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Information for new students: Finding things

Key information and links for new students

Both books and journals are the main sources of academic information. You will need to use both of these types of publication in your studies. Many books and journals are available online and/or in printed format. The information below explains how to find and access both print and online items (books and journal articles) available from the Library.

Finding books

Your reading lists are available online via the Blackboard course for your module. Your lists will:

  • list all recommended print and online resources
  • show you if printed copies are available to borrow
  • include links to articles, chapters, websites and videos
  • give access to scanned extracts of key readings

Watch this short video to find out more about using your online reading list.

If you are unable to view this video on YouTube it is also available on YuJa - view the online reading list intro video on YuJa (University username and password required)

Searching Enterprise, the Library catalogue

Search the Library catalogue Enterprise to find print and e-books held by the Library. It will show you where print books are located and whether there are any copies available to borrow, as well as providing an online link to E-books.

Search the Enterprise catalogue now by typing your search into the box below:

Search tips

Looking for a specific book?

  • Search for the first author's surname and one or two words from the title.
  • There's no need to type in the whole reference - you're more likely to make a mistake and it might not match exactly what's on the catalogue.

For example, search for the highlighted words to find this book:

Lanham-New, S.A., Macdonald, I.A. & Roche, H.M. (eds) (2011) Nutrition and metabolism. 2nd ed. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Looking for books on a topic?

  • Just type in one or two words that describe your topic.
  • If you don't find anything, try simplifying your search by removing some words or using more general words.

For example, search for the highlighted words in this essay title:

What effect has climate change had on food security in Africa?

Watch our short videos on searching the catalogue, finding a book and borrowing it

If you are unable to view these videos on YouTube, they are also available on YuJa via the links below (University username and password required.

Finding books in the Library

shelf of books

You should locate and borrow books from the Library yourself. To find a book on the shelf you'll need the floor it's located on and the Call Number. The Call Number gives you the specific location of the book - the numbers indicate the subject of the book and the letters show you which specific place on the shelves to look for it.

  1. Note the floor location and the Call Number (or take a pic of the catalogue screen)
  2. Find your way to the correct floor and check the floor plan. Most books are in the blue 'Books' section - just make your way to the section containing your number. But if your Call Number has 'Large' at the start, you need to go to the pink 'Large Books' section containing your number instead.
  3. Use the signs on the end of the shelves to find your way to the correct section.
  4. When you are in the correct section look at the labels on the books until you find your number.
  5. Once you've found the correct number, use the letters at the end of the Call Number to find the specific book - they are arranged alphabetically by these letters.

If you can't find your book, please ask a member of staff. We're here to help!

If you are unable to view this video on YouTube it is also available on YuJa - view the finding a book video on YuJa (University username and password required)

Searching for E-books only

We have purchased thousands of e-books which are available to read 24/7 from any device which is connected to the internet. There will be direct links to e-books in your online reading lists, or you may find them yourself by searching the Library catalogue, Enterprise:

Search the Enterprise catalogue for the book or topic you need and once you are viewing your results, limit them using the Online and Book filters on the left-hand side.

Limits on Enterprise to find E-books

Your results should now only include e-books. To read the e-book, follow the 'Click here for online access' link and enter your university username and password.

Using Summon to find e-books

Most of our e-books may also be found in Summon, the Library’s discovery service. Using Summon will give you more results, as it is often able to search for your words at chapter-level.

To only see e-books in your results list, select the Publication Type E-book from the limits on the left-hand side. 

Limiting a Summon search to find e-books

You will need to refine your search even further to get results which are most relevant to you and the topic you are searching for. Look at the Library’s guide on Summon for search tips, including how to limit your results.

Search Summon using the box below (it is already set up to limit to books):

Finding journal articles

It's simple! Summon it!

Use the Summon discovery service to find journal articles on a topic. Just pop in your search words and you'll find a list of relevant articles which you can access straight away, both on- and off-campus.

View our brief video for an intro to making the most of Summon:

If you are unable to view these videos on YouTube they are also available on YuJa:

Explore beyond Summon

If you want to explore resources beyond Summon, or do more sophisticated searching on specialist resources for your subject, then take a look at relevant databases using the link below:

What's where?

CompassBooks are located on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Floors of the Library:

2nd Floor - computing, economics, education, law, politics, philosophy, psychology, social sciences

3rd Floor - art, linguistics & language, science and technology

4th Floor - history, literature, maps

Explore the links below for more detail:

Borrowing and returning books

Most books in the Library can be borrowed. You may collect them from the shelves yourself and take them to a Self-service Point to borrow. You'll need your Campus Card to borrow books.

Loan allowances

All students may borrow up to 25 items at any one time for up to 6 weeks, subject to recall.

Returning books

All items should be returned via the Book sorter, beneath the central staircase on the Ground Floor of the Library, or via the external Book Drop located to the right of the Library entrance. 

Want more detail?

See the link below:

Accessing online Library resources

If you are on campus you will be able to access most e-journals and e-books, and some databases, without entering a username and password because your IP address identifies you as being at the University of Reading.

For any that require a login, see the Off-campus tab.

Terms of Use

When you use our e-resources you are agreeing to our Terms of Use. Please take a moment to look at these by following the link below:

When you are off-campus you will need to login to identify yourself as a member of the University of Reading to gain access to our protected databases, e-books and e-journals. 

Your login details

You login in the same way as for Blackboard - via Microsoft. Just enter your University username followed by (e.g. and your password. If this is the first time you have logged in via this method when off-campus you will be asked to complete a Multi-Factor Authentication. For more information see:

Getting to the login page...

  • For most resources, if you follow a link from our website or catalogues your login will be picked up automatically or you will be prompted to login straightaway. 
  • If you access resources via another route you will need to look for a login option once you reach the resource you are trying to access. Look for an institutional or shibboleth login option and pick 'University of Reading' from a list of institutions. This will then pick up your login or prompt you to login. For more information about institutional login, please see the link below:
Logging in to Library resources

Watch this short video on how you login to use Library resources.

If you are unable to view this video on YouTube it is also available on YuJa - view the Logging in to the Library video on YuJa (University username and password required)

Special Collections of archives, rare books and more

Detail from a Huntley & Palmers biscuit tinDown at the London Road campus is the Special Collections Service. Their collections include rare books, manuscripts, records, letters, photographs, maps and drawings - they can be a great resource for your studies and dissertation.