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Biosciences and Chemistry

Where are the books in the Library?

This is an image of a person looking on the library shelves for books.

                                                                                                                                                          Photo credit: Sheffield Hallam University

You can find books relevant to Biosciences and Chemistry in the Adsetts Library.

  • Chemistry and Biosciences books can be found on Level 5 of the Adsetts Library.

  • Forensic science and the Law collection can be found on Level 3 of the Adsetts Library.


You need to use Library Search to find the location and shelfmark of print books.

How to find a print book in Library Search

Type the name of the book or the authors family name into Library Search. When you find the book you need, make a note of the level it is shelved on (if in the Adsetts Library) and then follow the shelfmark and filling letter to the book on the shelf.

The above book would be found on:

  • Level 5 of the Adsetts Library within the Main Collection.
  • Shelved at 540.82.
  • Within the 540.82 section, it will be shelved at WOM. 

You can find out more about borrowing resources from Hallam Library using the guide below.

How are books in the Library shelved?

We use the Dewey Decimal system to arrange the library collections.

Dewey is a numerical system which groups material into ten areas of knowledge. You can see a break down of Dewey numbers and sections below:

  • 000 Computer science, information and general work

  • 100 Philosophy and psychology

  • 200 Religion

  • 300 Social sciences

  • 400 Language

  • 500 Science

  • 600 Technology

  • 700 Art and recreation

  • 800 Literature

  • 900 History and geography

Each area is then divided to create more specific subject numbers. Dewey can be more subject specific by adding numbers after the decimal point. You can see an example of this in a section of the 500s below:

  • 500      covers science
  • 570      covers biology
  • 576      covers genetics
  • 576.8   covers evolution
  • 576.82 covers Darwinism

Is there anything else I need to know?

When looking for a print book that has numbers after the decimal point, you need to know that after the decimal point the numbers are filing number by number, not by the whole number.

For example, 576.82 is before 576.9 as it is a 8 then 2, not 82 and is therefore lower than the 9.

The letters that follow the number are usually the first letters of the author’s family name. Letters are used to make it easier for you to find the specific book they need.

All the print books are shelved using the Dewey Decimal System. 

You can browse the Library shelves at a shelfmark to scan for print books related to a specific subject.

Subject area
Analytical Chemistry
Cell biology
Drug development
Human anatomy
571.6 / 616.079
Inorganic chemistry
Organic chemistry
Physical chemistry
Plant physiology
541 / 543
614.013 / 615.9
579.2 / 616.9101

How to find eBooks in Library Search

You can search for eBooks using Library Search and here is how you do this:

  • Search for your keywords in Library Search.
  • In the Refine my results section, click on Online and Books / eBooks.
  • You have now limited your results to eBooks.
  • You can read the eBook by following the link(s) available under Find Online.


Using eBooks

How you can use an eBook depends on the terms and conditions set by the publisher. 

Most eBooks can be read by more than one reader at a time. However, some eBooks can only be read by one person at a time due to the eBook license set by the publisher. 

In most cases, you will be able to choose between reading online and downloading the eBook for a limited period to your own device. When downloaded eBooks expire you can download them again.

You can search within individual eBooks, add notes and print or copy a limited number of pages from most eBooks. 


Does the Library have the eBook version of each print book in the collection?

If possible, the Library will stock both the eBook and print versions of books to make sure you can access the book whether you are on or off campus. Unfortunately publishers do not always offer an eBook in a format suitable for library use, or it is not available at the time we order the print version.

You can find more information about using eBooks by using the help guide below:

What to do if a book is not available in the Library

If there's a book which you need but which we don't have in stock, we can ask another library to loan you a copy, or to email you a copy of an individual  chapter or section. This can be done through our document supply service.

If you think a book may be useful for other students or staff as well as yourself, you can also request that the Library buys a copy. We can't promise to buy everything, but will do what we can for feasible requests which are relevant to courses at Sheffield Hallam.

What are reading lists?

Most reading lists for Biosciences and Chemistry are available in the University Reading List Online (RLO) system.

You have one list for each module with links to the resources your lecturers recommend for each module including:

  • information about the books’ availability
  • links to our online resources, including e-books and journal articles
  • scanned extracts of key readings

You can find your modules list on the homepage of your Blackboard module.

Think of the reading list as your starting point within each subject! 

The list has been designed to develop your knowledge and you can develop further by searching in Library Search for other resources related to your module.

Building your reading stamina

In this section, we are going to show you to engage with your reading

You need to understand the basics of a subject before you can get into the more challenging literature. Thinking of reading like a muscle! You need to use it every day to build up your scientific knowledge.

We wouldn't attempt a 10mile run without building up to the process! The same can be said about academic reading - learn the basics and move up to the specialist content otherwise the reading process can be much harder and painful! Like that 10mile run if you have not managed to run a mile yet!

Step 1: Take a look at your modules Reading List Online (RLO)

You can find each module RLO on the homepage of your module site in Blackboard. Below you can see examples of essential books listed on the RLO for the first year module: Professional Skills and Practice.

Step 2: Take a look in introductory or background books

A good place to begin is the 'Very Short Introductions' series by Oxford University Press. The series covers a range of science subjects from viruses to organic chemistry, genomics, patents and much more!

Here we have moved from introductory books and narrowed down to the subject of ethics.

Step 3: Take a look in the specialist books 

When you have built up your scientific knowledge and feel confident with the basics... then it's time to move on to more specialist books. These books may expect the reader to have existing knowledge or understanding in this area.

Here we have narrowed down to bioethics, gene editing and crispr.

Step 4: Move from books to journal review articles or primary articles

You may now have sufficient scientific understanding and be comfortable with the language and terminology of a topic to move into potentially more challenging literature like journal articles that focus on a specific area of the topic.

When moving into journal article reading, begin with a review article (secondary literature) to give you an overview of the area of study and then move onto reading research articles (primary literature).

Here are two review article from two journals by different authors about gene editing.

Do not worry if there are new concepts or information covered in the journal articles as articles may be written for readers with different levels of expertise or subject knowledge.

If there is something that is not clear in the journal article, go back to textbooks to find out more about a specific topic e.g. gene editing, crispr or look up the idea, theory, process or concept in AccessScience.

Be ethical!

Ethical decisions are part of life!

Here are a range of resources to help you explore ethical issues related to the sciences from chemist to biologist.

Books related to responsible research practices:

Biosciences and Chemistry book series

Take a look here for themed collections of books from a range of publishers.

Many of the books within the series relate to Bioscience and Chemistry and can provide background information in a familiar style and format.

The 30 second series from Ivy Press

The Fundamentals of Biomedical Sciences series from Oxford University Press

The Clinical Handbooks from the Oxford Handbook range.


We have lots of different books covering organic, inorganic, physical and analytical chemistry.

You will need to use Library Search to find the full range of the collection. Here are a few examples that you may like to take a look at:

Reference works

Being able to quickly find reliable and accurate information is often a requirement of assignments!

Here are a few examples of reference works and manuals relevant to Bioscience and Chemistry.

Good laboratory practice

The Library has a range of books related to quality assurance and good laboratory practice.

Here are a few examples that you may like to take a look at:

Science or medical eBook collections

The Library has a range of eBook collections.

You can search Library Search to find eBooks about many different subjects and that approach may be quicker than searching individual collections. You can also browse the collections and you can do this by going to the collection and browsing by subject.

National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Bookshelf

The National Center for Biotechnology Information bookshelf includes a range of eBooks relating to the study of biosciences.

You can search and read the content of these books but some content may not be browsable.