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Library Services for Distance Learners

For Distance Learners - this page links to library resources and services most useful for remote users. Learn how to:

  • Access online articles and other materials from anywhere, at any time.
  • Work with a librarian via telephone, e-mail, chat or texting.
  • Order print or online materials from our own collections as well as from other libraries.

Getting Started

A UMass Amherst OIT account is required to access databases and e-journals from off-campus. Remember to enable pop-ups. Access from some networked sites that have firewalls will be difficult: check with your network administrator, or try from home. For more information, see Connection Problems?

The library bar code number on your UCard or Distance Learning ID Card is needed to borrow books and for interlibrary loan and Library Express services.

Find out who your subject specialist librarian is.

Online Course Readings

Your instructor may link to articles and other readings on your course page. You may be asked to indentify yourself as a UMass affliate to view fulltext items; enter your NetID and password when prompted.

E-Reserves: Your instructor may have the Library set up an online site for course readings. The password will be supplied by the instructor.

Doing Research Online: Articles


Search for articles in the 200+ databases to which the UMass Amherst Libraries subscribe, providing on-line full text from scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, reference sources, and some books.

Help with Databases:

  • Subject Research Guides list and describe the best databases for your academic discipline.
  • DBHelp ( helps with problems accessing databases.
  • Ask a librarian for help with research.
  • Full-text of an article may be available online from the database you’re searching, or through another library database. Look for the red button labeled UMLinks in the citation to get a list of options for obtaining the article.
  • Library Express will deliver photocopies or scans of articles from the Libraries' hard-copy subscriptions. Photocopies or scans of articles from journals the Libraries don't subscribe to can be obtained through Interlibrary Loan.


If you have a citation or know of a useful journal, browse a list of online journals, magazines and newspapers to which the UMass Amherst Libraries subscribe, and then follow links to get specific articles.

Doing Research Online: Books

UMA WorldCat

UMA WorldCat is a discovery tool that helps you find a wide range of materials in one single search. Books, articles, videos, journals and more can be located using UMA WorldCat and you can easily determine if the materials you need are located at UMass or in the 5 College system (these items will be listed first), or in libraries worldwide.

Library Catalog

The catalog lists all books, journals (periodicals), maps, videos, scores, recordings, and other holdings of the UMass Amherst Libraries.

Library Express

Get UMass Amherst library books sent through the mail to your address. A great service for remote learners!

Interlibrary Loan

Create an account to order books UMass Amherst doesn't own (delivery is to Du Bois library only) or get copies of articles in journals to which we don't subscribe.

Using Other Libraries

If you live near an academic library ( Libdex will help you find out), contact them. Many offer services to local residents. If you are a Massachusetts resident, numerous library services and resources are available to you through your local library, regional library system, and the Massachusetts Library and Information Network (MLIN). UMass Amherst students, staff and faculty can borrow books from and use material and databases within the libraries of three regional consortia:

  • Five College Catalog
  • Boston Library Consortium (BLC) includes many major universities in New England. Borrow books from these libraries with a BLC Consortium Card. To apply for a BLC Consortium Card, bring your UCard to the W.E.B. Du Bois Library Circulation Desk, or contact Rachel Hobbie (413.545.3397) for more details.
  • MCCLPHEI: Books can be borrowed with a UCard from any of this group of the libraries of Massachusetts public colleges and universities.

Getting Help

For comments or suggestions concerning this page, please contact: Beth Lang, Reference Librarian.


Last Edited: 9 October 2014