Skip to main content

Cambridge LibGuides

ebooks@cambridge: Access ebooks

A guide to finding and using ebooks at the University of Cambridge

Where can I access ebooks?

If you are a current member of Cambridge University (i.e. staff or student) you can access ebooks on and off-campus using your Raven username and password. Most ebooks can be used on mobile devices as well as PCs, although compatibility varies between platforms and suppliers.

Users of the University Library who are not current members of the University (including Cambridge MAs) can access most ebooks within the University Library building without a Raven account, either using a laptop or device connected to the UniofCam wireless network, or via a Library PC.

Electronic Legal Deposit ebooks: an exception


On iDiscover you might come across books that are 'restricted to designated PCs'. These ebooks are supplied to the UL by publishers under Electronic Legal Deposit legislation, and may only be used on the PCs listed here

Raven Helpdesk

Email the Raven helpdesk for queries about authentication to eresources 

email address: lib-raven@lists.cam.ac.uk

Please use this email for any question you might have that has not been covered in the Raven FAQs.

This helpdesk is manned during normal office hours. Monday - Friday 9.am - 5 pm.

Please note that it is not possible to give out passwords over the phone or send them via email. No member of staff at either the University Information Services or the University Library will ever ask you for your password nor should it be revealed within the text of any enquiry.

Troubleshooting ebook access

Having trouble accessing an ebook? Try the following before contacting ebooks@lib.cam.ac.uk for help:

  • Try a different browser. We sometimes experience compatibility problems between certain platforms/browsers (e.g. Dawsonera and Microsoft Edge).
  • Google the exact error message. You will often find the solution online.
  • Be aware that we rarely purchase all of the ebooks on a particular platform. If it's not listed in iDiscover, we probably don't have access (but you can contact us to double check).
  • Check your ereader software. Ebooks in ePub format require Adobe Digital Editions. This is not the same as Adobe Reader, which is used to open pdfs.
  • Is the ebook pdf trying to open in a browser's own pdf viewer (e.g. Chrome)? Try changing the browser settings to use Adobe Reader instead.

Raven FAQs

Raven allows you to login to access eresources off campus just once, without having to repeat the process for each e-resource you might want to use. Raven is the University's central user authentication system for web-based resources and is used for accessing the University's subscription e-resources as well as for remote access to all resources which are IP-validated. Current members of the University and affiliated institutions are provided with a password for the Raven authentication system as part of their computing service account when they arrive.

The University Information Services (UIS) maintain Raven FAQs.

Raven will only work with resources and content for which the University actually holds a current licence. To establish which sites require a Raven login you should always go through iDiscover or the Databases A-Z or the ejournals A-Z, as these will confirm what we have access to and provide information regarding dates of coverage and access routes. Should you find you can't access something that you should be able to use and your Raven account is working fine then please contact ejournals@cambridge helpdesk.

All Alumni (including those with MA degrees) of the University, who no longer conduct research, teach or study at Cambridge are not entitled to an account. Members of private companies who have close links to University departments, employees of the NHS or MRC or any Recognised Non-University Institution without a joint University appointment and visitors to University premises (including libraries) unless designated official visiting status by either a department or college, are also not entitled to access University licensed material. Even those supervising University post graduate students are, under this policy, not entitled to access the same University licenced services that the student can use.

Registration at and admission to Cambridge University Library and Affiliated Libraries as a non-University patron does not include any entitlement to use Raven protected electronic resources or to be issued with a Raven password.

Retired members who are in receipt of their Cambridge University pension and have an existing Raven account may continue to use it the normal way. A retired member in receipt of their Cambridge University pension who doesn't have an account should contact the UIS. See here for further details. In regards to retired members of staff wishing to use Raven to access eresources the following statement may apply .

"The licence terms under which we are authorising use of online services using Raven still generally exclude retired members of an institution as a class. We would extend the definition of "current staff or student" to include a retired academic who remains active within the department or College and therefore whose use can legitimately be seen as being for University purposes. We would require some form of communication, be that letter or email, from the faculty to that effect."

Currently the Alumni Office with the University Library provides access for Cambridge University alumni to the JSTOR archive collections subscribed by the University Library.

Free access to the JSTOR digital library is available to all matriculated University of Cambridge alumni. JSTOR allows you to read a huge range of academic work online. On accessing the JSTOR website you should see a message displayed in the right sidebar: 'Your access to JSTOR provided by University of Cambridge Library'. Alumni have access to the same set of JSTOR Archive Collections as students and faculty at Cambridge. There are currently over 2,305 e-journals available, with collections including Arts & Sciences I-X, Life Sciences, the Ireland collection and 19th-century British pamphlets, as well as a number of individual journal titles. The collection includes the entire back-run from the first issue of every journal, including the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, first published in 1665. JSTOR is continually digitizing journal volumes and issues but you will normally find that the most recent content (up to 3 years ago) is not available.

Further information about obtaining this access as a Cambridge alumnus can be found here. Visit the Alumni Office website.

Access to eresources is possible via your device, through wireless hotspots that are available throughout the University.

The wireless network is the UniOfCam (previously known as Lapwing) wireless hot-spot facility run by University Information Services. The service is available to all current staff and students of the University of Cambridge, using a Raven password.

If you are a visitor from a university, college or other institution supporting eduroam and have configured your laptop as instructed by your local computing or information service then it should automatically connect to our wireless network as soon as you open a browser. The advantages of eduroam are that you do not need to obtain a UniOfCam wireless ticket and access is available so long as you are affiliated with your home institution.

Other categories of user of the University Library are welcome to use the wireless network. For this they will require a 'UniOfCam ticket', which is issued on request and valid for a limited duration.

It is recommended that University of Cambridge users configure their wireless device to use Eduroam rather than UniOfCam. This is because access to some electronic titles is not permitted through UniOfCam for network security reasons.


Further ebooks information for Cambridge librarians can be found on the Cambridge Libraries Intranet.