Welcome to the McGill Library! This page will help you get started at the Library and walk you through the basics. For additional resources, visit the Library’s Teaching Services page.
For Frequently Asked Questions on the Library's reopening, including hours, group study, distancing, and more, click here.
Meet your Liaison
Your Liaison Librarian can:
- Develop tailored workshops and presentations for your courses.
- Meet with your students to guide them in their discovery of information resources.
- Offer advice on developing assignments that target research skills.
- Train teaching and research assistants on searching library resources.
- Assist in linking to course readings and other materials in myCourses.
- Create course guides to highlight relevant resources for course assignments.
- Buy additional material you need to support your teaching. Please let your Liaison Librarian know about any gaps in our collection or complete our Suggest a purchase form.
Explore the Library’s LibGuides
Browse the Library's 380+ Library Guides on a wide range of subjects from Aboriginal Law to Writing Resources.
myCourses can be a central source of required materials that in the past may have been on reserve or included in a coursepack. The Library often has online access to journal articles and book chapters that are assigned readings for courses. To minimize the need for a coursepack, you can direct links from your myCourses site to required library resources. You may also upload scanned book chapters and journal articles to myCourses. The Library will seek permissions and pay copyright fees if needed. To learn more, refer to this online guide. A link to the Library automatically appears on every student’s myCourses homepage. This Guide: Add readings to myCourses describes step-by-step how to add the links yourself.
Course Readings Service
The Library purchases material to support coursework and other teaching and learning activities. Course Readings are made available to students in a few ways:
- Electronic texts that are part of the Library’s collection will be available through the Course Reserves system.
- Electronic readings that we are not able to add to the Library’s collection will be licensed (if appropriate) for use by the requested course, and provided to instructors as a PDF to post in MyCourses.
- When there are no electronic options, print materials can be made available on 1-day loan in the library branches, and will be listed in the Course Reserves system.
For more information about how the Library can support your teaching, visit our Teaching Services page.
Liaison Librarians and Research
Your Liaison Librarian can:
- Provide support with search strategies, including literature/systematic review support.
- Direct you to collections and materials that are relevant to your research.
- Purchase items to add to the Library’s collection.
- Keep you informed of services and research tools, such as citation management software, and current awareness services.
- Discuss issues of copyright.
- Suggest options for disseminating your research.
- Verify bibliographic information.
Research Impact and M
Librarians can help you and your research team assess publication venues and assist in avoiding predatory publications. They can also help develop your research profile and enrich your academic by helping you find your h-index, citation counts, alternative metrics and more. Visit our Impact Measurements guide for information about different types of research metrics.
Librarians can review your contract agreements and provide support and expertise in negotiating your author rights. This is particularly important for authors with funding requirements for open access. See our Open Access pages for more information.
Complying to Funder Open Access Policies
Librarians will provide support for complying with the Tri-Agency (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC) and FRQ policies on open access. We can deposit your work in the Library’s open access repository, eScholarship, as a means to comply. The repository is open to anyone, anywhere in the world, making it easy for researchers worldwide to discover and access your research.
Data Management Planning and Sharing Data
Canada’s three federal research granting agencies— CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC—have adopted the Tri-Agency Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management. The Library’s Research Data Management Specialist and librarians are available to support researchers establishing and implementing data management practices that are consistent with ethical, legal, and commercial obligations, as well as Tri-Agency requirements. Librarians can also advise on the best repositories or platforms that securely preserve, curate and provide continued access to research data.
Copyright Permissions and Best Practices
For researchers wishing to incorporate third-party content, such as figures or photographs, into their research outputs, the Library can provide copyright best practices. For more information, visit the Copyright at McGill page.
Discovering and Visualizing Research Data
The Library offers data services to help you create, discover, access and use data. We are equipped with dedicated workstations offering commercial and open-source quantitative-, qualitative-, and geospatially-focused software for all your data needs. Librarians can help you with research data management (RDM); qualitative data mining; data manipulation to get it into the right shape and format; and data visualization to make sure it communicates exactly what you intend.
The Library’s Innovation Commons provides access to technologies such as 3D printers, virtual reality*, and a presentation recording studio.
*Note, virtual reality will not be available in the Fall 2021 semester.
Digital Scholarship Hub
The Library’s Digital Scholarship Hub is a convergence of Library and campus services to enhance research using digital technologies. The Hub supports the application of digital methods from one field to advance another, promoting interdisciplinary scholarship and innovative research. It is your access point to evolving Library services related to digital tools, workshops and experts to assist you with your digital scholarship needs.
Workshops on tools such as citation management software and discipline-specific resources are offered throughout the year. Consult the schedule here.
Citation Management Software
McGill provides two time-saving citation management programs, EndNote and Zotero. Citation management software allows you to: save references from online searches; manually enter references; organize your references in different folders (groups); find the full text of your references; create bibliographies; cite references within a text document The Library offers hands-on workshops and consultations on using these programs. Check out the Library’s Citation guides web pages.
The Sofia Discovery Tool
The Sofia Discovery tool is an interface that searches McGill’s library catalogue, other Quebec universities’ library catalogue, the catalogues of libraries worldwide, and select databases. Consult our new guide here.
- The search box is located on the Library’s home page.
- Can be used to search library collections worldwide, including all of McGill’s physical collections and online resources.
- Provides a simple interface for refining search results by date, subject, language, format, and more.
- Advanced search allows you to construct a search specifying a combination of twenty-three indexes such as Author, Language, Title Phrase etc.
- Automatically searches selected research databases to retrieve relevant journal articles.
- Underlying structure built for mobile devices.
- Access to full-text and peer-reviewed articles.
