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Subject guide


The catalogue is a search and discovery tool that provides results from Leiden University Libraries (UBL) online and print collections in a single search. It will show titles and availability info on (e-)books, (e-)journals, manuscripts, letters, and other material available at the UBL.

Performing simple searches

The easiest way to search the catalogue is to type one or more keywords and click the Search button. When searching for an article, choose All Content; when searching for a book from our collections, choose Leiden Collections. Catalogue searches are not case-sensitive.

  • To find more journal articles, look for subject-specific databases, available through ‘Database Search'. More information can be found in the subject guide for databases
  • 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)

Search options

All Content is the default search option, searching (e)-books, (e)-journals, (digital) articles, audiovisual material and Special Collections materials. It contains the Leiden Collections and Special Collections options, but also digital articles from databases and the Leiden Repository.

Using the Leiden Collections search option 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 UBL's Special Collections 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 the catalogue for a phrase, use double quotation marks. For example: searching for "global warming" will find publications that contain both these words in this exact order.

Combining search terms
OR: Use 'OR' to search for items that contain at least one of the words or phrases 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.

AND: Use 'AND' to search for titles that should contain both of the words or phrases typed in the search box. For example: Irish AND Celtic will find only titles containing both words.

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

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

Include records with no full text access
By default, the filter is set to not include records with no full text access. Checking this option will also return search results offering no full text access via the UBL collections, just the bibliographic information. These titles may be available in other libraries; please check our webpage Can’t find it at UBL.

Searching for printed items

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.

Requesting library materials

A major part of the libraries' loanable collections is placed in closed stacks. To borrow these items, they need to be requested using the catalogue. Loanable items placed in open shelves can either be fetched from the shelf and borrowed at the desk, or requested, for pick-up once available.

To place a request, please make sure to be logged in using your ULCN-account. Click the Request-button, and choose your pick-up location. Extensive information on borrowing, renewals and returns can be found on our webpages on borrowing.

Library use?
When the catalogue lists library use only, reference only or not loanable, the item cannot be taken out. Some materials may be fetched from the shelfand read on the spot. Items showing a Request-button all need requesting; they can be read at 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.

Renewals and returns

Borrowed books may be returned at any of the UBL library locations. The loan period will be renewed automatically for a certain period of time, unless someone else reserves them. Please find all information regarding loan options and policies on our webpage on renewing and returning.

Remote access

Only Leiden University and LUMC students and staff have worldwide access to full-text articles, after logging in. Guest users and Leiden University alumni can access full-text digital material within the university network only. Alumni can access some of our databases via the Leiden Alumni Databases website.

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


Most of the e-books the UBL offers access to, can be found searching the catalogue for title and/or author. You can refine your search results to only show e-books: under 'Availability', select Online access, and under 'Resource type', select (e-)books

For more info on how to access and read e-books, have a look at our how to use e-books library guide.


Use 'Journal Search', in the top bar, to find e-journals. Alternatively, perform a catalogue search and filter your results by choosing Journals under 'Resource Type', and Online access under 'Availability'.

To keep up with your favourite journals, use the Browzine app. 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. For each database there is an information icon, that, when clicked, will offer more information about the database, its scope and its contents.

Please find extensive information on using databases in our subject guide for databases.

Signed in to the catalogue with your ULCN-account, you can:

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

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.

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 takes you to the options to request physical items. Please note that you have to be signed in to make a request. CCheck our webpage on borrowing for more information.

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

Check holdings
This may be a series: after clicking the record, you will find yourself on the details page of the record. 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 using Ask a librarian.

No online access?
If a record shows, but there is no online access, 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 that assists in finding out whether the UBL has access to the source or not; it does not guarantee access.

In the case of No online access for 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.

Favorites allows you to save and organise catalogue items and search queries. To access your saved favorites, look for the push pin at the top of the catalogue page or choose 'Saved items' from the drop down menu next to your name.

Saving items

Selecting the push pin icon for an item in the search results will save the item to your favorites under Saved records. To save an entire query, please select the Save query option, 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 emailed when a new query result is found.

Note: you must be signed in in  order to save items to your favorites.

Remove an item from your favorites by selecting the push pin icon again.

Viewing and labelling favorites

To consult your Saved records, Saved searches and Search history, find the push pin at the top of the catalogue page or choose 'Saved items' at the drop-down menu next to your name.

In order to keep your favorites sorted, you can use labels. To add a label, select ‘Add labels’ and type in the label that you would like to add. To add the same label to multiple items, select the items you would like to tag and select Add labels at the top of the page. View all items tagged with a certain label by finding and selecting that label.

Signing in

Signing in before starting a search session ensures searches are added to your history. If you are not signed in, your history will only show the searches from your current session.

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).

Loan history

You can view your loan history after signing in. 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.

On Wednesday 9 August 2023, Leiden University Libraries’ catalogue has been migrated to a new interface.


The catalogue layout will remain largely the same. Two minor changes users may notice are the revamped request button and some additional information regarding catalogue items. 

With the update, searching for and finding databases and e-journals has become easier, since all functionalities for finding and using databases and journals have been integrated in the catalogue. The search options for, and within, Course Reserves have also been upgraded. 

  • Saved searches and search history
    Saved searches and search history could not be migrated to the new interface. Users who have saved searches in the past two years, have been sent an email with additional information
  • Saved records
    Saved records (pinned titles) have all been migrated and are still available after the update
  • Catalogue links 
    Permalinks to publications in the catalogue will not change. These are the links under the ‘Share link’ option in the catalogue
  • Database Search 
    Database Search is the new way to discover databases, replacing the Find Databases website. Its integration in the catalogue ensures a smoother and more cohesive experience when exploring databases and electronic resources. Links to previous Find Databases-searches will now redirect to the catalogue. Links to specific databases will continue working for some time, but we do recommend using permalinks from the new catalogue for better long-term access


To familiarise yourself with the catalogue functions, please consider taking our tutorial on how to use the catalogue. The tutorial will show you how to request books, find publications and use our databases.

If the catalogue isn’t displaying correctly

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

If you are still experiencing problems, or if you have any other questions about the catalogue, please contact us using Ask a librarian.

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