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Online Information Resources

Campus wide information services are co-ordinated and supported centrally by the University Library, which gives access to online databases and journals, subject gateways etc:

With regard to its monographic collections, the Library is, in principle, a single copy library. Additional copies may be acquired where a particular text is heavily used or where heavy demand is anticipated.

An increasing number of journals are available in electronic format. These are noted in the Union List of Serials, but the University Library website includes a consolidated list of the full text electronic journals which are currently available, free of charge, throughout the University.

Access and passwords

Many of the networked electronic services are made available within the "cam" domain, via IP address recognition, so you will not normally be prompted for a password. Other services require password-controlled access and, predominantly, the authentication system used is an ATHENS user-id/password.

All passwords are issued to individual users and must be applied for in person from reader services staff at:

Cambridge University Library, Main Reading Room
Medical Library, Addenbrooke's Site
Scientific Periodicals Library, Bene't Street/New Museums site
Betty and Gordon Moore Library, Wilberforce Road/Clarkson Road

Passwords are issued only to current staff and students of the University. Further information on
Passwords for electronic resources can be found

Recommended Bibliographic Services


    A comprehensive index to international literature of the life sciences indexes. More than 6,000 journals, plus books, book chapters, text books, conference proceedings, short communications and software reviews. Ninety percent of journal entries include abstracts. Searching by using specific 'concept codes' or 'biosystematic codes', in addition to keywords, is offered.

  • UK Pub Med Central

    UK Pub Med Central allows access to:
    • 2 million+ full text, peer reviewed published journal articles covering all fields of biomedical and health research (the UK PubMed Central repository)
    • 25 million+ PubMed and PubMed Central abstracts
    • National Health Service (NHS) clinical guidelines
    • UK biomedical and health PhD theses
    • European Patent Office Patents, Agricola, Chinese Biological Abstracts and Citeseer databases  


  • ISI Web of knowledge

     A broad based index to the international journal literature of science and technology. Includes references to articles, editorials, letters and reviews. Abstracts to many items are included from 1992.

    Non journal material, such as conference reports, books, reports or dissertations, are not included, so it is unwise to rely solely on the Citation Index without also consulting Medline or BIOSIS.

    Citation searching is a unique and valuable feature of the Web of Knowledge databases. Citation searching is a method of looking for information on a particular subject, which is not dependent upon the use of keywords. You start with an article, which you know to be central to the development of a topic, and trace all the later references that cite the article you started with. The real value of this is that if there is a field in which a crucial contribution occurred in, say, 1987, you can look to see what papers published since that time have cited that 1987 paper, ie how the subject has moved on since that 1987 paper.

    An important point to bear in mind is that different authors may cite the same article in different ways and that the actual relationships of the papers can only be judged by reading the full text.


    A commercially produced biomedical index, including EMBASE and MEDLINE Covers around 3,500 journals. Embase is particularly strong in coverage of drug research, pharmacology and toxicology. Like Medline, Embase has its own thesaurus, EMTREE, to assist searching.

    You've been given (or you have found) a reference; how do you find the book or article?

    Having found a list of useful references, you will then need to find out whether they are available in Cambridge.

  • University Library

    This page provides links to the Cambridge University Library online catalogues Newton, Janus etc which include listings of book and journal holdings of all the University’s libraries

    The page also provides links to other major academic and national library catalogues, such as those of the British Library, Library of Congress and the Consortium of University Research Libraries. If an item is not apparently held by the University you can still request it through Inter Library Loan at SPL or at certain departmental libraries.

    Feedback and support

    In addition to department libraries, the University Library has two science libraries which jointly offer a comprehensive range of services and support. The Scientific Periodicals Library in Bene't Street concentrates on the biological, chemical, earth and environmental sciences. The Betty and Gordon Moore Library at Wilberforce Road, although it specialises in the physical sciences, also offers general assistance to those located in west Cambridge.

    Stephen Dale, biological subject specialist at SPL
    Telephone: (3) 34741