Friday, 29 January 2016

Looking for clinical skills advice? Look no further than!

David Brown, Academic Liaison Librarian for Health Sciences, explores the new Library resource

Many students struggle to get to grips with the huge range of clinical procedures that they come across on placement., a new online resource from the Library, can help you with illustrated procedures and suggested reading for a range of topics, giving you an opportunity to reinforce your learning from practice.

What’s available? 

The procedures on cover a range of themes from Adult, Child and Primary Care with more areas (such as Midwifery) to be added over the coming months. You can browse for procedures based on theme, or search for a specific procedure.

What does each procedure include?

Each procedure includes an introduction highlighting the rationale and key points to be aware of, before showing an illustrated, step-by-step outline of the procedure with additional narrative. After the procedure you will find a list of references, alongside suggestions for further key reading and information on when the procedure was last updated.

Mike Parker, Lecturer in Acute and Critical Care Nursing, notes that the platform “allows students to save and print PDFs thus enabling them to develop a bespoke library of clinical skills”. Click on the PDF link at the top of the procedure to download. 

How do I get access?
David Brown, Health Sciences

Use the link on either the Health Sciences Subject Guide or the E-resources Guide for access. If you have any questions about using, please contact David Brown, the Academic Liaison Librarian for Health Sciences, via

The Library holds a range of other resources to support clinical skills training, including electronic access to the Royal Marsden Manual of Clinical Nursing Procedures. You will also find numerous books on clinical skills via YorSearch.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

New look for YorSearch

Julie Allinson discusses the upcoming changes to YorSearch and the reasons behind the redesign.

On Monday 8 February 2016 we’ll be applying a new design to YorSearch - the Library’s discovery interface for finding and accessing a wide range of our resources. This work forms part of a programme of work under our ‘Digital Discovery’ project. When we started the project, we initially ruled out a site redesign, wanting to identify the real problems rather than put a fresh coat of paint over old cracks.

We then spent some time gathering and analysing feedback, and working with users to identify solutions. Our approach is described by my colleague, Kirstyn, in an earlier post.

From this we identified a range of issues with the layout and design of the site which suggested some work on the site design was needed. Comments from users included:

  • “visual interface is just HORRIBLE”
  • “the number of results visible per page could be increased”
  • “Poor layout of search result box, clunky system.”
  • “I find navigation a bit taxing”

We also identified an American university who had developed a new skin for the same software that powers YorSearch and better still, they had made the code available for anyone to use.

The main things the redesign is intended to achieve are:

  • results displayed more cleanly, with better use of whitespace
  • reducing ‘clutter’ and removing unnecessary/duplicate information on pages
  • using appropriate graphical cues to help highlight specific features
  • using more of the screen width to make better use of larger screens, whilst at the same time . . .
  • improving the display and usability on mobiles and tablets
  • applying plain English and consistent use of terminology throughout the site

Although this new design doesn’t change any of the underlying functionality of YorSearch, we believe it does improve the user experience for the reasons listed above.
New YorSearch design - mobile view

The redesign hasn’t been done in isolation. We’ve worked with a group of users to test proposed changes and we’ve also been making improvements to the system as and when issues arrive. One example, that a search for “post-war” did not return results for “postwar”, highlighted an issue we had not been aware of and was quickly remedied.

However, issues do remain and there are areas of the site that are more difficult to fix. For example, the display of complex location information can still be confusing, particularly when several volumes are located across the Minster Library, King’s Manor and the Morrell. Unfortunately you can’t currently view this information in a single list - a frustration for those whose resources are often spread across the three sites. Overall, we hope that our users will agree that the new design is a great improvement and makes YorSearch easier to use and quicker to navigate.

This is not the end, though - our system supplier continues to improve the software with regular upgrades and we're working on aspects of the site that we can enhance. Lastly, I cannot stress enough the value of feedback from our users. If something doesn’t work the way you expect, or you are confused about how to find something, please tell us.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Library services for staff and students with disabilities

Jack Coppack outlines recent improvements to the services we offer to support Library users with disabilities.

