Library Services


Medical Students

Book collections for Medical Students are mainly located at the Cruciform, Royal Free and Whittington Health libraries, as well as within the Medical Sciences collection at the Science Library.

You are also welcome to access the collections across all of UCL library sites, including the specialist libraries for child health, ENT, neurology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, pharmacy and speech therapy.

Books and journals can be located using Explore. By default Explore searches across a vast range of resources, including UCL's electronic journal subscriptions. If searching for a book then the best results will be retrieved by searching Library Catalogue rather than All Resources. If preferred the search can then be narrowed to a specific library. For more tips on how to search Explore please see 'About Explore' for Quick Guides and Frequently Asked Questions.

Book collections at Whittington Health Library can be found by searching the Whittington Health Library Catalogue.

Suggestions for purchase of books and other items are welcomed. Please complete the suggestions form to submit your recommendation.

Reading lists are available online. Please note that additional weekly readings may be recommended on your Moodle courses. 

Sample assessment questions and year specific information regarding assessments can be accessed online from the MBBS Assessment and Feedback Moodle page. Moodle can be accessed off-campus using your UCL userID and password.

Online resources

E-books can be accessed by searching Explore. We provide an increasingly large number of e-books made available through a number of packages and providers. E-books are usefully available online from anywhere, all you need is your UCL userID and password to access them.

Bibliographic databases can be used to search for journal articles and the latest research. MEDLINE is the largest biomedical database and a good starting point for most clinical topics. For help and advice regarding database searching, please refer to the LibrarySkills @ UCL webpage.

Clinical decision support tools can be used to enhance your decision making when delivering patient care and to increase your clinical knowledge. Amongst others, UCL Medical Students have access to:

Medical apps

Medical apps are available for a number of key resources - details of what is available and how to access are provided below.

Note: All apps are available for both Android and iOS/Apple devices.

BMJ Best Practice

The BMJ Best Practice app provides access to summary information on nearly 1000 conditions, with summaries presented in sections e.g. prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Once the app has been downloaded content is available offline.
How to access: The app is available to UCL staff and students, but requires set up of a personal account on the Best Practice website. Access the Best Practice website from the UCL database list, or any UCL computer to set up your account. Once a personal account has been set up, download the app and use the account details to log-in and download content.

BNF Publications

The BNF Publications app is available for drug prescribing information and integrates content for adults and children into a single, automatically updated app. Once the initial download of the app has been completed content is available offline.
How to access: The app is freely available, all staff and students on NHS funded courses are entitled to use the app. No sign in or registration is required, simply download from your app store.


The UpToDate app provides access to regularly updated summaries on a range of topics. An Internet connection is required to search the app, but specific topics can be bookmarked for offline access.
How to access: The app is available to UCL staff and students, but requires set up of a personal account on the UpToDate website. Access the UpToDate website from the UCL database list or any UCL computer to set up your account. Once a personal account has been set up, download the app and use the account details to log-in. App access must be re-freshed every 90 days by logging into your personal UpToDate account from a UCL networked PC or via the UCL database list. 

Whether it's learning how to find books on shelves or getting advice on the best resources for your research, we're here to help. Members of staff are available to assist you throughout UCL Libraries, and specialists are on hand to sit and discuss your study and research needs.

Please see our main LibrarySkills @ UCL webpages for full information about the range of UCL Library training and support that is available, to view training timetables and to book a place.

Information skills training for Medical Students

Medical Students receive a programme of embedded information skills training throughout their course as part of their Use of Evidence Vertical module. The training is supported by material in Moodle:

Additional support

In addition to the training embedded into the curriculum, Medical Students are welcome to take advantage of the additional support and training from their home libraries:

Whilst on clinical placement additional support and training may also be available from District General Hospital libraries.

If you are a medical student you will spend some of your course on clinical placements which are situated away from UCL sites. Whilst away from campus, in addition to UCL's vast collections of electronic resources, you can also take advantage of the facilities and support available within your nearest NHS Library.

General information about accessing resources and services from off campus can be found below. For information about the nearest library service available to you whilst you are on placements at District General Hospitals, please see our guide:

For libraries serving Great Ormond Street Hospital, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Royal Free Hospital, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and other UCLH hospitals, and the Whittington Hospital, see the full list of UCL Library Sites.

Accessing Library resources and services off-campus

While on placement, you will be entitled to use the resources and services of the library at the District General Hospital at which you are located. Please note that, if you borrow any books or other items from your local DGH library while on placement, it is your responsibility to ensure their safe return before you leave.

