On being car-free

My recent switch from car driver to passenger on a train has been relatively straightforward after four months of commuting. I quite enjoy it. No car parking hassle, nor are there any worries about keeping awake during the drive. I can simply doze, drift off, or read with someone else driving the vehicle (preferably the train driver).

On the first day the journey took an inauspicious three hours after a train was cancelled, another was late and so forth. Since then, no problems. It appears to me that commuting by train – vis-à-vis using public transport – and getting about by foot or cycle is a far more sociable form of travel than driving by car, which is comparatively isolating. I found that being cooped up in a car was claustrophobic and stressful.

For anyone wishing to do the same as me, and swap the car for the train, these are my top tips:

  • Not counting the number of stations until the end of your journey makes it more tolerable if you are feeling impatient
  • Careful planning is required in terms of knowing timetables and budgeting
  • Use of a calendar for budgeting awareness and knowing when I am on campus
  • Calculate your journeys week by week
  • Generally speaking, the costings are more transparent costings rather than the unpredictable world of fuel

Unintended consequences

Unintended consequences mean that I have lost the desire to drive a car, and predictably, the confidence to drive a car, before becoming disconnected from something I had previously taken for granted.  Nowadays virtually all my local journeys are done by cycling, even shopping trips, and this directly contributes to my overall wellbeing. I am happier, more relaxed, and fitter as a result. Plus, I am no longer claustrophobic.

Database of the week: Taylor & Francis

Everyone may have a favourite database to use when they embark on their research journey. What are your favourite go-to databases when you receive an assignment? FT.com? Statista? Emerald Insight? Or…Taylor & Francis? It’s not even (strictly speaking) a business database, but I use Taylor & Francis on a regular basis to check if there’s anything written about a particular topic in business; whether a research idea is viable in other words. It hasn’t failed me yet! Like this one entitled ‘Bridging corporate social responsibility and social impact assessment’ in the journal Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal. Added to that, the accessibility feature of an immersive reader (a text-to-speech tool) is the cherry on top of the cake: I can scroll over the article and play it back without even looking at the screen, saving physical tiredness (you may find reading electronic material like eBooks or electronic journal articles increases eye strain). Such an aid alleviates weariness and sustains periods of concentrated research.

You can search the database by going to the University of Lincoln Library website (library.lincoln.ac.uk) > Find > Databases > T > Taylor & Francis.

Screenshot of an article entitled 'Bridging corporate social responsibility and social impact assessment'

Business Librarian drop-in resuming September

It’s a long break from doing our regular drop-ins in the DCB every Wednesday, but we are restarting them in September from 10-11.30 every Wednesday. If you’re interested in support with your research, referencing or would like to know how to start an assignment then please feel free to come along – no need to book! Martin and I will be seated near the Book and Latte on the ground floor to answer all your queries and lend some support for your studies. The photo below was taken just before the lockdown (we look exactly the same!).

Photo of Martin Osborne and Daren Mansfield, subject librarians for the business schooldoing the drop-in service for students

New dissertations on the showcase

screenshot of dissertation showcase blog homepage

There are loads more  outstanding dissertations being published this week from a range of schools, including the Lincoln International Business School (LIBS). Which one would help you carry out your research? Plenty of choose from: either undergraduate or postgraduate – feel free to take your pick!

We always get asked about the grades on the showcase. As an apposite reminder, the purpose of the dissertation showcase is to promote outstanding student work as exemplars of best practice: https://library-showcase.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/. The dissertations in the showcase represent the “Top Ten” undergraduate dissertations selected by participating Schools within the University of Lincoln. These will normally have achieved a First Class degree and represent a range of subject areas. Over a hundred of them belong to LIBS!

However, it is worth noting that some dissertations cannot be made available for reasons due to commercial sensitivity or that contain un-redactable personal information.

 

Choosing an alternative commute

When my car, a dirty diesel, failed its last MOT it was judged too expensive to repair. I had to choose whether it was best to buy another ‘cheap’ car or commute to work by train. It was a major decision after commuting from Leicestershire to Lincoln for thirteen years. A commute (totalling three defunct cars) that stretched to almost four times round the planet.

It was often a stressful journey and tiring. For anyone with small children waking up continuously in the night it is hard, if not impossible, to get a good night’s sleep. Driving is the last thing you want to do.

Breakdowns were a regular occurrence. There was one accident (and an impromptu interview on BBC Look North) and once stuck in heavy snow on the Swanholme estate. Waiting on the side of a cold busy road waiting to be picked up by the recovery service is nobody’s idea of fun. Other times I nearly crashed from crushing exhaustion and sleep deprivation.

