Monday, 26 November 2012

Christmas Vacation borrowing and other useful information, to help you get through the festive period

A special Christmas package of information, just for you!

Michaelmas Term 2012 ends on Friday 30th November. All books on loan from the Balfour Library must be returned by this date, or can be renewed for further periods unless they have been requested by another borrower.

Saturday morning opening has now finished until next term. 

Vacation borrowing for undergraduates 

This is permitted for the whole of the Christmas vacation. 

You can take a maximum of two books away from Cambridge which must be returned by midnight on the first day of the Lent Term 2013 (15th January). This applies to Overnight Loan books and Open Shelf books.

You can borrow books for the vacation period from 09:00 on Thursday 29th November. This is on a strictly first come, first served basis. You may not reserve books before borrowing them.

Please see the library website at: for more information on how to borrow, return and renew books on loan from the Balfour Library.

You may be interested to know that the University Library and the Central Science Library (on this site) also offer vacation borrowing for undergraduates, please see their websites at and respectively.

How to access online resources when you are away from Cambridge

The recommended route for accessing e-journals provided by the University remotely is as follows:

  • Go to the ejournals@cambridge website at:
  • Enter the title of the journal you need (if it does not appear then there is no online subscription to it)
  • Click on the 'find journals by title' button
  • Click on the link for the journal title as appropriate for the particular year of publication of the article that you need
  • The Raven login box should appear
  • Enter your Raven userid and password and click on the 'Submit' button
  • You should then be taken to the host page for that journal and you can find the article(s) you need from there
  • (You only need to enter the Raven login once per session so you won't have to keep logging in and out each time you need a different journal)

Away from Cambridge, you will not be able to get the full text of e-journal articles through searching PubMed or Google / GoogleScholar, or directly from the journal's homepage for example, as you will not be recognised as being a valid member of the University of Cambridge and will not be allowed to download them. The recommended route as above should guarantee you the access to the content you are entitled to.

It is strongly recommended that you check the ejournals@cambridge website as above to see whether you will actually be able to access particular online journals remotely BEFORE you leave Cambridge. 

See also the eresources@cambridge website at: for access to particular citation databases, such as Scopus and Web of Knowledge. See the 'Access Route' link next to the journal or database title to check this.
Troubleshooting e-journals access

Finally, if you are having trouble accessing e-journals and e-resources remotely using your Raven password please see the guidance provided on the Central Science Library's 'Raven FAQs' website at:


Don’t fancy taking all those heavy books home over the vacation? Then you might be interested in using e-books from home instead. 

Not everything is available as an e-book however so you will need to check that the e-books you need are actually available BEFORE you leave Cambridge.

The simplest way to find and access e-books is through the online library catalogue LibrarySearch at If you perform a catalogue search for a book and there is an electronic book version of it available, you will retrieve a record for it which will contain a direct link to that e-book. To access e-books off-campus you will need your Raven password.

There is also an up-to-date list of all e-books available that you can browse by subject here

There are even more collections of free e-books available to you that won’t be found through LibrarySearch however. Please see the ebooks@cambridge website for further information on all the e-books available in the university, how to use them, and how to download them onto your e-reader or other mobile device, at:

Library Christmas and New Year closing dates 

The Balfour Library will be closed from 17:00 on Monday 24th December and will re-open at 08:30 on Wednesday 2nd January 2013.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Clair & Jane