About Tom

Hello! I'm Tom and I'm a Systems Support Adviser working in Library and Student Support Services at Sheffield Hallam University.

Keep track of your borrowing with My Library Account

If you can’t remember what you have on loan or when things are due back, have a look on My Library Account.  Go to the Library Gateway and click on the ‘My Library Account’ link in the top, right-hand corner of the screen.

My Library Account

If you’re on a mobile phone or tablet, click on the menu button to get to the link.

Library Gateway mobile menu

You’ll be asked to sign in, so use your University username and password.  It’s the same details you use to log into shuspace or a University PC.

After that, you’ll be in My Library Account and you can go into the different areas to see information related to your borrowing.

My Library Account areas

Loans – all the library books, DVDs, and other things you have on loan will be listed alongside their due dates.  Items will renew automatically but not if someone else requests them, so it’s a good idea to check My Library Account regularly.  You will get an email to your University account as well if someone requests an item and it won’t be renewed.  Some things aren’t renewable at all, like laptops and Document Supply books.

Requests – if you’ve made any requests, you can see them here with information about whether they’re ready for you to collect.  There’s also an option to cancel a request that you don’t need any more, which will take you out of the queue and make sure it’s passed along to the next person who requested it.

Fines and fees – hopefully, you won’t be using this area very often!  You can see a list of any fines and pay them from here as well.

You might find these shuspace pages useful:


Take the Library with you


As a Sheffield Hallam student, you can still use the University’s library resources no matter where you are in the world (as long as you have internet connection, that is).

To make sure you can get access to electronic books, journal articles, and more, the best place to start is shuspace.  Go to shuspace.shu.ac.uk and log in using your University username and password, then click on the Library Gateway link at the top of the screen.

Link on shuspace

A new window will pop up.  Click on ‘Login as SHU students and staff’, that will give you access to all of our library resources.

Library Gateway login options

Finally, the Library Gateway will open, with Library Search and all the other features you’re used to when you’re working on campus.

Arrrgh it won’t work!

If you’ve followed the steps above and still can’t get access to something, try repeating the same steps but in a different browser.  The Library Gateway works in most browsers, including Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari.  We’ve noticed a few problems with Edge so best not use that.

If you’re stuck, get in touch.  Click on the ‘Contact’ link at the top of the Library Gateway to see the different ways you can reach us.  If you’re telling us about library resources that you can’t access, we’ll need to know:

  • as much information about it as possible – title, author, date of publication, etc
  • the web address of the page you were on when you got stuck (copy it from the browser address bar and paste it into email or chat)
  • who you are so we can help you – make sure you tell us your full name and student number (it’s on your SHUcard).

Filter your results in Library Search

Photo of many smarties

Photo credit: ‘Smarties’ by eismannhans via Pixabay (Public domain)

When you’re using Library Search to look for things to read, make sure you use the filters on the search results page.  If you don’t, you’ll be scrolling through pages and pages to find what you’re looking for.  Here’s a quick explanation of how some of the most popular filters work.

Across the top

Screenshot of filters across the top of the search results page

  • Peer reviewed journals – this will display only the highest quality publications, which have been approved by experts in the subject.
  • Available Online – useful if you want to see what’s available without coming into the library. This will show just electronic resources in your results list.
  • Available in the Library – shows you physical books on the shelves right now in Adsetts and Collegiate Libraries. This is useful if you’re in the library and want to know what you can borrow here and now, straight away. Clicking this filter will hide all the useful books that are on loan at the moment though, which is a shame because you might want to request some of them to read in future.

Down the side

  • Content type – this is where you pick the format of what you’re searching for.  If your lecturer asks you to find a journal article on a particular topic, this is where you can click to show just ‘Articles’ in the list of results.
  • Publication date – if there are several editions of the same book, it’s best to get the newest one. Use the slider to show search results that were published at a particular time, such as from 2013 onwards. If you want to read the most recent literature on a topic, you can use this filter to hide all of the older material.
  • Subject terms – for every search you do, you’ll get a list of sub-topics and related topics. This can be really useful to help you decide what to search for next. It’s a bit like the ‘Customers who bought that also bought this…’ feature found on a lot of shopping websites.
  • Library location – we’ve got two libraries and you can use this to select the one you want to use. For example, if you’ve got lectures at City Campus, you might want to go to Adsetts Library. Use this filter with caution though: if you click on ‘Adsetts Library’ and all copies of a book that you need are kept at Collegiate, you won’t see any of them in your results.
  • Language – it’s a way of choosing which languages you want to appear in your search results. If you speak a language other than English, you can choose it and see resources related to your search words in that language. If you want to hide publications that aren’t in English, you can do that as well; just click ‘English’.

When you click on ‘More options’
If there are lots of options for a particular filter, only the most popular will show up on the Library Search results page.  Click on ‘More options’ underneath that filter to see them all then click on the ‘Include’ tick box next to each option to show those results.

Screenshot of Content Type More Options

After applying one or two filters, you should have a much more manageable number of search results to look through.  Hopefully, they should be more relevant, too.

Photo of a few smarties

Photo credit: ‘Smarties Grundfarben’ by Anna reg via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0 AT)

Happy searching and, if you’re not sure about something, click on the ‘Contact us’ link at the top of the Library Gateway to see all the various ways you can get in touch.

The Bridge – take control of your learning

The Bridge logo

Good news everyone! We’ve got a new skills support space in Adsetts Library. It’s called The Bridge and you’ll find it above Adsetts cafe. Come along for:

  • Maths and Stats Help
  • Study support appointments and drop-ins
  • Academic Skills workshops
  • Academic English classes for international students
  • Half-hour tutorials for students whose first language isn’t English

When you go to The Bridge, you’ll see a banner for each service to help you find it.


For more information, see The Bridge on shuspace or go along and have a look for yourself.

Referencing tools and when to use them

You’ve probably heard that there are pieces of software you can use to help with referencing and you might even have used some of them, but which one is best for your assignment? Well, it depends what you’re working on. We recommend two tools.

Word referencing tool

Microsoft Word logo

If you’re writing an essay and need something to help you with your citations and reference list, the referencing tool built into Microsoft Word will probably do everything you need. You’ll have to download some extra files to add the SHU-Harvard referencing style, but they’re available on the Microsoft Word tool tab of our referencing software guide with instructions on what to do, so it shouldn’t take long. One disadvantage of Word referencing tool is that it won’t put your reference list into alphabetical order by author, but you can do that manually.


If you’re working on a longer assignment or your dissertation, it’s definitely worth using RefWorks. It’s slightly more complicated than the Word tool because you’ll need to create a RefWorks account online first, but there are full instructions on the RefWorks tab of the referencing software guide. RefWorks is an online tool, which means you log in through your web browser to add your references. Then, to create citations and reference lists, you need to install an add-in for Microsoft Word called Write-N-Cite (again, there are instructions to follow). RefWorks is great for building up a database of references, so you can keep track of useful things you’ve read for future assignments.

So, why these two tools?

Crucially, they can help you create references in the SHU-Harvard style that we use at Sheffield Hallam. Other applications (like the online favourite Neil’s Toolbox) give you generic Harvard references, which aren’t exactly the same.

Finally, remember that all referencing tools are just there to help – they can’t do the job for you! Make sure you check your citations and references against our comprehensive Guide to Harvard referencing and citations.

Guide to referencing and citations in the SHU-Harvard style

And do let us know if you’re trying to reference something and can’t find an example in this guide. Go to the library helpdesk or get in touch.

You may also be interested in: Microsoft Office 365 – now free to all SHU students and staff (blog post)

Borrowing from the library – fast facts

1 week standard loan
1 week standard loan


Students on almost all courses will need to borrow books from the library at some point.  Here are a few things to remember when you do.

  • You can borrow up to 20 books at a time from the library.
  • The standard loan period is 1 week, so you’ll get a book for that long at least.
  • Each book that you borrow will be renewed automatically for up to a year unless someone else requests it. So, if there’s a book that you want and all copies are out on loan, you need to request it!
  • If you have a book on loan and someone requests it so it isn’t renewed, you will need to return it to the library as soon as possible. The best way to keep an eye on your loans is to check My Library Account regularly – click on the link at the top of the Library Gateway.

MLA link

You have 3 days after the date a book is due back to return it to the library without getting a fine. If you leave it any later than that, you’ll be charged £2 per book per day. A book returned on the 4th day overdue would incur fines from the first, second and third days as well (£8 in total).  We don’t want to fine anyone, so please return your books before they get to that point!

