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Architecture: Books / e-books

Finding books and e-books

QUB library holds thousands of books and e-books on architecture and related subjects. Most can be found by searching the Library catalogue. Many additional e-books are also available via the O'Reilly platform (see further information in this guide).

Most architecture books have shelfmarks beginning with NA and are shelved on Floor 2 of the McClay Library. Some books in other areas may also be useful, for example books on building construction (shelfmarks beginning with TH, shelved on Floor 3).

Short Loan: Books which are on module reading lists and in high demand are kept in the Short Loan Collection on the ground floor of the McClay Library.

Reference books, such as encyclopaedias and handbooks, are shelved at the start of the book sequence on Floor 2. You can recognise them by the shelfmark which begins with R/.

E-books can be accessed both on campus and from home. Find the required book on the Library catalogue and follow the "Full text through QConnect" link. You may be asked to log in with your QUB ID card details.

For more information on finding and accessing e-books, please have a look at our e-book guide.

Find a book using the Library Catalogue

Finding printed books in the McClay Library

Use the Library Catalogue to find the books you need.

Each printed (i.e. hardcopy) book has a shelfmark consisting of letters and numbers. The shelfmark tells you where to find the book on the shelf. Shelfmarks are also used to group books together by topic. So, when you fetch a book from the shelf, you may find other books on the same topic shelved beside it.

This diagram shows how to read a shelfmark.

Outline of how to read shelfmarks. Top line is in alphabetic order; the second line is in numeric order (from the smallest to the largest number).

The O'Reilly for Higher Eduction e-book collection

The O'Reilly platform provides access to additional e-books which are not currently listed on the library catalogue. While O'Reilly are best known for books on computing, the collection also includes a range of architecture-related books, including more than 80 e-books published by RIBA.

To browse the RIBA books on the O'Reilly platform, please sign in with your QUB ID card details.

Popular e-books on the O'Reilly platform include:

Cover of the book "Designed to perform"

Designed to perform

Cover of the book "Starting a practice" 2nd ed.

Starting a practice, 2nd edition

Cover of the book "Small practice and the sole practitioner" 2nd ed

Small practice and the sole practitioner

Sign in to the O'Reilly platform to find more e-books.

Recommend a book / e-book

If the library doesn't hold a book or e-book, which you would like to read - or there are not enough copies - please let your subject librarian know. 

Fill in the online book suggestion form or email your subject librarian, Irene Bittles (email:

Your subject librarian will consider every book / e-book purchase suggestion and, if appropriate, the book will be ordered for the library. We will keep you informed about the outcome of your book suggestion.

"Scan and deliver" service

If you are based remotely or self-isolating and are unable to borrow printed books in person, the Library can provide you with a scan of one chapter from a book or 10%, whichever is greater. Please submit your request for a scanned book chapter via the online form at the Scan and Deliver website.

Finding a wider range of books using other library catalogues

Sometimes QUB Library may not have a particular book which you need, or not enough books on your topic of interest.

You can use Library Hub Discover (the combined catalogues of more than 170 major UK and Irish libraries) or WorldCat to find books on your topic of interest which are not available at Queen's.

If you identify a useful book, you may be able to request a temporary loan of the book from another library via the Inter-Library Loans service. Alternatively, email your subject librarian, Irene Bittles, if you would like to request that the book be purchased for the Library collection. Email: