Author Archives: James Bisset

Access to content via Durham University Library trial subscriptions

Durham University Library spends between £3 and £5 million each year on providing you with access to online subscription content. Whilst much of this is journal literature as found in databases such as ScienceDirect, JSTOR, Wiley OnlineLibrary etc. many more covers special digitised collections of materials.

We always try to respond to the teaching and research needs of the University and ensure our collections match these as closely as our budget will allow (and provide alternative solutions where it doesn’t, such as the Document Delivery Service) and part of this involves negotiating and organising trial access to new, or updated packages of content across all disciplines.

You can find resources we are currently running a trial to on our Trial e-resources page (use your CIS username and password to access).

Currently these include access to the Punch Historical Archive, 1841-1992, alongside two collections of seminal works and archival materials related to key worldwide religious thinkers from the 20th and 21st centuries, focusing on Christianity and Islam,

Punch Archive

Punch Archive

We also have access to the digitised Foreign Office files focussing on the Middle East, from 1971 to 1974, and access to a brand new academic video streaming service: FILM PLATFORM. This streaming catalogue is providing our library with access to critically acclaimed international documentary films, covering a wide variety of diverse subject areas.

Film Platform

Film Platform

Don’t forget to complete a feedback form if you think a resource is worth us taking forward negotiations on price to add to our collections!

How to publish in a Nature Publishing Group Journal

Nature are running a new series of webinars for researchers, and the first one is about “How to publish in a Nature Publishing Group journal”.

Registration is free! Details below:

How to publish in a Nature Publishing Group journal – FREE Webinar

Join us for a webinar on Nov 10, 2015 at 10:00 AM GMT.

Register now!

Nature Publishing Group would like to invite you to a very special webinar, hosted by Nature Plants Chief Editor Chris Surridge. This is a webinar open for students and researchers who would like to know more about how to get published in a prestigious and high-quality journal.


    • How to get published in a Nature Publishing Group journal
    • Article selection and working with authors
    • Aims and scope of Nature Plants
    • Opportunity to ask questions to the Chief Editor of Nature Plants

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

View System Requirements

8th International Open Access Week

This week is the 8th International Open Access week, and we have workshops and drop-in sessions running all week covering open access, funder policies, OA funding, Durham Research Online and ORCiD.

Slides from our introductory session from Monday (and this morning at Queen’s) can be seen below, and you can follow us on twitter @DROdurham, or any of the many other academics, publishers, funders and librarians tweeting or sharing information and articles this week by following the hashtags #oaweek2015, #oa or #openaccess.

If you have any burning questions, why not drop us an email at (fro the institutional repository team) or (for queries about funding options and gold OA).



Reference Management Software for PGRs

Following on from the post on academic networks for PGRs, as part of this year’s PGR Induction, we held a short informal session (over tea, coffee and muffins) for part-time and distance PGRs. There were a couple of topics that came up as some students being interested in where they could get further information. One of these was reference management software… tools to help your inquisitive, but weary mind deal with the more mundane and tedious task of collecting and writing reference lists and bibliographies in whichever referencing style you are using.

A few suggestions below which you could explore:-

What Reference Management Software can do for you?

Whilst there are many different applications out there, they all offer similar functionality. In general, they allow you to:

  • Save bibliographic information (title, author, publisher, date etc.) of those sources you find via Google Scholar or academic databases into your account.
  • Organise saved references into folders, or attach files or notes for future retrieval.
  • Integration with word or other word processing packages to allow you to import in-text references and footnotes, and generate reference lists and bibliographies at the touch of a button.
  • Automatically format references to meet thousands of different referencing styles (eg APA 6th, MLA)


Endnote & Endnote Web


Endnote has been deployed to all NPCS machines across Durham University (access it from the Start menu via Programs >Bibliographic Software > Endnote > Endnote Program )… but if you’re not based at Durham University you can:

  1. purchase a discounted student licence from Endnote distributors by providing details of your student status (cost c.£80)
  2. Use the simplified version, Endnote Web, available via our library subscription to Web of Science.
    (Note: You’ll need to log in with your CIS username and password, and then upon accessing Endnote We, register a personal account with Web of Science)

We run sessions at Durham throughout the year, and as part of the Durham Part-time PGR summer-school in June, but you can also access and download an introductory and advanced guide to Endnote form the Durham CIS guides page.

