A key to success


Being able to competently use a computer, and a variety of software, is no longer just the domain of computer ‘geeks’. Almost every job out there now requires some level of IT skill – and having better skills is one way you can set yourself apart from the competition. These skills can also come in handy during your study, or in your free time – ever wanted to write your own blog, or design an app, or start your own business?

Lynda.com is an online learning company that helps anyone learn about business, software, technology and creative skills. It has a vast video library of interesting courses taught by industry experts. There are over 3,500 courses and over 144,000 videos, which means that there is something for everyone to be found here. Lynda.com is very easy to use and offers tutorials on everything from game design, project management, Excel, PowerPoint, Photoshop, cloud computing and so much more.

Lynda.com access is available to staff and students through the Ara Library Databases page. You’ll need to sign in using your Ara username and password (the one you use for Moodle). If you have any trouble accessing Lynda.com, please contact the library.




Academic Curiosity

With all the drama surrounding the Olympics and world affairs, it can be easy to forget that towards the end of last year, the Mars Science Laboratory, containing the Curiosity rover blasted off from Cape Canaveral. Ancient history this may be, but this evening, at about 5:30pm Christchurch time, the Curiosity Rover is set to make a dangerous descent into the Martian atmosphere, and if all goes according to plan, will land in the Gale Crater on the surface of Mars. Here’s a 5 minute video on the descent:

Although there is a significant chance that the rover will crash, as Mars has claimed several missions already, everything about the flight is so far going well.

If it makes a successful landing, Curiosity will begin experimenting on the area surrounding the landing zone. The primary mission is to search for present or past microbial life, but the scientists behind the mission have excelled themselves- the craft is loaded with experiments and sensors, which should provide a whole new understanding of the red planet.

Many of you, like me, might chose to follow the landing out of a sense of shared purpose as humanity continues to take faltering steps from our home planet. I am awestruck by our technological capabilities- that it’s possible for us to overcome all the barriers to interplanetary flight, and I can’t wait to see the news trickle back about the rover’s findings, if the landing is successful.

Those of you who are studying Engineering or Computing, however, can watch the landing with ulterior motives swimming about your devious minds, however. With stories about the commercialisation of space on the increase in the media, you might begin considering what steps might be required to spend your career in developing hardware and software to help us expand our horizons. As ever, the library is here to help, we have quite a lot of material on helping get yourself airborne on a variety of topics, like control systems, propulsion and communications technology.

If, like me, you’re more interested in watching the landing unfold, you can point your browser at NASA’s TV site, and see if the Curse of Mars will claim another victim today- or perhaps we are about to gain a host of new and fascinating information about our wandering neighbour.

New databases covering 160 subjects

The library is very pleased to announce new online resources available immediately from our Online Databases and Resources  pages.  The core resource is Proquest Central which is a multidiscipline database offering over 9745 journal titles in full text and covering 160 subjects.

In addition we have some new databases covering more specific subject areas such as ABI Inform for Business, Health and Medical Complete for Nursing, Midwifery and Medical Imaging; and a new computing database.

We also now have some databases covering areas that haven’t been well catered for in the past such as psychology , biology and social science.

In order to make way for the new resources we will be discontinuing some existing products in 2010, most notably Business Source Premier and Academic Search Elite.

Teaching staff are encouraged to explore the resources.  If you have any queries or feedback then please contact the Liaison Librarian for your school.