MAINTENANCE: Web of Science – Sunday April 10

The Web of Science database may be intermittently unavailable this coming Sunday, April 10 due to systems maintenance. The maintenance window is 13:00 to 16:00 BST.

There may be occasional outages to Web of Science throughout this time and it is expected that there will be two instances of downtime, each 15 minutes in length.

They apologise to users for any disruption and inconvenience that may be due as a result of the required maintenance work.

Please contact Web of Science Service for UK Education Support by emailing should you have any queries or require assistance.



Browse the Sir Duncan Rice Library new books webpages

New books are always being added to the collections here in The Sir Duncan Rice Library and to keep up to date with the titles which are arriving we encourage you to take a look at our New Acquisitions webpages.

These pages are updated at the end of each month, and include title information and links to their entries in Primo, the portal to details of all our Library materials.

Selected highlights, amongst many others from the past month include:

Bookmark this page on the Library website or sign up to this blog on the right of this page to receive announcements every month of the new material we are continually adding to what is already over 15 miles of shelving in this library alone.

And, of course, the Taylor Library and the Medical Library also maintain similar pages detailing the new book stock which they receive each month, so that whatever subject you are studying, teaching, or researching you are always aware of the new material available to you through the University of Aberdeen Libraries.


Primo – How to find a particular book you want to read

This is the first in a short series of blog posts looking at common questions which users of our libraries may have about using Primo, our resource discovery tool, when looking for materials for their study or research. Primo is the portal to our paper and electronic resources and can lead you to millions of different materials available here at the University of Aberdeen.

In this post we will show how Primo can help you locate a particular book you wish to read, something you may have been asked to read for a class or maybe a book you have learnt about from your own reading.

1 – To begin your search go to Primo at



2 – Once at Primo we would always recommend logging in so that you can link out to electronic materials and use all of the features available in Primo.



3 – You will need to enter your UoA username and password.



4 – Once logged in you will see your own name at the top of the screen.



5 – In this example we are looking for the following book: Saunders, M., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2012) Research Methods for Business Students. 6th edn. Harlow: Pearson.

  • Select the Books+ tab to focus the search on books.
  • Enter some details of the book and the family name of the first named author.
  • Then select Search.



6 – Primo returns a list of 3 results and the title we are looking for is at the top of the list. Primo tells us on the right of the screen that there are 5 versions of this book. For more details click on View 5 versions.



7 – All 5 versions are now listed, each a different edition published in different years. We are looking for the 2012 edition and it is at the top of the list. Be sure to read the edition that you have been asked to consult as older editions may contain out-of-date information. To find out if it is possible to currently borrow the book select Availability.



8 – We can now see that there are:

  • Two copies of this book, both currently On Shelf and available to be borrowed from the Heavy Demand collection on floor 1 of the Sir Duncan Rice Library.
  • You are also provided with the Call Number to help you locate it on the shelf.
  • You can book Heavy Demand books up to three weeks in advance so you can get the book when you want it. To do that select Heavy Demand Booking.



9 – Having already logged into Primo makes it easier to book library materials. Select the date you wish to reserve the book for and select Request.



10 – You will get a message indicating that the booking was succesful.

  • You will be able to collect and borrow the book from the Heavy Demand area on floor 1 of the SDRL after 10.30am on the day you have reserved it for.
  • It will be on the shelf at the Call Number given in Primo.
  • The booking only lasts until 3.30pm on the day of the booking
  • The collection of Heavy Demand books operates slightly differently in the Taylor Library, with requested books available for collection from staff at the issue desk in the library.
  • The Medical Library leaves reserved Heavy Demand books on the shelves for collection.
  • Click here for further details on reserving and booking library materials.


Further information on using Primo can be found in our online library guide.

To see our full range of library guides click here.

Also, don’t forget that library staff are here to help you locate any materials you may be having trouble locating.

Good luck with your exams.

Primo – essential maintenance to take place on Wednesday May 27

There will be a slight disruption to the operation of Primo tomorrow morning, Wednesday May 27, between 9am and 10.30am, while an essential update to the service is carried out.

Primo will still be available for searching, but the details concerning the current availability of books may not be totally accurate.

Also, please do NOT use the alternative library catalogue during this one and a half hour interruption.

Please accept our apologies for this brief, but vital, interruption.


Ewan Grant,

Library staff recognised with Long Service Awards

Two dedicated members of library staff have received well deserved recognition for over 25 years of service with the University at a recent award ceremony. Moira Speir and Pauline van der Laan have both worked in different areas of the library during their time with the University, and have both seen many changes to the services the library provides to the University’s students and staff, as well as many developments in the wider world of librarianship.

Moira began working for the University in 1989, based first of all at the issue desk in the fondly remembered but recently demolished Queen Mother Library. Moving on after several years at the issue desk Moira then worked helping students and staff locate library materials, firstly in the Science and Engineering collections and then the Social Science holdings. This broad subject and collection knowledge then led to her taking her experience behind the scenes to help manage the ever-growing Serials, or Journals, collections, where she is currently still based.

cd rom cup holder

© Copyright Viktor Rosenfeld and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License.

