Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Christmas Quiz

When it's cold outside and you're fed up of mulled wine, mince pies and James Bond films, test yourself with this Science and Engineering Quiz!

1. The smallest planet ever detected was found this year. What has it been named?

2. Which of life's most frustrating situations could be solved by the creation of SLIPS?

3. Opened in June, where is the longest bridge over water?

And for a bonus gold is longer than what?

4. True or false: Experiments have suggested that something may travel faster than the speed of light?

5. Which 2012 Olympic venue won the Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence at the Structural Awards 2011?

6. If you've bought perfume for someone as a Christmas present, how likely are they to like it?

7. What could car tyres and dessert have in common in the future?

8. Apart from the obvious, which prehistoric animal came in Leopard print?

9. Researchers at MIT have produced a camera which captures images at how many exposures per second?

10. What does the Higgs field do to particles?

I will post the answers in the New Year. Have a great holiday.

Merry Christmas :)

Ooh, and don't forget to renew your books for the holiday!

Friday, 2 December 2011

NEW Library catalogue!

Have a look at our new Library Catalogue, StarPlus.

You can search for books and other items in our libraries, as well as electronic and digital material, all from one place.

Log in using your University login and password for direct access to full text where it is available and other features such as saved searches.

Use the ‘University Collections’ tab for electronic and print books, journals, maps, theses, databases and more.

Use the ‘Articles and more’ tab for journal articles from multiple databases  using the Quick Set for your department.

For full database functionality such as personalisation, use the native search interface.

So check it out and tell us what you think. We’d love your feedback to help us develop the service so please email with your comments. And don’t worry, Star won’t be going anywhere just yet.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Do you need legal information for your course?

Of course you do if you’re a student in the Law School, but other subject disciplines use legal information as well. Areas of law such as employment, health, media, planning and safety are potentially of interest to students and staff in a variety of faculties and departments, including Management, Town & Regional Planning, Journalism, Engineering and Medicine.

There are two legal databases, Lexis and Westlaw that are widely used by law students and by law firms. Both employ friendly, helpful student associates on campus, and you can contact them for help in using the databases. The associate for Lexis is Emmi Wilson and the associate for Westlaw is Trish Hughes

Check out the subject guide for law on the library web if you’d like to find out more about legal databases and websites. If you need more information about resources for legal research, contact the Library subject specialist for law, Maria Mawson .

Monday, 28 November 2011

FREE Training - BSOL Webinars

British Standards Online (BSOL) are offering free training via a series of live Webinars to help you get the most out of BSOL.

Delivered by their Training Team, they will cover the following topics;

- What is British Standards Online – introduction to BSOL
- Understanding your subscription
- Logging in / out (Athens / IP proxy)*
- BSOL navigation
- Searching and Browsing for standards – and search tips
- Viewing standards
- Help pages and demos for academic users
- Term and Conditions

The webinars will take place from 14:00-14:30 on the following dates;

•5 December 2011
•9 January 2012
•6 February 2012
•5 March 2012
•2 April 2012
•7 May 2012
•11 June 2012

To register your interest please go to:

*Remember when taking part in the webinars, or whenever you're using the BSOL database, always log in via the library tab on MUSE.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Science Newsletter #2

Our latest Newsletter for Science is also now online. For all the best library news scroll down or click here.

Engineering Newsletter #4

Our latest Newsletter for Engineering has just been published. Check out all the latest Library news below or click here.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

One Minute Videos

Recently we've been working on getting a series of short videos together to guide you through certain processes. Here are the first three on issuing and returning library materials, adding credit to your UCards and releasing print jobs:

Why not subscribe to our YouTube channel for more.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Research Guides

The University Library has just published its latest guides on conducting research... Our 7 Steps to a Better Degree outlines some of the processes you'll encounter using library services - from getting started to acquiring material and finding further advice.

The Connected Researcher includes more information on accessing material outside the University Library's collections, keeping up to date and promoting your own research.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Library Inductions

Although we're running induction sessions all week they'll be a few of you that will no doubt miss out... but don't worry we're always here to help and you can work your way through the presentation below to find out more about what we do.

If you've any questions feel free to leave us a comment or you can contact us directly by emailing

This is best viewed full screen. Click the play icon and select the 'Fullscreen' option when you hover over 'More'.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Library and CiCS Induction Drop-Ins

Throughout Intro Week and Week 1 the University Library and CiCS are running drop-in sessions in the Information Commons for new users to learn more about our services. There is no need to book and each session lasts about 20-30 minutes. See the timetable below for more information:

Intro week (19 September - 25 September 2011)

Collaboratory 1Monday- Friday11.00




Week 1 (26 September - 30 September 2011)

Collaboratory 1Monday13.00
Classroom 3Monday15.00
Classroom 4Tuesday15.00

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Fun Summer Reads

FeynmanIt might not actually look like summer today but I'm holding on to the hope that there'll be another couple of days of sun before hitting the Winter warmers. So before welcoming everyone back I thought I'd share a review of this new Feynman comic biography, in case you were looking for a good read on a last minute holiday.
Feynman is primarily concerned with its subject's life -- his personal relationships, his career triumphs, his mistakes and misgivings. From his work on the Trinity project to the Feynman lectures to his Nobel for his theory of Quantum Electrodynamics, Feynman paints a picture of a caring, driven, intelligent, wildly creative scientist who didn't always think through his actions and sometimes made himself pretty miserable as a result. But the Feynman in this book is resilient and upbeat, and figures out how to bounce back from the worst of life [read more - Boing Boing].

