Online Learners

Online Learners

Information on using Library resources for students enrolled on University of Aberdeen's Online Learning programmes

Accessing Library Resources



Primo is the place to begin any searches for library resources and will link you to the large collection of online library materials available to you from the University of Aberdeen. It is also the catalogue to the physical collections in our libraries.

Primo allows you to limit your search by the type of resource you want to read. We recommend focusing your searches in this way as the four different search tabs available will give you completely different results.  

Read our Library Guide to using Primo to learn the best ways to search it. 

Online Support

If you have a more specific enquiry, then Library staff are offering virtual support sessions during term time. More information can be found on our webpages  and from  Online Education.   

Accessing Online Resources

Many of the online resources available in Primo are accessed using your University of Aberdeen username and password. This uses a login (authentication) service called Shibboleth, which is also known as UK Federation. Online library materials found in Primo will link you to the relevant login screen.

See our Library Guide for full details on accessing online resources.

A small number of electronic resources cannot be accessed using Shibboleth. If you have used Primo as the portal and experience problems with access:

  • Open the Find Databases link on Primo and search for the database you would like to use. Open the Show Info link for the required database and look up the Authentication Route.

  • If the authentication route is IP, follow guidelines on how to use the VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) to access this e-resources off campus. VDI Guide.



Remember to check within your course on MyAberdeen for specific library-related materials that may have been made available to you. 



Citing and Referencing


It is essential you record what you have read and referred to in your written work, both within the text (citing) and at the end of your written work (reference list or bibliography). If you do not acknowledge the sources you have referred to in your assignment or dissertation you may be accused of plagiarism - the unacknowledged use of other people’s words and ideas. This is cheating and can have serious repercussions.

Each school or discipline has a preferred citation style. Check your course handbook.

The Library Guides on Referencing provide help with citing and referencing related to commonly used styles. Visit the Student Learning Service site for advice on how to avoid plagiarism.



Copyright affects anyone who creates or uses original material for any purpose - teaching, research or studying. All students and staff at the University of Aberdeen must ensure that any use they make of copyright material complies with the terms of either copyright law or is covered by the various licenses held by the university.


Visiting Libraries

Visiting University of Aberdeen Libraries

Anytime you are in Aberdeen you are very welcome to come and visit any of our libraries, to consult or borrow materials in our physical collections. Some useful information to know before visiting can be found below:


Visiting other University Libraries in the UK

If you are studying at taught postgraduate level, or higher, and are regularly based in the UK you may be able to visit and use some of the resources at university libraries nearer to where you live. This can be done through an agreement between university libraries called SCONUL Access. See our SCONUL Access pages for further information.

You may also be able to access the wireless network while visiting other university libraries if they use the same Eduroam wireless network as ourselves. See the university's guide to Eduroam to learn more.


Visiting University Libraries outside the UK

If you are based outside the UK it may be possible to visit and use a nearby university library. To do so you will need to contact the academic library you want to visit and find out what you may be allowed to access. Remember, public libraries may also be of interest.


Help and Contacts

Difficulty accessing online resources

If you are having difficulty accessing online library resources please try the following:

1. Look for the following options on an online resource to help you login:

  • Shibboleth

  • UK Federation

  • Institutional Login

  • Login via my Institution

2. If the item is a journal article search in Primo for the journal title in which it is published, to see the coverage we have for that journal. No university library has access to everything that has been published. See Primo Library Guide for further help.

3. Check the Authentification Route for the online resource in Primo's Find Databases option. See Library Guide on Accessing Electronic Information.

4. If you are having difficulty accessing an online resource that requires IP Authentification read the online guide to using the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).

5. Check to see if there are relevant Library Guides for the online resource or your subject area. If none of the above solves your problem please contact the Information Consultant for your subject for further help.


Help from Library Staff

For further help and guidance contact the library's Information Consultant for your subject. Please always send such emails from your University of Aberdeen email address, as this ensures that you will receive any out-of-office messages if your Information Consultant is not immediately available. Also, remember to include your full name, the name of the course/programme you are studying on and your student number within the email.

Alternatively, see all contact details for the library.

Online Support offered by the Library

The Sir Duncan Rice Library staff now offer support not only in person but also in a digital environment using either chat, audio, or video. These sessions currently take place during term-time, however the team will monitor the demand and may schedule additional sessions over the summer months. To find out more please check the information on our website.


Library Guides

We provide a broad range of Library Guides to help you learn about and use many of our online resources. They are a great way to introduce yourself to what the library has available for you.


Find it Fast! Wiki

Our Find it Fast! Wiki is a collection of resources designed to help you overcome problems finding good quality information quickly and using the information ethically, to meet that all important deadline. It contains support materials including slides from workshop presentations, worksheets and various library guides.