We are here to help (even when you’re working off campus)

As the University monitors the situation around the spread of Covid-19 (Coronavirus), the Library is working to ensure that you have access to the resources and academic skills support you need to continue your studies while off campus. 

The information and links on this page provide guidance on how to engage with our wide range of online materials and how to make the most of our helpful online guides and tools from wherever you choose to study. 

Library Search: your first point of call

Use Library Search to quickly and simply access a wide range of eBooks, eJournals, and databases off campus. Check out our Library Search video on how to get the best out of this resource. 

Subject and Resource Guides

If you are not sure which resources are best to use for your subject or what you can access off-campus, visit your Subject Guide . The guides bring together links and help for the specialist information sources in your discipline. Access our Resource Guides for different types of information you may need in your research. These include guides to business casescompany and market informationgovernment publicationsgrey literaturemapsnewspaperspatentsstandards
statistics,  theses and dissertations, plus much more.  

Develop your skills, at a time that suits you

Use our FindingEvaluating and Managing Information guides to boost your search skills and help you achieve the best results in your assignments whilst working remotely. If you are needing help with academic writing and reading or even numeracy, maths and statistics, then don’t forget their are lots of downloadable resources available at the ASK website.

Dissertation support

If you are in the midst of writing or planning a dissertation then our our Dissertation Guide is a great place to guide you with your literature search.  Not only do we have videos, quizzes and advice, but we also have an interactive Proposal Planner and Search Planner to help you get organised and create a focus for your research.  We can even give you feedback once you’ve filled the planners in. Just send them through when prompted or email them to your supervisor for advice and help.

Have a question? Check the FAQs

We have an extensive database of frequently asked questions available on the Library website. You can search by keyword or browse by topic area and find answers to the most common questions. So whether you want to know how to access newspapers or get help with EndNote, check the FAQs to see if we have already answered your question.

Contact Library Help

If you need help or have a question, use Library Help to get in touch with us. We are still here for you 24/7 and you can chat with us online or email us as normal. You can also keep in touch with us via social media.

So remember, you can access all of our online resources, journals and ebooks from the Library website.

Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

The Research Reserve and Desktop Delivery Service (DDS)

The exterior of the Research Reserve facility in the Team Valley.

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed a curious thing on Library Search. Where normally you would expect to see the name of one of the libraries next to an item’s shelfmark, occasionally you’ll see “Research Reserve”.

If you’ve ever wondered just what exactly the Research Reserve is, this is the blog for you, discover here exactly what the Research Reserve can offer you and your studies.

Before an item’s shelfmark is its location. This book is held off-site at the Research Reserve facility in the Team Valley.

The Research Reserve is the Library’s stores, located throughout campus and including a state-of-the-art storage facility in the Team Valley. These facilities allow the Library to keep less-used material for much longer than other academic libraries. These combined storage facilities provide over 29 kilometres of storage space, which is used to house old editions of journals and books which are consulted infrequently.

If you’d like to request items from the Research Reserve facilities, click the “Request Scan/Borrow” button once you’ve located the item on Library Search.

You can loan a variety of materials from the Research Reserve, including: books, theses and journal volumes. These can be requested from Library Search. Simply log in using your campus ID, find the item you are looking for and then click the blue “Request Scan/Borrow” button. You’ll get a choice of pickup locations (either the Walton or Philip Robinson libraries).

There are request forms to complete if you’d like to borrow a thesis or an entire volume of a journal.

Requests can be viewed by going to “My Account” in Library Search and clicking on “My Requests” from the drop down menu. If you’d like to cancel your request, simply click the blue cancel hyperlink (as seen below). You’ll receive an email confirming your cancellation shortly afterwards.

You can cancel requests for Research Reserve items by clicking the blue ‘Cancel’ hyperlink, as shown above.

There is a collection service that runs between the Research Reserve and the various libraries (weekdays only, not on bank holidays) and your request will be generally be fulfilled within 24 hours. Anything requested on a Friday or over the weekend will be delivered on the following Monday afternoon.

Once your item has arrived at your chosen library, you’ll receive an email letting you know it’s available to loan. The item will be kept on the reservations shelves for five days before being returned to the Team Valley, or passed on to the next person in the reservation queue. Items from the Research Reserve are issued in the same way as standard long loan items, either using the self-issue machines or at the service desk. Once you’ve finished with the item, simply return it as normal.

