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Help with access to online Library resources

Advice to help Library users access online resources on and off campus and how to confirm if items are available online from the Library or not.

How to access online resources on and off-campus

For general advice you should read the Library guide to accessing library resources off-campus

  • You should be able to access the vast majority of our online journals and databases both on-campus and off-campus.   
  • Please make sure that you access our online journals and databases by visiting the Library Catalogue or Library webpages. Doing this will ensure that you are asked to log in using your University username and password when necessary. By logging in you will recognised as a member of the University of Bath and will be allowed to access the resource you want to use.

  • If you do not know your University username and password or if they are not working you should refer to guidance from Computing Services.

Problems accessing an online journal? 

  • If the Library Catalogue record for a journal includes a 'View online' link, this does not always mean we can provide online access from very first volume to the latest volume or issue. You should check the information provided by the description link on the catalogue to check 'online availability'. This will show which issues and volumes of a journal the Library can provide access to. 

  • If we do not provide access to the online issue you need, we may have access to a print copy instead (check the 'print holdings' in the same Description tab).

Unable to access the full text of a specific article? 

  • If the Library Catalogue record indicates that you are should be able to access an item online, but you cannot, you should try to access it using another internet browser for example, Google Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer. 

  • Sometimes, a site is only temporarily unavailable so you might be able to access it later or you may be able to resolve a problem by refreshing a screen.  Alternatively, your laptop/PC may "time out" as a result of a bad internet connection.  If problems persist, or you are uncertain about an item's availability, please contact library staff with details of the item you are trying to access and a description of the problem you are having and any error messages that are displayed.  

Do I need an Athens password?

  • You do not need an Athens password in order to obtain any resources provided by the University. Athens is not a collection of resources - it is a system used to check if users are entitled to access online resources. Athens is not used by the University of Bath to check users entitlement to use online resources.

  • The University of Bath uses the login information set up by Computing Services instead of Athens to provide access to the online resources we subscribe to.  There is no need for the Library to issue Athens passwords even if a website asks you for this.

Can I use Virtual Private Networking?

  • From off-campus Virtual Private Networking (VPN) can be used if you would like to access networked directories as if you were in working on-campus. You will need to set up a VPN connection from home. 

  • VPN is provided by Computing Services.  If you only want to access the Library's online journals and databases, it should not normally be necessary to use VPN. Accessing resource weblinks through the Library catalogue and using your username and password is usually all that is necessary.

Problems accessing an item online?

If you are having problems accessing the fulltext of an article or ebook online you should follow the steps below.

1. Confirm whether or not the Library actually provides the item online:

Search the Library Catalogue to find records of all items in our online and printed collections. If you experience problems accessing an online journal or e-book that should be accessible to you, or if you are unsure about its availability, please contact Library staff.  The earlier advice about how to access online resources on or off-campus might also be useful.

Books: you may find it helpful to click the 'books' tab in the Library Catalogue before searching to make it easier to browse your search results. This search will exclude documents such as journal articles and book reviews.l

If all copies of a book are on loan: you can place a hold/reservation and collect it from the Reader Services Desk once it is made available for you.

Journal articles: if a catalogue search for a journal article title fails to return a the result you are looking for, click the 'journals' tab and try searching for journal title instead. If we do provide the journal, check its catalogue record to see if we provide the volume/issue that you require.

Note: when searching many of the Library's databases (such as Web of Science and Scopus), a blue and white 'Links' button appears within your search results.  If you click on the button, you can find out whether or not a link to the full article is available e.g. where the Library subscribes to the relevant journal.  If a search result does not include a 'links' button, search the Library Catalogue as explained above to find the article title or journal title.

2.  If the Library provides the item in print format only: you can request a scan using the Bath Copies service

If you are unable to visit the Library to access the item, or you would prefer to read it online, you can request a scan of an article or chapter to be emailed to your University of Bath account by using the Bath Copies service.  Documents are normally delivered within two or three days once library staff have found a copy of the book.

3.  If the item is unavailable to you in any format: consider the following options:

  • Undergraduates: if the article or book is likely to be a valuable source for your research, please contact your Subject Librarian. You may also like to consider visiting another library for reference purposes.  
  • Postgraduates: you may be able to obtain the item via the British Library by using the Inter-Library Loans service.   Documents can be emailed to your University of Bath account within two days. The service is free to use for students but costs the Library so please consider carefully whether you are likely to need the document.  You may also like to consider visiting another library for reference purposes.

  • Foundation Degree & Honours Years students studying at a college in addition to the University: please contact your College librarian for further help and advice.   


If you have any questions, please contact us.

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