Planning your revision – info tip

Boy reading in sunshineEaster’s coming up fast, and you’re probably still completing assignments for the end of term. Exams might still seem a long way off now but they’ll be here before you know it. It’s a good time to start thinking about your revision – and the Library and Study Advice are here to help.

Working out a schedule

It’s important to have a plan, to make sure you have time to cover all the topics you need to. Avoid making your revision plan too detailed and prescriptive though – you will need to build in time for relaxation, exercise – and the unexpected!

The Study Advice guide on preparing for exams includes tips for planning your revision, including how to work out your revision schedule. You might also find our video tutorials on time management helpful – we have tips on planning and avoiding procrastination, for instance.

Finding materials for revision

You will probably start by reading through your lecture notes, and then looking at texts on your reading list. The Library has guidance on finding different types of publication as well as videos that will help you to get the most out of the Library.

You should also check the subject resources and guidance for information resources in your topic – much more reliable than ‘just Googling it’. And remember that, whether you’re revising on or off campus, our ebooks and ejournals are accessible 24/7.

Where will you revise?

It’s good to think about the place that you study best. Some students prefer to study at home or in Halls, and 24/7 access to e-resources makes this a viable option without taking mountains of books home. If you do this, make sure you make a schedule and stick to it – it’s easy to watch just one more episode of that box set!

Many students prefer to study in the Library, and study spaces will be available in the URS Building as usual. However it’s worth considering some of the other places to study on campus; being somewhere different may help you to avoid distractions. Or consider other places off-campus like public libraries. Going to a new place that you’ve identified as a ‘place to do revision’ can help you to focus.

Wherever you revise, remember to take breaks. Library@URS may be open 24 hours but that doesn’t mean you have to work through the night – your brain needs rest and time for processing information.


Making your revision effective

If you can find six minutes in your busy schedule, you have enough time to watch the Study Advice video tutorial on effective revision – and save yourself a lot of wasted time. Our guide on preparing for exams also has tips on revision and memory techniques. If you’re taking exams in the UK for the first time, have a look at our information on assessment by examination in UK higher education to give you a clearer idea of how they may differ from what you have done in the past.

Remember that the purpose of revision is not to memorise everything you can find about the subject, but to prepare yourself to answer exam questions. Check the Past Paper archive on the Exams Office website to find examples of questions for your modules which you can use to write practice answers – to time and by hand, ideally. We have a Study Seminar on Writing for University Exams: Wed 14 March 2018, 2-3 in Palmer 104 – no need to book. And have a look at our video tutorials on exams for guidance on the best way to prepare for different kinds of exams.

This is one of a series of tips to help you save time and effort finding or using information.

This tip was written by Kim Shahabudin, Michelle Reid, Sonia Hood and Erika Delbecque (Study Advice team).

Count on statistics – info tip

You’ve come up with a great argument for your essay, but how do you prove it one way or the other? Well, one way is by using statistical evidence to support your position, and it might just get you a few extra marks as well.

What statistical sources are available?

Pie chart showing energy sourcesThe Library can provide you with access to a wealth of statistics covering a wide range of countries and subject areas.

The best sources of current statistics are online. For help on where to start looking go to the detailed guide to finding statistics.

A host of British statistics, covering agriculture, the environment, business, economic indicators, law, health, population and education, are freely available via the Office for National Statistics or as part of the Census data.

European statistics covering many of the same areas as the British statistics are available via the Eurostat service.

Comparative international statistics are produced by a number of bodies, the FAO, UNESCO, the IMF, the OECD and the World Bank amongst others, and many of these are available via the UK Data Service (don’t let the name fool you). You do have to register separately with this provider but it is free.

If statistics are particularly relevant to your subject area, your liaison librarian may have written a guide to statistical sources in your subject – check for one for your subject.

Some historical statistics are available online, for example in International Historical Statistics Online, but you may also find what you are looking for amongst our books and periodicals. Search the Enterprise catalogue and include the words ‘statistics’ with the subject of your choice. Try not to be too specific – a more general search will produce better results.