If you need help, you can contact the CIS helpdesk, and frequently asked questions are often addressed via the Endnote@Durham blog maintained by Dr David Heading.



Zotero is freely available and user-friendly. Durham University also support Zotero with access to the desktop version via all  NPCS machines on campus, but you can also download a free version for use on Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.

If you can’t attend face-to-face training during the year, there is comprehensive online documentation and support available from the Zotero site.



Mendeley is a free reference management software platform, and an academic social network, now owned by the international publishing organisation Elsevier.

Whilst no training or direct support is offered by Durham University, you can download a desktop version of Medneley for Windows, Mac or Linux, or download an app for iPhone or iPad from the iTunes App Store.

Other applications

All three of the above applications are used by Durham staff and students, so ask colleagues what they are using and how they find it (and if they aren’t using them, ask them why not!)

There are other free and subscription services out there, including RefworksRefMan and REFme, so search around and let us know if you use anything else you would like to recommend.

Academic Networks for PGRs

As part of this year’s PGR Induction, we held a short informal session (over tea, coffee and muffins) for part-time and distance PGRs. There were a couple of topics that came up as some students being interested in where they could get further information. One of these was online academic networks and opportunities to meet similarly weary, but hopefully enthusiastic and like-minded souls.

So, a few suggestions below which you could explore:-

Twitter #phdchat

Twitter is an easy way to procrastinate and waste time on frivolities… or a great way to keep-up-to-date, meet new people and share and discuss ideas… or all of the above, depending upon your view.


#PhDchat started as a regular ‘first Wednesday of the month’ gathering of phd students on twitter, at 7.30pm, to discuss concerns, issues, ideas or current topics, often around a pre-arranged theme. People would log in to twitter, tweet and include the hashtag ‘PhDchat so that everyone following it coudl see, irrespective of if they already knew each other or had ‘followed’ each other on twitter.

These pre-arranged ‘meets’ still happen (although may not be as regular), but the hashtag is used much more widely now to share information for or between PhDstudents… you can get a taste at even if you don’t have a twitter account. Tweets can range from comments (from formal to humorous), questions, promoting events, funding or collaboration opportunities, or commonly used tools and resources.

You may find some of the archived information from PhDchat wiki of use:

ResearchGate,, LinkedIN

All of the above are online professional networking sites where you can sign up (for free), create an account and use either to just promote yourself and your work, or to engage in discussions or ask questions on topics to others in the network.

Why do researchers use ResearchGate?

Why do researchers use ResearchGate?

ResearchGate and Academia are both specifically linked at the research community, whereas LinkedIN is a wider network aimed at all professionals (and with the primary aim of finding, or being offered, employment opportunities).

I am more familiar with the first 2 networks, but all are used by academics and students at Durham, and there is no reason (other than your own valuable time) not to have a profile on all. You can list your research interests, experience, publications etc. and also interact by joining ‘groups’ on each network (both professional and interest based) to connect with others with similar interests, and ask (or answer) questions.


Another academic network, started in 2011 as ‘ResearchMatch’ for Warwick University staff and students, it is aimed at academic researchers internationally who are looking for collaboration opportunities.

Global reach of Piirus

Global reach of Piirus

You can create a profile and make it visible indicating your interests and where or how you might want to collaborate, or hide it when you aren’t looking for any immediate collaboration options.


JISCmail is an email list management service. It hosts thousands of email lists you can subscribe to, such as email lists for particular professional or regional organisations, or just email lists for those interested in particular subject areas.

