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Services: Online Learners & Scholars Abroad

As part of its mission to be a distinctive and global university, American University offers a variety of options to support its study abroad programs and services for online learners. In addition to services and resources supplied specifically by the University Library, other sources of information about online learning can be found on the AU Online Learning website.

Research Assistance

  • Research specialists are available to you wherever you are through IM and email from our Ask A Librarian page.

  • Our Library Research Tutorial gets you started with searching for books and articles on your topic. You can complete the whole tutorial in about an hour or select sections as needed.

  • Other tutorials are available in the Classes / Tutorials section of our website.

  • Recommended websites for research on any discipline covered by the AU curriculum may be found using our Subject Guides.

Catalog and Databases

The Library Catalog and 500+ databases are available to you anywhere you have internet access.

  1. From the expandable menu to the left, click on the Research tab.

  2. Choose "Search the Catalog" for books, videos or music.

  3. Choose "Search Databases" for articles.

  4. If prompted for a login, enter your AU username and password. (Your username does not include @american.edu).

Many articles are available in full text from our databases. Upon finding an article you want, you click on a "Find It" button to be directed to the full text either online or in print. For more information about how "Find It" works, click here.

If you have a technical problem with a database, get help here.

Electronic Books

The Library's catalog includes thousands of e-books from various publishers covering many subject areas. For more information, see our E-Book subject guide.

Interlibrary Loan

Students and faculty in online programs may request that we send you up to 5 books through the mail (you may only have 5 books on your account at a time), from either AU's collection or a WRLC library. Unfortunately, we DO NOT send books internationally. Please be aware of the following policies when requesting books be sent via mail:

  • Books will be checked out to your account.

  • Standard due dates will apply.

  • Renewals will follow the standard policy (3 online renewals as long as no holds or recalls are placed on the book and fines do no exceed $25.00. After the renewal limit has been reached the books must be returned.

  • The library will pay for shipping with signature confirmation when the books are sent.

  • Returns will be considered as "on time" as long as the postmark is on or before the due date.

  • Return postage with tracking is the responsibility of the user.

  • We will limit the number of materials a user can have at a time: there can only be 5 books checked out at a time.

Please contact our staff at auill@american.edu to request books be sent via mail or to inquire about our shipping policies.

Students and faculty in online programs or researching abroad may request journal articles, book chapters, table of contents, definitions and more be delivered as web docs to your My Library Account.

To place a request, please use this online form. For more information about Interlibrary Loan, please click here.

Media Services

Over 60,000 streaming videos in the collection are searchable through the library catalog. To limit your search to only streaming videos, you can use the search box on the Streaming Video Collections page here.

Most streaming videos in the collection are restricted to current AU students, faculty and staff. Off campus users will be prompted to authenticate with their AU username and password.

For assistance with linking streaming resources to an online course, either in Blackboard or another LMS, contact Media Services.

Media Services Desk: (202) 885-3250

E-mail: libmedia@american.edu

Citation Help

My Library Account

  • My Library Account is a portal for information about your library account.

  • You can renew books online, pick up articles that you ordered through the Consortium Loan Service, and even set up text alerts for books coming due and other notices.

  • A video tutorial of the features of My Library Account is available on here.