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Getting Started: Search and Discover

New to the Library and need to know more? This is the perfect starting point for you to find out all about the Library

Finding Resources

 It can be difficult to know where to start when you need to do some research and you may feel a little lost and first.  Don't worry, there is plenty of guidance to help you get started and navigate confidently around all the resources available to you.

Don't just rely on Google! It is a very useful research tool that you will want to include as an element of your search strategy but it will not expose you to all the material available to you.  

Use the Library Search and Databases A-Z  list to access the full breadth of content available to you.  The demonstrations below will introduce you to these services.  Library Search s a very user friendly library discovery tool and a good starting point for subject searching or to find recommended reading. The Database A-Z List enables you to find and search specific resources for more comprehensive research or to specific kinds of resources such as legal information, news, maps, theses etc.

Explore the Search Techniques Lib Guide. It will help you build the skills, knowledge and confidence to run effective online searches. So take some time to explore the guidance there before undertaking your online research - it could save you lots of time in the long run.

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We have highlighted some key resources across the Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences.  If you are new to the University, these will give you a flavour of the wonderfully rich research resources that are available to you.  For more in depth guidance on resources for your subject area, take a look at the Subject LibGuides.

Don't forget you can make an appointment with your Library Liaison Team for some 1:1 guidance at any point.  This can be useful around assignment or dissertation time, if you are struggling to find quality research resources. 

Logging in to resources

UoE registered staff and students should always login when prompted with your University username and password. 


You do not need the alternative login with separate library card number and PIN - that is used by users external to the University.

A small number of databases require a special username and password.  These details are available via the username and passwords page for registered users.

Library Liaison Team @ Exeter

Get in touch for help and advice on making the most of your library resources, or book a 1:1 appointment with a Librarian.

Library Liaison Team @ Cornwall

Get in touch for help and advice on making the most of your library resources

Google Searching

Search University of Exeter's Library Resources

Library Search


Use Library Search to:

  • find book and journals titles and other items available online or in print via the Library Catalogue.

  • search for Articles + more across a wide range of full text resources via the library's discovery serviceThis allows you to search within books and journal articles to find relevant content.  

Help and guidance on using Library Search is available online via the Library Search LibGuide.

Databases A-Z

Use the Databases A-Z List to select a specific resource for comprehensive searching. You can browse by subject or type (e.g.maps, news, images etc.) or search to find your required resource. A short online demo is available to guide you. 

Library Search: Demonstrations

Databases A-Z Demonstration

Going Beyond the Library

If you are unable to find the information you require from within the Library you might be able to use one of the following services to search for source material from elsewhere.

You can use the following catalogues to search for material held at other libraries:

COPAC - exposes rare and unique research material by bringing together the catalogues of c.90 major UK and Irish libraries. In a single search you can discover the holdings of the UK’s national libraries (including the British Library), many University libraries, and some specialist research libraries.

WorldCAT - lets you search the collections of libraries in your community and tens of thousands more around the world.  It also has a mobile app you can download.

SUNCAT - is the Serials Union Catalogue for the UK research community, a free tool to help researchers and librarians locate serials held in the UK.

The European Library - gives access to the collections of the 48 National Libraries of Europe and leading European Research Libraries.

The Library of Congress - contains the catalog records for books, serials, manuscripts, maps, music, recordings, images, and electronic resources in the Library of Congress collections in the USA.

LibWeb - Access to a listing of online library catalogues worldwide

CORE - gives an incredibly fast search of the full-text of 80M open access research resources

Inter Library Loans

As you search, you may well come across references to books or journals that are not available in the Library.  

If you are using a research database that indexes the global literature on a topic then you will find many references to materials held in libraries elsewhere in the UK and internationally.

 It may be possible to obtain these from another Library via our Inter Library Loan service.  Find out more

Tips for off campus access

1. Log in via Library Search

A lot of resources authenticate by IP address, which is fine if you are on campus, but won't work if you are off campus, so where possible please try to log in via the Library Search, as this will ensure that you are fully authenticated.


 2. Or check for an Institutional login option 

If you are trying to access resources directly from publishers' sites, please look for 'Institutional login' and choose University of Exeter from the list. You may have to select 'UK Access Management Federation' first. 

N.B. We do not use Athens usernames and passwords at the University, so you will not be able to access resources this way 


3. Set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN

This allows you to access the university network from home or any other location with an internet connection.

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