When it comes to improving the accessibility of our services to staff and students with disabilities, we are aware that we can always be doing more. Already this year, we have upgraded a number of our services based on your feedback. Whilst we are constantly striving to meet expectations of accessibility, we wanted to share some of our successful (and ongoing) improvements.

Hearing Loops: All of our public contact points in the Library are now equipped with hearing loops. The system is able to wirelessly amplify conversations whilst reducing background noise for users with hearing aids.

Accessible Entry to Library: In addition to the disabled parking spaces available in the Library car park, we have also changed the process for entering via the accessible entrance at the rear of the Morrell. Now, staff and students who've registered their disability with us will be able to independently access the building using their University cards. All of our registered users with disabilities are also able to bypass the turnstile system in the main foyer and use the central accessible gate. This access point scans the chip in your university card, negating the need to hold the barcode directly onto a scanner. If you need to register yourself as having a disability, please speak to the Library & IT Help Desk, who will be more than happy to help you.

Library Catalogue Terminals: We have updated and modernised the browsers on Library catalogue terminals to include additional accessibility options.

Library Tours (ongoing): 1-to-1 tours of the Library are offered to all our registered disabled students. As part of this tour, we are working towards including further details about our IT support services for disabled users.

Visual Impairment Support (ongoing): We dedicate a lot of time to creating accessible reading material in suitable electronic formats for our rapidly growing community of visually impaired students. Currently, we are working with a range of people across the University to improve the process and communication around this service and to ensure that it delivers a high quality and timely service.

Whilst we are pleased with our progress so far, we never want to rest on our laurels! We thrive off your feedback to tell us how we can improve our services. We have an established Information Services Disability Group which meets on a termly basis. Membership includes people from Disability Services, Equality and Diversity Office, YUSU and GSA as well as selection of our own staff and it is an effective way for us to discuss your suggestions and implement structured, enterprising plans of action.

Please have your say and help us to better ourselves by contacting us with feedback and/or suggestions at, or by filling out a comment card in one of the Library buildings.

Useful links:

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

The Malthusian

Another in a series of blog posts by Ilka Heale, highlighting the collections in the University Library.

The Library has recently added two journal titles to the catalogue whose volumes date from the late 19th century to the early 20th century.

Photograph by Paul Shields
The Malthusian (1877-1922) was written and edited by The Malthusian League. This monthly journal contained articles on population growth, birth control, poverty and unemployment. The Malthusian League was a British organisation that promoted the cause of freely available birth control information as a means of tackling poverty by giving women the option of family planning. Founded in 1877 by George Drysdale, the League soon began to attract wide public support with similar leagues starting in France, Germany, and The Netherlands (the latter opening the world’s first family planning services in 1882).
Photograph by Paul Shields
In 1922, the journal changed its name to The New Generation (1922-1932) which continued to chronicle the League’s work.

Both the journal and the League take their name from Malthusianism, a school of ideas derived from the political and economic thought of the Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus. In his 1798 book An Essay on the Principle of Population, he argued that an increase in population would eventually diminish the ability of the world to feed itself as populations grow in such a way as to overtake the development of enough land for crops.

These journals were donated to the Library on behalf of Eileen Palmer. In turn, Eileen had acquired the journals from Edith How-Martyn, a founding member of the Women’s Freedom League who joined the Malthusian League in 1910. Both women worked closely together in the Birth Control International Information Centre and Birth Control Worldwide organisations during the 1930s, and Eileen accompanied Edith on one of her several tours of India to promote birth control.

Edith How-Martyn by George Ridsdale Cleare. Image used courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery. Reproduced under a Creative Commons Licence.

The journals are now in the University Library’s Special Collections and can be consulted in the Borthwick Institute for Archives.

The Wellcome Library have the a collection of the women’s papers in their archives.

For other books in the Library about Malthusian theory and population growth, browse the Library shelves at D 1.3201.

For other titles on the Women’s Freedom League, please look on YorSearch, for further details.