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Library FAQ

Covid-19: Library Services Status Update - updated 24 March 2020

Some of the information below may not be current due to the measures taken against Covid-19. Please refer to the ' Using the Library' page for further information.


Library access

Library membership




Full text articles

Inter-Library loans


Literature searching

Training sessions

Other Services


Library access

Where is the Library?

The Library is located on Level 5 of the Education and Research Centre.

When is the Library open?

The Library is staffed from 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.

Library members can also access the Library outside these hours, from 7am to 11pm, Monday to Sunday. You will need your swipe card for access when the Library is not staffed.

Can I use the computers?

Anyone who has a UH Bristol PC login is welcome to use the computers. To set up your login, contact the IT helpdesk on extension 23939.

Is there wiFi?

Guest WiFi is available for staff and visitors. To log in, connect to 'UHB-Guest' from your device, then open a browser to connect to any webpage. You will be redirected to a login page where you will be asked to enter an email address and accept the 'terms and conditions' of service.

Should you have any difficulties, please call the IT Service Desk on x23939.


Library membership

Who can be a Library member?

Library membership is open to all staff and students on placement at University Hospitals Bristol & Weston NHS Foundation Trust.

How do I become a Library member?

You will need to complete and return a Library membership form. This can be completed electronically (you just type your name in the signature area) and returned to, or it can be completed in person at the Library. If you complete the form electronically, you will still need to visit the Library to collect your Library card.

What are the benefits of being a Library member?

  • Print resources: borrowing rights for books and journals in both print and electronic formats
  • E-resources: including essential point of care tools such as ClinicalKey, Dynamed, and BMJ Best Practice
  • OpenAthens enrolment(unless you opt out): get access to UHBristol subscription resources
  • Inter-library loans: if we don't have an article or book that you need, we can get it for you
  • Out of hours Library access: swipe card access to the Library from 7am - 11pm every day

When will I get an email about my OpenAthens registration?

If you remain opted in to automatic Athens registration when you complete your membership form, you can expect to receive an email within two weeks. We will endeavour to register you as quickly as possible.

If you would like to register yourself instead, click here to complete the online registration form. You will need to register using a Trust PC and a UH Bristol email address.

I became a Library member at another NHS Trust in the South West. Do I need to re-register here?

You will still need to complete a membership form once you have joined UH Bristol so that we can update your details on the system and so that you can get full access to UH Bristol Library resources.



What is OpenAthens?

OpenAthens is a way of authenticating that you have permission to access our subscription e-resources. To access our electronic resources you will need a UH Bristol Athens username/password.

How can I get an OpenAthens login?

Click here to complete the online registration form. You will need to register using a Trust PC and a UH Bristol email address. Once you have successfully completed the form, you will be sent an email to you UH Bristol account with an authentication link.

I have an Athens account from another Trust/University. Do I still need a UH Bristol account?

You will need a UH Bristol account to access our local subscription resources. Your previous Athens account might also expire if you do not update the details.

You can either update the settings of your existing account by logging in and selecting 'change organisation', or you can set up a new UH Bristol account by clicking here (you will need to register using a Trust PC and a UH Bristol email address).

My Athens account has expired. What should I do?

If it is an Athens account from an institution you previously worked or studied at, you can set up a new UH Bristol account by clicking here (you will need to register using a Trust PC and a UH Bristol email address).

If it is a UH Bristol Athens account, you should be able to register again here.

I have forgotten my Athens Password. How can I reset it?

If you are on a Trust PC, follow the link to

I have forgotten my Athens Username and Password. What should I do?

You should email  with your full name, full work address, work telephone number and the email address you used to register for the account. In the email subject line put 'Forgotten username and password'.


How long can I borrow a book for?

You can borrow books from our library for 28 days (unless it is reference only).

If it is an interlibrary loan, please refer to the date on the slip inside the book as other libraries have different loan periods.

How can I search for books?

Use the SWIMS catalogue to search for books and ebooks. The SWIMS catalogue shows the book holdings of NHS libraries across the South West, including at UH Bristol.

How can I access a book that the Library does not have?

If you would like to borrow a book that is not held at UH Bristol, you can request it as an interlibrary loan (see below for more information).

What are the fines for overdue books?

We no longer charge accumalating fines for overdue books, but will invoice our users for books that have been kept for longer than three weeks and need replacing.



How can I search for e-books?

You can search for and access e-books that the Library owns through our Library catalogue: (OpenAthens login required).

You can also search for, read briefly, and request the Library purchases e-books from a collection of over 750,000 titles through Ebook Central: (OpenAthens login required).

How does the Ebook Central platform work?

To access the Ebook Central e-book platform, click here: (OpenAthens login required). From here, you can search the collection of over 750,000 e-books.

You can read any e-bookfor 5 minutes. After that time, you will need to submit a request for the Library to purchase the e-book - this is done very simply through the e-book platform. We will consider all requests, and will notify you if/when we purchase your requested book.

E-books we have purchased can be read online or downloaded to your computer or mobile device. Book citations can be exported to reference management software, and you can also highlight, take notes and bookmark pages in your online copy.


Full-text articles

How can I check if the Library has access to a particular journal issue?

