The searchbox above will take you to Oria, the new discovery tool. Oria will help you discover most of our collection, as well as items from outside the UNIS Library. For a more complete search make sure to also check our other databases.

UNIS Library

The northernmost library in the world

Opening Hours:

Monday – Friday 11-18

About the UNIS Library


The first contracts between UNIS and the Norwegian Polar Institute in Longyearbyen about library services were established.

1994 – August 1995
The library started as a cooperation between the Norwegian Polar Institute and UNIS in Næringsbygget. There were a few users and not that many books and journals in the beginning. UNIS kept a librarian in a half time position. The librarian worked in Bergen, with the use of BIBSYS. The Norwegian Polar Institute in Longearbyen funded a library assistant in a 1/4 position.

August 1995 – October 2005
The UNIS building opened the 14th of August 1995, and a few days later the first librarian began working in the new library. She replaced the former librarian and library assistant.

The UNIS Library was small (93 m²), so already in 1998 some of the documents had to be stored outside the library. The library got more databases over the years to come, and the users got full value from these databases and full text from January 2004, when Longyearbyen and UNIS got connected to fibre optics via subsea cables from the mainland.

In the spring of 2005 many journals where moved into a storage in the outskirts of the town.

November 2005 – July 2012
The library moved into the new Svalbard Science Centre in November 2005, the library now covering 333 m². In the late autumn of 2006, the library was almost back to business as usual. During 2007, the RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) labelling of books and some serials took place. Also, the library employed a second librarian in a 80% position (including research documentation). From October 2009, this librarian had a one year leave before handing in his resignation. The position was put on hold due to UNIS funding issues. Some library services were reduced.

July 2012 –
An IT-librarian/special librarian was employed. The library now had two full time librarians. A new sitting area and a new front desk made the library look very different from mid July.

Some library characteristics
Library system: The UNIS Library is a member of BIBSYS. BIBSYS supplies library and information systems to most institutions of higher education and many research institutions in Norway.

Coverage: The UNIS Library covers many subject areas within arctic biology, geology, geophysics and technology, and also at different scientific levels – therefore the demand for literature is high compared to the total number of users. The library subscribes to many databases and ejournals, and these collections are available 24/7.

Location: The UNIS Library has been the northernmost of the world since the autumn of 1998.

Memberships: The UNIS Library has been a member of the Polar Libraries Colloquy since 1996, and in June 2000, the UNIS librarian was elected as member of the Steering Committee of the Polar Libraries Colloquy (June 2000 – June 2002, then reelected two more periods till 2006). The library has also been a member of Norsk Bibliotekforening for quite some time.

From the old UNIS library, which opened in 1995. (Photo: Tor Brekke). From the old UNIS library, which opened in 1995. (Photo: Tor Brekke).

The new UNIS library opened in 2005. (Photo: Michael Matschiner) The new UNIS library opened in 2005. (Photo: Michael Matschiner)

New comfortable furniture in the library, 2009. Photo: Cathrine Fjeldstad
New comfortable furniture in the library, 2009. Photo: Cathrine Fjeldstad

Library information

The UNIS Library patrons:

All UNIS students, researchers and staff. Present, or off-site (VPN access).
Present students, researchers and staff in the Norwegian Polar Institute (the library agreement includes loans from the collection and inter library loans, and also walk-in-access to subscribed databases, however, no VPN access).
Due to limited space and staff, the library cannot open the doors to the public unfortunately.

The UNIS Library provides:

Access to electronic resources available online – including:

  • More than 5000 full text journals (included many backfiles –> access from vol.1)
  • Many bibliographic databases
  • The library catalogue; Oria

Access, within opening hours, to a collection of:

  • Master theses and some student papers
  • Printed books
  • Printed serials (included reports and journals – most journals are not for loan)
  • Reference literature (not for loan)

Library facilities:

  • 1 printer/copier/scanner
  • 1 self service machine
  • 1 group study room (with a whiteboard and 2 PCs)
  • 1 studyroom/map room (with 4 desks)
  • 1 PC classroom (with a whiteboard, projector, and 7 PCs)
  • 1 PC for short time use
  • Assorted work surfaces and seating; including armchairs, sofas and a hammock.

Library services:

  • Books for loan, renewals, reservations, etc.
  • Free inter library loan services (ILL services) for documents not held by UNIS, and needed in UNIS/NPI related studies or research.
  • Please send the requests via library system (Oria), to, or see library staff in the library.
  • Reference

Use the library catalogue to:

  • Locate books, journals, articles, maps or more in the UNIS Library.
  • Log on to view your library loans, reservations and ILL requests.
  • Discover resources and publications outside of the UNIS Library.
  • Verify bibliographic information.
  • Locate and open subscribed and free full text articles.

FAQ – accessing the electronic resources:

Where can I find the Library’s online resources?

You can find a complete list of our electronic resources and links to access them here.

Is Google Scholar good enough for searching full text?

Google Scholar retrieves some of our subscribed full text journals and also open access journals. You cannot trust Google to find all subscribed full text journals, so please also search our library catalogue, or subscribed databases to make sure you get the most relevant information.

Google Scholar may also retrieve preprints of articles – to cite the article correctly, you should always have the published version. Google may retrieve papers from both the scholars as well as the amateurs, so please check the source of information thoroughly.

