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Department of Computer Science and Technology



Library resources

Following the closure of the library in the Computer Laboratory, the following notes are intended to answer questions which new undergraduate students may have about the available library services to support their studies. 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. Similarly, users are invited to ask Nicholas Cutler, the subject librarian for computer science should they require any help or advice about the library and its use.

Where are library services for computer scientists provided?

Library resources for computer science students are provided by the Technology libraries team, with the physical collections, including the titles from the undergraduate reading lists being housed in the West Hub. The Betty & Gordon Moore library also contains useful collections for computer scientists.

How do I register to borrow from the library?

New students should automatically be registered and will be able to borrow from West Hub and other relevant libraries. However, occasionally students transferring to computer science from another subject can be missed. If you find you are anable to borrow for whatever reason, please ask the librarian who will be happy to advise.

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 pages. Alternatively, the combined reading list is available from the Computer Laboratory website.

Where can I find these books in the library?

There should be at least two copies of each of the recommended texts in the collection in te West Hub. The books are arranged according to the Library of Congress classification with most of computer science being classified in subdivisions of QA76. However, there are some exceptions to this, particularly for more mathematical or hardware-realted titles, so you are advised to check the catalogue.

How do I search the catalogue?

Most items in the library are entered on iDiscover, along with the holdings of most other libraries in the University. This offers an interface similar to web search engines, so it should be sufficient to enter an author's name and a few keywords from the title. If this produces too many results then try the 'advanced search' option. Alternatively try limiting your search to a specific library from the drop-down menu. Also, ensure that you have selected the 'Cambridge libraries collections' option unless you specifically want to find journal articles as well.

How do I borrow items?

Should you wish to borrow books, this may be done using the self-service terminal located immediately outside the entrance to the North room. You will need to scan the barcode on the reverse of your University card, then select issue using the touch screen and place the items you wish to borrow over the antenna one at a time. If you have any difficulty then plase ask at the information desk on the first floor.

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 does vary between colleges. You will also be able 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 if you have a specific need, 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 past tripos projects?

The submission for Part II individial projects now takes place online, and the department can only make these available where the student gave their express permission. Some past projects are available on the departmental file-server, and your project supervisor may be able to access these for you. Alternatively ask the librarian or the student administration office for help. If you are given access to a project, please remember that it formed part of another student's examined work and refrain from copying or distributing the project.

Can I see past exam papers?

Yes, past exam papers are available on the Computer Laboratory website from 1993 to the present time. Solution notes are also available, except for most recent two years. Please note that the syllabus has changed over the years, so you may wish consult the topical index to questions before attempting older questions. Your lecturers or supervisors can best advise what questions to attempt.

Do you have a photocopier or printer?

Copying, printing and scanning is available on the machines on the second floor near the meeting rooms. You will need a DS-Print account to use these devices. Copying and printing costs 10p per A4 sheet, or 20p per A3 sheet, which is taken from the common balance on your DS-print account. If you have difficulty printing from your laptop then Web Print may offer an easier option without the need to install any software.

Do you have a binding machine?

There is currently no need to submit a printed copy of part II projects. However, if you wish to comb bind a copy for your own reference, there are binding machines at reception and in the reprographics room in the Computer Laboratory.

Can I obtain journal articles?

A large number of journal titles are available online, so there is a good chance that a specific paper will be freely available. Please consult the catalogue, or check the index of electronic journals to find the relevant title. In some cases the 'articles and online resources' option on iDiscover will be able to directly locate the relevant article without the needing to know the volume and issue number. If you have difficulty finding an article then please ask the librarian.

How can I suggest books for purchase?

If you need a specific book, and you believe that it would be similarly useful for others, then please consider suggesting it for purchase. You can make suggestions by contacting the librarian, or using the online form. Recommended titles will be considered at the discretion of the librarian. While many suggestions are purchased, we may suggest an inter-library loan for highly specialised titles.

Can you obtain books from another library?

If you need a book which is not available in any library within Cambridge then it is sometimes possible to obtain an inter-library loan. Although this is a useful facility for difficult to obtain items, it is also relatively expensive so please use it sparingly. This service is provided on our behalf by the main University Library. Please see this page for more details.

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. Additionally a large number of older reports have been scanned and are shown in the same list. Please ask if you need an older report which hasn't yet been scanned.

Can I consult archival material?

The archives of the Computer Laboratory are currently in storage until a decision can be made on the most suitable long-term location. In the meanwhile, please consult the librarian who can help you find, and gain access to, archival material.

Can I read an Elecronic legal deposit title?

You may find some books described in the catalogue as Electronic legal deposit. These can only be read on specific computer terminals in the University library and affiliated libraries. The electronic legal deposit terminal in the West Hub is located on the first floor in the low intensity study area. You can read such books on this terminal, and make partial printouts within the terms of the copyright legislation. Please ask the librarian if you need help with this.

Can you offer help with study skills?

The Technology libraries team offers an open programme of teaching on topics like study skills, referencing and literature searching. For more information please ask a member of library staff. It is also possible to request a one-to-one with a member of library staff if you have specific questions on these topics. Again, please ask for details.

Is the library open in the evening?

The West Hub remains open until 9pm in the evening, although library staff are not available outside of office hours. You may, however, browse the collection and borrow items using the self-service terminal. We regret that the West Hub is not currently open at weekends.

Can you offer careers advice?

The West Hub holds a small collection of books offering inspiration for future careers choices in the Hub Inspire section. However, this is not intended as a substitute for expert advice. Students wanting more in-depth support should contact the careers service, who also offer a range of guides of topics like writing CVs and covering letters.

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 West Hub, please call between at the information desk on the first floor between 9am and 5pm, Mondays to Fridays. Alternatively, use one of the methods below:

By telephone:(01223) (7)62729
Via e-mail:[Javascript required]
In writing:Nicholas Cutler,
West Hub Library,
J.J. Thomson Avenue,
CB3 0US.