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Journal moves on Levels 2 and 3 at Western Bank Library

As part of our policy to make the Library easier to use, we are about to start a major move round of journals on Levels 2 and 3 at Western Bank Library. The aim of this work is to reduce the number of sequences to one per level.

The work will start on Monday 11 July and last for approximately 10 weeks. During this time, there will be some disruption but the stock will still be accessible.

The Library catalogue will be amended as the work progresses but it is advisable to ask staff to help you locate this material during this period.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Darwin's personal library goes online

Notes and comments scribbled by Charles Darwin on the pages and margins of his own personal library have been made available online for the first time.

Darwin’s personal scientific library, the majority of which is held at Cambridge University Library, has been digitised in a collaborative effort involving Cambridge, the Darwin Manuscripts Project at the American Museum of Natural History, the Natural History Museum, and the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

The project was jointly sponsored by JISC and National Endowment for the Humanities through a transatlantic digitization collaboration grant.

In total, Darwin’s library amounted to 1480 books, of which 730 contain abundant research notes in their margins. These annotated books are now in the process of being digitized. The first phase of this project has just been completed, with 330 of the most heavily annotated books launched online at the Biodiversity Heritage Library for all to read.

Have a read on the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Engineered by US

The University Library's new exhibition is open! Showcasing work from the Faculty of Engineering, the exhibition tells the story of the Faculty's past, present and future - featuring a cross-section of a jet turbine disk, a microbubble generator, personalised synthetic voices and research into how to stop the Millennium Bridge from swaying.

The gallery is open to all:

  • Monday to Thursday from 9am to 7pm;

  • Friday 10am to 7pm;

  • Saturday and Sunday 12pm until 6pm.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Copac and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers

The holdings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers library have been added to Copac.
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers was founded in 1847 and the library collection has evolved throughout the Institution's life. One of the best mechanical engineering collections in the world, the library holds many rare and specialist resources, including an extensive historical journal collection, and a specialist standards collection which includes many hard to find American standards.

The collection covers the industry areas of : railway, process engineering, automotive, aerospace, medical engineering, building services, waste management, power systems, pressure systems and manufacturing. Core subject areas include: machine mechanics, machine design, mechanisms, kinematics, fluid dynamics, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, combustion, power drives, materials, renewable energy, product design, machine tools, project management and finite element analysis. The archive includes collections of personal papers from important engineers and engineering companies.

To browse, or limit your search to, the holdings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers library, go to the main search tab on and choose ‘Institution of Mechanical Engineers' from the drop-down list of libraries.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

New eBooks

We've just added a new batch of heavily used books to our ebook collection... see below for further information (you'll need to sign in to MUSE to access the links).


Animal and Plant Sciences

Biomedical Sciences


Monday, 16 May 2011

Engineering Newsletter #3

Out latest Engineering Newsletter has just been published! Take a look below and let us know what you think.

The British Standards Institute have also just published their latest newsletter. To learn more about how 'robot team members could provide engineering solutions' or 'safer diesel engines' see here.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Patents Refresher

A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by the state to protect the features, methods and processes of an invention for a fixed period of time. They relate to the intellectual property rights of an invention and thus provide the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling the content of the patent for a term of (usually) twenty years from the date the patent was filed.

Applying for a patent registers the property rights an inventor has over their invention. The government offers these in exchange for an agreement to share with the public the details of how inventions work, what they do, how they do it, what they are made of and how they are made. Yet most importantly they offer the patent owner a means to share innovations whilst legally protecting their ideas from copycats or imitators. Other benefits of patenting your invention include the rights to:

  • sell the invention and all the intellectual property (IP) rights;

  • license the invention to someone else but retain all the IP rights;

  • and discuss the invention with others in order to set up a business based around the invention.

For further information about what patents are and how you can apply for them visit the Intellectual Property Office.

There are a variety of Internet resources available to help you search for patents but the two main sites the University Library recommends for UK/European patents are Esp@cenet and Free Patents Online. Both offer free full-text PDF downloads and where applicable translations are included for non-English language content.

