It may sound obvious but it is easiest to find items when you know what you are looking for! However, in a physical library there are too many resources for you to necessarily know where to start looking. Thankfully, help is at hand! Catalogues and databases index material to help you retrieve it in person or online. iDiscover is the University of Cambridge's catalogue, which contains millions of records for books, journals and journal articles and enable you to access them in person or online.
Many taught courses have online reading lists. These save you time by linking to ebooks, scanned chapters and articles, and catalogue records for print texts. To find out more and watch introductory videos go to the LibGuide for Reading Lists Online or, once you have your Raven login, try it out: Reading Lists Online.
However, there will be times that you can't find what you need on here (some records won't show that we stock a book, even though we may have copy) or your paper may not have an online list, so read on to learn more about how iDiscover works.
Academic books are also called monographs. They communicate a series of ideas around a single theme and, usually, comprise chapters. Non-fiction works summarise a field of research and communicate new and innovative contributions or insights. There may be one or many authors, who may share ownership or put their name to certain chapters. Books are often around 50 - 80,000 words in length. They are available in print and/or online.
The reference should include the following information, though possibly in a different order and with different punctuation:
The reference for an edited book looks a bit different. Please note that you need to search for the BOOK title (in italics in this case) and not the chapter title in iDiscover.
The reference for an e-book may, or may not, reveal its online nature. The text of an ebook will be identical to the print version and so the reference can look the same. However, sometimes academic staff may make it clear by writing [Online] next to the title in the list of references.
Many ebook platforms will provide you with a reference to copy and paste or download. This will include standard bibliographic information but possibly also a URL, doi (a unique identifier that will link to the resource even if a URL changes) and date accessed.
Please note that this may be in a different style to the one you are used to using and you may need to edit it so that matches the rest of your references.
These are shorter works that communicate new research findings. A researcher submits an article on a particular topic to a journal which often publishes on a sub-discipline of a subject area, though there are some overarching journal titles. The article is peer reviewed by other researchers who work on similar topics. If they and the journal editors feel it is of high enough quality and relevance to the journal, they will publish it in an issue. Each issue will have a limited number of articles in it, up to about 20. Each article is distinct from the others, unless it appears in a 'special issue' with articles grouped around a theme. Typically around 8-12 000 words, articles are more specific than books and so are useful in attending to a particular question, but less relevant if you want an overview or in depth exploration of a subject. Generally you'll find that these are available only online, although the university still subscribes to some print versions.
Search by article title to get straight to the resource. A search for the journal title will return everything ever published under that name. iDiscover contains lots of journal articles but not everything, so you should also consult our databases to find out more.
You can borrow from your Faculty or Departmental Library, the University Library and Wolfson College Libary.
Don't scroll through 1000s of results: remember to use the advanced option next to the search box. Enter as many details as you can (author, title, date etc) to get to the item straight away. Alternatively you can limit your search using the menu on the right hand side of the results screen.
Access: If you are looking in a departmental library, is it open when you need the book? Can you access it online instead? Most ebooks are available anywhere in the world, with your Raven access, but some can only be accessed from certain computers in specific libraries. Check the record carefully to find out availability. Help and more information is available on the ebooks LibGuide.
Download item details to reference management software such as Zotero or Medeley
Email details of a book to yourself so that you can quickly find it again
Watch this video to show you how to log in to iDiscover, view your account, save searches and reserve a book that it is on loan.
A PDF transcript of the video is available if you prefer to read rather than watch.