Our e-media comprise commercial products that we either purchase for you or make available on a subscription-based licence. At the same time, we are also producing high-quality scans of our older holdings to make them available in digital form.

The e-media we acquire

In partnership with the University of Zurich, we provide you with access to digital formats covering all subjects. The Zentralbibliothek is essentially responsible for the humanities while the University covers STM subjects (science, technology, medicine). Whether you are a freelancer, student, scientist or lay researcher, we hold literature for every need.


We hold digital books from various publishers in a wide range of languages. As of 2019 we made available the entire digital humanities literature of De Gruyter and Springer. We can also offer you selected modules from other major publishers such as Cambridge University Press, Nomos and Oxford University Press. Catalogue entries for the individual titles are regularly imported into the Rechercheportal. However, you may always directly access the titles you need via the respective publisher’s platform (see the blue field under Search “Database type”: E-book publishers).


We offer the most important academic e-journals. In some cases, full-text versions are only available within the UZH network zone. If you are logged into the UZH or ZB network zone, you can access the articles you need. Our holdings also include open-access e-journals for which you do not need to be logged in to the UZH network zone.


We carry the very latest Swiss and international daily and weekly press. Access is granted via licensed newspaper databases which you can access via the UZH network zone or, in exceptional cases, only within our library. We also hold many newspaper archives as well as free-access newspapers.


We offer over 770 online and CD-ROM databases in our network. These include full-text databases as well as bibliographies covering all subject areas. Please consult the Rechercheportal (see the blue field under Search “Database type”).

Audiovisual media (moving image)

We hold an extensive collection of national and international feature films and documentaries on DVD and Blu-ray, all of which are available for loan. You can also enjoy film adaptations of opera performances on the single-user media station at the Music Department. At this station you can also access the picture and sound archives of the Swiss National SoundMemoriav and SRG. Alternatively, you can directly access the freely available archives of SRF as well as RTS (Radio Télévision Suisse)RSI (Radiotelevisione Svizzera) and RTR (Radiotelevision Svizra Rumantscha). Documentary film streams for research are available via databases such as Academic Video Online. Our digital offering is continually being expanded.


e-Thek (Onleihe) is a tailor-made electronic library from the Zentralbibliothek Zürich and the media centres of various secondary and vocational schools in German-speaking Switzerland. It consists of two thirds non-fiction and on third fiction. Besides that, it provides you with popular science e-books, e-magazines, e-papers and e-audios (audiobooks) for online loan. The contents are geared towards upper secondary level II. With OverDrive, a new platform has been added for English fiction. The contents of both platforms can be accessed via browser or via app (Onleihe-App and Libby-App).

Get access to Onleihe

Get access to OverDrive

This electronic library is available to all users of the participating libraries free of charge and around the clock. For access you need to be registered for our free service PURA / SLSKey. Please contact our library staff (kundenservice@zb.uzh.ch) for further information.

Our own holdings in digital form

We have already digitised part of our holdings, and the range is being continually expanded. You can regularly search for these items on swisscovery and in ZBcollections. Besides that, the holdings of the Special Collections are made available on the following platforms: