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Agriculture: Books & Journals

The best resources for Agriculture staff and students


Find books, journals and other resources, whether print or electronic, using  Library Search

For each book, Library Search will tell you:

  • where the book is - library location and shelfmark
  • for how long the book can be borrowed
  • the status- whether a book is on the shelf or out on loan  and when it is due back

You can also use Library Search to look for a specific journal title, or, if you change the search option to 'Everything', for individual journal articles on a topic too.


The Great North Museum: Hancock Library is a purpose-built library located on the second floor of the Great North Museum: Hancock.  During University term time it is open from 10am-4pm, Monday to Friday and 12pm-3.30pm, Saturday. ​For holiday opening times please contact the library on (0191) 208 3555 or email

The library has four collections, the most important of these to students of natural and environmental sciences is the Library of the Natural History Society of Northumbria (see next tab). 

The library has three PCs which are connected to the Newcastle University network and access to the University’s wifi service is also available. A dedicated online catalogue provides access to all of the holdings in the library. Quiet study space is available and advice and guidance is provided by dedicated staff.


The Archives and the Library of the Natural History Society of Northumbria are housed in the GNM Hancock Library. The Library was established in 1829 when the Society was founded. The collection now comprises over 10,000 books and 500 periodicals, of which some 100 are current. It holds a wealth of material on natural history, particularly that of the North East of England. It also contains current material on subjects including flora and fauna, ornithology, geology, ecology, the history of natural history and biodiversity.
The collection incorporates material published in the 16th century, such as Pierre Belon’s “Histoire de la Nature des Oyseaux” and William Turner’s “A New Herball”, as well as a number of titles from the 17th and 18th centuries. Included in the Rare Books area of the Library are the finely-bound illustrated works donated by William C. Hewitson and the collection of books relating to the Newcastle illustrator Thomas Bewick. Other notable collections include complete sets of the publications of the Ray Society, the Palaeontographical Society and the Collins New Naturalists Series.
The Archives of the Natural History Society of Northumbria are also located in the Library, providing an important resource for the study of the history of natural history in the North East of England. The Archive covers all aspects of natural history, zoology, botany and geology and includes internationally important material, notably the original watercolours, pencil drawings and proof engravings by Thomas Bewick, the Northumbria-born naturalist and wood engraver.
The collections contain many photographs, manuscript letters, diaries, notebooks and other autograph material relating to renowned northern naturalists such as Bewick, Abel Chapman, George Bolam, John Hancock , William Hewitson, Thomas Bold, Thomas Atthey and many others. In addition, the Society’s own records, dating from its foundation in 1829, form one of the most complete accounts of the history of a natural history society and its museum collections in existence.
The Library is open to everyone with no membership required but please speak to the Library staff before travelling. The Archive material is available to view by appointment only. Please contact the GNM Hancock Library to arrange a visit.

Access to Research

Access to Research is a pioneering national scheme offering free online access for the general public to academic journals and conference proceedings. It covers all subjects so complements our subscriptions.

In our region, you can get access to the scheme via Newcastle City Library Service. Scroll down to the bottom of their webpage and click on Access the Journals. You can either browse all journals or enter a keyword, title or author.  You can check online to see which journals are available but you will need to go into one of the public library branches to use the service.

Journals: Key Databases and EJ Collections

Databases provide lists of references to journal articles and conference papers, with links to full text where it is available. They give you a global overview of information on a topic. Key databases for agriculture include:

EJ collections will always link to full text but are not as comprehensive as databases. Key EJ collections include:

Many companies provide videos to help you make best use of their database:

Try Google Scholar for finding scholarly literature on the internet. Google Scholar is particularly good at finding Open Access (freely accessible) scholarly information but a great deal of important literature is still only available through the databases and electronic journals to which the Library subscribes. You should, therefore, use Google Scholar in addition to (and not instead of) our databases and electronic journals.



Keeping up to date

Once you've carried our your initial searches, you'll need to develop techniques for keeping up to date with new publications and research in your subject area.

Click on the tabs to discover some great techniques for making our online resources do the work for you and deliver customised updates to your desktop.

Most of our databases offer search alert options. These enable you to store searches and set them up to be run again at regular intervals. Any new records which match your search will be delivered to you, usually by email or newsfeed. Options and instructions vary from database to database, and in some cases you might have to set up a separate profile, but it is well worth the effort.

Some of the major databases which enable alerts include:

  • EBSCO databases: with results displayed, click on Share, and look for Create an alert.
  • JSTOR: click on MyJSTOR. You'll need to set up a profile.
  • Library Search: log in, then click Save query in bottom left of results screen.
  • Proquest databases: with results displayed, click on Create alert.
  • Scopus: click on Alerts. You'll need to set up a profile.
  • Web of Knowledge: click on My Tools > Saved Searches and Alerts. You'll need to set up a profile.

Many journals enable you to set up alerts too, so you'll automatically receive the table of contents when a new issue is published. Just find the journal home page and look for an alert or table of contents option. Or try ZETOC, which enables you to set up alerts for thousands of journals and conference papers, or JournalTOCS.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) helps you keep up to date with changes to your favourite online resources, whether it's a journal, blog, podcast or web page. You can subscribe to feeds whenever you see the orange RSS symbol. It means you don't have to keep checking back to see if sites have been updated, as you can view all your favourite feeds in one glance.

You can subscribe and manage your feeds in various ways, such as via Outlook, your browser, or a dedicated site such as Feedly. Other newsfeed management resources are described here and here.

Want to know more? The BBC has a simple guide, or watch the short video below.

Most researchers are used to looking through bibliographies of books and articles to see which references the author(s) has consulted for their research. However, that takes you backwards in time. Did you know you can also bring your search forwards in time with citation searching? In other words, finding out which papers or books have cited the work of interest to you since it was published.

You can do this in various ways:

  • Google Scholar: click on the Cited by link in the bottom left of any book or article reference of interest.
  • Proquest databases: click on the Cited by link under any reference of interest.
  • Scopus: with your results displayed, click on the number in the Cited by column on the far right to see more recent articles which have cited each paper.
  • Web of Knowledge: click on the number next to Times Cited on any reference of interest.

You can also set up citation alerts to find out when new papers cite an article of interest to you.

Science, technology and medical subjects use citations much more extensively than arts subjects, particularly in measuring the impact of publications. For more detail, please see our separate research impact guide

Traditional scholarly communication can be very slow moving, so researchers are increasingly using social media resources to discover and disseminate their research.

Tools such as Twitter and blogs offer fast, flexible and free ways of finding out about the latest research, and making connections with other researchers. We've highlighted the most useful social media tools for researchers on our separate guide.


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