User cards


Search portal

Copying and scanning


Can I take bags and coats into the reading room?

Jackets and coats can be taken into reading rooms P0 – P3, as can small bags and laptop bags (smaller than A4 format). Please place personal items in the ZB baskets provided on site before taking them into the reading room. Security staff may check the content of laptop bags when you enter and leave. Please deposit larger bags, rucksacks and suitcases in the free lockers in P-1. Note that separate rules apply to the Special Collections.

Is the Zentralbibliothek Zürich accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs?

Wheelchair and pushchair access is available via the side entrance in the library courtyard from Zähringerplatz. There are two parking spaces for people with restricted mobility in the courtyard. When not in use, pushchairs can be left in the cloakroom area in the basement of public area P-1. Barrier-free toilets and a changing table are also available in P-1, P2 and the bistro.

How can I use the internet at the ZB Zürich?

Internet workstations from which you can conduct academic research in licensed databases and have unlimited access to e-journals and e-books are located in reading room P0. For capacity reasons, they may only be used for a maximum of 60 minutes. You can access the University of Zurich network with your own notebook via a network cable in reading room P2. Once you have logged in using the access data for your UZH short name, you will have unrestricted internet access to the databases, e-journals and e-books licensed by the Zentralbibliothek and the University of Zurich.

If you are studying at the University of Zurich or another university you can log on to the internet via SWITCHconnect. Library visitors are recommended to use our “ZB Zuerich (Guest)” Wi-Fi. When you register, you will receive a password that is valid for six months. Please note that you cannot use this connection to access the databases, e-journals and e-books licensed by the Zentralbibliothek and the University of Zurich.


How long can I borrow media for?

The loan period for documents is four weeks. This period will automatically be extended once if nobody else has requested the document in question. Once the automatic extensions have expired, you can extend the loan period of the document three times online via your user account. The library can recall documents that are out on loan or being used in the reading room at the end of the four-week loan or extension period.

The loan period for DVDs is one week. This period will automatically be extended up to three weeks if nobody else has requested the DVD. Once the automatic extensions have expired, you can extend the loan period of the DVD three times online via your user account.

How many media can I borrow?

You can borrow a maximum of 100 media at a time, which may include a maximum of 100 books from the open stacks (“Freihand”), 50 books from the closed stacks (“Magazin”), 50 books for reading room use only and 5 DVDs.

How can I find a book that isn’t out on loan or on the shelves?

First, check the call number again in the Rechercheportal (search portal). It is possible that the book has been returned very recently and has not yet been put back on the shelf. You are welcome to look on the pre-sorting shelves located on the second and third basement floors of the open stacks. If you do not find it there, ask at the information desk, where you can also submit a search request.

Can I return media I have borrowed when the library is closed?

Books, DVDs and CDs from the ZB Zürich may be returned via the self-return machine in Chorgasse at any time, 24/7. Items from other libraries that were supplied via the IDS or ETH courier service or on interlibrary loan must be returned to the issue and returns counter during opening hours.

How can I reserve a document?

Documents that are freely accessible cannot be reserved. If the document you want is out on loan or still being processed, it can be reserved. To do this, log in to the Rechercheportal. Click on the title of the book and then on one of the libraries, and follow the “loan” link. In the next window select the pickup location (if there is a choice for the document in question) and confirm with “Send request”. The message “Action succeeded” will appear. You will be notified by e-mail as soon as the document is ready for collection.

N.B.: If the document you are looking for is not currently available in the ZB Zürich, extend your search to SwissBib , the metacatalogue of Swiss university libraries and many other libraries. You may find the medium in a university library in German-speaking Switzerland, in which case you can order it to be sent to the ZB Zürich by IDS courier.

User cards

How can I obtain a user card?

Please register by completing our online registration form for new users. You can then pick up your user card from any of the counters at the Zentralbibliothek by showing an official identity document (ID card, Swiss passport, Swiss driving licence, foreign resident’s permit) or your student identity card. Your registration is valid for all the libraries affiliated with the Information Network of German-Speaking Switzerland (IDS).

I cannot log in to my user account. What should I do?

Enter your user or ID number exactly as it is written next to your library card bar code. If you have forgotten your password, e-mail us your user number, name, address and date of birth to We will activate an initial password for you which you must then change to a personal password via your user account.

If you are a registered student of the University of Zurich you are not automatically registered as a library user. Please register by completing our online registration form for new users. Then go to one of our counters where your student identity card will be scanned in as a user card. Your user number will then be the same as the registration number on the back of your student ID card.

How can I change my password or address?

Log in to your user account using the link at the top right of our website. Click on your name at top right and then on “My account”. In the “Personal settings” section you will find the options “Change NEBIS password” and “Edit NEBIS address”.


