Welcome to university life: finding your feet

moving in student photoGrab a seat on one of our sofas or pull up a chair and let us get you up to speed with everything that is new but really not so scary about university life.  The move from A-level to university study involves learning a small raft of new skills, not least of which are:

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Free print to screen reader conversion and workspace integration apps

Macbook with headphones attachedOffice Lens allows you to photograph printed text and convert it into plain text in one step and integrates seamlessly with OneNote, a free app for Windows and mobile devices that can be used to collate and organise your notes, photos and images.  Once a photo of printed text is converted you can use other software to speed read it or listen to it being read aloud to you. 
OneNote allows you to bring together and organise your notes, images, and audio recordings all in one place and share selected content across different mobile devices and with friends.  It can also recognise the text in photographs of printed text and convert them to plain text online.  You can even photograph text and then convert your photograph into screen readable words and add them to OneNote with a single tap.
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From listless to lists: apps to help you take control

ChecklistLove lists?  Use them to manage your projects.  Add list items, reorder and reprioritise tasks, colour-code, tag, debate, add checklists and move them to other lists.  Group them on boards and link boards together, with entire boards full of sub-project lists.   The possibilities are endless.  If you hate mind mapping but seek an online way to order and update your life, these list management apps might be some of your new best friends:

Trello organises projects using digital post-its you can order, cluster, hold conversations about and stick images on.

Workflowy offers flexible, taggable, collapsible lists to help record, organise and prioritise your thoughts, notes and tasks.

Google Keep offers a simpler way of achieving many of the same things as Trello, including grouping of notes by tags, but unlike Trello, it does not support working with others and discussing or commenting on posts.

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New eBooks – October 2018

What follows is a list of new electronic books received by the Library during October 2018 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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New Books – October 2018

What follows is a list of new books received in the Library during October 2018 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.
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Listen to the printed word

Student wearing headphonesEver wished that you could have someone read printed books and journal articles to you?  Now you can!  Robobraille can convert text to speech in minutes.  Submit your text and it will email you the file in the format of your choice, including as an mp3 soundtrack.  Microsoft Word has a built in text to speech function and PDFs also often include text to speech functionality.  There are a variety of apps that work well and for different devices, while if you want to scan, collate and convert text to spoken words.  Some more of the best apps are introduced in “Listening to the printed word”.
Image: copyright 2011 cea + (reproduced with permission via Flickr)
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Gather your notes (and images, recordings…) while you may

Gathering of coloured wooden tokensGather everything together in one place, from photos to notes and web snippings.  OneNote and Office Lens both allow you to bring together and organise your notes, images, and audio recordings all in one place and share selected content across different mobile devices and with friends.  It can also recognise the text in photographs of printed text and convert them to plain text online.You can even photograph text and then convert your photograph into screen readable words and add them to OneNote with a single tap.
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Happy Hallowe’en. Now imagine life without checking your mobile phone!

Cartoon: Halloween pumpkin set against background of graveyard at night‘Tis Hallowe’en, that joyous ancient Pagan/Christian/commercial (take your pick, there seems to be little consensus on it’s origins) spooky festival when people traditionally give each other a friendly fright.  In the spirit of Hallowe’en, I would like to put forward the terrifying thought of going a whole day without checking your phone.

*listens appreciatively*

Ah, the horrified screams of the app-obsessed is music to my ears!

More seriously, phone addiction and phone distraction are serious challenges for any young person trying to concentrate on a task, and you cannot be fully absorbed in anything you are doing if you are continually distracted by what your mobile phone is doing to compete for your attention.  Since the dawn of text messaging, mobile phones provided plenty of distraction from anything people were doing.  Today, there are probably dozens of social media, game and other apps all competing for your love and time in your life.  Since people rely on their phones to keep their lives running (I know I do), ignoring the piteous cries from your phone can be difficult.

Apps for a distraction-free life

Happily, there is now an app for that.  Two, actually, which act pretty much as a carrot and a stick to keep you from playing with your phone.  Install both and enjoy twice the rewards for leaving your phone well alone!

Click Read more for details and download links. Read more ›

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Speed read your way to success

Ghost images of speeding carSpeed reading apps present help you to read text faster and more easily by presenting it just 1-6 words at a time (your choice), at a comfortably large size, centred on the page, and moving on at an adjustable rate from very slow to very fast.  They help everyone to read much faster and more easily by eliminating the need repeatedly to move the eyes back and forth along lines of text.  This presentation makes reading easier for many with dyslexia and is also useful for anyone with a limited field of vision

Two free versions are available:

  • the Chrome browser plug-in Spreed
  • the browser agnostic web based app Spreeder
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Stay safe and have a wonderful time at University

Valuables left unattended, including a tablet, glasses and a USB stickThere are a lot of things to think about when you get to University but wherever you are you should always keep safety and security in mind.  Look out for your friends and follow these simple precautions.  They will help keep you and your stuff safe.

  1. Take a friend.  Whether your are popping over to the gym early or coming back from the Library late (we are open 24/7), take a friend with you.  Not only is it safer it’s more sociable and can help you both plan, reflect, relax and unwind – a win-win situation!
  2. Keep your valuables with you at all times, including your expensive smartphone.  The Library is a fairly secure place but your valuables are still much safer in your pocket than left unattended.
  3. Lock your bike to a bicycle stand using a proper D-lock.  An unlocked bicycle is a tempting target for thieves wherever you park it and cheaper locks are easily broken.  There are bicycle stands for you to use at the front and back of the Library and a larger bicycle park near the main Library entrance in Ravelin Park.
  4. Register your valuables at immobilise.com and consider marking them with an invisible security marker.  This will make it much easier for the police to return them to you, should they ever be stolen and later recovered.
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