Finding those elusive spatial datasets is now so easy!

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Spatial Data Finder is a new online tool that makes it easy for QUT researchers to find and access information about spatial research datasets.  Records published in Spatial Data Finder are also published in Research Data Australia (RDA), which is the national registry of research datasets.

QUT Library has partnered with the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) on their Major Open Data Collections (MODC) initiative. The QUT/ANDS project aims to identify research datasets with spatial or georeferencing information and provide descriptions of the data to the research community via QUT’s data registry, Spatial Data Finder, which is now live. This project aligns with the open data initiatives of QUT and the Queensland Government, a project partner.

The project team, consisting of Colin Eustace (Project Manager) and Jodie Vaughan (Research Data Librarian), has been working with researchers in the Institute for Future Environments (IFE) to identify and describe spatial and geospatial datasets created by QUT, as well as representatives from various Queensland Government departments, including the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.  In addition to the dataset being described and published (if appropriate), it will also be citable and discoverable by other researchers, both national and international.

Rainbow Families Storytime

September is Pride Month in Brisbane and an opportunity to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer culture and community at QUT. To help celebrate, QUT Library is hosting Rainbow Families Storytime, an event for QUT families, students and staff. Rainbow Families Storytime is a QUT Library and Rainbow Families Queensland presentation about the importance of inclusive practice.

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Join us for children’s stories about LGBTIQ families read by students from the School of Early Childhood. There will also be kid’s activities, morning tea and balloons!

To be part of the free festivities Register now!

Date: Friday 26 September 2014
Venue: Kelvin Grove Library       Curriculum collection
Time: 10:30am-12:30pm
Cost: No cost
RSVP: By Wednesday 24 September

Everyone is welcome! So feel free to invite your friends and family. We look forward to seeing you there!

So, learning to knit ISN’T going to help with my essay?

Procrastination-001 by  Ludie Cochrane (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Procrastination-001 by Ludie Cochrane (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Sorry procrastinators and those who thrive on the adrenaline rush of last-minute essay completion – the results are in and it’s not good news. A study out of the University of Warwick Business School has shown that students who hand in assignments at the last minute face a five per cent drop in marks when compared with those who submitted 24 hours or more before it was due.

The paper, Time of submission: An indicator of procrastination and a correlate of performance on undergraduate marketing assignments, which was presented at the European Marketing Academy conference investigated 504 first-year students’ and 273 third-year students’ end of term assignments

Work handed in ahead of schedule was far more likely to be awarded a distinction than work not handed in until much closer to the deadline. The average mark dropped by the hour until those handing in the paper at the last minute produced the worst results. Those that literally handed work in at the last minute could see as much as a five per cent drop on score, from 64.17 to 59.00 — taking them a whole grade lower.

Image provided by David Arnott and Scott Dacko, of Warwick Business School http://www.wbs.ac.uk/news/leaving-essays-to-the-last-minute-ruins-students-grades/

So what can you do about your procrastination habit?  How do you stop yourself from meandering into the depths of pointless activities, random hobbies (not that there isn’t value in knowing how to knit) and delaying the inevitable task ahead?

It’s all about time management.

  • The nifty QUT Library Assignment Calculator can keep you on track to complete an assignment with plenty of time to spare – including reminding you to take breaks and have some fun along the way!
  • For a more long-range view of how to manage your time across the semester, the QUT Library Semester & Weekly Planning guide can help you see at a glance what’s looming and help you juggle all your competing priorities.
  • For specific essay help, the Library Writing an Essay guide as well as our most popular resource, the Writing Structure Overview, specifically address the requirements of essay writing.

Also, check out our related QUT Library Blog post Writing great Assignments for more tips and save the knitting until semester break.

Why you’ve already forgotten how this sentence began

"Memory write/read failure" by  Marek Isalski (CC BY-SA 2.0)

“Memory write/read failure” by Marek Isalski
(CC BY-SA 2.0)

It is easy to under-appreciate how much you read on a screen each day – hey, look you’re doing it right now – and this ease and availability of content is one great benefit of the Internet. But, it seems  most technological advancements have a flip side and what researchers from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, have found definitely affects you as students or researchers!

