Resource Centre reopens

The Resource Centre at INTO UEA has reopened!

It is open to INTO students every day (including weekends) from 7.30 am to 11 pm. It is usually staffed Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 5pm (with a break for lunch).

Covid-19 rules

  • Wear a mask unless you are sitting 2 metres from other people
  • Wipe computer keyboards and mice before and after using them
  • Study on your own – not in a group
  • Return books to the book return box by the staff desk
  • If you handle a book, put it in the box when you have finished
  • If you are self-isolating, please do not return books until your self-isolation period is over

Books are quarantined on return for 2 days.

Dictionary of Affixes

An affix (prefix, suffix, infix, etc.) is a group of letters added to a word to modify the meaning or create a new word.

For example, the suffix -or can mean a person who does a particular action. Hence: actor, editor, inventor, visitor, etc. The prefix biblio- means book, from which we get words such as bibliography and bibliophile.

The online Dictionary of Affixes contains many affixes and examples. It has recently been updated.

Source: Sentence First

Presessional 2020

INTO’s first online presessional course starts on Monday.

To all our new students, hello and welcome!

Nobody is nervous about this at all. The equipment is (mostly) in working order. Your teachers are standing by…


Resource Centre leaflets

The Resource Centre has a collection of printed leaflets for students.

These are now being made available as PDF files in the directory You can download them and print them out if you wish. They are all A4 size.

The original leaflets are in various sizes and formats, so they are gradually being converted to plain A4.

Explore UEA in Minecraft

The Square

If you aren’t able to visit UEA’s campus in person, you can still explore it through the game Minecraft.

Some UEA students have recreated much of the campus on a Minecraft server. Instructions are on their Facebook page. Unfortunately, INTO hasn’t been added (yet).

Remote teaching links

Coronavirus vocabulary

Do you know all of these words? According to the iWeb Corpus, they are likely to appear on the same web pages as the word coronavirus.

  • virus, viral
  • infection, infect, infected, infectious
  • disease
  • respiratory
  • severe
  • symptom
  • outbreak
  • vaccine, vaccination
  • syndrome
  • fever
  • spread
  • human
  • middle
  • illness
  • transmission
  • antibody
  • immune
  • animal
  • patient
  • diarrhea
  • acute
  • case
  • cat
  • cell
  • east
  • fluid
  • protein
  • pathogen
  • pneumonia
  • bat
  • genome
  • influenza, flu
  • strain
  • contact
  • health
  • detect
  • hospital
  • dog
  • laboratory
  • mild
  • sample
  • veterinarian
  • cause
  • cough


Kurzgesagt’s YouTube channel shows animated educational videos on science, technology, philosophy, etc.

Some examples:

  • Building a Marsbase is a Horrible Idea: Let’s do it!
  • Fracking explained: opportunity or danger
  • How Evolution works
  • Is Meat Bad for You? Is Meat Unhealthy?
  • Overpopulation – The Human Explosion Explained
  • The Death Of Bees Explained – Parasites, Poison and Humans
  • The Fermi Paradox — Where Are All The Aliens?
  • Universal Basic Income Explained – Free Money for Everybody?
  • What If We Detonated All Nuclear Bombs at Once?
  • Why The War on Drugs Is a Huge Failure

Oh, not another TED Talk…

A few alternatives

The Bottom Line

Business discussion. BBC Radio 4 programme with Evan Davis.
About 290 audio episodes and 126 video clips.
Most episodes downloadable.
You will need to sign in to the BBC.
Also available on BoB.

Science Weekly

Podcasts from The Guardian.
About 800 episodes.
See also other podcasts and videos on this site.

Smithsonian Channel videos

Short videos on science, history, archaeology, etc.
Over 1,000 videos. Optional subtitles.
Also on YouTube. The channel also has its own website.

Very Short Introductions

56 short videos from Oxford Academic.
They accompany a series of books (many of them ebooks in UEA Library).
The authors talk about their topics, e.g. Symmetry; Atheism; Taxation; Nelson Mandela.
See also other video playlists from Oxford Academic.


Over 1200 videos of lectures, case studies and interviews on business and management.
Some have subtitles, transcripts, slides, handouts.

We The Economy

20 short films (5-8 mins) about the US economy.
Each film is “helmed by an acclaimed filmmaker, each with their own creative vision”.
With additional resources.

RSA videos

850 videos from the Royal Society of Arts.
They include talks and animations.
Also on YouTube.
Also 640 podcasts.