Other useful sites are listed below:

  • DEPATISnet - A patents search engine provided by the German Patent and Trade Mark Office. It can be used to search for full text patents around the world.

  • Google Patents – For US patents try searching Google Patents. It’s much easier to search than the official US patents site.

  • UK Patent Office - The official body for granting patents and the registration of designs and trade marks in the UK.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Find out about the world's grass species

We've just added the GrassPortal database to our A-Z listings on the Library website. It is  'a collaboration between researchers and IT specialists at the University of Sheffield, Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew), Knowledge Now Limited, and the University of Lausanne' and is being supported by Project Sunshine.

Its purpose is to:
automate the synthesis of taxonomic, phylogenetic, biogeographic and environmental data, opening up a wealth of information [geographical distributions, ecological characteristics and evolutionary relationships of the world's grass species] and new research opportunities for evolutionary biologists and ecologists.

Althought the database is currently under construction there are some great links in the methods section you can check out right now, including the GrassBase Synonomy Database and GrassBase Online World Grass Flora.

A few quick reminders

Final Year Students

Please remember to keep your library account up-to-date. All library material must be returned, and any outstanding fines paid, by the end of service hours on Saturday 11th June.

If you have any queries about your library account, please ask staff at any library site. Don´t forget, fines of over £3 can be paid online via "My Account" on Star.

Easter Vacation Loans

The holiday loan period begins on April 4th. See the table below for more info:

Borrower statusIssuedDue for return
Full-time UG and PT
9am 4th April - 27th AprilWednesday 4th May
Part-time UG and PT
9am 4th April - 20th AprilWednesday 4th May
Reserved items full-time UG and PT9am 4th April - 1st MayTuesday 3rd May
Reserved items part-time UG and PT9am 4th April - 29th AprilTuesday 3rd May

Extended Opening Hours

Both Western Bank Library and St George's Library will have longer opening hours (self-service) during the coming exam period.  The details are as follows:

  • WBL will open at 8:30 Monday to Friday from Monday 16th May until Friday 10th June;

  • SGL will open from 10:00 to 18:00 on Saturday and Sunday from Saturday 14th May until Sunday 12th June.

Monday, 21 March 2011

1000th thesis added to White Rose Etheses Online

A quick update on the White Rose Etheses Online (WREO) service:
WREO now has a steady supply of new doctoral etheses (plus MA/MSc masters by research (York) and MMus and MPhil (Sheffield)). Our content is a mixture of theses digitised by the British Library through the EThOS service and new 'born digital' theses submitted voluntarily by graduates. Growth will become much more rapid next year when Sheffield's ethesis deposit policy starts to kick in, with York and Leeds following the year after.

Etheses in WREO can be found through Google and also appear in the DART European Ethesis Portal. We've recently added our 1000th White Rose ethesis. Some theses are temporarily embargoed but the majority are openly available.

If you would like your doctoral theses to be made available please get in touch and we'll see about incorporating it into WREO repository.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Reminder: Project Sunshine

This evening Professor Tony Ryan will be presenting a public lecture on Project Sunshine: Food and Energy Security. Entrance is free of charge but you must book a ticket via the website.

From the programme:
Project Sunshine aims to harness the power of the sun to tackle the biggest challenge facing the world today: meeting the increasing food and energy needs of the world's population in the context of an uncertain climate and global environment change.

Estimates indicate that by late 2011 the total population will stand at an astonishing 7 billion(!), and "by 2050 the total number could reach 10.5 billion" (National Geographic). This therefore is no small undertaking!

Scientists across the applied and pure disciplines are uniting to research new ways to use solar power for sustainable food production and renewable energy. Building upon breakthroughs in plant and microbial science, environmental biology, organic electronics and optoelectronics, as well as solar physics, Project Sunshine is looking for solutions in three key research areas: food, energy and global change.

There is further information available on the project website but this really is a great opportunity to be inspired and get engaged with National Science and Engineering Week. The public lecture will be held in the Union of Students Auditorium at 6:15pm.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

NSEW: Mechanical Design Engineering

As part of the National Science and Engineering Week 2011 the Librarians’ Blog for Science and Engineering is celebrating the theme of ‘communication’ by welcoming our second guest blogger, Eric Rigby of EASAT Antennas Ltd. The idea of this two-part mini series is to share experiences of work within the engineering industry.

My name is Eric Rigby and I am a Project Manager and Mechanical Design Engineer. I have been in mechanical design for more years than I care to remember but it is a field I enjoy. I have designed parts for cars, trains and aerospace in a fast moving environment, but currently designing and managing the installation of radar systems worldwide.

The age of high speed travel is known to everyone, which means that the world is getting smaller. High speed travel requires the mechanical machines to aide in movement of small and large numbers of people, these machines include pedal cycles at the slow end of transport for individuals, to cars for small numbers of people at a moderate speed, to trains, boats and planes for higher speeds to convey larger numbers of people over greater distances. All machines have to be designed specifically to carry out their function.

