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Engineering: Postgraduate Research

Mae'r dudalen hon hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg

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Beyond Swansea University

The Document Supply service can obtain a wide variety of material including books, journal articles, theses, conference proceedings and patents. Request forms are available electronically on the document supply web page (link below) or you can ask at the Library Desk. Inter-library loans usually take about 7 days to arrive although this can vary. If it is a loan item you will need to collect it from the Library Desk.

More information is on our document supply web page.

Visiting other libraries

You may wish to visit other university libraries:

  1. Either for convenience because they're close to your home town
  2. Or because they hold specialist collections.

Swansea University is a member of the SCONUL Access scheme.  This allows academic staff,  postgraduate research students, full-time postgraduates, part-time, distance learning or placement students to borrow from other Higher Education libraries across the UK who are members of the scheme.  This guide explains how you can join the SCONUL Access scheme. 

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Specialist types of publications

Patent information is a huge source of technological and commercial intelligence - about 80% of the information contained in patents is not found elsewhere in the literature. Knowing what has been patented helps to ensure that you don't duplicate research or find that you cannot do anything with research findings because they have been patented earlier by someone else.

A patent is a legal right granted to the applicant, upon fulfilment of certain conditions, which grants them the monopoly on making, using or selling an invention, for a fixed period of time, in the countries in which a patent has been granted. Only original inventions can be patented so the invention must never have been made public anywhere in the world before the date the application for a patent is filed. The invention has to be capable of industrial application and manufacture.

Patents are a useful source of technical knowledge as they give full details of an invention or process. Many patents are now freely available online but the document supply service can obtain print copies if you need to see one which is not online provided that you have sufficient information.

Esp@cenet is the patent database for the European Union but also contains some details from other countries such as the US and Japan. If you want to use it to search for UK patents only, enter GB in the publication number field.

To search for patents outside the EU visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office or the Global Search Patent Network .

Standards are technical documents containing precise specifications designed to ensure that materials, products and processes are made to a certain quality.

Many different bodies produce standards. They can be international or national bodies or organisations which deal with specific subjects.

Below are links to other major standard producing organisations. The university only subscribes to British Standards online but it is often possible to obtain other standards via Inter-Library loan or to ask your department to buy them if you have the details.

Conference literature is useful because:

  • New ideas or research results are often announced for the first time at conferences so they are a useful source of up to date information.
  • Conferences also often address new interdisciplinary areas.
  • Conferences can be organised by a range of different bodies from professional institutions such as IEEE, government bodies, universities, societies, research organisations.

Conference Formats

  • Proceedings are the published results of a conference, consisting of some or all of the papers given.
  • They can be published in a range of formats, for example:
      • as an issue of a journal
      • as a monograph
      • as part of a series

Make sure that you have the most up to date version of a piece of research.

Conferences are a useful way of obtaining up to date information. However, if you plan to cite a paper in your thesis, it is worth checking first to see if the research has also been published as a journal article - this is likely to be fuller and will be peer reviewed. You can use databases such as Web of Science to check for articles by the same author and with a similar title to the conference paper.

Conference listing sites

Finding conference proceeding and papers

A technical report:

  • gives the results or progress of a piece of research. It will often include a wealth of technical detail.
  • is usually written for the person or body who is sponsoring the research, for example, reports are often commissioned by companies or government bodies.
  • may be confidential to the company or body who sponsored the research
  • A large amount of material contained in reports is never published elsewhere.

The Challenge of Report Literature

  • Reports are often only circulated within a company or organisation. As they are not formally published, they can be hard to track down and may not be available to the public.
  • However, there is a growing trend towards making report literature freely available on the web, particularly when the research is paid for by government money.
  • The rest of this section will look at some examples of useful sites for tracing or accessing reports.

Finding Report Literature

The United States Department of Energy Information Bridge site provides documents and citations in physics, chemistry, materials, biology, environmental sciences, energy technologies, engineering, computer and information science, renewable energy, and other topics of interest related to energy.

NATO's Research and Technology Organisation has many full text reports. It is possible to do a keyword search. (We do not have a login password as this is solely for NATO staff so you can only access the publicly available titles). Many of these are in the areas of aerospace and communication but they also touch on a whole range of technical topics.

The Energy Technology Data Exchange is hosted by the International Energy Agency (IEA). It includes details of reports on energy policy & planning, environmental impact of energy production, renewable energy and nuclear power. Some of the reports can be accessed online - you need to register to search. searches over 60 databases and over 2200 selected websites from 15 federal agencies, offering 200 million pages of authoritative U.S. government science information including research and development results.

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Open Access

Open Access comes from a growing desire to make scholarly information freely available.

Further support from the Library

Get more help and advice from the Research Support website. Here you can find lots a useful information including

  • Open access policy and how you can make your research available open access
  • RIS (Research Information System) and Cronfa (our institutional repository)
  • Research Data Management
  • Getting published and promoting your research

The Library also provides extensive training for postgraduates.


Theses & Dissertations

The Library holds all Swansea University theses at doctorate level and some masters. We do not usually keep third year projects or dissertations. Most of our dissertations are kept in locked storage at Singleton Park Campus.

Information about all theses received by the library can be found on iFind, the library catalogue. 

In the iFind search box, enter your topic keyword search and the words: swansea thesis. You can then use the Refine bar to limit to a range of years or particular Colleges. If you are particularly interested in recent theses you can change the Sort by menu at the top of the results list to Date descending to bring the most recent to the top.

The dissertations are for reference use only, so they must not be taken out of the library.

Please ask at the Information Desk if you would like to look at a thesis.

Proquest Dissertations and Theses is a searchable database of Masters and PhD-level dissertations and theses from universities around the world. Most of the dissertations within this resource are available full-text and downloadable.

The Proquest search screen is simple and intuitive. Just type your keywords into the search box to find results. Selecting the Full Text option on the left of the screen enables you to limit your results to full PDF version.

It is also worth using the Advanced Search screen within this resource. Options, including limiting by university, to a specific language(s) or finding results within a particular date range.

EThOS has been created to offer a single point of access to UK theses and plays a significant role in showcasing UK research to the world.  EThOS, which is hosted by the British Library, has  more than 100 UK universities involved in the project and can offer an ever expanding range of titles as full text downloads.

Search the EThOS catalogue here.

If an item you require is already in EThOS then it is immediately available for download to your desktop free of charge; if not, then you can choose to purchase a scanned copy from EThOS.

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