Using this computer
- Terms and conditions of use
- About this computer
- What can I do with this computer?
- Ending your session
- Viewing files
- Saving files to a USB stick
About this computer
This computer provides public access to our Explore service. For full details about the service and how to use it please see below
What can I do with this computer?
You will be able to use the Explore service much as you can from your own PC, laptop, tablet etc. but there are some electronic resources you will not be able to access because of licensing restrictions unless you are a UCL member (note: you will be required to login).
These resources include the following:
- Lexis Library
- Nexis UK
- Westlaw UK Journals and Law Reviews
Please note that non-UCL users won’t be able to access these resources.
The computer will allow you to save files to a USB stick as long as it does not carry encryption software.
You can also send references to yourself using Explore’s e-mail functionality.
Printing is not possible from this computer.
Tip: To open a link in a new tab, click and drag the link to the tabs area at the top of the browser.
Ending your session
When you have finished using this computer, you should click the Restart button. This ensures that all your logged-in sessions and temporary files/cookies are cleared, ready for the next user. Because of the way this computer is set up, simply closing browser tabs or returning to the homepage does not clear all your data.
Viewing files within web pages on the computer varies depending on which type of file you want to look at. A summary of the main file types and how you can view them is as follows:
- Adobe pdf: Left-click to open
- Office files such as .doc, .xls: Right-click and choose Open with Google docs viewer
- Videos: Left-click to play
Saving files to a USB stick
Please note that if you use a USB stick in this computer you do so at your own risk.
UCL Library Services is not responsible for the physical integrity of the stick or any data loss you might incur.
There is no eject mechanism for your USB stick on this computer.
Please note that USB sticks carrying encrypted software cannot be used with this computer..
How do I save a file to my USB stick?
To use your USB stick, insert it into one of the USB slots on the front of the computer. When you insert your stick, you should see a pop-up which tells you that it has been inserted. It also shows what it is called, which you will need to know later for saving.
You can check the name of your stick at any time by clicking the Open button on the top toolbar:
You should see an entry for your USB stick under the Places section of the Open File window (see over), either with the stick name (if assigned) or simply called ‘disk’. If you select this entry, any files or folders which are already on the stick should display, so you can be sure you are saving to the correct location.
Please note, the Save button on the toolbar often saves only HTML (webpages). If you want to save a PDF file, please follow the instructions below to be sure you save the correct file.
Saving PDF files
- Open the PDF you want to save. This will open in the PDF Viewer as a separate window. If the publisher has embedded the PDF within the webpage, there is normally an option to open the PDF by itself (labelled ‘View PDF’ or similar). You will need to use this option in order to save the PDF.
- In the PDF Viewer window, click on the ‘File’ menu, and then select ‘Save a Copy…’
- You should then see the Save PDF File window (right) on the screen. Ensure that your USB stick is highlighted – this should be the default.
- If you wish, give the file a meaningful name, ensuring that the filename has a ‘.pdf’ extension (the default), and that ‘Portable Document Format (PDF) Files’ is showing at the bottom of the Save window. Click Save.
Special instructions for JSTOR PDFs (and others which are slow to display)
At the time of writing, JSTOR PDFs can be very slow to display in the installed Firefox browser. This may be related to known problems reported on the JSTOR website. As a workaround, if a PDF is slow to display in the PDF Viewer, follow these steps:
- Use JSTOR’s built-in viewer to read the article, either by clicking on the title of the article, or by selecting ‘Page Scan’ view.
- If you wish to save the PDF, first click ‘View PDF’ to open it in the PDF Viewer on the Explore Access Point.
- Ignoring the problems of slow display, follow the save steps above (click File>Save a Copy…).
- Once you have chosen a filename and clicked Save, the Save window will close. We advise that you return to the web browser and click the ‘Open’ button in the toolbar, in order to see the progress of the file saving. JSTOR PDFs can be quite large and quite slow to save, but if the save process is not yet complete, you should see the size of the file increasing as it saves to your USB stick. Once the size has stopped increasing, the save is complete. When your session is complete, you should then be able to take the stick away and view the PDF normally on another PDF viewer (e.g. Adobe Reader) on your own computer.
For more help using the Explore Access Points ask at one of Library Services' Enquiry Desks.
