Welcome to the University Library

A very warm welcome to the University Library!

Whether you’re a fresher or a final year student we want to help you get the most from your Library. From discovering resources to finding the right study space, to where to go to get help with your coursework. So, here are a couple of ways you can settle in and join in at the Library:

Virtual Escape Game and Prize Draw

There’s something strange going on at the Library – something about dangerous magical beasts and impossible riddles. It all sounds like an elaborate freshers’ week prank…but what if there’s something more going on?

Challenge yourself to our exciting Escape Game and enter our prize draw to be in with a chance of winning a £25 Amazon voucher! (There are five runner-up prizes too, so lots of chances to win!) Play individually or work with a team of friends on Zoom (or other video conferencing tool of choice) to solve the puzzles and save the Library!

Newcastle Beginnings

The Liaison Team have been working alongside services from across the University to create and deliver our Library induction online as part of the Newcastle Beginnings programme.  Available to all students in Canvas, it is designed to enable new students to get started with the Library and act as a refresher for returning students. You’ll find an introduction to our services, an overview of the resources and support available for your subject area, guides on how to get the best results from Library Search, and advice on accessing materials and support from the Library wherever you are studying this semester.

At the Library

Have you spotted our Click and Collect service or the Book a Study Space system yet?

This year’s rather unique circumstances mean that we’re managing our services and facilities more flexibly and that things may change at short notice.  The best way for you to keep informed and up to date on availability of study spaces, and access to facilities and resources is to keep a weather-eye on the Library website, which will be regularly updated with any important changes.

We’ll be adding notifications to the Library pages of the University app and sharing news via our Twitter and Instagram pages too.

Want to ask us a question?

Library Help is available 24/7 – you can browse our FAQ database by topic or search it by using keywords; send us an email or chat with us about your query. We’re happy to help!

New resources for Science, Agriculture and Engineering 2020

We have been very busy over the summer adding to our growing collection of e-resources to support your studies and research. Discover individual titles in Library Search and browse some of the new collections now available to you below.

We have also invested in continued access to our Evidence-Based Acquisition (EBA) collections from multiple publishers, so you can browse and access hundreds of ebook titles and we can see which are the most popular titles for our students and researchers.

It’s as easy as…Reading Lists

As an academic, there are 5 easy steps to creating your own reading list on Leganto, our Reading Lists service, for your students: 

  1. Access or create your reading list via your VLE (e.g. Canvas).
  2. Add resources from Library Search and other sources (e.g. Blackwell’s Book Shop).
  3. Tag each item using the appropriate tag (i.e. essential, recommended or background reading), where:
    Essential = very important to the course, all students will need to use this text.
    Recommended = supplementary texts which students are encouraged to use.
    Background = additional texts which are suggested for background subject area reading.
  4. Send your list to the library for checking and stock orders.
  5. Publish your list to ensure your students can access it.

Things to know:

Tagging each item with essential, recommended and background can generate book orders: there are book/student ratio ordering criteria for items being added to library stock and tagging will allow informed decisions to be made by the Library’s team.

Given we are in the midst of a pandemic and teaching is being undertaken in a different way this term, the Library will attempt to obtain access to all resources online (e.g. e-books) where possible. Please note we do try our best but not everything is available online! Where we can’t obtain an online resource, we will usually opt for the print instead.

There is a Canvas course prepared for you to learn how to use Reading Lists. It’s short and full of useful information on making the best use of the service for your students. Self-enrol on Reading Lists Training for Staff today.

An image of the Canvas-based Reading Lists Training for Staff home screen.

If you would prefer to submit your reading list or lecture/seminar handout to a dedicated team of Library staff to be processed, use the submission form or email the lists to readinglists@ncl.ac.uk for support.

So, Reading Lists are a great way to let your students know what they need to read, and to keep the Library informed too; they are the wise choice. 

If you have any questions about this service, please do contact us via Library Help.

Reading Lists and supporting your students

Teaching is just around the corner and the students are starting to prepare for studying through 2020/21. So, which resources are you going to recommend to your students to support your teaching? How will you ensure the Library can offer access to what you need?

We’re promoting the Reading Lists service to our students. It’s easy to use, accessible and is a good starting point when approaching a new subject area.

Surprisingly, even in 2020, not every book is available online. You can use Reading Lists to check to see if we, as an institution, can gain access to those essential, recommended and background reading materials for you and your students. 

How can you do this? Well, you can self-enrol on the Reading Lists Training for Staff course which is available via Canvas. It will explain each stage of creating and editing your lists ready for your students to use for guidance and to prioritise their reading.

An image of the Reading Lists Training for Staff Canvas course home page.