If you need help interpreting the statistics you find then why not ask for help from Maths Support.

Need further help?

If you need further help contact your subject liaison librarian who will be happy to help!

This is one of a series of tips to help you save time and effort finding or using information.

This tip was written by Gordon Connell, Liaison Team Manager for Business & Social Sciences.

Help shape the future of the Library website

Students working together on a laptopThe Library is planning to redesign its website over the next 18 months, and we’re keen to know what you like about the current site and what you think could be done better. Your input is vital to ensure the site meets your needs and those of future students.

To do this, we’re holding a student focus group on Wednesday 7th March at 3pm. There will be discussions about the current website and opportunities for you to make suggestions about what you’d like to see in the Library’s updated site. For those who are interested, there will be a 1-1 follow-up session to test out some possible enhancements to our website, as well as the opportunity to get a sneak peek of the new look for online reading lists!

The focus group and usability testing will each last around 1 hour. As a thank you for participating, you’ll receive a £10 Amazon voucher – students who attend both sessions will get an additional voucher – and light refreshments on the day.

If you’re interested, please get in touch with our Library Web Manager, Jackie Skinner, at with your name and student number before Friday 2nd March.

Cite it right – and avoid unintentional plagiarism! – info tip

You may think that advice on avoiding plagiarism doesn’t apply to you, because you’re not planning to buy an essay from the internet, or copy someone else’s work. But you may not be aware that it is possible to plagiarise unintentionally if:

  • you’re not aware of the differences between referencing at university and any referencing you may have been used to doing previously;
  • you haven’t been meticulous about keeping records of your reading;
  • you don’t know how to use references in your academic writing to support your discussion and critical analysis.

It’s important to take referencing seriously and not just guess, or assume that you know how to do it. The consequences can be serious with marks deducted – it can even lead to accusations of academic misconduct.

However, it can be confusing when you have advice and guidance on referencing from so many different sources. It’s tempting to just Google it! But that’s far less likely to give you the right answer than guidance produced at your own university. You should always check your own Course Handbook first for advice (it will be on Blackboard).

Our Citing References guide combines previous guidance from the Library and Study Advice to cover the why, what, when and how of referencing in a single place. Study Advice video tutorials on referencing are embedded in the guide, which includes:

You could also look at The Academic Integrity Toolkit, which shows how understanding referencing is an important part of studying at university and ‘becoming a graduate’ generally. The Toolkit includes tips, explanations and exercises (with answers) to help you develop your understanding of essential skills including:

If you’re a Part 1 undergraduate and have enrolled on Study Smart, you could also go back over the relevant guidance in Week 1.

The guidance below focuses on three important points to help you avoid unintentional plagiarism.

References in a footnote1.Know when to include a reference

Whenever you include an idea that you have gained from your reading in an assignment, you must ensure that you reference it correctly, both in the text and at the end in your reference list or bibliography. If you use the original words you have found in your reading, you must mark them with quotation marks, even if you only use part of the sentence. It is not enough to give the details of where the words came from; they must be marked out, or it will look as if you are claiming them as your own words. If you are writing the idea up in your own words, don’t be tempted to just change a few words. If you use quotations inadequately or paraphrase badly it will certainly be viewed as poor academic practice and may subject your work to penalties. It may even be seen as plagiarism.

Watch this brief video tutorial on using paraphrases.

See Library and Study Advice guidance on using quotes and paraphrases.

2. Develop good note-taking practices

Ever looked at your notes and thought, “I wonder where that came from?” or “I wonder if those are my words or copied from the text?” It’s frustrating when you can’t be sure – but it could cause you problems if you use the material without being able to reference it accurately. To avoid this, make it a habit to have good record-keeping practices. Always note the details of each text you use (author, title, year) when you start writing notes on your reading; include page numbers as you go along, even if you are not copying text directly but writing the ideas in your own words; have a system of markers to indicate if something is a quote (put in quotation marks), an idea explained in your own words, or a query or new idea stemming from what you’re read (perhaps an asterisk *). The Study Advisers have guidance on effective note-taking and a brief video tutorial on critical note-taking with more suggestions.

