Monday, 17 May 2010

Got a question?

The librarians at Subject Enquiries have so far this year answered nearly 1,000 questions.

If you've got an information question -

  • You need to find good quality references for your essays,

  • You are not sure how to use one of the LRC's resources (eg iLink, CINAHL, Emerald, Reference Manager etc),

  • You need help with referencing,

  • Or you need help accessing an online journal or book,
- then the librarian at the Subject Enquiries point of the LRC Service Desk can help.

UCISA Award for Excellence

For the second year running, we have been awarded Highly Commended in the UCISA Award for Excellence for our smartcard project. For a university of our size, being Highly Commended twice in a row is a major achievement.

Sponsored by Eduserv, the 2009 award was won by Canterbury Christ Church University.

Searching for journal articles...?

The 'subject resources' pages on the LRC website are a good starting point for journal article searches. These pages pool together useful and key databases for different subjects.

Start by selecting the subject page that suits the subject you are researching or the course that you are studying on. The databases listed can be searched by keyword or phrase, and are powerful research tools providing references to journal articles based on the search criteria you provide. Use the database descriptions to choose the best database for your search.

If you need help with choosing the best database for your search, or with searching these resources ask at the Subject Enquiries point at the LRC Service Desk. Alternatively sign up for an an LRC workshop.

Systems integration for improved efficiency

IS are currently working on a number of projects aimed at improving efficiency throughout QMU.

The Accommodation eBusiness project will implement a new online application and contract generation facility for the student accommodation. This will streamline the application process for students, as well as provide savings in staff time, printing and postage costs. Find out more here.

A number of enhancements are also planned for the ISIS student records system:

IPP - Following the successful launch last year of an online application process for taught postgraduate courses, it is hoped to replicate this for online direct entrant undergraduate applications. It is is planned that the new facility will go live later this spring. This will be followed by a staged implementation of online enquiries, enabling QMU to better manage and monitor all contat with prospective students, thus offering an improved experience for all concerned.

Online Module Selection for Postgraduate Students - Online Module Selection is being developed to link ISIS with Timetabling, thereby allowing students to select modules in advance of or as part of online matriculation.

Friday, 14 May 2010

QMU shortlisted for two awards

We have been shortlisted in two categories in the prestigious Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards 2010 which recognise outstanding achievements in higher education.

QMU has been selected as finalists in the Outstanding ICT Team category for its work in using technology to support staff, students and researchers within the university and as a major component of the new campus development.

QMU has also been shortlisted for an award in the ICT Initiative of the Year category for the QMU smartcard project. The smartcard is a multi-purpose card originally developed to provide security and access control, cashless purchasing and visual identification as the student matriculation and staff ID card. Following further development the card can now also be used for library borrowing, print, copy and scanning, parking, gym membership and cashless purchasing across the university, including the Students' Union.

Growth of the Scottish Higher Education Digital Library (SHEDL)

The LRC is pleased to report that, following successful negotiations by representatives of SHEDL, three new publishers have joined the Scottish Higher Education Digital Library this year. They are Oxford University Press, Edinburgh University Press and Berg Publishing, and between them they provide full text access back to 1996 - where available - for 288 titles.

Six publishers now provide material under SHEDL agreements with content from the American Chemical Society, Springer and Cambridge University Press being available since 2009. In total there are now 1,876 titles available through SHEDL.

The SHEDL consortium consists of all 19 HEIs in Scotland and has a business model that all institutions should get the same access and at costs not exceeding their existing spend with the publishers selected. If an institution doesn't have any subscriptions with a selected publisher then their access to content is free of charge; for example, QMU does not pay for access to the material from the American Chemical Society.

First year usage statistics show an increase of 41.3% for 2009 compared to 2008 across the consortium. For QMU our usage in 2009:

The titles are all listed on our A to Z of electronic journals page.

Did you also know ...?

....That the LRC staff have over 220 years of QMU service between them!

Our congratulations and thanks for all his hard work go to David Oliver, User Services Manager, who reached 25 years service on 1st April 2010.

Did you know ...?

.... That you can access:

  • more than 130 databases
  • 8,000 full text electronic journals
  • over 5,000 titles of additional full text material such as market research reports, company reports, profiles etc
  • and over 44,000 electronic books

Are you one of the 5,016?

So far this year the Liaison Services team have delivered over 480 hours to an audience of over 5,106 staff and students. Our sessions cover all of the electronic resources, journals and books, how to use traditional print resources, and software such as Reference Manager.

Keep an eye open for our workshop timetable on the LRC website or ask your tutor if you have a session scheduled with us. If not then you can always come and see us at the subject enquiries point at the LRC Service Desk.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Replacement of Reference Manager

The LRC currently provides the Reference Manager application to all staff and students to manage their bibliographic references and to integrate with Microsoft Word for the production of reference lists in documents.

