Archive for ‘Resource of the Month’

October 19, 2009

Resource of the Month: RSS feeds

by Debbie

RSS stands for ‘Really Simple Syndication’. What this means is that it’s a handy way to keep track of what’s new with your favourite websites – without having to visit them every day. Essentially, you need an aggregator to read feeds, and then you need feeds to read!

To get an idea of what RSS feeds are, watch this short video from CommonCraft:

We’ve also produced a guide in the library with the information; you can download it from the Library guides section on Blackboard, or from below.

Quick guide to RSS

Two of the most popular aggregators, or feed readers, are Google Reader and Bloglines. You can sign up for an account with one of these for free.

Once you’ve got an account, you need to add some feed to it. Some useful environmental technology ones are:

The Environmental News Network has a variety of feeds, listed here.

The Guardian’s Environment section has a useful news feed, and also has some for specific areas, such as climate change.

The BBC offers several different news feeds. You can also set up a search feed through them, so for example you can be alerted to all news stories which mention ‘biofuels’. Instructions on how to do this are here.

If you like to keep track of Tables of Contents (ToCs) of journals, you can set up RSS feeds to alert you using a service like ticTOCs or Zetoc.

Similarly, you can often set up RSS feeds of searches in many databases, which can free up yet more space in your email inbox!


April 17, 2009

Resource of the Month: CrossRef

by Debbie

CrossRef is the official DOI® link registration agency for scholarly and professional publications. DOIs, or Digital Object Identifiers, are a way of linking permanently to articles online – CrossRef has a short Flash animation explaining them here, or for more information visit

Also useful on the CrossRef site is the Simple Text Query, which allows you to enter a bibliographic reference and then gives you the DOI associated with that article. If you do not have a complete reference, you can try the other tools on the free DOI lookup page.

March 26, 2009

Resource of the Month: Environmental Technology theses

by Debbie

The Library holds a collection of over 2000 Environmental Technology theses. You can find details of all of them on the Library Catalogue.

If you want to find a specific thesis, you can do an author/title search using the ‘Word or phrase’ search from the Quick Search screen. If you would like to see all of the theses we have, click on the ‘Complex Search’ button, and then fill it in as shown below. You can then browse the list of theses.


The theses are in two locations; on open access on Level 4 of the Central Library, for a rolling 5 years (currently 2003-2007), and in the Stores for older theses. To see these, you will need to complete a form at the Issue Desk in the Central Library. Store requests are collected at 11.00 and 16.00 Monday to Friday and are usually available within 1 hour.

Last year’s theses are available on Blackboard, in the Core Course area. When we receive the print versions in the Library, we’ll blog about it to let you know!

February 13, 2009

Resource of the Month: ticTOCs

by Debbie

ticTOCs is a Table of Contents service. It currently covers 436 publishers, giving it a coverage of over 12,000 journals.

You can select which journals you are interested in, and then set up alerts. Tables of Contents will then be sent by email, RSS, or to a variety of other places; for example a Netvibes page. This means that you can keep up with what’s being published in a place that’s convenient for you. To get started, check out their Help page.

When viewing ToCs on ticTOCs, you also have the option to add references for articles you are interested in to RefWorks, which could be a very useful feature.

ticTOCs has a blog for you to keep up with the latest developments. For a good introduction, read the post on ‘Six ways to use ticTOCs’.

December 12, 2008

Resource of the Month: ENVIROnetBASE

by Debbie

ENVIROnetBASE is a website which contains over 400 online textbooks. These are available as full text pdfs, and cover subject areas such as Ecological Economics, Environmental Engineering and many others. The file below lists all the titles currently available. To view one, copy the URL and paste it into your browser.

Titles in ENVIROnetBASE

Some of the titles are listed separately on the library catalogue, but not all are, so it’s well worth checking out the site and seeing whether there’s something useful for you. To search the site, follow the instructions here.

Access to ENVIROnetBASE is by IP recognition. If you are off campus, you can access it via the VPN.

November 25, 2008

Resource of the Month: Intute

by Debbie

Intute is an online database which makes it easy to find appropriate and relevant resources for your subject. All resources listed on Intute have been evaluated by subject specialists, so you know that they are high-quality, useful and reliable sources. Intute is aimed at the UK Higher and Further Education sectors, and is run by a consortium of British universities.

Intute is split into four broad subject areas: Science and Technology, Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences and Health and Life Sciences. Within these, you can select more specialised sections. For example, in the Science and Technology section, there is an Environment gateway, which gathers together resources concerned with environmental science. You can search the whole database, or a subsection of it, so you should be able to find some resources which are relevant to your research. Intute also publish support materials to help you get the most out of the internet.

There are several other useful sections. You can personalise the site using MyIntute, which allows you to save and tag records. This requires registration, but is free to use. (MyIntute is currently in development.) You can also keep up with the site by following the blog, or if you prefer you can follow one of the subject blogs. You can also view the latest resources which have been added to the site (again available as an RSS feed). Each of the four main subject areas have many other useful features – look under ‘Additional Services’ in the left hand menu.

We hope you enjoy using Intute! If you have any questions, or would like to suggest a resource that you find useful for future inclusion on the blog, please email me, or leave a comment here on the blog.

October 14, 2008

Resource of the Month: GreenFILE

by Debbie

GreenFILE is an online resource from Ebsco. It aims to cover all areas of human impact on the environment; there’s content from areas like agriculture, education, law, health and technology. The database contains over 350,000 records, with approximately 4,700 of those being full text. You can search in a variety of ways, including using Boolean search terms, or with a more interactive visual search. There is also a help section here.

In common with most databases, you can save searches to be alerted when new articles matching it are added – these can be received via email or on an RSS feed. Another useful feature is that you can share folders of results with other users. All these features do require you to be registered with the site, but registration is quick and painless.

If you’ve used this resource and have a useful tip, why not write a comment so others can share it?

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