All subjects have their own reference books and these are usually located at the beginning of the collection. For example, Graham Bannock's The Penguin dictionary of economics is at ECONOMICS A 1 BAN. See Subject Guides for more information. However the largest collections of general reference books are shelved near the Main and Science Enquiry Desks so see "Printed Collections" below for details. We also have a growing number of e-books which include reference works so see more on these in "Electronic collections".
The principal Reference collections are located near the Enquiry Desks in the Main Library (in the Wilkins building) and in the Science Library (in the DMS Watson building). See separate pages for sites and opening hours.
The Library has its own classification scheme for arranging books on the shelves; classmarks for reference books will start with either REFERENCE, or SCIENCE LIBRARY REFERENCE. This indicates whether it is in the Main Library or Science Library respectively, and is followed by letters and numbers denoting its classified position on the shelves in that section; e.g.
REFERENCE BB 2a for "Who's Who"
SCIENCE LIBRARY REFERENCE BC 4a SCI for "Dictionary of Scientific Biography"
The Reference collections include language and subject dictionaries, writing and style guides, biographical works, guides to information resources and directories of funding bodies.
Borrowable books on writing essays and papers, and study skills generally, are available at HIGHER EDUCATION in the Main Library.
Abstracting and Indexing Services
The Library subscribes to many services which describe and list the contents of published literature such as books, journals and conference proceedings. This is what you need if you want to know what has been published on particular topics or by certain authors. We do still have a few titles in paper form but most of them are now available as electronic databases. See our Databases A-Z for a complete list and click on the little i for details of what the database covers in terms of date range, for examples of particular search tips and whether it covers books and journals or only the latter as in the case of Web of Science. If you want to see all electronic resources for your subject then select it from the drop down box alongside Display a list by subject. You can search up to 10 databases in one go via Metalib which is a good way of getting to know the best databases for your topic and managing your searches in the My space section. However, not all of them work through this service so look at the search examples and ask for help if you aren't getting the results that you would expect. See our leaflet for more information.
Electronic Resources are available to registered members of UCL:
you may need your userid/password for computing services.
Acronyms and abbreviations
Databases on the College Network which include abstracting and indexing services are listed in full at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/database/.
However, the following are useful as general reference resources:
Other useful map services:
Newspapers are available through a variety of services but for further information see the Library's Newspaper web page.
NexisUK has the full text of hundreds of newspapers from all over the world but you will need UCL userid and password to access them.
The largest collection of newspapers is held by the British Library in Colindale, North London. See their website for further information: http://www.bl.uk/collections/newspapers.shtml. However they have digitised a selection of 19th Century newspapers which are available to all UCL staff and students.
Details of theses held at UCL Library Services and relevant theses databases can be found at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/database/theses.shtml.
Other internet resources
For links to other web-based material for Reference, see the web page at
If you have any problems using the Library, come to an Enquiry Desk or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively contact Debs Furness, Head of Enquiry Services:-
Telephone: internal: 3 2210; external: 020 7679 2210