Library helps students master use of electronic resources

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The Library at Xi’an Jiatong-Liverpool University organised an ‘E-Discovery Week’ to help students improve their skills in information retrieval.

“More than acquiring knowledge and mastering specific skills, university students need to learn how to study efficiently and effectively,” says Yao Liu, a Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University Library staff member who trains students in the use of databases.

Liu says that, unlike high school students, university students should focus on developing the ability to learn and solve problems independently, making use of the various resources available to aid their learning:

“In addition to the substantial book collections that are easily discoverable in the XJTLU Library, there are also a large number of electronic resources that students are less familiar with,” said Liu (pictured below, left).

Xin Ma, a Year Two student studying BSc Economics and Finance, attended the E-Discovery Week for the second time since joining the University.

“I came to learn how to retrieve information from databases and search for documents when I was in Year One, and my grades made a significant improvement afterwards,” said Ma. “I came back this year because I really feel you can’t know enough about this!” she said.

The training sessions during this year’s E-Discovery Week included sessions on information retrieval from the Library catalogue, and on the use of academic databases such as ScienceDirect.

As an internationally-renowned database, ScienceDirect has more than 12 million academic papers, 3,500 academic journals and 34,000 e-books covering a wide range of fields including physics, engineering, life sciences, health sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

“Using Google Scholar, Bing, and other search engines, you can generally only find titles and abstracts of some of the academic papers available in a given area,” explained Liu.

“Using our Library’s linked database, however, students have comprehensive access to all the relevant papers, and can download the papers in-full,” she said.

The E-Discovery Week included a Q&A session to resolve any problems students had related to information retrieval, choosing the databases relevant to their academic fields, and how to make use of the various functions on the Library webpages.

By Heyang Liu and Fangyuan Liu; photos by Yuanyuan Du, Haochen Wang, and Muge Li

Translated by Danni He; edited by Guojuan Wang and Danny Abbasi

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