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Study Skills

Wolfson College Academic Skills: Finding Information on Reading List

Help with finding, managing and using information from the Wolfson Library Team.

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. 

Reading Lists 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.

Top tips

  1. When searching on iDiscover, use the advanced search option next to the search box to help you limit your results. You can 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.
  2. Check the item you are searching for carefully to see if and where it is available. Questions to ask yourself: Which library is it located in (the University Library, your Faculty or Departmental library, or your College library) and what are the opening hours for that library?
  3. If you are looking for an ebook, check the record to see its availability. You can access most ebooks anywhere in the world by using your Raven access while others can only be accessed from certain computers in specific libraries. Help and more information is available on the ebooks LibGuide.
  4. You can download the item details to reference management software such as Zotero or Mendeley. 
  5. If you need to come back to an item, you can email the details of a book to yourself so that you can quickly find it again.

Once you receive your reading list, your next task will be to find the items on it. The videos below will cover how to distinguish between different types of items that may be on your list (books, journal articles, book chapters, or ebooks), how to log into your Discover account to request an item or save your search, and how to access and read ebooks.

Try it out

Below are a set of 5 tasks to allow you to check your comprehension of the material covered in the "How to" videos. If you have any difficulties completing them you can always return to the videos for a reminder. A downloadable Word version of these tasks is also available below.

  1. Go to the iDiscover catalogue and log into your library account.

  1. Identify 1 book on your reading list, go to iDiscover and check to see if we have it in the Wolfson College Library. If we do not, can you find it in a library that you have access to (the University Library or your Faculty/Departmental Library)?

  1. Find 1 book on your reading list which is an ebook. You can do this by searching on the iDiscover catalogue and looking for the “Online access” link in the record. Try to access the ebook. If you are on a university computer or Wi-Fi you should be able to access this directly. If you are off campus you may get access using your Raven ID and password.

  1. Find 1 journal article on your reading list and access the article from the iDiscover catalogue. You can also try to find an article using the Databases or the E-Journal Search section of the catalogue.

  1. Return to your library account on iDiscover and make sure you can locate your search history. This will be helpful in the future as it allows you to see what you have searched for already and ensures you do not repeat searches.



Unless otherwise stated, this work is licenced under a CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence by Wolfson College Cambridge.

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