Visiting the Library

For International Students


Welcome to the University of Tsukuba Library. The librarians are here to help you.

The librarian offer various services and resources to support academic course work and research to international students.

As an international student studying in another culture and educational system, you may have some difficulties in conducting research because our library system and its services are somewhat different from those in your own country. This guide will help you to know our library system. We hope that you will find the guide useful in your library research and that you have an enjoyable experience using the library.


Library Guide

Library Guide for International Staff, Researchers, and Students (PDF 1.8 MB)


One Minute Tutorials

The link below is video tutorials of the University of Tsukuba Library.

[One minute tutorials] (YouTube)

How to find a book
How to find a journal
How to use self-checkout
How to renew a book
How to reserve a book / request book delivery
How to borrow books from external libraries
How to request copies of articles from external libraries
How to use compact shelving
How to use seminar rooms / study cubicles
How to read an E-journal
How to find a Japanese article
How to copy in libraries
How to copy in libraries (part 2)
Manners in the library
How to visit the other university's library


Japanese Library Systems

   Most Japanese academic libraries use an "open stack" system. This means that access to the books and periodicals is not restricted. Librarians can assist you to look for what you need, but you can go to the shelves yourself to find what you want. To do that, you need to learn how to use call numbers and other location information. Because books on the same subject are usually shelved together, you may also browse through the shelves for materials you need.

   For journal articles, you need to learn how to search subject indexes to find article citations and full-text articles. In today's Japanese libraries, electronic resources are a very important part of research. More and more indexes, abstracts, and journal articles are available in electronic format and are accessible remotely.

   If you have questions or need assistance in using the library, please feel free to ask at the reference desk. Reference librarians can help you identify information and show you, step by step, how to find books and other materials. If the librarian has difficulty understanding your question, please write the question on a piece of paper and show it to him or her.


Campus Libraries

   University of Tsukuba Library consists of five libraries. Four libraries, that is Central Library, Art and Physical Education Library, Medical Library, and Library on Library and Information Science, are in Tsukuba campus. And Otsuka Library is in Tokyo. For their hours, phone numbers, and addresses, see Calendar and Access.


Library Policies


It is important to be aware of the following library conditions and procedures:

Checking Out Books: Please use Self-checkout Machine when you borrow books. University of Tsukuba student ID card is needed to check out books.

Circulation: 20 volumes for graduate students; 10 volumes for undergraduates.

Loan Period: Three weeks. If no one else requests the materials, you can continue to renew the loan for another three weeks.

Library Hours: They vary from library to library. During the fall and spring semesters the Libraries are open longer. During holidays and semester breaks, hours are shortened. For detailed information, please see the Libraries' Hours web page.

Returning & Penalty: Books can be returned to any of the University of Tsukuba Libraries. If there is a single book which is not returned within the loan period (overdue materials), you are suspended from borrowing, renewals, and reservations. The overdue penalty period is equivalent to the longest overdue period of time, starting from the next day after all overdue materials have been returned.


Library Services


   You can see the database list which can be used by University of Tsukuba on the page. For example, ProQuest, Science Direct, Web of Science, and so on. Basically, these databases are available only on campus network. “R” icon indicates that you can access them off-campus.

Electronic Journals and Books
   At University of Tsukuba, you can access many e-journals and e-books. You can search by the title or identifier (ISSN / ISBN) what you want.

Interlibrary Loan Service

   Interlibrary Loan Service allows you to obtain materials not owned by the University of Tsukuba Library.

   You can request paper copies of articles from journals by other Libraries. Request articles via Interlibrary Loan.

Library Orientations
   Orientation is a brief introduction to the libraries for new students. Library orientations usually hold April to June and September to November. Please check the schedule on our website.

Main Counter
   This is the starting place for students and faculty to use the University of Tsukuba Library. At the counter of all University of Tsukuba Library, users can receive introductory materials about library policies, check out or return books, and learn about useful library services.

OPAC (Library Catalog)
   If you search for library holdings only, OPAC will be better. Library books and journals are arranged on the bookshelf in order of call number. The call number is written on the back of the book or journal.

The Library Website
   You can access to catalogs, indexes and databases, full-text electronic journals, subject research guides and library services from campus computer labs, your home, or your office.

Tsukuba Repository
   An institutional repository is an academic content database which accumulates and saves the fruits of the research and education of the institution (academic articles, doctoral theses, research papers, teaching materials etc.) permanently, and disseminates them to anybody freely. University of Tsukuba Repository (Tulips-R) is the institutional repository of the University of Tsukuba, and the faculty and staff can register their academic or educational contents in it.

Tulips Search
   Tulips search is a one-stop search engine for library materials and articles all over the world. You can find not only items (books, journals, articles, etc.) kept by University of Tsukuba, but also bibliographic information in the world. To make your search more efficient, use the filtering skill to refine the search results.


My library

   “My library” can help you do various tasks without visiting the library. The UTID-13 (the number in 13 digits printed on your ID card) and the password are required to log in.

Local Library
  You can confirm your borrowing status and renew loan periods.

Reserved Materials
   You can check the state of the books you reserved, and cancel the reservations on “My Library”.

Reserve Facilities
   Seminar Rooms are available for group studies (Central, Art&PE, Medical, L&IS). Study Cubicles, independent exclusive space for study, are available for use by graduate school students and faculty members (Central, A&PE, Medical). It must be reserved in advance. You can check room availability, make reservations, or cancel reservations from facility reservation system.

Request Purchase
   Those students who have a purchase request for some books can apply for the request online.

Loan History
   You can see your loan history (books that you borrowed in the past). The target is books that were returned to the library. You can check the loan history of this fiscal year and last fiscal year.