Podcasts from the British Psychological Society.
19 episodes so far. Downloadable.

All in the Mind

BBC Radio 4 series on psychology.
238 episodes. Downloadable.
You will need to sign in to the BBC.
Also available on BoB.

BBC Class Clips – Secondary

Video and other resources for GCSE, etc.
Examples: Law and order; Global citizenship.
See also BBC Teach on YouTube.

Gresham College Lectures

Videos on art and literature, business, history, law, mathematics, etc.
Both full-length lectures and “shorts“.
Also on YouTube.

Open Yale Courses

40 courses of full-length university lectures on history, science, economics, etc.
Available as video and (downloadable) audio files.
With transcripts.

See also some more links on our Lectures page.

Writing CVs

O’Reilly for Higher Education has at least 12 ebooks on writing a CV (or résumé) and cover letter. For example:

Find the books under Explore > All Topics > Career Development > Personal Development > Resumes & Cover Letters.

If you’re already signed in, this link should take you straight there.

See our previous post on how to sign in to O’Reilly.

O’Reilly for Higher Education

O’Reilly for Higher Education is a collection of ebooks and videos. It is listed in UEA’s A-Z Databases.

Topics include business, writing, presenting, design, maths, science, computers – even cooking!

If you are not already registered and signed in, you will see this screen.

UEA isn’t there, so select: Not listed? Click here.

Enter your UEA email address and create a password.

Next time, click on: Already a user? Click here.

Global Consumer Survey

UEA Library has trial access to the Statista Global Consumer Survey during February.

Did you know that 44% of Saudi households own a toaster? Well, in China it’s only 13%. Toaster manufacturers, take note!

55% of Nigerians listen to the radio, compared to 28% of Pakistanis.

99% of Indonesians describe themselves as religious, while only 33% of Japanese people do.

And so on.


The Resource Centre now subscribes to the print edition of Happiful, a monthly magazine about mental health.

Happiful is also a free e-magazine and a website.

Topping up

Want to add printing credit to your account (aka top up)? There is no longer a pay station in UEA Library, so you cannot use cash.

Instead, you need a bank card. You can top up on any INTO or UEA computer or the PaperCut website.

Site front page

First Assignment advice

UEA Library and the Learning Enhancement Team have made a website called UEA Your First Assignment and Beyond.

So far it consists of:

Finding and using information

  • Types of information
  • Finding your sources
  • Reading effectively
  • Evaluating your sources
  • Managing your information

Writing your assignment

  • Planning your assignment
  • Using sources in your assignment
  • Drafting your assignment

Young Adult eLibrary

As well as e-newspapers and magazines, you can read (and listen to) ebooks through Norfolk Libraries.

The collections include a Young Adult eLibrary.

Its books are categorized by up to four readability indicators: Interest Levels, ATOS levels, Lexile Measures and Text Difficulty. For example, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has an ATOS level of 6, while Puddin’ is at 4.9.

(How reliable and useful these indicators are is debatable.)

You need a library card number and PIN to sign in. Joining Norfolk Libraries is free.

PressReader on phone


Join Norfolk Libraries and you can read magazines and newspapers online in various languages, via PressReader.

Norfolk library staff will be in UEA Library tomorrow (Tuesday 8th October) to help you:

If you sign in to PressReader with a Norfolk library card number and PIN, the service is free. Joining Norfolk Libraries is also free.

Desk with reader and books

Borrowing rules

INTO Resource Centre has changed its borrowing rules. From now on INTO students and staff can borrow up to 8 items (books, DVDs, etc.) for 4 weeks.

Items can be renewed indefinitely, so long as nobody else wants them. But you will need to tell us.

UEA students who are living in INTO accommodation have the same privileges as INTO students.

Headphones around books

Free audio books

There are many free audio books online. They normally come with the texts, so you can listen and read at the same time. Try these sites:

Searching the web for free audio books will reveal other, similar sites.

Some of the Resource Centre’s graded readers come with audio CDs. You can also borrow a CD player from us and connect it to your laptop.

ABSW logo

Science journalism guide

Science Writing: the Basics (PDF) is a beginner’s guide from the Association of British Science Writers. It answers these questions:

  • What is science writing?
  • What do science writers do?
  • Where do science writers work?
  • What do science writers earn?
  • What skills do you need to be a science writer?
  • How do I get a foot in the door?
  • Where can I find out more?

The ABSW site also has links to other online resources, such as a series of Guardian articles on science writing.

