How to decode your reading list
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How to decode your reading list

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This session is designed to help you find the books and journal articles you need quickly and easily, using library catalogues and online academic resources. It explains the various scholary format ...

This session is designed to help you find the books and journal articles you need quickly and easily, using library catalogues and online academic resources. It explains the various scholary format and offers tips on active reading and notemaking.

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http://www.sel.cam.ac.uk 423
http://www-new.sel.cam.ac.uk 62
http://researchcentral.wordpress.com 11
http://stage.phenotype.net 9

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  • Faceted RLs (example) greatly assist with selection, and also help you settle on what aspects of the question you want to addressAvailability: many RLs list lots of books as alternatives, to maximise your chances of getting useful stuff* give out sample RLs *
  • Discuss strategies for identifying relevant and appropriate looking references to meet the task at hand. What are the key indicators of potential value to you?Are these different depending on your subject discipline? What strategies will you put in place if you can’t get to your first choice items?Key criterion: what you choose should inform or support your research question/essay title/viewpoint on the subject
  • Think about your current essay title or the focus of your work at the moment.What are your particular reading needs? (General info, or specific lines of argument?)What are the aspects you want to explore?Which titles are going to be the most appropriate/useful?
  • Run through ‘scholarly formats’ handout.
  • Here’s a straightforward one – a book title.
  • Another book title – or is it?
  • ‘Locating literary language’ is the title of a chapter within a book. There are two reasons why it’s important to notice this:So you don’t waste time by reading the whole thing;So you look up the right part of the citation on the library catalogue. You’ve got to search by the book title, not the chapter title.Rule of thumb: anything in ‘inverted commas’ is generally one part of a larger published work.
  • And a citation for a journal article. Just as for the book chapter, when you’re looking for journal articles in a library catalogue you need to search for the name of the journal – not the title or author of the article (we don’t catalogue those individually).
  • A good first port of call when you’re looking for something specific. Not comprehensive! – covers only what Cambridge has, or has access to; also, won’t give you 100% of all our electronic citation material. Good for getting at full text though, either online or directing you to a print holding.
  • It’s a balance between reading widely enough and wasting time on material that won’t help you – and sometimes you won’t know which category an item falls into until you’re actually reading it.Keep asking yourself: how does this contribute to my understanding/my argument/my essay or my research?
  • Label your printouts, notes pages and references with tags that capture what an item has to offer YOU.

How to decode your reading list How to decode your reading list Presentation Transcript

  • How to decode your reading listDr Emma CoonanResearch Skills Librarian, Cambridge University Library
  • Course overview1. What is a reading list anyway?2. What’s what in scholarly formats3. LibrarySearchPlus4. What next?: active reading and notemaking
  • 1. What is a reading list anyway?
  • Is it …• A list of everything you must read for your course or supervision?• Something you approach in order by starting at the beginning and working straight through?
  • • Collection of pointers to things that may be useful• You have to select where to start and what to read• Interaction between the question/title and your particular perspective• Availability is also an issue
  • Why are you reading? • To understand a concept? • To gather specific facts? • To identify the structure of an author’s argument? • To find alternative views so as to challenge an argument? http://sfl.emu.edu.tr/dept/alo/active4.htm
  • How will YOU choose what to read?
  • Prioritize your reading
  • 2. What’s what in scholarly formats (and what will they do for me?)
  • What’s what in scholarly formats Dixon, Thomas (2004) How to get a first. Routledge: London.
  • What’s what in scholarly formats Davidson, D., ‘Locating literary language,’ in Literary Theory after Davidson, ed. Reed Way Dasenbrock (University Park: Pennsylvania State UP, 1993)
  • What’s what in scholarly formats Tip: if you’re asked to read a chapter, don’t read the whole book! Davidson, D., ‘Locating literary language,’ in Literary Theory after Davidson, ed. Reed Way Dasenbrock (University Park: Pennsylvania State UP, 1993)
  • What’s what in scholarly formats Kieling, C. et al. Child and adolescent mental health worldwide: evidence for action. The Lancet, 378(9801): 1515-1525.
  • What’s what in scholarly formats Kieling, C. et al. Child and adolescent mental health worldwide: evidence for action. The Lancet, 378(9801): 1515-1525. Tip: journal article references tend to have a string of numbers at the end
  • 3. LibrarySearchPlus
  • http://searchplus.lib.cam.ac.uk
  • Your supervisor:“ There’s a great article comparing Ingres and Delacroix, by a guy called Shelton. I can’t remember which journal it’s from … ”
  • Find your material
  • 4. What next?Active reading and notemaking
  • Active reading Always ask: “what’s in it for me?” • What’s relevant/useful for my own argument? • What other work does this piece link in with? • Does it spark any lightbulb moments? • What might be a white rabbit?
  • Beware of white rabbits Ideas and arguments that lead away from your topic Maintain your critical distance Keep asking: how does this contribute to my understanding/my argument/ my essay/my research?
  • Active notemaking Image: Beth Kanter, flickr.com
  • Tagging• Subject-based keywords – e.g. “entropy”, “Derrida”• Logistical – e.g. “chapter2”• Evaluative – e.g. “low priority”• Pragmatic – e.g. “read”/”unread”
  • Futureproof your notesMake sure you can identify:• Which parts of your notes are quotations (including single significant words)• Which parts are paraphrases of the author’s points• Which parts of your own writing are a response to the argument or inspired by ideas in the textWill you be able to tell the difference in a month’s time?
  • Active notemaking http://tlc.uoregon.edu/publications/studyskills/Double%20Entry%20Notes.pdf
  • Questions?
  • Emma Coonan Research Skills Librarianresearch-skills@lib.cam.ac.uk http://training.cam.ac.uk/cul