Know more

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There’s something for everyone on the shelves of the Wodehouse Library’s Periodical Room.

During Friday break Nadzirul, a Year 12 boy, reviewed an article about the positive and negative effects of video games in the February 2014 issue of Psychology Review:

Recently, debates comes out hugely regarding how video games impact the social and healthy lifestyle of youngsters. Does video games bring solely negative impacts? Is there any positives that comes out from video games? This article answers all the doubts that adults have regarding whether or not video games only bring negative impacts to the society.

Break and lunch times are ideal opportunities for boys and, indeed, members of staff to catch up on articles like this and all curriculum areas are represented as well as leisure activities like soccer and yachting.

Back issues of many titles, including the Review series, are kept in the Reference Section of the Wodehouse Library whilst other titles are distributed to academic departments. Keeping up to date with what’s in the newspapers and in periodicals like The New Statesman, The Economist and The New Yorker is a great way to boost your learning. Additionally, along with our print subscriptions online access to extensive archives for many titles is included and you can see these via the e-resources menu on your MyDulwich homepage.


“Only those who had been through battle could really know…”

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Starting next week, Year 9 boys will be coming into the Wodehouse Library to work on their World War I history project.

We asked a couple of the pupil librarians to delve in to the new display of World War I books and find something interesting to share…

Nadzirul, a year 12 boy, found his eye drawn to J. M. Winter’s book World War I : the experience and suggested that the following encapsulates the title and the intention of the book:

“Only those who had been through battle could really know how human beings could be squashed like ants or rearranged like ‘ghastly dolls’, as the British writer Siegfried Sassoon put it. Many soldiers developed a defensive callousness after having seen dismembered corpses time and again. What ex-soldiers recalled in later years varied substantially. In R. H. Mottram’s Spanish Farm Trilogy (1924-27), it was not a legless man but a headless man who continued to haunt the central character. Others blotted such images out of their minds for ever.”

Winter, J. M. World War I : the experience, p.146. London: Angus Books Ltd; 2006

These words accompany a photograph, one of three on the same double page spread, that emphasize the horror of war.

For Ayman, a year 9 boy already working on the project, the Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness Guide book World War I stood out because of its usefulness for different parts of the project requirements. In particular the technology and the weaponry used, all illustrated and annotated. The book offers bite-sized chunks of information which many year 9 boys should find helpful throughout their work on this important history project.

You can find the new display in the Wodehouse Library, near the Issue Desk in the IT Area and, of course, you can check their availability for loan using LibCat.

Is a meteorite going to hit us?

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Pupil librarians help out in the Wodehouse Library every morning at break.

This has always been a popular activity for boys to get involved with and those who demonstrate their commitment by turning up week after week are awarded the distinctive Library tie.

A definite perk of becoming a pupil librarian is the chance to get to know more about the resources we have here, print and electronic. Recently the task for the Friday pupil librarians was to head off into the non-fiction section of the Library and find something that interested them.

A time-limited chance to let the book covers catch his eye proved the hook for Andre (Year 9) who discovered in Ungentle Shakespeare: scenes from his life, by Katherine Duncan-Jones, that Ben Jonson had re-used a Shakespeare phrase – chap-fall’n or chop-fallen – in his play Poetaster. Jonson of course lends his name to one of the Houses here at Dulwich College which was another reason for Andre’s choice.

From a completely different part of the collection, Nadzirul (Year 12), picked out Bill Bryson’s A Really Short History of Nearly Everything. Amongst the interesting things from this book Nadzirul highlighted:

  • How big is the universe?
  • How heavy is the earth?
  • Why are the oceans salty?
  • Is a meteorite going to hit us?

The answers to these questions and more await discovery! You can check the availability of all books via LibCat, the Library catalogue.

Study skills

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Several titles from the study skills section have been recommended.

The aim of the study skills books in the Wodehouse Library’s collection is to make learning easier. Learning doesn’t always come easily and certainly some subjects can prove more of struggle than others. Often it can seem like the pages of a textbook just won’t turn, the words won’t stick in your memory and you feel that you’re going around in circles.

That’s where the study skills section can help. There are books available which deal clearly with tricky areas like avoiding plagiarism, creating good bibliographies and handling in-text referencing within the context of your overall time management strategies to ensure you don’t fall behind. There are books which help with exam technique and writing long essays and others which offer note-taking and mind-mapping help to better organize your ideas and sources of information.