Request, Read, Return

There are some more changes at UEA Library. Undergraduates (and INTO students?) can now borrow 15 books, up from 10. Books will be automatically renewed until requested by another user.

More information here and in this video:

Book cover

How to argue

How to Argue is a book by the lawyer Jonathan Herring.

Do you hate arguments and avoid them at all costs? Or do you
just find that you keep losing them? Perhaps even when you
win, somehow you feel it has all been counter-productive?

If so, this is the book for you. It will teach you how to argue

The book lists 10 golden rules:

  1. Be prepared
  2. When to argue, when to walk away
  3. What you say and how you say it
  4. Listen and listen again
  5. Excel at responding to arguments
  6. Watch out for crafty tricks
  7. Develop the skills for arguing in public
  8. Be able to argue in writing
  9. Be great at resolving deadlock
  10. Maintain relationships

It is available through O’Reilly. You will need to register using your UEA email address. (For Select your institution choose Not listed? Click here.)

Most of the books and videos on O’Reilly are IT-related, but there are other topics, such as professional communication (e.g. writing and presenting).

Language aptitude tests

Test 1

The questions in this section are based on an invented language called Dobla.

tashu duset sekar The diplomat seduces the daughter.
tine betsut vardar The maid helps the valet.
betsu tinet sirehar Does the valet love the maid?
claru bichut sudar The earl consults the butler.
vardehar bichu kochet Does the butler help the cook?
pante sirar tomut The scullery-maid loves the footman.
rokar elede duset The countess summons the daughter.
clarut tikehar mage Does the dowager rebuke the earl?


  1. Give the meaning of:
    1. tomu sekehar tashut
    2. pantet tikar koche
  2. Translate into Dobla: Does the daughter consult the dowager?

Test 2

The invented language is Kalaamfaadi.

Felhom ghrabop karhyd The farmer hates the crow
Milkyd felhom rassop The farmer owns a gun
Tayrom rassop karhyd The bird hates the gun
Sadyd tayrop sabyom The boy helps the bird
Bussyd felhop ghrabom The crow sees the farmer
Extayrop felhom talkyd The farmer shoots the birds
Exsabyom extalkyd felhop The boys shoot the farmer


  1. Give the meaning of:
    1. Exfellop sadyd rassom
    2. Extayrom exsabyop exbussyd
  2. Translate into Kalaamfaadi: The crows own guns.

Test 1 is from a test taken by Oxford University applicants who want to study classics. Test 2 is from a test for Oxford applicants in Oriental Studies.

Source: LRB blog. For likely answers to the questions, see the comments.

Website screenshot


Tatoeba is a database of sentences and translations. Enter a phrase and it shows example sentences in several languages.

For example, a search for get drunk finds 95 English sentences, such as:

Let's get drunk.
Don't get drunk.
Tom is getting drunk.
I never get drunk.
Getting drunk won't make things better.

Sentences come with a varying number of translations.

Tom gets drunk almost every evening.
Том се пијани скоро секоја вечер.
Том напивается почти каждый вечер.
Tom se emborracha casi todas las noches.
Tom hemen hemen her akşam sarhoş oluyor.
Том напивається майже кожного вечора.

Some sentences have been given tags such as “present continuous”, which you can then search for:

You are abusing your authority.
My heart's aching.
My brother is always acting foolishly.

Some sentences include sound recordings.

Blog banner

Learning English with Oxford

Learning English with Oxford is a new blog from Oxford University Press.

So far there are only a few posts. For example, a list of cat idioms:

  1. Be the cat’s whiskers
  2. Raining cats and dogs
  3. Has the cat got your tongue?
  4. Curiosity killed the cat
  5. Let the cat out of the bag
  6. Like a cat on hot bricks
  7. Like a cat that’s got the cream
  8. Like herding cats
  9. Look like something the cat dragged in
  10. No room to swing a cat
  11. Not stand a cat in hell’s chance
  12. Play a game of cat and mouse with somebody
  13. Put the cat among the pigeons
  14. There’s more than one way to skin a cat
  15. When the cat’s away the mice will play

The blog says, “Keep practising these phrases to improve your fluency.” It does not explain why you should memorize 15 obscure idioms that happen to include the word cat.

But perhaps (to use another idiom) people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

Lexico front page


Oxford’s online English dictionary has moved to

Besides the dictionary and thesaurus, there are sections on grammar, spelling, writing, punctuation, word origins, etc.

