This is the presentation for SENRGY postgraduates (forestry, land conservation, countryside management, etc) on library resources and literature reviews.

Library Resources and Literature Reviews for SENRGY Students


The teaching term

This term I have been mostly teaching. As a result, everything else I was doing, such as experimenting with Web 2.0 tools and writing it up for a library scoping study, planning book displays, and various other things, have slightly fallen behind as I am so busy both preparing and teaching sessions.

I only started in this job in January, and was originally assistant to John Wright who was doing most of the teaching (I did a lot more one to one enquiries earlier in the year than group sessions, although I did talk to a few groups); but since John left this summer, and the autumn term began at University, it’s been incredibly busy!

Initially there were all the library induction presentions (very general, and we shared a presentation for that which I just had to adapt). The biggest challenge there was imparting information about the library to large groups of new students in Freshers Week (the first week of term) who were already completely overwhelmed by too much information, so we tended to keep these sessions pretty general.

Since Freshers Week, I have been out across the university presenting to a range of subjects and people. I went to a small island just off the Anglesey mainland to talk to Marine Biology postgraduates about resources for their subject; talked to 50 geography first years about information literacy and how to evaluate information quality (using two journal articles for comparison, one from a tabloid, one from a scholarly journal); and spoke to English first years about library resources. This week I’m talking to SENRGY postgraduates (mostly forestry and countryside management) about library resources and also literature reviews, lecturing 120 business undergraduates about Refworks (electronic referencing software) and speaking to a group of music undergraduates about their library resources. It takes a fair bit of preparation at the moment, as I have to get an overview of their subject, investigate their resources, write the sessions, and deliver them.

Oh, and in tandem with all this, I’ve also been running two hour hands on workshops (mostly for postgraduates) on Refworks, information searching skills, and e-resources at Bangor library; all of which also needed preparing and delivering; plus doing my usual one to one enquiries, enquiry desk sessions, responding to email enquiries, huge amounts of Refworks support, and all the other random things which come up.

It’s been a busy time! On the good side however, I now have lots of useful materials prepared, which just need sending to translation to be translated into Welsh (I speak and write Welsh fairly well but they have to be done properly) and then can be put up on the website. Even better, I have met lots of nice students, and hopefully helped them begin their year at college with some idea of where to hunt for information. I have also had the chance to get across some basic points such as: the library does not buy all journals in databases, and bibliographic databases like Web of Science and CSA are lists of abstracts and do NOT contain full text articles. It’s also great for me to get feedback from the students on their experiences using library resources, and find out what kind of support they need from the librarians.

It’s fascinating, having noticed via Twitter that several speakers at e-learning conferences this year were questioning the role of libraries and libraries, to notice that actually, contrary to some assumptions out there, librarians are more in demand than ever in this age of electronic information, and I’ve been in and out of this line of work for around 16 years now, so have a long term view on this. But that’s the subject of another long blog post or rant one of these days…why librarians are needed more than ever!

In the meantime, I’m starting to think that by the time the baby is born, it’s going to be an expert on library databases and search skills, as they can apparently hear things by this stage!

This is the handout for Friday afternoon’s working on information hunting.
I am putting handouts on my blog to try and cut down on printing costs.


This is the handout for Friday’s teaching session on e-databases for library staff.


At the library, we have a large range of electronic databases. They can all be accessed by university members when online at the university, or from home by logging to databases using your university user name and password. To find a database, go to the library e-database search page, type the name of a database you are looking for into the “Database Name” search box, and press submit.

This first list is some of the e-databases listed by type (e.g. bibiliographic databases, dictionaries, historical source materials, maps, newspapers, etc).


This second list is a separate list of most of the e-journal databases (excluding a few with only 1 or 2 journals in), with around 124 databases on the list. Each e-journal database is a colletion of journals from a different publisher (e.g. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, American Chemical Society); and some databases may contain only 1 or a few journals, whereas others contain 2000 journals. In most cases, the library only buys some of the journals in the database, so you will only be able to access articles in journals we buy, others will not open or will ask you for passwords. A few databases cover most subjects, and are therefore nearly always worth searching when you are hunting for articles for your research, and other contain journals for particular subjects (health, law, science, etc); so the list divides e-journal databases by subject.


This is the handout for tomorrow’s information hunting and Refworks session for postgraduates.

InfoHunting&Refworks (PDF)

To register on these sessions email Penny Dowdney: p.j.dowdney@bangor.ac.uk with 1) your name, 2) your email address, 3) your level (1st year, postgraduate, lecturer, etc), and 4) your subject area.

Please note that workshops book up quickly, but I will try and run extra workshops if demand is high!

Thu 12th Nov: Refworks for Beginners: BOOKING ESSENTIAL

Room 035, Deiniol Library, Bangor University

A two hour workshop for beginners, and people who have begun using Refworks but would like some more guidance.

Refworks is an internet based reference manager bought by the university library, which allows you to save your references to books, journals, articles and so forth online; access references from university and home; and use the references to print out reading lists or create bibliographies at the end of essays. Refworks can be used free of charge by university members for as long as they are at the university and afterwards. This workshop will show you how to register with Refworks, set up folders for references, save references to Refworks from different sources (books, electronic journals, etc), download the Write-N-Cite plug-in, access your references from Microsoft Word, and insert references into an essay and create a bibliography.

Thu 19th Nov: E-resources@Bangor: BOOKING ESSENTIAL

Room 035, Deiniol Library, Bangor University

A two hour workshop.

The Bangor University Libraries subscribe to a range of electronic resources, and this session will give you an overview of some of the things we get, and how to search them effectively. The workshop will look at online newspaper archives, electronic journal databases, which contain a range of full text journals; and at some of the bibliographic databases, which search a number of sources and list a range of useful articles (but do not contain full text articles).