Library Search: top search tips

Library Search is a powerful tool that can help you find good quality, relevant information quickly.  Using Library Search is pretty intuitive but there are some useful search tips that can help you improve and get the most out of your searches:

Keywords and Subject Terms

When you’re searching for information it’s important to use a range of related keywords to ensure you find everything relevant to your topic.  For example, if you’re searching for information on ‘Climate Change’ you might also want to search for ‘Greenhouse Effect’ or ‘Global Warming’ too.  Thinking of related keywords can sometimes be difficult but Library Search can help!

From your search results page, click on the title of a resource to open the resource record and scroll down to the ‘Details’ section.  Here you will find a list of ‘Subjects’, also known as subject terms, used to describe the topics and themes this particular resource discusses.  Take a look at this list and add any relevant words to your search string.

Screen shot of Library Search subject terms for climate change

There are some other useful features in the resource record page that can help with your searches too:

Browse the virtual shelf

At the very bottom of the record you’ll find a virtual bookshelf, a visual list of the books that can be found next to this one if you were looking in the physical library.  As the library is organised by subject some of these titles might be useful for your research too.

Screen shot of virtual shelf on library search

Read the abstract

A quick way to tell if a resource is going to be relevant and useful for your research is to read the abstract, a summary of the contents of the resource.  On the resource record in Library Search, you’ll find this under the heading ‘Description’.

Advanced Search

The Advanced Search function in Library search allows you to create a search that will produce more focused results.  It does this by providing a range of search fields and drop down lists that help you build up your search.

Screen shot of advanced search

Select from the options to:

  • Limit your search field to the title, author, subject, collection etc.
  • Apply BOOLEAN operators (AND, OR, NOT) to your keywords
  • Filter by specific material types, languages and dates to focus your search results to the most relevant resources.

Take a look at the Advanced Searching page on our Finding Information Guide for more on how to combine your keywords, create a search string and improve your search results.

Library Search (the secret stuff?)

You know Library Search. You use it every day when you’re at University. Why are you going to read a blog post on it? Well, we’re wondering if you’re using Library Search to its full potential. Not sure? Then read on.

Library Search is Newcastle University Library’s discovery tool – essentially it’s how you find resources on the library shelves and access those invaluable resources online. But what else can it do?

An image of the Library Search login function.

Log in. Using your usual Campus ID and password, you can open up the full functionality of Library Search by telling it who you are. It allows you to:

  • Log into your library account to see what books you have on loan (which you may be finished with and could return to any library site), those requests you’ve placed and any books you have on loan that may have been requested by someone else. The standard library stuff, but it’s important too.

An image of Library Search's My Account function.

  • Save items you want to come back to (that’ll save you writing them down somewhere else). Find that favourite item and ‘pin’ it to your record. You can then access a list of your favourite books, journals or journal articles and label (or tag) them as to why you may need them, e.g. Herbology, Professor Snape’s essay, or Field Trip to Hogsmeade. That makes it easy to see what you need to use for each lecture, seminar or assessment.

An image of the Library Search Favourites tool.

  • Permalink. You can share an item with someone if you want to – copy the permalink to the clipboard and send it to someone you know may be interested.

An image of Library Search's permalink tool.

  • Save your search. If you need to repeat your search then save it within Library Search so you don’t need to remember the keywords and connectors (AND, OR, NOT) sequence. This is important if you are scoping a search and need to record or change your approach. You can also ‘Personalise’ your results to a particular discipline – give it a try!

Animage of the Library Search Save Search and Personalise tool.

  • Set up a RSS Feed (yes, really!). The Rich Site Summary function allows you to be informed of changes to results in your saved searches. Handy, eh? Go to your Saved Searches and simply click the RSS icon.

An image of Library Search's RSS feed tool.

  • Receive an email alert when there are new results for your saved search. This can save you time in your research as Library Search will inform you if there is a new publication available which matches your search terms. Switch it off when you move onto a new subject area by accessing your Favourites list and deselecting the alarm bell icon.