In her time with the library Moira has experienced the movement from paper-only collections to the vast profusion of electronically available materials. And not only has she seen profound changes in the way in which academic resources are delivered, she has even seen some new formats come and go in those 25 years. She has seen the CD-ROM come in as the next new thing, transforming the ability to present large amounts of information on a single disk, only to see them be phased out as the capacity to provide information over the internet has increased exponentially, demonstrating the ways in which libraries are always engaging at the forefront of how knowledge and information are stored, managed and delivered.


Pauline has seen similar changes in her time working in libraries, having experienced the movement from card catalogues kept in row upon row of wooden drawers which contained hand-typed cards to the range of online catalogues and databases which now guide students and staff to the materials they need, be they in paper or online. Or in Pauline’s case, whether they are in paper, online, are puppets or even inflatable models of our solar system, as she has spent years working with the collection of library resources used by Education students, both for their own education and the education of those pupils they are teaching in school classrooms as they learn the art and science of teaching.


Pauline began working at the Northern College of Education in 1979 and has worked with the Education collections ever since, apart from a gap of a few years to start her family. The Northern College of Education merged with the University of Aberdeen in more recent times, and Pauline was involved in transferring the Education library collections from their previous home in Hilton Road to Queen Mother Library, and then latterly into The Sir Duncan Rice Library. Aside from guiding students to academic resources she has the enviable responsibility of selecting the materials for the Teaching Resource Collection (TRC) on floor 6 of TSDRL. The TRC contains books alongside materials not normally thought of as being found in academic libraries. Not only does she select them, she has to make sure they all work when they arrive in the library, therefore the floor 6 office can at different times be the scene of displays of plastic dinosaurs, foam human skeletons, or even the place for the quiet testing of musical instruments. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it, for the benefit of the children, so thank you Pauline!

They have enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, their time working for the University and wait to see what new developments and changes may happen in the years of work they still have ahead of them here as part of the Library team.


Ewan Grant, Information Adviser

Kathleen Kennedy and William Cavendish: A wartime wedding of two dynasties

Ed.- James Youle has been a Senior Information Assistant with University of Aberdeen libraries since 2007. He has a particular interest in twentieth century British art and photography. He tries to find images that offer an insight into the human being and regularly offers photographs to the National Portrait Gallery.

I recently donated two photographs to The National Portrait Gallery. They depict the 6th May 1944 wedding of William “Billy” Cavendish and Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy. Kathleen had arrived in London in 1938 as the daughter of American Ambassador Joseph P Kennedy and had quickly fallen in love with London and England, and later with Billy. In July 1943 she had written to her brother “Jack” (later President) Kennedy:

“I have just returned from a day and a half spent in the country with Billy at Eastbourne… For 24 hours I forgot all about the war… Billy is just the same, a bit older, a bit more ducal, but we get on as well as ever.”

The Marquess of Hartington, as Billy was titled, is dressed in his Coldstream Guards uniform, and the new Marchioness is in pink with a posy of pink camellias brought from Chatsworth in Derbyshire that very morning. Both look happy, but the path to the altar had been fraught. Billy was a Protestant and heir to the Duke of Devonshire. The American Kennedy family were Catholic, and Kathleen’s parents Joseph and Rose were particularly unhappy at the union. Only her brother Lieutenant Joseph Kennedy Jr attended, along with Billy’s family.

Kathleen wrote of Joe in 1944, “Moral courage he had in abundance… in every way he was the perfect brother…”.

Tragically both Joe and Billy died in 1944 on active service, Joe in Suffolk and Billy in Belgium. Kathleen was devastated but made a life for herself with the support of the Duke and Duchess, but in May 1948 she also died tragically. Rose Kennedy in her autobiography wrote of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire:

“They said how much they had loved Kathleen, and how grateful they had been to her because of the happiness she had brought to their son Billy. The Duchess suggested the epitaph ‘Joy she gave, and joy she has’.”

Kathleen was buried at Chatsworth.

James Youle
Senior Information Assistant


The two photographs donated by James can be viewed here on the National Portrait Gallery website.

Eds. Several books about the Kennedy family are available in the Library collections. Here are some suggestions if you are interested in reading more:

Dallek, R. (c.2003) An unfinished life : John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963. Boston [Mass.] ; London : Little Brown.
Shelfmark 973.922 Ken D (Floor 3, The Sir Duncan Rice Library)

Kennedy, R.F. (1974) Times to remember : an autobiography. London : Collins.
Shelfmark 973.9 Ken (Floor 3, The Sir Duncan Rice Library)

Schwarz, T. (c.2003) Joseph P. Kennedy : the mogul, the mob, the statesman, and the making of an American myth. Hoboken, N.J. : John Wiley & Sons.
Shelfmark 973.9 Ken S (Floor 3, The Sir Duncan Rice Library)

Ebrary e-book collection has undergone a facelift

Our largest e-book collection, ebrary, has recently had a redesign, resulting in a new clean look and some changes to how you download and read the many titles available, either on pcs, laptops, tablets or smartphones.

Fundamentally, though, it is still the same ever-expanding collection of e-books as before, in which searches can be carried out across every word of every page of the over 110,000 titles it currently contains. It is just that it is now nicer to use, whether you are consulting the e-books online, or downloading them to read offline later.

To find out more about ebrary, and the changes which have recently been introduced, please read our new library guide to this wide-ranging collection, then go and have a look for yourself to find academic-level materials to support your study and research.

Ebrary guides:
Ebrary: how to download e-books
Ebrary on your mobile device

Ewan Grant,