Getting started - exploring the online library

2 December 2020

Knowing how to successfully use UCL’s library resources is key to your academic success. Therefore, you should get to grips with how to find books, journals and more for your studies, as well as the support and services that the library offers.

Laptop on a table

With practically everything you need available online, you can start exploring your new UCL Library spaces before you arrive on campus and the start of term. Here is a checklist to get you started:

Getting Started webpages

Make our Getting Started webpages your first stop. Our online induction explains all the essentials you need to know to get started with using our online library and more. There are also videos which explain more.

Access the Getting Started webpages here.


Get essential readings for your course through your online reading list, also linked from your Moodle course. This includes printed texts which we've digitised so you can access them from home.

Check out our ReadingLists@UCL.


Explore is the gateway to our world-class collections, including a huge range of online resources. Access electronic books, journals, articles and more from anywhere at any time. Access is possible from your course start date. You will need to have fully enrolled at UCL and will need your UCL login (user ID and password) to access lots of our online resources.

Find out more about the Explore platform.

Subject guides 

Look at our subject guides to find out about resources for your subject and details of your dedicated librarian, who is ready to help you with any queries, large or small. Why not get in touch now to say ‘hi’?

View our subject guides for more information.

UCL’s Special Collections

Our Special Collections is home to hundreds of thousands of primary sources spanning 17 centuries, including rare books, manuscripts, archival items, and the records of UCL’s history.

Check out our Special Collections.

UCL Digital Collections

Our UCL Digital Collections gives you access to images of many of the Library’s historic materials, and to research data, and is expanding every day. It includes images of items from our Special Collections, such as Mediaeval manuscripts, the George Orwell Archive, Euclid (Stavros Niarchos Digital Library), Hebrew and Jewish collections, Ophthalmology, and Education.

We have been working with publishers to make as much as our content available online as possible. If you cannot find what you want, get in touch with your librarian who can help.

View our UCL Digital Collections here.

LibrarySkills@UCL training and support

Our training and support offering will ensure you develop the skills you need to find and make effective use of research to inform your studies. We have lots of online training available, which you can work through at your own pace at a time that suits you.

Access our LibrarySkills@UCL training and support

Library spaces

Our library buildings may not be open as usual at the moment, but we look forward to eventually welcoming all our students into our libraries, where you will find various study spaces, IT facilities and support and help from our friendly staff.

Find out more about our available Library spaces

COVID-19 library service information webpages

To keep you up-to-date with the latest information around our services and how to access them safely due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, look at these pages for up-to-date information on our libraries, services, collections and online resources during this period.

Access our COVID-19 library service information webpages

Contact us 

Got any questions? There are lots of ways for you to get in touch, including our new online chat service. Our friendly, specialist staff are here to help, wherever you are.

Contact us 

Last revised: 7 September 2021

Angela Young, Head of Library Skills at UCL