Search tips and tutorials

Tips and video tutorials from our Library team on how to make the most from our catalogues and databases.

Library search tips video tutorial

Take a look at our other videos, which focus on using library search  and ordering physical items from the Library.

Search tips

What is the Library Search?

The Library Search is a single search engine provided by Summon which allows you to search across all the full text ebook and ejournal databases available to members online, as well as the catalogue of hard copy books and Institution papers held by the library.

What databases and book and journal titles does the Library Search cover?

For a list of individual databases included in the Search see the ‘Books, journals and standards’ section of our search our library and digital resources page

Does the Library Search cover everything members can access?

No - although it does cover the vast majority of ebook and ejournal content for members, as well as all of our library's hard copy holdings, there is sometimes a delay in indexing new content. There are some interactive data tools like the Knovel Data Search for material properties that the Library Search doesn't capture. You can still search the individual databases or contact us if you can't find what you are looking for. The search also excludes our archive content, including the past member records freely available to members via Ancestry. You can explore these collections on our archive pages.

How can I access and download full text content via the Library Search?

Use your Institution login to access search results and then click on the "Full Text Online" or "Available Online" links in the results page.

Depending on the licence, some databases allow you to download whole books, e.g. Springer and others require an individual registration on the database for any PDF downloads, e.g. EBSCO. Our subscription to ScienceDirect allows you to download some content directly but the remainder is available via transactional licence. For these items you will have the option to "Order document", instead of the normal PDF download. There is a limit of 20 transactional items per member per year.

Are there any restrictions on how I can use the library databases?

Yes there are - please see terms and conditions of use for library databases.

How can I access hard copy books and papers?

You can request hard copy items you find in the Library Search by clicking on "Book: Available..." or "Journal: Available..." links to the catalogue on the results page. On the catalogue page, click on "Reserve" and log in with your Institution membership number. Then follow the instructions on the page.

Books are available for free postal loan to members within the EU and copies of individual papers can be supplied for a fee - for details of these services please see Library services.

Also see the Access our Library: Physical items video

Is there a library app?

Yes, the BrowZine app allows you to access our journal collections on your phone or tablet.

What is BrowZine?

BrowZine is a user-friendly way to browse and read journals anywhere – online, on your phone or your tablet, or even offline. You can access it by going to and selecting the Institution of Mechanical Engineers as your library. It will then ask you to log in with your IMechE details, but you will only need to do this once.

How can I access standards?

A collection of hard copy BSI, ISO, API, ASME and other standards are available for free postal loan to members within Europe. We can't offer access online to most standards for licensing reasons, although members can download current SAE ground vehicle standards via the SAE Mobilus database.

You can look up the standards we hold in our Library Search. Please contact us if you can't find the standard you need because we may be able to acquire it and can also borrow standards from other libraries on behalf of members.

Can I visit other libraries as an IMechE member?

Yes, members can access other libraries across the UK via the Sconul scheme.

Can I search for full text content only?

Yes - run a Library Search and then use the left-hand menu in the results page to restrict to "Full Text Online".

Can I still search the catalogue of hard copy books and Institution papers?

Yes - the catalogue of hard copy holdings is still available here. Alternatively, you can run a Library Search and then use the left-hand menu in the results page to restrict to "Library Catalogue".

Can I still search Knovel or Springer or the other databases directly?

Yes - there is a list of links to all the databases for members.

Where can I find material properties data?

Knovel Data Search allows you to find specific types of properties data for materials with on-the-fly unit conversion, while McGraw-Hill’s DataVis tool enables you to visually explore materials and their properties. The Library Search can also be used to find relevant ebook and ejournal content. If you can't find what you're looking for, please contact us.

Where can I find online calculators for common engineering problems?

Calculator tools are available from McGraw-Hill for fluid dynamics, heat transfer and other engineering problems - select ‘Spreadsheets’ in AccessEngineering. The Knovel database also includes practical equations with interactive worksheets and calculation software which allow you to manipulate and export technical data.

How can I change my “cookie settings” if access is being blocked?

To log into library resources, a “cookie” is sent to your browser to enable access.  If you are using a firewall or network privacy program, you may need to reconfigure it to allow cookies to be sent from our databases. 


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