Category Archives: Research

News and Information for Postgraduates

Updated Journal Article Search

So we’ve updated and simplified our Journal article search available from our catalogue and the Library front page.

From the Library website

You can now enter a keyword, subject, author or other search into the simple search box and it will return full text items for you to access.

Note there are five searches you can do within this service once you go into the search.  You will need to click on each search at the top left of the page to get different resource results depending on the type of materials you want.
encore menu
1] Up to date journal articles across all subjects

2] Older journal articles across all subjects

3] Humanities and Social Sciences results

4] Business, Management and Law results

5] Theses

Hopefully this will start you on the road to doing the research for your essay or project.

Coming soon: improved electronic document delivery from the British Library

The British Library have recently launched a new improved service for delivering journal articles and book chapters electronically. We’ll be adopting it from 1st September 2015.

We’re already used to fulfilling your Document Supply (inter-library loan) requests electronically as much as possible. Electronic supply allows for much faster delivery, which we know is important when it comes to getting you the materials you need for your research. Currently, in order to download inter-library loans you need to install the File Open plugin on your computer. This software ensures all requests are compliant with copyright law and locks the article so it can only be viewed on one machine.  Although it serves its purpose, the process of installing this software can be fiddly, especially on shared machines, so – like many other institutions -we’ve been asking for an easier and less restrictive option for some time. And now The British Library have unveiled one.

From 1st September 2015 we’ll be delivering article and chapter requests to you via The British Library’s Open On Demand service, DRM-lite.

Benefits of DRM-Lite:

  • No need to install plugins or special software, access documents on any device with Adobe Reader
  • PC, laptop, tablet: open your document as many times and on as many different devices as you need to
  • Saving is permitted and each document can also be printed twice
  • The same speedy delivery as the old service
Courtesy of Karl Mooney

Create a British Library On Demand Account now for quick and easy electronic delivery

How do I get articles via Open On Demand?

  • The process of requesting an inter-library loan is exactly the same as before. Requests cost £13.50 or one token and should be made via our online order form.
  • Before you can view your article you will need to have registered for an On Demand account with The British Library. Registering is free, just takes a few minutes and will only need to be done the first time. Once your account is set up you can use your username and password to access all the articles that have been supplied to you.
  • If you are likely to be making use of our Document Supply service in the coming months why not register now so that you are all set up ready to start receiving documents?  Please note you will need to create an On Demand account even if you already hold a British Library Reader pass.  Click here to register now.

We’ll send full instructions for to register and download your items when we send your documents.

Article requests fulfilled before 1st September will continue to use the File Open system but we’re looking forward to saying so long to plugins and hello to this new, simplified, copyright compliant service.

Researching theses

Theses are a valuable source of research but they can be hard to track down. Most collections only include doctoral theses or dissertations so if you are looking for a master’s dissertation you may have to try contacting the author or the institution where they studied.

The most useful online source is ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, available via the Electronic Library. It is made up of two databases:

  • The UK and Ireland collection provides bibliographic information for all theses accepted for higher degrees by the universities of the UK and Ireland from 1716 onwards. Abstracts are also available for theses awarded since1970. Many of  the records include a full text link to a university digital repository, Ethos (the British Library’s thesis department) and/or a pointer page to the relevant university department. All records display the name of the awarding university.
  • The Global collection has dissertations and theses from around the world, from 1743 to the present day and has the full text for graduate works added since 1997, along with selected full text for works written prior to 1997.

For full information and links, please visit the Electronic Library (subject resource Theses) or search on the catalogue.

As most universities around the world have now set up online archives, or repositories, for their research it is also worth trying specialist search engines to find theses online.

Probably the best of these is BASE (Bielefeld Academic Search Engine). This allows you to search in a collection of 70 million documents in most world languages. Use the Advanced Search option to limit your search by languages, author, date, document type, etc.

Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law

5-OPIL-MPEPILThe July 2015 update to the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (MPEIL) is now live, bringing 18 new articles and 9 updated articles to the collection.

A range of different topics are covered including; war crimes, non-performance of treaty obligations, bioethics and much more.  A full listing of the update content is available here

MPEIL is part of the online Oxford Public International Law collection. You can search it alongside Oxford Reports on International Law and Oxford Scholarly Authorities on International Law.

For full text access, you will need to be logged in as a University of Exeter user.  Select University of Exeter when prompted, or login via the Library Catalogue or the Electronic Library.

Learn more about OPIL from the online video

Digitization Projects Registry – US materials


The Digitization Projects Registry is a listing of digitization projects undertaken by libraries, U.S. Government agencies, and non-profit institutions with a goal to increase access to historical U.S. Government publications that were previously only available in print format.

As well as listing key information about each project, a link is included to the digitized content, making access to this information possible to a much wider audience.

