Library:Help for Distance Students

From UBC Wiki

Getting Started

UBC Library homepage:

Watch the following brief video for a virtual tour of the Library homepage:

UBC Card

To access many of the Library's services you will need to obtain your UBC Card. This is also your Library card, and you can apply for it online or in-person at the Carding Office in the UBC Bookstore.

  • If you live locally, your UBC Card must be picked up in person at the Carding Office - even if you applied for it online.
  • If you cannot pick your UBC Card up in person due to your geographic location, then your barcode and pin number will be emailed to you. Click the Distance Education link at: to access the online request form.

Apply for your barcode at the beginning of term - before you actually need it. The carding office processes barcode requests at the start of each business day.

  • Requests received afternoons, evenings and weekends cannot be processed until the next business day.
  • If your barcode is not emailed within two business days check your spam folder to ensure that your message has not been sent there in error.

Online Access

Connect to Library Resources

As a UBC student, you have full access to the wide range of print and electronic collections through the Library from off-campus, as well as in person. To get instant access to online Journals, Indexes & Databases, and other Library licensed resources from off-campus locations, see Connect to Library Resources.

Personal Help

Click "Ask an Expert" to find out how to: chat online with a librarian; check out the library's opening hours; call or email the reference desk at any branch library; or contact a subject librarian.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery

If you are a distance education student living in Canada or the United States and do not live local to a UBC campus you are also eligible for delivery of print books to your home free of charge. See the Borrowing Books section below to learn how to register for this service. Journal articles are delivered online. See the Requesting Journal Articles section below for more details.

If you live in Canada there is no cost to you to return your Library materials. If you reside in the US you are responsible for the cost of returning materials to the Library.

  • Students living outside Canada or the US are not eligible for home delivery of UBC library materials.
    • If you are not eligible for home delivery contact your local public library to see if you can use its Inter Library Loan service to obtain your course materials.
    • Another option is to check the listings at Abe Books or Amazon to see if the items you need are available at a reasonable price. In many instances purchasing your materials would be considerably cheaper than the cost of shipping them to and from a distant library.
    • If you have tried both options mentioned above and are still having difficulty acquiring the material(s) you need, contact your course instructor to see if an alternate reading might be available. You can also contact the staff at ILL Lending to see if they can provide further assistance.

Borrowing Books

To request home delivery of a UBC Library book:

  • Step One: Apply to get your barcode online if you don't already have one and cannot come to campus to pick your UBC card up in person.
  • Step Three: Find the item you want in the UBC Library catalogue.
    • If the status is "available", click on Order via Document Delivery (DocDel) and note that you want it sent to a non-library location.
    • If the status is "on loan", click on "Request this Item: Recall" and choose extension library as the pickup location. The item will then be forwarded to you asap.

As a registered Distance Education student your loan period for UBC books is 28 days (undergraduate) or 56 days (graduate). Both are subject to recall by another borrower.

  • Books and other materials are delivered by mail free of charge within Canada and the US and take from 10 days to 2 weeks for processing and delivery. Please allow adequate time.

Requesting Journal Articles

Most journal articles are available online but those that are not can be delivered to you via the Internet. You will be sent the link via email.

  • Place your order via our InterLibrary Loan. form and select "Distance Students" as your home branch.

Sometimes we can obtain these from our local collections; sometimes we need to order from other libraries. Please plan extra time for delivery.

Borrowing from other Libraries

For home delivery

If you do not find a book or journal in the UBC Library catalogue you may place an InterLibrary Loan (ILL) request for it.

Make sure you select "Distance Students" as your home branch. Books ordered through ILL will be sent to you by regular mail or courier, depending on your location. You are responsible for returning ILL books back to UBC Library by the due date, usually within 14 days.

Research Toolkit

Assignment first steps

Develop a plan before you dive into your assignments. Below you'll find links to guides that will help you set priorities for the term, manage your deadlines and sharpen your research skills.

  • Getting Started on your Research: covers how to check that you understand your assignment, how to develop your topic and to judge the quality of the sources you find.
  • Library Research: describes the research process and has tips and strategies for making the most of what the Library has to offer.
  • Time Management: has helpful plans for organizing your term, your week and even your day.
  • Assignment Calculator:"is a time management tool that breaks down research assignments into a series of manageable steps, while providing expert tips for success. Enter the assignment start date and due date to get planning!"