Reference Services
   The first place you should stop for help with your research is the reference desk. You are invited and encouraged to ask a librarian for help with your assignments, research, and information needs at any one of the reference desks in the Libraries. This service is provided through one-on-one consultation. You may also write to "Contact Us", the library email reference service, which is available on the library website.

Requesting Books and Articles
   Using the "Reserve" button in the Details (Local collection) page, you can request delivery of the book to the location your designate. After the application, it takes about 3-5 days within Tsukuba Campus, but 5-7 days between Tsukuba Campus and Tokyo Campus to be delivered. Notice will be sent to your registered e-mail address when the request is accepted. (If you will not use the book you requested, please cancel it from “My library”: “Materials under request”).

Reserving Books on Loan
   If the book you want to borrow is out on loan, you can make a reservation. You can reserve up to 5 books including requests for delivery within the university.

Mail Address Change (Personal Settings)
   We provide e-mail service for library users about your due date, reservation, interlibrary loan requests. Examples: 

   Notifications when the books you reserved become available
   Reminders when you are delayed returning
   Notifications of 2 days before your return date
   Notifications of arrival of copies or books from other libraries

   If you have an e-mail address like "" or "", e-mails are sent to that address. You can add your private e-mail address if you would like to.  

Helpful Tips for Library Research

  1. Make sure you understand your assignment. If you do not, ask your instructor to explain it to you.
  2. Start your library research early because library materials you need may already be checked out by another user. Allow extra time if you need materials that are not owned by the University of Tsukuba Libraries.
  3. Use appropriate indexes and reference materials in your research.
  4. Keep careful and complete notes for your reference citations including author, title, place of publication, publisher, date of publication, volume, and page numbers. You need this information for your bibliography.
  5. Remember that you can access to various library resources on the Internet from your home, office, and campus computer labs. To use some resources from off campus you need to follow the "Connect from Off-Campus" instructions provided on the Libraries' website and log in using your Unified Authentication System ID and password.
  6. Feel free to ask a reference librarian for assistance, or use the "Contact Us".


Library Terminology

   As an international student, you may find some terms used in our library unfamiliar. The following is a list of some common terms and their definitions, which may help you as you conduct library research.


   An abstract is a concise summary of a periodical article or book. It can also refer to an electronic database or a set of print publications which provide citations and summaries of articles or texts published in periodicals, books or other materials. They can usually be searched by subject, author and/or title.

   Every library user is assigned a 13 digit number (barcode) for their student account. Each barcode is unique to the individual student and can be found on the back of a university ID card. Your card and barcode are needed for all library borrowing transactions. Every book in the library also has a unique barcode.

   A bibliography is a list of reference materials such as books and articles used for research. It is often located at the end of an article or book. It can also refer to a collection of information sources on a specific topic, such as books and periodical articles that are published as a book.

   Short for weblog, a blog is a type of website where entries are made and displayed in reverse chronological order. Blogs often provide commentary or news on a particular subject and may contain text, images, and links to other webpages or blogs.

Call Number
   All materials in the library are assigned a call number, usually found on the book spine. The call number represents what the book is about and acts like the book's address on the library's shelves or stacks. Because books on the shelves are arranged in call number order, you will find books on similar subjects shelved near each other. A call number consists of a series of numbers and alphabets that identifies an individual material. Most academic libraries in Japan use the Nippon Decimal Classification in order to determine the call number for each book.

   A citation is a reference source which usually includes article title, author, publication name, date, volume and pages from journals or books.

Due Date
   The due date is the date by which library materials on loan should be returned or renewed. If you do not return library materials by the designated due date, you lose borrowing, reservation, and book delivery privileges.

   The library collections. These include books, periodicals, microforms, pamphlets, audiovisuals and other resources.

Imprint date
   The year of publication of a book as designated on the title page.

   A periodical index is a list of bibliographic citations of articles in magazines or journals. It is helpful in finding articles on specific topics. A book index is an alphabetical list of important words, phrases and subjects contained within a book along with a list of the associated pages that discuss those terms.

Library Characters

  Tulip-san: She has come from a distant planet to provide easy-to-understand explanations about how to use the library. She has a tulip-shaped headset to receive your questions. She is like a helpful older sister, but on rare occasions does frown at Gamajumper and unreasonable people.

  Gamajumper: He had been in training on Mt. Tsukuba, but descended from the mountain to become a student. Writing the lecture reports is still a big challenge, but he believes that he can overcome this by using the library effectively. He is naturally curious, but sometimes jumps to conclusions and keeps Tulip-san on her toes.

Library Instruction (Workshops)
   Library instruction usually consists of a lecture, demonstration and hands-on practice. It is a service provided by librarians in order to teach students how to use the library resources efficiently.

Loan Period
   This term refers to the length of time library materials to be borrowed.

   Handwritten document or book.

   Microform is a storage format with reduced images, as opposed to the electronic or print formats. There are two common kinds of microform: microfiche and microfilm.
   Microfiche: A 4x6 sheet of plastic film that stores information in a compact form and requires a microfiche reading device in order to be used.
   Microfilm: A roll of film either 16mm or 35mm that stores patents, periodicals or other documents and requires a reading machine in order to be used.

   The book checked out by you has not been returned or renewed by the due date.

   Periodicals or journals are academic publications with reports on recent studies and/or scholarly essays that are printed on a regular basis, whether monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, annually, or biannually.

Reference Collection
   The reference collection consists of materials used frequently for general information. It includes encyclopedias, dictionaries, indexes, and other materials. These materials are not checked out of the library.

Remote Access
   Restricted library electronic resources can be used by students, faculty, and staff from off-campus. When working off-campus, you need to log in with your Unified Authentication System ID and password for access to our electronic resources.