You’ll need to register a password first: from the link above, choose the ‘Register Password’ option from the Quick Links menu on the left of the page and fill in your email address and chosen password. A confirmation email should immediately be sent to you. Open that email and click on the link within it. If the confirmation fails to arrive promptly, let JISCmail know at as they can confirm it for you. A request will expire if not confirmed within 48 hours.

An example of some of the types of list you can find can be seen at:


There are lots of other ways to network with others out there (just attending conferences in person and meeting people is one obvious one where you can actually meet people face-to-face – check out Conference Alerts for one way to keep up to date with conferences in your field of study.

If you know of any and want recommend them, post a comment to this post and if we don’t lose it to the spam filters we’ll make it visible for others to see.


I’m intending to run a session in December (December 8th) with David from the Careers Service which will act as an introduction to LinkedIN, Piirus and ResearchGate. Slides and handouts will be available online shortly after this session under the Library Resources tab.

FameLab 2015 is here!

Passionate about science? Love telling people about your research?

FameLab needs you!

The International competition in science engagement is back for another great year of head to head communicating. Providing researchers in academia and industry the chance to engage a wide public audience, FameLab is a great way to get your research out there. Previous winners have gone on to travel the globe, and appear on radio and TV. The FameLab final can be found on YouTube at the foot of this post (note – the full video is nearly 2 hours long!)

Fame Lab 2015

Fame Lab 2015

Contestants have just three minutes to convey a science or engineering concept in an exciting and engaging way. If that sounds like your sort of challenge, FameLab wants to hear from you. The competition is open to anyone currently working science, technology, engineering or maths. More details can be found here.

UK competitors have the chance to win £1750 in prize money and a *weekend Master Class* with experts in media & communication skills, not to mention a chance to appear in the FameLab International Final at the Cheltenham Science Festival in June 2015.

The Newcastle heats and final are taking place at the Stand Comedy Club on the 24th February 2015. The heats will run during the day and the final in the evening. To sign up please fill out this registration form

There will be an optional training session at the Centre for life, on the 9th February from 5pm-7pm. If you wish to attend, contact Duncan at

Library Training Materials

The slides for all sessions delivered in Michaelmas term 2014 by (or in conjunction with) professional library staff, including sessions on finding information, critical reading, open access, copyright and historical collections, have now been added to the Library Resources pages.

Additional guidance and information can be found on the Library Researcher pages, or by contacting the Liaison Librarian for Research or your department.

Three-Minute Thesis competition

Can you summarise your thesis in just three minutes?

Are you up for the challenge to summarise your thesis in just three minutes and explain it to a non-specialist audience?

The Centre for Academic and Researcher Development is organising a three-minute thesis competition. Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland. The exercise challenges research higher degree (PhD and MPhil) students to present a compelling oration on their thesis topic and its significance in just three minutes.

Why do it?

3MT develops academic, presentation, and research communication skills and supports the development of research students’ capacity to effectively explain their research in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. Winners will be awarded research funds to pay for research and conference trips, books and other research expenses.


  • Faculty winner: £200
  • University winner: £400
  • University runner-up: £200
  • University audience favourite: £100

How will it work?

We will have three faculty heats in February and the final competition on 22nd April with our Chancellor as one of the judges. The winner of the final will take part in the national semi-final.

I had the pleasure of being present at this year’s national final competition at the VITAE conference in September. The winning presentation can be seen below:

You can see further examples on Vitae’s Conference web pages.

Who is eligible?

Current Durham University Postgraduate Research students. You are still eligible if you have submitted your thesis by the date of your faculty heat, as long as you have not had your viva.

How do I apply?

  1. Fill in the 3-minute Thesis Application Form, including a short written summary of your research and its significance.
  2. Email the form to or post / deliver it to:

Carolyn McAlhone, Centre for Academic and Researcher Development, Palatine Centre, Stockton Road, Durham, DH1 3LE.

Deadline for applications: 14th January 2015