How to develop your taste in reading

For anyone  who read the @GCWLibrary tweet on Joseph Brodsky’s renowned quote “There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them” you might be seeking more memorable advice from this Nobel-prize winning Russian poet and essayist, who left the Soviet Union in 1972 upon advice from the nefarious authorities. After surviving the Siege of Stalingrad, he was largely self-taught and learnt Polish and English to such expertise he could translate John Donne. To learn more about him it’s worth following the musings of Brain Pickings, a sumptuous blog that explores the intellectual side of life, and a blog post entitled ‘Joseph Brodsky on How to Develop Your Taste in Reading‘ that contains some immeasurable advice. Brodsky not only recommends that everyone reads and then develops their library, but actually revisit books to prevent them being covered with layers of dust, absorbing the writing from fine authors like …well, it depends on your mother tongue as Brodsky may have ironically frowned on translated prose. For instance, if you’re Polish then Leopold Staff, Czeslaw Milosz, Zbigniew Herbert and Wieslawa Szymborska are recommended. Tolstoy and Dostoevsky are surprisingly omitted from the list of the chosen, if you’re Russian. Heavy points are scored if you have read any (or even some) of these!

Years ago I read the famed Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide, which helped me to extend my reading and awakened me to the notion that literature genuinely transforms.



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Joseph Brodsky 



EndNote helpguide now in two 2 places

Our new Endnote help guide is now available in two places.   There is a link from the Refworks page (under Alternatives), and one from the Referencing and Plagiarism page (under Referencing Software).  It’s temporary to have it in only these two spots—we will keep you updated.

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What makes a good scholarly introduction?

Over the past two or three weeks I’ve been musing about what makes a good introduction for an academic essay as it’s a frequent question raised in the Library. Although there does appear to be variations according to the subject an academic is writing about, be it marketing, events or entrepreneurship, there might be a standard formula for this regular conundrum. From my observations, an introduction seems to generally consist of: an overview sentence which outlines the breadth of the article (1st sentence ); further explanation (2nd); an example or case study (3rd); further explanation (4th) and scholarly debate (5th +) which indexes various topics / theories to academic publications, but not going into any depth. On the 6th + sentence the author then announces what they are going to investigate, and may raise questions at this stage before dissecting themes in the main body…An introduction generally covers the breadth of the article in the shortest possible word limit, meaning that some articles are packed full of references where the academic (s) have simply linked / referenced ideas which they will go into greater detail later.

The University of Warwick‘s Centre for Applied Linguistics  goes further by explaining the ingredients of a good introduction, and that it’s vital to make a good impression. Trzeciak and Mackay’s (1994) Study Skills for Academic Writing (English for Academic Study) identified a number of ‘ingredients’ of an introduction, but it’s not always necessary to to include all of them, but a combination of some will be useful to introduce an academic argument.

  • a statement of the importance of the subject
  • mention of previous work on the subject
  • a justification for dealing with the subject
  • a statement of your objectives
  • a statement of the limitations of the work
  • a mention of some of the differing viewpoints on the subject
  • a definition of the topic being discussed

For those wishing to learn more, Trzeciak & MacKay’s Study skills for academic writing Student’s book is available at Call no: 428.343 stu in the Library on the 1st floor.





New Scoring Model & Credit Limits on Fame


The scoring model and credit limit system on our database, FAME, is more predictive system which incorporates recent economic data (2010- 2013) and credit scoring analytics. The credit score measures “the likelihood of company insolvency in the next 12 months”  which is then transformed into a credit limit based on the financial strength of the target company. The credit limit recommends “the total amount of credit outstanding at any one time on the target company” that is based on a portfolio of 3,833,672 companies covering:

  • Group, Full accounts and Medium sized companies
  • Small companies
  • Total exemption full
  • Total exemption small
  • Balance sheet

Each development sample was statistically analysed to determine the most predictive parameters to be used in each scorecard. The final credit limit is obtained after adjusting the initial credit limit according to the financial health and default risk of a Company. Scores and limits are market leading based on more recent economic data statistics and analytics so is judged more predictive and accurate than the previous model. New parameters in the scorecard include:

  • Directors history and associate interest performance
  • Auditors qualification
  • Improved CCJ analysis
  • New treatment of negative
  • Shareholders funds
  • Improved financial ratio analysis

There’s also a webinar  from Ray Ruffels (who might sound like an airline pilot making an announcement) who is the Director of Information at Jordans.

