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Library Services




A subject guide for the UCL History department

Books and e-books

The History collection (2nd floor, Main Library, Wilkins Building) contains sections on medieval, early modern and modern history, with particular strengths in British, European, London, American and Latin American history. Books in the openly available collection are arranged in, and in the rooms just off, the History corridor. The Ancient history collection is on the 1st floor, while Nordic history forms part of Scandinavian studies at the north end of the Main Library. The Royal Historical Society is on the same floor as the History collection. The open access part of the Society’s collection – mainly national and local record society publications – is in the History Series Room.

Explore is the principal tool to find books, journals and other materials (either in print or in electronic format) held in UCL libraries. From Explore, you will find the location details of the materials you are looking for. A typical shelfmark for a book openly available will consist of the name of a subject (indicating a section of the Library), followed by numbers and letters denoting its classified position on the shelves in that section. Finally, 3 letters will indicate the author or editor of the work.

Other collections

  • Art: includes material on museums, curation and the history of art.
  • Economics: provides material on economic theory and policy.
  • Hebrew & Jewish Studies: covering all aspects of Jewish history, languages, literature and culture.
  • Law: includes material on constitutional law, the EU and legal systems.
  • Literature: includes books on literary topics not specific to any one language, literary theory and literature translated into English.
  • Philosophy: books and periodicals on European philosophy.
  • Public Policy: covers aspects of political science and the formulation of government policy.
  • Anthropology: includes material on human behaviour and societies, past and present.
  • Geography: for human geography, including topics such as migration, development and the environment. 
  • History of Science: for the philosophy and history of science.
  • Librarianship & Archives: covers publishing, digital humanities and records management.

Stores service

How can you tell if a book is available online?

On UCL Explore, you can look at the results of your search to quickly discover if a book is available in print or/and online: View Online means that the book is available electronically, while Available means that the book is available in print. In some cases a book is available both in print and online. 

E-books Explore screenshot

General reference works, encyclopaedias and dictionaries

Consult introductory material or general reference works for a broad overview of your issue or topic, and to identify key concepts, theories and researchers in the field. Introductory material may include:

  • subject or discipline specific dictionaries and encyclopaedias 
  • handbooks
  • companions
  • introductions
  • guides
  • biographies
  • histories

Find introductory material in Explore by combining a topic keyword with one of the material type descriptors above, e.g. handbook European history.

These are some examples of introductory material available for History in the Library. The list is not extensive, and you should perform your own searches to see what else is available.