Academic Skills Blog - resources in the vacation

Let us shine a light on tips and tools to support your research process. This week: resources in the vacation

pile of suitcases

As it is the end of term this week and many of you will be away from Cambridge for part of the vacation, we thought that it would be a good time to remind you about the many and varied ways of accessing resources and support from a distance.

We subscribe to a huge number of ebooks and ejournals and the vast majority can be viewed wherever you are in the world by logging in using your Raven username and password. However, it is not always clear how to do this. The best way to make sure that an e-journal or database prompts you for your Cambridge details, is not to Google the title but search for it in iDiscover or browse from the A-Z listing. In addition to being available remotely, ebooks have lots of added features such as highlighters, note-making functions plus full-text searching. There are extensive collections to browse, as well as individual titles, such as the complete Oxford Very Short Introductions series which are great for getting to grips to new concepts.

If you find any books that can't be viewed outside Cambridge, it may be that they form part of the Electronic Legal Deposit and need to be consulted on designated PCs in specific libraries in Cambridge. In those cases you will have to wait until you return from vacation (although it is always worth checking that there isn't an additional ecopy available on iDiscover). To help you remember that you want to look at the text in January, why not 'pin' the item in iDiscover or send yourself an email from the record form? Make sure that you are logged in to your Library Account and click on the pin or envelope icon next to the record on the results screen. Our LibGuide tab on Finding items on your Reading List has some videos showing how to do this.

Another great resource to find online material is Google Scholar. However, it can be difficult to know whether or not you are entitled to full-text access. If you have a Google account, you can save lots of time by setting up 'Library Links'. Instead of copying and pasting titles into iDiscover or a database, it will let you know when Cambridge has a subscription to an article or ebook in your results list. Watch this Wolfson skills video to find out how activate the feature.

There are other tools that perform this role and let you know when a pdf is available through Cambridge's subscriptions, such as Lean Library. To learn more and watch short videos that explain how to set it up, see the LibGuide tab on Literature Searching.

In addition to all this online access, you can borrow physical resources over the vacation and hold on to those that you already have on loan; it is now no longer to possible to request books to be returned. Recalls will be turned back on on 14 January.

Remember that library staff are here to help by email, phone or Skype until 20th December. The library email will be checked again from 2 January.

If you are staying in Cambridge, the library will be open throughout much of the vacation. It will only be closed for two short periods: from the evening of 24th until the morning of 26th December and again, on the evening of 31st December, reopening early on 2nd January.

We hope that you have a productive yet restful few weeks.