Books on display in May: Women in STEM

This month’s print book and ebook displays spotlight women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The books are about remarkable women who made advances in their fields, despite the challenges of oppressive systems and all of the forms that harassment can take. They tell the stories of women in STEM who did not quit.

The print book shelves can be found on the main floor of the Redpath Library Building, in the McLennan-Redpath Complex, during the month of May. Take a look at the selected titles in our catalogue list for the Women in STEM print book display.

The Women in STEM ebook display has an additional 100 titles to explore online.

Beyond books, I want to highlight two electronic videos in the McGill Library collection that are worth your attention: Ms. Scientist, and Picture a Scientist.

Ms. Scientist, 2018 film (43 minutes)

Around the world the fields of scientific research and development remain a male-dominated environment. According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics less than thirty percent of the world’s researchers are women. Many women enter a career in science but leave because of roadblocks and challenges. Canada wants to change that. Brandy Yanchyk’s documentary Ms Scientist explores how Canada is trying to get female scientists to stay in the fields of science and progress to the top. Ms Scientist looks at the successes and challenges that Canada’s female scientists face. The film delves into their lives and examines the obstacles that are hindering their success such as balancing family and work, sexual harassment and unconscious bias.

Picture a Scientist, 2020 film (1 hour 37 minutes)

Picture a Scientist is a feature-length documentary film chronicling the groundswell of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists. A biologist, a chemist and a geologist lead viewers on a journey deep into their own experiences in the sciences, overcoming brutal harassment, institutional discrimination, and years of subtle slights to revolutionize the culture of science. From cramped laboratories to spectacular field sites, we also encounter scientific luminaries who provide new perspectives on how to make science itself more diverse, equitable, and open to all.

For more links, visit our Women in STEM page on the Redpath Book Display guide.

Have a lovely May!

April Book Display: English & Academic Writing

Redpath Book Display

April may be a busy time while you are completing your term papers and exams. It may also be a great time to reflect and determine what you want to accomplish in the upcoming summer vacation. How about uplifting your academic writing skills? No matter what level of study you are doing or what role you are playing in academia, good writing undoubtedly makes a positive contribution to your work. Not only does it help to make your ideas more precise and persuasive, but also it aids in your reasoning, analyzing, and critical thinking.

With that in mind, the McGill Library created a virtual book display entitled “English & Academic Writing”, consisting of recent print books, ebooks, e-videos and website resources on academic writing and English communication. They are useful for both instructors and students of various disciplines, including those whose mother tongue is not English. Selected print titles are now available for borrowing on the Redpath Book Display on the main floor of the Redpath Library (aka. the northern part of the Humanities and Social Sciences Library) during the entire month of April.

Here are some of the titles that you may want to start with:

100 tips to avoid mistakes in academic writing and presenting

100 tips to avoid mistakes in academic writing and presenting, Adrian Wallwork & Anna Southern, 2020, Springer

This ebook contains one hundred typical mistakes relating to papers, proposals, oral presentations, and correspondence with editors, reviewers, and editing agencies. While it is primarily intended for non-native English speaking researchers, it is also useful for those who are revising their works in order to have them published.

How to fix your academic writing trouble: a practical guide, Inger Mewburn, Katherine Firth, and Shaun Lehmann, 2019, Open University Press

This print book explains common feedback students receive from their instructors of a writing course, such as “Your writing doesn’t sound very academic” and “Your writing doesn’t flow”. It also provides advice on how to fix those issues.

Writing for engineering and science students: staking your claim, Gerald Rau, 2020, Routledge

This ebook is a practical guide for both international students and native speakers of English undertaking either academic or technical writing. It uses writing excerpts from engineering and science journals to explore characteristics of a research paper, including organization, length and naming of sections, and location and purpose of citations and graphics. It covers different types of writing, including lab reports, research proposals, dissertations, poster presentations, industry reports, emails, and job applications.

Academic writing for university students, Stephen Bailey, 2022, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group

This print book is designed to help with writing essays, reports and other papers for coursework and exams. It consists of four parts: The Writing Process: From finding suitable sources, through to editing and proofreading; Writing Types: Practice with common assignments such as reports and cause-effect essays; Writing Tools: Skills such as making comparisons, definitions, punctuation and style; and Lexis: Academic vocabulary, using synonyms, nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs.

“They say / I say”: the moves that matter in academic writing: with readings, Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel K Durst, and Laura J Panning Davies, 2021, W.W. Norton & Company

This text has been used in many writing courses to teach students how to structure a scholarly conversation while building their own arguments. It provides practical rhetoric templates that are useful for citing different views in the literature, for example, “In discussions of………………, a controversial issue is whether……………… . While some argue that………………, others contend that………………. .” It is definitely a helpful guide for writing your literature review.

Becoming an academic writer: 50 exercises for paced, productive, and powerful writing, Patricia Goodson, 2017, SAGE

This print title is a workbook of 50 exercises, covering both linguistic basics (e.g. grammar and vocabulary) and writing specifics in different sections of an academic work, such as abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion and conclusion.

For those whose mother tongue is not English, also feel free to watch some e-videos listed in the “Study English” and “English Composition” series.

Since it takes effort and time to improve your writing, why don’t you start the journey with a book from our book display today?

A very short holiday reading list

Winter in Mars North Polar Region Download

The holidays are right around the corner and it is a great time to catch up on your reading. Although, sometimes it is nice to keep it short. I have got a recommendation that might do the trick: Very short introductions from Oxford University Press. There are hundreds of e-books in this series, with titles in health and medicine, science and mathematics. It also includes very short introductions to topics like ageing, egyptology, and Alexander the Great.

If you are very, very short on time, we also have a nice collection of audio books on OverDrive that you can listen to on the go. For example, check out Astrophysics for people in a hurry, by Neil deGrasse Tyson (a New York Times Bestseller).

Happy [very short] holiday reading!

Image: Winter in Mars North Polar Region (NASA)

Finding E-books

Have you ever wondered how to find a book that you can read instantly from anywhere at any time? This is possible if you use an e-book (short version for electronic books).  McGill Libraries have millions of e-books in collection. They are available from various platforms with different features. Below are two upcoming workshops that you can attend and discover the secret. You may be able to find an electronic copy for your textbooks or a title for your research.

Discovering E-books on Computing and Information Technology

Date and time: September 20, 2013 from 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Location: room 313, Schulich Library of Science and Engineering

Discovering E-books on Engineering Topics

Date and time: September 25, 2013 from 12:30pm to 1:30pm
Location: Room 5 (next to the McGill Engineering Student Centre), Frank Dawson Adams Building

Beagle – the €9.90 e-reader

A tiny e-reader, called Beagle, only five inches and 128 grams, was introduced by Txtr at the Frankfurt Book Fair last week. It has no Wi-Fi embedded, and it needs to work with smartphone to add e-books.  “The main selling point is its low price – €9.90 ($12.88 USD)”. Read more at here.

At McGill University, you actually can borrow an e-reader from the Library. To find an e-book, you may explore this page or search in the e-book sub-catalogue.

Open access textbooks downloadable for free –

If you would like a quality and free e-book on a topic of your studies, might be a place to go. It provides more than 800 free textbooks in PDF format for everyone to download, even without registration. Topics cover from economics, statistics, IT, engineering, to natural science. Don’t think free things are always in poor quality. Actually, most titles on were written by authoritative authors in the field. Find a book that you are interested in at

An electronic copy of your textbook

Now you know that you can find your textbook by searching the Course Reserves Catalogue. Many students who attended the library orientation or dropped by at the library service desk asked a same question – “Is there an e-copy available for my textbook?” The answer is “it depends”. There are a few steps that you could take to find it out by yourselves:

1. Look at your course syllabus to see if there is an indication of an e-copy.

2. Search the Course Reserves Catalogue by your course number, course name, instructor etc.

3. Check the Library E-books Catalogue by your book title or author.

4. For a book published recently by Springer or Wiley, it is worthwhile to go to SpringerLink Books or Wiley InterScience Online Books to check the availability of an e-copy.

5. The library service desk staff and your liaison librarians are always willing to help you out.

More free reads

College PhysicsIf you are curious about the physical universe this free introductory College Physics textbook from OpenStax College may be just the thing you need.  It is peer-reviewed by educators and has the look and feel of a classic illustrated textbook but with a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.  It can be downloaded, edited, customized, and reused, or you can just go ahead and dedicate some time to expanding your mind with conceptual questions, problems and exercises online.

You may also be interested in Introduction to Sociology, and there are more titles to come.

Happy learning!

Image from OpenStax College 

Will You Consider a Free E-textbook?

I just read the news that University of Windsor students now have access to their textbooks in digital formats through Flat World Knowledge – one of the publishers of openly-licensed college textbooks. This reminded me of the electronic books that we have at McGill University. We have more than two million e-books in our collection! They work on a variety of platforms from e-book providers; some of them are major publishers for academic content, such as Springer, Wiley, and Palgrave Macmillan. They are accessible for  McGill students and staff for free (see instructions on how to access our online resources). You can read them online or choose to download by chapter. The Library Catalogue is a great place to start your search. For books published recently, I would recommend an extra search on the publisher’s platform through our e-books webpage. SpringerLink, the electronic content platform from Springer – a globally-known publisher in science, technology, and medicine disciplines also allows you to Buy A Print Copy For $24.99 for some of their books. McGill subscriptions in SpringerLink are indicated by a green box.