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Online reference services

Online reference services are available to anyone with a Lewisham library card.

We have 17 online reference services which include business databases, encyclopaedias, dictionaries and historical newspapers, and most of which can be accessed remotely. To start using them follow the links below and enter your Lewisham library card number when prompted. 

Academic papers

Academic papers offer well informed arguments and studies on a variety of topics including health, politics, animal welfare, farming practices and history.

Access to Research
Free access to a wide range of published academic research covering a variety of subject areas including medicine, art, history and the sciences.

Issues Online
A comprehensive reference source addressing contemporary social issues. Issues Online covers 60 topics and provides a wide range of information and opinions on each one.

Art databases

Interested in art, architecture, structures, plans, and artist signatures? Access art databases for free with your library card.

Oxford Art Online

The most comprehensive online reference resource for all aspects of the visual arts worldwide from prehistory to the present day. You can find information on artists, architects, designers, patrons, collectors, dealers, publishers, printers, writers and scholars. This database also covers a range of mediums, including film and video, liturgical and ritual objects, and textiles and embroidery.

Biographies

Find more about the lives of people who shaped history. You can find other biographies and autobiographies in Overdrive and RB Digital.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
The Oxford DNB contains 50,000 biographies of people who shaped the history of the British Isles and beyond, from the earliest times to the year 2004.

Business

Got an idea that you would like to turn into a business? Find information on your sector, what you need to know about hiring staff and all other legal requirements to get you started.

COBRA (Complete Business Reference Advisor)
Practical information for starting, running and managing a small business. Find checklists for new businesses, legal requirements for hiring staff, if there are any changes in legislation that may affect you and much more.

Access to Research
Free access to a wide range of published academic research covering many different subject areas including all aspects of business – marketing, finance, economics and advertising.

Encyclopaedias and dictionaries

If you don't know very much about a topic use your library card to search through all of these sources for free from your web browser.

Credo Reference 
Credo is a giant online reference library that provides you with access to a selection of 504 reference books. It includes encyclopaedias, dictionaries, thesauruses and books of quotations, not to mention a range of subject-specific titles covering everything from art to accountancy and literature to law.

Encyclopaedia Britannica
This is the online version of the famous encyclopaedia, with a world atlas, timelines, comparative country data, international news feeds, and much more. Also available is the Britannica Library Junior, aimed at 5–10-year-olds and the Britannica Library Student, aimed at 10–14-year-olds.

Oxford Dictionaries
With up-to-date online dictionaries, thesauruses, and language reference content based on the largest language research programme in the world, Oxford Dictionaries is an extensive and smart-linked English language resource. It offers quick search access to definitions of words, phrases, and idioms, with expert guidance on grammar, spelling, and style and usage; plus specialist guides for legal and technical writing.

Oxford English Dictionary (OED)
The OED is widely recognised as the most authoritative and comprehensive dictionary of English in the world. It also traces the evolution of more than 600,000 words over the last 1,500 years through 3 million quotations from classic literature and specialist periodicals to film scripts and cookery books.

Oxford Reference Online
With your library card you have access to Oxford Reference Online: Premium Collection, which is a vast online reference library of over 212 titles. It offer both in-depth content and authoritative, quick-reference coverage.

Ephemera/Local Interest

Do you want to know what life was like in the past? Or perhaps what events unfolded in a specific area? Then these databases are for you. You can also find out more about local history by visiting our local history and heritage pages.

Ancestry Library
Search for your ancestors on the library edition of Ancestry.com which includes all of the UK censuses from 1841 to 1911, plus births, marriages and deaths. Available in Lewisham, Downham and Deptford branches only.

John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera
This collection provides access to thousands of items selected from the John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera, offering unique insights into the changing nature of everyday life in Britain in the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Categories include nineteenth-century entertainment, the book trade, popular prints, crimes, murders and executions, and advertising.

Illustrated London News Historical Archive 1842 to 2003 
This publication presented a vivid picture of British and world events including wars, disasters, royal affairs, social affairs, and the arts and sciences. The archive contains over 260,000 fully searchable colour pages.

Magazines

Find sports, history, information and gossip by flicking through our wide selection of magazines online.

RB Digital
This resource gives you access to over 660 magazines titles and their back issues too. Browse your library's collection of popular magazine titles with no holds, no checkout periods, and no limit to the number of magazines you can download. Also available as a mobile app.

Press Reader
Press reader has nearly 4000 magazines in 60 languages from over 100 countries. The magazines cover technology, fashion, parenting, sports and much more. Also available as a mobile app.

Music

Interested in music, musicians, music-making, and music scholarship? You can access the music databases below with your library card.

Oxford Music Online
Instant access to the world's premier authority on all aspects of music. With your library card you have access to both the Oxford Dictionary of Music and the Oxford Companion to Music.

Stingray Qello
Watch the world's largest collection of on-demand, full-length performances, concert films, and music documentaries. New releases added weekly. To access this service, sign into your RB Digital account (see above), then click Stingray Qello. You will then get a pass for seven days which you can renew as often as you like.

Newspapers

With your library card you can search through thousands of quality newspapers without adverts, paywalls, content split over multiple pages or signing in and out of multiple sites.

Press Reader

Access 6000 newspapers from over 100 countries in 60 languages. Also available as a mobile app.

NewsUK
One fully searchable database of 176 UK newspapers and news magazines, covering local, regional and national news.   

19th Century British Library Newspapers
Contains full runs of influential national and regional newspapers representing different political and cultural segments of the nineteenth-century British society. 

Times Digital Archive 1785 to 2007
First published in 1785, the Times of London is widely considered to be the world's 'newspaper of record'. The Times Digital Archive allows users to search over 200 years of this invaluable historical source.

Illustrated London News Historical Archive 1842 to 2003 
This publication presents a vivid picture of British and world events including wars, disasters, royal affairs, social affairs, and the arts and sciences. The archive contains over 260,000 fully searchable colour pages.

Contact

Library Service

London Borough Of Lewisham Second Floor, Laurence House, 1 Catford Road, London, SE6 4RU
Telephone: 03333 704 700
Email: libraries@lewisham.gov.uk