Ask a Librarian

Find what you need in our searchable FAQ.

How long can I borrow items for?

971 views   |   122   162   |   Last updated on Sep 12, 2013    Loans & returns WebCat

The standard loan period is called Long Loan. These items are issued to two fixed dates in the year; one around the end of the summer term and one at the end of the summer vacation. 

Stock in higher demand uses shorter loan periods. We use one week loan and short loan (items in our course collections).

Long loan items can be recalled if required by another person. If one of your items is recalled you are given one week in which to finish using it before being required to return it. We notify you of this.

You can renew items you have borrowed using WebCat providing no-one else needs them. You can also check the "due date" of your items on loan using WebCat.

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What are the Course Collections?

846 views   |   141   153   |   Last updated on Sep 10, 2013    The Library Enquiries Course Collections

The Library's course collections contain items in high demand, added to the collections at the suggestion of staff or students.

The material held is aimed at students studying taught courses, but any student or member of staff at this University may use the course collections.

Our course collections contain items in a variety of formats and media, both physical stock (e.g. books, dvds) and online (e.g. extracts in pdf format). 

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What if I return an item late?

733 views   |   123   136   |   Last updated on Sep 12, 2013    Loans & returns WebCat Overdue books

Essentially, if an item on loan becomes overdue you will not be able to borrow again until the overdue item(s) have been returned or renewed. A suspension system operates for items in demand with suspensions lasting seven days from the date the item is returned. Further details are on our Loans webpage.

If an item becomes very overdue or is in demand, an invoice will be issued for the value of the item(s).

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How can I find out where an item is kept?

655 views   |   123   143   |   Last updated on Sep 10, 2013    The Library Item location Call number

When you enter the details of the item that you want on the catalogue it will display a call number, which is a code that tells you where the item is shelved.

The call number will usually look something like these examples:

TK 2380.45 GAR  

306.47 GEL

B OCEAN (Physical) Kna

Although the codes look different, they work in much the same way: the combinations of letters and numbers gives a location based on the subject content of the item.

There are floor plans that specify where particular sequences of items are kept and items are arranged in alphabetical/numerical order within each sequence.

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How do I request a book that is on loan to someone else?

610 views   |   144   119   |   Last updated on Sep 12, 2013    Loans & returns WebCat Placing holds

If the item you require is already on loan, you can place a hold on it.

To place a hold on a item you will need to have logged in to WebCat (with your University Username and Password); find the item in the catalogue and select the Place Hold option.

The person who currently has the item on loan will receive a recall notice informing them that another person also needs that item. They will be asked to return the item by the new date on the notice, which will be seven days from the date it was recalled.

Once the item is returned, we will notify you by e-mail, and the item will be kept for you to collect. If you do not collect it within three days of being notified by us your hold will be cancelled.

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I have found an eBook on the web but cannot access the full-text?

572 views   |   92   105   |   Last updated on Sep 10, 2014    Malaysia Campus

Search for the book in WebCat and tick 'Search only Electronic Books'

  • If you find a record for the book you want try the link
    • If it works, great (we may have access via a different supplier than the one you found on Google)
    • If it doesn't let us know (so we can fix the problem)
  • Otherwise we probably don't have that eBook
    • If it's on your reading list etc. let us know (hopefully we can buy a copy)
    • We may have copies in print

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When are the Libraries open?

569 views   |   132   135   |   Last updated on Sep 09, 2013    Enquiries Loans & returns Opening hours

Our opening hours vary between sites and may differ during vacation periods.

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Can I renew items I have on loan?

524 views   |   123   129   |   Last updated on Sep 12, 2013    Renewing books

You can extend the time you have items on loan by renewing them. For those items eligible, you can do this yourself using WebCat. For long loan items, there is no need to renew as these items are issued to fixed dates in the future.

The following cannot be renewed:

  1. Short loan (course collection items)
  2. Items with "holds" are required by other readers

Renewing an item is quite simple - login to WebCat with your University Username and Password (or library card number and PIN), then go to the My Account option on the catalogue and you will be able to renew the item(s) of your choice.

There is no limit to the number of times an item can be renewed. If you want it, as long as no-one else does, you can keep it for as long as you need it.

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How do I photocopy?

516 views   |   122   121   |   Last updated on Sep 09, 2013    MFD iSolutions Photocopying

Please see the iSolutions webpages for assistance with photocopying on the multi-functional devices (MFDs) in the Library.

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Can I get an item from another library site?

468 views   |   121   152   |   Last updated on Sep 12, 2013    The Library Enquiries WebCat Item location Placing holds Library sites

The Library has a number of sites across the campuses, and you may find the items you need are held at one of these sites.

You can either go to the site and get hold of the item yourself, (all members of the University are entitled to use any of our Library sites), or you can make a request to have the item sent to the site of your choice so that you can collect it from there. You can do this yourself using the Place hold option in WebCat.

In addition, if we don't have the item in our collections you can ask us to borrow it on your behalf from another library using our Inter-Library Loans service.

All members of the University have a quota of inter-library loans for each academic year.