You can check for particular journals through NHS Evidence: (OpenAthens login required for accurate results). You will need to login with OpenAthens in order to see the full selection of journals that we have access to.

I know the Library should have access to a particular journal issue, but I can't get access. What should I do?

First, try accessing the issue through NHS Evidence: Where more than one journal access point exists, check the years and issues covered by that access point.

If you are still unable to access the issue, email with the full bibliographic details of the article or issue that you require.

I would like to consult an article that the Library does not have access to. What should I do?

You can request the article as an interlibrary loan. See below for more information.


Inter-library loans

How do I request an inter-library loan?

You can either fill in the online form here, or email with the relevant bibliographic details of the item you require.

How many inter-library loans can I have?

There is no limit for items that we are able to source freely from our partner NHS libraries.

However, individuals are limited to five British Library interlibrary loan requests per month. This is because this is an expensive service for the Library. If the request is for a systematic review, or related to patient safety, please contact one of our librarians as further funding may be available.

Do I have to pay for an inter-library loan?

No, our interlibrary loan service is free for you. The only exception is if you would like more than five British Library items in one month, in which case we will charge a flat rate of £5.00 for any extra items beyond the first five.

How long will my inter-library loan request take?

An inter-library loan request will take no longer than five working days to complete.



What are ClinicalKeyDynamed, and BMJ Best Practice

  • BMJ Best Practice is an award-winning point of care tool. It gives healthcare professionals quick and easy access to authoritative information to underpin diagnosis and treatment decisions. Updated daily, it draws on the latest evidence-based research, guidelines and expert opinion to offer step-by-step guidance on diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and prevention. Find out more here.
  • Dynamed Plus is a user-friendly clinical decision support tool using expert clinical evidence, and an ideal quick tool at the point of care. Both point of care tools have useful mobile phone apps, and the app for Dynamed is excellent. Find out more here.
  • Clinical Key gives full access to 600 of Elsevier's journals, 1,000 books, 9,000 medical and procedural videos, disease summaries, drug monographs, clinical guidelines, images, and patient information. It includes FirstConsult evidence based summaries of health conditions and references from Medline.  Find out more here.

What is NHS Evidence / HDAS?

The Healthcare Databases Advanced Search, part of the NHS Evidence suite, allows literature searching across eight key healthcare databases, including Medline, Embase and CINAHL. It covers a vast wealth of authoritative journals and includes articles, book chapters, conference abstracts, theses and other information sources.

Can I access the Library's e-resources from home?

Yes, you can access all the Library's subscription e-resources from home via (see the A-Z list for quick links) and using your OpenAthens login details. If you do not have an OpenAthens account, you can register here (you will need to register using a Trust PC and a UH Bristol email address).


Literature searching

Can the Library help me carry out a literature search?

Yes, one of our librarians can either carry out a literature search on your behalf, or you can arrange for a one-to-one session with a librarian to go through your search together. For both options, please email including the following information:

1. Topic (be as specific as you can)
2. Date range
3. Any specific limits (languages, guidance etc)
4. State whether the search is urgent or non-urgent
We will aim to provide the results of your literature to you in five working days.


What information should I include in a literature search request?

If you are requesting to have a search done on your behalf by a librarian, it is useful for you to provide as much information about your search as possible. Be clear about your focus and include keywords and phrases you think would be relevant. Also specify any limits e.g. publication date, population etc., and anything else you think might assist the librarian in carrying out the search.


Training sessions

What training sessions do you run?

We run three main training sessions, each of which last an hour (though timing can be tailored to your needs):

  • Literature Searching: An in-depth guide on how to search the Library's electronic and print resources, including UpToDate and NHS Healthcare Databases. Useful for anybody who wants to find the best and quickest way to source articles and find relevant evidence.
  • Critical Appraisal: How to assess the strengths and weaknesses of published articles. We look at different research designs, bias and validity, and frameworks that can be used to support critical appraisal.
  • Medical Statistics: A basic introduction to the key statistics in medical articles. The session gives an overview of statistics that compare risk, statistics that test confidence, and forest plots. Additional content focuses on statistics that analyse clinical investigations and test difference.
  • Study Skills

We can also give a General Library Introduction, which covers how to access the Library and its resources, an overview of our print and electronic resources, and the services and training we offer.

What should I do if I would like to attend a lunchtime drop in?

If you would like to book on to a particular session, (or arrange for a one-to-one session with a librarian) please email

Can I arrange a training session for individuals in my department?

Of course. Please email with the rough details of your request (e.g. who the attendees would be, any possible dates that would suit you, which session you would like). A librarian will then be in contact to discuss the details.


Other services

What is an Evidence Update bulletin?

Our Evidence Update bulletins span a range of specialities. Each bulletin brings together new publications and content from leading journals, NICE guidance, Cochrane reviews, updates in UpToDate, and other sources, tailored to the requirements of the speciality and user group. They are published on a monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly basis.

How can my department / speciality set up an Evidence Update bulletin?

If you would like to discuss the possibility of setting up a bulletin for your department or area of speciality, please email

Can you add me to the mailing list for an existing Evidence Update bulletin?

To be added to a mailing list, please email the librarian named on the specific bulletin. If you cannot find an individual name, email