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Last updated: 3/17/08

Library Services for Distance Learners

General Information

In an effort to provide equivalent services to distance learners as to on-campus students, University Libraries provide the following support to distance learners. Distance learners are those who are enrolled in courses delivered totally online on course management systems such as WebCT or other delivery methods where in-person visits to campus are not required.


To access electronic services at University Libraries, students must have an active URI identification card. Returning URI students enrolled in distance learning courses can use their IDs for remote services that require them. Incoming first-year students must appear in person at one of the URI libraries (Kingston, Providence, Bay Campus) to activate their ID cards.

Part-time students not physically located in Rhode Island who are enrolled in URI distance courses may be issued special library cards after departmental confirmation. Department chairs should send a list of enrolled students to the Head of Access Services or the Head of Circulation and cards will be sent to the department who are responsible for delivery to the students.

Valid ID cards will allow off-campus access to reference databases, electronic course reserves, interlibrary loan requests.


Reference help is available to all remote users of University Libraries in the following ways:

  • Telephone Reference Desk, Kingston - (401) 874-2653; Providence - (401) 277-5130.
  • Instant messaging reference assistance IM URILibrarian

  • Individual consultation and referral to subject selectors contact Jim Kinnie


Online instruction is available via the following links:

Electronic Reserves

Course materials placed on Electronic Reserve by instructors are available through the HELIN catalog for students with valid ID cards. Check the Access Policies of participating HELIN libraries for in-person visits.

Accessing material from other libraries

  • HELIN loans and InRhode loans
    Those students who can pick up material at a participating HELIN library can request material through the HELIN catalog.

  • Interlibrary Loan For material that is not available in the HELIN system.
    Most periodical articles ordered through Interlibrary loan will be delivered electronically.
    Students who cannot visit a HELIN library should order books through  their local library interlibrary loan service.

Other Helpful Links

Remote Access to Library Online Resources

HELIN Catalog - To find books

Reference Databases - To find articles

Electronic Journals

J. Kinnie 12/2006

University of Rhode Island Libraries

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