How FE student Joe discovered what the National Library of Scotland has to offer. Watch the video
I had just taken up studying again after leaving school six years ago and had done no studying in the meantime, so was a little nervous about starting a college course involving a lot of study.
We were given our first assignment, which asked us to compare conflict theory with functionalism and how these theories could be applied to practical situations in health care.
I didn't know where to start, but someone told me that I could try some of the online resources available from the National Library of Scotland and that I didn't need to go into the Library in person. I could just fill in the online registration form and get access that way.
I was able to start using the resources straight away! And if I decided to visit to the Library in person, I got a message saying I just needed to bring proof of address.
One of the online resources or licensed digital collections I found is called Credo Reference, which gave me access to reference material such as encyclopaedias and dictionaries on lots of different subjects.
I just entered 'conflict theory' and it came up with definitions and explanations from different sources. I selected one that was very clear and simple and used this as the basis for my essay.
At college, we have to cite all the references we use in essays and Credo shows you how to do that, it even gives you a choice of citation styles. You can just copy and paste the citation into your list of references.
I also discovered other resources, like JSTOR. This gives you access to journal articles on a wide range of subjects like humanities and social sciences.
And if you were studying business, I found out the Library has lots of online information to help with that too, so it's worth having a look.
So yeah, I've now been using the Library's online resources, the licensed digital collections, regularly for researching my assignments and I've found really useful journal and newspaper articles too along with information from dictionaries and encyclopaedias.
It's all helped me get through my college course and helped my confidence.
The National Library also has good facilities for times you need to access physical books and it's easy to get to as it's really central.
One time I discovered that a book I was looking for wasn't available in my college library, so I searched the National Library's online catalogue and found that they had it.
Before I could get access to the book, I needed to get a library card, but because I had already registered online and my details were on the system, I just needed to show proof of address to get a Library card. When I came to the Library I went to the registration desk, got my photo taken and within minutes got my library card.
The books at the National Library can't be borrowed but I was able to read the book in the reading rooms and take notes there. They even keep books on reserve for you if you wanted to come back another day and look at it.
The books aren't on shelves and so need to be brought up to you which can take more than an hour or two depending on where the book is stored, so it's best to request the books before you visit.
You can do this through the online catalogue using your library card number or if it's a journals or newspapers, you can email the Library a day or two before you visit and ask for them to be reserved for you.
I'm really excited about the future and hoping to begin studying for a degree in nursing at Napier University and now that I feel confident in using the Library's resources I'm sure I'll be using the digital collections a lot in the future.