If you’re using an e-book, you may be able to make notes electronically as you’re reading the text. See the section in our LibGuide on Studying with e-books for more information. If you have an online reading list, you can also make brief notes on this – our LibGuide page on What else can I do with my list? has details.

You might also consider using reference management software to keep details of your reading including all the bibliographic information. EndNote Web is a basic tool that works with Word to add citations to your written work and constructs a bibliography at the end. It is free too.  If you have a large number of references to manage you might choose the more sophisticated Desktop EndNote. For advice on which version to use, and for self-paced training guides on EndNote, or book a place on a training workshop, see the Library’s web pages.

3. Know what to do if you can’t find all the details of a reference

bibliographic details screencast screencapIf you have a quote but don’t know where it came from, try typing it into Google. You may find it’s better to use a short phrase rather than the whole quote; try to find a grouping of words that is less common. If you have some details of the text, you could try looking at your reading list or searching the Library catalogue. You can also look back through your Library account to see the titles of books you’ve borrowed. If you have the author and title of a journal article or even just the title of the journal and a date it may be possible to find the complete reference in Summon or one of the Library’s databases. What you must never do is invent details, or include things in your assignment if you cannot be sure about the source. This may lead to accusations of academic misconduct.

For more help watch this brief video tutorial on how to find bibliographic details.

Need more help?

If you’re still confused, or you have a specific question about referencing that isn’t answered in our guide, you can always contact your Liaison Librarian or the Study Advice team to discuss this in person. Just remember to do it in plenty of time – the day your assignment is due to be submitted is not ideal!

This is one of a series of tips to help you save time and effort finding or using information.

This tip was written by Dr Kim Shahabudin, Study Adviser and Caitlin McCulloch, Trainee Liaison Librarian.

Take the stress out of referencing with our EndNote Web workshops!

Students working together on a laptopThere are still spaces available on our upcoming EndNote Web workshops for undergraduates and masters students.

Come along to learn how to use EndNote Web to…

  • store details of the books and articles you read
  • download references from databases such as the Web of Science
  • insert citations in your Word documents
  • build a bibliography in a style of your choosing at the click of a button

Workshop times

Wednesday 21 February, 14:00 – 15:30
Wednesday 7 March, 14:00 – 15:30

Book your place

Book your place via the ‘Library course bookings’ link on the RISISweb portal. The bookings link is located in the ‘Actions’ tab if you’re a student. If you’re a member of staff click on ‘Specialist Actions’ in the ‘Specialist Actions’ tab.

This workshop is part of the Student Training and Experience Programme (STEP) and counts towards the RED Award.

Can’t make these dates?

Contact your Liaison Librarian who can offer individual advice on using EndNote Web.

Getting help with your dissertation – info tip

A shelf of books and some lightsNo matter how many essays you’ve written, working on a dissertation or research project can be overwhelming. They can involve lots of new skills from deciding on research questions through to those tricky final citations.

Whatever stage you are at, there is lots of help available from the Library and Study Advice team!

Starting out: Search strategies and finding information

It can be a little daunting starting such a big project so you might want to start with the Study Advice guide on dissertations and major projects or their video on defining your research question.

Once you have sorted your research questions you will need to start researching your topic. Look at the Library subject guide for your department to find key databases in your area. There is also a guide to doing a literature search, the LibLearn tutorials on Blackboard, or you could watch our videos on literature searching if you would like a break from reading!

If you are struggling to find the information that you need then you can contact the Liaison Librarian for your subject.

railroad tracksStaying on track

Once you have started your research the Study Advice team have some resources to help you keep going. If you are trying to tackle the literature you have found, it might be a good idea to watch their videos on reading academic texts and critical notetaking.

With large projects like dissertations it is easy to feel like you have lots of time left only to find the deadline creeping up on you. When you are trying to balance your dissertation with lectures, other coursework and revision it is easy to fall behind so take a look at the Study Advice video on managing your time to get some tips.