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Can I access journals & databases from home?

468 views   |   120   134   |   Last updated on Sep 11, 2013    The Library Internet Passwords VPN

Access to electronic journals and databases does vary, and there's no easy answer to accessibility.  These resources are only available to people and institutions that have subscribed, so there is a need for access control.

Some resources restrict access by Internet domain - you will only be able to use these resources on-campus or possibly at home by connecting to the University's Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Other resources are accessed using a username and password - these are more likely to be available from off-campus, however this is not always the case.  Most will require you to login with your Institutional login (your University computer and email username and password details).

There are, however, a few resources that have their own username and password - you can find these on our webpage (available on-campus only).

Where possible we indicate the on and off-campus availability of resources in the listings of electronic journals, bibliographic databases and websites - however if you have any problems then please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Library at: 

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How do I find out where an item is kept?

440 views   |   116   145   |   Last updated on Jun 26, 2014    The Library WebCat DelphiS Item location Call number

At first, finding an item in the Library can seem a daunting task, however it is actually a lot easier than it seems.

Firstly, you need to find the item on the catalogue - WebCat or DelphiS.  If you know them you can enter the author's name or the title of the item - if you are looking for any item on a particular subject then try a "words or phrase" search.

When you have found the item you want, make a note of the exact title, the author's name and, most importantly, the call number.

The call number is a code that will probably look something like: QH 283 JUS.  This will tell you exactly where the item is shelved.

The catalogue will also tell you in which branch of the Library the book is kept - though most of the items relevant to your course will be kept in your "home" branch, you may find that some useful material might be more associated with a different course.
Items are shelved in sequence, so that "Q" is followed by "QA", "QB" and so on, and within each particular section items are shelved in order of the numbers following the letters.

If the call number is preceeded by "pamphlet", "quarto" or anything else then take note of that as well . . . these are all slightly different categories of items, and are usually shelved separately from the main sequence.  Consult the floor plans or touch screens to find out where these items are kept.

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How do I register to use the Library?

418 views   |   133   125   |   Last updated on Sep 09, 2013    Joining the Library Enquiries

If you're a member of the University you are automatically registered to use the Library when you join the University. Our Library membership web pages have information for alumni and members of the public.

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How many books can I borrow?

409 views   |   145   123   |   Last updated on Sep 09, 2013    Loans & returns

This table lists our current borrowing allowances:

User categoryCourse collection itemsTotal no. of items
Taught postgraduates320
Research postgraduates3No limit
Staff3No limit
External borrowers010

Don't forget that you will only be able to borrow items if you do not have any items currently overdue.
We have further information on our loans & borrowing web pages. 

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How do I find my Library PIN?

409 views   |   122   130   |   Last updated on Sep 12, 2013    Loans & returns WebCat Passwords Renewing books

University students and staff no longer need a PIN. To login to WebCat they can now use their University username & password, also known as your Institutional login.

For other Library users, including e.g. NHS, NERC and members of the public, you can request your PIN at any Loans Desk, at an enquiry point or via email (contact

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I have found an eJournal article on the web but cannot access the full-text?

392 views   |   95   107   |   Last updated on Sep 10, 2014    Malaysia Campus

Search for the Journal Title (e.g. Journal of fluid mechanics) on TDNet.

  • Check we have the journal you want and the right year(s)
    • If so, check any notes in the [i] icon and try to access the article
    • If it doesn't work contact us, so we can fix the problem
  • If the journal isn't in TDNet we probably don't subscribe
  • Does the title contains any of the following words: conference, proceedings, colloquium or encyclopaedia?
    • Check WebCat as if you are searching for a book (i.e. don't use the 'journal title' option)

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How do I use Eduroam?

376 views   |   131   132   |   Last updated on Sep 12, 2013    iSolutions Internet Computers Eduroam

The iSolutions web pages have information on Eduroam, the wireless network at the University of Southampton.

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I need to access library resources off-campus?

365 views   |   140   126   |   Last updated on Jul 31, 2013    Malaysia Campus

The easiest way to access our resources off-campus is to use the VPN service.

Another method that works for some resources is Institutional Login. Look for links for 'Institutional Login' or 'Shibboleth'. You will usually have to select the UK or the UK Federation and then the University of Southampton. You then login with your University of Southampton Username and Password.
Note: internet facilties in UK halls of residence usually count as on-campus. In overseas campuses like Malaysia you will usually need to use VPN or Institutional Login. 

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What happens if I return a course collection item late?

341 views   |   126   130   |   Last updated on Sep 10, 2013    The Library Enquiries Loans & returns Course Collections

Course collection material is in high demand.  The Library and your course colleagues are extremely keen for you to return all items on time.

If you do not return course collection items on time your Library record will be blocked for one week.  This means you will be stopped from borrowing any material from any of the University Library sites.

If the item(s) remains overdue, an invoice with replacement costs, will quickly be produced and sent.

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I am having problems using wireless on my laptop?

307 views   |   140   130   |   Last updated on Jul 31, 2013    Malaysia Campus

See guidance from iSolutions.

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