Your hub for expert opinion and scientific facts on the coronavirus pandemic

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The Information Literacy Group have compiled a list of expert blogs and reliable sources of scientific evidence to suit all your needs.  Check it out here.

Posted in Thing of the Day Tagged with: ,

On this day in 1660

On this day in 1660, Charles II returned to London from exile in the Netherlands to claim the English throne on his 30th birthday after the Puritan Commonwealth instigated by Oliver Cromwell came to an end.

This marked the end of the first and only experiment with republicanism in England, which started after Charles I was tried by Parliament, found guilty of treason against the people of England for conspiring with foreign powers to invade England and take back his throne after being defeated by the parliamentarian army, and subsequently beheaded.  The law did not grant any powers to try the monarch, and so the trial was almost certainly unlawful.  Certainly, all those directly involved with the trial were subsequently executed.

Oliver Cromwell rose to power to fill the power vacuum threatening to destabilise the country after the King’s execution but resisted being crowned himself, preferring the less restricted powers of the new role of Lord Protector.  His extreme puritanical rule was unpopular but absolute during his lifetime and upon his death the country turned to the late King’s son who had fled into exile on the continent, later crowned Charles II of England, to take up the reigns of monarchy once more.

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Tools fit for a researcher

There are some amazing research tools available via AppsAnywhere.  They are all supported by Information Service (IS) rather than the Library but that doesn’t make them any less special.  Just be sure to click “OK” on the pop-up dialogue box when you first log in and wait for the header strip to turn green and tell you that your login has been authorised.  Everything should then be freely available to download, although some packages have to be subsequently licensed.

There are lots of apps for computing and engineering but these are rather specialised, so I’m just going to invite you to browse the list of available apps if you are interested in these.

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Go straight to the CORE of open access research

Not all research is paid for by subscription.  For open access research, the author or research funding organisation pays an additional fee at the time of publication to allow the research to be made freely available to everyone in perpetuity.

While journals that we have to pay to access come with their own search platforms, the longest-standing difficulty for open access research has been making it easily discoverable. Read more ›

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APA (6th ed.) referencing bite-sized: gather your reference links as you go!

Your reference list is a single alphabetical list of all the sources you have cited.  Everything you have cited should be included in your reference list and everything in your reference list should have been cited at least once in the text.  Here are some tips for making the experience of building a reference list that much easier and less stressful.


Build a skeleton reference list as you go

If you use an online resource of any description, especially a website, be sure to copy the URL before you leave and save it to a working reference list in a Google Doc or somewhere similar together with enough information to identify it.  This will save you a lot of time and frustration later when you come to write up your reference list.

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DOI codes and permalinks: a tale of two standards

Back in the day, there were different folks trying to solve the same problem: how to make things you find online easily and reliably retrievable despite the people hosting those things regularly giving web pages and other content descriptive names based on where they were within their websites and then wanting to reorganise said websites and change the links to those pages every once in a while.

Two different solutions were proposed and became popular independently: the digital object identifier scheme and permalinks.


The word permalink is a contraction of “permanent link”.  Permalinks are web addresses that identify a document or webpage that is expected to work for as long as the thing it links to remains available on the web.

Often eresource records will clearly label the permalink for a journal article.  In general, permalinks are short and end with a long number or other code that serves as a unique ID for the webpage or document.  For example, the permalink for this blog post is

Digital object identifiers (DOIs)

The Digital Object Identifier (doi) scheme invited people publishing documents to the web to obtain a doi code (these typically begin 10.1…).  These could be copied and pasted into the online doi resolver to find the original article.  Later, people started making doi codes into permalinks that could be clicked on to visit the thing they represented.  Any doi code can be made into a working permalink by adding to the start of the doi code (with no spaces).

These days, doi codes can be turned into just one type of permalink.

DOIs, permalinks and APA (6th ed.) referencing

For some reason (not a logical one, as far as I can tell), APA 6th ed. insists that we should all give the doi link wherever a doi is available in references (in the reference list).  Otherwise, we are allowed to use another form of permalink.

Hopefully, this clears up some confusion about these relics from the earlier days of the web.  If you have any questions, please chat to us online and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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APA (6th ed.) referencing bite-sized: which date?

calendarBooks and ebook publishers, in particular, seem to enjoy listing long lists of dates on the back of the title page in order to confuse anyone trying to reference the (e)book.  This blog post explains how to pick the right date for referencing (using any referencing system, not just APA).

Dates to use

The date you want is the one marked as “publication date” or “this edition published on” date on the back of the title page.  On some first edition books, the publication date is listed as “first published in year“.

If no publication date is given, use the most recent copyright date listed.

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APA (6th ed.) referencing bite-sized: unhelpful numbers of authors

Lego audienceAs we all know, the correct number of authors for any work is one.  This makes it really simple to cite and reference, saving us time and therefore is objectively the best number.  Authors are however gregarious folk who often like to write articles, books and other works collaboratively with no thought for how much this will complicate your attempts at referencing.  For other sources, no author can be identified.  This is where life gets fun.

This post explains what to do when faced with an unhelpful number of authors in APA (6th ed.) referencing.

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APA (6th ed.) referencing bite-sized: unfamiliar author names

The word "strange" etched onto rockMost author names are capitalised.  However, some names begin with lowercase prefixes like de, d’, van or von, and many social media usernames begin with a lowercase letter or are entirely in lowercase. In such cases, include the name in both the citation and the reference list in the same way the author has presented it in their work, unless the name begins a sentence.

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APA (6th ed.) referencing bite-sized: reference lists made simple

Post-it notes stuck all over a laptop screenAssuming you have been sensibly listing links for all the articles, ebooks and other online information sources you have used as you went, and have grouped everything as best you can by resource type (books, ebooks, journal articles, etc.), you will be well set up to build your reference list.  Here’s a quick guide to painlessly turning your skeleton reference list into a fully formatted one in three easy steps.

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