Finding physical resources

The Library holds a large number of physical and online resources, all of which are free to borrow or access.

Most physical resources can be borrowed for 3 weeks at a time, unless they are ‘short loan’ (1 week) or ‘reference only’.

To find physical resources, use the Discovery search box at the top of every page on this website.

Physical resources include:

  • Books
  • Magazines and journals (reference only)
  • DVDs
  • Games (PS4 and Xbox)
  • Pamphlets/exhibition catalogues (reference only)
  • Special Collection (reference only)
Special Collection

Artist's book

NUA’s Special Collection holds items that are valuable, irreplaceable, delicate, or part of a collection. They are in the wooden display cases in the main Library area, but you can look at any of them – just ask at the helpdesk and we’ll get them out for you.

In particular we have a number of beautiful artists’ books which we hope will inspire you.

Using the catalogue

A good place to start finding resources is by checking the reading list in your unit handbook or project brief.

To find physical resources, use the Discovery search box at the top of every page on this website.

  • Type your search terms or keywords into the search box and click Search. If you like, you can restrict your results to just books, or just articles, by using the radio buttons.
  • A set of results pages will appear that shows Books, E-Books, Articles, Journals, DVDs etc that are related to your keywords:

The search results page










The bottom row of a record gives you details about the availability (status) and location of the book.

Check that it is available to borrow, and make a note of the call number (perhaps take a photo on your phone).

Now go to the bookshelves to find 727.64 LIV.

It can be confusing at first, so please ask us if you would like some help.

How do I refine my results in Discovery?

You can narrow your results using the left-hand options. You can filter by a whole variety of options such as date, source or publication.

Search tips

There are hints and tips to make your searching more effective, give them a try or ask us to show you.

One favourite is to use quotation marks around a phrase, e.g. “War of the worlds” – this works on Google too!

How do I reserve a book on Discovery?

Only books that are currently out on loan to someone else can be reserved, so first check that the book ‘status’ says ‘on loan’:screenshot of item status on loan

  • Click on ‘Reservation Options’
  • You will be taken through to the catalogue record for the book where you can click on the ‘Reserve’ button:
    Library catalogue record for a book on loan

Some people prefer to browse the shelves for inspiration rather than search the library catalogue for a specific title, subject or author.

It helps to know the rough number on the shelf for your subject area, have a look at our subject guides for more information. (e.g. Photography is at 758).

If you would like to learn more about how the numbering system works, here is a guide to the Dewey Decimal System by Universities at Medway.

Library Collection Development

Through our collections and acquisitions, the Library seeks to enhance the student experience not just by providing access to those resources recommended in Unit Handbooks, but also through a wider collection of material providing historical, political and sociological context for the areas of creative and scientific practice taught at NUA. If you would like to know more about the Library’s approach to acquisitions, both physical and online, and how we select, retain and withdraw material, please consult the NUA Library Collection Development Policy 2017.