Using the Explore service
- Explore video tutorials
- What is Explore?
- Performing basic searches
- Using the brief results
- Refine my results
- Your space in Explore
- Using the e-Shelf
- Using queries, alerts and RSS Feeds
Explore video tutorials
What is Explore?
Explore is a one-stop service solution for the discovery and delivery of printed and electronic resources. You can search for material within a single resource or across a range of resources simultaneously. Your choice of resources includes:
- All resources: Search everything in Explore
- Library catalogue: Printed and electronic book and journal titles from the UCL library catalogue
- Journal articles: A remotely-held catalogue of millions of electronic journal articles and other full-text e-resources (see further details below)
- Digital collections: UCL Library Services’ digital collections
- UCL Discovery: Open access documents from UCL’s publications repository
- UCL Exam papers: Electronic copies of UCL exam papers
- UCL Archives: UCL’s archives catalogue
- UCL Journals: Journal titles to which UCL Library provides access, print and electronic
- UCL Reading Lists: links to lists of resources by course name or code
A search for journal articles and other full-text resources in Explore will find results from a wide range of sources. In some cases, though, users may prefer to search UCL's subscription databases individually or through MetaLib, particularly where some of the content of a database is not covered in Explore. List of databases whose content is not covered by Explore.
Performing basic searches
You can search very easily using Explore. Just type one or more words you are looking for and click the Search button.
NOTE: Explore assumes that you are searching for all the words you type unless OR or NOT are not specified between the words and phrases.
Once you are familiar with the basic Explore search, you might want to try doing more with the search panel or use the Advanced search option. Both of these options offer numerous features for making your searches more precise and enable you to get results that are more useful. For library catalogue material, you can also Browse through certain indexes.
How can I do more with the search box?
You can do more than just a simple keyword search with the search box. Try the following options to get the best results for your search:
- Searching for a phrase
- Searching for any specified words or phrases
- Excluding words or phrases
- Searching using wildcard characters
- Grouping terms within a query
- Selecting a search resource
- Browsing the library catalogue
Searching for a phrase
To search for a phrase, type double quotation marks around the phrase. You can combine both words and phrases in your search.
NOTE: If you do not enclose the phrase with quotation marks, the system will find items that contain the individual words in the phrase, regardless of whether these words are located next to each other in the order specified.
For example, to search for global warming as one term, type the following in the search box:“global warming”
Searching for any specified words or phrases
You can search for items that contain at least one of the words or phrases you type in the search box. To do so, type OR between the words or phrases.
NOTE: If you search for words or phrases without specifying OR or NOT, Explore assumes that you are searching for all the specified words or phrases.
For example, to search for items with the word Irish or the word Celtic, type the following in the search box:irish OR celtic
NOTE: To use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) within search phrases, you must enter them in uppercase letters. Otherwise, Explore will consider them as part of the query.
Excluding words or phrases
You can exclude items that contain specific words or phrases. To do so, type NOT and then type the word or phrase to exclude.
NOTE: If you search for words or phrases without specifying OR or NOT, Explore assumes that you are searching for all the specified words or phrases.
For example, to search for items with the word Celtic and exclude any of these items with the word Irish, type the following in the search box:celtic NOT irish
Searching using wildcard characters
You can include wildcard characters in your searches as follows:
? Enter a question mark to perform a single character wildcard search. For example, to search for records that contain the strings woman, women and so forth type:wom?n
* Enter an asterisk to perform a multiple character wildcard search. For example, to search for records that contain strings, such as culture, cultural and culturally type:cultur*
Grouping terms within a query
You can use parentheses to group terms within a query. For example, to search for Shakespeare and either tragedy or sonnet, type the following in the search box:shakespeare (tragedy OR sonnet)
Selecting a search resource
The search resource defines where the system should perform the search. The default search resource is All resources (see the What is Explore? section above) but you can change the scope of your search by selecting a different resource from the drop-down list as shown in the following example:
Browsing the library catalogue
To browse certain indexes of the UCL library catalogue, click on Browse next to the Explore search box or anywhere else that the link appears (next to other search boxes or in the top More menu). You can browse the following indexes:
- Subject - e.g. stars; russia history
- Author - lastname, firstname e.g. dostoyevsky, fyodor ; british broadcasting corporation
- Title - e.g. tale of two cities (omit initial articles: a, the, le, etc.)