I cannot access the database or the full text, why?

Access is only provided if you are logged on to an IP address at UNIS. Make sure Eduroam is linked to UNIS if you want to access our resources via wireless network. Outside our network, you may use VPN to access subscribed full text and reference databases.

Why is username and password requested by the database host or the full text provider?

Most subscribed full text and databases use IP recognition. Some require logging in with a password. As long as you are using an UNIS IP you should get all the info you need. Make sure that you are logged into the UNIS network, or that your VPN connection is working properly.

Sometimes the subscriptions does not include old issues of full text journals. Check the library catalogue for holding information. Do hot hesitate to ask for inter library loan if you cannot access the full text.

More information:

Do not hesitate to ask the library staff for help if you do not find your way in the collection or in the databases.

Always keep track of your e-mails from the library, the overdue notices in particular. Keep the library posted about any change of e-mail address.

You will have to bring your own copy of a printed dictionary for exams etc. – the dictionaries in the library are only for in-library-use. CLUE is installed on the UNIS computers – providing easy access to the online dictionaries. CLUE is also available for download to your personal computer.

Costs of services

Searches in databases are free of charge for our patrons. Also, the UNIS Library does not charge for inter library loans if they are affiliated with research or studies at UNIS/NPI. The library cannot offer these services for private use (i.e. fiction), or to institutions without a library agreement. If books are lost or damaged the library issues fines.

Contact details:

Phone: +47 77 01 66 73
UNIS, The Library,
P.O.Box 156,

Library regulations

Faculty, staff, and students at UNIS, and institutions with a special library agreement, have access to the UNIS Library.

  1. A library card is required in order to borrow items from the UNIS Library. Library cards are personal and not transferable to anyone else.
  2. Borrowing books or receiving documents as Inter Library Loan (ILL) is free of charge.
  3. The library will only process ILL requests that are needed for UNIS related work. For private use please refer to the public library.
  4. Normal loan period is 4 weeks, with recall after 2 weeks when there is a waiting list. An item can be renewed up to 3 times if it has not been reserved by another user. ILLs may follow different regulations.
  5. Reference literature, special collections and journals are not normally available for loan, but can be used in the library.
  6. Items on hold must be picked up within a week.
  7. The patron is responsible for returning the books within the due date or the patron will have to ask for renewal within the due date.
  8. The patron is responsible for returning the books in the same condition as when borrowed.
  9. Lost or damaged items will be fined. The minimum fine is 700 NOK (*). The claim will be sent after the third reminder. Then the lending rights are suspended until the claim is paid or the patron’s replacement copy is received. Should the lost documents be found, the library holds the property of the lost book also after the claim has been paid, however, the patron will be refunded the claim, except the processing costs of 400 NOK.
  10. Unpaid claims will be debited your pay check if you’re having a working agreement with UNIS, if not, unpaid claims will be transferred to a collecting agency.

Violations of these lending rules may lead to loss of lending rights in the UNIS library.

(*) There are no maximum fines so the cost of replacing the book is often used – on top of that 400 NOK is always added as administrative costs.

Service statement

User groups

The main user group is the UNIS staff and faculty (incl. guest lecturers) and students.

The other user group is the staff and the students of institutions with a library agreement (i.e. the Norwegian Polar Institute).

UNIS and NPI patrons may bring visitors for their own private guiding during opening hours, however, these visitors are not patrons of the library, hence, they cannot expect to get library services.

The library is focusing on our primary users due to limited resources. However, the inter library loan services between libraries works both ways most of the time.


The library offers access to the library to our patrons (see the user groups information above). Sadly, we don’t have the capasity to offer walk-in-services to other groups.

Information about the opening hours is posted on the library web site and by the library door.
Please inform the library well in advance if you want us to expand the opening hours for a period of time. Opening hours are correlated to library staff availability and work load, and opening hours are subject to change at short notice due to shortage of staff or lack of funding.

The full text documents and bibliographic databases subscribed by UNIS are available from any PC connected to the UNIS network or via the VPN at UNIS. For the VPN, please contact the IT department at UNIS to get started. NPI patrons will have to come to the library in order to use the subscribed full text and databases.

Services to the user groups of the UNIS library

The library offers prompt and friendly services in a professional way.

The library offers suitable facilities for individual and group related work and studies.

The library offers good facilities for copying/scanning/printing.

The library offers state-of-the-art access to information in printed and digital format.

The library offers help and advice for groups or individuals in finding information.

The library distributes subscribed databases and full text to any PC connected to the UNIS network, and walk-in-access for staff and students from institutions having a formal contract with the library.

The library offers a section of books for in-library-use-only. Some rare books and the books in very high demand are therefore available for everyone visiting the library.

Your duties

The library expects you to follow the rules and regulations of the library.

The library expects you to respect the copyright rules and regulations.

The library expects you to stay tuned to any information from the library (web, e-mail, SMS).

The library expects you to take prompt action once your loan is due or once the loan is recalled earlier because of a waiting list.

The library expects you to recommend new books and databases and to help develop the library holding in accordance with the courses and the research taking place at UNIS.

The library expects you to give feedback on our services. Tips can be given in any format; oral or written.

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