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History: New HAPP Students: Getting Started

Key points for new students at Queen's

Welcome to Queen's!

As a new student there are 4 things you need to know now:

  1. What is academic content?
  2. How will you know what content you need?
  3. How to navigate around the McClay Library - and how to use the Library to borrow books, study, scan or photocopy material
  4. How to get help or make contact with us

1. Types of academic content

Academic content has been peer-reviewed before publication. This means that other academics in the subject area, experts in their field of research, have reviewed and checked it for quality. So you can trust it is high quality and acceptable to use in your assignments.

There are three main types of academic content you will be expected to find as a university student: books, chapters in books and journal articles.


1. Books
Tosh, John, Why history matters (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2008)  ‚Äč

Note the publication year. To find this book type the title into the Library Search. This book is available as a print book and an ebook. The print book is located in the Short Loan Collection at shelfmark D16.I63 TOSH. The ebook may be accessed via the Available Online link underneath the title.

Find books using the Queen's University Library Search. Type in a few words from the title of the book you need, or type in a keyword to view all books in the Library about that topic. Library Search will show the locations of all print copies of books that you can borrow. It will also include links to any books are available for you read on-line in e-book format.


2. Chapters in books 
Michelle T. King. "Working with/in the archives." In Research methods for history, edited by Simon Gunn and Lucy Faire, 13-29. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012.

Note the word "in". This is a particular chapter in an edited collection. It was published as a book. To find it search for the book in the Library Search, then look up the content page to find the chapter. This book is available as an ebook and may be accessed via the Available Online link underneath the title.


Book not available?
  • Is the the print book you need on loan? You may request it's return. Simply sign in to Library Search as prompted from the results page and place a request. The book will be recalled from the current reader who will have seven days to return it. When the book is returned you will receive a notification to your Queen's email address.
  • If the book you need does not appear in our catalogue, please email your Subject Librarian, who will investigate purchasing.


3. Journal articles 
Downey, Hilary and Sherry John F. "Public art and transformation in Northern Ireland" Arts and the market, 10, 3 (2020): 187-203 

The journal here is called Arts and the market. The article title is "Public art and transformation in Northern Ireland". Note the volume number 10 and Issue number 3 in this example. Journals are published periodically, usually several times a year, so there could be several volumes for the same year. There are two ways to find this article:

  • First, copy and paste the article title into Library Search. Tip: if you know the exact title, search for it using "double quotation marks" around the words you are using.

  • If this doesn't work, find out if the journal is available online as an an ejournal by checking Library Search. Then locate the Year and Volume number. When you have found the correct volume, look through the contents until you find the article you need.

Library Search will search across all the journals subscribed to by the Library. Read or download an article by clicking on the link that appears underneath the article details. Follow the link through to the relevant publisher's website and log in with your student number and password if prompted to do so. Most articles will be available for you to print or save in PDF format.


2. How will I know what content I need?

As an undergraduate student at Queen's you may be expected to find resources such as journal articles, books as well as primary sources to help you with your assignments.  

To get started, refer to your module handbook or reading list provided by your tutor. This will provide details of all material you need to read for your assignments. Much of this content may be available to you on Canvas, but in some cases you may be expected to find books, book chapters and journal articles yourself using the Library at Queen's. This guide will get you started. 

If you would like a refresher on academic expectations and working with scholarly material at university the best place to start is with our short Transition Skills online course. This will outline what is expected of you at university.

3.The McClay Library





  • Always bring your student card with you to the Library
  • The McClay Library operates a controlled entry system
  • Use your student card to gain admission to the Library building



Study spaces in the McClay Library



  • Study spaces are located throughout The McClay Library
  • Note Silent and Whisper Zones
  • Do not eat food in the Library. Only bring in drinks with lids
  • Photocopiers and scanners are located on each floor of the Library. Upload money onto your Student Card to pay for printing. Scanning is free, but you need a £1.00 balance to operate this service. You will need to use your card to release printing.




  • Although many book in the Library are available as ebooks, some titles are only available as print books.
  • In subjects such as HAPP print remains an important format from which to access content.
  • Undergraduate students may borrow 15 books at a time. Find out more on the Library webpage
  • Use contactless self-service borrowing stations located on all floors of the Library

4. Getting help and making contact

Compass image -  getting help

The QUB Chatbot is a good first port of call if you are lost online. Find it on the Library homepage. 

Library Help FAQs : quick, focused answers to common questions.

This subject guide: content updated by your Subject Librarian. Included links to resources and tips on how to get best use out of the Library.

Your Subject Librarian: make initial contact via email. Email queries, questions or comments or arrange to meet for a one-to-one skills session via MS Teams

AHSS Digital Champions: a student-led team supporting other students' online learning & digital skills in the AHSS Faculty