Rows of small tables and chairs set out for exams

Planning on revising in the Library over the coming weeks? Make sure you know what our Easter vacation opening hours are and that it’s ‘no card, no access’ after the Easter closure until the end of the summer term. Tuesday 7 April to Friday 12 June, overnight (Monday to Thursday, 17:00 – 08:00) and all weekend (17:00 Friday – 08:00 Monday) Library space is reserved for our own University members with Campus Cards and Library members holding Library Cards. This is to prevent disruption to our own revising students from non-University members, right until their last exam is over.

We reserve the right to refuse access to anyone, including University members, who cannot identify themselves adequately.

How to get in – card-holders

University of Reading Campus Card-holders and Library Card holders are welcome at all times. However, during restricted times, the revolving door will be locked, so please enter by the right-hand Library door.

  • University members gain automatic entry by placing their Campus Card on the ‘proximity reader’ beside the right-hand door.
  • Library Card holders must show their card to staff to gain entry. Please knock for attention if staff are not right beside the door.

Restrictions for visitors

Members of the public without cards are only admitted weekdays 08:00–17:00, 7 April – 12 June 2015. Regrettably, they may not use study spaces here as these are required by our own students revising for exams. Visitors are encouraged to look to their own school, college or public library for study space.

As always, our policy is that children in the Library must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

We apologise to visitors unable to use CaféLibro during restricted periods. Please try another outlet on campus or at Christchurch Green.

Campus Card faulty?

Should your University Campus Card fail to open the Library’s front door with the card reader, please ask Campus Card Services to fix the fault via their Campus Card non-residential door access report form or email

 Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator

26718429You may notice more surveyors in the Library building, Monday 16 March to Monday 6 April, working on behalf of the ‘Feasibility Group on Refurbishment of the University Library’. This Group is considering a possible multi-million pound Library refurbishment over the next few years including:

  • total 1st and Ground Floor redesign (incorporating cafe and entrance changes)
  • window and building exterior renewal
  • heating and ventilation work and
  • re-siting new lifts.

Work may begin after exams.

How spring surveying may affect you

The Library’s disabled parking bays and an area of Blackhorse House car park will become inaccessible from the Thursday 12 March in order to house the  contractors’ compound. Heavy machinery will be delivered from Monday 16 March – take care when walking around the building.

Surveying work on the Library building begins outside on Wednesday 18 and inside on Thursday 19 March. Disruptive work will be limited to the early part of the working day when the Library is least busy, as far as is practicable. More disruptive work will be done in the first week of vacation (week beginning 30 March), just before the Easter shutdown. Work stops on the Library after Easter to allow for more peaceful exam revision. However, the URS building next door is also being surveyed and works here continue until the end of vacation, (17 April). Continue to take care outside our buildings.

Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator; Robin Hunter, Facilities Manager

Student studyingThere are spaces still available on this week’s EndNote Web workshop 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 time

Wednesday 11 March, 14:00 – 15:30

Book your place

Book your place via the ‘Library course bookings’ link on the RISISweb portal.

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

Sally Smith, Learning Support Co-ordinator


The Internet contains huge amounts of information, but do you know which sites are most reliable to use in academic assignments? Read on to learn more about internet sources for academic study.

Credo reference logoGeneral online reference sources

Because anyone can add or edit pages, you should not cite Wikipedia in your essays. The articles are not necessarily written by experts, and they may be of poor quality or contain errors. There are more reliable and authoritative general reference sources out there, including the following, which the Library subscribes to:

  • Britannica Online– the leading general reference title, peer-reviewed with entries written by experts in their field. Also available in printed format at the Library.
  • Credo Reference – Search over 250 published reference titles. Find longer articles and web pages too.
  • Oxford Reference – high quality ‘peer-reviewed’ sources from Oxford University Press.

These are especially useful when you are looking for short introductions to a topic in order to start work on your assignment and often have references to useful books on the topic that you may like to find in the Library.

Reference sources for specific subjects

There may also be many other printed or online reference works in your subject area. For a list of recommended titles, consult the list of Dictionaries and encyclopedias in your Subject guide. In this guide, you will also find a list of reliable, authoritative websites for your subject area.

You can also ask your subject liaison librarian, or a member of staff working at a Library Information Desk, to recommend good quality dictionaries for you. Many articles will also have links to further recommended reading.

Google scholar logoGoogle scholar

Google Scholar is the academic version of Google. It allows you to search for scholarly literature from a variety of online resources. Google Scholar will find a wide range of material, some of which the Library does not subscribe to, so you may not be able to access everything you find – why not set up Google Scholar so that it displays links to University of Reading Library? This lets you to quickly access material that the Library subscribes to from your results list. In Google Scholar, click on Settings then Library links to set this up. For more information, have a look at accessing Google Scholar.

