A visit to the BFI Reuben Library

On 27th October, I was lucky enough to be part of a team organising a visit to the BFI’s Reuben Library on the beautiful South Bank. A team of librarians from different universities were shown around the depths of the BFI offices, the book stacks, and the library itself – and I thought it might be worth letting some of you know what kinds of collections the BFI has to offer (it is only 40 minutes away by train, after all).

The Library

The BFI Reuben Library is open Tuesday – Saturday, and is just across the road from Waterloo Station. It’s free to use (although they’ll ask you fill out a registration card) and has the largest collection of film and TV material in the world. They hold 35,000 books, over 5000 magazines (the oldest being a copy of The Optical Magic Lantern Journal and Photographic Enlarger from June 1889), and 4.1 million press cuttings – some of these are available on site, but others will need to be requested. You can check their catalogue to view the collections here.

BFI simple search screen

When you search, you’ll need to specify what kind of material you’re interested in, but if you search for a film the catalogue will show you not only film material held in the Library, but any archive material, books, articles, etc related to the film as well.

Academics and students are their largest user group – but the Library is also used by journalists, historians, and anyone interested in film.

Special Collections at the BFI

The Special Collections (like an archive) hold all sorts of unique and fascinating materials, including

  • unrealised screenplays
  • drafts of screenplays
  • images from film sets
  • correspondence between filmakers, cast, crew, etc
  • shooting schedules
  • marketing materials
  • film posters
  • costume design sketches
  • much more!

You can search for special collections material in the catalogue, and request to view items you’re interested in. Materials are collected from pre-production of a film, production itself, post-production – and the collections can be very unique. At the moment an exhibition in the small space beside the screens takes material from one of the continuity editors on Star Wars IV: A New Hope and includes copies of scripts, unseen photographs of the actors taken to ensure continuity, and clips from the final film itself.

A visit to the BFI Reuben Library can give you an idea of what is available to you, and it can be a great resource for your research too!



We can get it!

Need a book, journal article or thesis that’s not available at Royal Holloway?more books

Don’t panic and…

  1. …suggest a book!

Last year we spent over £100,000 on student requests through our More Books scheme. If there’s a book you need and we don’t have, fill out our form.

  1. …request an Inter-Library Loan!

We can source books, journal articles and theses from other libraries, even those located outside the UK, via the inter-library loan service.

  1. …register to use Senate House Library!

As Royal Holloway is part of the University of London, you have access to Senate House Library’s resources.

  1. …use another Library through Sconul Access!

Royal Holloway participates in Sconul Access, which allows staff and students from other participating Universities to use our libraries. By the same token, our staff and students can use their libraries. This may include borrowing rights.

To discover if another library holds a book or journal, try:

www.search25.ac.uk: For London and the South East

www.copac.ac.uk: For major research collections in the UK & Ireland

  1. …enjoy a trip to the British Library!

A reader’s pass to the British Library is essential for any researcher. Apply online. As well as their vast collections, you also have access to certain databases in their reading rooms.

6.  …find a thesis!

Theses can be tricky to track down, but our webpage has some tips on how to do so.

Lots more information available in our “We can get it” handbook.

If you are still struggling to find that key bit of research, contact your Information Consultant, who will be happy to assist.

Reference managers – something to suit everyone.

Reference managers – something to suit everyone.

Reference managers or bibliographic management systems look after the references to all the information you need for your work – books and book chapters, journal and conference papers, newspaper articles, web pages, film and sound recordings, manuscripts. They store these, ensure that you do not mislay any, and when you need to, create your reference lists in the style you are required to use. They can save time and are an essential academic tool.

In this post I am comparing the five best known systems, with the aim of bringing out the particular advantages of each one.

This table summarises it all:

Endnote RefWorks Zotero Mendeley Endnote Basic
Installation Installed on public PCs in College, and can be installed on any College owned PC or Mac. This is a web service which is not installed, but will work on any machine with an internet connection and an up to date web browser. Installed into Firefox, Chrome or Safari, or as a stand-alone program. Runs on the local computer, but can be synced to the cloud. Both stand-alone and on the web, but for the full capability the software needs to be installed. A web version of EndNote, which an be used on its own or as an add-on to a full EndNote installation.
Home use You have to purchase a copy to use it on a privately owned PC or Mac, but a large discount is available to RHUL members. There is no charge for RHUL members to use RefWorks on any machine, and alumni can continue to have a free account. Free with 300Mb of cloud storage, larger stoirage amounts require a subscription. Free with 2Gb of cloud stirage Free with capacity for 50,000 references.
Use with databases Results from all of our databases can be imported. Results from all of our databases can be imported. References on any web page, including our databases, can be imported. References from all of our databases can be imported.. References from all of our databases can be imported.
FindIt button No Yes No No No
Organising references Can have any number of Groups Can have any number of folders Can have any number of groups. Can have any number of groups. Can have any number of groups within the 50,000 reference limit.
Citation formats Over 6,000 recognised styles 500 recognised styles 6,750 styles, selected and downloaded from an online repository. Thousands of cloud-sourced reference styles are available. Many of the most popular reference styles are available but not quite as many as Endnote.
Citing references Can control the numbering and formatting of citations in a long document Can insert citations into a document and format them, while you are connected to the internet. Can insert and format references, whether or not you have an internet connection at the time. Can insert and format references, whether or not you have an internet connection at the time. Depends on an internet connection to insert and format references by itself.
Main distinguishing feature EndNote is the most powerful, locally based program for formatting lengthy documents. RefWorks provides the full power of a reference management system from anywhere on the internet , on any machine, requiring no installation. Zotero is exceptionally quick and neat at importing and exporting single references from the web. Mendeley’s social features enable it to suggest new references building on ones which you have already stored. EndNote Basic can be used on its own or as an ideal adjunct to using the full EndNote on a computer, enabling you to use it anywhere, and then sync with EndNote on the College PCs to do your writing.


