This guide is for students studying for the Science Access to Further Education Diploma at Reading College and City of Oxford College. This includes the courses: Science A, B, and C.

How to find books

There is an electronic reading list available for your subject. You can access this either by searching for the subject code on the Activate Learning Library catalogue or by following the hyperlinks below.

Biology         or use subject code ALBIOLOGY

Chemistry     or use subject code ALCHEMISTRY

Maths            or use subject code ALMATHS

Physics         or use subject code ALPHYSICS

Psychology  or use subject code ALPSYCHOLOGY

You can also use advanced search to search the catalogue for relevant books or eBooks using several filters:

  • You can apply your search term to categories such as Title, Author, Location, Keyword, Subject, Publisher, or All Fields using the Search In dropdown menu.
  • You can select the media type you would like to see using the Media Type drop down menu.
  • You can use multiple search terms in different categories by clicking the + button and selecting AND, OR, or AND NOT.

science search.PNG

Here the results will include anything that has biology as a subject and evolution in any field.

If you know the title of the book you are looking for you can use a guided search by selecting that option from the tabs at the top and entering the details.

guided search.PNG

For more help using the catalogue you can watch this short clip from the using the libraries section on the website or ask a member of the team in the library for help.

Finding books on the shelves

You may want to browse the shelves, books are organised by subject and given a shelfmark which consists of numbers and letters. Shelfmarks for books are displayed on the catalogue so you can locate the book, books nearby will be similar in subject so may also be useful.

You can start looking for each subject at:

Anatomy and Physiology 612
Biology  570
Chemistry 540
Maths 510
Physics  530
Psychology 150

Your online Account

Logging into your Heritage account allows you to view the items you have on loan and reserved, you can also renew items and view your loan history. Log in using your student ID number and your date of birth DDMMYY.

You can also view a short clip for help on how to log into your account.

login with pin and circle.PNG

Reservations and site transfers

By logging into your account you can place reservations on items that are on loan, this will stop the current user from renewing the item and you will be contacted by the library when the item is ready for collection.


You can borrow items from any Activate Learning library, if the location of the item you require is not your local library click on the Reserve button in the detailed record. The item will be transferred to your local college library and a member of the team will contact you when it is ready for collection. Alternatively speak to a member of the team at the issue desk and they will help you arrange for the item to to transferred.


eBooks are listed on the catalogue and can be recognised by the [E-book] symbol next to the entry. To access an eBook look at the detailed entry for the item and select the link that says Read me…. (click for online eBook). You can access eBooks offsite - with the username and password being the same as your college network login details. eBooks are included in the subject reading lists.

You can search for just eBooks by changing the Media type to E-book from the drop down list.

ebook biology.PNG

For more help using eBooks you can watch this short clip from the using the libraries section on the website or ask a member of the team in the library for help.

How to find journals and newspapers articles

Reading journals and magazines allows you to keep up-to-date with developments in the sector; read reviews and news and follow current trends. Journals and newspapers  are for reference only - you can read the journals in the library or photocopy/scan articles to take away but you can’t borrow them.

The following journals are available across Activate Learning, check in your local library to see which titles they hold:

Biological Sciences Review
Chemistry Review
New Scientist
Physics Review
Psychology Review

In addition to these journals each library gets a selection of newspapers daily. You can also search online using UK Newsstand which provides access to a range of over 300 national and local newspapers, which can be searched by topic as well as browsed by paper. It can be accessed at college or home. If you are asked for login details enter your usual college ID number and password.


You can find eResources under that title on the library website, these are online resources that you can use to support you for your course. Some are available only whilst in college, others require a username and password but can be accessed from anywhere.

Anatomy TV contains modules for different body systems, cell biology, blood and other items relating to anatomy and physiology. Each module contains text, audio, animation and clinical slides to help you learn about the subject; you can test yourself with an end of module quiz. This resource provides a good visual representation of systems and process that can be tricky to learn from a textbook.

Tutorials and user guides are available to help you make the most of the resource. It can be accessed at college or home. If you are asked for login details enter your usual college id number and password.

Issues  provides a basic overview for a range of subject areas including  Science and Health, Health and Wellbeing  and Environmental and Global. There is an ebook library you can browse in addition to articles, statistics and links to useful websites. It can be accessed at college or home, If you’re asked for login details enter your usual college id number and password.

This resource also includes research tips to help with referencing, critical thinking and website evaluation.

Very Short Introductions is a collection of ebooks that offer a short and insightful introductions into various topics within Psychology and Social Sciences.This resource can only be accessed when you are both in and out of  college.

Study skills and referencing

Good study skills allow you to get the most out of your time in college, work efficiently and achieve good grades on your course.

Referencing is vital to avoid plagiarism and to give credit to other author’s work and ideas you have used. Check with your tutor which system they would like you to use. The library holds copies of Cite Them Right which provides guidance how to cite your sources in the body of the text and prepare your reference list.


RefME is a free online referencing generator, you can login using Google+ or create an account using your college email address. Check which referencing style your tutor wants you to use and select it at the top of the page. You can create a project for each assignment and download a bibliography, reference list and in text citation for all types of sources.

There are a wide range of study skills books available in our libraries, you can find a selection on this list or browse the study skills section in the library.

Skills4Study campus is an online resource available through Activate Learning Online. There are modules to work through in your own time on various study skills, this includes referencing and plagiarism and preparing for higher education. Speak to a member of library staff to arrange access.

Using other libraries

As an Activate Learning student you can use the libraries at City of Oxford College, Banbury and Bicester College or Reading College, whichever is most convenient for you.

You may also find useful information at your local public libraries which are free to join.

For more information visit the Oxfordshire county libraries website or Reading Borough Council Website.

Where to get help

You can contact the library team or access information about our services in a number of ways.

Email   Telephone 0118 955 4700

Email      Telephone 01865 551961

Twitter         @ActivateLibrary

Or in person during library opening hours