Nadzirul, a Year 12 boy, particularly recommended How to Mind Map, by Tony Buzan who is a very well-respected author in this field. In this short book, Buzan introduces the technique behind mind-maps and the various ways they can make daily life – not just school work – easier to manage. This book offers tips and advice in short chunks, so there are no long chapters to read and detailed examples of mind maps demonstrate how becoming more organized can be a creative process.

A swift keyword search on LibCat using the term study skills will return dozens of helpful results and if you need any further assistance just ask any member of Library staff who will be happy to help.

Michaelmas Top Ten

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Welcome back from us all here in the Wodehouse Library! We hope you all had a great Christmas holiday.

Our first Top Ten of the school year saw George Orwell’s 1984 sitting pretty at Number 1. Did the frenzy of borrowing ahead of the Christmas holiday change anything?

No, is the short answer but actually the second half of Michaelmas term did see quite a lot of changes in the titles appearing in the Top Ten most borrowed items:

  1. 1984, George Orwell
  2. The kite runner, Khaled Hosseini
  3. Brighton rock, Graham Greene
  4. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
  5. The road, Cormac McCarthy
  6. Heroes of Olympus book 4: house of hades, Rick Riordan
  7. In cold blood, Truman Capote
  8. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
  9. Life of Pi, Yann Martel
  10. Lord of the flies, William Golding

Hovering just outside the Top Ten was the first volume of Deathnote with the new manga collection proving to be one of the most popular genres the Library offers.

As classes visited the Wodehouse Library in the weeks running up to the Christmas break it was great to hear so many boys sharing recommendations for good reads with one another. We hope you all enjoyed your Christmas reading and have returned refreshed and ready to have a successful Lent term.

Literary Encyclopaedia – great discovery tool for writers and their works

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There are almost 7,000 articles written by experts in the field of world literature available from the Literary Encyclopaedia and, as with other of the e-resources at our disposal through DC, this is exactly the kind of research tool that anyone intending to move on to higher education should start using.

The works are drawn from 3 distinct databases all searchable through a single interface and for this example we chose to make Raymond Chandler our search subject in ‘People’.

Using the advanced search option, rather than the simple search box on the homepage, the LE predicted that our search term was Raymond Chandler before we completed typing it in so we began our work confident that we were going to find something.

To begin with we were a little unsure what to enter in the ‘activity’ box but since Chandler was a writer we took a chance and tried that and LE again comes up with a helpful way of helping us distinguish the writer in whom we are interested from others who might have similar or the same names by offering us a choice of genres. We selected story writer from the possibilities.

The other search boxes we left in their default states except for ‘Article ranks’ which we changed to All. Then we hit search…

And, surprisingly for any search made with an online tool these days, we got just 1 result – a 2,276 word essay about Chandler with a raft of related information hyperlinked alongside. The essay was also available to download as a PDF, the citation was included at the foot of the page along with clickable links to other related content.

So from our very basic search we found ourselves with plenty of good information about Raymond Chandler the man and his works. We found this resource easy to get to grips with and we’d definitely use this again.

Question: what don’t we love about The Day?

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Answer: We’re still looking for something we don’t love. It’s a fantastic e-resource and we think teachers and boys at Dulwich College should be using it more.

Here are just of the 5 things we love:

  • The Day is about current affairs – remember when we wrote about The Economist we said it’s usually recommended that anybody intending to study A-levels and beyond keeps up-to-date with what’s going on in the world? Well, The Day facilitates this with not just the news stories but also explanations of key themes, links to further reading and questions to prompt us to think more deeply about what we’ve read
  • We love that we can subscribe to a daily e-mail digest of the top news stories
  • No-one’s left out! The Day covers all subjects – even PE gets its own stories and within each subject area the Editor’s Picks reflect stories that are chosen by subscribers as well as ones deemed important enough to highlight more generally
  • Points of view are explored in the Opinion section and, like other articles, these are available as PDF downloads to save or print for further reflection when we’re not actually on the website. There’s also a blog where The Day’s editors and guests post for teachers
  • The Day offers a multi-media experience so we’re not just reading the news, we’re also hearing and seeing it.