Postgraduate Experience Survey 2013 –Library feedback

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laptop and notebookToday’s post is from Helen Webb, Research Support Librarian…

In the previous post, Paul Roberts introduced the PRES results. I’d like to follow-up by talking about the survey comments relating to Library resources and what we’re doing as a result. We really appreciated the positive comments about our resources and services, as well as the suggestions for improvements.

Journal access

Positive and negative comments were made about journal access. The Library offers access to 30,000 journals online but there will be journals to which we don’t subscribe.

If we don’t subscribe to a journal we are always happy to consider a subscription. As journals are a recurrent cost we do need to carefully evaluate all requests to make sure they are the best use of the budget. As a doctoral researcher you can request a journal subscription through your Library representative who will then get in touch with us in the Library.

Some researchers reported a lack of access to specific journals but often these were journals to which we already subscribed (Nature Genetics, Nature Protocols), or to which we had recently agreed subscriptions (Nature Methods).  The easiest way to check if we have access to a journal is to use the Online Journals tab on the Library homepage. Remember that if you are off-campus you won’t be able to navigate directly to journals and get access, you need to go via the Library webpages so that you can be authenticated.


If we don’t have the book you need then you can request that we buy a copy. It usually takes less than three weeks to go from an order to the book arriving on the shelf. We will consider all requests, but our preference is to buy books that are of longterm use to more than just one person so if your item is very niche we would suggest you place an interlibrary loan request rather than a purchase request. If you think your research area is under-represented in the Library then please do get in touch and we can discuss with you and your Library representative.


Some respondents mentioned they would like to see more ebooks. We have been heavily investing in ebooks over the past few years and can offer access to over 35,000 titles. The best way to discover ebooks is to use Library Search – run your search and then filter the results by selecting ‘ebooks’ under ‘item type’ in the lefthand menu. We are also experimenting with fulfilling interlibrary loans by offering ebooks where available. This should make the service even quicker and of more use to distance and part-time researchers. Where lots of comments came in from particular schools about ebooks we plan to work with the Library reps to ensure our provision is suitable, and that researchers are aware of what is available.

Computers in the Research Hive

We’re delighted to hear that so many people want to use the Hive, and we’re aware that there is only limited space. Rather than filling all the desk spaces with PCs we are exploring other methods of meeting the demand for more computers so watch this space for future developments.

Get in touch if you have any questions or are struggling with Library issues – we are always happy to help and you can contact us at

Helen Webb
Research Support Librarian




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