Ensuring access to key digital resources for teaching, learning and research

How we are working to support libraries and learning resource centres

With library doors closed for the foreseeable future, the Coronavirus pandemic has been an unplanned catalyst for a completely virtual library experience across universities, colleges and skills providers. Jisc is working with sector bodies to find ways to support the essential services run by libraries. We have already removed subscription requirements to our own content services and have appealed to providers of digital content and software to do likewise in an open letter to The Publishers Association and the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers last week. The information below sets out the measures that we and other providers are taking and how you can utilise them.

Content available from Jisc

We provide several content services. For a number of them we have lifted subscription requirements until 31 July 2020 for our members.

This includes Journal Archives, combining nine separate major archives of periodical content from publishers such as Brill, ProQuest and Oxford University Press (along with the open access Spare Rib Archive) and Historical Texts, which brings together major collections of historic books, such as EEBO and ECCO, into a single, powerful resource. Details of how to gain access to both can be found on the respective service website.

Several digital archives are already freely available in perpetuity: Migration to new worlds from Adam Matthew Digital; JSTOR 19th Century British Pamphlets and JSTOR Digital Library of Core E-Resources on Ireland. You can sign-up via Licence subscriptions manager.

Specific content for FE and Skills includes e-Books for FE and our five Vocational learning resources: Construction training, Digital and IT training, Education and childcare training, Health and social care training and Hairdressing Training. The Vogue archive for FE is also available from Licence subscriptions manager.

Access and discoverability

Library Hub Discover is prioritising the loading of metadata relating to open access (OA) content. Records from the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB), the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), and our Historical Texts and Journal Archives services. The globally open material available from the HathiTrust will be added as soon as possible and other sources will also be explored. The blog post from Bethan Ruddock, our project manager for the national bibliographic knowledgebase, provides a bit more context and guidance on these developments. OA resources will also now appear at the top of Discover’s search results.

Archives Hub features many digital collections as part of its extensive listings of UK archival materials. Using the Search page, you will discover over 20 online resource collections available digitally.

Zetoc provides search and personalised alerting to over 30,000 journals as well as over 52 million article citations and conference papers through The British Library’s electronic table of contents.

CORE hosts the world’s largest collection of OA full texts, aggregating content covering all research disciplines sourced from thousands of institutional and subject repositories and journals.

For journal agreements available on Licence subscriptions manager, title list information is already available in library systems’ knowledgebases to aid discovery, regardless of whether you use the KB+ service.

Our Publications Router service may be useful if you’re involved in supporting researchers or can help your institution to comply with the REF open access policy. The information Publications Router gathers from content providers is passed on to you to help you maintain accurate publication data in your institutional repository or your research information system (CRIS). View the list of providers that Publications Router currently works with.

Engaging with publishers, content and service providers


We thank those publishers who have already made content available. As per the open letter, we have contacted publishers and content providers on behalf of UK universities, Research Councils and FE libraries to ask them to adopt the recommendations, including capturing the measures they have put in place so far or plan to implement. This includes the temporary extension of copying limits and access to the CLA Content Store. We have created a single source for these responses, and those we are compiling from members and elsewhere. It will also be linked from the COVID-19 section of our Jisc website, updating the information as we receive it. The list will also include details of resources specific to supporting research into the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

In addition to the open letter and provider registry, we have also partnered with Kortext to deliver access to key learning resources for university students and staff. Further details on this and other providers will be coming shortly and available on this blog.

Pearson has responded to the need to support the FE sector by providing access to free textbooks through its own platform HN Global. We have collaborated with ProQuest to make additional free content available to FE through our e-Books for FE service. An additional 66 titles are now available until 31 July. Full title details are provided on the FE and Skills content blog.


Crucially, all this OA content needs to be discoverable, with as little administrative overhead for libraries as possible. We have contacted key library system vendors: Ebsco, ExLibris and OCLC to understand how they can easily put measures in place. Any information or updates on facilitating the discovery of the free or open content will be shared on our Library services blog. In the meantime, OCLC’s statement describes some of the measures they are taking to make content discoverable. Ebsco are providing an information and resources section, which includes information about e-book access and ExLibris include a ‘Submit your question’ in their Best Practices page. 


Chest has compiled a useful software list detailing the home use rights for distance working and learning for both staff and students under their agreements. The list has largely been completed, but there may be some minor updates.

Advice and guidance

We have developed a dedicated help and information for members webpage on planning for coronavirus (COVID-19). It contains lots of useful information including a link to our Planning for Coronavirus blog, with content added regularly.

There is also a range of guides available to search and browse on our website including Making your digital collections easier to discover and how to Enhance your online learning provision. We’ve also produced a guide with top tips [PDF] on embedding and maximising the use of FE and Skills resources.

Other sources

Online help with delivering library training sessions is also available. FutureLearn are offering a new course on How to teach online: providing continuity for students, and Epigeum, part of Oxford University Press, have made their courses on Teaching Online and Blended Learning freely available until the end of May. The Association for Learning Technology (ALT) and the Education & Training Foundation are also particular good sources for FE. They have made lots of content available as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.


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