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Showing posts from 2010

Paper, scissors, e-ink?

My second Christmas in the Graduate School Media Zoo has made me aware of the growing popularity of e-book readers, with the most popular request to Santa being for Amazon's new Kindle. I have been using the Library's Kindle 3 (and the 2nd generation Kindle that came before it) for some time and have formed a largely positive impression of its usefulness as a tool for scholarship.

The Kindle is a small device, but its capacity to store a large amount of text is liberating for someone used to carrying around a backbreaking quantity of books and papers. The Kindle 3's native support for PDF files makes reading journal articles easy, although the fixed format sometimes means that articles from some of the larger journals are best read with the device on its side (zooming means scrolling). The ability to highlight and annotate text is essential for the academic market, and the Kindle allows hightlights, notemaking, and even sharing of passages via twitter and facebook for thos…

Blogging for researchers

If you're at the "blogging for researchers" session today here are some of the links you will need:

The GSRR blog

Postgraduate student blogging communities at Leicester

PhD blogs

Blogs by academics at Leicester

…and elsewhere

Research guides in the GSRR

Short of inspiration? Need some time to get a bit of distance from your project and think about the process of research in general? The Graduate School Reading Room has a shelf of books that you can use to get some guidance on common problems related to research. Whatever your stage, from beginning your research to publishing books and articles from it, we've got books that can shed some light on the process! This is one of our new additions to the shelf, and there will be a few more over the coming weeks so watch this space.

New books by RSS

Find out about when the Library gets new books in your subject area with these new RSS feeds. For more information of how to set up and receive feeds look at the Graduate School Media Zoo website or attend our RSS workshop on Wednesday 17th Nov.

THESIS FORUM: Call for papers


The THESIS FORUM is an informal meeting in the Library for Postgraduate Research Students to share tips on the practice of researching and writing a PhD thesis. Whether you're in Arts or Sciences, a UK or International student, waiting for your APG upgrade or close to submission, you all have one aim in common: to survive the process of getting your PhD and emerge from it successful and unscathed!
The THESIS FORUM would like to hear short presentations of up to 15 minutes on your experiences of research so far. Here are some suggestions for topics, but we would like to hear presentations on anything that is important to the life of a postgraduate researcher:

• Getting started
• Supervisor issues
• The APG
• Studying away from home
• Staying motivated
• Finding sources
• Writing
• Balancing research with everyday life
• Finishing the thesis
• Getting published
• Coping with research setbacks

Whatever your journey has been, even if you’ve only just started, the FORUM would…

Social Media: Networking for Researchers

For eveyone attending the social networking workshop, welcome to the blog! When you've read this post I've got a few things for you to do!
1. Time managemnent is an important issue for postgraduates. Post a comment giving your top tip for using your research time effectively.
2. Find some other blogs in your research area.
3. ... if you have time you might want to set up your own blog!
Happy blogging!


Bored of PowerPoint?

I've recently discovered Prezi, a new zooming presentation editor, and so far I'm finding it to be an exciting alternative to PowerPoint. Prezi is a web based presentation application that displays your ideas on a huge canvas rather than individual slides. It's like making a mind map, but you can then zoom in and show your audience individual parts of the map while you're presenting. Your presentation objects can include text, images and videos. Have a look at my first prezi, which I presented to a bemused History Lab audience last Friday.

Welcome to Leicester!

For all new postgraduate researchers starting at Leicester: welcome to the Graduate School Reading Room! You can find us on the first floor of the David Wilson Library. The reading room is your own study space where you can: get some peace and quiet in the silent study zone; use the open access PCs; read and relax in the Quiet Zone; collaborate with your peers in the group study rooms; read guides on how to write your thesis; print and photocopy... and much more!

My name is Emma. I'm Research Forum Facilitator in the reading room and I'll be around from 2-5pm on weekdays to show you around and answer your questions. I look forward to meeting you and hearing about your research!


Have you ever thought of learning a language? Perhaps to help with research, or simply for pleasure? Languages @ Leicester provide weekly classes in everything from French to Japanese. A limited number of discounted places funded by the Graduate School are available for University of Leicester postgraduate researchers and contract research staff - but these fill up fast. Please ask Languages @ Leicester for further details and to check availability.

Postgraduate Poster Competition

Graduate Junction is running an academic poster competition for postgraduate researchers. Prizes include £50 and an iPod nano. Work will be reviewed by a panel of top judges, as well as seen by your peers. The competition website contains some great advice for designing academic posters as well as examples of last year's winners. The competition is open to reserchers from all disciplines and institutions. Closing date: 2 November 2010. Enter here. Good luck!

Just the highlights...

Ever wanted to share part of an article with a friend online without them having to read the whole article? Or to highlight the important bits and save them for later? Here's a website that conveniently lets you do just that!

The Awesome Highlighter allows you to highlight part of a website, then gives you a small direct link to your highlighted section.

Create alerts in Google Scholar

You've all heard of Google Scholar, but did you know you can now use it to create alerts for your searches?

Step 1: Search as usual for a keyword/author
Step 2: Click on the envelope symbol (in the bar at the top of your search results)
Step 3: Enter your email address (this will happen automatically if you're logged in to another Google service)

Then all you have to do is sit back and wait for new items matching your search criteria to be delivered to your email.

