Back up, back up, back up! This is some great advice I regularly give others and this time failed to remind myself.
It was only eight little research articles - surely I could get that safely from Mum's computer back to my place, an hour away, without too much hassle on my USB. No, I don't need to save it on mum's computer or email these articles to myself - I have just double checked and they are definitely on my uni USB.
Fast forward two hours later, I'm at home with my 'trusty' USB and the articles are NOT there. I have other items on it (all backed up elsewhere anyway!)but not these precious articles that I found after five hours trawling through databases.
It seems backing up information as soon as you have it is a necessity. Emailing it to yourself whilst on someone else's computer (bearing in mind internet access would be required!), saving it to your hard drive or the computer you have been using and USB (or a portable hard drive) is the only way you can be sure that all your hard work is not lost.
A few tears later and a happy ending - thanks mum for being able to find the author of the much needed articles as I was able to trace back to where they were originally found and download them again.