Don't think of citing only as an end-of-the-assignment activity. Save yourself a lot of time and stress by tracking your sources as you encounter them.

  • How to Cite: covers the basics of citing and gives a brief overview of some of the most popular citation styles used at UBC.
  • RefWorks is a web-based citation management program that UBC students, staff and faculty can use to store, share and format citations.
    • Refworks will also create your bibliography and with its Write-N-Cite tool, can be used to format your paper within MS Word.

Assessing your sources

Information sources vary wildly in terms of accuracy, currency, objectivity, depth & breadth of coverage and even the authors' qualifications. Judging the quality and suitability of your sources is a key part of the research process.

  • Critical Thinking: includes how to examine an author's arguments to "identify (his or her) feelings, beliefs and cultural/societal influences."

Finding your sources

  • In a Library Research Guide: A short video which explains how research guides connect you to the best sources of research on a topic-by-topic basis.
  • In Summon: Guide to finding and using the Library's general search engine. Includes 2 quick videos explaining basic and advanced searching using the search box on the Library homepage.
  • For Journal Articles: online guide to finding articles with and without a citation.
  • For other materials - check out The Research Help Portal: with guides to finding specific material types such as newspapers, government publications, primary sources, maps and more.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the foundation of university success.

  • Academic Integrity & Plagiarism: covers "how to express original ideas, cite sources, work independently, and report results accurately and honestly." Includes an interactive tutorial.
  • Copyright at UBC: the official copyright website for UBC. Covers copyright guidelines and requirements for faculty, staff & students and includes an FAQ, resource guides and email support.

Help for All

My Library Account

The My Library Account portal allows you to login to various Library Systems to track borrowed items and due dates; renew items; track requests, library fines, Document Delivery (DocDel) and InterLibrary Loan (ILL) orders; as well as change UBC Library PIN, etc.

Access to Collections

Current UBC students, faculty and staff can access licensed Library resources including Print and Online Journal Title Search, Indexes & Databases, and other resources from off-campus computers. All you need is a valid Campus-Wide Login(CWL) or UBC Library Card.

Document Delivery/InterLibrary Loan

Document Delivery (DocDel) is a service that delivers UBC Library materials to you. This service is available to current UBC students, faculty, staff and community borrowers. To request materials not at UBC Library, use InterLibrary Loan.

Course Reserve Services

The Course Reserves information page contains information for course instructors and students about the course reserves services at UBC Library - including how to place reserves requests in our new online service in Connect.

Ask a Librarian

Every branch of the Library has staff who can help you find what you need. Can’t find an article for your term paper? Don’t hesitate to ask us for assistance at the reference desk, via email, online chat, or by making an appointment with your subject librarian, who can provide personalized help with your research.

Chapman Learning Commons

The Chapman Learning Commons provides research and writing support, learning skills workshops, computers and study space.

Computer & Study Support Facilities

Need to find a place to work, study, copy or print while you're on campus? Computer workstations, laptop lending, silent and group study, copiers/printers, wireless and Internet access are all available to you while you're here!

Help with Connect

Check out UBC's guides and videos for students using the Connect course management system. Help includes: how to login, change your personal information, submit an assignment, register your iClicker, make a blog post and much more.

Library Workshops

UBC Library offers research skills workshops on topics such as searching the UBC Library catalogue, searching online databases, RefWorks, Current Awareness Tools, etc. at various times throughout the term.


Scholarly Communications

As a faculty or student scholar, author and/or editor you have a key role in scholarly communications. Learn more about how to more actively manage your copyright, retain your rights as an author, and publish your work in an open access journal.


cIRcle is UBC’s digital repository for research and teaching materials created by the UBC community and its partners. Materials in cIRcle are openly accessible to anyone on the web, and will be preserved for future generations.


UBC has transitioned to a new copyright environment as of Sept 1, 2011. For more information about your rights and responsibilities under Canadian copyright law, an overview of Fair Dealing, and a helpful FAQ see the University's copyright site at: