Using the Library remotely – accessing material you need

With many of you currently not in Edinburgh and access to our Library’s print collections severely restricted, knowing the options for accessing material that isn’t available online or that the Library doesn’t have in its collections has become increasingly important.

While the Covid-19 pandemic has reduced the number of options available to you, there are still possibilities existing that you can take advantage of.

Check DiscoverEd
Request a Book (RaB)
Scan & Deliver
Click & Collect
Inter-Library Loans (ILLs)
National Library of Scotland and other libraries
Open Access (free stuff)

Check DiscoverEd

It’s really important that you check if the Library has the item or material you are looking for in its collections, whether online or in print. Searching Google or Google Scholar will not give you this information (even if you have set up Google Scholar for full text access). DiscoverEd will show you what we (the Library) have. Continue reading

Dissertation Festival 2020

From 26 October – 6 November the Library is running a virtual Dissertation Festival. The online events taking place during this two week period will highlight what the Library can do for you to help you succeed with your dissertation.

In this blog post I am going to focus on the sessions that might be of particular interest to dissertation students (undergraduates or postgraduates) in the School of Social and Political Science (SPS). However, to find all sessions available and to book on take a look at the Dissertation guide. Continue reading

The Library in the time of Covid-19

Not sure what Library resources, services and support are available to you at this unusual time? You can always keep up to date with all of this via our Library Covid-19 site but we’d like to highlight some key areas in this blog post.

Temporary access to e-books and other e-resources
E-books and books in general
Requesting a chapter from a book or journal article for personal use
Digital primary source and archive collections
Returning library books

Temporary access to e-books and other e-resources

The Library is already in a strong position when it comes to online resources and digital collections. We have around 1.4 million e-books, 185,000 e-journals, 700 licensed databases, 84,000 streaming videos and 6,000 scanned book chapters and journal articles. The majority of this content can be accessed via DiscoverEd and your subject guides. Continue reading

Chicago, 1950, Another Look: The Erving Goffman Memorial Lecture 2014

erving_goffman_lectureThe Erving Goffman Memorial Lecture is being held today as part of the year-long celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Sociology department at University of Edinburgh.

Today’s lecture is titled ‘Chicago, 1950, Another Look’ and will be delivered by the eminent Professor Howard Becker. This will look at Becker and Goffman’s time at the University of Chicago Department of Sociology in the late 1940s and early 50s, which is now seen by some as the birthplace of something called “The Second Chicago School”.


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Love books? Get involved in Book Week Scotland 2014

book-week-scotland-logoI love books. I love reading. I love bookshops. And I love libraries (slight bias there as I am a Librarian after all). So Book Week Scotland is a perfect opportunity to remember why I became a librarian in the first place – I love books and I love reading and I want to share that with other people.

So if, like me, you love books, you love reading or you love libraries then why not take a quick break from your studies before exams start and get involved in Book Week Scotland, this week:

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50 Years of Sociology at Edinburgh: Professor Tom Burns

In 1964 the Sociology department at University of Edinburgh was founded by Tom Burns. A prominent sociologist and one of the first sociologists to be elected to a Fellowship of the British Academy, Professor Burns worked at the University until his retirement in 1981.

The Centre for Research Collections at the University Library holds Professor Burns papers. Although these are currently uncatalogued and require some extensive conservation work, I was allowed a sneak peak at a box of offprints that is part of his collection of papers (Tom Burns offprints: Accession no. E2002.6).


The City as Looking Glass by Tom Burns in Prospect (1960)

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Study space during exams

Main Library studyNeed help finding study space?

In order to help ease pressure on study spaces in the Main Library during the exam period, Information Services (IS), EUSA and the University central room bookings team have worked together to identify alternative study spaces in the Central Area.

The map includes information on how far each alternative study space is from the Main Library and also information on opening hours, what kind of study space is available, if pcs and/or cloud printing is available, etc. These spaces are all available from 21 April-9 May 2014, with access to the libraries and open access computing labs mentioned available outwith this period as well.

*The extra study space in the David Hume Tower (DHT) is being opened on weekend of Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 May, 9am-9pm. See map for room details.*

You can access the map at

The map is also on display in the concourse of the Main Library as you come through the entrance gates (next to the plasma screen).

Outwith the central area there are other site libraries with study space available.  You can find a full list of site libraries at

Remember there is a free shuttle bus service that runs between the Central Area and King’s Buildings (KB) campus during semester Mon-Fri 8.18am-6.25pm. Shuttle bus timetable:

The Main Library is open as always 7.30am-2.30am seven days a week and during revision and exam periods there are restrictions placed on external reference/consultation users access to the building during the day, to ensure that optimal study space is available to University of Edinburgh students.

Caroline Stirling – Academic Support Librarian for Social and Political Science.

Inspiring Research – International Women’s Day 2014

centredinternationalwomensdayInternational Women’s Day (IWD) was celebrated on 8th March 2014. IWD has been celebrated for over 100 years and this year’s theme was Inspiring Change

The Library subscribes to a number of databases that may inspire you when researching women’s or gender studies. You can find a full list of Recommended databases for women’s studies but a few highlights are:

Women, War & Society: the First World War had a revolutionary and permanent impact on the personal, social and professional lives of all women. Their essential contribution to the war in Europe is fully documented in this collection of primary source materials sourced from the Imperial War Museum, London. These unique documents – charity and international relief reports, pamphlets, photographs and press cuttings – are published for the first time in fully searchable form, along with interpretative essays from leading scholars.

voguearchiveThe Vogue Archive: contains the entire run of Vogue magazine (US edition) from 1892 to the present day, reproduced in high-resolution colour page images. More than 400,000 pages are included. Vogue is a unique record of international popular culture that extends beyond fashion. The Vogue Archive is an essential primary source for the study of fashion, gender and modern social history.

Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures Online: an interdisciplinary, trans-historical, and global project embracing women and Islamic cultures in every region where there have been significant Muslim populations. It crosses history, geographic borders and disciplines to create a ground breaking reference work reflecting the very latest research on gender studies and the Islamic world.

Project Muse: provides access to almost 200 full text journals from 30 scholarly publishers, covering the fields of literature and criticism, history, the visual and performing arts, cultural studies, education, political science, gender studies, economics, and many others.

For the full list see databases for women’s studies.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, the editors of the journal Parliamentary Affairs have drawn together recent publications examining the representation of women in parliamentary democracies around the world. All papers are free to access until the end of June 2014. See Virtual Issue: Women’s Representation.
The Library has full access to the journal Parliamentary Affairs available to students and staff of the University, search the Library Catalogue for the Journal Title to get access.

For information on events held at University of Edinburgh to celebrate International Women’s Day 2014 see:

To watch previous International Women’s Day lectures at the University see:

New books for SPS in Main Library – February

Over 150 books from subject areas within SPS were added to the Library collections last month.  Here is just a small selection:


Cybersecurity and cyberwar : what everyone needs to know, by P.W. Singer and Allan Friedman at QA76.9.A25 Sin.

The inequality reader: contemporary and foundational readings in race, class, and gender, edited by David B. Grusky and Szonja Szelény at HM821 Ine.

Meaning in life : an analytic study, by Thaddeus Metz at BD431 Met.

The outsourced self: what happens when we pay others to live our lives for us, by Arlie Russell Hochschild at HQ536 Hoc.

Party & society : reconstructing a sociology of democratic party politics, by Cedric de Leon at JF2051 Leo.

The quest for socialist Utopia : the Ethiopian student movement, c.1960-1974, by Bahru Zedwe at DT387.95 Bah.

returnRecognizing and helping the neglected child : evidence-based practice for assessment and intervention, by Brigid Daniel [and others] at HV713 Rec.

Return : nationalizing transnational mobility in Asia, edited by  Xiang Biao, Brenda S.A. Yeoh, and Mika Toyota at JV8490 Ret.

Routledge international handbook of social and environmental change, edited by Stewart Lockie, David A. Sonnenfeld and Dana R. Fisher at HM856 Rou.

The rule of law, Islam, and constitutional politics in Egypt and Iran, edited by Saïd Amir Arjomand and Nathan J. Brown at KMC514 Rul.

Seeing like a feminist, by Nivedita Menon at HQ1742 Men.

The social life of achievement, edited by Nicholas J. Long and Henrietta L. Moore at BF503 Soc.

tencrisesState and society in the Gambia since independence : 1965-2012, edited by Abdoulaye Saine, Ebrima Ceesay and Ebrima Sall at DT509.8 Sta.

Ten crises, by Peter Montiel at HB3722 Mon.

Vande mataram : the biography of a song, by Sabyasachi Bhattacharya at ML3748 Bha.


You may find some of these books in the New Books display on the 1st floor of the Main Library, where a selection of new books from all subjects across the University are held. Books on these display shelves can be borrowed as normal.

In the Library Catalogue there is also an option to search for new books added to the Library’s collections from the last four weeks, just click on the “New Books” tab.

If looking for a book that has just been newly added to the Library’s collections and you can’t find it on the shelf please ensure you check the New Books display on the 1st floor and/or the Recent Returns shelves on the appropriate floor (shelfmarks starting A-N on 2nd floor, P-Z on 3rd floor). You may want to also double-check the Catalogue record to see if the item is actually in the HUB Collection (ground floor).

Need help with your research?

  • Main Library Study Area 01Do you need help or are interested in finding current news, theses or historic newspapers?
  • Are you worried about getting your references right or avoiding copyright issues when using images, charts, tables, etc., in your presentations?
  • Do you need help identifying resources for your literature review or want to find out how to conduct a systematic literature review?

If so, the Academic Support Librarians team are running library and research-based information skills session this semester that you can book onto via MyEd. Most sessions run for 1 hour and are held in the Main Library. These sessions are open to all students across the University. Sessions become available to book 1 month prior to being held.

The following sessions are available:

  • Finding current news
  • Finding historic newspapers
  • Finding theses
  • Managing a systematic literature review (this session is 1.5 hours)
  • Study resources for literature reviews (this session is 2 hours)
  • Your presentations – avoid the copyright trap
  • Your references – get it right first time

For more information on what the sessions will cover, where and when the sessions will take place and how to book please see the IS Skills website.

While on the IS Skills website why not take a look around the wide range of training courses available to students and staff at the University.