The University Library offers a range of services and support for distance learners.  We are committed to developing our services to distance learners and are keen to hear of any practical suggestions to improve the service.  If you have any comments on our services then please contact the Arts Sub Librarian who has a special responsibility for reviewing the library needs of distance learners (irrespective of subject area). This guide refers you to the most useful sections contained in our ‘Guide to Library Services’ which is available from the Library directly or may be downloaded from our Library Services pages.


The Library Catalogue

You can access our library catalogue from home or from your workplace if you have a computer connected to the Internet.  A short guide to using the catalogue is available in the Library catalogue Help section.



Passwords you will need

You will require your Blackboard Learn username and password.

Blackboard Learn

What is it?
Your Blackboard Learn password allows you to access your module course work and all the electronic services the University provides to support Distance Learners.

Where do I get it?
Go to Campus One for advice on logging on to Blackboard Learn

What if I lose it/forget it?
Contact the Campus One help site at Campus One for help.

Athens Authentication on Blackboard Learn

The Library offers access to a range of electronic resources including databases and electronic journals. Athens is an access management system to control access to web based electronic resources at the Ulster University.
When you log on to Blackboard Learn your Athens account is automatically activated - no other usernames and passwords are required

When you log on to Blackboard Learn, follow the link to Library Services (inc. Athens).

From the next screen, click on the link for the Library Service Point (shown below)

From the Library service Point, you will have access to Databases, Electronic journals, your Module Reading list and other resources.


Athens Authentication on the Portal

You also have Athens authentication using the University Portal at Once logged on (using the same password details as for Blackboard Learn), an Athens authentication message will appear on the screen.

Click on the Library & ICT tab to access the Library's resources and services.

Checking your Athens account details

Returning students (i.e. not new students) may also have an individual Athens username and password. If you fall in this category you can check what your Athens username and password details are by clicking on the Banner tab in the Portal and following these steps:

Enter your User ID and PIN and click on Login.
At the next screen click on the Personal Information tab.
Then on View Student ID, Password and Email Address.
Scroll down to the bottom of this screen to view your Athens username and password


What Does Athens Authentication Give Access to?

  • Databases which are indicated with an in the Resource Description column in the Databases A - Z  table.

  • Electronic journals

  • Most Electronic books (which can be found using the Library Catalogue).


Other Passwords

Some databases do not use Athens Authentication and so will not display the symbol. Information on the username and password for these resources appears on the Password and Access information link in the Special Instructions column in the databases A-Z  table. If you are off-campus, the password details will not appear automatically for security reasons, but  there will be a link to a secure page providing these details. You can log on to this page with your Blackboard Learn username and password.

For further help on passwords see the  Guide to Passwords.


Enquiries and Help

Enquiries should be directed to the appropriate Subject Librarian either by phone or e-mail - a list of their contact details is available at the end of this document and on the Faculty Support section of the Library Contacts page. While we cannot undertake research on your behalf we can provide advice and guidance on possible sources, both printed and electronic.
There is also a Library Subject Enquiry Form which will be directed to the correct Subject Librarian.
Details of our opening hours are available. Vacation opening hours will vary though we usually offer some form of extended opening during the Summer Semester.

If you require help with Blackboard Learn access then please use the Blackboard Learn Helpdesk link on the Blackboard Learn page.



Document Delivery Service

Distance learning students may request journal articles up to a maximum of 4 per week. This includes copies of articles held by the Ulster University Library, but please use USearch to ensure that the articles are not already available to you electronically.

Students registered on Distance Learning courses should use the Document Delivery Request form to request articles. Please enter your University ID and network password when prompted (this is the same as your Portal / Blackboard Learn login details). When completing your online request remember to:

  • set the Item Type option to journal article
  • choose the ‘Distance Learner’ option when prompted to select your Home Site
  • review the copyright declaration and terms and conditions of use before agreeing to these

Upon clicking ‘Confirm Item Request’ to submit your request you may then choose to ‘make another request’ or view your request status in your account. Please remember to logout when you are finished. A Completing the Online Document Delivery Form guide is available.

When the document is available you will be sent an e-mail with a hyperlink from which you can download or print the document. Please note: 

  • You have 30 days to do this, after which time the document will be deleted
  • You are only allowed to download the document from the secure server once
  • You may print only one paper copy, from which you may not make any further copies.

To view these documents, you need Acrobat Reader which freely available from the Adobe Web site and a FileOpen plug-in  which is also free. Please refer to our main Document Delivery page for further guidance on installation and use of this Digital Rights Management software.

We will only use postal delivery if you advise us that you are unable for any reason to receive and print documents electronically.  It is not possible to provide postal loan service for books. The Coleraine Office is the contact point for distance learners using this service, telephone +44(0) 28 703 23084 or email Your feedback on this service is welcome and there is a comments form on the Library website.


Help by Subject - your Faculty Subject Guides

Whatever course or module you are studying there is subject specific guidance and help available through the Faculty Subject Guides. Each Faculty has a team of Subject Librarians who can offer help and guidance in the subjects taught in the Faculty. Below are links to each Faculty Subject Guide. The contact details for each subject  team can be found in the guides.

Art Design and the Built Environment Computing and Engineering
Arts Life and Health Sciences
Business & Management Social Sciences



Access to Other Libraries

You may be entitled to use the library at the college or university where you studied for your first degree.  Some universities have an ex-students society (Alumni) which may give members library access.

Many colleges and universities have external membership schemes for students who have no connection with that particular institution.  If you live near a university, it is worth enquiring about this - a charge will usually be made.  The Arts Sub Librarian can provide you with a letter of introduction to support your request for admittance to other university libraries, though we cannot guarantee that this will be granted.

The Vacation Access Scheme is a national agreement which allows you to use most other UK and Irish university libraries for reference purposes during vacation periods.  Some libraries limit this to the summer vacation only so check with the library before you visit.

SCONUL Access is a co-operative venture between most of the higher education libraries of the UK and Ireland. It enables staff and eligible students to borrow material from other libraries.

Access to a range of Libraries in Northern Ireland and the Border counties is available to registered members of UU with an INSPIRE Passport. For more information and an application form, check the UU Library INSPIRE page.

Special libraries can often provide access to information resources although a fee may be charged.  The British Council provides a network of 225 library and information centres in 110 countries.  Books, journals and newspapers are available and there are lending and reference facilities in some of the centres.  Each Centre offers general and education information about the UK.



Useful Library Contacts

Distance Learning Contact Details
Niall Burns Sub-Librarian Jordanstown Library
+44 (0)28 9036 6970 
Gerard McFall Business & Management
Jordanstown Library
+44 (0)28 9036 8144 
Mary Rose Holman Computing & Engineering
Jordanstown Library
+44 (0)28 9036 8003 
Joan Atkinson Life & Health Sciences
Coleraine Library
+44 (0)28 7012 4287 


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