1. Key data to check in advance of your placement

You will see mentioned below a range of userIDs that you may be prompted to provide while accessing resources and services remotely during your placement. It will be difficult for you to trace these once you are on placement, so please make time to find out what these are, and make a note of them somewhere safe, before you leave for your placement. Please note that, as with your UCL computer account, this data should not be shared with anyone else at any time.

a. Barcode number and PIN code

Your barcode number can be found on the back of your UCL ID card. When accessing your UCL library account you will also be asked for a PIN code; this is available by asking in person at any UCL Library Issue Desk.

b. UCL e-resource login

Most of the electronic resources that are available to you remotely will require that you log in with your UCL userID and password.

Note that by accessing Desktop@UCL Anywhere you will not need to enter your UCL userID and password to access most of the Library's electronic resources, and you will have full use of UCL's software.

c. Special passwords 

For some electronic resources, access is possible only with special passwords. For licensing reasons these details must not be shared with anyone else at any time.

Special passwords list (you will need to enter your UCL userID and password to view the list)

2. Accessing computers while on placement

For many purposes, e.g. to access your Library account and many electronic resources remotely, you will simply need access to a computer with an Internet connection. You will also need to have made a prior note of the key data listed under section 1 above. The details of where and which type of computers may be available to you will change over time. 

3. Managing your Library account


If you will be visiting UCL only infrequently, it is important that you check your UCL email account on a regular basis. This is the way that the Library will contact you if, for example, books you have borrowed are about to become overdue or have been reserved by someone else, or if an item you have requested is ready for you to collect.

Checking your UCL library record online

As well as regularly checking your UCL email account, you can also keep an eye on your library account online by logging on to Explore. Go to Explore and click on the 'Sign in 'option. Follow links to sign in as a UCL student and enter your UCL userID and password when prompted. You can then view your loans, requests, saved items and search history by clicking on your name in the top right hand corner of the page. In this way, you can monitor when your books are due back and also renew them. Library staff may occasionally place messages here for you as well.


Each book in the Library is assigned a loan type that determines the period for which it can be borrowed. Sign in to your Library account via Explore (see above) to see the date when your book is due back. The most common loan periods are one week and eight weeks.

It is important to bear in mind that other users can recall books at any time. If this happens, the due date of an eight-week loan will be shortened to one week from the date of recall and one-week loans will become non-renewable. You will be advised of the new return date by email.

Although it can be problematic if you are able to attend a UCL library only infrequently, unfortunately it is not possible to be flexible about the actual return date. It is therefore important that you check your account regularly to make sure you are aware of any recalls.

Borrowing, renewing and reserving books

For guidance on borrowing, renewing and reserving books, please see the Library Services guide to borrowing and managing your account.

4. Accessing electronic resources from off campus

Most of our electronic resources will be accessible off campus using your UCL userID and login. If you experience problems when accessing an e-resource that you think you should have access to then please see our Accessing e-resources webpage for assistance.

5. Material not held by the local DGH library

If materials you require are not available at your local DGH library, first check to see whether they are available to you online as a UCL Library Services electronic resource. If not, you may be able to use your DGH library's inter-library loan services. Please see relevant information sheets at your DGH library or ask a librarian for help. 

Please notify the local DGH librarian if you think that a specific resource should be available to you. Feedback of this nature may also be communicated to Anna Di Iorio, Site Libraries Manager and Senior Librarian, Royal Free Hospital Medical Library.

Medical Students (and their teachers) are eligible for an NHS Athens account providing access to the NHS Core Content selection of e-resources. This allows you access from an early stage to a range of resources that will be used throughout your clinical career.

Resources available include:

  • Key databases like MEDLINE
  • Access to over 1,800 electronic journals and over 250 e-books
  • BNF mobile app (incorporating BNF for Children) (iOS and Android devices)
  • CINAHL with Full-Text and Health Business Elite databases (EBSCO)
  • ProQuest Hospital Collection

Most of these resources are available via NICE Evidence, a web portal offering a one-stop shop for online resources available to NHS staff to help support their clinical practice. It provides access to high quality evidence, and also additional information to assist with CPD, patient information and keeping up to date.

Athens accounts are automatically created in Year 2 of the MBBS course. You should receive an email, titled Activate your NHS Athens account now from Eduserv Athens which allows you to setup your account.

If you encounter problems activating accounts or have any further questions about NHS Athens, then you should contact the relevant Athens administrator with the words 'NHS Athens Registration' in the header of the e-mail.

The Athens administrators are:

When on placement or attachment with an NHS organisation in England you may also register for a personal NHS Athens account, allowing access to additional local resources.