University LibraryStudents

Subject guides


Funmike Ifie

Photo of  Funmike Ifie

Academic Librarian

The Large Hadron Collider/ATLAS at CERN photo courtesy of Image Editor under CC license from

This guide aims to provide you with information about the Library’s resources and services relevant to Physics

Use the tabs above to find information about:

  • print and electronic books (ebooks)
  • journals and journal articles
  • referencing

Before you start remember to download the VPN from IT Services to gain seamless off-campus access to ebooks, e-journals, databases, e-mail and print credits etc.

If this guide does not provide you with the information that you need then please contact your Academic Librarian.

The library stocks books in both print and electronic format which you can find on the  catalogue.  Electronic books or ebooks can be viewed on any computer whether you are in the Library or working from home off campus.  Just remember to download the VPN for off campus access. 

Printed books on the same subject are given the same shelfmark number, which is located on the spine of each book. Books with several editions should be located together.

Most of the physics books are located on level 1, for Physics see 530, Heat 536, Atomic and Nuclear Physics 539.7.

Tip:  If you only want to search for ebooks on the catalogue then refine your search by selecting ‘Electronic book ‘located on the left hand side of the catalogue.  Alternatively select ‘Main collection’ if you only want print books.  

Finding Journals & Articles

Academic journals are simply academic magazines which are sometimes referred to as periodicals or serials.  Journals are written by and for experts in their chosen field. Journal articles help scholars and researchers to share their research with the academic community and are published on a regular basis, for example monthly or quarterly.  Only articles which have been reviewed by other experts or peers (peer reviewed) make it into academic journals, unlike articles published in popular magazines or newspapers. The library also stocks trade magazines, which include exhibition reviews, news and job opportunities.

Why use journals:

  • They provide useful information, research and discussions
  • Give different viewpoints from several authors
  • Information is current as journals are published quicker than books
  • They show the latest research on new or emerging subject areas

The library stocks some print journals, but most journals are available online as electronic journals or ejournals.


There are 3 ways to find journal articles in the library.

This video demonstrates how to locate items in the Library using Library Catalogue Plus

  • Pick up a printed copy of a journal in the library and browse to find relevant articles.
  • Browse through the electronic journal or ejournal to find relevant articles. Search for the title of your journal here:
  • Use a subject database which allows you to search several (sometimes hundreds) of ejournals simultaneously for articles or conference papers.  Databases are also really useful if you need to find industry standards, newspaper articles, statistics, patents or market research.

Key Physics journals

Physics Today


Applied physics letters

Science (AAAS)

Nature physics

European Journal of Physical Education

Ejournals can be viewed on any computer whether you are in the Library or working from home off campus.  Just remember to download the VPN for off campus access.

Key Physics databases to find journal articles

Science Direct

IEEE Xplore Digital Library

SPIE Digital Library




Institute of Physics (IOP)

Web of Science

Tip: Some of the abstract only databases will provide SFX links .  When you see the SFX symbol  click on it and then select the   icon to access the full text where available.

E-journals can be viewed on any computer whether you are in the Library or working from home off campus.  Just remember to download the VPN for off campus access.

Referencing & Citation

When you refer to another person’s work in your own essay, report or presentation etc, you will need to reference that work to avoid plagiarising it.  This allows the person reading your work to differentiate between your ideas and those of another person.  You can reference the work in two ways:

  • Citation, also called an in-text citation.  This accompanies the quote, extract, paraphrasing or illustration that you have used and provides the name of the author/creator, date and page numbers if relevant. For example:

“Physicist recognised (Kuhn, 1996, pp.215-216) that Planck’s hypothesis…”  

  •  Bibliography, provides the details of all the sources which you have consulted during your research.  If you are referencing a printed book you will need to include the following details: author/editor; publication year; title; edition if not the first; place of publication; series and volume number where relevant. For example:

Kuhn, K.F. (1996).Basic Physics: A self-teaching Guide.2nd  ed. New York: Wiley 

An advice sheet on citing and referencing using the Harvard style can be found at this link.

If uncertain about the referencing style required for your coursework, please ask your tutor for advice.

Two excellent guides to referencing can be located in the library;

These books include examples of different referencing styles and give examples of how to reference various sources such as webpages, e-books, blogs and wiki’s etc. 

Reference management software

Reference management software can help you to keep track of all the references you have used in your reports, essays or final project. The library provides guidance on Mendeley 

There are other types of reference management tools available such as ColWiz and Zotero.  To help you choose which one is the best for you see the Bodleian Libraries’ comparison tool.

Please click on the links below for further information