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Are you away from Reading and the UK this summer? Maybe…

  • Spending a year abroad?
  • Going on industrial placement?

…and concerned about how you are going to find materials for an assignment or your dissertation whilst you are there?

Don’t worry! There is a wealth of information available on the web, which can be accessed via your computer from anywhere in the world.

Resources you may access wherever you are

You can still access most of the e-resources provided by the Library including…

  • The Library catalogue, Enterprise – search to find e-journals and e-books. Simply conduct your search and then use the limit options on the left of the screen to select ‘Books’, followed by ‘Online’ to find e-books and ‘Journals’ and ‘Online’ to find e-journals.
  • E-journals Finder – browse the Library’s online journals by title or subject.
  • Search Summon, the Library’s new discovery service, to find full-text journal articles, book chapters, encyclopedia and dictionary entries and newspaper articles.
  • If you wish to widen your search to materials held elsewhere, you can search for journal articles and other materials using a database. Some databases contain the full-text of the item, while others provide a reference and abstract only. If only a reference/abstract is provided, you are usually able to check for full-text access via the Item Finder – just click on the blue “Search for item at Reading” link to find out if the Library has online access.
  • Online dictionaries and encyclopedias - these are a good place to start your research and find academic, reliable information. They can be searched individually or through Summon.
  • Google Scholar – finds scholarly literature in all areas of research. It can be set up so that it links to the University of Reading Library’s electronic journal holdings.

How to access electronic resources off-campus

If you follow links from the Library website, Enterprise, Summon or the E-journals Finder you will be given the easiest route to logging in when you are off-campus. Usually you will just be prompted to login with your University username and password. Occasionlly, if you access an e-resource via a search-engine, you may need to select ‘University of Reading’ from a list of institutions before you can login. To find out more, see Accessing e-resources.

Please note: These resources are for your personal use only (you should not use them on behalf of your placement company or your friends) - more details at Terms and conditions of use for Library e-resources. A few databases are only accessible from the UK too.

Eiffel tower

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Studying a language abroad as part of your degree?

Find the Useful Websites page for the language you study. It will give you lists of, and links to, selected resources in your country of destination, such as library catalogues, listings of journals, access to the media, links to organisations and other useful tips.

Going on industrial placement in the UK?

If you go on an industrial placement in the UK as part of your course and there is another academic library nearby, you may be able to borrow from there by registering via SCONUL Access.

Help in your subject

If you require further guidance about the e-resources available in your subject, remember to look at the relevant Library subject guide. You are also welcome to contact your subject liaison librarian for advice on locating resources.

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 Modern Languages & European Studies and the ISLI.

New homepageOn Monday 9 June we launched our new look Library homepage – the result of feedback from students and staff earlier in the year.

Our new, streamlined homepage still includes your favourite features, such as the Enterprise catalogue search box, opening hours and links to e-resources. But there are some new ones too!

Summon search box

Alongside the Enterprise catalogue search box is one for the Summon discovery service.

Use Summon to search for topics in journal articles and book chapters covered by our online subscriptions. You will also find links to definitions and summaries related to your topic from our online reference sources. This Google-style search makes it much easier for you to find reliable information to use in your work.

Other changes

Over the past couple of months we have moved most of the other pages on the Library website into the University’s new style template. These new style pages are easier to read and navigate. We have also taken the opportunity to refresh page contents and to restructure them using new features provided by the template.

Still to do…

You may notice that some pages are still in the old design. The main ones are the subject help pages and the staff contact pages.

The subject help pages will be moved into a new system over the summer, which will enable your subject liaison librarian to provide more dynamic and customised support for your subject. The staff contact pages are awaiting some technical development to enable them to take information from the Staff database, so we can’t change those just yet.

As the site structure remains the same, we hope that this won’t cause any confusion.


If you have any comments or questions about these changes please contact Jackie Skinner, Library Web Manager. Email:

Library materialsAre you struggling to find enough journal articles for your dissertation, not sure how to carry out a comprehensive search on a database, or in need of a refresher on citing and referencing?

No matter if you’re an undergraduate or a postgraduate student, working on a dissertation can at times be overwhelming.

The Library and the Study Advice team are here to help!

What can your liaison librarian help you with?