Google Scholar is a useful tool but remember that it only searches a small proportion of publications, so use it as well as other sources for a comprehensive literature search. Also, bear in mind you should still evaluate the sources that you find for reliability, currency and authority.

Evaluating electronic resources

There are many different electronic resources out there on the Internet, and they are of a varying quality. Before you use them in your assignments, read the Library’s evaluating websites guide, which will help you judge the reliability of your search results.

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

This tip was written by Natalie Guest, Liaison Librarian for Systems Engineering and Document Delivery Co-ordinator.

male student readingJournal articles are the most important sources of up-to-date scholarly information, written by and for academic experts. They contain specialist, original research, and most go through a rigorous quality assurance procedure, known as ‘peer review’. This infotip will show you how to find the latest articles to use in your assignments.


This discovery tool searches across most of the 40,000 journals and e-books that the University Library has purchased access to, with new titles being added every day. Everything that you find using Summon is available to read online; all you need is your University username and password. Summon can be accessed via the Library homepage, and a handy video tutorial can be viewed here. It is the best place to go if you are looking for a specific article from a reference or reading list.

Other sources at Reading

Summon is great for more general or interdisciplinary topics, but you may also get some irrelevant results because it covers such a wide range of journals. You may also want to try a specific database tailored to your area of academic interest. To find these, try the ‘E-resources’ tab on your subject guide, which lists the key specialist databases for each subject taught in the University of Reading.

Looking beyond UoR

If you cannot find the article you need via Summon or one of our databases it is a good idea to search Google Scholar: a search engine which includes the details of journal articles, theses, and books. It can only search freely available material so should be used in conjunction with Summon and other databases, but does contain some material we do not have access to at the University of Reading. If you are doing an extended piece of research and need an article which is unavailable at the University Library you can request an Inter-Library Loan from another Library, instructions for doing this can be found here.

Web of Science alertsKeeping up to date

If you are a research student, or just want to stay up to date with the latest developments in your field, then there are a number of different services you can use. Zetoc and Web of Science both allow you to set up email alerts which will notify you when new articles are published in your research area. Many other databases also offer a more limited version of this service in particular subject areas, more information about these services can be found here.


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

This tip was written by YiWen Hon, Trainee Liaison Librarian for Education and Modern Languages, and Rosie Higman, Trainee Liaison Librarian for Chemistry and Pharmacy.

Congratulations to Sadie McCullough, who won £25 of Amazon vouchers in a prize draw for students completing our Making the most of your library survey.

Sadie receiving her prize from Helen Hathaway, Head of  Academic Liaison and Support

Sadie receiving her prize from Helen Hathaway, Head of Academic Liaison and Support

We wanted to find out how useful this guide is for Library users, and are pleased to report that 84% of survey respondents thought it contained useful information. We also received some useful feedback on which elements of the booklet are most valued, and the types of information you think should be included. We will be reviewing the booklet for the next academic year based on your feedback – thank you very much to everyone who participated!

You can take a look at our Making the most of your library guide online, or pick one up at a Library information desk. If you have any comments or suggestions to contribute regarding the booklet, please email the Library’s Marketing Co-ordinator, Rachel Redrup.

– YiWen Hon, Liaison Librarian 

11548You 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 and even 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).

There is also a new joint guide on Citing References which combines previous guides 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 guidance on:

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

Know when to include a reference

References in a footnoteWhenever 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. They 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.

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 it; add page numbers as you go along, even if you are not copying direct quotes; 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 a guide on effective note-taking with more suggestions.

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 chose the more sophisticated Desktop EndNote. For advice on which version to use, and for self-paced training guides on EndNote, or book to come to a training workshop, see the Library’s web pages.

What should you do if you can’t find all the details of a reference?

Slide from tutorial on finding bibliographic detailsIf 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 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 Helen Hathaway, Library Head of Academic Liaison and Support and Dr Kim Shahabudin, Study Adviser.

26718429You may have been wondering lately why there are paper targets stuck on the Library walls, or why there may be a bit of drilling going on. It is actually part of a comprehensive survey of the Library building, a precursor to a further, major refurbishment project to upgrade the 1st and Ground Floors and building exterior.

The most noisy or disruptive work is concentrated at times when the Library is least busy, 02:00 to 11:00. It will continue at least over the next three weeks but will stop before Easter to allow for peaceful exam revision, and to expedite refurbishment works beginning after exams.

You may be interested to know that a conservation survey run yesterday concluded we don’t have bats!

Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator

Students using a computerUndergraduates! Here’s a chance to meet representatives of the University’s own Student Wellbeing Project survey on the Library’s Ground Floor, 12:00-14:00, Friday 30 January and ask questions or complete the survey.

What is Reading’s Student Wellbeing Survey?

Each term, the Student Wellbeing Project asks undergraduates of all years to anonymously complete a five-minute (mainly tick box) questionnaire. Your input could help shape University policy. First, second and non-final third years: don’t wait until your final year to fill in the National Student Survey. Tell us now about anything which may enhance or constrain your academic ability, like finances or housing arrangements. This spring’s survey will be live from Monday 19 January to Friday 20 February.

Where can I find out more?

Find the Student Wellbeing survey on the RISIS Web Portal or contact administrator Max James,

Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator

Catalogue search boxes on the new homepageDo you need to find information for an assignment? Let our Summon discovery service take the pain out of finding reliable academic sources to use in your work.

Searching Summon

Just go to the Library homepage and enter your search words in the Summon search box – the second box on our homepage.

Everything you find should be available to read, as the results are limited to articles and books covered by the Library’s online subscriptions. You will also find definitions from reliable encyclopedias and dictionaries, and other online publications, such as Standards and Government publications.

Just click on the title of the reference to access the full-text, entering your University username and password when prompted.

Results from a Summon searchRefine and save

Use the Refine options on the left of the screen to limit your results by…

  • type of publication
  • date
  • language
  • discipline.

You can also save details of the useful results you find in a specific citation style, making it easy to cite them in your work.

For more tips on using Summon, including advanced search techniques, see our Help using Summon webpage.

Need help finding information?

For additional useful resources and guidance see your subject guide, or contact your subject liaison librarian for 1-1 advice.

Jackie Skinner, Library Web Manager

Coloured pens and notebooksIf 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 – it’s not surprising that they used to call it ‘reading for a degree’! – 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:

  • Understand the purpose for your reading:

Are you reading to develop your basic subject knowledge in preparation for lectures or seminars?

Are you reading for a specific assignment like an essay or report?

Are you researching a topic for a literature review or longer project or dissertation?

Are you reading around your subject to enhance your overall understanding?


  • 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.


  • Identify where you can find this information out:

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.


Male students reading booksNote 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 .

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 some 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 including advice on getting organised, making more time in the day, and avoiding distractions. Putting limits around your reading time and stopping it from becoming an endless task can improve your efficiency and your motivation!


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

This tip was written by Michelle Reid, Study Adviser.

Students learning languagesNew year, new language? If so, the Library holds a variety of resources to help you learn a language no matter what your level or preferred mode of study may be.

Choose your language

The Library’s language learning holdings cover the three main languages taught to degree level: French, German and Italian; and the additional languages taught within the Institution-Wide Language Programme (IWLP): Spanish, Portuguese, Modern Greek, Russian, Arabic, Chinese and Japanese. Some basic textbooks or dictionaries for learning other languages are also in stock.

Choose how to study

There is a range of materials in each language to choose from:

If you want to learn a language by yourself, there are various resources for self-instruction, such as workbooks, CDs, CD-ROMs and DVDs.

If you are attending language classes, then there are textbooks, grammars, dictionaries and easy readers which may be a helpful supplement to your course textbook.

Male student reading italian textBeyond the language

Of course, learning a new language also involves finding out about a different country and its society and culture. The Library holds numerous books encompassing the history of many different countries, as well as French, German and Italian literature in the original language.

If reading the history and literature of a particular country is a bit too much like hard-work, then why not watch a film from that country? The Library holds many films on DVD, with a large number in languages other than English.

Where in the Library?

The language learning resources in the Library are located on the 3rd Floor (Arts and humanities) in the 400 call-number book sections. Remember to look in both the normal size and Folio size sections. You may find some language learning resources in the Teaching Practice Collection, which is also on the 3rd Floor. Although primarily aimed at trainee teachers, this collection includes children’s literature in English, which may be used to improve English language skills.

For literature and films on DVD, the 3rd Floor is your destination once again – films at call-number 791.437, while literature is located in the 800 call-numbers. Books on the history of various countries are located on the 4th Floor.

Other language learning resources in the University

The Self-Access Centre for Language Learning (SACLL), located in HumSS 230, is a specialist language learning facility, open to international students and the wider University community. The centre includes a wide range of materials for students learning English and foreign languages, including books and DVDs. There are also computers available for students to use, some with useful online language materials.

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

This tip was written by Charlie Carpenter, Liaison Librarian for the International Study and Language Institute.

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