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Library Services


Queen Mary Libraries subscribe to over 44,000 resources. These include journals, databases, e-book packages, video streaming services, collections of films and maps. The vast majority of this is in electronic format but we do take out a very small number of print subscriptions too.

Access to subscribed content

QMUL subscribed content can be accessed from the library homepage. Articles can be searched via the library catalogue, whilst journals can be browsed and searched using the E-Journals by Subject tool and databases are listed in the A-Z list of Databases.

The majority of QMUL subscriptions is in electronic format and accessible from both on and off-campus through EZ Proxy authentication or Shibboleth. If you are accessing off-campus all you need to do is log in with your QMUL username and password.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. Some resources (especially datasets and economical and statistical resources) can only be accessed on specific terminals located on campus. Some other resources are restricted to the UK and cannot be accessed off-campus if you are overseas. Finally, a small number of resources require additional login to be accessed.

If you have any problems accessing electronic resources, check the E-Resources News & Help webpage or contact us.

Requesting new subscriptions

New subscriptions can be requested by filling the new subscription request form.  

Please note that new subscriptions can only be requested by members of academic staff. If you are a student, ask a lecturer, your tutor or a course leader to email QMUL libraries on your behalf.

New subscriptions will have to be authorised by the School’s Library Representative, so when requesting a new subscription, we ask you to provide a business case in support. We are interested in this type of information:

  • Why is the subscription needed?
  • What course/module is it needed for?
  • What particular research project is it needed for?
  • How many students would benefit from it?
  • Are QMUL authors on the editorial board?
  • Are QMUL authors publishing consistently in the journal?
  • Why is this resource better than its competitors (if applicable)?

We operate an e-first policy, so unless explicitly stated we will subscribe to the online-only option.

If your is your request is accepted, a new subscription takes 4 to 6 weeks to be set up. Largely this process is out of QMUL’s control as it lies with publishers and subscription agents, so in some cases it can take longer than this to make the resource accessible. If the subscription is needed for a particular course, we suggest that you request it 3 months in advance.


If the publisher allows it, it is possible to request a trial to a resource. Trials are intended to test a resource that is being evaluated for acquisition. They are not a quick way to access materials QMUL libraries don’t have a subscription for. For that, see below.

Individual trials can be requested by members of academic staff or students directly to the publishers without the need to approach the library. Institutional trials need to be authorised by the library as the resources need be made technically available to the wider QMUL community. They can be requested by filling the Institutional trial request form [DOC 13KB] and emailing it to

Institutional trials take 2 to 4 weeks to be set up, require work to the library and, more importantly, raise expectations among users and members of staff. For this reason, requests are not automatically granted and need to be evaluated by the library and the School’s Library Representative.

Cancellation policy

Demonstrating that our resources are relevant and good value for money is key to the library mission. Given the recurring nature of subscription costs, new subscriptions can only be taken out if the central budget is increased or if existing subscriptions are cancelled.

For this reason, each year the library collects usage statistics for the subscriptions paid centrally. If a resource has consistently poor usage for 2 or more consecutive years, the resource gets marked for cancellation (we define poor usage as a cost per use of over £7.00, the cost of an inter-library loan). Library Representatives for each School are requested to provide a business case if they wish to retain that subscription. If a business case is not received by the deadline, or if a business case is not considered strong enough by the library, the subscription will be cancelled or, subject to an agreement with the Library Representative, the cost transferred to the School’s budget.

Subscriptions marked for cancellation are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Business cases should include as many details as possible and be as specific as possible to demonstrate why the subscription is considered essential, who uses it, for what purposes and why this should be paid centrally by the library and not by the School.

What if QMUL doesn’t subscribe to what I am looking for?

If you are a member of Academic Staff you can request a new subscription. If you are a student or a member of non-Academic Staff and you are not able to get a member of Academic Staff to email the library on your behalf, or if your request for a new subscription has been declined, you have a number of options:

  • If you need a specific article or a specific issue of a journal, and you are a member of Academic Staff, a PGR or PGT student, you can request an inter-library loan
  • You can explore the Senate House Library or the British Library catalogues to see if the resource is available there. Remember that QMUL students and staff have access to all the print resources and some of the electronic resources held by the Senate House Library
  • You can check the Jisc Library Hub Discovery to check if the resource is available in any other library in the UK (remember that QMUL students and staff benefit from the SCONUL scheme). Once you have found what you are looking for in another library, please get in touch directly with that library to find out the services they offer to external users
  • You can explore Open Access alternatives to the resource you are looking for

If none of these options work for you, get in touch with your Faculty Liaison Librarian and they will try and help you out.

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