Why do you use Wikipedia?

January 31, 2008

Use of the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, continues to grow amongst students, whilst increasing numbers of lecturers ban its use within references or bibliographies.  We were just wondering why do you use it?  Is it simply because its entries rank towards the top in a Google search?  Or have you found the entries that you have used to be trustworthy?  If so, how could you tell?  Did you check them out?

Lecturers (and librarians) warn against its indiscriminate use because of concerns about the quality of the information as it is not peer reviewed before it is posted and there have therefore been instances of bias or simply incorrect information being posted.  However, it is recognised as being the largest online encyclopaedia in the world and alot of its information is, by the law of averages, OK.

However, there are better sources of information out there.  Did you know that the Library provides access to electronic dictionaries and encyclopaedias in Metalib? [Go to Category – Reference Books and the browse]. We have 82 encyclopaedias and many of them can be searched all at the same time, e.g. Sage eReference and Gale Virtual Reference.  Titles include Feminism in Literature, Encyclopedia of White-Collar Crime , Encyclopedia of Sociology, Encyclopedia of Management, Encyclopedia of Politics.  You will find authoritative definitions and explanations, related entries, plus extra reading, where appropriate.  Admittedly you will need to use your Athens username and password off-campus for most of the titles, or an individual password from our passwords page.  You rarely need a password on-campus though.

If you want more information than you can get in the encyclopaedias, then try to find some journal articles on your topic.  Again, you can use the databases in Metalib to find quality articles, but if you are looking on the web then Google Scholar is worth a go, as well. Just remember to evaluate the articles carefully to make sure that they are from a reputable source.  If you need advice on this, look at http://www.lboro.ac.uk/library/InfoTrail/Mod5/Intro/index.html.

Let us know what you think about our e-reference sources.  We are looking to expand what we have and so please let us know what you need. Why is Wikipedia so attractive?


National E-books Observatory Project

January 30, 2008


Eduserv Athens  

MyiLibrary currently provides free access to 26 course texts for business and management studies, engineering, media studies students as part of the National E-books Observatory Project Study.

The e-books will be available for two years until September 2009 and students can print, copy and download parts of the e-books as well as include excerpts in coursework, essays, presentations and dissertations.

To start using the e-books please visit http://www.myilibrary.com/myilibrary/athenslogin.asp and log in using your Athens username and password or access the ebooks via the Library catalogue.

Prize Survey logo

Take part in the JISC E-book User Survey 2008 and enter the prize draw to win £200 in Amazon vouchers.

This survey is part of the JISC funded National E-books Observatory Project and is open to all University members, whether students, academic staff or support staff.

Its aim is to provide JISC with initial user feedback on a range of e-book issues and findings will be used to inform new e-book models that meet the teaching and learning needs of staff and students in the UK.

The survey closes at midnight on Friday 15 February and the draw will take place over the weekend. It should take no longer than 10-12 minutes to complete (much less if you don’t already use e-books – but JISC would still love to hear from you).

N.B. You are under no obligation whatsoever to take part in this survey. Any information you give JISC will be held securely and they will under no circumstances reveal any findings other than at a highly aggregated level. JISC are collecting the data through a third-party, Survey Monkey, and you can check their privacy policy here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/Monkey_Privacy.aspx
If you have any problems or questions, please contact JISC at mailto:slais-surveys@ucl.ac.uk

Costa Book of the Year Award

January 29, 2008


It could be said that the Costa Book of the Year Award holds a special place among British literary contests. The Man Booker Prize is the most prestigious

 while  the Orange Broadband Prize has been the most controversial partly because it excludes male authors. The  Bad Sex Award gets the greatest publicity especially when  the winners of the Man Booker Prize and the Award overlap.

The Costa Book Award is uniquely different from any other literary prize because the shortlist consists of 5 books from each of five categories: first novel, novel, biography, poetry and children’s book. No other literary award pits different genres against each other.

Among the finalists this year were Simon Sebag Montefiore’s readable biography

Young Stalin” and Joan Sprackland’s “Tilt”, a collection of poems about dislocated states of mind and chaotic landscapes.

Catherine O’Flynn’s  much-praised debut novel  “What Was Lost” was the runner up for the novel prize and  also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Set in a shopping mall – probably the first time that a mall has provided the background  for fiction – it tells the story of a child detective whose disappearance brings the first part  of the novel to a close.Twenty years later, two of the workers in the mall  try to find out what became of her.

The Scottish novelist and stand-up comedian A.L.Kennedy won the 2007 Costa Book of the Year for her fifth novel “Day”. The central character of the novel is Alfred Day, an ex-World War 2 tail gunner who found fulfilment during his time with the RAF which he when he was captured and became a prisoner-of-war. Some years after this he signs up as an extra in a POW film in Germany hoping in the process to come to terms with his past.

All the books discussed above are either in stock or on order and can be reserved from the Library Catalogue  Biographical information about A.L. Kennedy is available from the Library’s comprehensive Literature database LION

 Tazza_di_caffe_architett_01.jpg is free for commercial and personal use

Library helps friends on Facebook

January 21, 2008

You can now search the Library catalogue, institutional repository and MetaLib (federated search) from within facebook. You can view the application and give it a test drive by visiting:


You can add the application to your account by clicking on the “Loughborough University Library” link at the bottom of the facebook page, then click on the blue “Add Application” button and finally click on the blue “Add Loughborough University Library” button.

US Elections 2008

January 18, 2008

 Throughout 2008, the media will be full of news about the US elections.  Firstly the selection of presedential candidates, and then the president him or herself.  The BBC has an excellent website for tracking the recent developments at US Elections 2008 but you could also check out what the American newspapers, such as the Washington Post or New York Times, are saying in Nexis UK.  Connect to Nexis from the Newspapers category in Metalib (you will need your Athens username and password) and then select ‘US News’ from the Sources drop down box to search across all  US news sources.  To select one source in particular, it is best to go to the ‘Sources’ tab and work through the numbered steps.

You can also find out about the road to the White House for George W Bush and past presidents through browsing the Politics section on Level 2.  Shelf numbers to browse include 324.73 or 329.0220973.

If you find any useful sources (electronic or print), please let us and others know by leaving a comment.

T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize : 2007 winner

January 15, 2008
red ribbon (small)Red ribbonThe winner of the 2007 T.S.Eliot prize for poetry is Sean O’Brien for his collection:  “The Drowned Book”.

See Nexis  for  newspaper articles on the prize. If you want to read some of Sean O’Brien’s poems, a short biographical article and works about him, please see Literature Online    Both resources are available via MetaLib.

[Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on DiscoverySchool.com]

24/7 is here

January 14, 2008

24/7 is back over the examination period due to popular demand.

If you feel a bit nervous and would like more guidance on revision and exam techniques then why not come to a workshop or look at the advice sheets on Revision & exam skills and Minimising stress. Counselling also offers advice in relation to issues such as anxiety.

Please avoid ‘reserving’ study spaces and PCs by leaving your belongings at desks, as we are worried about the safety of your things. When you are leaving your seat/ PC please take your possessions with you. Thank you.

Why not let us know what you think of 24/7 by leaving us a comment?