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.

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 Borders, Edinburgh, or Malaysia 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.

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.   

The videos below will demonstrate how to access resources through Discovery, how to use Shibboleth and how to set up LibKey Nomad and Google Scholar. 

Using Shibboleth to access journals and resources from home

There may be times when you find a library resource using a search engine. To access these resources, you may need to login using Shibboleth authentication. 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 loginShibboleth loginUK Federation loginUK Access Management Federation login - or maybe some other variation. 

A full list of resources which uses Shibboleth can be viewed and downloaded here.  

For some resources, before you can enter your UserID and password, you will have to select Heriot-Watt University from a list of institutions.

This video explains how to use Shibboleth to access journals and resources when searching at home.

Accessing electronic books from off-campus

This video demonstrates how to access electronic books.

Accessing journal articles from off-campus

This video demonstrates how to access electronic journal articles.

LibKey Nomad: easy access to Heriot-Watt journal subscriptions

LibKey Nomad is a web browser extension which works with Google Chrome, Edge and Firefox. 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.

Google Scholar 

Although we strongly recommend you start you search using Discovery and the databases listed in the A-Z Database List, you may find Google Scholar is a useful tool to expand your search.

This video shows you how to set up Google Scholar so that the results link back to the Discovery records so you can quickly see which items you have access to through Heriot-Watt.