JSTOR for Christmas

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JSTOR is a massive digital library of scholarly works which is a must for anyone intending to study at higher levels.

There’s a lot to like about this resource, including:

  • coverage across many subject areas
  • straightforward access to bibliographic data
  • citation locator option
  • search box and browse options.

The first thing we did was set up an account to use JSTOR off site so we can have access for all this information whenever we need it.

Next we set about doing a search using the new Beta Search option which has some attractive features for refining results.

As we typed our search term, JSTOR offered a drop down list which meant we could select “Christmas traditions around the world” and hit search. The resulting 180,000+ hits we were subsequently quickly able to reduce by using the slider to narrow the time period from which the results were drawn. The slider’s graphical display shows us the time span we’re accessing and the number of results available.

We like the way JSTOR defaults to only content I can access because this means we don’t waste time going after information we can’t use immediately and it’s brilliant to be able to restrict our results to particular types – so if we need to look for primary evidence only, we can!

Our search on Christmas traditions around the world, modified by date range and content type leaves us with plenty of results to choose from, with abstracts or summaries revealed in a click. The bibliographic data for each result is clearly displayed and can be exported in a number of ways.

All in all, we think JSTOR is just the resource for anyone looking to impress teachers with their research choices and strategy and will offer that essential step up to a more sophisticated level of study.

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Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books

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Sean Carroll has been awarded the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books. You can read more here: http://goo.gl/wqMVxW 

Our copy of the winning book The Particle at the End of the Universe is currently on loan but you can reserve it by asking at the Issue Desk.

The Periodicals Room

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Next in our series of posts about the Wodehouse Library and the services we offer is this short piece written by Bede Porter:

The Reading Room has many magazines for anyone to walk in and read, including a full rack of daily newspapers. There is a range of categories to search through with sport, languages, sciences, politics and general interest. The Room is well subscribed with good reading such as Nat Geo, New Scientist and Private Eye. A great place to relax and spend time if you have a spare minute. It also has various DC magazines if you ever want to know what is upcoming. It has comfortable sofas and always feels relaxed.

From The Day’s blog – The trouble with economics

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Here’s something for you if you are interested in studying economics at university.

The Day is one of our e-resources available via your MyDulwich homepage. Loads of good stuff on all subjects, well worth a look, especially if you have a society debate coming up or are simply keen on current affairs.

Stan Lee Excelsior Award

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The shortlist for the 2014 Stan Lee Excelsior Award has been announced and published on the website.

The books are on order for us here in the Wodehouse Library and at Book Club last Friday there was a lot of interest from the boys in sharing views and opinions as well as joining in the fun of rating each of the shortlisted works.

You can find out more about each of the titles from the following links:

The Halloween Legion

Captain America: Castaway in Dimension Z

Sherlock Bones

Earth 2: The Gathering

indestructible Hulk: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Quantum and Woody: the World’s Worst Superhero Team

The Judas Coin

Aliens: Inhuman Condition

History Study Centre

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Time line feature – very nice!

The first thing we think you should try out on the History Study Centre is the Key Events Timeline feature. Very easy to use, just scroll back through time and use the colour-coded lines to locate key events in history. Clicking on the coloured line opens a short introductory paragraph about the event the line represents and more information is available via a hyperlink if we’re curious to know more.

With next year marking 100 years since the outbreak of World War I, we delved into the coverage the History Study Centre has, starting with images. We liked the fact that we could easily access the citation information for them, removing any problems we might have faced in trying to work out how we would handle presenting this kind of bibliographic data. We would have preferred to see thumbnails rather than a text list of available images but the short descriptions were helpful, as was the way the images were explained contextually once we clicked on them.

The next thing we liked was the opportunity to create a space within the resource to store information we wanted to refer back to without having to repeat our search. Creating this space was quick and easy plus we could organise our documents into separate folders, so we didn’t have to mix up topic areas.

The Information Sources tab provided clear explanation of the History Study Centre and we also found the Monthly Theme on the homepage helpful as an introduction to the chosen topic – this December it’s the History of Science – and finally we found it easy to navigate our way through a topic using the study units.

The Economist

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One of the first recommendations made to A-level students is to make use of the press to keep up-to-date with current affairs.

Here at DC we subscribe to a range of newspapers and periodicals in print and digital formats. All digital content can be accessed via your MyDulwich homepage e-resources menu.

The Economist offers a handy Google search box on its website which means that we can swiftly find articles from its archive without having to sift through back issues (although these are available in the Reference Section of the Wodehouse Library).

Since the search is facilitated by Google we have to think smartly about the search we make in order to achieve a manageable number of results. So, for example, if we type far right politics in the search box of The Economist’s website we get 40,000 results and our search refiner tools are only ‘relevance‘ and ‘date‘ which means we need to alter our search a little.

Adding speech marks to our search term (i.e.: “far right politics“) makes Google look for the exact phrase in The Economist’s archive and reduces our results to just 80, which is still a lot but short abstracts and article titles help us to choose which results might be helpful in our research and if we’re tracing how an event or issue has progressed over time we can re-order our results by date.

Once we’ve decided an article is useful to us we can e-mail the details of it or print it, either method allowing us to keep track of the bibliographic data we need to present if we use ideas or quotes from the piece.

The Economist’s online archive goes back to the late 1990s and the website offers users access to content that wouldn’t be found in the print edition so it’s worth considering using this e-resource as a supplement to your regular reading.