Universiteit Leiden

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Subject guide


The Catalogue is a search and discovery tool that provides results from the library's online and print collections in a single search. It includes titles of printed books, journals, manuscripts, letters, and other material available at the libraries of Leiden University as well as links to the full-text of millions of, mainly, English journal articles and digital images of prints and manuscripts.


The catalogue does not contain a large number of Dutch journal articles. To find articles in Dutch, it is advisable to consult the subject guide Searching Dutch Articles (only available in Dutch).

  • To find medical information also see the website of the Walaeus Library.
  • To find more journal articles also search subject specific databases, available through ‘Find Databases’. More information can be found in the subject guide for databases.

Performing simple searches

The easiest way to search is to simply type one or more keywords and click the Search button. When you are searching for an article choose All Content, when you are searching for a book from our collections, choose Leiden Collections. The catalogue searches for items regardless of capitalization.

What is being searched?

All Content is searched by default, here you will find: (e)-books, (e)-journals, (digital) articles, audiovisual material and Special Collections. You will find the contents of Leiden Collections and Special Collections, but also digital articles from databases and the Leiden repository.

In Leiden Collections you will find both digital and physical materials available at Leiden University Libraries and the Special Collections. You will not find individual articles here, however. You can choose to either search in all library locations or in a library location of your choice.

In Special Collections you will exclusively find the rare materials in the Special Collections department of Leiden University, such as manuscripts, early printed books, prints, drawings, letters, archives, photos and maps.

Advanced search

Use the Advanced Search option to search commonly-used fields, combine search options or limit your search by material type, language, or publication date. For instance, use the field Author/Creator in comination with is (exact) to find all available sources by a specific author.

More specific searches

Searching for a phrase
To search for a specific phrase, place quotation marks around the phrase. Use the double quotes "", not the single ones. For example: if you search for "global warming" you will only find publications that contain both these words in this exact order.

Combining search terms
OR: Use to search for items that contain at least one of the words or phrases you typed in the search box. For example: Irish OR Celtic will find items that only contain the word Celtic, only contain the word Irish or that contain both words.

NOT: combining search terms with the NOT operator narrows the search by excluding unwanted terms. For example: Celtic NOT Irish will find items that contain the word Celtic, but exclude items that contain the word Irish.

Note: To use OR and NOT, type them in all caps.

Include records with no full text access
By default, this filter is unchecked, and can be found among the filters after searching. When it is checked, you will also receive titles in your results that are not available via the Leiden University collection and of which only the bibliographic information is available. These titles may be available in other libraries. To request material that is not available in our libraries, see the webpage: Can’t find it at UBL.

Searching for print

If you only wish to search for printed items instead of digital ones, you can filter your results after searching. Under refine my results > availability choose Physical Items.

Requesting material

Material can only be requested when you are logged into the catalogue. You can log in using your ULCN or guest account. Click the Request-button and choose your pick-up location. You can read more about borrowing material.

If there are multiple copies of the same book, you may have to select a specific edition before you are able to request the book.

When under Loan Policy the catalogue lists library use only, reference only or not loanable, a book is not loaned out.

Books in the reading rooms

Part of the collection is located in the reading rooms, some of these items are not loanable. In such cases you will find the Locate button on the detail page of the title under Get It. When you click this button, you will find more information on where to find the item in question.

Renewing and returning

You can return your books at any library location. Books will be renewed automatically for a certain period of time, please see our page on renewing for more information.

Home access to digital material

Anyone can search the catalogue to consult which material is accessible through Leiden University Libraries anywhere. Login is not required for this.

Only students and staff of Leiden University and the LUMC have worldwide access to full-text articles, after logging in. Guests and alumni only have access to full-text digital material within the university network. Alumni can make use of the Leiden Alumni Databases from home, however.

Notable exception to this rule are e-books hosted by ProQuest, which are only accessible for current students and staff of Leiden University, regardless of the location.  


Most of the e-books Leiden University Libraries gives access to can easily be found by their title in the catalogue. You can get your results to only show e-books by using the filters after searching: select online access under Availability, then (e-)books under Resource Type. 

