eResources at the National Library of Scotland

What are eResources?

eResources (electronic resources) are materials in digital format. These include things like electronic journals, e-books and online databases. Our eResources cover a wide of range of subjects, from history and social sciences to newspapers and business resources. 

The Library pays subscriptions for these eResources, which in turn, enables us to offer them for free to Library members.

Some of these eResources can only be accessed in the Library’s buildings – that’s George IV Bridge in Edinburgh and the National Library at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow – but you can also access many of them from home by logging into our website using your email address and Library password.

To do so, you need to register with the Library – it’s quick and easy to do (see below for details). Access to some of our eResources require you to have a residential address in Scotland. These restrictions are subject to our licensing agreements with publishers and are dictated by them, rather than the Library.  

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, we are identifying journal titles on some of the larger eResource platforms such as Cambridge Journals Online and Oxford Journals Online that may be particularly useful, and we will add a list of these shortly.

How to become a Library member

  • Visit our website
  • Click the orange Join/Log in button (which takes you directly to the registration form)
  • Fill out the registration form
  • Check your email inbox for the link to create a password
  • Click on the link
  • Create your password
  • Log in and discover our eResources

How to find our eResources

We currently subscribe to more than 100 eResources which cover a wide variety of subjects, and there are different ways in which you can search these:

  • Find a resource – on the landing page of the eResources section (listed at the top of the page) – you can type in a search term and hopefully receive a list of helpful resources
  • Browse by title – the easiest way if you already know which eResource you need
  • Browse by subject – using the handy subject lists and resource descriptions to identify which are most useful
  • Browse by access type – useful if you’re unable to visit the Library and want to know what you can access from home/work
  • Library Search (the Library’s online search facility) – choose to search “Everything” in the search box

How to search

As there are so many eResources, it’s impossible to describe how to search within each one. However, many of them have a simple search box in common, where you can enter keywords and then refine your search by date/subject/etc. The best way to become familiar with your chosen eResource is simply to try different searches and note which ones work best. If you’re struggling with a particular eResource, email, or contact us on our Library Chat service, which is available from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.    

Digital Gallery and Learning Zone

As well as our eResources, the Library has extensive, ever-expanding digitised collections which are free to access for all. The Digital Gallery is split into many different themes and can be searched either by ‘category’ or in ‘A-Z order’. These can be helpful for many avenues of research or if you are just interested in seeing what treasures the Library holds within the national collections. Topics include The 1715 Jacobite Rising, Scots Abroad (stories of Scottish emigration) and British Military lists.

The Learning Zone will help you to find subjects you want to learn more about, and includes themes such as literature and language and geography and exploration. There are many resources which are especially helpful for teachers who can incorporate them into lessons for students of all ages, and for parents or caregivers for educational or entertainment purposes. Everything in the Learning Zone is again free and open access.