For example, do you know the longest one-syllable English words? There are several that have nine letters:

  1. screeched /skriːʧt/
  2. schlepped /ʃlɛpt/
  3. scratched /skræʧt/
  4. scrounged /skraʊnʤd/
  5. scrunched /skrʌnʧt/
  6. stretched /strɛʧt/
  7. straights /streɪts/
  8. strengths /strɛŋθs/

(Phonetic transcriptions from toPhonetics.)

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries are still at

Tree in autumn

Autumnal words

Autumn is here! Do you know all of these words? They are commonly found on the same web pages as autumn.


  1. winter
  2. leaf
  3. spring
  4. summer
  5. plant
  6. flower
  7. fall
  8. garden
  9. soil
  10. tree
  11. weather
  12. colour
  13. seed
  14. season
  15. foliage
  16. temperature
  17. species
  18. root
  19. shade
  20. fruit
  21. sun
  22. stem
  23. pumpkin
  24. pot
  25. shrub
  26. grass
  27. mountain
  28. crop
  29. green
  30. variety
  31. festival
  32. rain
  33. bird
  34. harvest
  35. container
  36. frost
  37. forest
  38. holiday


  1. warm
  2. cold
  3. beautiful
  4. yellow
  5. dry
  6. growing
  7. cool
  8. bright
  9. lovely


  1. plant
  2. grow
  3. harvest

Source: iWeb Corpus


The Antimoon Method

According to the Antimoon website:

typical English classes are not an effective way to learn English. They produce very slow progress, espe­cially after you reach the interme­diate level. Most learners, after years of attending classes, cannot speak English without making a lot of mistakes in grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation.

Instead, the Antimoon Method requires “massive amounts of input”, such as reading 60 pages and listening to 6 hours of English every week. It advises you not to focus on grammar rules. You should try to eliminate mistakes early on.

The site identifies seven myths:

  1. The best way to learn a foreign language is to go to a foreign country
  2. The best way to learn a foreign language is to speak it
  3. It is OK to make mistakes
  4. As a beginner, you’re bound to make a lot of mistakes
  5. You are a foreigner, therefore you will always have a foreign accent
  6. If you didn’t learn a foreign language as a child, you will never be fully proficient in its grammar
  7. Studying pronunciation is not important

You can read more about the Antimoon Method here.

New Statesman web page

New Statesman, and other magazines

The New Statesman is, in its own words, “the leading progressive political and cultural magazine in the United Kingdom.” It has been published since 1913.

Unless you subscribe, there is only limited access to the website, but you can read the magazine via EBSCOhost.

Other British political magazines include:



Taikonaut was recently an OED Word of the day. It is thought to be a blend of the Chinese words tai kong (outer space) and astronaut. It is one of several words ending in -naut.

The OED says -naut forms words with the sense of voyager or traveller. Here are some more examples:

  • aeronaut – a balloonist; a spider which floats through the air
  • aquanaut – an underwater explorer
  • Argonaut – one of the legendary heroes who sailed with Jason in the Argo
  • cosmonaut – a Soviet or Russian astronaut
  • psychonaut – someone who experiments with psychedelic drugs
  • Reaganaut – an advocate of the policies of US President Reagan

The word juggernaut (a heavy lorry) has quite a different etymology.

Sleeping dog

Five ways to get better at a new language

From an article in the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest.

  1. Listen to the language
  2. Don’t try too hard with the grammar
  3. Choose the right time of day to learn
  4. Take long breaks
  5. Drink a little alcohol

The article includes links to the supporting research, some of which might be rigorous.

There is also a podcast, How to Learn a New Language, which reports that you may be able to boost vocabulary learning during sleep.

Dictionary page

OED Word of the Day

The Oxford English Dictionary picks a word each day. They tend to be “hard” or unusual words.

Recent picks include:

  • bricoleur – a person who performs a variety of manual jobs; someone who fixes things in an ingenious manner
  • grandiloquent – characterized by a high-flown, extravagant, or bombastic style or manner, esp. in language
  • Nowheresville – a largely unknown or uninteresting place, esp. a small, rural town
  • lactivist – a passionate advocate of (exclusive) breastfeeding as the preferred means to feed a baby
  • taikonaut – a Chinese astronaut

You can see the latest words on the OED website, on Twitter, or via RSS or email.

PsychCrunch logo


PsychCrunch is a series of podcasts from the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest.

For example, one episode is How to be Funnier:

Can psychology help us to be funnier? Our presenter Ginny Smith hears how a key ingredient of humour is “incongruity” and the surprise of unexpected meanings. Individual words too can be amusing, but actually most of the time we laugh not because we’ve seen or heard a joke, but as a natural part of friendly interaction.