If you don’t have time to do this now, you can produce a list of books, book chapters, journal articles and other resources and submit this to our dedicated Library Reading Lists team to create the online version to be accessed via Canvas for you. If you are doing this, the team need to know:

  • Module Leader or Coordinator’s name.
  • School.
  • Reading list/Module title.
  • Module code.
  • Anticipated student numbers on module (if known).
  • When it is running, e.g. Semester One and/or Two.

You should think about how the list should be organised: by topic, lecture, seminar, etc.

Finally, each item should be classified as essential, recommended or background reading so the Library is aware of the potential demand on the materials.

We will attempt to source all titles you suggest in an online format. If this is not possible, we will obtain the print edition whereupon your students may need to use our Click and Collect service to gain access until the University Libraries reopen fully again.

If you have any questions about availability of online materials or the Reading Lists service, contact your Liaison Team via Library Help for advice.

Reading Lists and Canvas

The University’s Virtual Learning Environment has been changed to Canvas. After years of using Blackboard, it’s a bit different! But once you start to use it, you’ll find it’s much easier to present the information your students need, to communicate with your students in word, sight and sound, and to work more easily in this online world brought on us by the pandemic.

Why talk of Canvas when this post is about Reading Lists? Well, Canvas makes your reading list for each module more visible so you are more likely to be asked about the lists by your students.

An image of the Canvas Home screen showing the main menu including Library Reading List.

The LTDS Canvas Baseline states ‘…where relevant a reading list must be provided.’

An image of the Canvas Baseline which mentions the Reading List requirement.

So what you should do? Not all modules will need a reading list. But if you do have books, book chapters or journal articles you want your students to read and would like to learn how to manage items on your Reading List yourself, please self-enrol on the Reading Lists Training for Staff course which is available via Canvas. It will explain each stage of creating and editing your lists and will allow you to keep in touch with the Library about the materials you need to support your teaching.

An image of a barn owl sitting in a meadow advertising the wise choice of using the Library's Reading Lists service.

Alternatively, you may wish to produce your reading list in a Microsoft Word document, or module handbook, and submit this to our dedicated Library Reading Lists team to create your online version.

If you have any questions about Reading Lists, please contact Library Help and a member of the Reading Lists team will be in touch.

Reading Lists

A reading list is an integral part of the student experience at University. Although it may be viewed as an archaic term these days, students are ‘reading’ for a degree. How do the students know what to read? It is the academic’s role to guide them.

The University Library’s Reading Lists service (Leganto) allows the Library to work with teaching staff in providing this information to the students in an online and consistent way, through their Virtual Learning Environment (Canvas or the Medical LE) alongside their teaching materials.

The University Library’s Reading Lists service is routinely promoted to the students throughout induction. It contains essential, recommended and background reading for modules taught within Newcastle University. Now we’re using Canvas, it also appears in the standard menu within each course and will be more accessible than in our former VLE.

An image of a Canvas course homepage.

So, as teaching staff, what are the benefits of using this service?

  • You have control and can create, manage and update your own reading lists online. 
  • The Library will ensure online access to resources (if available). If an e-book is not available then the correct number of print copies will be purchased based on the essential, recommended or background reading tags you apply to each item on your list.
  • Essential, recommended and background reading tags help students prioritise their reading. 
  • CLA scans (digitised book chapters and articles) can easily be requested and acccessed through Leganto. There will be no need to email us or fill out a web request form; simply tag the item on your list and the Library will do the rest. 
  • The same principle applies to new books. Once on the reading list this information will trigger adding new material to our stock – there will be no need to contact us separately. 
  • You can export a reading list to your module guide or handouts. This will save you time by only needing to create the list in one place. 

Using this system is a wise choice as it ensures the Library knows what you need to support your teaching and will offer your students direct access to the required resources.

You can find more information on this service via our website, or contact us. We are here to help you.

An image of a wise barn owl over Leganto, the Reading Lists service.

Resource on Trial: Skills for Study

Skills for Study is an online, interactive package which focuses on key academic skills. It is aimed primarily at undergraduate students but can be useful for all levels.
The package is composed of 12 separate modules, each of which can be used independently or in combination with other modules. It can be used as a stand alone product via a direct link or embedded into Canvas. To see how this works – see this video from Hull University.
There is an element of personalisation as students can do their own diagnostic test to see which areas of academic skills they need to work on and then keep their own journal in the platform to reflect on their learning.

Skills for Study

Topics covered include:

  • Getting ready for academic study
  • Reading and note-taking
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Exam skills
  • Research principles
  • Employability and personal development
  • Confidence with numbers

To access this resource go to: https://www.skills4studycampus.com/main/

  • Select the login button which will take you to the screen below.
  • Click on institutional login.
Skills for study log in page


When prompted, input Newcastle and select Newcastle University. You will then be able to use your Newcastle login to access the platform.
The trial is available until 30th September 2020.
As always, your feedback will be very welcome: you can either email it, or leave a comment on this blogpost.

