Edinburgh Napier University

Month: May 2023

A Quick Guide to Using Boolean: Top 5 Tricks

A Quick Guide to Using Boolean: Top 5 Tricks

Improve your search results with Boolean search operators.

Introduction to Boolean

First off, what the heck is Boolean you may be asking? Boolean search operators are simple terms like AND, OR and NOT or modifiers like quotation marks “”, parentheses () or an asterix*. You use these in conjunction with your search terms to help narrow down your search.

Most search engines, databases and of course library catalogues allow you to use these when looking for books or articles.

Top Tip 1: AND

This makes sure that your search results include all the words you need.

e.g. Zombies AND Aliens

It will remove any results that do not contain all these terms.

Top Tip 2: NOT

This is a great option for editing out results when searching.

e.g. Apocalypse AND Zombies NOT Aliens

Top Tip 3: Quotation marks “”

Quotation marks are one of my favourite search modifiers. Use them to make sure you have an exact match returned. This can be handy for a book or article title if you know exactly what you are looking for.

e.g. “Brave new world”

Top Tip 4: Asterix *

This little “star” is better known as a wildcard and is a pro tip for those who struggle with spelling or want to find results with a variation of the keyword.

e.g. If you use it with say the word Develop* it will return results including “development,” “developer,” and “developing.”

Top Tip 5: Parentheses ()

This is where you can start to get fancy! Use parentheses to group together keywords and control the order they will be searched for.

e.g. (Alien OR Zombie) AND Apocalypse

Now there is another Boolean operator OR (seen above helping out the zombie and alien search) which didn’t make the top 5 but is definitely top 6. Use OR to allow results using multiple keywords.

e.g. (Aliens OR Zombies OR Kittens) AND Apocalypse.

Combining Terms

The best thing about Boolean is it allows you to combine all these operators to make highly specific searches saving you time and effort trawling through pages of results.

e.g. (Aliens OR Zombies) AND Apocalypse AND “Tuesday Morning” Start*


Our LibrarySearch Library catalogue helps you to get started with this. Simply click on “Advanced Search” and you will see options to use Boolean operators.

Screenshot of Librarysearch Boolean search operators

So why not give them a go today!

By Juliet Kinsey

Read more study tips in our article on preparing for exams.


Scotland’s Gala Days

Scotland’s Gala Days


Scotland’s Gala Days take place in the months of May and June. A Scottish tradition of gala weeks in full swing. It’s a time for towns to get together and celebrate their history and culture. There will be sports days, horse-riding, fancy-dress. And don’t forget float parades with pipe and brass bands. And almost always there will be a gala queen who will be crowned. The queen, her maids or attendants and sometimes a king are usually chosen from primary 7 pupils. It’s seen as a rite of passage before moving on to secondary school. The queen is crowned by a lady of importance in the community such as a councillor or sometimes by the previous year’s queen. Often the homes of the queen and her entourage were decorated with colourful arches, but in recent years some families have really gone to town with their home displays!

The celebrations vary across the regions. In the central belt gala weeks were very often associated with the coal mining communities such as Newtongrange.  Gala celebrations took place to mark successful wins for workers’ rights or to raise some cheer during tough economic times. The first gala day in Scotland is thought to have been held in 1770 in Loanhead. When miners – and their children – from the Dryden Colliery were invited to a feast to celebrate the birthday of the landowner, Lord Lockhart of Carnwath. Now most have set weeks each year so as not to coincide with neighbouring towns and will have a wide range of events for all the family.

Gala Days in the borders

In the Borders towns such as Hawick and Selkirk the week is all about the common riding. This involves “ride outs” around the town borders, re-enacting the old medieval practice for the local lord or clan leader to appoint a leading townsperson. They would then ride the clan’s boundaries, or “marches”, to protect their lands and prevent reivers from stealing cattle. Today a local young man will be elected to lead the common riding. Often called the cornet lad he has a lass to accompany him. And some towns such as Lockerbie also have sports days, fancy dress competitions and of course a queen.

Gala Days on the coasts

Coastal community gala weeks (such as Newhaven and Stromness) celebrate their connections to fishing with some of the queens arriving by boat to be crowned. There will often be water-based events such as raft races as well as the usual fancy dress competitions and sports days.