EndNote is a powerful program running on PCs and Macs. It can import references from nearly all internet information services, such as databases and library catalogues. The recent X versions also have a viewing pane where full texts .pdf of the reference, if available, can be viewed alongside the reference.  There is a plug-in for Word on both PCs and Macs which enables references from EndNote to be imported directly into a piece of writing as itis written, and the program will reformat even lengthy documents from one referencing style to another in front of your eyes. Over 5,000 different reference styles are available.  With such a long established commercial system, the online help is slick and comprehensive.

Royal Holloway has a site license for EndNote, and the latest version, EndNote X7, is installed on all public machines. It can be installed on any other College owned machine on campus. For installation on privately owned machines it is necessary to buy a personal copy from Adept Scientific at a discounted price, which amounts to a discount of about two thirds on the public price.

For more help with Endnote see the pages on our subject guides.


EndNote Basic

EndNote Basic is a web based version of EndNote, produced by the current owners of EndNote, Thomson Reuters.  It requires no installation, has a clean and simple interface, can import references from any service whioch will export to EndNote (which is almost everything), and provides free storage of up to 50,000 references.  There is a plug-in for Word on PCs and Macs to enable you to insert citations into your writings.

EndNote Basic is ideally used as a travelling assistant for an EndNote installation, with which it readily synchronises whenever your EndNote computer is connected to the internet.  Thomson Reuters have to be careful not to spoil the market for their premium product, so the range of reference styels available is limited to the few most popular ones.  Howevr, these will be enough for most users, especially students, and it is a likeable system with a  particularly clean and simple interface.

For more help with Endnote Basic see the pages on our subject guides.


RefWorks provides full strength features in any fairly up to date web browser, from any machine anywhere on the internet.  It imports references singly or in long lists from other information sources by direct “push”, and nearly all the e-resources we subscribe to support it.  Without any installation, references can be added from a RefWorks account to your work on any machine and in any word processing software, and then formatted in any of over 500 referencing styles over the internet.   If you do have Word on your own PC or Mac, there is a plug-in which can be installed in these to give a local service very like EndNote’s.

For more help with RefWorks see the pages on our subject guides 


Zotero was developed as a free add-in to the Firefox browser, but there is now also a stand-alone desktop version, and connectors to enable it to be used with Chrome and Safari.  It adds an icon to the browser toolbar, which can be clicked to extract references from a web page.  It is quick, simple, and very effective for grabbing references one at a time.  although based in a browser, Zotero natively stores references in a folder on your computer,  it can now synchronise your library with its own cloud server, which allows Zotero installations on different computers to be kept in sync, but installation on each computer is required to use it.  Storage of up to 300 Mb, enough for many thousands of references without full text attachments, is provided free, but larger amounts of storage, necessary if it is desired to keep the full texts with references, have to be paid for at between $20 and  $120 per year.

For fomatting references, Zotero has some 6,750 styles availabe in an online repository.  It makes inventive use of the clpboard for exporting single references in the selected style: just copy an unformatted reference from your collection, and it will be fully formatted when pasted into any other program.  Complete bibliographies can be generated in .rtf format whoich any word-processot will accept.  There are now the usual plug-ins to give an experiencve like EndNote in Word for PCs or Macs, OpenOffice and LibreIOffice.


Mendeley is a newer and increasingly popular system with some novel features. The software is free and versions are available for Windows, Macs, Linux, and iPads. In use it looks very much like EndNote.  Your personal database can also be accessed and added to in a web version, and a comfortable 2Gb of storage is available online.  Fully formatted bibliographies can be generated in .rtf format, and there are plug-ins to enable easy citing in Word  and LibreOffice.

The unique attraction of Mendeley is its social features.  If you agree, your references are added (anonymously, of course) to a vast open database which enables them to be seen and shared by others.  Whenever you add references to your Mendeley database, Mendeley will on request suggest other references which other users of your reference have also added.  These can be added with a click, without having to locate them oneself.

And there’s more.