As a result of perceived shortcomings in this product, a project has been undertaken to investigate other available applications to see whether any cost savings and enhanced features can be found. The initial phase of research has now completed and three possible alternatives have been highlighted for further investigation:

  • Mendeley

  • RefWorks

  • Zotero

Get more information on these alternatives here.


The YouthWire application is a student-based platform for enabling access to educational and social resources, the latest student news, offers and opportunities. Queen Margaret University is trialling the application this semester and if successful, will use it permanently. For this phase, the Learning Resource Centre and the Students' Union will be delivering up-to-date information on the services they offer and news and events.

Business Intelligence Enhancement Project

Business Intelligence (BI) is the gathering of cross-organisational data in order to acquire the understanding necessary to drive informed strategic and tactical business decision-making. It employs a range of information technologies that enable business users to store, retrieve and analyse data in an accessible way.

QMU's BI Enhancement Project is using the data from QMU's core corporate systems to generate comprehensive integrated management information which is then presented out via the Business Objects reporting tool. More information on this key strategic project can be viewed here. In additional to gathering requirements, report development and the provision of a central repository of corporate management information reports, we are undertaking a training exercise empowering key staff to undertake a significant proportion of routine report-writing themselves.

The project is steered by a cross-institutional BI Project Board, chaired by Rosalyn Marshall, VP (Resources and Development) with project work being managed by IS and undertaken by our BI Coordinator, Ranjit Nagubandi.

1000th deposit in eResearch

The repository team is delighted to announce that the 1000th deposit in eResearch was reached in January 2010. The open access article was co-authored by Rebecca Horn, a researcher from QMU's Institute for International Health and Development.

Horn, Rebecca and Charters, Simon and Vahidy, Saleem (2009) The victim-witness experience in the Special Court for Sierra Leone. International Review of Victimology, Vol. 15. pp. 277-298. ISSN 0269-7580

As Rebecca is currently working in Sri Lanka, Barbara McPake (Director of the Institute for International Health and Development) accepted a bottle of champagne on her behalf.

Did you know ...?

That Information Services offers a dedicated procurement service for all IT-related hardware, software and related items?

For advice and quotes contact: with your requirements.

Did you know ...?

That QMU is now part of the government-led Procurement Scotland group ( This lets us benefit from centrally negotiated contracts for the supply of IT hardware and other equipment which will make the items we need to buy much cheaper than before.

Voice Activated Directory

IS are in the process of testing the latest version of the Voice Activated Directory (VAD), and hope to be able to roll this out as a replacement to the existing service in the near future.

The major enhancement of this version is the ability to cancel a transfer if the VAD misinterprets your request - background noise, poor call quality and noise on the line can occasionally result in a transfer to the wrong place or person; this new feature enables you to say "Cancel" if this occurs, at which point you can either repeat the request or transfer to the Operator by dialling "0".

The VAD is an application developed by Nuance, who are a leading provider of speech and imaging solutions for business and consumers around the world - they also develop Dragon Naturally Speaking, a well known Speech Recognition application for PCs and mobile devices.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Terminal shutdowns power substantial savings

QMU has been able to achieve significant savings in energy usage by programming thin client terminals to shutdown automatically at night.

Each terminal uses approximately 15 watts of power every hour that it is powered on. Assuming that it is turned off for around 13 hours overnight, this works out to a saving of 71.175 kilowatt hours each year for each terminal.

For every 100 terminals that are powered off in this way, QMU will be able to reduce annual CO2 emissions by over 2,784kg. This equates to around 1,033kg of carbon or the equivalent of 10,000 miles in the typical family car. (

The associated financial savings will vary, depending on the cost of electricity at the time of billing.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

LRC goes 24/7/365

As from 19 April 2010 the LRC will be open 24/7. This will be welcome news for those with looming assignment deadlines or who want some extra study time.

During semester time the LRC will still be staffed from 9am to 9pm Monday to Friday and from 9am to 5pm at the weekend. Outwith these times however you will be able to carry on using the LRC for study and self-service.

For your safety there will be a few restrictions on where you can go during unstaffed hours. You will have full access to the open area and the 80+ terminals in front of the LRC Service Desk. The Academic Reserve room (1-162) will also be open so that you can access the Short Loan collection and the 17 Quiet Study spaces. None of the other rooms will be accessible. And whilst you may visit the east end of the LRC to collect books from the shelves, you must bring them back to the LRC Service Desk area to read them.

Access to the LRC is by smartcard. If you do not have your smartcard you will not be able to access the facilities (as required by Fire Regulations).

Any items that require to be issued by staff will not be able to be borrowed during unstaffed hours - eg DVDs, items on hold or inter-library loans. However, we are in the process of implementing a new Library Management System which should enable us to extend the services available during unstaffed hours. Vending machines will also be appearing soon in the LRC to give you access to cold drinks and snacks.

Please let us know what you think of this innovation. You can send and email to or complete a "You said, we said" comments slip (available form the Suggestions Box on top of the Service Desk).