Hopefully you will be able to get along to a gala week event and let’s hope for good weather for all Scotland’s gala days.

Use Library Search to find books and journal articles on events, social history and Scottish traditions.

Search on You Tube to view footage of old gala weeks, and common riding events.

Photo source Michelle Henderson

You can read more about Scottish Traditions like Burns Night

Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan Doyle

All the clues are there in the first few pages: the narcotics, the torpor, the scratching on the violin, the trusty but plodding assistant. It’s not long before we’re given a treatise on “the science of deduction and analysis” and the use of the word “elementary”. This is our first introduction to the world’s most famous consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes, who made his debut in the long story, A Study in Scarlet, published in 1887.

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes caught the reading public’s attention with his cold, calculating logic, and he went on to solve many seemingly insoluble cases, always accompanied by his loyal companion, Dr Watson.

So popular is Sherlock Holmes that he has been reincarnated in film many times over, most notably by Basil Rathbone, and more recently by Robert Downey Jnr, and Benedict Cumberbatch.

Doyle’s Life

But he is, of course, a fictional creation, spun from the imagination of Edinburgh doctor, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. After graduating from Edinburgh university and studying in Vienna, Conan Doyle set up his own medical practice in the south of England. It didn’t do well, and to supplement his income he turned his hand to creative writing. His Holmes adventure stories were immediately successful and ensured that Conan Doyle kept writing them until they ran into several volumes.

To Conan Doyle’s lifelong chagrin, the success of the Sherlock Holmes stories overshadowed his other literary work. Who has heard of his 14th century knight, Sir Nigel, or his Napoleonic war hero, Brigadier Gerard? History was Conan Doyle’s great passion, and he wrote many fictional and non-fiction accounts of great historical events, and published his own psychic research into spiritualism.

It’s Conan Doyle’s birthday today. A pub named after him still stands on the corner of Picardy Place, the street in which he was born. Why not pop in and raise a toast? Better still, log into LibrarySearch and discover his many stories, and the films, for yourself:


Photo source Sandip Roy


By Lesley McRobb

Have a love for reading about authors, you can read about Charles Dickens 


Celebrating Edward de Bono

Celebrating Edward de Bono

To celebrate Edward de Bono’s birthday on the 19th May here is a short post about his life.

Who is Edward de Bono?

Edward de Bono was a Maltese/British businessman, born on this day in 1933. He made it his mission to teach his thinking methods to governments and businesses around the world. He wrote 84 books that have been translated into 46 languages, but he’s perhaps best known for his “six thinking hats”.  These six hats – or different aspects of thinking – are colour coded to denote control, creativity, feelings, positivity, caution and factual information.

De Bono believed that by learning how to use these different ways of thinking, we can all become more effective and work with greater collaboration and communication in our personal and professional lives. It was his passion to prove that creative and effective thinking can be taught and learned using structures and systematic techniques.

While his business methods became hugely influential, de Bono was not without his detractors. Some academic critics say his ideas weren’t tested and don’t stand up to scrutiny when they are.

Lateral Thinking

When Edward de Bono coined the term “lateral thinking” in 1967, he wasn’t inventing a new concept. Instead, it was just a different way of looking at an old one.  De Bono took his inspiration from the behaviour of self-organizing information systems and insisted that the best thinking didn’t have to be linear, sequential or logical, but could also move sideways. The term lateral thinking became so popular that it soon entered the Oxford English Dictionary.

Why not make up your own mind? We have his full range of titles which you’ll find by logging into LibrarySearch.

Check out: Teach yourself to think, Simplicity or The happiness purpose to begin opening your mind.

To mark his birthday, I’m going to dip into one or two of his books. I’m new to this thinking lark, so I’m going to start off with the basics:

By Lesley McRobb

Read more on our blog by Lesley like International Haiku Poetry Day

Aye Write

Aye Write!

It’s not often we give a shout-out to our west coast cousins, but this month we want to sing Glasgow’s praises high. Congratulations to the 2023 Aye Write festival for arranging a cracking programme of events.


What is Aye Write!

Founded in 2005, this literary festival has gone from strength to strength, and this year 175 international authors are participating in more than 120 events between 19th and 27th May, with a spinoff Wee Write festival on 3rd June for the little ones in our lives.