Your LiaisonLibrarians2013_1liaison librarian can help with any questions related to finding, accessing and using information resources such as journal articles and monographs, ranging from simple enquiries to more complex and detailed requests.

Contact your liaison librarian for subject-specific enquiries, including:

  • Devising a search strategy for your topic
  • Searching databases
  • Citing and referencing, including using EndNote
  • Accessing other libraries and archives

To get in touch with your liaison librarian, see our list of contacts. They will often be able to answer your question via email, or might suggest a personal appointment to talk through your query in more detail. You might also wish to find your liaison librarian when they are available at an Information Desk in the Library.

What can the Study Advice team help you with?

Study AdviceThe Study Advice team offer individual advice sessions and a range of online Study Guides on dissertations and associated topics. They can help you with:

  • Deciding on your research questions
  • Managing your reading and notes
  • Working out a structure
  • Writing your literature survey
  • Planning your work schedule

…and much more.

Have a look at the page on individual advice sessions to find out what you can expect from a session and how to book one. The Study Advice team also offer regular workshops throughout the year.

Develop your skills online

We also offer plenty of opportunities to refresh and develop your skills online:

  • Liblearn: Liblearn is an online Blackboard course on using the Library and literature searching. It consists of three tutorials. Liblearn Three, which covers creating a search strategy and searching databases effectively, is particularly relevant for students who are working on dissertations. To enrol for this course, click on the Enrolments tab in Blackboard and search for Liblearn in the Course search box.
  • Video: Watch our video on finding journal articles on a topic
  • Online guides: Read our online guide to doing your literature search, and the Study Advice guides to planning, researching and writing your dissertation.

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

This tip was written by Anna Richards, Liaison Librarian for Classics and Philosophy.

June 2014

Details from a book held in Special CollectionsAre you planning your dissertation? You might want to consider using the University’s Special Collections of archives, manuscripts and rare books.

Why use Special Collections?

Using archives, manuscripts and rare books can make your dissertation much more original, potentially gain you a better mark and help you develop valuable research skills.

Walking into Special Collections can sometimes seem daunting – but it doesn’t have to be! We’re helpful folk down here, and we’re always happy to get you started. The University’s Special Collections are available for all students in the University, and you can access over 150 important collections covering a wide range of arts and humanities, science and social science discipline areas.

In the past, students have used Special Collections to research a wide range of subjects, including:

  • Mills & Boon romantic fiction
  • Botanical illustration
  • Robinson Crusoe
  • Mathematics
  • Bees
  • Farming records
  • Women’s history
  • Children’s literature
  • Architectural history

Finding items on your research topic

You may be surprised at the variety of material you can access to support your research! See the A-Z list of collections or our list of featured items for a flavour of what’s available.

Try the following to see if there is useful material for your research project:

Using Special Collections

Most material is kept on closed access, so you’re advised to plan ahead and contact Special Collections prior to your visit.

Go to the Special Collections website for lots of useful information on using the service.

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

This tip was written by Liz McCarthy & Fiona Melhuish, UMASCS Librarians.

Black and white image of students studying at large tables in Library reading room

50 years ago students at the University of Reading Library used no laptops, phones or even calculators

It is exactly 50 years since the University of Reading Library at Whiteknights was officially opened. Half a century later, student study methods may be a little different, and their numbers greatly increased, but the Library is still at the heart of the student experience - the reason the University is still investing in adapting the building for current student needs.

Library history at Whiteknights

The Library was the third academic building built in the new Whiteknights campus, acquired in 1946 for expansion from the original London Road site. Initial designs date from 1958. Construction began in 1960 and was completed in 1963, having been delayed by a serious roof fire and ferocious storms that January. Library stock transferred from The Old Library at London Road over the Christmas Vacation in December.

Black and white image of two men in universtiy regalia about to cut ceremonial ribbon

The Library was officially opened on 15 May 1964 by the Chancellor, Lord Bridges

An official opening ceremony took place on 15 May 1964 when the Chancellor, Lord Bridges cut a ceremonial ribbon beside the Library’s architect, Frederick Preston. It was followed by a special degree congregation in the 2nd Floor Reading Room, bestowing honorary degrees on Preston, publishers, librarians and authors including W.H.Auden.

