Computer Laboratory

Library

Welcome to the Computer Laboratory library. The following notes are intended to answer questions which new undergraduate students may have about the library. This guide has therefore been arranged as a series of frequently asked questions, together with the answers, but as such, is not intended as a substitute for the full library guide (available here). Similarly, users are invited to ask the librarian should they require any help or advice about the library and its use.

How do I register to borrow from the library?

Simply introduce yourself to the librarian and bring your University card (the blue one with a barcode on the back). You will also need to know your CRSid, that is the first part of your e-mail address, or your login name on any University computer systems. Registration is a quick process and there are no forms to complete so you can do it immediately before you borrow for the first time.

What books are on my reading list?

If you have not been given the titles in lectures, you can find the reading list for individual computer science courses in the syllabus booklets. There are printed copies of these in the library, or they can be consulted online here. Alternatively, a combined reading list is available from the library’s web pages.

Where can I find these books in the library?

There should be at least one copy of each of the recommended texts in the booklocker, which consists of the shelves immediately inside the door, and to the left. In the interests of making these books available to as many students as possible they may only be borrowed for two days at a time. In some cases, older editions may be available for a longer loan so it is worthwhile checking the catalogue.

How do I search the catalogue?

Most items in the library are entered on the University’s Union Catalogue, which may be searched using ‘Newton’, the same interface as used for checking the holdings of the main University Library itself. To find items in this library you should use the “Departments and faculties A-E” database. Unfortunately, it is beyond the scope of this guide to give full instructions for using the catalogue, but a reliable strategy is to use the guided search option, entering the author’s surname and keywords from the title.

What is on the other shelves?

Apart from the booklocker, the other open shelves contain the remainder of the frequently used titles, with large volumes being shelved in a separate sequence. All of these books may be borrowed for two weeks at a time with the possibility of renewal. Beyond this, these shelves also hold the majority of the journals in alphabetical order, which may not be borrowed.

How do I borrow items?

Should you wish to borrow books, this may be done using the self-service terminal, although remember that you will need to register before borrowing for the first time. You will need to scan the barcode on the reverse of your University card, and enter your surname. Then, when prompted, scan the books one at a time, before clicking the mouse on ‘finished’. If, for any reason, the terminal is not working and the librarian is unavailable, then complete the details required in the blue register next to the computer.

What other libraries can I use?

Beyond this library, you will have access, at very least, to your college library which will aim to keep the most heavily used items from the reading lists although coverage varies. If you are combining computer science with another subject then you will probably have access to the library in that department. You may also register to use the Betty and Gordon Moore Library and the main University Library, both of which carry substantial holdings. Finally, you may be admitted to the library of another department, although they are unlikely to offer borrowing rights. The librarian will be happy to offer advice on other libraries within the University.

Can I see old diploma and tripos projects?

Yes. The library holds a full set of successful projects which are shelved by year and in order of the student’s name. Additionally, to help you locate a specific project there are indexes by name and title kept on the table near the relevant shelf at the back of the library. Please remember that these assignments were submitted for examination and treat them accordingly. In particular avoid making copies of a large part of a project.

Can I see past exam papers?

Yes. The library has past papers for the diploma, tripos and M.Phil, although the syllabus has changed over the years. In particular, there was a major change to the structure of the diploma and tripos course around 1988. Your lecturers can best advise you what questions to attempt, but when attempting older questions you may wish to consult the topical index to questions.

Do you have a photocopier?

There is a self-service copier available at the back of the library which is free to use. However, please bear in mind that this is intended for low volume use, while you are reminded to stay within the terms of the relevant copyright regulations. Instructions are available by the machine, or consult the librarian if you have any questions.

Can I bind my project?

The library has a comb-binding machine which is acceptable for binding diploma and tripos projects. A supply of combs and cover sheets in black are kept near the machine, but if you require another colour then please bring your own. It can take some practice to use the machine effectively so please consult the instructions or see the librarian if you have any questions.

Can I obtain journal articles?

If you need a paper from a computing journal, then there is a good chance that it is held in the library. Check the catalogue or the lists on the end of the shelves to locate the journal. Failing that, the journal may be held in another library within the University where you can probably go and make a copy (see the notes above about access to other libraries). For newer material, online versions are another possibility, and if a subscription is available, they can normally be accessed from any computer in the cam.ac.uk domain.

How can I suggest books for purchase?

If you need a specific book, perhaps for project work, and you believe that it would be similarly useful for others then you are welcome to suggest it for purchase by the library. Please speak to your Director of Studies or project supervisor and obtain their endorsement so that we know the request is important.

Have you got technical reports from the lab?

From technical report no. 535 the series was considered an online publication and the full text of later reports is available here. If you have any problems with the online version, then the library keeps unbound copies in the archives. Similarly, for earlier reports there are bound copies on the open shelves with an unbound one in the archives. Please note that all technical reports can only be consulted in the library.

Can I consult archival material?

Yes, if you need to consult anything from the archives, then please ask the librarian who will be happy to fetch it for you. The archives include items from the earliest days of computing and many more recent reports which are not available electronically. All these holdings are entered on the Union Catalogue but please confine your search to the author and title fields only.

Is the library open in the evening?

Part II students should now automatically receive out of hours access to the library using their university card. This facility may be granted to other students on an individual basis if it can be shown that there is a specific need.

Can you offer careers advice?

The library has a small collection of books and videos offering general careers information, such as interview technique and writing a CV or job application. For more detailed advice the student admininstration office may be able to help.

How can I contact the librarian?

The librarian, presently Nicholas Cutler, is happy to answer any queries you may have in person, by ’phone, e-mail, or in writing. If visiting the library, please call between 9am and 5pm, Mondays to Fridays. Alternatively, use one of the methods below:

By telephone:(01223) (3)34648
Via e-mail:ncc25@cl.cam.ac.uk
In writing:The Librarian,
Computer Laboratory,
William Gates Building,
J. J. Thomson Avenue,
Cambridge.
CB3 0FD.