Database feature: Oxford University Press Journals

Do you know that we have recently subscribed to Oxford University Press Journals (OUP) which is available through the Library homepage ( > resources > databases > O > Oxford University Press Journals)? This presents a wonderful opportunity to browse the tabs Journals A-Z, and the Arts & Humanities, Law, Medicine & Health, Science & Mathematics, and most importantly for business, Social Sciences. The OUP is an integral part of Oxford University, which this marketing video smartly conveys:

Also, I could not resist from exploring World Literature and Roger Luckhurst from Birkbeck College discussing the readability of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which he surmises is one of the most entertaining novels ever written. What will you find in OUP?

There’s also a fascinating OUP blog piece entitled ‘A timeline of academic publishing at Oxford University Press‘ that illustrates the history of printing the written word in England from 1450. For the 42 journals we have access to as part of our subscription please select this link:


More Books update

Now that we are well into the new academic year it’s a good time to send out the first review of More Books for the period of August to October.

More Books for Undergraduates was re-opened on 28th September 2015 and has already experienced its most popular period so far. In the period September-October 2015, we have received 142 requests from 86 Undergraduates. Of these, we ordered 123 in print and 19 in eBook format. Already this academic year, we have spent in the region of £4,800. This is a huge increase on last year’s spend at this time for 65 requests from 40 individual Undergraduates of just under £2,000. There are a lot more requests from a wider range of students rather than more requests by the same few students is a positive indication that the Service is becoming more effectively far-reaching.

More Books for Research

More Books for Research has continued steadily throughout the summer and into the new academic year. Since August 2015, we have received 112 requests from 48 Researchers, both students and staff. 100 of these were ordered in print and 12 in ebook format. We have spent in the region of £4,600 on our Researchers’ requests so far. This is compared to just under £2,000 which we spent on 58 requests for 21 Researchers for the same time period last year. October 2015 has been our busiest month yet with a spend of just over £7,000. This illustrates a much higher response to the service than ever before, which is obvious in the charts below:

August – October 2014                                                                                                                                  August – October 2015

 CaptureGraphsStatistics from last year showed that the most popular months were November and February so we look forward to seeing whether this trend repeats this year.



Meet the dean: Maury Peiperl, Cranfield School of Management

As part of a series about how Business schools operate in the modern economy, The Financial Times site ( > resources > databases > FT) publishes many interesting interviews. In this video, Pro-Vice Chancellor Maury Peiperl from the Cranfield School of Management talks about the need to create entrepreneurial space, with business schools working with owners of small businesses, how work meshes with the curriculum. He discusses his experience of executives and their ongoing ‘need to learn’, how blended learning supports those in business still able to study.  It’s also worth checking out the MBA blog too for further insight.

Library & Business Librarian drop-in sessions

The Library runs several drop-in sessions throughout the week for students to visit MASH (maths and statistics), Academic Writing Support (essay writing advice), Academic Subject Librarians (referencing, research skills, finding information) and IT Support in the Library (ICT queries). Martin and I also run drop-in sessions in the Business School building from 10-11am every Wednesday and Thursday.

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Business Librarian drop-in

Owing to student demand for a more flexible service, Martin and I are splitting the Wednesday morning drop-in service to one-hour slots from 10-11 every Wednesday and Thursday mornings (the original drop-in session was 9.30-11.30 on Wednesdays). They will still take place on the ground floor of the Business & Law building near the Book & Latte cafe, but with me leading the Wednesday session, and Martin the Thursday session.

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Business School drop-ins 2B twice a week

Owing to student demand for greater flexibility around our drop-in sessions taking place at the Business School building, Martin and I will be delivering separate 1 hr sessions on the ground floor, opposite Starbucks (the Book & Latte) from 10-11am on Wednesday (Daren) and 10-11am on Thursday (Martin). Although we support different subjects we are keen to meet any student in the Business School with a library-related query such as researching the library databases, Harvard referencing and essay writing (such as essay planning, how considerate research relates to structuring and assignment, etc).