This guide is for students studying an A-Level Communication programme on any site. This includes the subjects:

Business Studies, English language and Literature, Geography, Government and Politics, History, Law, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sociology.

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.

 Business Studies or use subject code ALBUSINESS
 English Language/Literature  or use subject code ALENGLISH
 Geography  or use subject code ALGEOGRAPHY
 Government and Politics  or use subject code ALPOLITICS
History  or use subject code ALHISTORY
 Law  or use subject code ALLAW
 Psychology  or use subject code ALPSYCHOLOGY
 Religious Studies or use subject code ALRELIGIOUSSTUDIES
 Sociology or use subject code ALSOCIOLOGY

You can also use advanced search to search the catalogue for relevant books 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.


Here the results will include anything that has Politics as a subject and Government 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.

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:

Business 650
English Language 420
English Literature 820
Geography 302.4
History 900
Law 340
Politics 320
Psychology 150
Religious Studies 200
Sociology 300

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.

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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 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, the username and password are 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.


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 newspaper 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:

Business Review
Economic Review
Geographical Magazine
Geography Review
Harvard Business Review
History Today
Management Today
Marketing Week
Politics Review
Psychology Review
Religious Studies Review
Sociology Review
The Week

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, theses are online resources you can use to support you on your course. Some are available only whilst in college, others require a username and password but can be accessed from anywhere.

Digimap for Colleges provides access to digital Ordnance Survey mapping of Great Britain. Search by place name or postcode to create maps you can save or print. This resource can only be accessed when you are in college.

ProQuest Learning: Literature  Very useful literary resource which contains information and criticism about various literary works, authors and essays as well as reference materials such as an online dictionary and thesaurus. You can also use this resource to search and view full text study guides, novels and short stories, poems and plays.

History Study Centre is a collection of primary and secondary sources on global history from ancient times to the present day. It’s organised into into categories of study units, historical documents, maps and reference, multimedia, and journals which each have their own search function. There’s also a timeline of events to scroll through on their home page.

e-Law Student has everything an aspiring lawyer could need: articles, case studies, module specific lectures from OCR and AQA and even some quizzes to test your knowledge. There’s a brief help sheet for navigation available here.

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 in 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.

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.

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