They’ll be speaking on topics as diverse as fiction, climate and the environment, music, politics, health issues, social activism and my own personal favourite subject – food.

There are also creative writing classes available if you fancy yourself as a budding novelist or poet. And there will be musical entertainment too, as well as an open mic poetry session.  With so many different events, there is bound to be something to appeal to anyone interested in reading, writing, and engaging with the cultural and social worlds around them.

Aye Write Festival

The festival has always been housed in the impressive Mitchell Library – a good enough reason in itself to visit Glasgow.  And this year the festival organisers have added the Royal Concert Hall as a bonus venue.




We, of course, are unbiased in our support of the festival, so we don’t want to pick out particular events or authors. Oh, all right. We can’t resist highlighting one event from the Wee Write festival. It’s never too early to get wee ones into reading and books. Indiana Bones is a magical talking dog! He’s on a perilous adventure and sounds like a very clever boy.


By Lesley McRobb

You can read more about writing posts 

Photo source Aaron Burden

National Limerick Day

National Limerick Day

National Limerick Day celebrates Limericks. A limerick is a short, often humorous, and sometimes rude poem consisting of five lines. The first, second and fifth lines should rhyme with each other, and the third and fourth lines should rhyme with each other. The first line usually introduces a person and place, and the place name will be at the end of the line eg.

There was a Young Lady of Dorking,
Who bought a large bonnet for walking;
But its colour and size,
So bedazzled her eyes,
That she very soon went back to Dorking.

This establishes the rhyme scheme for the second and fifth lines. Due to their short and simple structure limericks are a popular form among amateur poets.

Although the word “limerick” is a reference to the Irish city and county, it may be derived from a form of nonsense verse parlour game which included the line “Will/won’t you come up to Limerick” and it is believed that limericks actually originated in England.

Edward Lear

They were popularized by Edward Lear in his books A Book of Nonsense (1846) and More Nonsense Pictures, Rhymes, Botany, etc (1872). He wrote 212 limericks which would accompany an absurd illustration on the same subject. Amongst the most famous of these is the opening poem from A Book of Nonsense:


Feeling inspired? Why not try writing your own limerick, you might be interested in reading more about them. You can use LibrarySearch to access several e-books and articles. And if you are interested in poetry there are over 1,500 poetry books at Merchiston campus library and thousands more e-books available online. You can also read Edward Lear’s work online here.

By Vivienne Hamilton


Read more articles on unusual days such as May the Fourth and World sleep day

King Charles III’s Coronation

King Charles III’s Coronation

On Saturday it was the coronation of King Charles III. Millions around the world will be watching the ceremony taking place at Westminster Abbey. Charles was be the 40th monarch crowned at the Abbey since 1066.

The coronation ceremony simply put is the crowning ceremony, where the St Edward’s crown will be bestowed upon Charles’s head. The crown was designed and made for King Charles II in 1661. It is made of solid gold, contains more than 444 precious stones and weighs over 2kg. The ceremony itself is more of religious importance than constitutional, with an oath to God and to the public pledge.

As millions watche the ceremony, would you like to know some interesting coronation facts? Did you know, for example, that there were monarchs that didn’t have even a coronation?

Coronation Facts

Let’s go all the way back to the beginning. Although coronations have taken place at Westminster Abbey since 1066, the first one didn’t even take place in London; it took place in the city of Bath and was the coronation of King Edgar in 975AD.

Since then,  we have had 3 monarchs that didn’t have a coronation. The first was King Edward V who,  shortly after he was named King,  was locked away in the Tower of London and eventually murdered, presumably by his uncle King Richard III. The second was Lady Jane Grey who inherited the throne from her cousin Edward VI (the son of Henry VIII).  After 9 days she was executed by Edward’s older sister Mary for high treason.  Lastly, the 3rd monarch was Edward VIII who abdicated before his coronation.

And another little fact is Queen Victoria’s coronation was referred to as a ‘botched coronation’ as so many things went wrong, including an elderly peer falling down the stairs and a bishop announcing the ceremony was over when that was not the case.

Whether or not you decided to watch the coronation we hope you had a good bank holiday weekend!

