Accessing library databases remotely (non-affiliates)
Current University of Minnesota students, faculty and staff have access to most of our online databases and collections from off-campus.
Unfortunately, our licenses do not allow us to offer access to most online resources from outside of our physical libraries to members of the public, but there are many resources including open access materials, content purchased by the State of Minnesota, and other freely available resources. Non-University affiliates can use our online resources using computers in our libraries.
This guide lists scholarly resources you can use for free, from any location, regardless of your University-affiliation.
Minnesota access to online resources
- eLibrary MinnesotaELibrary Minnesota gives Minnesota access to magazine, journal, newspaper and encyclopedia articles, media, including images, videos, and audio files, and other information resources. It provides information on topics, including consumer information, arts and humanities, career, occupation, and test prep, current events, health, science, social science, politics, business, and more.
Check with your local public library - many libraries, like Hennepin County, Ramsey County, and St. Paul Public Libraries are now offering access to libraries via services like curbside pick-up, computer appointments, and more. Public library card holders can also access most public libraries' online resources from home.
- University of Minnesota Libraries Home PageFind books, scores, recordings, magazines, journals, movies, and more in the University of Minnesota Libraries catalog.
- OA ButtonSearch the OA Button by entering a DOI, article title, or citation. If an open access version of the article is not found and there is a legal route to making a version available, the OA Button will contact the author on your behalf to request their article be shared.
- Unpaywall ExtensionThis is a web browser extension that connects users from publisher webpages to open access versions of articles. Once installed, a tab on the right side of the screen will indicate whether an open access version exists. Clicking on the tab navigates to the open version, when available.
- Google Scholar (UMN setup required)To gain off-campus access to articles from library journal subscriptions, change the Library Settings to University of Minnesota Twin Cities in Google Scholar (see this tutorial) Use Google Scholar to find articles from academic publishers, professional societies, research institutes, and scholarly repositories from colleges and universities. Look for the "FindIt@U of M Twin Cities" links in your Google Scholar search results to access library subscriptions.
- The LensLens.org is a free-to-use database that searches a variety of sources, including PubMed, CORE (a very large repository), and Microsoft Academic Graph. It has a significant amount of patent data as well. From the landing page, click on Patents, Scholarly Works, or Profiles above the main search box. Search results will be a mixture of subscription and open access materials. Among many other filters, it has the option to filter results by open access status.
- Dimensions: Open scienceAggregates millions of open science publications, grants, policy documents, citations, and more. Covers the health, chemical, physical, and clinical sciences, as well as engineering, mathematics, psychology, and much more.
- PubMed CentralPubMed Central is a free digital repository that archives publicly accessible full-text scholarly articles that have been published within the biomedical and life sciences journal literature.
- DOAJ Directory of Open Access Journals (OA)Directory of Open Access Journals covers free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals of all subjects and languages. There are 5625 journals in the directory. Currently 2398 journals are searchable at the article level; ~468,000 articles are included in the DOAJ service.
- JSTOR Open ContentAcademic content on JSTOR that is open to everyone, everywhere. Search thousands of free journal articles and open access book chapters. JSTOR also offers free individual accounts to their full scholarly collection, allowing up to six article downloads every 30 days.
- NCBI BookshelfFree online access to ebooks and documents in life sciences and healthcare.
- Project Muse OAOpen access (OA) books and journals from several distinguished university presses and scholarly societies.
- University of Minnesota Libraries SearchThe University Libraries’ catalog is free to search and will find articles, books, book chapters, dissertations and other material types. Use the Availability filter to limit to only items that are Open Access.
Books & ebooks
- Directory of Open Access BooksOpenly available scholarly books from academic publishers.
- Ebooks MinnesotaThe collection covers a wide variety of subjects for readers of all ages, and features content from our state's independent publishers.
- Epub BooksFree public domain eBooks that you can download in the EPUB format.
- Free scholarly content during pandemicSee this list of ongoing special offers and open access scholarly materials that are available while library access is limited during COVID-19.
- Google BooksGoogle Books searches the full text of thousands of books, so it can help you find out if a certain word or phrase is in a book. It will only show you snippets of the book's text, though, so you'll need to find the books in the Library or request them through Interlibrary Loan.
- HathiTrust Digital LibraryHathiTrust is a large digital database of full text books and other materials. For older items (in the public domain) anyone can view and download. You have limited access to items covered under copyright, except for users with print-reading disabilities who apply for special access to digitized works.
- Internet Archive: Text archiveFull-text of books and other tests available, mostly published before 1923 and in the public domain, from a variety of Libraries.
- OApen LibraryOpen Access Publishing in European Networks (OAPEN) Library contains freely accessible academic books, mainly in the area of humanities and social sciences.
- Project GutenbergProject Gutenberg is a library of over 60,000 free eBooks.
- TOME: eBooks from University PressesOpen access to online books published by university presses, including the University of Minnesota and many more.
Media: Image and sound collections
- Archives of American ArtCollection of primary source documentation on American visual arts.
- Cities and buildings databaseDigitized images of buildings and cities drawn from across time and throughout the world.
- Getty Research Institute ImagesIncludes artists’ sketchbooks, drawings and watercolors, rare prints from the 16th through the 18th century, 19th-century architectural drawings of cultural landmarks, and early photographs of the Middle East and Asia. Available to the public for use without fees or restriction.
- IMSLP Petrucci Music Library96,380 works · 324,160 scores · 36,506 recordings · 12,986 composers · 338 performers
- Media History Digital LibraryPublic domain media periodicals and online access to the histories of cinema, broadcasting, and recorded sound.
- UbuWebAn online educational resource for avant-garde material. It includes texts and critical studies, visual, concrete and sound poetry, film and video art, sound art and music, and theatre and dance productions among other critical avant-garde material.
- Virtual Library of MusicologyViFaMusik, the central portal for music and musicology, allows you to access an extensive digital library containing the latest scholarly research and online resources.
Archives & digital repositories
- American Memory: Historical Collections for the National Digital LibraryPrimary source and archival materials covering topics such as art and architecture, performing arts, technology and applied sciences.
- Black Freedom Struggle in the United StatesSelect digital primary source documents related to critical people and events in African American history, from 1790-present.
- Chronicling America: Historic American NewspapersThis site allows you to search and view US newspaper pages from 1880-1923 and find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present.
- Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)A searchable online catalog with millions of digitized items to browse, including photos, maps and books, from libraries, archives, museums, and cultural institutions around the United States.
- Minnesota Digital Newspaper Hub (1849-1924)Digital reproductions of historical newspapers from Minnesotan towns and cities. Includes the Minneapolis Tribune from 1867-1922.
- Umbra Search African American HistoryA freely available search tool and widget that brings together over 400,000 digitized materials documenting African American culture and history from over 1,000 libraries, archives, and cultural heritage institutions.
- UMediaDiscover 161,819 images, maps, manuscripts, video, audio, and more. UMedia provides open access to digitized materials from across the University of Minnesota.
- University of Minnesota Digital ConservancyThe University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy (UDC) is a venue for faculty to deposit open access copies of their scholarly work, a showcase for select student works, such as dissertations and honors theses, a home to the Data Repository for the University of Minnesota (DRUM), and centralized, searchable access to institutional digital records including those of the University of Minnesota Archives.
More freely available resources
Thanks to UC Berkeley: select content above derived from their guide to Freely Available Resources for Research.
For more freely available resources from specific disciplines please see UC Berkeley's sub-pages covering: