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University of York Library
Library Subject Guides

Skills Guides

Using (and re-using) the Skills Guides


Welcome to the Skills Guides: a series of pages full of help and advice for all manner of academic and digital skills.

What's it all about?

These pages have been put together by a range of support departments, including the Library, IT Services, Careers, and Academic Support.

The guides are aimed at all members of the University of York, though some sections may be more applicable to specific groups of students or staff. For more basic digital skills support we also have our IT Essentials guide.

The content of these guides is arranged across the three main themes you'll find at the top of every page:

Find & research

Help with researching a topic and looking for evidence.

Organise & analyse

Tips for keeping on top of work and digging into data.

Create & communicate

Advice for academic writing and methods for creatively presenting information.

As well as these three core themes there are two bridging themes which you might encounter from time to time:

Being critical

It's important to think about what you're doing and to constantly question. We take a look at some approaches.

Groupwork & collaboration

A look at collaborative tools and collaborative ways of working.

At the top of most Skills Guides you'll also find our Skills Underground train tracks, with links off to related guides:

The Skills Guides can be searched from the University of York website's search box, or from Google and other search engines, and there's also a searchable Index of content.

Practical Guides

Now and again on the Skills Guides you might come across a link to one of our even more in-depth Practical Guides. Very often these act like something of a course in their own right, taking you through an approach from beginning to end.

Who wrote these guides?

The Skills Guides are a collaboration between a number of support teams at the University of York:

Tailoring content

At the top right of the page you'll find a toggle that lets you focus the content on the page to either students, staff, or researchers. This primarily changes the training options you'll see displayed on pages within these guides. In some cases it will also change the text on a page to be more specific to that particular audience, or even reveal or hide pages not considered relevant for that group. We've only recently started working on this feature but we'll be adding more tailoring of content over time.

The toggle is eight objects back from the Main Content section of the page, or ten objects down from the skip button.

If, for instance, you're a member of staff looking to improve your own skills, switch the toggle to Staff. But if you were looking for content to share with students, use the Students option. The toggle adds a parameter (e.g. ?=staff) to the page's web address, and a script on the page uses this information to serve up the appropriate content. You might need to bear this in mind when sharing links.

Reusing content

Almost everything on the Skills Guides is published under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA licence so do feel free to make use of what you find on these pages!

You can link directly to a Skills Guides page, or even to a specific box on a page. You can get a link to most boxes by using the icon in the top right-hand corner of that box. Boxes even have additional links to stand-alone versions (indicated by in the top right-hand corner of most boxes as well as in our Index) should you just want to highlight specific content in isolation.

A lot of our content can also be directly embedded into webpages or the VLE. Take these boxes, for instance, like this "Reusing content" box you're reading now. You'll find most boxes indexed on our Index page, where you can also flick a toggle to show the HTML to use to embed such boxes elsewhere. You can do the same for videos and slide decks too.

Switch on the

The embed codes make use of inline frames (iframes), which are not always the most elegant way to reuse content. If you'd like help reusing our content in a more substantive way, get in touch with the Library's DISC team.


Our digital skills training sessions and Digital Wednesdays events are open to all members of the University, and run throughout termtime. Find out more on our Training page:

We also offer specialised training sessions for staff and research postgraduates.