Top 10 digital apps for researchers

JISC has just revealed its list of the top 10 digital apps for researchers Among them are old friends such as Skype as well as online reference and reading list management systems, online communities for researchers in different fields, and the new Google Wave (merging email with collaborative working). The list includes helpful suggestions for using the technologies in research and networking, as well as proposing discipline-specific resources for both sciences and humanities.

Keeping it together

One of the main issues for the PhD researcher is having to look in so many places for the information you need on a daily basis. Well here's one way of keeping all your information together in one place.

Pageflakes is a 'social personalised homepage' where you can collate information from the internet. Have a look at the Graduate School Media Zoo's pageflakes page for examples of how this might be useful for your research. On our page we have rss feeds from sources such as:

- Bookmarks
- Blogs
- Database searches
- Calls for papers
- News from archives, research centres etc
- Journal contents pages

...all of these are available in your subject. You can also access your email and social networking accounts on a pageflakes page, as well as weather reports, calendars, PhD cartoons and other applications.

For other ways of keeping it all together see netvibes and igoogle.

For more information on how to use RSS feeds or feed readers make an appointment in the Graduate Sch…

Library jobs for students

Vacancies - Casual Staff
Extra “Quiet and library environment enforcement” patrollers wanted for May and June

The David Wilson Library is recruiting students of the University for “The Quiet and Library Environment Patrol”, so that we can provide additional patrolling during the summer examination period. The work involves patrolling all areas of the David Wilson Library building for an hour at a time to help maintain a quiet environment and to enforce the “no eating” regulation. The patrolling person will issue a “yellow card” to those users who are creating a noise, using a mobile phone outside a designated Phone Zone, or eating /drinking in the Library. They will make a record of the user’s name and Library card number, and pass these details to a designated member of Library staff. Patrollers must be prepared to work during the exam period and are required for the following weeks:

Tuesday 4 May to Friday 4 June

Duties are arranged on a rota basis to cover the following hours:

11.00am …

Networking and the blog

New research shows that networking is the most effective way to communicate innovative research, so why not consider the blog as a networking tool? Last Thursday a GSMZ workshop looked at the potential of blogs not only for tracking and publicising research but for keeping in touch with a community of bloggers and readers interested in the same thing, whether it be a specific research topic or the process of researching in itself. Have a look at some of these blogs by students and academics to see how the blog can communicate ideas whether it's used as a solitary pursuit or a team effort.

Postgraduate student blogging communities at Leicester

PhD blogs

Blogs by academics at Leicester

…and elsewhere

Could you?

Thinking about what to do next? Looking for some inspiration? icould is a collection of short films in which people from all walks of life tell the story of how they found their job. Many of these have done research degrees and you can search the resource by educational level or qualification as well as by job type to find them.

Social Media and Social Networking: the Media Zoo Workshop

The amazing Mobbs team delivered a useful session of the Graduate School Media Zoo workshop on Social Media and Social Networking in the research world on Thursday 4th Feb. Resources discussed with particular interest included netvibes - the personalised homepage site; delicious - for bookmarking webpages of interest; and RSS feeds - see the previous entry on this blog.

Attendees expressed interest in finding out more about specific technologies, so watch this space for details of new workshops on these topics coming up in the near future!

The next workshop, on Second Life: a virtual research environment will take place on Tues 23rd February at 4pm in the Graduate School Reading Room.

A new feed for RSS users

Workshops for postgraduate researchers, run by Student Development. Get your feed here!

Visualising words

A useful tool for turning text into a more visual format giving strongest emphasis to the most frequently used words. Enter text into a box on the wordle website and turn it into a tag cloud. I can see myself using this on articles!

Media Zoo workshops 2010

A new season for New History Lab

Learning Futures

The first day of the Learning Futures Festival Online has really convinced me of the benefit of online conferences. Not only can I attend sessions when I want, without having to spend a week away from work and family, but it's also possible to listen to missed sessions after they have finished, to submit questions in writing as well as orally, and to chat online with other participants about issues raised while the presentations are taking place. This is my first experience of an online conference, and I'm pleasantly surprised at how well it works! The platform for the conference, Elluminate, allows you to view slides and chat as well as hearing audio and watching a video of the presenter, as well as to interact with the speaker. My first impressions are that this is a very useful tool, especially for postgraduate conferences where students might have limited funds available for travel and accommodation. A great virtual conference experience without the inconvenience of atten…

New late opening hours...

Good news for night owls: the library is now open until 2am!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from the GSRR, where developments have been afoot over the Christmas holiday leading to the opening of a new Silent Study Zone. Initial feedback suggests that the new Zone is a success, making noise distraction in the GSRR a thing of the past. Come and let us know what you think of the new setup.

A good resolution for any research student would be one that makes the research process easier, so look out for workshops coming up this year. On Thurs 21st Jan we will be running a Media Zoo workshop on E-readers as a postgraduate research tool. This will run from 4-5pm in IT room 2 in the Library. Check the Media Zoo website for further information on courses coming up in the near future on social media, Second Life, blogging and podcasting.

The Graduate School Media Zoo is open for business as usual in the GSRR from 2pm this week. Come and visit to receive advice on how technology can make your research easier, to look at the E-readers or to create an avatar on Second Life...