Top Library Tips from your Library Student Associates

As librarians, we spend a lot of time (particularly in week 1!) telling you things we feel you need to know about the Library. So here instead we have asked this year’s lovely Library Associates what they think you should know. Here are their Top 5 Tips, with some very valuable advice… by Kate Courage

Tip #1: Hold Your Books

Don’t forget to place a hold on a book that you want, if it is already on loan. This makes sure that the person who has the book can’t just renew it again, and if they have it for longer than a week, they will be asked to return it within 7 days. It’s easy to assume that there is nothing you can do if someone (quite possibly your tutor) has the book checked out until July. But this is not so!

Equally, did you know that you can renew your books 999 times, provided no one places a hold on it? So if you have that 3 day loan copy and want to keep it for longer, make sure you renew it on time, to avoid paying any fines (and if you are renewing a 3 day loan that many times, do ask the Library if they could consider making it a longer loan).

Tip #2: Location, location, location

Double check the location of a book, as well as the classmark. There is nothing more annoying than going all the way to the furthest corner of floor 3, only to realise that the book you need is not just PQ1095.N7 but Short loan, or Oversize PQ1095.N7, and having to retrace your steps and venture over the bridge or back downstairs. Even if the exercise might be good for you!

Tip #3: Don’t stop at JStor

We all love JStor. If you don’t you love it, probably haven’t tried it yet, and we recommend that you do! It is a big full-text collection of academic journal articles, and is nice and easy to use. Once you find something, you can get to the PDF quickly and easily. However, JStor is only one part of our journal collection, so if you don’t search anywhere else you will miss lots of potentially relevant material. Plus, most of the content is older and doesn’t cover the last 3-5 years. You don’t want to exclude everything published recently. So, our Associates also suggest:

  • Project Muse – this is in some ways similar to JStor, as it is a full-text collection of journals. However, the content is from US university presses, and is mostly different. It is also up to date, so helps you to find very recent research, which always looks good.
  • Google Scholar – this can be used to bring your JStor research more up to date. If you find a useful article on JStor, pop the title into Google Scholar and check “cited by”, to find who has cited that article more recently. You can also set your “Library Links” under the settings option, so that you get “Warwick Access” links, to connect you to our full-text, if we have it.
  • Newspaper databases – this is a listing of all of our current and historical online newspaper collections. These are great for finding all sorts of information, from current news (Nexis) to reactions to particular book publications and historical events over the past 500 years (British Periodicals, Gale News Vault and loads more).
  • EEBO / Historical Texts – these are wonderful for resources for Early Modernists (and Historical Texts covers all the way from 15th to 19th centuries). You can find a huge range of early printed works, including literary works, sermons, legal documents and royal proclamations.
  • The Library’s list of databases – this is not the most exciting-looking page but it is the route to all of these great resources and so many more. Take a few minutes to explore what is there that is relevant to your subject.

Tip #4: Don’t give up the hunt

If you can’t find the book or article you want at Warwick, don’t give up! You can try Article Reach (where you can request a journal article, to be supplied by other libraries, worldwide, that are part of the Article Reach consortium), Document Supply (where we borrow a book from another UK library) or our Book Suggestion Form, to ask us to buy a book for the Library. If it is for your studies, and we have the money, we will say yes, but make sure you ask in plenty of time as it can take 3-4 weeks for print books to arrive.

Tip #5: Ask for help

Don’t forget that you have a dedicated Academic Support Librarian for your subject, who is there to help you discover tricky to find resources and to reference them correctly. They are very happy to meet you individually, so just drop them an email. Equally, remember that you can contact our student Library Associates direct with any questions, concerns or feedback about the Library. They would love to hear from you.