The new Library was designed to serve for a student population of 3,000 but there was already talk of an extension to the east. Whilst Reading only had 1,537 students in 1963, it aimed for 3,700 by 1967-68. In fact there were nearly 5,000 by 1969 and University numbers – and aspirations for expansion – kept rising.

Black and white image of scaffolding around a building, cars in foregroundThe Library extension was agreed in 1981 and opened in 1985. It reconfigured the north side, adding stack space on three subject floors, a 1st Floor current periodicals area (now S@iL) and Ground Floor administrative space. A new entrance was let into the west side, replacing two north and south entrances. The former north entrance was enclosed, becoming the Short-Loan Collection. The old south entrance is now one of CaféLibro’s windows, by the self-service machines.

In January 2000, the largest PC area on campus came into the Library. Computers were now essential for writing, communicating and research since the internet’s 1995 birth, but students still wanted to be in the Library.

In 2006, University archives and special collections relocated to a new state-of-the-art store and reading room service at Redlands Road (University Museums and Special Collections Service, UMASCS). This released 1st and 5th Floor space at Whiteknights for student study space.

In 2007, Ground Floor £1 million refurbishment created new areas for student group work – an increasingly important aspect of study – and a new Course Collection for in-demand course texts and a café.

Smaller steps, as funding was available, brought group study pods and display screens in 2011.

IMG_2046 small

Today students need collaborative study pods and power sockets at each desk for effective library study

Most recently our 2009-2014 Collections Project review of all stock, and acquiring an Off-site Store, gained valuable study space within the Library. Major refurbishment in summer 2013 and 2014, in all worth £4.4 million, delivers:

  • upgraded individual study areas: Silent Study 5th Floor (2013); Quiet Study 2nd Floor (2013), 4th & 3rd Floors (2014)
  • more collaborative study space: 2nd Floor (2013), 4th Floor (2014)
  • many more sockets to power laptops and mobile devices, now essential for students.

University of Reading Library at nightOpening hours have also changed in the last fifty years. In 1964, where students were largely full-time and locally resident, the new Library was only open on term-time weekdays until 9.45pm and closed at weekends. To satisfy current student needs, where students may be part-time, need to take jobs or simply want the choice of early or late working, 2014 saw the permanent establishment of 24-hour Library opening.

Rachel Redrup, Library Marketing Co-ordinator

EndNoteAre you starting your dissertation? Do you lack confidence citing references in your work? Have you been marked down for inconsistencies in your bibliography?

EndNote Web can help!

What is EndNote Web?

EndNote Web is an online service you can use to:

  • store and organise useful references you find whilst researching topics
  • insert references in your Word document
  • automatically build and format your bibliography in a style of your choosing

It is designed for use by undergraduates and Masters students as it is a cut-down version of the Desktop EndNote program used by researchers (which is available on all PCs on campus).

References in EndNote Web

How do I use it?

EndNote Web is freely available, but University members can access an enhanced version as part of the Library’s subscription to the Web of Science database. It can be used on a PC or a Mac.

Just log in to the Web of Science and sign up for an account. Once registered you can use it both on- and off-campus.

How do I get references into my EndNote Web library?

You can type in details of useful books and articles you have found. However, the quickest and most accurate methods are to export references from Library databases or use the Online search facility from within EndNote Web.

Direct export

This method is available on the Web of Science and all of the Ebsco databases (including Business Source Complete). Just search the database for your topic and save/export to EndNote Web.

Many other databases which offer a Desktop EndNote export option will automatically switch to EndNote Web if Desktop EndNote is not installed on your PC. Try it out on your favourite database. If you need advice, contact your subject liaison librarian.

Online search

The Online search facility within EndNote Web is particularly useful for searching library catalogues, and you can use it to get book references from our catalogue into your library.

Writing your essay or dissertation

Once you have references in your EndNote Web library you can insert them into your Word document as you write your essay or dissertation. Just download the Cite While You Write toolbar and use it in Word to search your library for the reference you want to insert and it will automatically put the citation in the text and build the bibliography at the end of your document.

EndNote Web Cite While You Write toolbar

You can select from a number of referencing styles (such as Numbered, APA, MHRA) or use the customised Harvard style which matches the style required by many of the science and life science departments here at Reading. Once you select a style, all of your citations and references will be reformatted automatically.

Getting help

We are offering training sessions this term, for more details see the EndNote workshops page.

If you can’t make it to a workshop our Guide to getting starting with EndNote Web (PDF) will take you through all the steps involved in creating your EndNote Web account, getting references into your library and using it with Word to write your essays or dissertation. Or View videos on using EndNote Web produced by Thomson Reuters (suppliers of EndNote Web).

Alternatively, contact your subject liaison librarian for individual help and support.

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

This tip was written by Jackie Skinner, Library Web Manager and Food and Nutritional Sciences Liaison Librarian.

Student studying at desks separated by green divider panelsYou say you love the Library’s refurbished Silent Study 5th Floor and both the quiet and collaborative study ares on the refurbished 2nd Floor and you want more. So you’ll love what’s planned for the Library’s 3rd and 4th Floors this summer … not to mention refurbished single-sex Ground Floor toilets and upgraded staircases! Another £2.4 million of University investment enables work to begin in earnest after exams on Monday 16 June. It is due for completion by the end of September 2014.

How will works affect me, summer 2014?

The Library remains open to provide services to Library users around works. However, please note:

  • We’ve already moved some 4th Floor social sciences material this Easter. Further stock moves will take place on the 3rd and 4th Floors from June. This includes relocating the Teaching Practice Collection and music CDs to the 3rd Floor.
  • Access to the 3rd Floor Arts and Humanities and 4th Floor Social Sciences material may be restricted, section by section. However we will operate a fetch and carry service where material is out-of-bounds.
  • Library staff will continue to help you but based in alternative, temporary accomodation on another floor.
  • Please use alternative PC and Study areas whilst Rooms 111, 110 and 109 are closed to users. Our newly refurbished 5th and 2nd Floors remain open throughout.
  • Both sets of Ground Floor toilets will be closed for refurbishment, reopening eight weeks later as separate Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s conveniences, as requested by Library users. Please use alternative facilities on the Library’s 5th Floor or in the nearby HUMMS Building.
  • Please use the Library’s revolving or right-hand front door. The left-hand door will be out of use whilst we work on our heating system, using an adjacent staff entrance.
  • Noise: Unfortunately, making such a fantastic ‘omelette’ will require cracking eggs loudly! You will experience noise from drilling through floors and walls throughout the project, although we will try to restrict this to early mornings before 10:00.
  • Alternative quiet space: Students and staff may always book rooms in other parts of the University for quiet study. At this time we envisage fewer rooms will already be engaged for teaching or exams. Contact or ring 0118 378 6506.
  • Disabled parking bays behind the Library will be moved from near the Chaplaincy to near the Cedars Hotel entrance whilst the contractors’ compound is in place.

More information

Watch our Library homepage for summer 2014 updates on our University Library News blog or follow the Library on Twitter or Facebook. Even more Library improvements are under development for future years, including the Library’s Ground Floor and external structure.

Rachel Redrup, Library Marketing Co-ordinator

Over the coming weeks the Library website will be changing, as we implement the University’s new style templates. As you move around our website you will begin to see new look pages which are easier to read and navigate. We have also taken the opportunity to refresh page contents and to restructure them using new features provided by the template.

New homepage coming soon!

These changes are in preparation for introducing a new design for the Library homepage too. Following feedback from students and staff our new, streamlined homepage will still include your favourite features:

  • Enterprise catalogue search box
  • Opening hours
  • Links to e-resources

New search box on the homepage

We will be introducing a new search box on the homepage -  for the Summon discovery service.

Summon allows you to search for topics in journal articles and book chapters covered by our subscriptions, making it much easier for you to find reliable information to use in your work.

Search boxes on the new Library homepage

Watch this space for news of the launch.


If you have any comments or questions about these changes please contact Jackie Skinner, Library Web Manager. Email:

researchskillsbanner2013Want to do your best in your exams? Effective preparation is the key, says the University Study Advice Team, based on the 1st Floor of the Library.