New resource: Westlaw Edge UK

Westlaw Edge UK. Is this a new resource? Possibly not by definition, but it is most certainly a significant enhancement within the existing Westlaw UK service.

Westlaw Edge UK (not to be confused with the Microsoft Edge browser) is available via the Law Subject Guide and Library Search within Westlaw UK. Once logged in with your Newcastle University Campus ID and password you will find the tools available to help you keep currently aware and able to anticipate change – skills which are incredibly important to develop as a law student to be carried into your legal career.

These tools include:

An image showing the Westlaw Edge UK tools to enable current awareness.

With inclusion of an interactive precedent map within Case Analytics to easily locate relevant cases…

An image of the precedent map associated with Donoghue v Stevenson (snail in a bottle case).

…and the UK-EU Divergence Tracker to assist with analysing the legal implications of Brexit, it’s even easier to carry out effective and efficient legal research.

You can go beyond search results lists with AI-suggested relevant research and resources tailored to your needs. Skynet hasn’t got a look in. Go on, don’t be slow. Lose yourself in Westlaw Edge UK and get ahead.

A photo of a snail in a glass bottle. Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash.

Studying for resits? We’re still here to help!

Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

If you’ll be studying for resits this August, there’s lots of help available from your Library during the summer vacation. Even though the Library buildings have yet to fully open, there’s still a lot of services ‘on hand’ to assist with your studies. Read on to find out how we can work together to ensure you have the best possible revision and resit experience.

What’s available

First and foremost, Library services are still operational during the lockdown summer vacation, they’re just functioning differently right now. You’re still able to organize an online one-to-one appointment with your Liaison librarian or request that the Library purchase an e-book to assist your revision.

Your subject-specific guide also contains links to useful journals, databases and eBook collections that are tailored for your course. There are a number of MCQ (multiple choice question) books available to read online to complement your revision. They cover subjects including: paediatrics, neurology and physiology.

If you’re in Newcastle, you may also like to use the Library’s new click & collect service. Request up to 10 books from the shelves, book a collection slot and then pick up your desired items from the Philip Robinson Library foyer. How good is that?

If you’re looking for online resources via Library Search, you might like to filter your search to show results that are ‘full text online’. This will limit your search to eBooks, journals, databases, e-theses and other electronic resources.

To find electronic resources, change your search to “Full Text Online” in the ‘Availability’ section of the filters bar.

You can also search for electronic articles by changing the search parameter from “Everything except articles” to “Everything” on the Library Search bar (see below).

Changing your search to “Everything” will bring up electronic articles for you to browse.

Virtual appointments via Zoom are still available with tutors from the Writing Development Centre (WDC). Their website also contains tons of helpful advice about preparing for exams, and what to do during them.

Library Help remains available 24/7 to assist with your queries – you can send them in via email or live chat, or browse the Library’s FAQs.

The Academic Skills Kit (ASK) is full of helpful advice, covering all aspects of study from how to manage your time effectively to reading and note-taking. There’s also guidance on exams and revision, including where to go for academic advice or personal support. ASK also has lots of resources covering online examinations. These are broken down into helpful categories: how to revise for an online exam, what to do before an online exam and exam technique.

Helpful hints

Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

We probably sound like a broken record by now but you’re unlikely to revise successfully without establishing positive habits. These include:

  • Working in an area of your home that’s best suited to your needs. If possible, choose to work in an area that has plenty of natural light and is well-ventilated.
  • Building a realistic revision planner with plenty of breaks factored in.
  • Practising good self-care, such as getting plenty of fresh air, staying hydrated and eating a balanced diet.
  • Getting plenty of sleep.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, please contact the University Student Health and Wellbeing services or the Student Union’s Mental Health & Wellbeing site. These services are still available despite the University being physically closed.

From all of us in the Library, good luck and study well!

New resource: Library of Latin Texts

The Library has purchased access to the Library of Latin Texts (series A and B) following a well-received trial.

This database gathers together Latin texts of all genres and from all periods. Series A contains over 4,000 texts by nearly 1,400 authors, from the beginning of Latin literature to the modern era.

The companion Series B gathers Latin texts of all genres and periods, with the aim of more rapidly integrating a huge number of Latin texts into online form.

Together, the two databases form one large linguistic corpus, with sophisticated tools enabling a variety of search and analytical methods, with the stated objective being simply summarised as “who said what, when, where, and how many times?”

The databases are updated regularly, and can also be used to read texts as a whole.

You can read more about the database, or access it directly from Library Search.