Those were times I would not want to repeat.

Like many, I fret about pollution and climate change (the car failed its MOT on high emissions), the spiralling cost of fuel, and the fuel crisis when it was near impossible to fill up the tank.

Other commutes were more pleasurable – like watching the sunrise gently arc over Newark’s fields or when driving meant a buffer zone between work and home in the days before lockdown.

Choosing alternatives

Then considering alternatives meant reviving memories of public transport.

My mind casts itself back to early evening platforms on East Croydon station waiting for an overcrowded diesel train that may or may not be on time. Or the endless wait outside Norwood Junction with no explanation why the train wasn’t going anywhere. Purgatory in Norwood as I nicknamed it. Time itself was held in suspension as I could do nothing apart from wait; the passenger is at the mercy of the rail network.

I recalled catching tube trains heading home, falling asleep until someone woke me up saying it was the end of the line, or reading a book that looked intellectual on the cover, but I found it dull and laborious.

Commuting by train, though, is ideal for a daydreamer like me, watching the world pass by steadily replaying its scenery. That’s the decision I have taken. For a trial period of thirty weeks at least. The cost of travelling by train is more expensive per trip than a car but overall savings could amount to around £1500-2000 a year. Better for me and the environment.

Farewell A46, hello Lincoln-bound shuttle train.

Booking a ticket                      

Anyone booking a ticket online is either Daedalus negotiating the labyrinth or (simply) has done it before and knows their way around a terminal. A newby like me needs videos and step-by-step guidance. There are 28 rail networks in the UK. The days of staffed ticket offices seem to be over.

Post-scrappage

Post-scrappage I found more physically demanding than getting into a car and going anywhere I chose. Without a car involved careful planning, apt knowledge of timetables, a restoration of my bicycle, and a lot more walking; furnished with the knowledge that everything took two or three times longer to get anywhere.

Using public transport again feels more sociable. In a strange way I feel like I have re-joined society rather than driving on my own for mile upon mile.

Revival of the one car family?

Car ownership is declining over the past decade though it very much depends on where you live, and your age. As more people relocate to urban areas, fewer than half of U.S. households will own more than one car by 2040 research by KPMG (2020) owing to congestion, working and shopping from home, and car sharing opportunities; a trend that is supported by most of London’s boroughs, Newcastle, Nottingham, Brighton and Hove, Oxford, Birmingham and Exeter. 18-25 year olds are choosing alternative means of transport according to The Times research into DVLA data (Baggot, 2021) as anyone noticing the proliferation of electric scooters can verify. In rural areas car ownership is on the increase (Baggot, 2021) where some areas count for one car per adult. Yet times are changing.

The government has pledged to ban all new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 (GOV.UK, 2020), only allowing plug-in hybrids or full hybrids to be sold from that date for the next five years.  With cities like Leicester planning to introduce A Workplace Parking Levy for anybody using a car space for work amounting to £550 (Patel, 2021) it may be worth putting the brakes on cars like mine driving to work. Will it be an 80s revival when one car family ownership dominated (LV=, 2021) and Spandau Ballet topped the charts? So true, funny how it seems…

References

Baggot, J. (2021). Car ownership falls dramatically in urban areas as young people shun vehicles. Available from: https://cardealermagazine.co.uk/publish/car-ownership-falls-dramatically-in-urban-areas-as-young-people-shun-vehicles/208584 [Accessed 13th April 2022].

GOV.UK (2020). Government takes historic step towards net-zero with end of sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-takes-historic-step-towards-net-zero-with-end-of-sale-of-new-petrol-and-diesel-cars-by-2030 [Accessed 13th April 2022].

LV=. (2021). The changing face of car ownership. Available from: https://www.lv.com/car-insurance/the-changing-face-of-car-ownership [Accessed 13th April 2022].

KPMG. (2020). Automotive’s new reality? Fewer trips, fewer miles, fewer cars. Available from: https://assets.kpmg/content/dam/kpmg/br/pdf/2020/09/automotives-new-reality.pdf Accessed 13th April 2022].

Patel, A. (2021). Plan for Workplace Parking Levy in Leicester branded “short-sighted” amid fears teachers will leave city. Leicester Mercury. 28th January. Available from: https://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news/leicester-news/plan-workplace-parking-levy-leicester-6552457 [Accessed 13th April 2022].

