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Information Services

Physics and Astronomy

Subject guide to library related topics

Information about Library & University Collections services in response to COVID-19

This page contains current information on library closures, loans and fines, support for online learning, online access to teaching resources and how to get further help.


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.


Inspec link


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.

If there is a Locate link you will be able to see from a floorplan, where the book should be.


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 from issues held in the Edinburgh University Library's print collections, can be requested using the Interlibrary Loan service's ILLiad form (which is what you would also use to request reading material the Edinburgh University Library does not have at all).

If your request is in before 1pm on a weekday and is for articles from journals held in the University Collections Facility, you will get your scan the same day. Use University Collections Facility Scan Request in the LINKS section of a full DiscoverEd record.

Academic Support Librarian

Rowena Stewart's picture
Rowena Stewart
rm 3.21 Murchison House,
10 Max Born Crescent,
The King's Buildings,
Mayfield Road,
EH9 3BF.
+44(0) 131 650 5207

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

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