How are books arranged on the shelves?

The Library uses the dewey decimal system to organise the books. This means that the books are given a number according to the topic. It’s a system which is used in most libraries. As well as the books, all other material in the Library (with the exception of journals) are filed in the same way e.g. dvds

What are databases?

Databases hold collections of journals and journal articles. By searching a library database you will get access to hundreds and sometimes thousands of journal articles online. You can search by topic or author etc. Databases often contain other useful resources such as theses or reports. To find out about which databases the university subscribes to see our e-resources pages

I have a support tutor, is there a room in the library we can use?

Yes, we have a dedicated room for students and support workers. This room (T1-90) can be booked via the Subject Help Desk.

How much can I photocopy from a book or journal?

Under the "fair dealing" exception of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, copies may be made for the purpose of non-commercial research or private study up to these limits:

  • 5% of a work
  • one complete chapter of a book
  • one article from a single issue of a journal
  • one short story or poem from an anthology (maximum 10 pages)

Copying for commercial purposes is excluded from the fair-dealing exception.

How do I know if an article has been peer-reviewed?

Some databases, for example Proquest Central will allow you to refine your results to peer-reviewed only. If you are unsure or already viewing the article, you could view the journals website to check the credentials such as the editorial policy. If in doubt, ask a member of staff at the Subject Help Desk where we will be happy to help.

How do I know what I can access within a full-text journals service?

In some cases, you are only able to access certain material within a database. If this is the case, you will often see an icon next material in question to let you know. This varies from service to service, but might be a green tick, a green box, or an open padlock.

Why isn’t my core textbook available as an e-book?

Not all book titles are available for purchase as e-books. Publishers only allow a selection of titles to be published in this format. Even if a title is available as a download for an e-book reader such as a Kindle, it may not be available on an academic e-book platform.

Our policy is to purchase reading list titles as e-book where they are available. The good news is that more and more titles are being published electronically so availability will increase in the future.

Where can I find past exam papers?

Past exam papers are available via the University Quality Assurance and Enhancement Unit’s website here:

If the area you are looking for is missing, it’s probably best to contact your tutor or programme leader for information.

I need to revise for an exam, is there a silent study area or room?

Yes, there is a silent study room in the library. See the library floor plan for the location or ask a member of staff for further details.

What is the difference between part time student’s book and other standard books?

We have different loan categories to suit our student and programme needs. Academics and Librarians liaise when ordering books to ensure everyone gets fair access to resources.

How do I submit an assignment through Turnitin?

See the section on BISSTO on submitting an assignment to Turnitin.

I’m not sure how to correctly reference my work, can you help?

Yes, we have a section in BISSTO on referencing your work .

What’s an abstract?

An abstract is a summary of the article, listing the methods, summary and findings of the article. By reading the abstract you should be able to decide whether the full article will be suitable for your needs.

Can I use other university libraries?

Yes, you can visit most (there are a few exceptions) university libraries in the UK via the SCONUL Access scheme. For details of the scheme and to apply visit

I need to get my work bound. Do you have a binding service in the Library?

Yes, we offer soft and hard back binding services. For more details visit the Document Binding section of the Library webpages.

What does it mean when my tutor says an article should be peer-reviewed?

If the article is peer reviewed it means that the article has been reviewed by an independent panel of peers in that subject area.

Part of my module requires me to do some group work. Is there a room I can book?

Yes, you can book a group study room (for up to two hours) at the Subject Help Desk in the library. For more details about the rooms and places to study please visit the Places to Study section of the library webpages.

How do I locate an abstracting and indexing database for my subject area?

Abstracting and indexing databases contain access to the records/contents of hundreds and sometimes thousands of different journal titles. By searching in the database you are searching (usually by keywords) across the journals which are indexed in the database. To know which databases are suitable for your needs, consult your subject resources page.

What do I do if the Library doesn’t have access to the journal article I need?

Firstly, contact the subject help desk staff will be happy to double-check that we don’t have access to that journal article (either in print or electronically). If we do not have access you can use the inter-library loan service to obtain the article for you.

How do I print (or save) my Information Literacy 'Assess Yourself' certificate?

Although the Information Literary Assess Yourself activites will function well in most browsers if you intend to print a certificate of completion at the end we recommend that you use either Firefox or Chrome.

If you want to save the certificate the best way is to print to PDF:

Select ‘Print’ from which ever browser you are using and choose ‘Adobe PDF’ from the list of printers then click ‘Print’  Use the ‘Save PDF File As’ option to save the certificate to your computer and then print as any other document.

How do I find my module reading list?

You can find your reading list via Reading Lists Online. Access RLO via the Library homepage or your Moodle module. See the help section on the Library website for further details about Reading Lists Online.

What is Discover@Bolton?

Discover@Bolton is a search engine that enables you to search multiple databases (collections of journals) for journal articles (and other academic resources) simultaneously via a single interface. This makes it an ideal tool to use when you are searching for academic information for your assignments. You can access online journal articles, ebooks, newspapers and other resources direct from Discover@Bolton.