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Physics and Astronomy

Subject guide to library related topics

Welcome to this, your library guide. Other pages of possible interest are listed in the menu.

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DiscoverEd is the place of record for the books, journals, newspapers and everything else The Library holds.


Library Bitesize sessions on a variety of topics

Finding academic literature

Literature search clinics - one-to-one, personal consultations for help on finding what you want using library resources and services:

Online - weekly during semester time

Referencing advice clinics including on reference management software tools:

Online - weekly

Study resources for literature reviews

Online - 05/10/2023@10:10-11:40

On-campus, Main Library - 09/11/2023@15:10-16:40

Dissertation and Thesis Festival

Two weeks of events in October/November and one in March

Finding Academic Literature (for PGRs):

Online - 06/10/2023@09:30-10:50

On-campus, King's Buildings - 31/10/2023@09:30-10:50

1 hour recording of an IAD session for CSE PGTs but which is relevant for anyone who has to produce a literature review.

The topics introduced are what to consider before starting your literature review search(es), the range of information resources at UoEdinburgh, techniques to make effective use of the resources available to retrieve and manage information for your research. Plus, knowing how to be sure you can read what you need from The Library and what to do if you cannot.

Just the powerpoint slides

The subtitles are unedited.


For finding data and academic research literature for physics and astronomy, egs Inspec and Web of Science, CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics online, ACM Digital Library and others.



Use DiscoverEd to find out whether Edinburgh University Library has the book you want to read. Try using the ADVANCED SEARCH

DiscoverEd Advanced Search


Set Material Type to Books and the search to be in the Title field. If you're sure about the book's title, you can reduce results' noise even further by selecting starts with (Title search only) and add other details of the book, eg author name

A book's full DiscoverEd record will tell you what libraries have copies (you can borrow from all the centrally managed libraries).

Borrowing books and other resources

DiscoverEd will tell you how many of all the copies of a title the Library has bought are available for you to borrow, eg (2 copies, 2 available), and give the alphanumeric code (shelfmark or classmark) which is attached to that particular book, eg QA184.2 Poo.

The first part (QC21.3) of the classmark is where other books on the same topic are kept. The last part (Hal) identifies your book amongst others on the same topic.


How long can I borrow a book for?

In capital (uppercase) letters in brackets is how long you can borrow the different copies. If copies are out on loan you can ask for one to be returned early for you to take out. You need to choose Sign in to DiscoverEd to see this option.


Books online

If you are only interested in online books, use DiscoverEd's Full Text Online filter in the Refine my results menu. Online books do not all offer the same options to their readers.

Navigating Ebooks (pdf)


Some of the University of Edinburgh's online journals for physics and astronomy

Use DiscoverEd's ADVANCED SEARCH before deciding you cannot get the article you need from Edinburgh University Library.

DiscoverEd Advanced Search


Set Material Type to Journals and the search to be in the Title field. If you're sure about the journal title, you can reduce results' noise even further by selecting starts with (Title search only).

Enter the journal (not article) title in the search box you have prepared.

Read the information about the years available from each place the Library has been able to buy the journal.

Choose the place which includes the issue you need.

If only a start date is given, eg Available from 1860 volume: 1 issue: 1, the most recent issues are available.

Some sellers cannot make available the most recent issues. This information is included in DiscoverEd records, eg Most recent 1 year(s) not available.

Getting copies of print articles: a free and same (week)day service

Information about the University Collections Facility

Free scans of articles sent to your email address are available of articles from print journal issues held in the University Collections Facility. Sign In to DiscoverEd and look for Digitize Other Issue

Request Other Issue is what to use if you want the print issue sent to one of the on-campus libraries for you to go to and use. The issue will probably be bound with other issues from the same volume or year and harback bound.

Scan and Deliver (digitsed extract not full copy) appears on individual journal issue holdings which happen to be on the DiscoverEd record.

Academic Support Librarian (my personal pronouns: she/her)

Noreen and Kenneth Murray Library

The main print book collections for Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, Geophysics, Mathematics and Physics are held in the Murray Library at The King's Buildings.

Noreen and Kenneth Murray Library information

students on NKML balcony from UoEd Image Bank

On 6th July 1920, King George V laid the foundation stone for the first of the buildings that would form part of The University of Edinburgh's new Science campus, relocated from its former Old College premises.

ROE Astronomy Library

The Royal Observatory Edinburgh's comprehensive collections of astronomical literature are available to the UK ATC, the IfA of the University of Edinburgh and other bona fide researchers.

Royal Observatory Edinburgh Library and Archives

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