Whenever you borrow a book, you’ll be able to have it for at least a week – guaranteed. After that first week though, you need to be prepared to return it if someone else requests it. If you’re going to be away from Sheffield for a while, you can post books back to us but you are responsible for the cost of postage.

Find out more – Borrowing from the libraries (shuspace page)

Always read the original if you can


If you’re reading a book or an article and it mentions an idea that the author has read about somewhere else, how do you reference that?  For example, if you’re reading a article by Jones written in 2008, it might mention a book written by Smith in 1945.

Find the original text

The best thing to do is find the original text and read it, and then reference that instead. Otherwise, you’re relying on what one author has said about another’s ideas, which might be inaccurate or incomplete, or biased in some way.  To find the original, go to the reference list or bibliography at the end of the piece of work you’re reading, and you should find the full reference there.  Then, go to the Library Gateway and type in the title and author’s name into Library Search. Filtering by publication date can be useful, too.

If the book or article you’re looking for doesn’t appear in the search results, we might not have it at the University.  However, you can request a copy through the Document Supply Service – find out more on shuspace.

Secondary referencing

If you can’t get access to the original text, such as when it’s out of print, there is another option: you can use secondary referencing.  This involves citing and referencing the source you have read, rather than the original author.  Citations might look like this:

        ‘Jones (2008) discusses the research that Smith carried out in 1945 and…’

        ‘Smith claimed, according to Jones (2008), that there were five principles…’

In this example, the article written by Jones in 2008 would be included in your reference list, but the book by Smith wouldn’t because you haven’t read it.

If you do use secondary referencing, you need to make it clear in your writing that you have read someone else’s interpretation of the original author’s work.  For more help with secondary referencing, see the Guide to Harvard Referencing and Citations (Pages 16 & 17).

You may also be interested in: Help with referencing guide (library help guide)

Don’t panic if you lose a book!

Dont panic

If you’ve got a book on loan from the library but can’t find it anywhere, here are some things you can try.

  1. It sounds obvious, but have a really good look round at home and anywhere else you’ve been working recently.  Still no sign of it?
  2. Could you have left it on the bus or in a pub?  Most places have lost property boxes so it’s worth phoning up to check.
  3. Go to the library and have a look on the shelves.  If you left it on a desk by mistake, someone could have found and shelved it without knowing that it’s on loan to you.  It’s worth checking the ‘Recently returned’ shelves on the same floor as well just in case someone only found it recently.  Not there?
  4. Tell a member of staff at the library Helpdesk that you can’t find the book.  It won’t be the first time we’ve had a student come to us about a missing book, so don’t worry.  If you’re absolutely sure you left it in the library or think you’ve returned it already but it’s still on your account, we’ll set it to missing on the library system and help you look for it.
  5. If all else fails and the book is truly lost, we’ll ask you to pay for a replacement copy.  There aren’t any penalty charges or anything like that, it’s just the amount of money needed to buy the same book again.

Pro tip: Pick up a SHU Library bag from one of the library Helpdesks and keep all of your library books in it.  The bags come with handy long handles to go over your shoulder or hang on the back of a chair, so you’ll never lose any books again!

SHU Library bag

You may also be interested in: The quick guide to book renewals

Why you need to sign in to Library Search

You could be missing out on lots of things if you don’t sign in when you’re using Library Search.  Imagine there’s a book you need that’s out on loan to someone else at the moment, so you want to request it.  You find it in Library Search, but there’s no request link… (click on the picture to see a bigger version)

No request link sign in

Click on the ‘Sign-in for more options’ link, sign in using your SHU username and password, and the request link will appear for you to click on.

Signed in request link

Save searchYou need to sign in to do some other things as well.  Library Search can save a search for you; click on the ‘Save search’ link at the bottom left of the search results page.  The link won’t appear at all though unless you’ve signed in first.  You have to sign in to get access to electronic resources as well.

OK, so let’s say you’re convinced of the need to sign in.  Here’s how to do it.

  1. If you’re on the Library Gateway, click on the ‘My Library Account’ link in the top, right-hand corner, enter your login details, and you’re signed into Library Search.My Library Account link
  2. If you’ve done a search already and you’re on the results page, click on the ‘Students and staff’ sign in link at the top of the page.Students and staff link

Now you can enjoy all the benefits of Library Search.  Hurray!