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Faculty of Social Sciences

Faculty of Social Sciences

Library Support for Researchers

An introduction
to Library Services

The Library Collections

The Libraries/LRCs contain over a million individual items, including traditional resources such as books and print journals as well as non-book materials, such as DVDs, music scores, videos, microfilm/fiches etc. As a general rule, most library stock may be borrowed unless it is marked Reference or For use in Library only.  Books in Special Collections are normally for use in the Library only. Print-based journals are for library use only, although you may photocopy from them in accordance with copyright legislation.

Our print holdings are complemented by a extensive collection of electronic journals and a growing collection of e-books.  These e-resources allow users to access and download materials on or off-campus, 24 hours a day.

Using the Library Catalogue

Locate library stock using the Library Catalogue .You can search across all campuses or limit your search to a particular campus or collection, e.g. theses, journals, e-books.

Choose whether you wish to use the Basic or the Advanced search (the advanced search allows limiting by date, format and language). Results can be sorted by date, author or title and marked for download if necessary.

Go to My Account to view your loans, fines, reservations, details of your document delivery requests, and to renew your books online. 

If you have any difficulty using the Library Catalogue please ask library staff for help.

Borrowing Books

Your University ID card is used for the purpose of borrowing books and may be used in any campus library.   Please bring this card with you to the Issue Desk when you want to borrow material.

Most books are Standard Loan and Research Students may borrow these for 8 weeks (1 week if someone else requests a book you have on loan).

Books marked One Week Loan may be borrowed for 1 week. These will have a blue date label inside the front cover and a blue dot on the spine of the book

Books marked Short Loan are restricted to the library until 4.30pm when they may be borrowed overnight, due for return at 10.00am the following morning. Short loan items may also be borrowed from 2.00pm on Friday until 10.00am on Monday. Depending on the campus, short loan material may be kept in a separate short loan room or behind the Issue Desk. Ask library staff for more information.

Books on loan may be renewed twice if no one else has requested them. The maximum number of books you may have on loan at one time is 25.  If you have overdue books you will not be allowed further borrowing rights until the books are returned or renewed and any outstanding fines settled  (See Section below on Library Fines).

Renewals:  Books may be renewed at the Issue Desks, by using the My Account option on the Catalogue, or by phoning the telephone renewals number 028 9036 6530, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Reservations: You can reserve books currently on loan by completing a green card at any Issue Desk.  Alternatively, you may use the Request facility on the Catalogue if a book you need is out on loan: Click on Request and follow the instructions provided.  Reserved items are kept at the Issue Desk for one week. You need to check if the items have been reserved for you, as a notification is not sent out from every campus.  You can do this by using the My Account option on the Catalogue.

Inter-campus loans:  Books may be requested from another campus Library by completing a green card at the Issue Desk. You cannot use the "Request" button on the catalogue to order books from another campus - unless they are already on loan.

Access to theses and dissertations

University of Ulster Theses

The Library Catalogue contains a theses sub-catalogue which allows any search to be restricted to dissertations at masters' level and above. This means that you can do any type of search - author/title, keyword etc., and find the relevant information. When you have entered your search details, select Theses Catalogue from the drop down menu to the right. You can also search by specific degree type or qualification to see the range of theses written at that level.

Select a title search and key in d phil (there should be a space between the d and the phil). You can also search for masters degrees in the same way e.g. m sc (once again a space between the m and sc) or (m a) or (m b a). You can even type in the specific degree name. e.g. m sc counselling. Be aware - degree names may change over time and this method may not return every relevant hit.

Theses outside the university

Go to  Index to Theses. This will allow you to search for post graduate theses in all Irish and United Kingdom universities stretching back to 1716. This database supplies abstracts for the more recent titles, but earlier results will have author, title details only.

To access any non-Ulster thesis, you will have to apply through the Document Delivery service. Theses are often supplied as microfilm or fiche - rarely in book form, but each campus library has appropriate microfilm/fiche reader-printers. However, the British Library has set up the EThoS service (Electronic Thesis Online Service) which provides access to a significant number of full-text UK dissertations, which are freely downloadable from their site.

You may also visit the catalogues of specific universities and search under theses for their particular holdings - again, use Document Delivery to request access.

More and more universities are making their thesis collections available online, although general access outside their networks may be restricted. The Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations does provides full-text access to a growing number of dissertations covering a wide spectrum of subjects, from undergraduate dissertations to D.Phil theses from almost 20 countries.

Library Fines

In order to ensure prompt return of books and other materials, there are penalties for late return for all library users, including research students and academic staff.  Current fines for late return of material is as follows:

Standard Loan 50 pence per day for each item
One week loan 1.00 per day for each item
Part-time loan 1.00 per day for each item
Short loan 1.00 per hour for each item

Check your Ulster email regularly as notification of due dates will be sent 48 hours in advance to enable you to renew or return your material. 


Several self-service photocopiers for photocopying library material are available in all the campus libraries. The photocopiers are operated by cards which record the number of copies taken.   Schools normally have an arrangement about making a card available so please check with your School about access to a card. For more information on multiple copies, course packs or other printing needs, contact Reprographics.


The Copyright Act as it relates to photocopying should be strictly adhered to in the Library.  It is your responsibility to familiarise yourself with the law, but the following general points are useful to note:

You may ONLY copy -

  • library material
  • one article from a journal issue
  • 5% or one chapter from a copyright work
  • a single copy of each item (However, under the licence agreement, teaching staff may copy up to the number of copies required for  personal use by each member of a class plus the tutor, subject to the restrictions above)

See also:

Guidelines for Fair Dealing in an Academic Environment

CLA: the Copyright Licencing Agency

JISC Legal Information Service

AHDS Copyright FAQ

Document Delivery (Inter-library Loan)

You may use the Document Delivery service to obtain material not in the Library which you need for your work, and which you cannot reasonably be expected to consult by any other means.  Request forms are available at the various service points in the Library or you can use the online form.   Research students and academic staff may request up to six items per week. 

Where possible, documents will be scanned and posted on the Web. You will be notified by email when the your article is available for viewing. You need to view it within 14 days of receiving the email. This is called Secure Electronic Delivery and if you wish to use this service there are a few steps you need to take first to ensure that your PC is compatible. Check out the guide to the service (which includes the PC compatibility link) or ask the Document Delivery staff in the Library.

Alternatively an article may come as a photocopy which will be posted in the internal mail to you.  Books are sent by post to the Library and you will be notified when they are available for collection.

Note that you should allow about two weeks for items to arrive from another Library.  Also, each time we request a loan it costs the Library a minimum of about £8.00 so please make sure that the items you request are needed and justified.

Please note also that we do not normally obtain material from Overseas

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Last updated: 07/07/10
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