This is a guest post by Paul Cannon, College Librarian for MVLS here at the UofG. Paul explains how College Librarians can support PGRs at all stages of their research and reminds us why we should make the most of the resources and support that College Librarians can offer.
In December, Andreea Tint wrote a useful post full of hints and tips about navigating the library and getting the most out of its services. From the perspective of a librarian, it is interesting to hear how our researchers are using the library, both as a physical space as well as its online offering. It did get me thinking though, amongst the many induction activities and information given to you as a researcher, just how much do you know about the support the library can offer you, besides a place to study and access to books and journals?
My name is Paul Cannon and I am one of a team of College Librarians whose job it is to support you throughout your research journey and development. College Librarians are the main link between the library and the Colleges, their research institutes and you as a researcher. Whatever questions you have about the library, throw them our way!
A good place to start for any support requirements is the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF). The RDF neatly sums up the research journey and areas that you may need to develop throughout your doctoral studies. In almost all domains of the RDF, the library can support you in one way or another.
It is likely that you will associate the library predominantly with the information seeking and management aspects of your research, and rightly so: our research collections, print and online, are some of the most prominent in the UK and Ireland. That does pose some problems for the time-pressed PGR. What are the most efficient and effective ways of finding the information you need in the main and branch libraries, let alone the online resources we can connect you to throughout the UK, Europe and internationally? Whether you are taking a grounded approach to your research or conducting a systematic review, we can help you find the research that matters, keep it updated, help you manage what you find and reference it correctly. In addition, if you have any suggestions of items we should hold in the library, we would love to hear them.
An increasingly important part of the research process is the management of your research data. A data management plan not only helps you to organise and manage your research, it also forms an important part of some funder requirements. The library’s Research Data Management team can guide you through the planning process and help you cite your data within any publications, using a DOI or similar method. It can also help you make your data openly accessible to other researchers post-publication.
As your research develops and you start thinking about publication, your College Librarian can help you explore the options available to you. Granted, you will most likely be publishing alongside your supervisors and other colleagues, but we can advise on your Open Access options – from funder requirements, to REF and how to deposit within Enlighten, the university research repository. If you do not have funding, we have partnerships with a number of publishers that will allow you to publish Open Access without having to pay article processing charges.
When you are starting to write your thesis ensure that you follow the formatting guidelines (and don’t forget to attend the IT Services course on using Word to prepare your thesis!).Once complete, we can add it to the university theses repository. Remember that when publishing or publically displaying your work you will need to seek permission for any third party copyright material you use. We can advise you on the general rules and regulations regarding copyright use.
Lastly, if you are teaching, please let us know if you are suggesting any reading material for your students so that we can add it to the reading list service.
We are just one of the many areas of support available to you throughout your studies and research career, so do get in touch with your College Librarian for advice on library matters regardless of where you are on that journey.