Monday, 24 November 2014

Getting hold of stuff we don't have

When you’re searching for stuff for your dissertation literature review, you’re going to find things we don’t have access to; books we don’t have in the Library, or journal articles to which we don’t have a subscription. You’re researching a specialist area and we can’t possibly stock everything, so it’s pretty much inevitable this will happen to you. It’s not a case of tough luck though – we can help you to get hold of what you need.

We have a Document Supply Service which is available to final-year undergraduates, and all postgraduates and staff. This is where you fill out a form online and we’ll ask the British Library for the book, book chapter, or journal article that you need. Here’s the link.  Final-year undergrads can have 5 requests, and postgraduates can have 20. Books will usually arrive in hard copy and you’ll get an email saying it’s available to pick up. Journal articles will usually arrive as a PDF by email to your student email account (, will only be available for 14 days, and can only be downloaded and printed once – so please make sure you check your email regularly and print it straightaway.

Another option you can use is the SCONUL Access scheme, where you can go and access other university libraries. You will not normally be able to gain access to their online resources or IT facilities (due to licensing restrictions) and undergraduates do not usually get any borrowing rights, but once you’ve filled out the application online and received your access confirmation, you can go and use the print collections on a reference basis; so, for example, if you’re after a book we don’t have, and you live near another university library, you may well be able to get sight of it there (most libraries will have their catalogues available through their webpages, or you could use Copac to search across lots of libraries at the same time).  Alternatively, you might just want to go and make use of their study space if they’re closer to you than any of the UoB libraries. 

Finally, if it’s a journal article you’re after, it’s always worth Googling (or Binging, or whatever your preferred search engine-ing) the title. Increasingly, publishers are allowing authors to make a pre-publication version of their article available for free online, through institutional repositories. As they’re pre-publication versions they won’t usually look like the articles you see published in journals – they’ll usually be a Word document – but the significant content will be the same as the published version.

As ever, if you need help finding something, please come and ask!

No comments:

Post a Comment