You can read more about the coronation on the BBC

Interesting in reading about history, read about our War Poets Collections

Source of photo Benjamin Elliot 

Returning borrowed items

Returning borrowed items

It’s almost the end of term and time to take a break from studies and relax. You may be planning to return home, go on holiday or do some work experience, but before you go-just a quick reminder to return the books, laptops and ergonomic equipment which you might not need to use over the summer. It’s time to return borrowed items to the library.

Information on returning borrowed items

Books and laptops can be returned even when the helpdesks are closed, as long as there is access to campus. Ergonomic equipment should be returned to the helpdesks during staffed hours.
Libraries will be open throughout the summer should you wish to bring items back later in the summer. And if you have any questions, you can always ask. 
If you have fines which you would like to query, you can submit a fine appeal form along with any supporting evidence, and you will receive an answer promptly. Information on fines and charges can be found here.
We hope you enjoy your summer break and look forward to seeing you again in September. Remember- it’s never too late to return items to us! One book was returned over a hundred years later to a San Francisco public library. And you can read about  some rather valuable late returns

Good luck with your exams and final assignments

Also, remember we have our virtual relaxation space  

Additionally, our online wellbeing area. 

Each campus library has a relaxation space and wellbeing areas too

By Vivienne Hamilton

photo source: unspash Kimberly Farmer  

National Paranormal Day

National Paranormal Day

National Paranormal Day: May 3rd 2023


There are things out there and around us we cannot explain. Stranger than fact or fiction or known to science. An eerie feeling, an unexpected sound in an empty room or building. Something you swore you saw out of the corner of your eye but isn’t there anymore. Was it just your imagination having fun or is it something other people have experienced and seen too.

Ghost Stories

Unsettling vibes, a cold chill running down your spine as your mind begins to move into hyper drive. Stories of ghosts and hauntings both benign and not so, come to mind, when angry poltergeist spirts want you gone. You take the hint and walk away whilst trying to remain composed and thinking about something else, other than the last horror movie you’ve seen. Well guess what……Shhhhh, this is between me and you, Craiglockhart campus has its own paranormal secrets too, see Ghost Stories: A spooky tale of haunted Campuses by clicking on this link below:

Ghost Stories: A spooky tale of haunted Campuses – The Library Blog (napier.ac.uk)

Or share with us your own paranormal experiences in the comments box below, just for fun, if you dare…


International Paranormal day, bringing together people who have experienced or are interested in strange unexplainable things. To share their stories and possibly shed light on how common these mysteries, we cannot quite explain through scientific or other means, are.

Read about our spooky campuses and paranormal encounters at Craiglockhart Campus

or celebrate the day with a ghost tour around Edinburgh through city of tours

photo source Florian Lidin

By Mo Almas

May Day

May Day

Ancient Europe

May Day today, the start of Summer. Celebrations can date to the Ancient Romans and Celts. The ancient Celts celebrated the 1st of May with the festival of Beltane throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Island of Man. Beltane festival was marked with bonfires to symbolise the ‘return of life and fertility’ associated with the beginning of Summer. Whilst, the Romans celebrated May Day as a five-day celebration to worship the Roman Goddess of flowers, Flora.

 Medieval Europe

The medieval times brought the tradition of the maypole dance, the exact date and place of origins of the maypole dance is not clear. However, it is still celebrated today. Like the bonfires of the Ancient Romans and Celts, the maypole symbolises fertility. It is a tall wooden pole decorated with floral garlands. And people danced around the pole with the joy that summer is returning.

The Industrial Age

Moving on May Day has become symbolic of workers’ rights which originated in the United States during the 19th century. In Chicago, in 1884, the American Federation of Labour proclaimed that the eight-hour working day would become legal after the 1st May 1886. And worker strikes and protests began for this proclamation. The US government sent in the police and the tension resulted in the Haymarket Riot. In the years after, workers around the United States and Europe demonstrated on the May 1st, in commemoration of the Haymarket riots. Later the Soviet Union would also proclaim May 1st as a workers’ holiday.


Today, perhaps May Day is less seen as either a worker’s holiday or rural festivities. However, the day is still a public holiday in some countries and some festivities continue.

You can read about May and Springtime

Photo source Kristine Tanne

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