Information Skills

Staff in the Library can help you to improve your information retrieval skills. We offer practical workshops and a toolkit of resources to help you find information quickly and effectively to meet that all important deadline.

Many of you will have information skills talks and workshops as part of your courses. In addition to these we offer free practical workshops designed to help you find information for your assignments, dissertations and theses more quickly and effectively. Learn how to use important electronic databases such as ebrary, Scopus and Web of Knowledge, search Primo and the Library Catalogue, use RefWorks to create a bibliography, and even Google better. Our workshops help you to develop appropriate information skills for your level of study.

Find it Fast! workshops

are designed for undergraduate and taught postgraduate students. They generally last an hour and are held at lunch times in a PC classroom on floor 2 in The Sir Duncan Rice Library. You have a choice of different dates and times for each workshop.

To view our range of Find it Fast! workshops, read course descriptions, and make a booking please go to the course booking web page and search for Information Skills courses. Book early to avoid disappointment!

Materials from these Find it Fast! workshops are available online in our Find it Fast! Wiki.

Researcher Development workshops

are designed for research postgraduate students and last between 1½ and 3 hours. They cover all the essential information retrieval and management skills required at research level, and look in depth at major databases such as Scopus and Web of Knowledge.

To view our range of workshops, read course descriptions, and make a booking please go to the course booking web pages and search for Information Skills courses. Book early to avoid disappointment!

Terms and conditions for booking workshops

We respectfully ask you to observe the following rules when booking courses via the course booking web pages:

  • Book each different workshop once only. Workshops are repeated several times over the academic session to allow as many students as possible to attend, so you only need to book once.
  • Cancel your place immediately you find a clash in your timetable which prevents you from attending. It will give a student on the waiting list an opportunity to attend in your place.
  • Failure to attend: The Library Service reserve the right to withdraw you from any other forthcoming courses you have booked onto and further bookings may not be accepted if you consistently do not attend courses that you have booked on, without cancelling your booking and/or sending apologies.

How to cancel a booking

  • Go to
  • Log in using your University computer username and password
  • Click on My Bookings near the top of the screen
  • Your Confirmed Bookings will be listed
  • Select the course you want to cancel
  • Then scroll down and click Cancel Booking in the bottom right-hand corner
  • You will see confirmation of your cancellation at the top of the screen

Help and advice:

Contact the Information Consultant for your subject.

Book a workshop.

It is essential you record what you have read and referred to in your written work, both within the text (citing) and at the end of your written work (bibliography). It is vital that you acknowledge what resources – print and electronic (including the Web) - you have referred to in your assignment, dissertation or thesis. If you don’t, you can be accused of plagiarism - the unacknowledged use of other people’s words and ideas. This is cheating.

Check your course handbook or ask your supervisor about the preferred citation style for your School.

REMEMBER - you can lose marks for poor referencing.

Help and advice

Student Learning Service for advice on how to avoid plagiarism.
Library for advice on referencing and citing styles.

Library Guide: UG GEN007 Referencing and Citing (PDF).

For more information see the section on Avoiding Plagiarism.

What is RefWorks?RefWorks logo

RefWorks is web-based reference management software which makes storing references and generating bibliographies easy.

Login to RefWorks.

What does it do?

  • Stores useful references in a personal database
  • Imports references from the University of Aberdeen Library Catalogue
  • Imports references directly from external databases, e.g. Scopus, CSA and Web of Science
  • Formats bibliographies and citation styles automatically for essays, papers, reading lists and project/thesis work

We give advice and training on using this important software.

Learn more about RefWorks

RefWorks Guides and Help
RefWorks Workshops

Please note that ReWorks does not support the OSCOLA referencing style used by the School of Law.

Help and advice

Library Guide: QG RFW002 Quick Guide to RefWorks 2.0 (PDF).
Instructions for Importing Records from Information Databases into RefWorks (PDF).

Book a place on a RefWorks workshop.

Be under no illusion, plagiarism - copying another person's words or ideas without proper acknowledgment - is cheating.

It is regarded by the University as a serious academic offence that can result in disciplinary action.

Here are some practical tips on avoiding plagiarism:

  • Paraphrase in your own writing style your interpretation of the work of others and refer to these sources of information consistently both within your text and in full in your bibliography.
  • Show very clearly, by using "quotation marks", all text that is lifted directly from work belonging to someone else. Direct quotes longer than two or three lines should be inserted as a new paragraph, indented and single-spaced, to show clearly that these are not your own words. They should also be referenced both within your text and fully in your bibliography.

Help and advice

Student Learning Service for advice on how to avoid plagiarism.

Library for advice on referencing and citing styles.

Library Guide: UG GEN007 Referencing and Citing (PDF).
Law students should refer to the fourth edition of OSCOLA, the Oxford guide to legal citation, online at the Oxford Law website.

Toolkit of information skills resourcesHaving trouble meeting deadlines for assignments?

Taking too long to find information?

No idea how to write a bibliography?

Don't know where or how to start using the library?

If the answer is YES! to any of these questions you might want to investigate the toolkit of resources related to our Find it Fast! Information Skills Workshops which are designed for undergraduates and taught postgraduates...

Our Find it Fast! Wiki is a collection of resources designed to help you overcome problems finding good quality information quickly and using the information ethically, to meet that all important deadline. It contains support materials including slides from workshop presentations, worksheets and various library guides.

Visit our Find it Fast! Wiki to learn more.

The Virtual Library @ Aberdeen is a collection of links and instructions, guides and worksheets produced by staff in the Library to help you locate and search our online resources. The 'virtual library' is not a separate collection - it is a term used to describe all the resources in electronic format (including e-journals and e-books) supplied by the library. Most of them are fully integrated into our library systems, including the library catalogue.

We hope that having all these materials accessible from one interface will help you to find and use the wealth of electronic resources available to you as a member of the University of Aberdeen.