Online Reference and Information Resources

A wide variety of free online reference and information resources are available in your local library and, via this web site, at home, work or school. Ideal for anyone with business, historical, homework or general knowledge questions.

We can provide you with access to nearly 1000 electronic titles - these are grouped together in the services listed on this page.  Have your library membership number (e.g. D12345678) and your PIN number ready.

19th Century British newspapers

View digital copies of all of the main 19th Century British newspapers (selected from across the whole of the UK). In the 19th Century, local newspapers contained a lot of regional and national news, so for example, the "Nottinghamshire Guardian" will cover much news relating to Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands. Fully searchable by keyword or full-text.
Click here to access 19th Century British newspapers

British Newspaper Archive

The British Newspaper Archive contains around 3 million pages of newspaper content. The first stages of the project focused on runs published before 1900 and titles such as Birmingham, Derby, Manchester, Nottingham, Norwich, Leeds and York, along with local titles from London boroughs. Newspapers which aimed for county circulation from Staffordshire to Sussex also feature prominently, providing an unrivalled picture of provincial life spanning the whole of the 19th century. Library members can use this subscription to access the site at their local library, please ask staff. Please note while there is no charge for using this subscription, normal computer charges apply.


COBRA is an independent source of practical information for those thinking of starting their own business and those who run small businesses; including job and business opportunity profiles, a business legal library, market synopses and sources of business support and finance guide.
Click here to access COBRA

Credo Reference

Credo A collection of over 1000 information e-books and e-resources, from general encyclopaedias and dictionaries, to detailed reference books, image collections and video tutorials. 
Click here to access Credo

Encyclopedia Britannica

Reliable factual information on almost everything with maps, statistics, video clips and timelines for research or general interest. There are separate versions for children, students and adults. Click on the links below to access the huge range of authoritative articles and illustrations:

Britannica Library Junior - for age groups 5 to 10 years

Britannica Library Student - for age groups 10 to 14 years

Britannica Library Adult - for age groups 14 and up

Find my Past

Nottingham City Libraries subscribes to the Find My Past website which has the censuses for England and Wales 1841 to 1911, the General Registrar's Indexes of Births, Marriages and Deaths from 1837 to c.2006, military records from 1760 to c.1915 as well as many other useful sources of information. Library members can use this subscription to access the site at their local library - please ask staff. Please note while there is no charge for using this subscription, normal computer charges apply).

Infotrac Newspapers

Infotrac Newspapers A collection of British newspapers and magazines, including the Sunday Times, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, New Scientist and many others from July 1985 to yesterday. The library also provides access to the Times Digital Archive (see below) and 19th Century British Newspapers and The British Newspaper Archive.
Click here to access Infotrac Newspapers.

Issues Online

The UK's first comprehensive reference source addressing contemporary social issues. With more than sixty topics to choose from, Issues Online provides a wide range of information including: articles with news and views on each topic, key facts, key statistics, lobby group links, newspaper archives, reference sites, research guides and glossaries plus assignment/debate suggestions.
Click here to access Issues Online

Life in Great Britain

The Life in Great Britain course from 220 Soft, with its unique features and reportage, helps prepare all applicants to take the British Citizenship Test.
Click here to access Life in Great Britain

Oxford Art Online

The full text of the Benezit Dictionary of Artists and the Oxford Companion to Western Art.
Click here to access Oxford Art Online

Oxford Dictionaries Online

Offers quick search access to definitions of words, phrases, and idioms, with expert guidance on style and usage, grammar, and spelling; plus specialist guides for legal and technical writing.
Click here to access Oxford Dictionaries Online

Oxford Bibliographies Online

Offers access to British, Irish and Victorian Literature.

Click here to access Oxford Bibliographies.com

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

The full text of the 20 volumes of the new edition of the Dictionary plus over 10,000 illustrations. Supplements are issued every year in the on-line edition.

Click here to access the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Oxford English Dictionary Online

The full text of the 20 volume 2nd edition plus all the supplements.
Click here to access the Oxford English Dictionary Online

Oxford Music Online

The full text of the 29 volume New Grove Dictionary of Music, the 4 volume New Grove Dictionary of Opera and the 4 volumes of the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz.
Click here to access Grove Music Online

Oxford Reference Online

Full text access to all the Oxford Companions and a range of language dictionaries. There are links and full colour illustrations. A full list of the reference "books" included is available.
Click here to access the Oxford Reference Online collection.

Nottinghamshire's Queer Bulletin

Please see Nottinghamshire's Rainbow Heritage Website for the latest edition of QB, Nottinghamshire's bimonthly LGBT newsletter.

Times Digital Archive

See an actual copy of every page of the Times Newspaper, from 1755 to 2006. Fully searchable and printable. Please note that we only have a 2-user licence to this resource; if it is busy when you try to use it, please try again later.

Click here to access the Times Digital Archive.

Universal Skills

Comprehensive step-by-step guides covering all key areas of Job Skills, Universal Jobmatch and Universal Credit. Includes an introduction to basic computer skills

You will need your library card number and password to access the site

Click here to access Universal Skills 

Virtual Reference Library

A large collection of over 400 important reference titles.
Click here to access the Virtual Reference Library

Who's who and Who was Who

Published annually since 1849, Who's who contains over 33,000 short biographies, continually updated, of living noteworthy and influential individuals, from all walks of life, worldwide. When a person with an entry dies, their information is automatically transferred to Who was who. The combined publications include biographical information on over 130,000 people.
Click here to access the Who's who and Who was who

Get our latest updates delivered to your inbox.

* Sign up for Job Alerts, What's On, Latest News and more...