Note that subsequent articles should be included in a browse search. (i.e 'Cat in the hat', not 'Cat in hat')
- Classmark - e.g. anthropology a 2 (UCL shelf location)
In the browse results list, click on the entry you wish to see and this will be displayed in the brief results list as below, unless there is only one entry, in which case a detailed display will be shown.
Using the brief results
The brief results display all the items that match your search query. For each item, the following information displays:
- Resource Type: The format of the item, such as book, article, journal and so forth
- Title: Clicking the title displays information about the item
- Author, creator, and date: The author, creator and publication date of the item
- Star icon: Click the star icon next to the title to add or remove the item from your basket. A highlighted star indicates that you have already added it to your basket
If you would like to see more information on an item, you can select the following tabs:
- View Online tab
- Locations tab
- Details tab
- Recommendations tab
- SFX button
- About our libraries link
- Times cited tab
View Online tab
The View Online tab displays items that are available online inside the tab. If the item has multiple entries, click an entry to display the item on a new page.
The Locations tab lists all of the locations that hold this item. To get more information on the location that holds the item, click either the location link or the + icon.
The Details tab displays the full record for the item as well as additional links, including the option to export item information to reference management tools.
The Recommendations tab displays additional items which are based on searches performed by users who have also viewed the current item.
The SFX button displays additional links provided by the SFX service in relation to the current item.
About our libraries link
The About our libraries link supplements the Locations tab, taking you to more information about the library locations.
Times cited tab
The Times cited tab shows data from Web of Science (where available) on which other articles have cited a particular journal article.
Refine my results
To the left of the brief results list are various options for refining the results of your search.
Expand results beyond UCL subscriptions
When searching 'All resources' or 'Journal articles', this retrieves additional search results for which UCL does not have online full text. Journal article searches are initially restricted to full text only, until this expand option is clicked.
You can refine your search by the following 'facets' which group results together under common characteristics
- Resource type
- Library - for results from the UCL library catalogue
- Topic - based on descriptors in the results themselves
- Journal title
In some cases, the first few groups (the largest) are shown immediately, but for each facet you can click on 'More options' and then select which values you want to include or exclude. Note that you only need to use either 'include' or 'exclude' as these are mutually exclusive.
Your space in Explore
This section includes:
Why should I sign in?
When you sign in to Explore, you are able to do the following:
- Set preferences for your current and future sessions: You can set your preferences so that they reflect the way you usually search and save them for future sessions
- Add items you found and queries you submitted permanently to your basket: You can save items from your results list to your basket and you can save queries that you have performed for future use
- Set alerts for your queries: You can set a query to become an alert so it runs automatically and sends you email notification once it locates new items relating to your search criteria
- Access external licensed resources: The institution offers licensed information resources to its users. Once you sign in, you can search and retrieve items from these additional resources
- Use library services: You can benefit from library services such as requesting or recalling items
- Set or change personalised ranking of journal articles by your subject area
Why should I sign out?
You should sign out of Explore so that your searches remain private and your personal settings and basket are not tampered with by anyone else.
My Account enables you to view the contents of your library card and perform library services, such as renewing a book or cancelling a request. In addition, it lets you define your personal Explore settings. To access My Account, click the My Account link, which appears at the top of each page in Explore.
You can set the maximum number of search results per page by clicking the Personal Settings option on the left side of My Account.
You can also 'Personalize your results', or change these settings. The first time you log in to Explore you will be asked if you want to specify your subject discipline in order to adjust the ranking of journal articles accordingly. If you want to update these settings at any time, go to Personal Settings > Edit and select your level (e.g. undergraduate or researcher) and one or more disciplines in which you are interested. This boosts articles from certain journals up the rankings whenever the results of your search may cross several disciplines.
Using the e-Shelf
The e-Shelf allows you to save and organize items that you find during your Explore session. To access the e-Shelf, click the e-Shelf link at the top of the page.
This section includes:
- Saving items to the e-Shelf
- Removing items from the e-Shelf
- Viewing items saved in the e-Shelf
- Managing folders
- Managing items
Saving items to the e-Shelf
When you select the Star icon for an item in the search results, the system highlights the icon and adds the item to the Basket folder in the e-Shelf.
