Category Archives: Chemistry library services

New self-service machine renew books function

Following the recent library management system upgrade we are very pleased to announce that the self-service machine is back in action, and there is some new functionality available!

You can now view the books you have on loan from libraries across Cambridge, and you can renew them on the machine.

You can continue to renew books online of course, by logging on to your iDiscover account with your Raven credentials (the previous My Library Account facility is no longer available following the system upgrade). The login button can be found in the top right hand corner of the screen:


Library staff can also renew books for you if you contact us by phone or email or in person, so there is no need to lug your book(s) around. Please remember that you can only renew a book on loan to you from the Chemistry Library three times.

To see what books you have on loan from libraries across Cambridge

First you need to press the Borrow button on the machine:


Then scan the barcode on the reverse of your University Card.


Your borrower record is displayed. Your name should appear at the top of the screen.


Press the Renew button on the left hand side of the screen. The books you have on loan will be displayed, in red.


(Note that the machine displays the amount any fines you have from a library after your name at the top of the screen, and next to the book concerned. A fine amount may be showing at the top of the screennext to your name but you cannot see it next to a book: this may be because you have returned the book(s) to the library you borrowed it from, but have not yet paid the fine. You will need to contact the library concerned about this. The Chemistry Library does not fine, and library staff here cannot help you with queries about fines from other libraries).

Unfortunately you cannot see which library the books have been borrowed from. We will investigate whether this can be displayed.

To renew a book(s)

Select the book(s) you wish to renew on the screen. The book(s) you have selected turn green.

Renew the book(s) by pressing the Renew Selected or Renew All button.

The due date for the book should change to reflect the renewal.

The number of books you have renewed appears in the box in the top right hand corner of the screen.

The new due date for the book(s) should also display in the Borrowed until column.


If the book has already been renewed the maximum number of times according to the Chemistry Library rules (this will vary across libraries) or if there is another problem, you will see the message telling you that the renewal failed.

View your reservations function

We have not tested this yet but it appears that you can see reservations you have made for books on loan to you across Cambridge by pressing the Reservations button on left of the screen (which displays the number of reservations you have).


Return books at any time using the Return button on the screen

You can return a book by pressing the Return button on the left of the screen.


Follow the instructions on the screen to do this (basically scan the barcode of each book).

You can find instructions for returning and borrowing books using the self-service machine in a previous blog post.

To log out of the machine

Press the Finish button to end the session. If you would like a receipt of the transaction(s) which gives you the details and due dates of books then press the Receipt button. This will print off a receipt on the printer next to the machine and you will be logged out of the session automatically.

Please give us your feedback

It is very early days with this new functionality and we will be monitoring whether it is working properly or if it is useful.

If you have any problems using the machine please let us know, either in person in the library, by email to, or by phone on (3)36329.


Try a Raspberry Pi in the Chemistry Library!


The Chemistry Library has made two Raspberry Pis available for researchers from the Department of Chemistry to use (in the Library only) on a ‘try before you buy’ basis. They are intended to provide inspiration and ideas for researchers on how they can use Raspberry Pis in their research projects.

Raspberry Pis are low-cost, high-performance computers that people use to learn and solve problems and have fun, as well as doing some serious research, with!

We welcome you to experiment with the Raspberry Pis and to share your knowledge and expertise on a wiki that we have created here:

The wiki provides instructions on how to set up and use the Pis in the library, examples of research projects that have used them, and information on the modules we have available (Gertbot Robotics Board, Sense HAT, and Camera modules so far). We welcome new project ideas and recommendations for additional modules.

You can edit the wiki by logging in with your Admitto password (currently researchers at the Department of Chemistry only, we might be able to consider allowing Chemistry undergraduate students to use them later on).

Alongside the Pis themselves we have a small selection of books and guides to help provide ideas for research projects and get you started. Please let us know of any other resources you think it would be useful to provide.

There is specific guidance on how to reserve and use the Pis in the library on the wiki and on posters next to them. Please follow this guidance.

Please experiment and contribute to the wiki!


Did you know that you can scan items in the library and send them to your @cam email address as a PDF, for free? Find out what else you can do using our ‘multifunctional device’ …


You may not be aware of this but you can use our library MFD (MultiFunctional Device) to do all of these things:

  • Scan items and send them to your @cam email address as a PDF, for free!
  • Scan or photocopy multiple-page documents using the feeder on top of the machine – even if they’re two-sided! (Multiple-page documents can be scanned into one whole document).
  • Staple your copied/printed documents!
  • Send print jobs from your own laptop or workstation! (Instructions here).

The library MFD is located in the Print Room next to the Library Office. We have just written new instructions on how to use the MFD for scanning and copying and displayed them in the Print Room. They are also available on our IT Facilities website here.

There are two other MFDs located in Rooms G30 and 154. You can collect (‘release’) the print jobs that you send from a computer in the library (or from your laptop or workstation) from any of these.

Undergraduates can find out how to send and pay for photocopying and printing here.

Postgraduate students and researchers can ask library staff to credit their account from a grant/ledger code to pay for printing and photocopying.

The scans are in colour, and we think they are of great quality, as well as being quick and easy to do as compared with using a traditional flatbed scanner! Give it a go! But maybe don’t what this Minion is doing!

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Access your favourite cloud storage on MCS Windows

Did you know that on MCS Windows its possible to access your favourite cloud storage?

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Click on the Start button on the MCS (ex-PWF) machines in the Chemistry Library, or in Rooms G30 and 154:

Start -> Microsoft -> OneDrive
Start -> Dropbox -> Dropbox
Start -> Google -> Google Drive

Shiny new things now available in the Chemistry Library to make your life easier

As a result of feedback from undergraduate students on the Committee for the Library and Scholarly Communication, we have purchased the following:

Some new mice

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The mice currently in use are quite cheap and insubstantial. We have spent (only a little) bit more money on a selection of three mice from Logitech, follow these links to find out more:

These will be kept in the Library Office to borrow, just ask when you need one.


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Apparently these are useful for students when they are photocopying. These are located in the Print Room (the small room next to the Library Office).

An anti-glare screen hood

Sometimes there is glare on the computer screens in the library. This adjustable hood will be kept in the Library Office to borrow, just ask when you need it.

We hope these help. Please do not remove them from the Library!

Find out what books we have recently purchased

Please visit our ‘Recommend a book or other resource‘ web page for a link to a list of what we have recently purchased.library-images-take-2-5482-taken-by-nathan-pitt-university-of-cambridge

The books were either recommended by our readers, or by lecturers as part of their undergraduate reading lists (Blue Books), or were new editions of textbooks.

You will see that we have been purchasing more computational chemistry and drug discovery titles, in order to support the increasing amount of research that is taking place in these areas within the department.

We welcome recommendations for the purchase of books (and ebooks) for the Chemistry Library collections from our readers, as well as for journals and databases. Please see the above website for further information on how to do this.

Thing 23 – Ultimate Research Tool

Well done Georgina!

23 Research Things Cambridge

We’ve covered a lot of tools and concepts over the past few weeks. 22 tools and concepts to be precise and if you’re still with us at this point then well done! We are almost at our last and final Thing…the unveiling of the Ultimate Research Tool.

One tool to rule them all…you get the idea. So check out the Ultimate Research Tool video to find out what on earth it is. Go on! Now!

Video transcript

Now you’ve watched the video, gosh. What a reveal!

Thing 23 activities

Reflect on and blog about the Ultimate Research Tool. Do you agree with our choice and what role does the tool play in your life? Will you use it differently in the future now you’ve taken this programme and watched the video above?

Also, take some time to reflect and blog about the overall 23 Research Things programme. What were the…

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