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Online Research Resources

Digital resources to support your studies

The following is a list of research resources put together by staff in the Department for English, Theatre and Creative Writing to support your studies at this unprecedented time. Many publishers and libraries have opened or extended free online access to their journals and e-books, and public libraries, galleries and museums are putting much of their digital content online. We will keep this page as up to date as possible, as more resources become available.

Don’t forget that the Birkbeck Library also has a large number of e-books and online journal subscriptions, which you can access as usual via the library catalogue and e-journals portal.


  • Oxford’s Bodleian library runs a series of 'bodcasts' that explore the library’s world-leading collections.

Cambridge University Press Collections

Classics of Social Science

Database of Open Access Books (DOAB)

  • DOAB curates a database of all open access books, which includes more than 27,000 academic peer-reviewed books from 379 publishers.

Database of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

De Gruyter Open Access Collection


HathiTrust Digital Library

  • The HathiTrust is a not-for-profit collaborative of academic and research libraries preserving 17+ million digitised items. HathiTrust offers reading access to the fullest extent allowable by US copyright law, computational access to the entire corpus for scholarly research, and other emerging services based on the combined collection. HathiTrust members steward the collection - the largest set of digitised books managed by academic and research libraries - under the aims of scholarly, not corporate, interests.

International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC) Complimentary Expanded Access Database

  • ICOLC is compiling and updating a document regularly. Hundreds of publishers are now listed and it identifies which of their scholarly collections are freely available online. (NB: This list doesn’t contain 'open access' publications).

The Internet Archive

  • The Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more. It hosts over 20 years of web history and works with libraries around the world to provide universal online access to web pages, books and texts, audio and video recordings, images and software programmes.

JISC Collections

Journal of Material Culture

  • The Journal of Material Culture is now effectively Open Access. Select the paper you want to read and just press the button for Open EPUB.

Jstor Open Access List


  • Birkbeck has a subscription to Kanopy, a streaming service for public libraries and universities. You can browse for audio and video content – everything from blockbuster Hollywood movies to independent world cinema, documentaries, TV content, and instructional videos on a number of subjects (NB: You will need to log in using your Birkbeck account details).

London Library

Media History Digital Library

  • A free online resource, featuring millions of pages of books and magazines from the histories of film, broadcasting, and recorded sound - run by Professor Eric Hoyt at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Modern Languages Association (MLA)

  • The MLA, the largest scholarly association in the world for literatures and languages, has been compiling its own list of resources that support online learning. It’s more focussed on teaching, so might be useful for postgraduate students preparing online classes.


  • Monoskop is a wiki for the arts, media and humanities. It has a wide variety of freely available online resources, including magazines, open access scholarly content, software, a media library and sound and music.

MUSE Collections

  • The humanities journals database Project Muse have made some of their journals free to access during the crisis.

National Emergency Library

  • The Internet Archive has recently launched a National Emergency Library to maintain an up-to-date list of online resources for free, open access scholarship. This includes peer-reviewed scholarly journals, e-books, museum collections, public libraries collections, and gallery collections. It’s been designed to meet a specific, extraordinary need and support universities, school, and libraries around the world that are currently to accessing physical materials. It’s operated in the US but is global.

Open Library of Humanities (OLH)

  • Birkbeck’s very own publishing platform publishes peer-reviewed open access journals in contemporary literature, comics studies, digital humanities, linguistics, film studies, archaeology, medieval studies, and more.

Oxford Open


  • ProQuest is a private company that provides digital infrastructure for researchers and libraries. They have updated a list of other libraries that have made their books open access during the crisis.

Public Books Database


  • The ed-tech company RedShelf, which provides digital content delivery systems, has collaborated with various publishing partners to make available a large scale collection of online e-books.

Sage Research Methods

  • The publisher Sage has a portal for accessing books, video content, data, and information about quantitative methods online.

Springer Open Access Materials

University of Michigan Press

  • The University of Michigan Press have made their e-book collection free to access from 20 March 2020.