Dissertations and research projects can also be harder to structure than a normal essay due to their size. This Study Advice video on structuring your dissertation has some helpful suggestions to get you started.

Writing up and referencing

When you have a structure in place you will be ready to start writing up. If this seems a little overwhelming take a look at the Study Advice guidance on writing up your dissertation.

As it is a longer piece of writing than you are likely to have written before it is a good idea not to leave your referencing until the last minute – you don’t want to lose precious marks because you ran out of time to format your bibliography! Luckily there is a way you can speed this process up; EndNote Web is a reference manager which can store details of what you have read, insert references into Word and automatically format your bibliography. There is a detailed guide on the Library website to get you started.

If you choose to insert your citations manually, and are not sure how to reference a particular resource or would like a refresher, there is lots of guidance on the Citing References guide. But don’t forget to check your student handbook for details of the referencing style required by your department.

Further help

If you would like more information you can contact your Liaison Librarian or the Study Advice team.

Good luck with your research!

This is one of a series of tips to help save you time and effort finding or using information.

This tip was written by:

  • Ruth Ng & Karen Drury, Liaison Librarians for Art, Typography and the Henley Business School
  • Sonia Hood and Dr Michelle Reid, Study Advisers

Overwhelmed by reading? – info tip

If your resolution this term is to be more efficient when studying, a good area to focus on is your reading and note-making. Independent reading and taking notes are likely to make up a large part of your study time at university, so a few small adaptations to your reading strategies could potentially save you a lot of time over the term.

Reading with a purpose

The Study Advice team has a guide on managing academic reading which includes ideas on how to select material, deciding how much to read, and reading techniques. We also have a brief video tutorial on reading academic texts that introduces the kind of reading needed for academic work and appropriate strategies.

To get started, use this simple three-step plan to make your reading more active and targeted:

 1. Understand the purpose for your reading:

2. Think about what you need to find out:

Ask yourself what you already know about the topic, from previous lectures, seminars or wider knowledge. Use this to identify your gaps and what you need to find out – it can be useful to phrase this as a series of questions so you can then search for answers to those questions.

3. Identify where you can find this information:

Your reading list is often a helpful place to start – the Library has a guide to understanding your reading list. But to get the best marks you will most likely need to go beyond your reading list – see the Library guide on doing your literature search for information on where to look, effective search tips, finding the items you need. For targeted resources and more advice on finding information in your subject, take a look at your subject resources pages or contact your subject liaison librarian.

An open notebook and pensNote this!

Efficient reading goes hand-in-hand with good note-making, so if you feel you are being slowed down by taking too many, or too few notes, have a look at our guide to effective note-taking and our video tutorial on critical note-taking.

The secret is not trying to capture everything you’ve read (or you’ll just end up with more notes than there are pages in the book itself!) but to keep good records so you know where to find the information again when you need it. Watch this short video tutorial on finding bibliographical details you need for note-making and referencing. If you find it hard to keep track of your references, consider using reference management software, such as EndNote.

Spending too long reading?

Reading is a potentially open-ended task – there is always one more book or journal article in the Library that you could read. If you feel your reading is taking too long, have a look at the Study Advice guides on managing your time and our video tutorial on how to make more hours in the day

If you find it difficult to focus on your reading, list the things that distract you and take steps to deal with these distractions. For example, disable pop-up notifications on your phone if you know social media can easily draw your attention away from your reading. Another helpful strategy is to think about the time of day when you are most focused and productive, and use your best thinking time to tackle the most difficult texts.

Putting limits around your reading time and stopping it from becoming an endless task can also improve your efficiency and your motivation! Make an estimate of how much time you need to do your reading, break your reading down into manageable chunks, and schedule it into a weekly study timetable. For more advice on how to make one, watch our video tutorial on making a study timetable.

Need more help?

If you need more advice on how to manage your reading and improve your note-taking techniques, contact the Study Advice team to book an appointment.

This is one of a series of tips to help you save time and effort finding or using information.

This tip was written by Dr Michelle Reid and Erika Delbecque, Study Advisers.

