adjustments by carers and others who understand the condition poorly.

What do you think of when you hear the term “dementia”?  A curse that strikes in old age to steal memories from all those who outlive their usefulness?  Angry, volatile and confused elderly people fighting their carers at shop entrances?  Perhaps something else entirely, but it is unlikely the term conjures up a happy or welcome picture.  The popular perception of dementia overshadows the often much happier reality.  Many people with dementia can and do go on to live well with only minor adjustments and a little understanding from those around them.

Click on the Read more link below and learn to dispel some of the myths surrounding dementia. Read more ›

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Taking good notes might sound boring to some but read on…

Mind map about conflict

Did you know there is a difference between taking notes and making notes?

Mind map about conflict

Notetaking means taking notes from original source (later you decide what to quote or paraphrase).

Notemaking, however, is your active engagement with what you have read/ heard and will help develop your original argument or point of view.

Burns et al. (2010) suggest a number of good options:

  • Linear notes (most likely just notes taken from speaker/ source text)
  • Cornell notes (active notes)
  • Mindmaps (active notes for creative people, good for idea showers),
  • Concept maps (offers a graphical representation of key concepts organised hierarchically – and with relationships between concepts or sub-concepts indicated by links and connections),
  • Pattern notes (the idea here is that students select and connect information for themselves, enabling them to synthesise a range of complex ideas).

My personal favourite, even though mindmapping has grown on me in recent years, is the Cornell method (originated at Cornell university in the USA). If you are not familiar with it – here is a brief overview.

Before your session

Divide your paper into 3 sections. Traditionally, this looks something like this (ignore the measurements):

Cornell notes

Again, my personal preference is to move the green section (my notes on info) to the right hand side. I am right-handed, so it makes sense to me not to scribble over my lecture / book notes. Also, why not add in the TOP LINE the date and topic of lecture or full reference of what you are reading.

Further information on how Cornell notes work is available from Cornell University themselves.

During the session

You are questioning the text:

  • I think this is an IMPORTANT point/ quote! I also know THIS example!
  • I need to check THAT fact! I need to FIND the definition for this word!
  • I need to ASK about this in the seminar! I have follow-up QUESTIONS!
  • I am ADDING thoughts/ feelings.

Did you notice, there is some critical thinking going on here?

By doing this, you are making yourself aware of what you are learning and how you gain your own voice.

After the session

You can, of course, annotate your notes afterwards. You will very likely be revisiting your lecture notes when you are searching for material for essays or in preparation for tests/ exams.

A note on the pragmatics of taking notes

Have you noticed that writing by hand seems to connect your pen with your brain? Too easily, people just cut and paste directly into a word document which can lead to unwilling plagiarism. Also, I’m sure, the information bypasses their brains! Writing things down will generally improve better recall.

Burns et al (2010, np) summarise as follows: ‘good note-making strategies involve not just passively summarising […], but actively absorbing, analysing, reflecting upon and using information. We argue that in this way, notemaking places the student at the centre of their learning, and thus can provide the potential for a transformative experience.’

Remember, notetaking is necessary, but notemaking is the next step and is an empowering practice for you. Try it next time!


Burns, T., Sinfield, S., Holley, D. and Hoskins, K. (2010) Very urgent, very difficult and quite possible: changing students’ attitudes to notemaking by encouraging user generated content. In: Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, Iss 2, online, available at

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IBBY Honour List 2018

I was very excited this morning as I opened the crate containing around 60 beautifully illustrated books for young people. This is the third consignment of books we have had the pleasure to host from IBBY, International Board on Books for Young People. Last year’s selection contained books about and for children with disabilities and some of those have since joined our permanent collections. This year we have the best illustrated books. At the moment you can see a selection of these in the glass display case near the book returns sorter in the atrium, but on Thursday we will open the cabinet and provide an opportunity for you to come along and browse. Books are from all over the world; from Argentina and Armenia to Japan and Republic of Korea; from Latvia and Lebanon to UK and USA. My favourite, at a quick glance, comes from France, Le Ruban [The Ribbon] by Adrien Parlange, its also interesting to see the books which read from right to left, such Fadi Fadel’s Nowayer.

Come along and take a closer look on Thursday 21st March in the Library atrium.

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