As the average student is faced with weekly readings reaching double digits each week, it stands to reason that you’re attempting to read many of these on screen wherever possible. However, in their paper ‘Is Google making us stupid? The Impact of the Internet on Reading Behaviour’  authors Val Hooper and Channa Herath reveal that unfortunately, online reading appears to have negative effects on our cognition. Concentration, comprehension, recall and absorption rates all scored lower when reading online compared to paper-based reading. It appears that this offline/paper-based reading allows for ‘deep reading’ and the ability to annotate papers further assisted in information absorption and retention in both the short and long term.

All these benefits, of course, have to weighed up against the dollar cost of printing out every item you have to read and the environmental impact of doing so as well. But being aware from the outset that reading online may be putting you behind-the-eightball then you can employ some strategies to help get the most out of your readings on the screen and to counter this possible screen-nesia.  QUT Library’s Studywell has some strategies and resources for effective reading and notetaking.

There is an element of irony in this post being published in an online medium so do your best and try to remember what you’ve learned here today – may I suggest taking some notes by hand to assist in you in your retention?

Because proofreading!

The now notorious bus stop in Bristol. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA

Bup? Really? Anyone who saw this picture in the media last week would have been incredulous at how on earth these sign writers managed this spelling absurdity: ‘Bup Stop’. Read the full story here.

Still, it does prove how easily spelling and grammar mistakes can slip through unnoticed. Your spelling mistakes are unlikely to trend on Twitter of course but the consequences and damage to your marks can be high.

Whereas editing looks at the ‘bigger picture’ of your writing: structure,style and task requirements, proofreading drills down to the finer points: spelling, grammar, word choice and punctuation.

Here are some key tips for proofreading:

  • Read your assignment out loud one sentence at a time. Often mistakes are easier to hear than see.
  • A sentence should only have one point. If it’s longer than two or three lines perhaps it should be more than one sentence
  • Use a spell checker – but do not rely on it!
  • Learn to spell the words and jargon and that you will be using often.
  • Check your work by reading it backwards. You’ll concentrate on each word individually this way rather than seeing what’s expected.
  • Get a critical friend – no, not a ‘frenemy’ but someone who can read your work and spot mistakes and give constructive feedback.

You can read more on the Editing and Proofreading on QUT Library’s Studywell.

Putting our money where the ice bucket is…

'The Wizard of Oz (1939) The Wicked Witch is hit by water and starts to melt' by  Insomnia Cured Here  (CC BY-SA 2.0)

‘The Wizard of Oz (1939)
The Wicked Witch is hit by water and starts to melt’ by Insomnia Cured Here (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Last week the QUT Library team were challenged to the Ice Bucket Challenge by one of our wonderful students, Timothy Kariotis, who’s studying Dietetics and Exercise Science. Now, unlike the the Wicked Witch of the West (who’s arguably misunderstood rather than wicked, just sayin’)  we won’t melt if covered in water. But generally libraries and water don’t mix well. So what we’ve decided to do instead is take the opportunity to show our support for our QUT students, like Timothy, who nominated us. The QUT Library team have chosen to support the QUT Student Foodbank  and the QUT Learning Potential Fund , as well as ALS (called Motor Neurone Disease, MND, in Australia and other parts of the world), even though we may not have had water poured all over us. The QUT Library staff want to support our students to become the researchers of the future; to create innovative medical support for ALS sufferers;  to design the renewable ice bucket of the future; or to be the creative marketing manager who has the idea for the next worldwide viral marketing campaign for charities. And instead of challenging another team at a library or at QUT, we encourage/challenge each of you to donate to a worthwhile charity, project or cause. #QUTLibrary  #IceBucketChallenge

Literacy for all

"Tome Reader" by QQ Li (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Tome Reader by QQ Li (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The 8th of September is International Literacy Day. UNESCO proclaimed the 8th of September International Literacy Day in 1965, and it was first celebrated in 1966. International Literacy Day highlights the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and society at large.

