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Library workshop for Stage One French: FRE1006

Introduction: read this first

In this session, you are going to explore a selection of information resources from the Library and beyond which will be useful for your studies. Working on your own or with a partner, do the Library Search activity first.

After a short feedback session, you will be asked to choose any other boxes and follow the instructions in the task. Try and work through two or more boxes and be prepared to share your feedback at the end.

Library Search: getting the most out of it

Library Search is the Library's catalogue, and is your starting point for finding our books, DVDs, journals and other materials, whether print or online. It also enables you to manage your Library account.

It's not difficult to use, but there are a few simple techniques to ensure you get the best out of it.

Try the following:

  • Search Library Search to find books about one of the following topics:
    • French Revolution
    • Popular Front
    • Vichy regime
  • What happens if you put your search term in inverted commas " "? Why is it a good idea to do this when searching for a phrase?
  • Now try narrowing down your search to find books which focus on a particular aspect of your topic (e.g. Robespierre, Blum, Pétain
  • Add some of the books to your favourites (tip: you need to log in to do this, and click on the  icon)
  • When looking at the catalogue details for a print book, click on Browse the shelf to see what's next to that book on the shelf
  • Now broaden your search to find journal articles on this topic, as well as books
  • Find out how you could set up a search alert so you receive automatic emails every time the Library acquires a new book or article which matches this search  (hint: click Save query)
  • Finally, find an ebook about any aspect of contemporary France, and view it on screen


American troops of the 28th Infantry Division march down the Champs Elysees, Paris, in the "Victory" Parade., 08/29/1944


Audiovisual material can be very useful when studying history, politics and society. Search the sites below to find images relating to a French Studies topic of your choice. Think about the following issues:

The range of images available (e.g. format, subject coverage)

What information is provided about the images you find? (e.g. date, provenance, location).

Could you reproduce the images you have found in an assignment if you wanted to?

Ease of searching - for example, were you able to pinpoint your search to find highly relevant images?

Film, Video and Audio

Explore the sites below to find documentaries or news footage relating to a French historical, social or political topic of your choice.  Think about the following issues:

The range of material available

What information is provided about the videos you find? (e.g. date, provenance, location)

Could you use the footage in an assignment if you wanted to?

What are the relative advantages and disadvantages for a student when using audiovisual, rather than written sources?

Library subject guides

Library Search is a great starting point for finding library materials for your module, but you should also get into the habit of using our Library subject guides. These are packed full of specialised resources, news and advice related to your subject area. Explore your library subject guide and see if you can do the following (hint: click on Subject Specific Resources)

  • Look up a word in an online bilingual dictionary
  • Search a French library catalogue
  • Find digitised archival material (e.g. a photograph, document, poster or letter) relating to a French historical topic of your choice
  • Get the latest news about the Library via our online newsletter and blog (click on Subject Help and News)

Getting help

You're bound to have questions at some stage when using the Library. Fortunately, there are various ways in which you can get help. Start from the Library's home page to find the following:

  • Use Library Help to find out if you can download from an ebook
  • Look in the latest news and updates section to find out more about the Your Skills programme
  • Find a Twitter account which will keep you up to date with the latest news about arts and humanities resources in the Library
  • Browse through the Academic Skills Kit to get help with study skills
  • Watch a useful video on our YouTube channel


Explore the sites below to find newspaper articles relating to a French historical topic of your choice.  

Social media

You may already use social media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, blogs and podcasts) for your social life, but have you ever thought whether it could help with your studies? Explore the links below and see what you think....

Social media needs to be handled carefully if you're planning to use it as an information source. Visit our Fake News guide to find out more about how rapidly fake news can spread, and what you can do to be alert to it, and avoid it.