- Access to open access resources like the HathiTrust Digital Library.
- Provides a multilingual interface.
- Allows you to search the course reserves listings.
- Usability-testing built into its design process with real users.
- Ability to link search results in Google Scholar to the full-text of e-resources found in WorldCat.
- Library guides are curated by librarians and help you make the most of the Library’s resources, guiding you to the best resources in your discipline (databases, articles, handbooks, websites and more).
- Guides cover many subjects and topics, everything from 3D printing to LGBTQ+ Studies and some have been prepared for specific courses.
- Guides are searchable by subject, type or librarian.
The Library has the largest collection in Quebec and is one of Canada’s largest academic libraries, with access to over 7.5 million items. We collect materials in diverse formats to support the teaching, learning, and research demands of the McGill community. Visit our branch pages to learn more about our varied collections.
The Library collects a full range of non-print materials including film, music, and art, in both physical and electronic formats.
- We have over 2,707,000 e-books, growing yearly.
- In addition to scores and literature about music, the Marvin Duchow Music Library houses sound and video recording collections, including over 30,000 CDs, 3,000 DVDs, and 40,000 LPs reflecting the full gamut of musical creation.
- The Marvin Duchow Music Library also offers a comprehensive guide to online audio sources and discographies, featuring music libraries and recordings.
- The Humanities and Social Sciences Library includes over 9,000 browsable DVDs in its self-serve reserves room and the Library offers a variety of film content databases and streaming services
Rare Books and Special Collections
The Library houses one of the major repositories of rare books and special collections in Canada. The Library began collecting rare materials in the 1850s and, through gifts and purchases, the holdings now constitute rich and highly diverse research collection. Detailed descriptions are available on the websites of McGill’s Rare Books and Special Collections , the Osler Library of the History of Medicine, the Marvin Duchow Music Library, and the Nahum Gelber Law Library.
We encourage McGill faculty members to use materials from these collections. In every branch, staff are available to assist by making these collections available for consultation, research, and teaching. It is also possible to organize customized sessions for undergraduate or graduate students upon request.
McGill University Archives
The McGill University Archives, located on the 4th floor of the Humanities and Social Sciences Library, contains a range of resources, including published sources on the history of Montreal and McGill University, McGill University calendars, and McGill University publications, such as Old McGill Yearbooks and McGill News. Also available in the Reading Room are the University Archives finding aids for manuscript collections and University records, as well as a series of information files about the University.
The Archives maintain a significant online presence as well. A Guide to Archival Resources at McGill University, first published in print in 1985, includes descriptions of records held by the University Archives in addition to those in other McGill University repositories. Searchable databases include various photograph collections (with 14,000 digitized images), selected private fonds, media collections, and McGill University administrative records listings.
Digital Exhibitions and Collections
Visit the digital exhibitions and collections website to explore over 40 online projects showcasing Library collections covering a wide array of subjects including art, architecture, history, literature, engineering, medicine, maps, music, and urban design.
Borrowing from the Library
Faculty enjoy generous loan periods and a high number of simultaneous loans. Nonetheless, you are also subject to recalls and fines for unreturned or lost items. Visit the borrowing basics page for more information.
Your McGill ID card is your library borrowing card. Please carry it with you whenever you visit the library.
To check out materials from any of the branch libraries, use the self-check machine or present your McGill ID card at one of the Library Services desks.
Requesting Items for Pick-up or Office Delivery
If you are a faculty member with a campus address that is served by McGill’s internal mail system, you may request any item available for loan to be delivered to your campus address. The Office Delivery Service is described here. You can also request to have material sent for you to pick up at the branch library of your choice.
Sign in to your library account, find the item you want in the catalogue, click on the "Requesting items" link, and choose your preferred delivery location. Requests may be placed on both items out to another borrower and those on the library shelves. Note that delivery of requested items may take 2 to 4 working days.
The Library offers access to cutting-edge technology to enhance teaching and learning, including a powerful computer capable of running large datasets, virtual and augmented reality headsets*, 3D printers, Raspberry Pi started kits, arduinos and more. Find up-to-date information on Innovation Commons services here.
*Note, virtual reality will not be available in the Fall 2021 semester.
Article/Chapter Scan Service
McGill students, faculty and staff may request scanned copies of journal articles or book chapters from the Library’s print collection and request the digital format be sent to a McGill email address. Delivery time is normally 2 to 4 working days.
Proxy and Sponsored Borrowers
Faculty may now choose between one of two new services Sponsored Borrowers or Proxy Borrowers. The new Sponsored Borrowers service allows a faculty member to request borrowing privileges for non-McGill people. The new Proxy Borrowers service allows a faculty member to have one or more individuals borrow materials on their behalf. Review the information for both services and fill out the form to request the type of account that fits your situation. Contact a Library Services desk if you have any questions and be sure to request that any expiring Authorized Borrower account items be transferred to one of these new services.
Off-campus Access to Resources
If you are off campus, you will need to authenticate yourself as a McGill faculty member before accessing the Library’s wealth of online journals, ebooks, databases, film collections, and more. There are two methods to authenticate, EZproxy and Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Printing, Photocopying, and Scanning
McGill faculty have several options when it comes to scanning, printing and photocopying in the Library. Several of the Library branches have Spirit Book Scanners, which are self-service machines that can be used to easily scan book pages, saving high-quality PDF files directly to a USB memory device. www.mcgill.ca/library/services/scan-print-copy
McGill University is also a member of Eduroam, an international authenticating service. With this service you can use your McGill email address and password to gain wireless internet access on the campuses of participating institutions around the world. Further details can be found in McGill’s IT Knowledge Base.