Writing or speaking? Captivate your audience with multimedia – info tip

Planning a poster, presentation or report? Adding an image, video or audio clip can help your audience understand your ideas and engage them with your argument.

The Library has a number of sources of multimedia which you can use in your coursework assignments and teaching. Why not explore some of the resources listed below in order to enrich your projects with pictures, audio and video that illustrate your point?

Multimedia can be a persuasive addition to your argument – but remember to consider it critically, as with any source, and reference images and clips appropriately giving credit to the original source.


Our main resource for images is Britannica Image Quest – it includes over 2.7 million images from various collections including National Geographic, Getty Images, National History Museum and more.

University image collections

The University also has several image collections available – Special Collections have many images of the objects in their collections on their website which can be used in unpublished and non-commercial works. Special Collections covers many areas including Samuel Beckett, early English coins, early anatomy books and publishers’ archives. Please contact them if you want to know more about using these images.

Video & Audio clips

Our main collection of videos and clips is Box of Broadcasts (BoB), where you can view over 2 million TV & radio broadcasts from free-to-view channels from the 1990s to the present day. Create a clip from a film, documentary or news item, or search and view clips and playlists from academics at other UK universities. Videos can be streamed for use in teaching materials or student coursework, but only in the UK.

Get on the right side of the law!

All the resources listed here have guidance on how you may use the content on the access page to help you operate within the rules! For further guidance on using multimedia for educational purposes legally, see the University’s advice on copyright.

Citing multimedia

Like everything you refer to in your academic work, you need to cite the author of your image or clip and where you got it from – see our advice on how to cite different types of material or the BUFVC’s guide on citing audiovisual materials.

There are lots of other resources for images, video and audio available – some specifically for certain subjects. See what’s available on our image and sound page.

Need further advice?

For more guidance contact your subject liaison librarian.

This is one of a series of tips to help you save time and effort finding or using information.

This tip was written by Natalie Guest, Multimedia Manager.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – info tip

‘Tis the season to be jolly and with over 600 festive-themed items the Library has lots of great resources on hand to add a bit of Christmas cheer to your holiday.  So take a break from the text-books and journal articles and see what else the Library has to offer!


Christmas favourites (for kids of all ages!)

classics xmas

The Night Before Christmas – C. C. Moore (1985); A Christmas Carol – C. Dickens (1983); The Snowman –R. Briggs(1987)

Why not enjoy a little bit of festive nostalgia or introduce these Christmas classics to a new generation? If you’d rather try something new, there are many fun and beautifully illustrated options in our Teaching Practice collection too.

These books are designed for Education students to use in schools, but can be borrowed by all to enjoy over the break!






crafts xmas

The Christmas Craft Book – T. Berger(1990) and Christmas Crafts – H. Devonshire, J. Lancaster, L. Wright (1990)

Getting crafty!

If you enjoy being creative or need a last minute gift, you might get some fun ideas from our Christmas crafts books!  There are some lovely ideas for lanterns, candle holders and of course, that perfect accessory for any student or bookworm, bookmarks!







A (not quite) silent night

cds for xmas

CDs: Christmas Music (2003) and Christmas Around Europe (2002)

If your eyes are weary from all of your course reading, maybe some peaceful seasonal music will help your holiday spirit.  The Library has classical Christmas CDs that are perfect for relaxing after a busy day of festive fun.






Christmas adaptations

The Highway Rat – J. Donaldson/A. Scheffler (2011), A Christmas Carol – C. Dickens (1983), Little Women – L.M. Alcott (1953), Ratburger and Grandpa’s Great Escape – both D. Walliams (2012, 2015).


From classics such as A Christmas Carol and Little Women to new children’s books like the Highway Rat and Grandpa’s Great Escape, this year’s Christmas TV schedule is crammed full of book adaptations. If you fancy getting a headstart on them they’re all here – and you’ll be able to answer the immortal question: which is better – the book or the adaptation? (We’re definitely not biased…)




DVD delights

xmas dvds

DVDs: Shrek (2001); Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) and Gladiator (2005)

If all else fails, pick out some classic films from our DVD collection to enjoy with some turkey sandwiches and the last of the mince pies!

