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Using the library

Using the library

Library catalogue

The Polar Library catalogue can be accessed in iDiscover, which searches print and electronic collections across the University of Cambridge.

iDiscover can be searched from anywhere in the world; there is also a dedicated catalogue terminal for searching in the library.

For help with searching, use the iDiscover Libguide or contact a member of library staff.

Using library material

We are a reference-only library though we do have photocopying and scanning facilities available.

When you have finished using library material, please do not re-shelve the items. Either leave the books on the trolley outside the library office or on one of the desks.

If you would like to reserve books on a desk, please leave them in a neat pile on a desk with a blue reservation slip, indicating the date by which you will have finished with them.

Members of the Institute may fill out an 'internal loan' slip, located next to the main entrance, to record when material is taken out of the library. No material should be taken out of the building. Any books recorded as an internal loan should be returned to the blue box next to the internal loan slips.

All members of the University of Cambridge may request scans of Polar Library material using the online Scan and Deliver form. Non members of the University may use our scanning service for a small fee. Please download and fill in the copy request form and send to

Photocopying and scanning facilities

You are welcome to scan or photocopy open shelf material subject to the requirements of the Copyright Act. There is a multi-functional device located on the first floor of the building, close to the main library entrance. Instructions are located next to the machine but library visitors will need a member of staff to enter a code.

Members of the University:

A4 – 5p per sheet
A3 – 10p per sheet

Non-members of the University:

A4 – 10p per sheet
A3 – 20p per sheet

Scanning to email or USB is free.

Wifi access

Wifi is available throughout the library using either the UniOfCam or Eduroam network.

If you are a current member of the University of Cambridge, use your Raven ID and password to log in to the UniOfCam network, or configure your device to use the Eduroam network so that you only only need to enter your password once.

If you are a member of another university, college or other institution that supports eduroam then you will be able to connect to the eduroam network by configuring your device according to your local computing and information services instructions.

Other library users can gain access to the UniOfCam wireless network on a time-limited basis by requesting access from a member of staff in the library office. You will be issued a number and password that are valid for up to 60 days for wireless network access.

There is also a public terminal in the library, which can be used for internet access, as well as searching the library catalogue.

Location guide

Library material is classified and shelved primarily by geographical region and then by subject according to the Universal Decimal Classification for use in Polar Libraries scheme (Polar UDC).

The code in curved brackets refers to geographic region; the asterisk indicates a polar region. The colon is used to link multiple codes and elements in square brackets indicate a further subgrouping.

For example, for a book on Alaskan plants, see Alaska: Botany, which would be shelved at (*49) : 58, close to all other material on Alaska. Only books on botany in general would be shelved at 58.

Geographical regions index

Region UDC
Arctic (*3)
Alaska (*49)
Antarctica (*7)
Arctic Ocean (*60) – (*68)
Canada (*41) – (*48)
Falkland Islands (*72) – (*721)
Finland (*56)
Greenland (*38)
Iceland (*35)
Norway (*58)
Russia (*50) – (*54)
Southern Ocean (*80)
Sub-Antarctic Islands (*723)- (*78)
Svalbard (*32)
Sweden (*57)

Subject index

Subject UDC
Art 7
Biographies 92
Botany 58
Conferences 061.3
Earth sciences 55
Engineering 62
Ethnography 39
Fiction 82-3
Glaciology 551.32
Life sciences 57
Linguistics 8
Medical sciences 61
Meteorology 551.5
Mountaineering 796.52
Oceanography 551.46
Sealing 639.247.4
Ships 629.12
Whaling 639.245.1
Zoology 59

Library floor plans

First floor

First floor map of library

Ground floor and second floor

Ground and second floor library maps