Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page. Here you will find:

If you have a question that isn't answered here, please contact us.

Customer questions

Is it possible to have a free trial for my institution?

Institutional customers may request free trials. If you are a student or academic, complete our librarian recommendation form to recommend Very Short Introductions to your librarian for an institutional free trial.

Can individuals register for a free trial or subscribe to Very Short Introductions?

We do not currently sell individual subscriptions to Very Short Introductions and free trials are not available to individuals.

How do I get access to Very Short Introductions?

Very Short Introductions is available by annual subscription and perpetual access to libraries and institutions. Find out how to subscribe, or contact us.

How will I renew my subscription when it expires?

You will be contacted by OUP representatives when your subscription is about to expire.

I would like to reuse or reproduce excerpts from Very Short Introductions. Do I need to get permission?

Yes, in order to reuse, reproduce, digitize, or translate any excerpt, chapter, and image from Very Short Introductions, you need to fill out a permissions request form. Depending on your request, please select the appropriate link on the online form, and follow the instructions.

Librarian Support questions

Do you have any materials I can use to promote the site to users?

Yes. OUP offers a variety of free tools to help librarians promote their access, including free training and promotional materials. Find out more on our Librarian Resource Centre.

Can I see usage statistics for my institution?

Yes, Oxford University Press provides usage statistics that are compliant with the COUNTER Code of Practice, Release 5. These reports are designed to be clear, flexible, and consistent. For more information and to access reports for your institution, please see our Usage Statistics page for librarians.

How often are COUNTER statistics made available?

COUNTER statistics are made available approximately 2 weeks after the end of the month. If you require usage statistics during a month please contact us.

Can I add my library's logo to the website?

Yes, you can. To set up a logo please contact us.

Is Very Short Introductions OpenURL compliant?

Yes, Very Short Introductions is compliant with OpenURL 0.1. Find out how to set up OpenURL referrals in Subscriber Services.

Does Very Short Introductions make use of digital object identifiers (DOIs)?

Yes, a digital object identifier (DOI) is available for every title within Very Short Introductions. Book DOIs are shown in the grey index card for every book; chapter DOIs are shown at the top of each chapter.

To turn a DOI into a hyperlink, add at its beginning to make a URL, e.g.

Does Very Short Introductions support meta search software?

Yes. Meta search software helps our customers to find Very Short Introductions content from across a number of different searching databases.

What content can Google, and other search engines, crawl from Very Short Introductions?

All titles within Very Short Introductions will appear within Google search results (and results from other search engines). Google can also crawl all the publicly available pages in Very Short Introductions (for example, About and Legal Information). Google will not index or show the full text of any VSI.

Does Very Short Introductions provide MARC records?

Yes, you can download MARC records from our MARC records page. Alternatively please contact us.

Access questions

How do I log in?

Consult the Help section on logging in, and ask your librarian which access methods have been set up for you.

How do I change my administrator username?

You can change your administrator username by contacting Online Support.

I've forgotten my administrator password. How do I login?

if you have forgotten your administrator password, please go to the Contact Us page.

Why can't I log in?

There are a number of reasons why you may not be able to access the site.

If you see the message "The simultaneous user limit associated with your subscription has been exceeded", you will need to wait until one of the licences that your institution has bought becomes freed up through another user from your institution logging off. (Your institution's licence may be for only a certain number of people to access the site at once.)

If you are unable to ascertain why you are unable to access please contact us providing details of any error message you receive.

I've logged in but I still can't see content -- why not?

Your institution may only provide access to some of the modules in the Very Short Introductions site. Choose the unlocked icon in the left-hand pane to see only those Very Short Introductions that your institutional access entitles you to see. See next question for more details.

What are the Availability icons, and what do they tell me?

The Availability icons appear alongside each content item in your search and browse results, and alongside links to content. They allow you to see what online access rights you have to each piece of content OUP publishes on each site.

  • Unlocked: You or your institution has paid to see this content in full
  • Free: OUP has made this content item freely available in full for a limited time
  • Restricted: You or your institution has not paid to see this content in full

What are the Availability Filters?

The icons used for Availability icons also appear as filters within the left hand ‘Refine Your Results’ panel, allowing you to narrow or expand your search or browse results by online availability.
OUP sets the default to show content of all availability types, to aid full discoverability of content. However, for some products or sales models institutions are offered the ability to change that default setting for authenticated users (for example, to show just full content results).

