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Subject guide


The Leiden University Libraries (UBL) catalogue contains millions of (e-)books, (e-)journals, manuscripts, letters, and other materials available at the UBL.

Simple Search

The easiest way to search the catalogue is by typing one or more keywords into the search bar and clicking the Search button. 

The menu on the right of the search bar allows you to choose the collections you want to search. All Content is the default search option, searching (e)-books, (e)-journals, (digital) articles, audiovisual material and Special Collections materials. 

To search for (e-)books from the UBL collections, or for (e-)books from one specific library location, select Leiden Collections. Leiden Collections contains all (e-)books and (e-)journals from our collections. Individual articles cannot be found when using this option.

Select the Special Collections option to find materials from the UBL Special Collections, such as manuscripts, early printed books, prints, drawings, letters, archives, photos and maps.

Are you looking for materials that are used in a specific course? Set the menu to Course Reserves to find the books your lecturer added.

To refine your search, you can make use of the search filters on the left side of the catalogue.

Advanced Search

Use Advanced Search to search commonly-used fields, combine search options, or limit your search by material type, language, or publication date.

You can make use of the following tools when searching the catalogue:

  • Boolean operators (AND, OR and NOT) connect your search words together with AND, OR, and NOT to either narrow or broaden your set of results.
  • Wildcards (‘*’ and ‘?’) substitute specific characters in your search term, broadening your search results. Examples: wom!n = woman, women, speciali?ation = specialisation, specialization.
  • Double quotation marks (“…”) to search the catalogue for a phrase, such as "global warming"

Multiple versions

If there is more than one version of an item available, click See all versions to view the different access options.

Series - 'Check Holdings'

When a record has a Check holdings tag, you may be looking at a series. Click the record and look under details to see if the link for Individual volumes connected to this series shows. If it does, follow this link to find out about the individual volumes the library owns of the series. If this option does not show, please contact the library information desk or reach out to us via Ask a librarian.

Search tips

  • Use Database Search to find subject-specific databases. More information can be found in the subject guide for databases.
  • If you are looking to find physical items only, filter your search results using Refine my results. Look for the option Availability and choose Physical Items.
  • The catalogue does not contain a large number of Dutch journal articles. To find articles in Dutch, have a look at the subject guide Searching Dutch Articles (only available in Dutch).

Requesting physical materials

The majority of items in the UBL collections are placed in closed stacks. To borrow these items, you can request them using the catalogue. Loanable items placed in open shelves within the library can either be requested, or fetched directly from the shelf and borrowed at the desk.

For more information, please consult our page on borrowing materials.

Loanable or not loanable?

For each item in the physical collections, it is specified whether or not the item is loanable. You can find this specification under Get it, when you’re logged in with your ULCN account. Loanable items have the specification Regular loan or Loanable

Items that are specified as being for library use only, for reference only or not loanable cannot be borrowed. If the item does not have a Request button, you can get it from the shelf and read it on the spot. Items that do feature a Request button always need to be requested; they can be read in the Special Collections reading room after having been made available by our staff.

Reading room materials

Part of the collection is located in the reading rooms. These items are not loanable. Click the Locate button in the catalogue to find where the item is shelved.

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.


Most of the e-books the UBL offers access to can be found by searching the catalogue for a title and/or author. To refine your search to only show e-books, under Availability select Online Access, and under Resource type select (e-)books. For more information, please consult our subject guide on e-books


Use Journal Search to find e-journals. Alternatively, perform a search, and under Resource Type, select Journals. To limit your search to e-journals, under Availability select Online Access.

To keep up with your favourite journals, you can use Browzine. After setting up an account, the app offers Leiden University staff and students access to most available e-journals.


Find available databases via Database Search in the catalogue. Please consult our subject guide for databases for more information about browsing databases.

No full text access?

By default, the catalogue only yields search results with full text access. However, if you enable the Include records with no full access filter, you will also find items that are not part of our collections. These have the specification No online access and only include the bibliographic information of these items. Items like these are often available via other libraries. You can request them via interlibrary loan.

Another instance of when the No online access label might show, is when you have followed a GetIt@Leiden link from another website. GetIt@Leiden is a service that assists in finding out whether the UBL has access to the source or not; it does not guarantee access. When your search concerns an article, it can be useful to try and find the publication it was published in, to see if the paper edition may be part of our collections.

When you’re signed into the catalogue with your ULCN account, you can:

  • Use physical library services such as requesting, borrowing, and renewing materials.
  • Add catalogue items and search queries to your favourites (see My Favorites below)
  • Set alerts for your search queries (see My Favorites below)
  • View your search history from your current and previous sessions (see My Favorites below)

You can find all these functionalities in My Account

Remember to always sign out!
Please always make sure to sign out of the catalogue, especially at public computers, so as to keep your searches and personal data private.

My loans

You can view your loan history after signing into the catalogue. Go to your account at the top right corner and select My loans. By default, this will show your current loans. Change the menu to Loan history to view previous loans.

My requests

My requests shows you the items you requested, as well as the items that are ready for you. For more information, please consult our page about renewals and returns

My Favorites

Saved Items/ Saved Records

My Favorites allows you to save and organise catalogue items and search queries. To add an item to your favourites, select the push pin icon next to the search result. To remove the item from your favorites, click the push pin icon again. 

In order to keep your favorites sorted, you can use labels:  

  • Go to My favorites or Saved items;
  • Select one or more items;
  • Select Add labels at the top of the page;
  • Select a label, or add a label via Add labels.

Saved Searches

To save an entire query, please select Save query, directly underneath the search bar. Queries will be saved under Saved searches. This option also allows you to subscribe to the query, so you will be get an email notification when a new query result is found.

Search History

Your search history can be found by selecting Search history from the drop-down menu in the top right corner, next to your name. Here, you will find all queries from your current and previous sessions (if signed in).

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