Skip to Main Content
Library Guides

Researcher Support Library Services: Sources of Information

The library provides access to c.850,000 books and c.80,000 journals in addition to many specialist resources such as digital maps; company and legal information; research literature databases and more. 

Primo is the library catalogue and where you can find your Library Account.  It is the gateway to all the library's resources including print books, eBooks, journal titles plus specialist databases and other resources:

Library Resources

Primo searches across subscribed journals to find articles.  Specialist resources & databases can be found using the links below:

Library Books

PhD theses & Grey Literature

Plymouth Theses are deposited to PEARL, the university's Open Access Repository.  Guidance for PGRs on depositing their theses is available.

Special Collections & Rare books

Level 3 of the Library houses a dual use room (Special Collections and Post Graduate study room).
This guide explains the contents of the Special Collections and how to access them. The Library has a collection of Penguin first editions, Rare Books, Artists' Books and Zines, and some special Archival collections including Marjorie Blamey illustrations.

A key library resource for researchers of all disciplines:

Beyond the Library's collections

Inter Library Loans

The library can usually obtain a particular book, journal article or conference proceeding that isn't in our collection from the British Library as an inter-library loan (ILL).  There is currently no charge to you for this service but please bear in mind that it is an expensive service to maintain so please only request items essential to your research.  (Requests for material that we have in stock will not be fulfilled).

For further information on how to place an Inter Library Loan via Primo including setting up a British Library On Demand account, charges for print loans and the Library's ILL policy, see our comprehensive guidance:

open access lockOpen Access browser extensions (find 'free' versions of paywalled .pdfs)

Open Access refers to legally accessible, free of charge access to published research outputs.  The journal articles we view through Primo or Web of Science or the majority of those that open full text through from Google Scholar are due the Library paying an annual subscription payment to the publisher.  Public money is used to fund research grants and there is now a growing Open Access movement to ensure that the public can also access the outputs of these grants without additional charge.  

Below are some Open Access search engines and browser add on tools that will hunt for legal openly accessible versions of full text of articles e.g. within institution repositories.  Simply look for articles in your usual way and, when you find an article you wish to view, the browser tools will pop up on your screen indicating if free full text has been found elsewhere.  

These are ideal tools to use in conjunction with the Library's full text subscriptions and before placing an Inter Library Loan.  (Sometimes the Open Access of the article will look different - this is due to copyright.  See the Library's open access publishing guide for more information).

Add the following browser extensions to your desktop:

SCONUL access scheme


This is a reciprocal borrowing scheme between most higher education libraries in the UK and Ireland.  As a postgraduate student or staff member you can apply to use another library.

Help & Support

There are various ways to contact the Library including 1:1 appointments with your subject Information Specialist.  The Library Induction provides an overview of Library services and how the Library works plus a Virtual Tour.

+44 1752 588588


Ask Chat
Chat to a member of staff via Ask chat

IT Self Service
Report a fault, raise a request and ask for IT advice

People - Free people icons

Information Specialists
Make an appointment to meet your subject Information Specialist to discuss search strategies for your research

Library induction banner