Besides the podcasts themselves, each episode is accompanied by links to background reading.

So far there are seventeen episodes:

  1. Dating and Attraction
  2. Breaking Bad Habits
  3. How to Win an Argument
  4. The Psychology of Gift Giving
  5. How To Learn a New Language
  6. How To Be Sarcastic
  7. Use Psychology To Compete Like an Olympian.
  8. Can We Trust Psychological Studies?
  9. How To Get The Best From Your Team
  10. How To Stop Procrastinating
  11. How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
  12. How To Be Funnier
  13. How to Study and Learn More Effectively
  14. Psychological Tricks To Make Your Cooking Taste Better
  15. Is Mindfulness A Panacea Or Overhyped And Potentially Problematic?
  16. What’s It Like To Have No Mind’s Eye?
  17. How To Make Running Less Painful And More Fun
Cover of Cod


Microhistory, according to Wikipedia, “is a genre of history writing which focuses on small units of research, such as an event, community, individual, or a settlement.”

At Goodreads people have voted for the top 100 microhistory books. Of these the top ten are:

  1. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
  2. Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
  3. The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester (also titled The Surgeon of Crowthorne: A Tale of Murder, Madness and the Love of Words)
  4. The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic – and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson
  5. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel
  6. The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  7. Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
  8. In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick
  9. At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson
  10. Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky
Eastminster front page


UEA’s School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies has a politics blog called Eastminster.

While it appears to be written entirely by two people called Editor and Admin, closer inspection reveals the actual authors.

Some examples of posts:

A parallel text

Lonweb parallel texts

Lonweb or Languages-on-the-web has some stories and other texts translated from English into other languages. The texts are displayed in parallel.

For example, this is the beginning of a story in Indonesian and English:

Pencarian untuk Lorna  The search for Lorna
Daisy Hamilton adalah seorang detektif swasta. Daisy Hamilton was a private detective.
Dia berumur 30 tahun dan telah menjadi detektif dalam dua tahun ini. She was thirty years old and had been a detective for the past two years.
Tiap pagi dia pergi ke kantornya untuk menunggu panggilan telpon atau membukakan pintu bagi klien yang membutuhkan pelayanannya. Every morning she went to her office to wait for phone calls or open the door to clients needing her services.

Other languages include Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Thai and Turkish.

Note: INTO Resource Centre has a few books of parallel texts (English with Chinese, Japanese, Russian or Spanish), like this one:

What not to study if you want to be rich

An article in the Spring 2019 issue of Society Now summarizes the impact of a university degree on future income in Britain. The full report is from the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

For men, studying creative arts, English or philosophy results in lower average earnings than if they hadn’t gone to university at all:

For women there are no subjects with negative returns, but studying creative arts increases earnings by only 9%. (For medicine it’s 75%.)

So if you want to earn more money, study the subjects on the right of the graph: economics, medicine, architecture, business, law, etc.

On the other hand, there is at least one thing that money can’t buy.

Lingthusiasm header image

Why spelling is hard – but also hard to change

In Lingthusiasm Episode 33 Lauren Gawne and Gretchen McCulloch discuss spelling.

Gretchen: I think of spelling systems across languages as kind of like living in a house. When you first move into a house, you unpack everything and you hopefully say, “Okay. I’m gonna be organised this time.” And you say, “This is where everything’s gonna go.” But the longer you’ve lived in a house, the more random boxes of stuff in the attic you have.

Lauren: English has lived in the house of the Latin alphabet for a very long time.

You can listen to their discussion or read it.

Oxford Academic videos

Oxford University Press has a YouTube channel, Oxford Academic, with videos on many topics.

For example, there are some Very Short Introductions to human evolution, behavioural economics, fungi, William Shakespeare, Iran, Buddhism, neoliberalism, etc.

Here is Professor Jones of Norwich Business School on branding:

The Library 100 page heading

The Library 100

The union catalogue WorldCat has listed the 100 novels which are found in the most libraries.

Of these the top 10 are:

  1. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  3. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  4. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  5. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  7. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  8. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  9. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  10. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The complete list is here.

UEA Library Search

There have been some changes to UEA Library’s search page and other pages (e.g. A-Z Databases and UEA Subject Guides).

Search is now done from the main UEA Library page. Choose either the BOOKS & EBOOKS or JOURNAL ARTICLES tab.