How can I find electronic books (e-books)?

Our digital books are catalogued in the Rechercheportal. They can also be found via the platforms of the e-book publishers. The rules for accessing full-text versions are the same as for databases and e-journals: full-text versions can be accessed from the workspaces in our reading room, but only students of the University of Zurich can access them from home.

How can I use electronic books or journals (e-books and e-journals)?

Most electronic media are not freely accessible via the internet and therefore cannot be opened outside the library. E-books and digital journal articles can be read, printed out and downloaded to your own USB stick at the Zentralbibliothek’s public workstations. This applies to media where the Zentralbibliothek is listed as the location (UZH-ZB Online). For example, where the location is given as “ETH-Bibliothek Online” (“ETH Library Online”) you can only access the document from the ETH.

I cannot open an e-book, e-journal or database. What should I do?

If you are not studying at the University of Zurich, you can normally only use our licensed products within the ZB Zürich and the University of Zurich. You can access some items from home using your PURA login.

If you are studying at the University of Zurich you will have a UniAccess account. This will allow you to download the VPN software or configure the proxy server or EZProxy. With a VPN client, proxy server or EZProxy you have external access to the licensed products (specialist databases, electronic journals and books) of the University of Zurich and the Zentralbibliothek Zürich. Information and installation instructions for VPN, proxy and EZProxy on PCs, notebooks and mobile phones can be found on the University of Zurich IT Services website.

Search portal

How can I find media in the Zentralbibliothek Zürich?

Our printed and digital media are catalogued in the Rechercheportal (search portal). There you can limit your search to the Zentralbibliothek from the start or filter your results by library. All the databases and e-resources offered by the Zentralbibliothek Zürich can also be found in the specialised e-resource search on our website. You can filter e-resources by topic, database type, media type and accessibility and by resource name. You are also welcome to attend one of our introductory events. Alternatively you can ask at the information desk or send an e-mail to

How can I request documents via my user account?

Some documents from the Zentralbibliothek, such as newspaper collections, cannot be requested in the usual way in the Rechercheportal. Instead, in the details you will see the instruction “Bestellung via Benutzungskonto” (“Request via user account”). Make a note of the title and call number of the document and log in to the Rechercheportal. Open “My account” at top right. At the very bottom of your account overview you will find the option “Neue ZB-Magazinbestellung” (“New ZB closed stacks order”). Please complete this form and submit it. Your request will be processed within an hour.

How do I find the list of new acquisitions?

In order to receive a list of new acquisitions for a subject area each month, a special search must be carried out in the Rechercheportal

Click on «advanced search» in the Rechercheportal. In the first search field, type zbzmon20xxxx *. The x are replaced with the year and month. Example: zbzmon201907 *.

In the second search field, replace «all fields» with «DDC classification». In the search slot, enter the number-code for the desired subject according to the Dewey decimal classification. The German National Library maintains a list of these subject number-codes.

Copying and scanning

Where can I obtain a copy card?

Copy cards for colour and black & white copies can be obtained for CHF 10 from the copy card machines in reading rooms P0 and P2. New cards are loaded with 75 units (= CHF 7.50). The remaining CHF 2.50 is the price for the rechargeable copy card. Copy cards can be recharged with 10, 20 or 50 franc notes (= 100/200/500 units). These copy cards are only valid in the Zentralbibliothek Zürich. If you only have to make one or two copies, you can borrow a copy card from the information desk. You then pay for the photocopies when you return the card.

Where can I make photocopies or scans at the ZB Zürich?

A number of photocopiers and scanners are available at the ZB Zürich:

  • Reading room P0: 2 colour copiers and 1 scanner (scan to USB)
  • Reading room P1: 1 colour copier
  • Reading room P2: 1 colour copier and 1 scanner (scan to USB). 3 microfiche and microfilm readers with printing and scanning capabilities
  • Open stack -2: 1 colour copier
  • Open stack -3: 1 colour copier
  • Open stack -4: 1 scanner (scan to USB and print)
  • Rare Book Department P3: 1 colour copier
  • Music Department in Predigerchor C5: 1 colour copier and 1 scanner (scan to USB)
  • Department of Prints and Drawings and Photo Archive P1: 1 colour copier

How much do copies and scans cost?

  • B/w copies and greyscale: CHF 0.20
  • Colour copies: CHF 1.00
  • Scan: b/w, greyscale and colour (A4/A3 to USB): CHF 0.10
  • Scan: b/w print (A4/A3): CHF 0.20
  • Scan: colour print (A4/A3): CHF 1.00
  • Microfilm: b/w print (A4/A3): CHF 0.20

Can I order copies from the library?

You can order copies in various formats from the Zentralbibliothek Zürich’s Digitisation Centre. For details of prices see the current price list.