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Politics, International Studies & Philosophy: New HAPP Students: Getting Started

Key points for new students at Queen's

Welcome to Queen's!

As a new student there are 5 things you need to know now:

  1. What is academic content?
  2. How will you know what content you need?
  3. How to find content : the Library online
  4. How to navigate around the McClay Library - and how to use the Library to borrow books, study, scan or photocopy material
  5. 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 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


1. Book 
Inden, Ronald, Imagining India (Oxford,1990) ​

Note the publication year. To find this book type the title into the Library catalogue. This book is available as both a print book and an ebook. The ebook may be accessed via a link underneath the title. the print book is on Floor 2 of the McClay Library at Shelfmark PR830.I6 CRON

To find books, go to the Library website and use Library Catalogue. 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.

The Library Catalogue 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.

If a book you need does not appear in our catalogue, please email your Subject Librarian, who will investigate purchasing the book.


2. Chapter in a book 
Bhadra, Gautam, 'Four Rebels of 1857', in Ranajit Guha & Gayatri C. Spivak, (eds.), Selected Subaltern Studies IV, (New York, 1988) ​

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 Catalogue, then look up the content page to find the chapter.


3. Journal article 
Nechtman, Tillman, 'Nabobinas: Luxury, Gender, and the Sexual Politics of British Imperialism in India in the Late Eighteenth Century' Journal of Women's History 18.4 (2006) 8-30​

Note the volume number 18 and Issue number 4 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:

  • First, copy and paste the title into Article Search
  • If this doesn't work, find out if this is an ejournal by looking through the E-journals A-Z on the Library homepage. Then locate the Year, Volume and Issue number. when you have found the Issue look through the contents until you find the article you need.

Article Search will look in all the journals subscribed to by the Library, and display a list of articles relevant to your topic. Read, and 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.

If you want to search within one specific journal go to the Library website and click on the E-Journals A-Z link. From here search for the journal you need of browse by first letter. If the Library subscribes to the journal, it will appear in the list of results. Click the Full Text link to access content. 

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 Library Online

The Library Online

Everything you need to explore the Library at Queen’s is online.

Browse the Library webpage to find information on services, getting help and studying in the Library.

Check this Subject Guide for tips on using your reading list, finding books and journal articles and links to useful resources


Is the print book you need on loan? Are no other copies available? Then place a request!

When a print book in the Library Catalogue is on loan there will be a due date underneath it's Status information.

To recall the book:

  1. Click on the Loan Request link
  2. Sign in with your student number and password
  3. Confirm this is the book you need.
  4. Click Place Request
  5. 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.

4.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

5. Getting help and making contact

Compass image -  getting help

Library Chat: monitored by Queen’s Library staff. A good first port of call if you are lost online. Find Library Chat 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