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Cambridge LibGuides

eresources & ejournals: Help

Raven Helpdesk

Email the Raven helpdesk for queries about authentication to eresources 

email address:

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 - 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.


Downloading and printing from digital resources is covered by copyright law and licence terms. In general, only one copy of one article may be downloaded or printed from an e-journal. Downloading or printing multiple copies or whole journal volumes is not permitted. For online databases users should consult the individual licence terms for each resource.

Licences for purchased and subscription ejournals, ebooks, and databases general permit access without passwords on campus but restrict off-campus access to current staff and students of the University of Cambridge. These resources are protected by Raven (Shibboleth) password. Access to others is available only to walk-in users within Cambridge University Library or, where permitted, within the University of Cambridge domain.

Open proxy servers may not be used to provide access to licensed digital resources by unauthorised users. Publishers and service providers who discover that open proxy servers are being used in this way may take action to block access, either to the individual IP address or the whole domain.

Students and staff of the University and library readers are reminded that the use of online content including databases, ejournals, ebooks, theses, and images is subject to copyright law and the publishers' licence terms which cover downloading, printing, and re-use of content. It is the individual's responsibility to ensure that their actions do not breach copyright or the licence agreements. Failure to do so could result in legal action or the publisher withdrawing the University's access to a resource. Terms and conditions of use are often incorporated into the resources themselves. Copies of licences for individual digital resources or collections are available on request Information for staff and students on copyright licensing is available from the University web pages.

The Information Services Committee of the University of Cambridge enforces Rules on the Use and Misuse of Computing Facilities.  These Rules completely prohibit any giving out of credentials provided to individuals by the University.  Sharing your credentials has grave consequences for your personal security and others’, as they can be used to obtain confidential, private and sensitive information, and could be used to damage the University’s computing facilities’ security.  Use of credentials by third parties not condoned by the University places the University in breach of license agreements covering the provision of published online content which would ultimately result in a license’s termination and loss of access.  The Rules state:

“User identifiers and passwords are issued to individuals for a specific purpose, usually in connection with University of Cambridge work, and the Rules explicitly forbid the giving, lending or borrowing of an identifier and password for any UIS facility FOR ANY REASON except where previously sanctioned by the UIS. As a matter of policy, UIS facilities do not have guest identifiers open to use by any member of the public.”

If you are approached by Sci-Hub to share your credentials it is advisable for your own security to refuse this.  Sci-Hub is a federated search system that operates with an associated repository called Library Genesis (LibGen) that contains illegally obtained copyrighted material.  Sci-Hub uses multiple institutional access systems to search across publisher platforms.  When it receives a search request, it delivers a copy of an article back to the requester and stores a copy in LibGen so that Sci-Hub can deliver it again for subsequent requests.  Sci-Hub circumvents authentication necessary to access publisher platforms that contain content provided to libraries under license agreements by using the login credentials of University members.  


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 a number of online collections, including ejournals and ebooks. Details about the collections and how to access them as an alumnus can be found here

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.

Guidance on the use of eresources

On this page you will find general guidance on what actions are permissible for using e-resources. For specific queries please contact

The majority of ejournals and databases licensed by the University are covered by the JISC Model License.  Use restrictions on resources licensed by Eduserv Chest as detailed in this form are binding on first use of the resource.