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About VSI


The Very Short Introductions are written by experts in the field and provide concise and engaging introductions to a wide range of subject area.

For students, these are a great source when approaching a new topic. They could be particularly useful when considering option choices, starting new modules or researching new ideas for dissertation work.

Lecturers who are compiling module readings, might want to select these as introductory texts for students, They give a broad overview of topics in a subject area but also highlight themes and controversies that could be explored in more detail through seminars and other module work.

These books span topics across all the disciplines at the University, encompassing the Arts and Humanities, Law, Medicine and Health, Science and Mathematics and the Social Sciences.

The collection is updated on a monthly basis, so it is worth checking in regularly for new content.  You can view details of the monthly updates online or keep up to date via the VSI Facebook group


Logging in to VSI

Just use you usual University username and password for access.  You’ll discover the VSI via the University’s A-Z list of databases.  But here is a quick link so you can jump in and start searching

Login to VSI


Using VSI

The search interface is very user friendly.  You can browse through the books in particular subject areas or search for a topic of interest, e.g. climate change or pandemic to discover material available throughout the subject collection.

If you end up as a regular VSI user you can set up a free personal VSI account and keep track of saved searches, chapters and books and also add your own annotations to materials.

An introductory video tour is available to guide you around.



Or you can click the image below and view/download a PDF version of the tour

VSI Tour


If you have any questions relating to VSI, just contact your Liaison Librarian who will be happy to help.

We have short term trial access to Gale Reference CompleteAccess is available until 12 March 2021.

Gale Reference Complete provides access to an extensive package of primary and secondary sources.


You can search across all content using the Cross Search tool, or you can explore the individual components, which consist of:


General research: current journals, newspapers, and periodicals

  • Gale Academic OneFile - millions of articles from over 17,000 scholarly journals and other authoritative sources.
  • Gale General OneFile - general-interest periodical resource 
  • Gale OneFile: News - access to more than 2,300 major regional, national, and local newspapers, as well as leading titles from around the world. It also includes thousands of images, radio, and TV broadcasts and transcripts.



  • Cross-search these collections with Gale Literature:
    • Literature Resource Center – up-to-date biographical information, overviews, full-text literary criticism, and reviews on more than 130,000 writers in all disciplines, from all time periods, and from around the world
    • LitFinder – a wealth of literary works, including over 150,000 full-text poems and 800,000 poetry citations, as well as short stories, speeches, and plays
    • Subcollections of eBook titles – including Scribner Writers and Twayne's Authors
    • Dictionary of Literary Biography Complete Online – signed scholarly essays that provide essential context to understand the careers and writings of more than 12,000 authors from all time periods and all parts of the world
    • Something About the Author Online – engaging biographies of classic, contemporary, and emerging authors and illustrators of children's and young adult literature
    • Contemporary Authors Online – current biographical and bibliographical data on more than 120,000 modern authors


Primary Sources

  • Archives Unbound - includes approximately 360 collections. Broad topic clusters include African American Studies, American Indian Studies, Asian Studies, British history, Holocaust studies, LGBT studies, Latin America and Caribbean studies, Middle East studies, political science, religious studies, and women’s studies.



We'd be interested in your feedback on this trial.  If it would be useful for your teaching or research, please send your feedback to your Liaison Librarian.

Front cover of print  encyclopedia


Staff and students at University of Exeter now have access to the Encyclopedia of Law and Religion OnlineThis online version of the multi volume encyclopedia provides comparative insights into the relations between law, religion, the state and society.

Content is grouped into volumes covering, Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceana plus International Organisations.

The articles cover topics such as

• Social facts; 
• Historical background; 
• Position of religion in the legal system; 
• Individual religious freedom; 
• Legal status of religious communities; 
• Right of autonomy; 
• Active religious communities and cultures; 
• Labour law within religious communities; 
• Religious assistance in public institutions; 
• Legal position of religious personnel and members of religious orders; 
• Matrimonial and familial laws; 
• Religious and criminal laws; and 
• Country-specific issues. 

You can browse through the country materials or run a search on a topic to retrieve materials from across all volumes.

Sample Search Screenshot


Bibliographies are provided at the end of each country article and will point you towards further research in the field, drawn from books, articles, legislation and websites.

If you need advice on using the encyclopedia, just contact your Liaison Librarian. 


As part of their response to COVID-19, British Online Archives (BOA) has provided the University of Exeter with free access to their entire database of digital primary resources for 30 days from 1st February.


Their website hosts over 4 million records drawn from both private and public archives. These records are organised thematically, covering 1,000 years of world history, and are of use to undergraduate students and experienced academics alike.


Themes include:



To access BOA, click on the access link below and login with your University username and password

Access Link: British Online Archives

Browse BOA’s 95 collections and read how they are trying to help those working and studying in Higher Education during the pandemic. BOA say that the free access initiative will be continually reviewed and extended month by month if feasible.


Watch the short video below to learn more about the structure and content of the archives

You can also use the Guide to Advanced Searching to assist with effective searching.

If you would like to know more or have any feedback, please contact your Liaison Librarian. 

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