Any problems?

All the items in this post can be found on the Library Catalogue. Remember to keep renewing your loans whilst you are away, as loan periods remain the same all year.



This is one of a series of tips to help save you time and effort finding or using information

This tip was written by Bethan Davies, Caitlin McCulloch and Katie Moore, Trainee Liaison Librarians.

E-books: access key texts wherever you are! – info tip

Are all the print copies of the book you need to read out on loan? Have you reached the limit on the number of books you can borrow at any one time from the Library but you still need to read more? Is it cold and raining and you just don’t want to leave your room? No problem – the Library may have an e-book! E-books are available to you 24/7 from any device which is connected to the internet so are great when you’re off-campus. If you haven’t used e-books before, or want to make sure you’re getting the best experience, have a look at our LibGuide on e-books.

Finding e-books

You can find e-books using either Enterprise or Summon. Enter your search terms into the search box, then refine your results. On Enterprise you will need to choose the Online and Book filters on the left-hand side; on Summon you can select the Publication Type E-book from the filters on the left-hand side. See the Library’s guide on Summon for tips on how to make your results even more specific to what you need.

Accessing e-books

It’s important to know that our e-books are not all available on the same platform. Take a look at the Library’s page on e-books for a list of the different available platforms and more information on what they will let you do.

Woman using laptopAlthough all our e-books can be accessed from any device with an internet connection, most e-book platforms do not automatically re-format the size of the text to fit your device. For the best viewing experience we would recommend accessing our e-books from a PC or laptop computer.

Most of our e-books use online e-reader software which is integrated into the platform, so you should not need to download any additional software. For some e-books you will need to download the relevant chapters in PDF format to view them. You will need Adobe Acrobat to read these.

Some of our e-books can be downloaded in full, but you may be prompted to install Adobe Digital Editions software to view them on your device. This software is different to Adobe Acrobat.

How can e-books help you to study smarter?

E-books have features which you can use to help you in your studies. For instance, you can search the text electronically to find key words or phrases. You can easily print off specific pages from most e-books, saving you the trouble of photocopying (though remember that rules about Copyright and the amount you can copy still apply). You can also annotate the e-book, writing your own notes which you can print or export. Don’t try doing this on a paper Library book!

If you’re using reference management software like EndNote, you may be able to directly export the details you will need for your citations. Do remember to use details for the e-book version, as page numbers may not be the same as in the print version. For more information on referencing, see our Citing References guide, or the Academic Integrity Toolkit.

ebookWhy can’t I access this e-book?

Some platforms, such as MyiLibrary and EBSCOhost only allow an e-book to be viewed by one or sometimes three people at a time. If you get a message saying the e-book is already in use, take a quick break and try accessing it again after a few minutes.

Any problems?

If you’d like more help on how to find and use e-books effectively, get in touch with your Liaison Librarian. If you’re experiencing technical difficulties accessing e-books, please contact the E-resources Team via the Problem Report Form.


This is one of a series of tips to help save you time and effort finding or using information.

This tip was written by Rachael Scott, Content Manager and Kim Shahabudin, Study Adviser.

Finding the most useful resources in your subject – info tip

If you’ve ever felt a little overwhelmed by the range of resources that the library has on offer then you might like to take a look at your very own subject guide! Every subject has a liaison librarian, and they have put together a guide for each subject with lots of helpful information and advice.

subject resources link on library webpageWhere do I find my subject guide?

To access the guide for your subject just click on the “Explore your subject guide” button in the Subject Resources section of the Library homepage.

What will I find there?Fine art subject guide

Each guide is set up in a similar way. It will show you how to find books, reference materials, journal articles, electronic resources and other helpful websites that relate specifically to your subject.
You can find out the latest new books that have been bought, which databases will be the most helpful in your research, and also who your liaison librarian is and how to contact them, so you know who to come to for more help! There’s also our useful guide on citing references in your work.

