Library Services


Research support resources

Access to resources

Accessing catalogues & e-resources

Explore is Library Services' one-stop access point to finding printed and electronic resources. For detailed information on searching Explore, see the Help page.

Library Services provides access to a wide range of electronic resources, including an extensive collection of databases and e-journals, most of which can be accessed off-campus by UCL staff and students.

Special Collections

Special Collections offers considerable holdings of archives, rare books and manuscripts which support research and teaching.

Stores, Interlending & document supply

Some printed materials are held at the Library's off-site Store and have to be requested online via Explore.

If an item you require is not available at UCL or another library locally, it may be possible to obtain it through the Interlending & Document Supply Service.

Accessing other libraries & archives

As a member of UCL, you are entitled to use many other libraries, both in London and throughout the UK. UCL participates in Band A of the SCONUL Access scheme that allows academic staff and research postgraduates from participating institutions to borrow material from other SCONUL member libraries.

Suggestion form for new material

If you would like to suggest a book or other item for purchase by the Library, please complete our online form. We will pass your suggestion to the appropriate site or subject librarian for consideration.

Subject specialists & guides

Library Services has a team of site and subject librarians who can offer specialist research support and advice.

For introductory information about the collections and resources available in your subject area, see the list of subject guides.


For information about theses, including which theses we hold and how you can obtain copies of research theses, please see our theses page.

Support for undertaking research

Literature searching

Library support for literature searching includes:

  • guidance on which resources are appropriate for your topic;
  • support for carrying out an initial literature search;
  • guidance on carrying out cited reference searching;
  • support for developing advanced search strategies to ensure comprehensive literature retrieval, including searching for systematic reviews.

See our LibrarySkills@UCL guides to:

We also offer training sessions on literature searchingFor support from specialist library staff, contact your site or subject librarian.
Scoping a research project

When you first embark on a research project, specialist library staff can help you to scope your project to determine the current level of knowledge existing in that field, including support for:

  • carrying out searches for literature (see above)
  • identifying relevant conference abstracts and proceedings
  • identifying similar research in progress and research groups with similar interests in the UK and beyond.

See our LibrarySkills@UCL guides to:

We also offer training sessions on literature searching. For support from specialist library staff, contact your site or subject librarian.

Keeping up to date with research

Library staff can provide guidance on the many tools available to keep you up to date with research in your field or issues and events that may influence your research.

Journal article alerts

  • Table of contents alerts, or eToCs, can be set up to send the tables of contents of new issues of journals to you by email or RSS feeds. Publishers' websites also usually allow you to set up alerts to individual journals.
  • Subject search alerts can be set up in many bibliographic databases, such as Web of Science or Scopus. Some databases have the option of receiving alerts by email.
  • Cited reference alerts inform you when a particular paper has been cited in another paper. Some databases, such as Web of Science and Scopus, and some publishers' websites allow you to set up this type of alert.

Social media

  • Blogs and twitter: Many institutions, publishers or individuals maintain blogs or tweet about issues that may be relevant to your research.
  • Social networking sites and showcasing research work: IRIS (Institutional Research Information System) is UCL's research portal, where you can identify the research activities of researchers, research groups, research centres and interdisciplinary networks across the whole of UCL. Social or professional networking sites aimed at researchers include ResearchGate and Academia.
  • Social citation sharing: Sites such as Mendeley and Zotero enable you to share interesting papers to find out what other like-minded researchers are reading.

Funding opportunities and research news

  • Find out about external funding opportunities via UCL's subscription to RESEARCHconnect. To access the site click on the link above and use the ‘Log In via institution’ button to select UCL, and use your UCL user name and password. From there you will also be able to access other tools, save your searches and set up alerts for yourself as well as for a group.
  • The website of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the individual research councils include news on funding and research. Other useful sites include Research Professional and Vitae.
  • Please visit UCL Research for more information.

Other alerts

  • New books: Many publishers' and booksellers' websites have alerting facilities for new books.
  • Conferences and events: Monitor professional organisations or societies in your field for new on forthcoming conferences and events. There are also generic conference alert services available, such as AllConferences.com and Conference Alerts.
  • For support from specialist library staff, contact your site or subject librarian.
Reference management & citation

Library staff can advise on systematic approaches to managing bibliographic references as well as standards for citing references.

Library staff can advise on systematic approaches to managing bibliographic references as well as standards for citing references.

Reference management software enables you to create your own database of references relevant to your research and then to insert references and format them automatically in the citation style of your choice within a Word document. See our guide to Reference Management Software, and guides to EndNote, Mendeley and Zotero. We also have access to SciWheel.

Library staff can advise on correctly citing your sources and you can find further information on the UCL Library Services References, Citations and Avoiding Plagiarism web pages.

For support from specialist library staff on the use of reference management software or citing references, attend a training session or contact your site or subject librarian.

Copyright & IPR advice

Library staff offer advice on legislation surrounding copyright and licensing schemes, issues relating to the work you create including Intellectual Property Rights, Creative Commons and model licenses to publish, and the re-use of copyright material in your own work.

ISD support

Support for the use of other software is provided by ISD, UCL's Information Services Division. They provide training on software, learning technologies and administration systems, including essential computer skills and statistical software.

Disseminating, evaluating & preserving research


Our bibliometrics webpages are a guide to ways to approach bibliometric measures and how to interpret and use the findings. You will find information on UCL's bibliometric policy and the wider context, types of metrics, issues surrounding the use of metrics and support and training available in bibliometrics.

Library staff provide training and support on using the resources available at UCL to identify citation metrics such as average times cited, h-index and journal impact factors. These resources comprise Web of Science (including Web of Science Core Collection, Journal Citation Reports, Essential Science Indicators, Biosis, InCites) and Scopus.

Specialist staff can also provide support in the use of unique author identifiers, such as ORCID and ResearcherID.

For support from specialist library staff, please contact your site or subject librarian.

Publication data collection

Library staff can assist with the collection of research publication data for publication returns, grant applications and quality assessment. For example, we can help you identify particular publications using databases, and assistance is also provided in retrieving DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) for individual research articles (mainly via CrossRef).

For support from specialist library staff, please contact your site or subject librarian.


The REF open access policy affects all authors. Research that's covered by the policy, but doesn't comply, will not be eligible for REF2020. UCL Library Services' REF open access webpages include simple steps for complying with the REF policy, FAQs and a list of exceptions.

Contact the Open Access Team if you'd like more information.

Open Access

Open access maximises the impact of your research, and leads to increased citations.

The Open Access Team can advise on different types of open access, and provide funding for Gold (paid) open access (subject to funds being available at the time). If your funder requires open access, they can explain publishers' policies and help you to comply. You will find more information on UCL Library's open access pages, which also contain advice on submitting your research to UCL Discovery, in compliance with UCL's Publications Policy.

UCL Library Services also provides guidance on the preparation and deposit of electronic copies of UCL research theses.

Data management

Our Research Data Management webpages offer information, how-to guides and support to plan ahead for data management. You will find funder's policies, guidance at each stage of your research project and advice to write your Data Management Plans.

The UCL Research Data policy outlines responsibilities of all stakeholders involved in the storage and management of data outputs.

Library Services curates smaller collections of digital research data and can advise researchers and research groups on metadata description. Contact the Digital Collections team.

Electronic Theses: UCL Guidelines

Our Electronic Theses: UCL Guidelines pages offer guidance on the preparation and deposit of electronic copies of UCL research theses.