 

 

 

New eBook: Kirkwood’s (2020) Strauss’s handbook of business information: a guide for librarians, students, and researchers 

Screenshot of book coverIn an era of ‘fake news’ reliable sources are needed more than ever. Trawling through business-related content often means considering non-academic but useful sources. The web according to WorldWideWebSize (2022) ‘estimates that­ there are more than 60 billion pages’. Fortunately, Kirkwood’s (2020) encyclopaedic Strauss’s handbook of business information: a guide for librarians, students, and researchers is now available as an eBook in the Library is here to help. Strauss’s handbook of business information (Kirkwood, 2020) attempts to solve the riddle of navigating the labyrinth of business resources with a wide range of chapters on print resources, databases, newspapers, journals, company and industry information, statistics, economics, investments, stocks, bonds, real estate, et. al, and any dutiful researcher trying to find credible business-related information is bound to find this book extremely insightful.

References

Kirkwood, H. P. (2022). Strauss’s Handbook of Business Information: a Guide for Librarians, Students, and Researchers, 4th Edition. ProQuest Ebook Central. Available from: http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ulinc/detail.action?docID=6271081 [Accessed 27th April 2022].

WorldWideWebsize. (2022). The size of the World Wide Web (The Internet). Available from: https://www.worldwidewebsize.com/ [Accessed 11th May 2022].

14,000+ words seems like A LOT, but subject librarians are here to help

What’s my role as an Academic Subject Librarian?

Along with Martin Osborne I support all the subjects in the Lincoln International Business School, apart from distance learning subjects which are covered by Helen Williams, another academic subject librarian. My role consists of supporting you with research and offering advice on Harvard referencing.
Researching the library online has never been easier. During the lockdown we are purely delivering electronic resources, with an emphasis on e-books and electronic journals.
An important aspect of my role is to help you find good quality resources, which could be peer-reviewed articles from esteemed publications or choosing broadsheet newspapers like the Financial Times.
My number one piece of advice is to only start writing when you fully understand your assignment question. This means reading as much as you possibly can around the topic. There are no short cuts.
If you have any questions to do with research or referencing you can contact me via email (dmansfield@lincoln.ac.uk) or via Microsoft Teams (Office 365).
I am also a member of the Writing Development team in the Library. In this capacity you are welcome to send me a draft of your work and I will provide you with general feedback.
I look forward to hearing from you.

Book a 2020 appointment with a LIBS librarian

Do you have 2020 vision? For the adventurous and no doubt supremely organised, why not book in advance? We have appointments available for the first three weeks of the year. More to follow!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Martin and Daren

It’s certainly been a hectic year – our new bookable appointments have been an enormous success with all but a couple of slots fully booked up. It’s been a real pleasure to meet with so many business school students throughout the year and we look forward to seeing everyone in the New Year.

New Library books for LIBS

It’s raining outside. Take shelter in the Library and check out our new books. The new academic year is fully underway, and @GCWLibrarians are busy buying new titles, new editions, et al. (us included). Martin and I have compiled a fascinating new library book list which lets you know what has arrived in the Library over the past week…Here @ bit.ly/2IGtNLW.

The list includes Simon Lindgren’s (2017) splendid Digital media & society which covers new analysis of the contemporary media landscape, and central theories of the digital society, and the hot topics and key research methods in the field. Plus much more. Sounds interesting? It’s available now @ bit.ly/2oSgwbr

New outstanding dissertations added to the LIBS showcase

It’s finally here. Ten new (2019) outstanding Lincoln International Business School dissertations have been added to the Library Dissertation Showcase. These are part of a pilot where we’re learning all the time to improve what is proving to be an excellent resource for University of Lincoln students. At the moment these are undergraduates dissertations, but there may be scope to include postgraduate dissertations further down the line; as well as adding other schools to upload their top ten dissertations. More to follow soon. Will keep you posted on developments in this exciting area.

Taking over HRM

I am delighted to announce that Martin Osborne and I (Daren Mansfield) will be supporting Human Resource Management from September onwards.  As a direct result, the  libguide for this subject has been updated to include ourselves as the main contacts for research and referencing. Please contact us for 1-1 support, enquiries and anything else library related.

RNIB UK education collection for print-disabled learners

The RNIB bookshare provides the reader with the opportunity to:

  • Listen to books with high quality text-to-speech voices
  • Hear and see highlighted words on screen
  • Read with digital braille or enlarged fonts
  • Create physical braille or large print
  • Read directly from your Internet browser
  • And more!

If you would to use the fabulous RNIB bookshare service please contact your Academic Subject Librarian who will set up an account on your behalf.