With the increase in speed and greater numbers travelling in individual modes of transport, safety becomes a major issue. One of the most advanced tools for monitoring speeds and distances is radar. By measuring the distance, position and height of an object through electromagnetic waves we are able to calculate the speed it is travelling at.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

NSEW: Software Engineering

As part of the National Science and Engineering Week 2011 the Librarians' Blog for Science and Engineering is celebrating the theme of 'communication' by welcoming our first guest blogger, Stephen Best of Spoonfed Media. The idea of this two-part mini series is to share experiences of work within the engineering industry.

Stephen Best here, I work for Spoonfed Media Ltd. where I'm head of technology and lead software engineer for our new product Let me tell you a little about what I get up to.

In a sentence Bullseyehub is a subscription based software as a service one-stop-shop for email, mobile, social media and event marketing. Our clients include many of London's biggest clubs and event promoters.

The major technology we use to build our products is Rails, an open-source web framework designed which, as they put is, 'optimised for programmer happiness'. I have to agree with them, it's the most enjoyable language / framework combination I've ever experienced by far.

I spend most of time developing Rails applications such as the aforementioned It's a great framework, it acts as a basis for your own code so you get straight down to business and prevents you re-inventing the wheel.

As well as development I have a small overhead of managing my team (admin) and managing server architecture (more admin) both of which I try and keep to a minimum, this is successful because I work with smart people, one of the most important things any engineer can ensure they have in their working environment.

Monday, 14 March 2011

National Science and Engineering Week 2011

The National Science and Engineering Week is upon is again, with a packed out programme of talks, debates and fun hands-on events for all the family. The University of Sheffield, in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University, local schools, museums, industry and commerce, is pleased to annouce a whole host of public lectures and social activities to show how science and engineering relates to our everyday lives.

Over the next week you could find yourself making your own DNA to inspire stories about genomes, or listening in to how Project Sunshine aims to harness the power of the sun to tackle the biggest challenges facing the world today, or even £75 richer by proving your knowledge in the IET Quiz. Further information about all programmed events in South Yorkshire can be found on the Science Weeksy webpages or for a fuller picture hop over to the British Science Association's events page for information on activities across the country.

This year the University Library has put together a small display in St George's Library, where you'll be able to browse related material and collect an official programme outlining all workshops. We'll also be opening up the blog to a couple of very special guests! As the theme this year is 'communication' we're hoping to use a variety of ways to get engaged and so if you've any comments why not drop one on the blog, send us an email or even tweet us?

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The numbers on the books – what do you think?

We are running a survey to find out about your views on the shelfmarks on Library stock, with the aim of making things easier to find on the shelves. It is a short survey, taking about 5 minutes to complete, and we would be grateful for your help. You can find it at

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Databases in Focus: IEEE Xplore

IEEE Xplore is the world’s largest source of valuable, cutting-edge research, standards and educational courses. It offers full-text access to over two and a half million documents from 130 IEEE journals, 600 conference titles, 1600 active and selected archival IEEE standards and numerous IET journals and conference proceedings. As the largest of its kind you’ll find almost one third of the world’s current literature in electrical engineering, computer science, aerospace systems, telecommunications and biomedical science all in one easy-to-use digital library.

IEEE Xplore

As a member of the University Library you have free access to IEEE Xplore both on and off campus. To begin, log in to MUSE and visit the library tab. From the ‘subject databases’ link select the ‘alphabetical table’ and scroll down to ‘IEEE/IET Electronic Library’. Connect via the quick links option on the right of the IEEE information screen and you’ll see something that looks a lot like the image above.

The simple search option and browse features are great for building up a picture of the kind of content available in your subject area but once you begin to look for something more specific try out the ‘advanced search’ to impose limits for a more controlled search. If you need some help in learning how to conduct successful searches have a look at our tutorial on the Information Skills Resource.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011


IOP Publishing has issued new versions of their iPhone applications, IOPscience express and newsflash. Based on customer feedback both applications have been redesigned with new functionality to improve the user's experience of keeping up-to-date on the move.

IOPscience express allows you to browse and search over forty IOP-hosted journals from the last two years and download up to twenty articles (free of charge) per month, whilst newflash tracks all the latest news articles from

For more information see:

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Extended Opening Hours - WBL

From Sunday 9th January to Thursday 3rd February Western Bank Library is open longer hours to cover the revision and exam period. The hours are outlined below. For the opening hours of our other library sites see the library website. An exam survival guide is also available from Sheffield Students' Union.

Opening hoursStaffed service
Monday - Thursday09:00 - 00:0009:00 - 19:00
Friday09:00 - 21:0010:00 - 19:00
Saturday10:00 - 18:0012:00 - 18:00
Sunday10:00 - 00:0012:00 - 18:00