You can also add an entire page of results to the eShelf by clicking on the link at the bottom of the left-hand column
NOTE: You must sign in to save items to the e-Shelf for future sessions.
Removing items from the e-Shelf
To remove an item and all of its copies in the various folders in the e-Shelf, select the highlighted Star icon next to the item in the search results.
If you do not want to delete all copies of an item from the e-Shelf, you must remove each copy directly from the e-Shelf. For more information on removing items from e-Shelf, see Managing items.
Viewing items saved to the e-Shelf
To view items that are saved to the e-Shelf, click the Basket folder or any of its subfolders. From the list of items, click the item that you want to display.
From the e-Shelf tab, you can perform the following operations on folders:
- Create - add a new folder under the selected folder
- Rename - rename the selected folder
- Copy - copy the selected folder into memory (the original folder will not be changed or deleted)
- Paste - paste the last folder placed into memory into the selected folder
- Delete - delete the selected folder from the basket
- Add note - add a note to a folder
- Modify note - modify a folder note
From the e-Shelf tab, you can perform the following operations on items:
- Cut items - cut the selected items and to place them into memory
- Copy items - copy the selected items into memory
- Paste item - paste the last items placed into memory into the current folder
- Delete items - delete the selected items
- E-mail - e-mail the selected items
- Print - print the selected items
- Save items - select an option (such as Push to Connotea) from the Save pull-down list and then click this button to save the selected items. Note: some export options (e.g. RIS) only allow one item to be saved at a time, so please select each in turn.
- Add note - add a note to an item
- Modify note - modify an item note
Using queries, alerts and RSS feeds
This section includes:
What is a query?
A query is a word or phrase you specify in the search panel to request information. You can do the following with queries:
- View queries and results for the current session (click 'Previous Searches' located beside the search box on your results page)
- Save a query from the current session in order to use it later
- Activate alerts on your saved queries to have them run automatically at scheduled times to provide you with updated results from queries
- Activate RSS feeds to receive updates for your favorite queries - for more information see Activating RSS feeds
Viewing and saving queries
If you are signed in, you can save a query by clicking the Save search link, which appears below the facets on the brief results page. You can access your saved and session queries by clicking either the e-Shelf or My Account link and then clicking the My Queries tab.
This tab contains the following folders:
- Current session queries - this folder lists all of the queries that you have performed in the current session
- Saved queries & alerts - this folder lists all of the queries and alerts that you have saved
NOTE: If you are not signed in, your queries are available only during the current session
You can run a saved query yourself, or you can set it as an alert that runs automatically at scheduled times and sends you new results by e-mail.
What Is an Alert?
An alert is a process that runs your query automatically at scheduled times and sends you new results via e-mail.
Viewing and activating alerts
To view the list of alerts, click the Saved Queries & Alerts menu. To configure an alert for a saved query, click the Update link for that query and then specify the alert settings.
Activating RSS Feeds
Syndicated content, otherwise known as Really Simple Syndication (RSS), is a popular way to distribute information from web sites. For example, using RSS, a news site or a blog can automatically feed its news articles or entries to a group of subscribers.
RSS feeds in Explore are used to notify you of new items found by the query. RSS feeds can be activated from either the search results or the Saved Queries & Alerts folder on the My Queries tab. All you need is to have an RSS reader installed on your computer.
If your browser supports RSS, click the RSS button. A window from which you can subscribe to the RSS feeds opens. Follow the instructions in the window.
If your browser does not support RSS, right-click the RSS button, copy the URL, and paste it into the RSS reader.
Databases not covered, or partially covered, in Explore
The content of the databases below is not included, or is only partly included, in Explore. Some results from these databases will appear in Explore, but for a comprehensive search please use MetaLib or search the databases individually.
- America: History & Life
- American Film Index Catalog
- Anthropology Plus
- Art Source
- Arts & Humanities Full Text
- British Periodicals
- CINAHL Plus
- Dentistry & Oral Sciences Source
- Early English Books Online (EEBO)
- Early European Books
- EBSCO eBooks Collection
- Film Index International
- Historical Abstracts
- Library & Information Science Source
- Literature Online (LION)
- Nexis UK
- PEP - Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing
- Periodicals Archive Online