The Library may not be open physically, but we are certainly here digitally to support you all. Working from home can be challenging, but there is lots of support and software available to ease the transition.
A ‘hold’ on print books.
Whilst we can’t access the physical library, we need to be maximising the use of e-books and resources. For those who prefer print, sole reliance on electronic material can be daunting. But there are ways to improve the e-book experience by adjusting the way we view them.
The way the books look depends on the platform you are on, so it can be overwhelming. Try to download books where possible as you can open in software such as Adobe Digital Editions and Bluefire Reader.
Bluefire Reader allows you to change the font type, size and spacing and can even change the background, transforming the book into a more readable format. Bluefire is an alternative to Adobe, and it’s free!
You can even bookmark, highlight and make notes within the resource as a study tool. If the book can’t be downloaded and you are reading online, you can try a screen filter, or change the accessibility functions within your web browser.
Each browser has different settings but it’s worth taking the time to investigate if it will improve your overall reading experience. Have a look at the links below and try and adjust your browser.
Filter, filter, filter!
We are all spending more time in front of a screen; to work, shop and even socialise. Filtering the screen can reduce the glare and brightness, help with visual stress and working more comfortably. You may have used colour filters on print books before. Try Colorveil, a free software, which you can personalise to any colour you wish.
Read to me!
On the theme of reducing visual stress, why not give your eyes a rest and use a screen reader to read resources back to you? Read&Write Gold is currently available for use at home whilst we are not on campus, and you can download it directly from IT Services. If you need support using the software, there is an abundance of training material and video guides available. It also has built-in screen rulers and overlays if you would prefer to read direct from the screen.
Too many resources?
Are you finding multiple tabs and documents open on one screen a little overwhelming? Are you losing track of which page is for which subject? Try using a mind map to organise your resources. You can then organise subjects within the maps, adding hyperlinks, documents and notes to each area, easing navigation at a later date.
The University provides you with access to Mindjet MindManager whilst you are working or studying here, and it can be downloaded onto personal devices. Visit IT Services to find out more and download.
Ssssssh! Quiet please!
Working from home and struggling to find a quiet place? Block out annoying and distracting sounds with websites such as Noisli and replace them with your choice of background sounds to simulate a working environment that works for you. Perhaps the sounds of the breeze or light rain would be the perfect background tones to boost productivity. Miss the hustle and bustle of the Library café? Turn on ‘café sounds’ and pop the kettle on. Importantly, Noisli can help with relaxation too.
Take a break
New routines at home can make it harder to gain structure and find that balance between work and rest. Try using the TomatoTimer which uses Pomodoro techniques to split bursts of study with timed breaks, maximising productivity.
Software can help improve the home working experience, so perhaps give one or two of the suggestions a try. There is more support available on the Library website regarding software for other study skills and support, and you can speak to us at [email protected]
by Laura Waller