An image of Library Search's email notification tool.

Finally, if you’re writing up your assignment and can’t remember the essential elements of a reference, then use Library Search for guidance. The Citation tool will allow you to view a suggested citation and to copy it to your clipboard for use in your work.*

An image of Library Search's Citation tool.

*BUT (you knew that was coming, didn’t you) ensure you choose the correct style and check your citations for accuracy before including them in your work. It pays to know your required referencing style and not to rely on automated or generated references. If you want to learn more about referencing then see our Managing Information guide and Cite Them Right. Cite Them Right is a great resource which will remind you of the importance of referencing, how to reference and will give guidance on how to cite those more tricky materials such as conference papers, newspaper articles, social media posts and more. Finally, there’s a new tutorial with lots of interactive questions so you can test yourself too.

If you know of any tips or tricks in Library Search that aren’t mentioned here, then leave us a comment and share them!

Library Search: what is it and how do I use it?

Library Search is Newcastle University’s library catalogue. But it will give you more than just information on where to find books on the shelves! It’s our power search system and looks inside many of our subscription journals and databases, to retrieve articles, conference papers, news items and more. It is the basic way to begin any literature search.

If you can spare 7 mins 48 seconds (perhaps while you drink your coffee in the new Robbo Cafe, or on your way into Uni on the Metro) then watch this video to learn just what Library Search can do for you.

 

 

 

Search and reserve on the go

Library Search and your personal Library Account are never further than a fingertip away when using the Newcastle University Mobile App.

Available on iOS and Android platforms the App can be easily downloaded and installed onto your mobile device allowing you to search the library for that key text or article anytime anywhere.

It’s so quick and easy to use that you’ll be Boolean searching resources AND reserving books at home, on the Metro, or when walking between lectures and seminars, in no time.

If you hit trouble there is information and support available via the Mobile Apps and Resources Subject Support Guide, the Library Website and NUIT.

But before you get started why not watch this quick video which tells you all you need to know.

All New Student Texts Collection (STC)

The Student Texts Collection

STC 2019
Photograph by J.Dunn

The Student Texts Collection (otherwise known as the STC) is located on level 2 of the Philip Robinson Library…just to the right of the Library Help Desk, as you come in the main entrance:

What is in STC:

    • Essential items on reading lists
    • Items meeting a flurry of high demand (sometimes items are transferred to STC on a temporary basis with the agreement of the Liaison Librarian)
    • Items that are rare, out of print or expensive (arranged with the agreement of the Liaison Librarian)
    • Items recommended by academics for a specific project or task.

If an item meets the criteria above, there should be one copy in the STC for you to consult or borrow (if not, contact your Liaison Librarian).

Loan Periods:

Student Texts Collection (STC) items are usually issued for 4 hours, and you can borrow a maximum of 3 items at any one time. If the item has already been booked (see below regarding booking STC) then it might be issued for less than 4 hours – always check the receipt!

At the Philip Robinson Library, STC items can be borrowed until the following morning

  • Term Time Monday – Friday after 6pm
  • Term Time Saturday – Sunday after 4pm
  • Vacation times may vary

At the weekends Walton STC overnight loans start at 5pm. Walton STC items cannot be booked.

Why book an item in the Student Texts Collection (Philip Robinson Library only)?

Booking an item (you can book 3 STC titles at a time) allows you to reserve so you can collect it at a particular time, then you can borrow it for four hours (or overnight, see above).

To book an item in the STC login to Library Search and follow the Request link next to the item you are looking for (remember to sign in to Library Search first): 

Overdue charges

There is an immediate overdue charge of £1 plus £1 per hour or part hour after that, the maximum overdue charge for an STC item is £15.00

Self-issue/return

Philip Robinson Library has a self-service unit in the STC so you can issue your own books (either STC or General loans).