Prepare for exams

Take advice from the Study Advisers’ guides on preparing for exams, watch one of their bite-size video tutorials, book an individual appointment with them or read a University Library book on the subject, eg:

Five tips for effective revision

  1. Download past papers from the Examinations Office Past Papers Archive to work out how many topics to revise, how questions are asked, timings and for practice questions.
  2. Revise effectively to a schedule covering all your selected topics in some depth (rather than a few completely), and utilising your best times of day for concentration.
  3. Learn actively – think critically and consider how to use what you’re reading to answer an exam question. Keep testing what you know, then look for material to fill gaps.
  4. Practise, practise, practise writing to a specific time and by hand – find out how much you can write in that time. It is different to writing assignments!
  5. Be nice to yourself! You need some space for thinking and processing what you’ve learned. To achieve your best results, give yourself time off to exercise, eat and sleep properly… Take the Library stairs, sit outside or try cafélibro or refreshment machines on the Library Ground Floor. However, please don’t eat at your desk – it’s not good for you or the Library environment, although bottled water is OK to  have with you.

Space to revise

  • The Library is students’ most popular choice. Select which study areas help you revise best: group discussion, quiet or silent study. For the last week of the Easter vacation and in term-time, the Library is open 24-hours, Sunday to Saturday.
  • RUSU’s The Study usually opens 24-hours from 09:00 Monday to 21:00 Saturday: see RUSU’s website.
  • If the Library is busy or you want an alternative, check extra University exam-time study spaces across campus, arranged by Student Services. Note which operate during the day, evenings, weekends or overnight!

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

This info tip was written by Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator, and Kim Shahabudin, Study Adviser.

Hands holding open book as laser scans barcode at Library Self-Service PointWe’ve just made borrowing even easier for University of Reading Library students and staff!

Borrowing books

‘Limitless’ renewals: You can now renew books as many times as you like, unless another Library user requests it (or you let it go overdue) until the end of your time here. Previously we had a limit of five renewals.

‘Limitless’ 7-day loans: You can now take as many 7-day loan books as you like, within your total allocation (15 for undergraduates, 20 for postgraduates and education students, 25 for researchers and staff). Previously we had a limit of five 7-day loans.

Borrowing unbound journal parts

You may now borrow loose journal parts at Self-Service Points, once we have stuck on a barcode for you. Completing paper slips will eventually become unnecessary and loan information will show on your library record, to remind you to return these journals.

Just for Reading

These privileges support the teaching and learning priorities of our own Reading students. Library visitors and external borrowers remain limited in the number of 7-day loans, renewals or journal parts they can take out. See our webpage ‘How many items can I borrow?’ for details.

Rachel Redrup, Liaison Librarian

The Library has a number of sources of copyright-free images which you can use in your assignments and University work. Why not explore some of the resources listed below in order to enrich your projects with illuminating images?

Images can be a persuasive addition to your argument, but should be considered critically as with any source. Remember to reference images appropriately, giving credit to the original source.

Finding images

You can access the following databases through the Library website, or follow the links below.

Britannica image web pic 1

Britannica Image Quest – includes over 2.7 million images from various collections including National Geographic, Getty Images, National History Museum and more.




Mediahub web pic 1

MediaHub – includes still images, video and audio covering all subjects, selected especially for use in Higher Education. MediaHub also acts as a portal to many other online image collections and allows you to search across all the collections with one click!



Other databases include both text and images, but allow you to search for images only. Examples of these are Oxford Art Online, Credo Reference and Science Direct.

University image collections

Students can also take advantage of the Visual Resource Centre (VRC), based in the HUMSS building in room G27L. The centre holds a large collection of slides, digital images and video relating to Art, Architecture, Classics and History. Students from any subject area are welcome to use the VRC, although most of its material relates to Arts and Humanities.

Image search engines

CC logoThere is also a wealth of images available online, some of which are made available for non-commercial use in project work and presentations. These are labelled as Creative Commons images.

You can find these by using a number of search engines and photo-sharing websites, including Xpert search and attribution. Xpert searches Creative Commons licensed material and allows you to download the image with the appropriate attribution and licence details integrated – easy!

For further guidance on using images legally, see the University’s advice on copyright

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.

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 subjects.

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 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 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.

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 & Tim Chapman, Liaison Team Managers for Business & Social Sciences and Science & Life Sciences.

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