Results for print books now show the library floor. For an ebook, click on the View eBook link.

Results for journal articles are much the same as before (but the books have gone). Research Starters are now labelled Start Your Research.

The library has made some videos to help you.

Book illustration

Herman Melville

Herman Melville was born 200 years ago today (1st August 1819). He was an American writer.

His novel Moby-Dick (1851) is the story of Captain Ahab’s obsessive quest for revenge on Moby Dick, a gigantic white whale that bit off his leg. The novel begins:

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.

You can read it at Project Gutenberg or – with explanatory notes – at Power Moby-Dick. You can listen to a number of actors, some of them quite famous, reading it aloud at Moby Dick Big Read.

Primo Levi

Primo Levi

Primo Levi was born 100 years ago today (31st July 1919). He was an Italian Jewish chemist, writer and Holocaust survivor.

He wrote If This Is a Man (1947) and The Truce (1963) about his time in Auschwitz and his journey home.

The Periodic Table (1975) is a collection of autobiographical short stories. Each story is named after a chemical element which played some part in his life – argon, hydrogen, zinc, and so on.

Tim Radford writes in Nature:

In The Periodic Table, Primo Levi — scientist, poet, writer — makes chemistry a metaphor for his life. But it becomes more than that. Chemistry shapes his life, defines his life, in Auschwitz even saves his life. It becomes his living. In the end, chemistry becomes everything: life itself.

The Model Book of Calligraphy)

The Public Domain Review

The Public Domain Review is “dedicated to the exploration of curious and compelling works from the history of art, literature, and ideas”, especially works in the public domain.

It has essays on a variety of topics. For example:

There are also collections of images, books, films and sound recordings.


Cole Thomas - The Course of Empire - Destruction

The Fall of Rome

Retracted article in Lancet

Retraction Watch and Zotero

Retraction Watch is a blog that reports on retractions of academic articles.

A retraction is a statement in an academic journal that an article previously published in the journal is not valid after all. Usually this is because of plagiarism, fraud or serious errors. For example, in 2010 The Lancet retracted a notorious paper by Andrew Wakefield and others (published 12 years earlier) that linked the MMR vaccine to autism.

The referencing tool Zotero now checks the Retraction Watch database to ensure you are not using a retracted source in your research.

YouTube logo

YouTube Audio Library

Need background music or sound effects for your video or slideshow? A previous post suggested the Free Music Archive. Another option is the Audio Library from YouTube.

Music tracks are categorized by genre (e.g. ambient, cinematic, classical, pop, reggae) and mood (dark, funky, sad, etc.). You can listen to them online and download them as MP3 files.

Here is “Bubble Walk” by Aaron Lieberman (categorized as ambient and funky):

There is also a large collection of sound effects. These include Creaking Wooden Door, Dissecting a Body, Human Eating Watermelon, Subway NYC In Motion, Thunderstorm, Laundromat Sounds and so on.

This is a Monster Alien Grunt Hiss:


Book cover

Because Internet

Because Internet : Understanding the New Rules of Language, by linguist Gretchen McCulloch, is a guide to the way internet language is evolving.

She explains how your first social internet experience influences whether you prefer “LOL” or “lol,” why ~sparkly tildes~ succeeded where centuries of proposals for irony punctuation had failed, what emoji have in common with physical gestures, and how the artfully disarrayed language of animal memes like lolcats and doggo made them more likely to spread.

The title comes from the online use of because plus noun. For example:

  • Because reasons.
  • Because science.
  • Because money.

The book is out tomorrow.

Society logo

LSESU Economics Society essay competition

The London School of Economics Students’ Union Economics Society has an essay competition.

Entry is open to students in their final two years of secondary school, or in sixth form college (including students taking A-Level, the International Baccalaureate, or any other equivalent curriculum). Entrants do not have to be studying at schools within the UK – we accept essays from any school from all countries!

This year the questions are:

  1. “We as a nation, lost $817 billion dollars on trade. That’s ridiculous and it’s unacceptable.” – President Donald Trump.
    Do you agree that a trade deficit is always harmful to a country’s economy?
  2. “If economists could manage to get themselves thought of as humble, competent people on a level with dentists, that would be splendid.” – John Maynard Keynes
    Do you agree with Keynes? Justify your answer.
  3. Should governments bail out banks that go bankrupt?
  4. Recently, there have been proposals to introduce a 3-day weekend. To what extent is this economically feasible and would this benefit the economy?

The deadline is 1st August.

Source: Why Study Economics?