The Desktop Delivery Service (DDS)

The Desktop Delivery Service can also be reached at: http://dds.ncl.ac.uk

The Desktop Delivery Service (DDS) allows you request a scanned article from a journal held in one of the Library’s stores. Articles can be requested via Library Search (same as a book) or by filling out the relevant request form. Please try and include as much detail as possible on your request form. This helps Library staff locate your article and fulfil your request quicker.

You are only able to request one scanned article per journal issue. The scanned article will be delivered to your University email address, where it can be downloaded and printed off. Requests are generally fulfilled within 24 hours, although this may take longer over the weekends or on bank holidays. You have 30 days to download your article before it is ‘archived’ and no longer available.  

We do not scan items that are available electronically or can be borrowed.

If you have any other queries about the Desktop Delivery Service, read the FAQs.

Just some of the amazing treasures held at the Research Reserve facility in the Team Valley.

You can also visit the off-campus Research Reserve facility in the Team Valley. Daily access is available by appointment only with the Research Reserve team, weekdays between 10AM and 4PM. Access outside of these hours can be organised given sufficient notice. There is a large car park available at the facility and buses stop nearby.

Full contact information, directions and opening hours for the Team Valley facility are available via the Library website.

Thinking about study space

During the exam period library study spaces are at a premium and it is important to think in advance about the kind of study space that you need.

Whether you require a silent, quiet, or collaborative study space, a group study room or booth, or an individual accessible study room, there are a variety of open access and bookable study spaces located across our four library buildings (Philip Robinson, Walton, Law, and Marjorie Robinson).

It is possible to check live study space availability online or by using the university app. This will allow you to head straight for the nearest available study space and therefore avoid wasting valuable time searching for a desk.

You can also book a group study room or booth online for a maximum of 120 minutes per day. This will allow you to get together with fellow students to plan and allocate some guaranteed study time prior to your next exam.

Study Well@NCL, which runs throughout the exam period, advocates a responsible approach to studying and encourages positive behaviours in study spaces. Remember, it is key to choose the right environment that meets your study needs, to stay hydrated, and to respect the students and study space around you.

Thinking about study space in advance can help to remove a lot of unwanted stress and thus free up valuable energy that will aid both your revision focus and exam preparation.

Exams: we are here to help

Woman throwing books up in the air

Exams are a tricky time. Often you will be juggling different exams themselves, on top of other deadlines. However, we want you to know that you aren’t alone at this crazy time of year. We are here to help you through.

But how exactly can we help? Sadly, we can’t take go into the exam with you, or magically freeze time to give you more hours in the day, but do make the most of the following:

  1. Library Help – the place to go when have a question via chat, email, text, twitter, Facebook. Or alternatively search our Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) database.
  2. Librarians – yes you heard right. Book a one-to-one appointment to get the best out of the University Library resources. Also remember our staff in every library are friendly and approachable. There is no such thing as a silly question, so ask away!
  3. Study Space – The University Library has a range of different study rooms and spaces to suit your needs.
  4. 24/7 – The Philip Robinson Library is open 24/7 during the exam period. We want you to sleep and get enough rest, but if you do need to study through the night, we are here.
  5. Subject guides – we have a range of subject guides put together by expert librarians which draw together all the main resources for your studies.
  6. Be well@NCL collection – we don’t just have books for study. This new collection includes tried and tested books that support your wellbeing.
  7. Additional support – don’t suffer and please don’t be shy. You can seek additional support from your NUSU, Student Wellbeing Service, Nightline and the University chaplaincy.

So remember……pace yourself, access the help you need and believe that you can do this!

We’re here to help (even when we’re not)

Christmas scene with dining table

The University may be closed for the Christmas period but if you are studying, writing assignments or revising, library resources and help are always available. We may not be in the building, but the library team can help you with your semester 2 preparation.

Use your Library Subject Guide

If you are not sure which resources are best to use for your subject or what you can access off-campus, visit your Subject Guide . The guides bring together links and help for the specialist information sources in your discipline.

Visit the Library over the vacation

Between Christmas and New Year, the Philip Robinson Library will operate as self-service from 10.00 pm on Friday 20th December 2019 until Thursday 2nd January 2020. If you need access to books and journals, or a quiet place to study, all you will need is your University smartcard. Visit the website for the Library vacation opening hours.

Have a question? Check the FAQs

We have an extensive database of frequently asked questions available on the Library website. You can search by keyword or browse by topic area and find answers to the most common questions. So whether you want to know how to access newspapers from the Library, how to book a group study room or get help with EndNote, check the FAQs to see if we have already answered your question.

