UCL Library Services


Deaf Studies and Signed Languages

Deaf studies is concerned with those who are deaf, culturally Deaf, and hard of hearing. Broadly it can be considered to include any research or practice related to deaf persons, their language, and their lives.

UCL is home to DCAL, the Deafness, Cognition and Language Research Centre

Book collections

The principle collection for Deaf studies is at the Action on Hearing Loss Library, housed at the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital (RNTNEH) with the UCL Ear Institute. The Action on Hearing Loss Library is a co-operative venture between UCL and Action on Hearing Loss.

The library catalogue (Explore) details books held by UCL Library Services. Advice and help with using Explore, including video guides, can be found on the Explore help pages, or ask a member of library staff for assistance. Explore contains holdings information for all UCL libraries; resources located at the Action on Hearing Loss Library are marked RNID and it is possible to filter Explore records to retrieve just those.

The Action on Hearing Loss Library has it’s own classification scheme for arranging books on the shelves; a typical classmark looks like this:


This is the classmark for ‘Inside deaf culture ’ by Carol Padden and Tom Humphries, where:

  • RNID is the book collection.
  • YBX DHH is the classification.

The following is a simple guide to subject locations at the Action on Hearing Loss Library:

P – Audiology

Q – Hearing Science

SGT – Psychoacoustics / Psychology of hearing

SVB - Psychology and deafness

UTB – Signed languages

WTG - Deaf education

Y – Deaf history and culture

YD - Acquired hearing loss / deafened people

The Action on Hearing Loss Library collection also includes biographies of deaf people or influential people concerned with deafness, works of fiction by deaf authors or with deaf characters and an extensive selection of research reports and self-help literature from governments, laboratories, and voluntary organisations.

Material relating to Deaf studies can also be found in several other parts of Library Services including:

See separate pages for maps and opening hours.

Journal collections

Deaf studies journals are shelved separately from the books in the journals room at the Action on Hearing Loss Library. As well as scholarly journals on Deaf studies, sign languages, and audiology, the Action on Hearing Loss Library also holds magazines from appropriate organisations, including the 'Action on Hearing Loss Magazine', 'British Deaf News' from the BDA [British Deaf Assocation] and the 'NDCS Magazine' [National Deaf Children's Society].

All Action on Hearing Loss Library journals are reference only. 

E-journals: Online access to the full-text of several thousand e-journal titles is available via UCL Library Services for UCL staff and students. The titles available include:

  • American Annals of the Deaf
  • Deafness and Education International
  • Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education
  • Sign Language and Linguistics
  • Sign Language Studies

UCL Access - Access the above titles through the UCL e-journal a-z title index, or by looking them up in Explore. If you are using a computer away from UCL, then you will be prompted for your UCL userid and password automatically in order to access the full-text content.

NHS access - RNTNEH [UCLH] staff can access all of the above journals by visiting the libraries at the RNTNE Hospital and using the Explore Access Points. Desktop access to e-journal titles available to UCLH staff is delivered through NICE Evidence Search. An OpenAthens password is required to access the NHS Evidence Search Service. Not all of the journals listed above are available to UCLH staff on the desktop, contact us for more information.


There is no single deaf studies database to recommend. However there are a number of databases covering relevant subjects available at UCL, which include:

  • British Education Index: Provides information on research, policy and practice in education and training in the UK.
  • JSTOR: A digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources.
  • Linguistics & Language Behaviour Abstracts: An index of journal articles covering all aspects of the study of language.
  • PsychINFO: An index of literature in psychology and psychological aspects of related disciplines.
  • Scopus: A large abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature: scientific journals, books and conference proceedings for science, technology, medicine, social sciences, and arts and humanities.
  • Web of Science: A group of abstract and citation databases of peer-reviewed literature: scientific journals, books and conference proceedings, also covering science, technology, medicine, social sciences, and arts and humanities.

UCL access - Our a-z list of databases at UCL can be used to access any of the above databases. If you are using a computer away from UCL, then you will be prompted for your UCL userid and password automatically in order to access them.

NHS access - Desktop access to databases including PsychINFO and Medline for UCLH staff is delivered through NICE Evidence Search. An OpenAthens password is required to access the NHS Evidence Search Service. It is important that UCLH staff specifiy that they belong to the Trust when registering for the OpenAthens password, as a number of information resources are purchased locally for the Trust. NHS staff transferring to UCLH who have already registered for an OpenAthens password should update their organisation to UCLH through My Account for access to the full range of resources available. RNTNEH [UCLH]staff can access all of the above databases by visiting the libraries at the RNTNE Hospital and using the Explore Access Points.

Also, there are a number of freely available searching tools for Deaf studies literature. Important amongst these is the NTID Deaf Index, created by The National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) and including over 18,000 records drawn from materials in the NTID Library collection. Many of the papers listed in the index are available at the Action on Hearing Loss Library.

  • ERIC: An American online library of education research and information.
  • Digital Education Resource Archive: a digital archive of documents published electronically by the UK government and other relevant bodies in the areas of education, training, children and families.
  • DOAJ: Directory of Open Access Journals: an online directory that indexes and provides access to quality open access, peer-reviewed journals.
  • Google Scholar: A service from the Google search engine providers, which searches articles from academic publishers, professional societies and pre-print archives.
  • NTID Deaf Index
  • OpenGrey: a multidisciplinary European database of Grey Literature, covering science, technology, biomedical science, economics, social science and humanities
  • PubMed: Comprises more than 23 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books.
  • Social Care Online: A UK database of information and research on all aspects of social care and social work.

UCL staff and students should access Google Scholar and PubMed via UCL in order to see SFX@UCL links to UCL e-journals.

Internet resources

Visit the UCL Ear Institute and Action on Hearing Loss Libraries Directory of Deaf studies links for a comprehensive list of sites of interest for Deaf studies.

Visit our Pinterest Board to see the recent additions to the directory, and highlighted links.

General Resources

Find out more about using other libraries, and links to other library catalogues.

The British Library is a useful resource and all UCL staff and students can apply directly for reference access. You will need to bring identification showing proof of address (e.g. utility bill), proof of signature (e.g. driving licence) and proof of student or research status (UCL ID card) in order to obtain a reader's pass.

Whether you're a new student or an experienced researcher, WISE can help you to discover the most valuable information for your topic, and help you make the best use of it.

Get WISE for Life and Medical Sciences to:

  • Understand which online resources are best for your subject
  • Learn how to search for biomedical and life sciences information effectively
  • Understand how to assess the quality of information
  • Learn how to cite references correctly
  • Learn how to manage your references using Reference Manager
  • Understand how to avoid plagiarism

To access WISE for Life and Medical Sciences you will need your UCL userid.

Further training, advice and support is available from the UCL Ear Institute and Action on Hearing Loss Libraries on how to use the online search tools and information resources available to locate, retrieve and appraise evidence to support hearing research and clinical practice in audiology. Contact us if you would like to receive training in order to make the most of the library resources available at UCL.

  • Research Support: Services for researchers includes access to resources, undertaking research, disseminating, evaluating & preserving research.
  • Information on Open Access publishing.
  • UCL Discovery showcases UCL's research publications, giving access to journal articles, book chapters, conference proceedings, digital web resources, theses and much more, from all UCL disciplines.
  • Contact your Subject Librarian for one to one support, including training in literature searching, referencing, and use of bibliometric data.

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Harry Wellington White, oralist “When I went to Manchester… the tone of the institution was undoubtedly sign…. it was like a fever lurking about”

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