Citing Statista

The website Statista provides statistics and charts on business, industry, etc. Now you can easily cite them in your assignments. For example:

Statistic: Number of monthly active Facebook users worldwide as of 1st quarter 2019 (in millions) | Statista

On the right of this chart’s Statista page you can see the Citation option:

Citation option

Choose Harvard and you get this reference:

Facebook. (2019). Number of monthly active Facebook users worldwide as of 1st quarter 2019 (in millions). Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: July 17, 2019.

You can copy this reference and paste it into your assignment.

Reporter and photographer figures

Journalism ebooks

UEA Library has a collection of ebooks on journalism. For example:

There are more ebooks via ProQuest Ebook Central.

Book cover

The Scientist’s Guide to Writing

Stephen B. Heard, whose blog Scientist Sees Squirrel we mentioned last week, is a biologist at the University of New Brunswick in Canada. He has written a book, The scientist’s guide to writing (Princeton University Press, 2016).

In the preface he says, “This book is designed for students and early-career scientists across the natural sciences (including mathematics).” There is a chapter for non-native speakers of English.

From the chapter titled Brevity:

Be brief.
Now, that was fun to write, but if advising writers to “be brief ” was all it took, you and I could both just skip this chapter. We can’t. I’ve reviewed, formally or informally, somewhere around a thousand manuscripts over my career, and all but a handful should have been shorter.

You can read the book online through UEA Library.

There are, of course, other books on scientific writing: for example, Writing science by Joshua Schimel, and Academic writing for international students of science by Jane Bottomley (printed copies in the Resource Centre).

Update: Also Mastering Academic Writing in the Sciences : A Step-By-Step Guide by Marialuisa Aliotta.

Welch’s t-test

Why do we make statistics so hard for our students?

From Stephen B. Heard’s blog Scientist Sees Squirrel:

If you’re like me, you’re continually frustrated by the fact that undergraduate students struggle to understand statistics. Actually, that’s putting it mildly: a large fraction of undergraduates simply refuse to understand statistics; mention a requirement for statistical data analysis in your course and you’ll get eye-rolling, groans, or (if it’s early enough in the semester) a rash of course-dropping.

Heard argues that:

we consistently underemphasize the single most important thing about statistics: that this complication is an illusion. In fact, every significance test works exactly the same way.

He goes on to explain how statistics classes can be made simpler.

Baffled student

Science papers are getting harder to read

A study of scientific papers has found that these days they are harder to read.

Here, in a corpus consisting of 707 452 scientific abstracts published between 1881 and 2015 from 122 influential biomedical journals, we show that the readability of science is steadily decreasing. Further, we demonstrate that this trend is indicative of a growing usage of general scientific jargon.

The authors conclude:

more than a quarter of scientific abstracts now have a readability considered beyond college graduate level English.

So if you find a scientific article hard to understand, it may not be your fault!

Source: bioRxiv via Nature

Book cover

The Little Book of Norwich

The Little Book of Norwich by Neil R. Storey was published in 2015.

This book does not pretend to be a history, concise almanac or even a guide to Norwich; instead it is a collection of ephemeral, nostalgic and miscellaneous facts about a city brimming with history and full of fascinating stories.

It has chapters on unrest, royalty, crime, entertainment, sport, religion, food and many other topics.

For example, in 1272 the citizens of Norwich burned down the local monastery, killed many people and looted everything of value. The King arrived to punish the ringleaders, who were subsequently hanged. Even the Pope got involved.

Seven hundred years later (in 1971) boxing champion Muhammad Ali visited Norwich – to promote Ovaltine.

You can read the book online via UEA Library.

SPSS screenshot

SPSS ebooks

As many of our students know, SPSS is a computer program (aka software application) used for statistical analysis. UEA Library has several ebooks about SPSS, including:

INTO Resource Centre has a print copy of Discovering Statistics Using IBM SPSS Statistics by Andy Field.

There are also YouTube videos, such as the SPSS for Beginners series.

Computer engineers

Changes afoot at UEA Library

UEA Library is changing its library management software. The current system is antique (over 17 years old) and needs replacing.

Your borrowing history and saved searches will not be preserved, but you can download them before 20th July.

Read all about it on UEA’s website.

Tesco talk

HSTalks again

HSTalks are video lectures and case studies. UEA has access to the Business & Management Collection, which consists of 1,222 talks, 53 of which have been published so far this year.

The lectures are accompanied by slides. Some have transcripts and subtitles, while some include questions.

