You may have your own copies of books or receive copies of chapters/articles from academic staff. However, many subjects require such diverse readings that you will need to borrow books from your college library, your faculty or departmental library, or the University Library.
If you're not in Cambridge, and are studying at a distance, the university has an extensive range of online resources available to students. You can access these via iDiscover. If you have any questions contact your subject librarian or email@example.com.
You can register to use most other faculty/departmental libraries in addition to your own. Many students are studying subjects that cross over into other disciplines and so find books on iDiscover that are in libraries across Cambridge. Email the library or check the opening hours and go along during staffed hours to ask about using and borrowing from there. For the contact details of libraries, see the Libraries Directory. Not all names of libraries are intuitive: the main library for historical collections is under 'S' for Seeley Historical Library not 'H'. Use the search box if you can't find what you are looking for.
College libraries usually only lend to their own students but most will allow students from other colleges to make an appointment in advance to use a book in the library if it is difficult to find elsewhere. If you find yourself in this situation once you're in Cambridge, you could ask your own college librarian, or use the Libraries Directory to find the contact details for the library you wish to visit; email or telephone to ask if you can make an appointment.
Locating a book on the shelves
You can browse the shelves of your library, trying to spot the book you are looking for. However, you will save time if you find the classmark (sometimes called shelfmark).
Click through the slides below to find out how to locate a book on the shelves based on the information that is included in the record on iDiscover.
If you can't see the book on the shelves, this may be because it has been borrowed by someone else. Many libraries let you request a book, which gives the borrower a short period of time to return it. Often it is kept to one side for you for a few days so that no one else can borrow it.
It may also be because the library doesn't have a copy. In this case speak to the librarian; they may be able to advise you on other libraries that do have a copy or even buy a copy of the book for your own library.
Most ebooks are available anywhere in the world, with your CRSid username and password (which you'll get shortly before arriving). Search for the title in iDiscover, and link to the ebook that way, rather than searching the internet.
It is worth noting that some ebooks can only be accessed from certain computers in specific libraries. These are books that have been given to the University Library because it is a copyright library and holds a copy of every book published in the UK. These come with certain restrictions, such as where they can be accessed. Check the record carefully to find out availability. Help and more information is available on the ebooks LibGuide.
Most journal articles are available online and the the majority of these are listed by article title in iDiscover. If you can't find the article by title, then search for the journal title instead. Academic staff may also upload journal article to Moodle, the University's Virtual Learning Environment.
Unless otherwise stated, this work is licenced under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC 4.0 licence by Cambridge University Libraries.