This guide is for PGCE students at City of Oxford and Reading College.

How to find books

Follow this link to view an electronic reading list for your course or you can type PGCE into the Activate Learning Library Catalogue search bar. This is a live link to the library catalogue which allows you to see if items are available on the shelf or when they are due back if they are on loan.

You can also 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.

Results from this search will include books and eBooks that have
 inclusion either in the title or listed as a subject.
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.


The catalogue shows resources available at all Activate Learning libraries. 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 another 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 your 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.

Your library 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. 

For more help using your Heritage account, 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 Read meYou 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.

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.

Finding books on the shelves

Books are organised by subject and given a shelfmark consisting 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 will find Education books between 370 and 378.

How to find journals and journal articles

Journals recommended by your tutor include:

  • Research in Post-Compulsory Education
  • Journal of Further and Higher Education (Print copy available at Reading library)
  • Education Action Research
  • British Educational Research Journal
  • Journal of Curriculum Studies
  • Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy
These journals are all available electronically through the Oxford Brookes library, you can access them by searching for e-journals by title,  you will need your Oxford Brookes login details. Some journals have an embargo, meaning that electronic access is delayed for a period of time. Details are provided for individual titles.

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.

Using databases

UK Newsstand allows you to search through a large range of major national newspapers and local news publications, you’ll need your college network login details to access it. This includes The Times Educational Supplement with full text articles from 2008 to present (6 month embargo applied).

ERIC is a freely available database where you can search for journal articles, reports and books in the field of education. Use simple searches to produce relevant results with no need to use Boolean operators. Watch this video for a quick guide on how get the best search results.

You can access recommended databases provided by Oxford Brookes through the subject help page, you will need your Oxford Brookes login details to do this.  There is a one-stop search which you can use to search several of the key education databases at once. This includes:

  • British Education Index
  • Child Development & Adolescent Studies
  • Education Abstracts
  • Education Research Complete
  • Educational Administration Abstracts
  • ERIC
You can limit your results by full text only, peer reviewed journals only and set a range of publication dates. You should use Boolean operators to construct your one-stop search. This guide provides more information on how to put together a good search strategy.

Study skills and referencing

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.

You also have access to
Cite them right online which provides guidance for referencing many different sources, You will need your Oxford Brookes login details to access it.


Using other libraries

You also have access to Oxford Brookes resources, both physical and electronic. You will need your Oxford Brookes login details to access the electronic resources. There are links on our website in the Higher Education section that take you to information, subject help and the catalogue.

You may also find useful information at your local public libraries - they are free to join and provide online reference material, some of which can be accessed at home.

For more information visit the websites of Oxfordshire County Libraries or Reading Libraries

Where to get help

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

City of Oxford College Library:

Telephone 01865 551961

Reading College Library:

Telephone 0118 955 4700

Twitter @ActivateLibrary

Or in person during library opening hours.