For example: Tesco: how supply chain strategy supports retail success by Prof. Leigh Sparks of the University of Stirling. This is a “Bite-size Case Study” and lasts about 10 minutes.



ScienceAlert is a science news website.

Every day it has several news items on nature, health, space, tech, the environment, etc.

Lander Hawes

Lander’s blog

Lander Hawes’s blog offers study advice to international students.

For example:

Lander used to teach English at INTO UEA. When not teaching, he puts on dark glasses and rows boats. He also has a Facebook page.

Wikipedia logo

Citing Wikipedia

You’re not supposed to cite Wikipedia in your assignments, but hey, let’s stick it to the man. And there are occasions when citing Wikipedia is appropriate. Maybe you’re writing an assignment about Wikipedia!

For the year of publication, use the year when the Wikipedia page was last modified. This information appears at the bottom of the page:

This page was last modified on 17 August 2017, at 17:34.

Here is the format for a Harvard reference to a Wikipedia article about lithic flakes (archaeology).

In-text citation

(‘Title of article’, Year)

Channel flakes are caused by the fluting of particular Paleo-Indian projectile points ('Lithic flake', 2017).

Reference list

‘Title of article’ (Year) Wikipedia. Available at:… (Accessed: date).

'Lithic flake' (2017) Wikipedia. Available at: (Accessed: 26 June 2019).

The same format is used when citing other wikis:

'Caxambu Style Borborygmus Potion' (2018) Harry Potter Wiki. Available at: (Accessed: 27 June 2019).
'Corybas limpidus' (2018) Wikispecies. Available at: (Accessed: 27 June 2019).
'Law of Cosines/Proof 3' (2016) Proof Wiki. Available at: (Accessed: 27 June 2019).

Sherlock Holmes on TV

The Sherlock Holmes stories have been adapated many times for television and the cinema. The TV series that is most faithful to the stories is probably the one made by Granada Television between 1984 and 1994 and starring Jeremy Brett as Holmes.

There were seven seasons, grouped as follows. (The links go to playlists in BoB, where you can watch the entire series.)

  1. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1984–1985)
  2. The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1986–1988)
  3. The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (1991–1993)
  4. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1994)

Episodes can also be found on YouTube.

Watson and Holmes

Sherlock Holmes

The original Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle consist of four novels and 56 short stories, published between 1887 and 1927.

The novels are:

  1. A Study in Scarlet
  2. The Sign of the Four
  3. The Hound of the Baskervilles
  4. The Valley of Fear

The short stories are collected in five volumes:

  1. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  2. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
  3. The Return of Sherlock Holmes
  4. His Last Bow
  5. The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

You can read all of them for free at and (with the exception of The Case-Book) at Project Gutenberg.

A Study in Scarlet is the book in which Dr Watson first meets Sherlock Holmes, and therefore perhaps the best book to start with. If you prefer short stories, you could start with The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

SI logo

Revised SI units

The definitions of four SI base units – the kilogram, ampere, kelvin and mole – have been changed.

The new definitions are based on fixed numerical values of the Planck constant (h), the elementary charge (e), the Boltzmann constant (k) and the Avogadro constant (NA) respectively. They came into force on 20th May.

The seven SI base units are:

  1. time: second (s)
  2. length: metre (m)
  3. mass: kilogram (kg)
  4. electric current: ampere (A)
  5. thermodynamic temperature: kelvin (K)
  6. amount of substance: mole (mol)
  7. luminous intensity: candela (cd)

You can read more about the units and the change on the website of the Bureau international des poids et mesures (BIPM) and on Wikipedia.

Element Scarcity – EuChemS Periodic Table

Element scarcity periodic table

In the International Year of the Periodic Table here is a warning about element scarcity from the European Chemical Society:

The smartphone you may be using right now to look at this unique Periodic Table is made up of some 30 elements – over half of which may give cause for concern in the years to come because of increasing scarcity. The issue of element scarcity cannot be stressed enough. With some 10 million smartphones being discarded or replaced every month in the European Union alone, we need to carefully look at our tendencies to waste and improperly recycle such items.

The periodic table pictured is available as a PDF.

IELTS Simon is a blog of daily tips on the IELTS test.

For example, from a recent post, IELTS Speaking: slow down!:

While you may be marked down by the examiner if you hesitate too often, there’s nothing wrong with speaking a bit more slowly and carefully.

You can post comments and questions.

Dilbert comic


Shockingly, not all of our business students seem to know about Dilbert.

The comic strip has now been running for 30 years.