Walton Library has a self-service unit in the STC room for the loan and return of STC items only.

Please remember to take the receipt from the machine which shows the date and time the book is due back. All STC books should be returned on the unit in the STC area (not on other self-issue/return units in the library).

Help on Student Texts Collection

Check out our FAQs on the STC or contact us via Library Help if you have any further question.

Find resources with the Library’s super search

We’re a couple of weeks in to term, and for new (and returning) students, it’s time to start looking beyond your reading list. Reading lists are a great place to find the essential reading material for your modules. But when you begin to look in more depth at topics that interest you, and to read for your seminars and assignments, you will need to look beyond your reading list to the wider books, ebooks, journal articles and more, that you will find using Library Search.

This week we are putting the spotlight on Library Search, to give you tips and tricks to help find good quality, relevant information, quickly. We are going to share videos that show you how to search. Tips to help with your referencing and keeping track of the information you find.

Let’s start off with Library Search in 90 seconds …

Finding help with IEEE referencing

For those of you reading this that don’t know, the IEEE referencing style is a numeric citation system used in engineering, electronics, computer science and information technology publications. And for those of you reading that already know this, you will be pleased to hear that the IEEE referencing style has now been added to Cite them right   (If you have trouble accessing Cite them right off campus, just search for it on Library Search).

So what does this mean and how does it help? Well, let’s say that you have referred to a set of specific technical standards in your most recent academic work but aren’t quite sure how to reference them accordingly. Open Cite them right and type standards into the search bar at the top right of the home page and hit the Enter key:

The search results will return a link detailing how to reference technical standards:

All that’s left to do now is to click on the link, select IEEE from the drop down reference style menu and follow the excellent guidance. There’s further help on IEEE referencing on the far right hand side:

As well as referencing technical standards, journal articles and books in the IEEE style, Cite them right will also show you how to reference more unusual items, such as Twitter posts and YouTube videos, enabling you to correctly include all of your research sources with ease.

Trial: Bloomsbury Popular Music

The Library has trial access to Bloomsbury Popular Music until 31st December 2019. This wide-ranging resource comprises:

  • All volumes of the landmark reference work, Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World.
  • All 130 short books in the 33 1/3 series, focusing on significant LPs from a wide range of genres and eras.
  • A selection of other scholarly ebooks on popular music published by Bloomsbury, including biographies and historical overviews.
  • Interactive features, including a pop music timeline and map.
  • Biographies of hundreds of artists.

You can search or browse it in various ways, such as by artist, genre or location. Watch the short trailer for an overview. As always, your feedback will be very welcome: you can either email it, or leave a comment on this blogpost.

If you are off-campus, please login to RAS first of all, and then access Bloomsbury Popular Music from a browser within RAS.

New book bin at Fredrick Douglass Centre

From 7th October we are piloting a scheme where you can return your long loan library books to any of the following locations on campus regardless of where they were borrowed:

For those based at the Helix site, we have also included a new book return drop off point located in the Frederick Douglass Centre – view on Google Maps.

Remember, this only applies to long loan items – Student Text Collection items will still need to be returned to the library you borrowed them from.

This pilot will run throughout the first semester. The items from the book bin will be collected 9.15am and 3.30pm Monday to Friday (with the bin being closed and the machine shut down on Friday at the last collection of the week.)

 

Finding theses from elsewhere

Although the Library holds copies of all Newcastle University PhD theses and copies of theses written for other research degrees, you may find you need a thesis from elsewhere. If this is the case, our Theses and Dissertations guide is a good place to start. This tells you what print and electronic theses we hold and where to find other UK or international theses.

Ethos

Ethos allows you to search the details of 500,000 UK theses from over 120 institutions, from the 1970s to date. The full text of about one fifth of these is available for immediate download to registered users, and in other cases, you may be able to request a copy in digital or other format (for which there may be a charge).

Can’t find the theses you’re looking for? If all else fails, it may be worth checking to see if an institution has its own repository.