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Archaeology & Palaeoecology: Books

Library support for Archaeology & Palaeoecology

Introduction: using books effectively

Library books are available in two formats: traditional print books or electronic books (also known as e-books). Irrespective of format, all books have a number of standard features. Understanding these features will help you find content relevant to your studies. Often you will not be expected to read a single book cover to cover but rather navigate several books and extract relevant information.

  • On the front cover or the title page of a book, you will find its title, information about author(s) or editor(s) and possibly edition and publisher details. These details are important to know when you want to refer to the book in your academic work.
  • Within the first few pages of the book, you will discover the contents page. This outlines the structure of the book, providing a chapter breakdown and page numbers to help you find relevant sections.
  • A bibliography usually appears at the back of the book, or at the end of a book chapter. It is a list of all sources used by the author(s) in the writing of the book or the chapter. It provides evidence of primary and secondary sources used.
  • Publisher information is usually found in the initial pages of the book. It is here that you will identify who the publisher is, and the place and date of publication. This information may appear with a copyright symbol.
  • At the back of the book there may be an index. This assists you in finding the specific pages which contain information relating to your chosen topic.

How to find relevant books in the library

All QUB Library print books and e-books are listed in Library Search. You can search for a specific book on your reading list or search to find books on a topic of interest.


Search for e-books in Library Search. Select the title you are interested in and click on the Full text availability link to access the e-book. Library e-books can be read online (both on and off-campus) and some will allow you to download content for a fixed period. NB e-book titles vary in their licencing restrictions; see E-books Guide for more details.

ebook record


Print books

Search for print books in Library Search. If the book is out on loan, it will say Out of library; if it is on the shelf, it will say Available.

If the book is available to borrow, take a note of the book location and shelfmark eg McClay Library, Floor 2, LB2369 BOOT

print book record

Print library books - understanding shelfmarks

Each print book has a shelfmark, which is a combination of letters and numbers on the spine of the book. This will indicate on which shelf the book is located.

Break the shelfmark down into sections to make it easier to find the book you are looking for. For example:


Still confused? Don't worry, just ask at one of the Enquiry Desks if you can't find a book - don't forget we are here to help!

Borrowing and returning print books

Use the self-service stations in the library to borrow and return print books. You will find information about borrowing books here. 

Short Loan Collection

Print reading list books in heavy demand are kept in the Short Loan Collection on the ground floor of the McClay Library. Library Search will tell you if a book is in the Short Loan Collection and whether it has a 2 Night or 7 Night loan period.