This year’s theme is ‘Literacy and Sustainable Development’. Literacy is a key element in promoting sustainable development as it empowers people and communities to make the best choices in regards to economic growth, social development and the environment. Literacy is a human right and is a crucial foundation for sustainable, prosperous and peaceful societies.

Check out this video about UNESCO’s ‘Rewrite the future’ project, a two-year project focusing on literacy which aims to educate about 10,000 girls and women aged between 15 and 55 in seven different regions of Senegal.

Favourite Fictional Fathers

Father's Day Vintage Card -- Color by Beth Gallagher (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Father’s Day Vintage Card — Color by Beth Gallagher (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Celebrate Father’s Day with some of these fictional dads. Some are great, some perhaps not so much. Let us know your favourites in the comments!

  • King Lear – Lear definitely falls into the not so great category. Deciding he wants to retire from power Lear declares he will split his kingdom among his three daughters, awarding the largest share to the daughter who loves him the most. Let’s just say it doesn’t end well.
  • Bicycle Thieves – In postwar, poverty stricken Rome a man’s bicycle – his only mode of transport to work – is stolen. He sets out with his son to track down the thief.
  • Finding Nemo – Clownfish and (slightly overprotective) single dad Marlin embarks on an epic journey from the Great Barrier Reef to Sydney Harbour to rescue his son Nemo.
  • Paris, Texas – After wandering out into the desert, Travis Henderson attempts to revive his relationship with his brother and seven-year old son Hunter and track down his estranged wife.
  • Emma – Mr Woodhouse is a bit of a hypochondriac. He doesn’t approve of cake, going outside or marriage, on the grounds that they might be damaging to one’s health.  He’s very attached to his daughters Emma and Isabella, with the former pretty much taking on the role of his carer. Emma’s love for her father is her main redeeming feature.
  • Where’s My Cow? – If you’re a fan of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series you’ll be familiar with Sam Vimes, commander of the City Watch and notorious workaholic. Since becoming a father, Vimes has vowed to always be home in time to read his son, young Sam a bedtime story.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird – No list of fictional dads would be complete without mentioning the great Atticus Finch. For bonus points check out Gregory Peck’s iconic performance in the 1962 film adaptation.

 

 

Strategic analysis at your fingertips

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Image courtesy of Elsevier : http://www.elsevier.com/online-tools/research-intelligence/products-and-services/scival

SciVal is a web-based strategic analysis tool that is based on Scopus data. SciVal makes it easier to analyse research performance at an individual, group or institutional level. It has three modules that offer quick, easy access to the research performance of 4600 research institutions and over 200 countries worldwide.

  • Overview module: You can get a high-level overview of the research performance of QUT and other institutions based on publications, citations, authors, research areas and collaborations.
  • Benchmarking module: You can determine your strengths and weaknesses by comparing performance metrics of researchers or defined research groups against those of other individual researchers, teams or institutions.
  • Collaboration module: You can identify and analyse existing and potential collaboration opportunities across the world. You can identify suitable collaboration partners for specified research areas and see who other researchers and institutions are collaborating with.

Recently, SciVal introduced new functionalities in their continuing efforts to simplify use of the database.  A few of the more interesting and noteworthy additions include:

  • You can now share entities (like a ‘group of researchers’) with other SciVal users at QUT.
  • It is much easier to define groups of researchers.  Previously, you had to define each researcher and then create your group.  You can now define your researcher and add them to the group – all in one step.
  • You can now assign tags to researchers or other entities you create.

Find out more at http://libguides.library.qut.edu.au/databases/scival

Contact your Liaison Librarian for further assistance.

Ahhhhh new book smell

So, who doesn’t love that giddying aroma of a new book?

For those that like to dig beneath the romanticism to some bare bones facts here is what you’re actually smelling: varying amounts of Vinyl acetate ethylene; alkyl ketene dimer and hydrogen peroxide just to name a few of the chemicals behind that addictive perfume.

In total, books will actually give off several hundred volatile organic compounds!

'The aroma of new books' By Compound Interest (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

‘The aroma of new books’ By Compound Interest (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

For a constant supply of New Books – and their smell- sign up to our monthly feed of new titles and be the first to know what’s new!