More information: how to use e-books.


When searching an e-journal in the catalogue, you can filter your results by choosing Journals under Resource Type, then choose online access under availability.

You can also use the Browzine app to keep up with your favorite journals. After making an account, this app gives students and staff members of Leiden University access to most available e-journals.


Find the available databases via Find Databases. For each database there is an information icon, that, when clicked, will provide more information about the database and what can be found in it. More information can be found in the subject guide for databases.

Why should I log in?

When you sign into the catalogue, you can:

  • Use library services, such as borrowing, reserving, and renewing.
  • Add items you found and queries you submitted permanently to your favorites (see the paragraph Favorites)
  • Set alerts for your queries (see the paragraph Favorites)
  • View your search history from this as well as earlier sessions conducted while logged in (see the paragraph History)

Why should I sign out? You should sign out of the catalogues, especially at public pc's, so that your searches remain private and your personal settings are not tampered with by anyone else.  

Results lists

The results list displays all the items that match your search query. For each item you will find basic bibliographic information, as well as information about how to access it (if possible).

Access options

Online access
Online access displays items that may be available online. If the item has multiple entries, click an entry to display the item on a new page.

Get It allows you to request physical items or place a hold request for materials currently on loan. Note that you have to sign in to make a request. See our webpage on borrowing for more information.

Multiple versions
If there is more than one version of an item you can click see all to explore the different access options.

Check holdings
This may be a series: after clicking the record, you will find yourself on the detail page of the record. Look under details to see if there is a link Individual volumes connected to this series. If there is, you can follow this link to find out about the individual volumes that are part of this series. If there is not, contact the library information desk.

No online access
There is no access to this source. You may have checked the Include records with no full access filter. You may also have followed a GetIt@Leiden link: GetIt@Leiden is a service which assists in finding out whether Leiden has access to the source or not, it does not guarantee access.

In the case of no online access it can be useful to look up a source (or the publication it was written in, such as the journal an article was printed in) to see if the paper edition may be part of the collection.

Why use favorites?

Favorites allows you to save and organize items that you find during your search session. To access your favorites, click the push pin icon  at the top of the page.

Saving items to favorites

If you select the push pin icon  for an item in the search results, the item is added to your favorites under saved records.  You can also save an entire query to your favorites by selecting save query directly underneath the search bar, this will then be saved under saved searches. This also allows you to subscribe to the query so you will be emailed when a new result is found for this query.

Note: you must sign in to save items to your favorites for future sessions.

Viewing and labelling favorites

To consult the items in your favorites, find the push pin   at the top of the page. After entering your favorites, you will see your saved records, and are able to switch to saved searches and search history as well.

In order to keep your favorites sorted you can use labels. To add a label, select ‘add label’ or the pencil icon for the item, and type in the label that you would like to add to it. Alternatively, you can select the items you would like to tag and select add labels at the top of the page to add a label to multiple items at the same time. You can then view the items that are tagged with a certain label by finding and selecting that label.

Removing from favorites

You can remove an item from your favorites by selecting the push pin icon again.  You can also remove multiple items at the same time by going to your favorites, selecting the items to be removed, and clicking the push pin icon at the top of the page.

Logging in

By logging in before starting a search session, you ensure that it is added to your history. If you are not logged in, your history will only show the searches you have performed in your current session.

Search history

Your search history can be found by selecting the clock . Here, you will find the queries from your current session (if not logged in) and previous sessions (if logged in).

Loan history

Your loan history can only be consulted when you are logged in. After logging in, go to your account and select ‘loans’. By default this will show you your active loans, but this can be changed to ‘previous and history loans’ to find your loan history.


You can take our tutorial on how to use the catalogue to familiarize yourself with it. This tutorial teaches you how to request books, find publications and use our databases.

If the catalogue isn’t displaying correctly

If the catalogue isn’t displaying correctly, clearing your browser’s cache and cookies may solve the problem. This webpage shows you how to do this.

If you’re still experiencing problems, or you have feedback or other questions about the catalogue please use the Ask a librarian form.

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