Contact Library Help

If you need help or have a question, use Library Help to get in touch with us. You can live chat with a librarian outside of the University to get immediate answers, or send us a message and we will get back to you when the University reopens.

So remember, you can access all of our online resources, journals and ebooks from the Library website and we will be back in the Library on 2nd January 2020. Enjoy the festive season!

A quick guide to finding the best study space for you

Did you know that across our four locations, we have over 3,000 study spaces? With so many, it’s easy to choose the best spot to revise or write your essay.

Image of silent, quiet, collaborative and bookable study spaces

Our Study spaces and rooms page has more information about the types of spaces available. Check out current study space availability information on the web or via the Newcastle University app. Find free cluster spaces with the Find a PC function, also available on the app.

As well as study spaces, we have spaces where you can relax and catch up with friends between lectures. Make yourself comfortable in our new social space on level 2 of the Philip Robinson Library, or visit the refurbished café.

So if you need a change of scenery, go and take a look and find a space that’s just right for you.

Crafts at Christmas

Dates of Crafts at Christmas events

December. A time for fighting over the last Quality Street, consuming a glut of mince pies and wearing your gaudiest Christmas jumper (or is that just us?)  If you need a distraction from the fact that you haven’t started your Christmas shopping yet (still just us?), our Crafts at Christmas events are for you.

The Library’s Crafts at Christmas events have been running for the past four years now and have always been popular. The emphasis has been on recycling unwanted items, such as withdrawn books, old music scores and off-cuts from our bindery. We’ve made everything from paper wreaths and hanging heart decorations, to book trees created from old prospectuses.  This year, you can decorate a bauble, make some bunting or create a 3D card.

The baubles are provided by Robyn Hare, the University’s Glass Blower (yes, the University really has a Glass Blower!). You can see her at work in the video below.

In previous years, we’ve held these events at the Philip Robinson Library and the Marjorie Robinson Library Rooms, but this time we’re holding sessions at three of our libraries. So, you can join us at the Walton Library, as well as the Philip Robinson Library and Marjorie Robinson Library Rooms. There’s no need to book, just turn up, bring your imagination and help us raise money for the ‘If You Care Share’ Foundation. We look forward to seeing you! 

Meet the Liaison team

By now some of you may have already met us, but if not you may be wondering who we are and what we do. As the name suggests, the Library’s liaison team liaise with the academic schools at Newcastle University, to help us plan and deliver excellent Library services which meet the needs of staff and students. We’re a friendly bunch: you should get to know us!

How can you get in touch with us?

We’re here to help you get the best out of the Library, so if you need help it’s easy to get in touch. You can find the contact details for the liaison team for your subject area here.  We recommend you use the subject team email addresses, rather than emailing an individual person. That’s because some of us work part-time, or may be away:  emailing the team will ensure you’ll get a prompt answer.

Freshers’ Guide to the Walton Library

Wishing a Warm Walton Welcome to all new and continuing students in the new academic year!

Just as you are settling into life at University we thought that you might benefit from this list of tips of how to make the most out of your time in the Walton Library.

Opening hours

The Library opening hours change throughout the year, but during term time, we are open normally until 22:00.

Resources

Use your Reading Lists as a great starting point for finding academic material. They can be accessed via your VLE (Virtual Learning Environment), which is either Blackboard or the MLE, depending on the course you are studying.

All academic resources that we purchase will be available via Library Search. It is the most prominent element on our colourful website and it will show you books, articles, journals in both physical or electronic format, databases and others.

The library website can be found here: www.ncl.ac.uk/library/
The library website can be found here: www.ncl.ac.uk/library/

Use keywords to find the titles that you need and Library Search will tell you whether we have them or not, whether they are available on the shelves, in which library and part of which collection they are. If a book we have in stock is NOT currently available on the shelves, the best thing you can do is to log in with your student ID and password and place a reservation:

Reserving is in your best interest because this is what will prompt a current reader of the book to bring it back so that you can use it. So remember: Shy bairns get nowt.

Specialist help

There are subject-specific guides that give you information directly relevant to your course. You can find them by selecting your course in Subject Support, on the Library website.

Want to ask us a question?

Library Help is the place you seek. You can browse our FAQ database by topic or search it by using keywords. You can also send us an email or chat with us. Library Chat is monitored 24/7, so as long as you have access to the internet, wherever you are in this great, big world, you can contact us.

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.