Skip to main content

About Unicorn – University of Reading

Show access keys

About Unicorn

Unicorn was the Library's primary catalogue until July 2012. It has been superseded by the Enterprise catalogue which includes the collections of the University Library, Museum of English Rural Life and Special Collections.

Despite being replaced as our primary catalogue, Unicorn is still available for those wishing just to search the Library collections.  It is also still used for requesting items from closed access collections, requesting inter-library loans, and booking Course Collection items.

What's on Unicorn?

Books, including rare books

University Library stock - Everything acquired by the University Library since 1979 has a full record on the catalogue (including full authors, titles and subject headings). Older items may have very brief "skeleton" records which contain just one author (surname and initials), title and date - there is no subject access to these records.

Ex-Bulmershe Library stock - Bulmershe Library closed in July 2011 and the stock moved to the University Library or our offsite Store. Stock added to Bulmershe Library since 1989 has a full record Unicorn, but most of the earlier stock has brief "skeleton" records. Almost all the Bliss Collection (the former School of Education collection) and the ex-Music Library material can be found on Unicorn; items acquired since 1979 are fully catalogued, those acquired earlier have "skeleton" records.

Items in Special Collections - Everything acquired by Special Collections since 1979 has a full record on the catalogue, and earlier acquisitions are being added by retrospective cataloguing projects. Most books and pamphlets in the MERL Library are on Unicorn, including all rare books and everything acquired since 1985.


All current journals held at all sites, including the MERL Library, appear on Unicorn together with many cancelled and "dead" titles. Most e-journals also appear on Unicorn.

Other materials

All non-print items added to the University Library collection since 1979 and to the Ex-Bulmershe Library collection since 1989 can be found on Unicorn.

  • All CDs, CD-ROMs, videos and DVDs at all sites can be found on Unicorn
  • Music - most music scores are on Unicorn
  • Maps acquired from 1994 are catalogued on Unicorn but have mostly brief records. Older acquisitions are listed in the Maps Card Catalogue on the 2nd Floor of the University Library, and are being gradually added by retrospective cataloguing.
  • Archives and manuscripts - these are all held by the Special Collections Service and can be searched on the Adlib catalogue. For more information see Archives

Unicorn and EndNote

It is possible to search Unicorn from within EndNote using the Online Search facility. To do this you will need the University of Reading catalogue connection file. This is already installed on the PCs in the campus PC labs, but you can also download it for use on your own computer.

For more information and to download the connection file see the 'Online search within EndNote' section of Adding references to Desktop EndNote.


We use Javascript to improve your experience on, but it looks like yours is turned off. Everything will still work, but it is even more beautiful with Javascript in action. Find out more about why and how to turn it back on here.
We also use cookies to improve your time on the site, for more information please see our cookie policy.

Back to top