Can individuals choose to over-ride default Availability settings?
Yes, individuals can widen their search results by checking any Availability box and updating their search.

I don’t understand why I’m seeing icons next to content in my results which don’t match the filter I’ve applied?
This is because we have a single icon for each content or book result so one has to take precedence where two availability states are true for one piece of content.
The following single-icon selection applies to books in the results of authenticated users:

  • if a book contains any unlocked chapters, unlocked will show
  • if a book contains chapters with a mix of Restricted / Free content, the book will show as Restricted.

In cases where the user has paid-for access to a book it is not possible to have a book with a mix of unlocked and restricted chapters.
The following single-icon selection applies to books in the results of unauthenticated users:

  • if a book contains chapters with a mix of Restricted / Free content, the book will show as Restricted.

Why can't I access a title I used to be able to see as part of my subscription?

We have had to remove these titles from future sales and current subscriptions. 

  • May 2021: VSI Pain by Rob Boddice (9780198738565)
  • April 2022: Anarchism: A Very Short Introduction by Colin Ward (9780192804778)

However, customers who have bought perpetual access to the titles before they were removed from sale will have their access unchanged, existing DOIs will still work, and the titles are still searchable on the site. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us. For perpetual access customers, individual MARC records are available at the below links:

Technical questions

Is Very Short Introductions mobile optimized?

Yes, you should be taken there automatically if you try to consult the site on a mobile device.

What are the technical requirements for using this website?

In order to access the website, you need a standard web browser such as: Internet Explorer 8 or 9; Mozilla Firefox 8 or 9; Safari 5; Google Chrome 17 or 18.

You will also need an internet connection, HTML and JavaScript support. Your operating system should be one of the following: Windows XP; Windows Vista; Windows 7; MAC OSX+.

Very Short Introductions are best viewed with a screen resolution of 1024x768, although they will also work at higher and lower resolutions. Please note that some tables are wide and so require 1024x768 screen resolution.

What if I have problems accessing the website?

  • Check that you are connected to the internet when you try to use the site. Try going to another website. If you can't, your internet service may be experiencing problems.
  • Check that you are using a recommended browser: Minimum requirements needed are: Internet Explorer 8.0 or later, or Firefox 3 or later. If not, try going to the website using one of the recommended browsers.
  • Check whether you are using a firewall.
  • Check whether you are behind a proxy server. If you are, it may be blocking your access to Very Short Introductions. Contact your system administrator or librarian and ask them to allow you access to the website.
  • Do you use security software? This may be blocking access to Very Short Introductions.
  • Check whether you have cleared your cache recently.

To clear your cache in Firefox:

Log out of the website and close all other open browser windows

On the Tools menu select Options.

Click the Privacy icon and Clear your recent History

then the Clear Now button.

Click OK.

To clear your cache in Internet Explorer:

Log out of the website and close all other open browser windows.

On the Tools menu select Internet Options

On the General Tab select Delete browsing history on exit, checkbox and select Delete.

Click the OK button.

Do I need JavaScript?

Yes. If you need to enable JavaScript, please bear in mind that the way to do this will be different for each browser. For Internet Explorer 8 or 9 please follow the instructions below:

You can tell IE to enable pop-ups and JavaScript only for trusted websites. You first need to specify that is a trusted site, and then enable pop-ups and JavaScript.

On the Tools menu select Internet Options.

Click the Security tab on the Internet Options dialog box.

Click the Trusted sites icon.

Click the Sites button. Under Add this web site to the zone: type the URL (you might want to copy and paste the URL to prevent typos), then click the Add button.

Make sure that the check box next to Require server verification (https:) for all sites in this zone is not checked.

Now enable JavaScript:

Click the Custom Level button.

Scroll down to the options under Use Pop-up Blocker.

Click the Enable radio button. Then scroll down to the options under Scripting.

Under Active scripting click the Enable radio button. 

What accessibility standards does the site meet?

To help achieve our objective of excellence in research, scholarship and education and as part of our commitment to serving our customers and users, Oxford University Press is striving to make its products accessible to and inclusive of all our users, including those with visual, hearing, cognitive, or motor impairments. Visit the Accessibility page to find out more.

What is your policy on third party data mining?

OUP recognizes the research benefit of Text and Data Mining (TDM) across a variety of research fields. As such, we are happy to accommodate TDM for non-commercial use. If you have any questions please e-mail