Resources for My Subject

Computer Science: Researching a Topic

Computer science subject guide updated for 2020/21

Finding Journal Articles

If you already have the complete details then search for the journal title in iDiscover. Many current journals are only available online, so it can also be worth checking the title in ejournals@cambridge too.

In either case, be sure to check the library's holdings to ensure that the correct volume is available. If the relevant year is covered, then either follow the links and navigate to the article, or, in the case of printed journals, contact the librarian. If you wish to make a copy of an article then please see below for copyright advice.

Most subscribed electronic journals are accessible without a password from any computer on the university network. If you are working from home then you may find an option to log in using your Raven password. Please see here for general advice on accessing electronic resources.

If you don't know the full details of the article you are looking for then you will need to check these in an abstracting and indexing service first. For most papers in computer science, the Trier Bibliography is the best starting point. If possible begin by looking in the author indexes (sorted by surname) for the first author of your paper. Please note that the name may appear in a number of forms, with initials, and with full forenames, for example. Once you have selected a name, you will see all journal and conference papers by that author listed in chronological author.

You can also use this resource to find a list of all papers published in a specific journal or conference. To do this simply select the title from the correct list; it us usually possible to look up either the full title, or the abbreviation (if there is one). For conference proceedings you will see a list of known years, with the bibliographical details of each proceedings volume. Follow the “view contents” link next to one of these to see all the papers included in that conference. For journals, click on one of the volume or issue numbers to see the contents of that part. This is useful if you know when and where an article was published, but not the author or title.

If you only know the title of a paper, or you want to find any articles on a particular subject, then it is better to use the ACM Guide to computing literature. Enter keywords into the search box, trying to be as specific as possible and click on “search”.

Copyright Guidance

  • Printed resources
    During the course of your research you will probably want to copy useful papers from journals, or sections of books. In most cases, making copies of small portions for study is acceptable, but please ensure that you remain within the terms of the CLA Licence. A summary is displayed by most photocopiers, or you can read the detailed guidelines.
  • Electronic resources
    Electronic resources are not automatically covered by the CLA licence, so if you're using electronic journals a lot then you'll need to check what is allowed separately. Please see the e-resources FAQs for more advice.
  • Further advice
    Specific advice on copyright issues may be available from the University's Legal services office.

Help with Resources

For further help with library resources for Computer Science, both printed and electronic, please see the links below, or contact the librarian in the Computer Laboratory.

Using the Catalogue



iDiscover is currently the preferred way of searching across all the library collections in Cambridge. At the simplest level it works like a Web search engine, so many users won't have any difficulty. Just enter a phrase consisting of keywords in the search box. You may find that this returns a large number of records, so try to be as specific as possible. Also, results are returned ranked according to relevance, so you may obtain better results if you use mainly terms from the author's name and title of the book. Unlike previous catalogues, iDiscover will also search journal articles. If you only want to find books, then select this option from the 'refine my results' tab on the right.


If you need to be more specific then you can use the 'advanced search' option from the bar near the top of the screen. This allows you to combine terms from various fields. Select the field you wish to search, and enter terms you wish to find. If necessary, you can combine terms from different fields.

iDiscover attempts to present you with a single record for each item together with a list of holdings. This process happens automatically, so you may not see the original catalogue record for your department library. Also the display of item statuses can be confusing. If any of these prove to be a problem then you may wish to use Newton instead.

Research Data Management and Issues