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Science reference enquiries

Here are three examples of the kind of enquiry that the Science Reference Team can help you with.

If your enquiry requires in-depth research or more specialist help than we can provide we will forward your enquiry to the appropriate person, refer you to our Research Service or suggest alternative sources of help.

I need to locate current British Standards that relate to the erection of scaffolding towers for building maintenance.

The British Library has electronic access to the full range of current British Standards, and these are available from the reading room computer terminals.

I need to locate any UK Ph. D. Theses from the last 5 years that relate to the development of ‘Quantum Dot’ light sources. Also how would I be able to read any relevant Theses that are available?

The British Library has access to an electronic resource called ‘Index to Theses’ which can be used to search all Ph. D. Theses awarded in Great Britain and Ireland on a particular subject.

Theses can be requested for free via the British Library’s EThOS system (Electronic Theses Online Service), which can be accessed at

I am starting a piece of research into the effects of diabetes on pregnancy in women aged 40 and over – would you be able to tell me which are the best resources to use to locate journal articles on this subject?

The best way to locate journal articles on a particular subject is to use a bibliographic database, as these index the contents of journals.

For your area of research the best database to use would be either Pubmed for the clinical aspects, freely available on the Internet, or CINAHL for the nursing side. CINAHL is available on the computer terminals in the Science Reading Rooms.

As these databases do not normally link directly to electronic journals you would need to perform a search and take note of the reference provided. You can then check the Library’s catalogue, Explore the British Library, to see if we hold the journal and order it if necessary.