Accessing online resources

The Library provides access to thousands of electronic resources, including books, journals and databases. These can be accessed by Heriot-Watt University staff and students online anywhere in the world. 

Discovery and the A-Z Database List

We recommend accessing electronic resources through Discovery, our library catalogue and search tool, or the A-Z Database List. The Subject Guides will help you find the most useful databases and other resources for your research.

If you are using library resources from outside of the Edinburgh, Malaysia or Scottish Borders campuses you may be prompted to log in using your Heriot-Watt username (eg abc123) and password. Please disconnect from any VPNs (including the Heriot-Watt VPN) and any external proxy servers.

Some resources may require an individual username and password that is different to your Heriot-Watt username and password. They are clearly marked in their Discovery and A-Z Databases List records, with instructions on how to get these passwords.

For guidance searching Discovery, please see our videos on Accessing journals from off campus and Accessing ebooks from off campus

Alternative routes

There may be times when you find electronic books and articles without searching on Discovery, and want to know if you have access. Sometimes you may be able to sign in using Shibboleth authentication, or you can use a browser extension called LibKey Nomad. You can also change settings on Google Scholar to link back to Discovery records (please see this video for guidance).   

Login directly to a resource using Shibboleth

Some resources allow you to log in directly without accessing them through the library by using Shibboleth logins. A full list of Heriot-Watt resources which use Shibboleth can be viewed and downloaded here.  

When looking for the login link in a resource, the wording can vary from resource to resource - it could just be Login, or it might be something like Institutional login, Shibboleth login, UK Federation login, UK Access Management Federation login - or maybe some other variation. For some resources, before you can enter your UserID and password, you will have to select Heriot-Watt University from a list of institutions.

Our video guide has more information and guidance on how to use Shibboleth to access journals and resources when searching at home.

Install the LibKey Nomad browser extension

LibKey Nomad is a web browser extension which works with Google Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari. Once installed, it provides links for quick access to full-text articles you find one the web which are available through the library.

This video provides more information on how to set up LibKey Nomad.

There is also a PDF Guide to LibKey Nomad.

Video guide to installing the LibKey Nomad extension