There are so many systems now that this will not be finished if we attempt to cover all of them.  Papers and RefME are other newer arrivals.  BibTeX  is used quite widely, especially by physicists and mathematicians, as it works with the LaTeX system for producing documents that includes complex formulae. If you need it, the chances are that nothing else will quite do the job.

Spoilt for choice?

It is remarkably easy, once you are using one system, to switch to another if you decide that you prefer it.  All of them will export references in the standard .RIS format that any other reference manager will import. If you can’t decide which system to try, just start with any of them.  Any one will be better than keeping your references in a Word document or a spreadsheet, let alone a notebook, and having to format them y ourself every time you use them.

Shut Up and Write 2014

After last year’s popular Shut Up and Write sessions for Postgraduate Researchers, we’re running the same programme this year, and we’d love to see you there.

It’s a pretty simple concept.. you turn up, you sit down, you write.. Then afterwards you get the chance to meet other PG students and staff in your own dedicated space.

It’s a great chance to crack on with some work, and then chat to those in a similiar situation.

Booking is essential as spaces are limited.

Monday September 15, 2014 from 1:45 PM to 4:30 PM in the Archives Reading Room (Founder’s Library)

Tuesday October 14, 2014 from 1:45 PM to 4:30 PM in the Archives Reading Room (Founder’s Library)

Monday November 17, 2014 from 1:45 PM to 4:30 PM in the Archives Reading Room (Founder’s Library)

Tuesday December 9, 2014 from 1:45 PM to 4:30 PM in the Archives Reading Room (Founder’s Library)

Tuesday January 20, 2015 from 1:45 PM to 4:30 PM in the Archives Reading Room (Founder’s Library)

Tuesday February 17, 2015 from 1:45 PM to 4:30 PM in the Archives Reading Room (Founder’s Library)

This year we’re thinking about adding another date to the schedule for a new Shut Up and Cite workshop – dealing with all of your referencing worries. If you’re interested comment below, and we’ll keep you posted!

As ever, if you’ve got a subject enquiry, contact library@royalholloway.ac.uk to contact your Information Consultant.

Research Support from the Royal Holloway Library

The Royal Holloway Library website offers an extensive number of pages to support doctoral and post-doctoral students with their research needs. A novice doctoral student should start from the main research support page, where the content is divided into four categories:

  1. Open Access
  2. Research Data
  3. Copyright
  4. Other resources


Open Access

The term open access refers to digital, free of cost and free of most copyright restrictions content made available online, provided that an internet connection is available. There are two routes to open access; the open access journals and the repositories. Open access has many benefits for doctoral students, both when they search for research results as readers and when they are the authors of research outputs as well. More information regarding these benefits and the general concept of open access can be found on the open access main page.

The past five years many funders worldwide adopt open access policies. In the UK the Research Councils UK (RCUK) have introduced almost a year ago their open access policy, demanding the open accessibility of all research results emerging from RCUK –funded projects. Doctoral students, whose studies are funded by the RCUK need to comply with the policy’s terms. Further information on the RCUK policy and how doctoral and post-doctoral students can comply with the policy is found here.

In the UK the concept of open access is gaining gradually support from all major research funders. This past March, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) that organizes the Research Excellence Frameworks (REF), a system that assesses the quality of research in the UK, has introduced its own open access policy. Although this policy does not affect doctoral students during their studies, it will influence the way they publish and disseminate their research results in the future, provided they follow an academic career. The Open Access Team in the library has created guides to assist academics to comply with the forthcoming REF assessment.

Open Access to Thesis

Royal Holloway supports open access and recognizes the benefits it has to doctoral students. For that reason, on 2010 the College introduced a policy requesting from all doctoral students to deposit an electronic version of their doctoral thesis to the College’s research information management system, Pure.

Research Data

We are currently working on redesigning our support pages on research data management. The pages will include advice on the best practice in planning for data collection, safe data storage and sharing, and publishing data after project completion. At the moment, check the research data page for general information on data management, College’s work in this area and the external training available. In addition to the web information, we are also planning for training sessions on data management for the next term – so please follow the updates to find out more on the upcoming events!

Copyright and Licenses

Knowledge on copyright is very important for doctoral students, both because they will often use work owned by someone else, but also because they will have to be able to protect their own work. Students can find information regarding copyright in two sections in the library website. A general page on copyright, which provides the basics on the topic and relates mostly to teaching support, can be found here.

The page Copyright and Licenses, under the Research Support section of the website, can be of interest to those who would like to know more about the publisher’s copyright transferring agreements, Creative Commons licenses, and helpful tools that one can use to comply with funders’ open access policies.

Other resources

In this section you can find out about the available research support related training sessions offered by the library. We have also mapped some important classmarks to point you books and other material relating to research support.

Contact Us

At the Library we love to answer questions and we are here to help you as much as we can. For questions relating to research support please email us at openaccess@royalholloway.ac.uk. Also, do not forget to check our Open Access FAQs page.