How do I find the type of information I need?subject guide tabs

The subject guides are divided into several sections, each with its own tab at the top of the page.
The Dictionaries and Encyclopedias tab gives links to online dictionaries and encyclopedias as well as highlighting key print titles that are in the reference section in the Library. There are links to general resources such as Credo Reference or Oxford Reference and more specific resources for your subject. It is far more reliable to use these sources than to use Wikipedia for your work.

The Books tab gives you tips on finding books using Enterprise and lists Call Numbers for particular topics within your subject area as well as telling you about new books that have been purchased for your subject.

The Journal articles tab gives you tips on finding journal articles on Summon and gives links to the key databases in your subject.

The E-resources tab will point you toward the key databases, but also suggests other useful resources, such as image databases or company financial databases that may be relevant to your subject.

The Websites tab gives you a list of websites that have been checked by subject specialists and could be useful for your work. There are also hints about how to evaluate a website, so if you run an internet search you can be more confident you are using reliable information.

The Citing references tab points you in the right direction for getting help with referencing and avoiding plagiarism. It also links to our information on using EndNote, bibliographic software which can take the hassle out of referencing.

Your librariansContact us!

We want to help you find the information you need. Please contact your subject liaison librarian if you are stuck.
The subject guide has links to their email address and office hours. You can also check out the Help tab for more advice.

This is one of a series of tips to help save you time and effort finding or using information

This tip was written by Karen Drury and Ruth Ng, Liaison Librarians.

Referencing headaches? Online tools can help – info tip

Do you struggle with referencing? Have you been Laptop, book and glassesmarked down for incomplete or inconsistent references? There are some online tools that can help!

Why use online referencing tools?

  1. You can use them to store accurate details of publications to use in your assignments.
  2. They can save you time compiling, checking and correcting references – just insert the citation and a bibliography is created automatically. You can also reformat your citations in a different style at the click of a button.
  3. You can add notes to your references, to remind yourself of specific parts you might want to use.
  4. Some allow you to store PDFs of the sources with your references, so that everything is together and in most cases available on any computer.

If you use an online tool you still need to know when to include a citation, and understand the principles of referencing. You can find help on this in Study Advice’s referencing guide or referencing video tutorials. You also need to be aware of which style your department requires you to use – consult your course handbook for details.

Which one should I use?

If you are an undergraduate or masters student…

… we recommend using EndNote Web. This online resource can be used on any computer (including your own PC or laptop) and is free to use.

You can get accurate reference details into it by: using the Online Search facility with the Library catalogue; the export option from Web of Science or EBSCO resources; or by importing records from Summon and other databases.

Once the EndNote toolbar is installed in Word, you can insert citations from EndNote Web into your assignments and it will automatically build the bibliography at the end. Select from a list of common referencing styles (including the University’s own ‘Harvard for Reading’ style) to format your bibliography.

EndNote Web is fully supported by the Library, so if you need 1-1 help, there will be someone here who can help.

To get started, come along to a workshop, try our step-by-step guide to using EndNote Web, or watch an introductory video.

If you are a research postgraduate or member of staff…

… we recommend using Desktop EndNote. This can be installed free of charge on any University-owned computer, and is already available on most campus PCs. A personal copy can be purchased at the discounted price of around £98.

References can be easily captured from many databases, and you can use the ‘Find full-text’ feature to automatically attach article PDFs to those references. A very large number of referencing styles are provided, including those for specific journals. You can download other ones from the EndNote website, or create your own by editing existing styles. It is also possible to share your EndNote library by synchronising with an EndNote Web account – useful for collaboration.

Find out more by coming along to a workshop, trying our step-by-step guides, or watching a brief introductory video.

Other options

There are a number of other referencing tools available, including Mendeley, Zotero and Word’s own referencing facility. Although we do not provide support for these, we have provided links to online guidance and videos via our Managing references guide.


If you need help with using EndNote, or with any aspect of citing references, contact your subject liaison librarian who will be happy to help.

This is one of a series of tips to help you save time and effort finding or using information.

This tip was written by Jackie Skinner, Library Web Manager & Liaison Librarian.