You can search or browse for content which is grouped across the following topic areas:

  • Arts & Humanities
  • Business & Economy
  • General Interest
  • Legal & Regulatory
  • Natural Sciences &  Mathematics
  • Social Sciences
  • Technology & Applied Sciences

A selection of links to some of the projects in the Registry are listed below,  to give you a flavour of the kind of content you can discover.

America at War 1941-1945

Everglades Digital Library 

Germany under reconstruction

Public Papers of the Presidents of the Unites States

Images of Research Competition 2015

Once again, the Library is working with the Researcher Development Team to run the Images of Research Competition.

Open to all Early Career Research Staff only (grades E & F), ‘Images of Research’ aims to engage the public in our academic research, showing the breadth and creativity of what is taking place at Exeter. It also provides you with an excellent opportunity to communicate your research to no specialists and fully grasp the public engagement agenda.

You will also have the chance to win a ‘master class’ with the University Design Team. Runners up will receive prizes worth over £200 in value. All winning entries will be displayed for the public on the Streatham campus during ‘Universities Week’ 5-10th June and at the Penryn Campus 15-19th June. Finally, winning entries will be placed on permanent display in the Research Commons on the StreathImages Research logoam campus.

There are four categories for entry:

  • Collaboration
  • Sustainable Futures
  • Society and Culture
  • Technology

The deadline for submission is Friday 1st May, 2015.

If you have an innovative image and would like to enter please contact Dr Chris Wood (Research Staff Development Manager) at for more details.

How do I enter?

  1. All entrants must follow the entry criteria which are detailed in the Images of Research Check List 2015
  2. Entrants are then to be sent to:

Looking for some exam practice?

Screenshot of exam papers database

Past exam papers are a great resource if you want to practice your exam technique by trying out some sample questions.  It is also useful to view papers in order to become familiar with their layout and instructions, so that the process is not a mystery on exam day.

A vast selection of past exam papers are available online from the University of Exeter Past Exam Paper Archive.  Just login with your usual IT Services username and password for access.

You can browse the collection by College, Module Code or Title of examination and then select the year you wish to view. Papers from 2004/5 – 2013/13 are available.  You will need the Adobe Reader software to view the exam papers which are PDF files.  This is available on all University IT clusters or can be downloaded for free to personal devices.

The Library wishes all students the very best of luck in their examinations.



Post graduate researcher? Find out more about the library services for you:

Access resources wherever you are

If you are based away from the University, you can still use the library’s resources. All of our electronic resources are available off campus. Please use the links to individual e-books and e-journals on the library catalogue or use the Electronic Library to search our databases.

You can also use the postal loan service to have books and photocopies sent to you (please note there is a charge for this service).

PGR study spaces on campus

The library has a wide variety of study space available to suit all our users’ needs. This includes group space, silent study rooms, bookable spaces, individual study desks, flexible study space and assistive technology rooms.

Bookable PGR study desks in Research Commons

These are 36 large desks with associated lockers, which can be booked by postgraduate research students from any college. Book a desk in advance – desks can be booked for 1 day or for up to 5 consecutive days.

Subject Librarians

Your subject librarian can help! We offer a deskside training service to all staff and research postgraduates. Let us know what you need help with (finding resources, managing references, using the institutional repository…) and we’ll arrange a convenient time. We will come to your office, or if you prefer, you can come to one of the libraries.

Find out more on our support pages for Researchers

Bookable study desks for research postgraduates

Calling all postgraduate research students!

Looking for quiet spaces to work on Streatham campus? Did you know that you can now pre-book a lovely large study desk and an associated locker in which to store your belongings?

The desks are located in the main reading room of Research Commons, a designated silent study space where you can really concentrate on your research.  Research Commons is housed in the Old Library building on the Streatham campus near the University Chapel and just a short walk from The Forum.

What you need to know:

PGRs can book desks like this one in the Research Commons Reading Room

  • Who? The desks are available to postgraduate research students from all colleges.
  • When? They are available for use during the library’s opening hours (currently 08.00 – 20.00 on weekdays and 10.00 – 18.00 on Saturdays and Sundays, further information here)
  • How long? Desks can be booked for 1 day or for up to 5 consecutive days.
  • What to do? When you arrive collect your locker key from the Research Commons Reception Desk by 10.00 (weekdays) or 11.00 (weekends). If you are going to be arriving later than these times, please confirm that you still need the desk by contacting Research Commons on the day.
  • Anything else? If you need more information about this scheme please contact staff at Research Commons who will be happy to assist. You can call us on  01392 724052 (internal: 4052) or email . A webpage supporting the use of these desks is also available here.

More about Research Commons

Although a particular haven for postgraduates, Research Commons is open to all and is well worth a visit. As well the silent reading room the Library contains a multi-media seminar room,  a café-style break out space with vending facilities and an outdoor terrace area.

The Research Commons houses our Special Collections, the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, the Arab World Documentation Unit, Official Publications and print copies of Science Journals. It also contains older and other less used research items. Why not take a look at our floor plans or just stop by for a visit?