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The University Library offers a range of services and support for distance learners.

We are committed to developing our services to distance learners and are keen to hear of any practical suggestions to improve the service.

This guide refers you to the most useful sections contained in our 'Guide to Library Services' which is available from the Library directly or may be downloaded from our Library Services pages.

The Library Catalogue

You can access our library catalogue from home or from your workplace if you have a computer connected to the Internet.

A short guide to using the catalogue is available in the Library catalogue Help section.

Passwords you will need

You will require your Blackboard Learn username and password.

Blackboard Learn

What is it?

Your Blackboard Learn password allows you to access your module course work and all the electronic services the University provides to support Distance Learners.

Where do I get it?

Go to Campus One for advice on logging on to Blackboard Learn

What if I lose it/forget it?

Contact the Campus One help site at Campus One for help.

Athens Authentication

Many of the Library's e-resources are protected using OpenAthens authentication.  You can find more details about accessing e-resources via OpenAthens via the Library OpenAthens page.

What Does Athens Authentication Give Access to?

  • Databases which are indicated with an OpenAthens icon  OpenAthens icon on the Library Databases page.
  • Electronic journals
  • Most Electronic books (which can be found using the Library Catalogue).

Other Passwords

Some databases do not use Athens Authentication and so will not display the OpenAthens icon symbol. Information on the username and password for these resources appears on the Password and Access information link in the Special Instructions column in the databases A-Z  table. If you are off-campus, the password details will not appear automatically for security reasons, but  there will be a link to a secure page providing these details. You can log on to this page with your Blackboard Learn username and password.

For further help on passwords see the Guide to Passwords.

Enquiries and Help

Enquiries should be directed to the appropriate Subject Librarian either by phone or e-mail. While we cannot undertake research on your behalf we can provide advice and guidance on possible sources, both printed and electronic. Subject enquiries can also be submitted via the Library Help service.

Details of our opening hours are available. Vacation opening hours will vary though we usually offer some form of extended opening during the Summer Semester.

If you require help with Blackboard Learn access then please use the Blackboard Learn Helpdesk link on the Blackboard Learn page.

Document Delivery Service

The Document Delivery Service is used to request books which are not available from any of the University's four Libraries, as well as journal articles which you cannot obtain from your own campus library or from the extensive  e-journals collection.

Before requesting material via document delivery, always check the Library Catalogue (for books, e-books and print journals) and USearch (for databases and e-journals) first to make sure the Library cannot already provide it from its resources.

All current students and staff of the University who are in 'good standing' (i.e. no overdue books or outstanding fines) may use the service. More details about this service can be found on the Document Delivery page.

Help by Subject - your Faculty Subject Guides

Whatever course or module you are studying there is subject specific guidance and help available through the Faculty Subject Guides.

Each Faculty has a team of Subject Librarians who can offer help and guidance in the subjects taught in the Faculty. Below are links to each Faculty Subject Guide.

The contact details for each subject  team can be found in the guides.

Access to Other Libraries

You may be entitled to use the library at the college or university where you studied for your first degree.  Some universities have an ex-students society (Alumni) which may give members library access.

Many colleges and universities have external membership schemes for students who have no connection with that particular institution.  If you live near a university, it is worth enquiring about this - a charge will usually be made.  The Library can provide you with a letter of introduction to support your request for admittance to other university libraries, though we cannot guarantee that this will be granted. Please contact Library Help for more details.

The Vacation Access Scheme is a national agreement which allows you to use most other UK and Irish university libraries for reference purposes during vacation periods.  Some libraries limit this to the summer vacation only so check with the library before you visit.


SCONUL Access is a co-operative venture between most of the higher education libraries of the UK and Ireland. It enables staff and eligible students to borrow material from other libraries.

Special libraries can often provide access to information resources although a fee may be charged. The British Council provides a network of 225 library and information centres in 110 countries. Books, journals and newspapers are available and there are lending and reference facilities in some of the centres. Each Centre offers general and education information about the UK.