Tuesday, 28 June 2016

SOLAR : what does it do?

SOLAR is the name given to the Library's search and discovery system.  It can be used from anywhere to discover information from a huge range of places.

You'll notice that there are three options above the search box.
Here's what they do.

Books & more shows you results which are purchased or provided by the University

  • print books, DVDs, CDs and print journals in the Clifford Whitworth Library and MediaCityUK Library
  • print books, DVDs and CDs in the Languages Resource Centre in Maxwell
  • print book and journals in the Library's Store - ask at the desk for access to these
  • electronic book and journals which the Library has purchased or subscribed to for you to use
  • databases and platforms on which the Library has purchased content for you to access
  • records from USIR, the University's institutional repository
  • past exam papers
  • theses from the University of Salford
  • recordings of TV programmes available to view online from on campus
  • the University's archives and special collections
Articles & more shows you articles and documents from a broad range of sources, including
  • databases to which we subscribe, such as Scopus or Web of Science
  • records made available by journal publishers
  • Open Access content from institutional repositories across the globe
  • open and free content from a range of sources, such as the Hathi Trust
  • You can see where a particular record has come from by clicking on the Details tab, and looking towards the end
Everything searches all of the above sources, and presents results in a single list.  You can use the filters on the left hand side of the results page to limit your results by subject, year, type, format etc.

Does it really search everything?
No, you won't find a record for every journal article or document in SOLAR.  What is included in the Articles & more search and the Everything search depends on what sources are indexed by the supplier of the system.  If you want to perform a more comprehensive search you should also search within individual subject databases relevant to your topic.  You can find them in SOLAR, or on the Library's resources page.

You should also be aware that logging in when off campus and using the 'Expand beyond library collection' option will make a difference to the results you see in the Articles & more and Everything searches.  There's more infomation on both of these below.

How do I access the full text of electronic books and journals?
Where there is electronic access to a book, journal or article, you'll be an icon telling you this.
Click on the View It tab and following the links and instructions displayed
For assistance accessing specific items, you  should refer to the Library's Access to e-Resources page, check for access notes in the Library's databases list, or contact the Library : library@salford.ac.uk or 0161 295 5535.

What does 'Expand beyond library collection' mean?
This option can be used on the Everything and Articles & more... tabs.  By default, these tabs only display articles to which you have electronic access - ie. everything shows the 'Full text available' icon.

When you tick the 'Expand beyond library collection' box, then you will see additional articles to which the Library does not provide access.  This might be useful if you need to find more articles on a subject.  If you wanted to get a copy of these articles, then you can use the Library's Document Delivery service.

Should I log in to SOLAR?
If you are off-campus, some results in the Articles & more and Everything tabs won't be shown to you unless you are logged in, so you should log in, using your network or Blackboard username and password
Logging in also allows you to 
  • renew books that you've borrowed
  • place reservations for items on loan
  • request items to be collected from a different library
  • request items from the Library's Store
  • save records in SOLAR to the My Library area

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