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You can access a range of free online reference sources which the library subscribes to. The services listed below are available from any public library in Somerset.

If you are a registered library member you can also get free access to most of these services from home using your membership card number.

Please note that Access to Research, Ancestry, BFI Online and the John Johnson Collection can only be accessed in your local library.

Access to Research

Access to Research – Over 8,000 publicly funded scientific research journals available for anyone to read in the library. Subjects include art, architecture, business, engineering, history, languages, politics, philosophy, mathematics and the sciences. (Free access available in all libraries)

Ancestry Library Edition

Ancestry Library Edition – the leading online resource for family history research with thousands of sources of information of interest to family history researchers, with more than 1.5 billion names in over 4,000 collections.

It includes UK census records for 1841 to 1911 with images of the original records, birth, marriage and death indexes, UK and Ireland parish and probate records from the 1500s to the 1800s, and extensive US and other international sources. (Free access available in all libraries)

BFI Screen Online

BFI Screen Online – An online encyclopaedia of British film and television, with video clips, interviews, articles, stills and posters. (Free access available in all libraries)


Britannica – this online version of the Encyclopaedia Britannica including the complete encyclopaedia as well as Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus, the Britannica Book of the Year and an Internet directory. (Free home access available with membership card number and in all libraries)

Britannica Junior for 5 to 11 year olds
Britannica Student for 12 to 18 year olds

COBRA Complete Business Reference Adviser

COBRA Complete Business Reference Adviser – offers opportunity profiles on specific trades or jobs, how-to guides, reports, checklists and fact sheets. It provides tools for tackling crucial aspects of business, including: compliance with rules and regulations, finding new customers, and business planning. (Free home access available with membership card number and in all libraries

GoCitizen is an online study resource for candidates preparing for the Life in the UK test or British citizenship test.

Online version of the latest official study materials licensed from the Home Office, the people who write the handbook.

Hundreds of practice test questions in the same format as the official test.

Additional interactive learning resources and teaching aids.

John Johnson Collection

John Johnson Collection – an archive of items from the John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera. The database provides access to rare primary source materials and evidence of Britain’s cultural, social, industrial and technological heritage. (Free access available in all libraries)


Oxford Dictionary of National Biography – online version – contains the stories of over 58,600 people who shaped the history of the British Isles and beyond, from the earliest times to those who died in the year 2009. (Free home access available with membership card number and in all libraries)

Oxford Dictionaries – You can find guidance on writing reports, your CV or essays. It includes online dictionaries, thesauruses, help with pronunciation and writing skills, as well as word games and crosswords. (Free home access available with membership card number and in all libraries)

Oxford Digital Reference Shelf – contains electronic editions of Oxford University Press scholarly reference titles in the Arts, Literature and Language, History and Culture, Science, and Social Sciences. Somerset Libraries have subscribed to a number of titles.
(Free home access is available with membership card number and in all libraries).

Titles Somerset has subscribed to are:

  • Encyclopedia of Global Change
  • Encyclopedia of Evolution
  • International Encyclopedia of Dance
  • The Oxford Classical Dictionary, third edition revised
  • The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature
  • The Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature
  • The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature
  • The Oxford Encyclopedia of Maritime History
  • The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World
  • The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance
  • The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History

Oxford English Dictionary Online – free access to Oxford English Dictionary, which is widely acknowledged to be the most authoritative and comprehensive dictionary in the world. It traces the evolution of more than 600,000 words through 2.5 million quotations from a wide range of sources – from classic literature and periodicals to film scripts and pop songs. (Free home access available with membership card number and in all libraries)

Theory Test Pro

Theory Test Pro is a highly realistic online simulation of the UK’s driving theory tests for all vehicle categories.
It contains all the official test questions licensed from the DVSA, the people who set the tests.

  • Unlimited access to all the official questions from the DVSA in the same format as the official test
  • Includes online version of Highway Code
  • Realistic hazard perception video simulations
  • Access to test banks for car, motorcycle, passenger carry vehicle and heavy goods vehicle categories
  • Machine translation into over 40 different languages
  • Speech-enabled tests so you can listen to questions

Who Else Writes Like...?

Who Else Writes Like…? An established reference web resource and reading promotion tool. It is designed to help anyone who enjoys reading fiction to expand the number of writers they read.

Librarians and English teachers will find this online resource invaluable for encouraging their members and students to read and to try different authors.

With the click of a mouse users can browse by genre or go straight to an author of interest, check up on characters and series or the latest prize-winning writers, and follow the links to authors’ websites for additional information.

Who Next...?

Who Next…? When children ask: “Who can I read next?” or “Who writes like my favourite author?”, the answers are here in Who Next…?

Writers of children’s fiction are listed with suggestions of other authors who write in a similar way, together with key book and series titles.

Last reviewed: June 5, 2023 by Keri

Next review due: December 5, 2023

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