This guide is for people studying for the HND/HNC in Computing and Systems Development at Reading College.

How to find books

There is an electronic reading list available for your course. You can access this either by searching HNDCOMPUTING on the Activate Learning Library Catalogue or by following this link. This is a live link to the library online catalogue which allows you to see where the items are and if they are available on the shelf or when they are due back if they are on loan.
You can search the catalogue using filters, applying boolean operators and selecting preferred media types.
For example you can apply your search term to 
  • Title, Author, Location, Keyword, Subject, Publisher, Location or All fields using the search in filter. 
  • AND, OR , AND NOT to build your search by clicking + and selecting the appropriate operator. 
  • Media Type can be selected from the drop down box.


Here the results will include anything which has computing as a keyword and development in the title.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.

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.


eBooks are listed on the catalogue and can be recognised by the [eBook] 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 e-book). You can access eBooks offsite, the username and password are the same as your college network login details.

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

You can view a selection of eBooks relating to computing and systems development by following this link or searching COMPUTINGEBOOKS on the library catalogue. You can also browse the eBook collection by category here.

For more help, you can watch this short clip about accessing eBooks, or come and talk to one of our staff.

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.
  • Books relating to computing and systems development can be found between shelfmarks 003 and 006.9.
  • Books on systems can be found at shelfmark 003. 
  • Books on data processing and computer science can be found at shelfmark 004.
  • Books on computer programming, programs and data can be found at shelfmark 005.
  • Books on special computer methods can be found at shelfmark 006.

You may also find books relating to business and management useful for your course. These can be found between shelfmarks 650 and 659.2.
  • Books on management can be found at shelfmark 658.
  • Books on marketing can be found at shelfmark 659.

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 DDMMYYY.

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


By logging in to 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 also reserve items from any of the  Activate Learning Libraries in the same way. If the item you require is held at Oxford or Banbury Library you can reserve it by logging into the catalogue and clicking Reserve on the detailed record for the item. The item will be transferred to the Reading 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.

Journals and Online Resources

Reading journals and magazines allows you to keep up-to-date with developments in your field; read reviews and news, follow current trends and find inspiration. The library has several journals relating to computing, and also some relating to business. You can read them in the library or photocopy articles to take away. Several websites have also been recommended for your course, and cover a wide range of topics.

  • .Net
  • Computer Active
  • Webuser
  • Business Review
  • The Economist
 News and Careers
 Human-Computer Interaction
 Web Development
 Game Development
 Distributed Computing

The library offers a selection of broadsheet newspapers. We also have access to UK Newsstand which allows you to search a wide range of national and local news articles. Although none of these publications deal specifically with issues related to computing, they can be useful for looking at current developments in the field within a wider context.

Google Scholar is a customised search engine and tool specifically designed to help both students and academics find scholarly research, including articles, books and university theses.

Unlike a standard search engine it aims to rank documents the way researchers do, weighing the full text of each document, where it was published, who it was written by, as well as how often and how recently it has been cited in other scholarly literature. You can sort your results by year to find the newest research or click Cited by or Related articles to find similar work. This means it is easier to find the most relevant and reputable articles for your subject. It will also provide you with references ready to drop straight into your own work.

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.

There are a wide range of study skills books available in our libraries, you can view a selection by searching studyskills on the Activate Learning Library Catalogue or by clicking this link. Each library also has a dedicated study skills section where you can browse the shelves.


Using other libraries

As an Activate Learning student, you can use the libraries at City of Oxford College and Banbury and Bicester College if that is convenient for you.

You may also be able to find useful information at your local public library. Public libraries are free to join. There are seven public libraries run by Reading Borough Council, you can find out more information about these

Several public libraries, including Reading Central Library, are part of the Access to Research scheme. This enables you to access academic research for free from your public library. You can browse the catalogue and read abstracts from home on the initiative’s website, then read the full text of the publication in your nearest participating library. You can also use the website to discover which publications and which libraries are involved.

Where to get help

You can contact the library team or access information using the following links:


Telephone     0118 955 4700


Twitter           @ActivateLibrary

Or come and see us in person during our opening hours.