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Selwyn College Library: Finding books, articles, etc.

This page is a guide to searching for and accessing books and articles, in print or online.

The Selwyn Library team is here to support you wherever you are currently studying or researching. Library staff are working in the library and from home. If you have an enquiry of any kind, please email the library and we will get back to you as soon as we are able.

Finding books and articles from your reading lists (and beyond)

If your reading list is online, you can follow the links through to ebooks, journal articles, and library records on iDiscover for print books.

These reading list entries will not show all items available in Cambridge, so you may need to search iDiscover to find copies of books in Selwyn and other libraries.

One top tip for online reading lists in Moodle: make sure you access the list first through the link from Moodle. This will ensure that you have access to any scanned or uploaded documents made available for people on your course. 

If your reading list isn't online, or you are looking for something that isn't on a list, you should also start by searching iDiscover. This will let you search for books and other items in any of the libraries in Cambridge.

iDiscover search box showing a search set up for Cambridge libraries collections in all libraries

Next to the iDiscover search box, there is a drop-down list of libraries which you can use to find books in a particular library, or to search all libraries as shown above. There are also radio buttons above to choose to search for books, ebooks, and journals (Cambridge Libraries Collections) or for individual journal articles and other online resources (Articles and online resources).

For print books, you'll need to make a note of the shelfmark of the book in the library you are using, and you'll need to check that it is available (item in place) and not already on loan. If it is on loan, check first for copies in other libraries. If there are none available, you can place a request on a loan copy. You can use Selwyn College Library, the subject libraries, and the University Library, but not other college libraries, as each college library is for its own college members.

For ebooks and articles, you should be able to follow the green online access link to get to them directly.

If you'd like to learn more about making the best use of iDiscover to find the resources you need, have a look at this video from Wolfson College Library (it uses Wolfson examples, but would be relevant for anyone). You can also have a look at the finding books and articles section of CamGuides.

For more about Reading Lists Online, there is a guide available that includes written information, short videos, and tips on making best use of your online reading lists.

Finding the ebooks and articles you need

If the items you need are available as ebooks or online journal articles, you should be able to access them via iDiscover, Moodle, online reading lists, or any links given to you by your supervisors or lecturers.

If you are searching iDiscover, you can look out for the green online access links to go directly to ebooks and articles. You can also use the full text online option to refine your results (on the right of the screen when using a PC / laptop / larger screen device or under the filtering icon on a mobile).

The guide to accessing and using eresources is useful for tips on Raven authentication and browser extensions.

Most ebooks can be found on iDiscover, but it is also worth checking the ebooks@Cambridge blog for updates on newly-available material. Their blog posts give extra information on what's in the resources and how best to use them, together with tips on gaining access for any resources that need them.

You can find out more about ebooks and how to access them in the University Library's guide to ebooks.

If you need any help with ebooks or journal articles, do email us and ask.

Individual chapters in books

If you need access to book chapters that aren’t available via your course Moodle site, there is a Scan & Deliver service available at the University Library (that also includes books from many of the subject libraries).

If you need any help with this, you can email the UL or the college library.

If you need a book, article, or book chapter that is not in Cambridge

If what you're looking for isn't available in Cambridge, you have a couple of options, depending on how urgently you need it: you can request that Cambridge libraries acquire it or you can get it on an interlibrary loan from another library that already has it (digital or print, depending on what you need).

To recommend that Cambridge libraries acquire something, use the request form. This can be used for Selwyn and for any Cambridge University library.

If you would like access to a chapter or article for your research, you can request a digital copy. if what you want is more than a single chapter or article, you should be able to request an interlibrary loan.

Finding books in Selwyn Library

Selwyn Library books generally have shelfmarks with numbers for the subject, followed by the first three letters of the author or editor's surname For example, Molecular biology of the cell, by Bruce Alberts (and co-authors), is at 571.6 ALB. Books and DVDs will have labels on the spine to show the shelfmark (or on the front, if they are very narrow).

If you need to find a book on the shelves and are not sure where to start, our guide to locating books in the Bartlam Library will explain what is shelved where. As a quick guide:

  • 001 - 999 shelfmarks are on the first floor
  • S 001 - S 999 shelfmarks are on the second floor
  • DVDs and A books are in the lower-height bookcases on the first floor
  • Exam papers and Very Short Introductions are in the display case shelving on the first floor, outside the computer room
  • GUS books are in the Common Room (these are general reading books)

If you can't find a Selwyn copy of the book you're looking for on iDiscover, you can email the library to ask us to buy a copy or fill in the online book suggestion form for Cambridge libraries.

Getting help from Selwyn and other Cambridge libraries

You can contact the library for help with getting hold of books and articles, troubleshooting references, or finding contact details for accessing subject specialist help.

You should also be able to get help from your subject library, including support with accessing ebooks, articles, and materials on Moodle. For updated information on what services are available in these libraries, have a look at the Cambridge University Libraries information on Faculty and Departmental Libraries (which includes the various subject libraries you can access).

For ebooks and other resources available online, the best place to keep up to date is on the UL's online resources and services page, which includes links to information on ebooks, journals, interlibrary loans, library support, and help with troubleshooting remote access. You can also use their online form for recommending books and ebooks for purchase.

If you have any questions, or need any help, please do get in touch.

The Bartlam Library is open from 7am until 2am during term and from 7am until midnight during the vacation.

Library staff are usually available between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, either in the library or working from home. If you have an enquiry of any kind, please email the library and we will get back to you as soon as we are able.

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