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Frequently asked questions

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Journals are specialist publications written by experts and researchers in a particular subject area. They are published at regular intervals like magazines, and each issue consists of articles and reviews by different authors. The articles often begin with a paragraph at the beginning called an abstract. Individual journal issues are usually given a number and all the issues from a particular year form a volume. Journals are an extremely useful source of information since their content can be more up-to-date than books. They can be the place where new ideas or research first appears. Most of our journals are now online although we have some paper journals. Academic journals are different from personal journals or diaries. Please see the Library catalogue and Databases pages for more information.
An abstract is a summary of the main points of a book or an article. Reading the abstract is a good way of quickly deciding whether an item is going to be relevant for your research topic.
A bibliography appears at the end of a piece of work and lists all the works the author has referred to when writing that book, article, report etc.
An e-book is an electronic copy of a print book. You will find e-books listed on our catalogue. You will also find some on the internet through institutional repositories and Google books, but please be careful with these as often, due to copyright protection laws, there will only be one chapter or part of the book available. The e-books you access through the UEL library catalogue will be complete and free for you to access. Please see the Library catalogue page for more information.
Subject librarians work to make sure that your core and recommended texts are in the library; they also provide help and training for groups of students and individuals in finding and using relevant resources. You will also meet your subject librarian during your induction week at UEL. If you need to make an appointment with your librarian then please follow the link to find out who your Subject Librarian is and how to contact them.
A database is a collection of material, such as journal articles, conference proceedings, statistics, government reports, British standards, building regulations, marketing reports, company information, trend predictions, advertising materials and much more.
The information is carefully organised and categorised and the databases have quality search facilities, which make the information much easier to find. Please see the Databases page for more information.
This is a web portal that links to websites categorised into subject areas. Subject gateways make it easier to locate good quality resources on specific topics. See the Subject gateways page for more information.
The Library has a growing collection of electronic books (or e-books). You need to search for the book in the Library catalogue. Once you find it, click on the 'Online Resources' tab to read it. You will need to type in your Athens username and password. For more guidance with finding and using e-books see the Library catalogue page of this site.
Use the Library catalogue to find the items you want. The catalogue will tell you if an item is available in any of our libraries or databases. Type the title of the book or the keyword of the topic you want. If the item you are looking for is available, note the shelf number. Then go to the shelf and pick it up.
Journal articles can be in print or online. Hard copies are available in the libraries but more are available as e-journals through the library catalogue or databases.
You will need to place a request for the book and the item will be reserved for you to collect. Please follow the guidance on making a reservation.
Books and other resources are arranged according to the Dewey Decimal Classification System. Items are arranged on the shelves according to their subject matter. Each number refers to a subject area. There are 10 main classes as follows:
  • 000-099 general works including computing
  • 100-199 philosophy and psychology
  • 200-299 religion
  • 300-399 social sciences including education
  • 400-499 languages
  • 500-599 sciences and mathematics
  • 600-699 applied sciences including business
  • 700-799 the arts
  • 800-899 literature
  • 900-999 history, biography and geography.
Each of these main classes is split into subclasses, and numbers after the decimal point make the subject even more specific. Look on the catalogue for the specific classmark for your book.

Some items are located in specialist collections within the library, e.g. The Refugee Archive in the Docklands Library.

It is a personalised login and password which you will need to access UEL’s databases and electronic resources off-campus. 
There are options to use other libraries. For more information see the pages on SCONUL Access, Other libraries and Inter-library loans. You can also talk to your Subject Librarian or ask at the library enquiry desk.
SCONUL Access is a scheme, which enables students and staff to use other university libraries for reference. Part-time and distance learners can also borrow from some member libraries.

Not all university libraries allow access for all categories of students. See the SCONUL Access page for more information. You will need to have a SCONUL Access authentication email to use the scheme. To apply for one you must complete the online application form and take the return email (either in paper or via your mobile device) along with your UEL ID to the university library you wish to visit.

Yes, there is a scheme called Eduroam. Eduroam (education roaming) is the secure, worldwide roaming access service developed for the international research and education community.

Eduroam allows students, researchers and staff from participating institutions to obtain internet connectivity across campus and when visiting other participating institutions by simply opening their laptop. For more information on how to log onto wireless networks at other institutions using Eduroam, see the UEL Eduroam support pages.

Some Ph.D theses are available on the British Library Ethos website and through the ABI Inform database. The UEL library does not keep a large number of undergraduate dissertations but ask your Subject Librarian as there is some limited availability, mainly in Social Work.

Some PG level business dissertations are available via the University's online repository, ROAR.

Electronic resources are the databases that the University subscribes to. These allow you to access expensive information for free as a UEL student. Online information tends to be information on the internet, some of which is free to access and some of which must be paid for. It is always worth checking through the Library website to see if the pay to access information is available through our databases before you start searching the internet. See the Databases page for how to search for electronic resources.
Academic work requires that you use and gather ideas from a variety of sources and refer appropriately to these sources within your work. This may involve using quotations or paraphrased ideas in your text and then linking these to a reference list which clearly identifies the sources at the end of your work. For more information please see the Referencing pages.
By referencing properly you acknowledge the work of other writers and avoid plagiarism. You demonstrate the body of knowledge on which you based your discussion and argument. You are providing proof that you have read and comprehended relevant literature. Importantly, you enable other researchers to trace your sources and lead them on to further information. For more information please see the Referencing pages.
Plagiarism is taking another person's words or ideas and using them as if they were your own. For more information and advice see the Plagiarism page
If you want to find out more about how to cite a reference in your work or how to write a reference for your bibliography/reference list please refer to our help and guidance on How to reference.
Turnitin is a text-matching tool which runs a report on your work to see if the words are similar to or the same as other sources within its database. It is designed to give you feedback on how original your work is. Work that is submitted to Turnitin generates a Turnitin Originality report, showing which parts of it have been reproduced from which sources.

Turnitin is administrated by your module leader and a link will be made available to you in the UEL Plus module site so that you can submit your drafts for checking. For more help see the Turnitin guide on the UEL E-learning website.

Ask-A-Librarian is an online enquiry service. You can contact us via email or chat to a librarian online about our services and other subject enquiries.
Once you register as a student, you will be automatically given an ID card which is also your library card and allows you to use the library. You will need your ID card to borrow items and you will also need your PIN (0000 for new students) to be able to use the self-issue machine.
All Library staff are here to help you during your time at UEL. Subject Librarians work with Schools and are responsible for the management and development of learning resources. They are also responsible for making sure that you make effective use of library facilities. You can contact your Subject Librarian via email or via our online enquiry desk, Ask-A-Librarian. Staff at the library counters and helpdesks can also assist you.