Lean Library is soon to be replaced by LibKey for University of Essex Library Services users, Adam Cowlin tells us more about LibKey and it's uses for students and staff.

So, what is Lean Library?

Lean Library is a browser plugin designed to make your research from start to article as simple as possible. When installed, you can find the article or journal you were after from the very comfort of your own search engine. If the library has access to it, a pop-up would appear with a quick way to log in and access it, or additional information about accessing it.

All you have to do is install the plugin, let it know that you’re a student at the University of Essex, and you’re away! But... our institutional subscription for Lean Library is ending on 31 October 2023.

So after all that information about how great the Lean Library plugin is, you’ll probably be asking either one of two questions:

Oh no, how will I keep my current workflows? This tool is really useful!


If you’re getting rid of it, why are you telling me? I’ve not used it anyway!

The simple answer is, LibKey!

The more complicated answer is that the library has a similar plugin called LibKey. All you have to do is download the plugin to your browser, let it know you’re a student at the University of Essex, and you’re away.

When you search or come across articles and journals, it will try to log you in and grant you access via the university. If the library doesn’t have access in its catalogue, it will do the next best thing: try and find a free (and legal) copy of the article you’re trying to access.

On top of this, it allows you to perform DOI searches, getting you to the articles you want as quickly as possible.

We are encouraging Lean Library users (an non-users!) to start using LibKey now as a replacement for Lean Library so that when our institutional subscription ends in October, it's not such a shock!

So why not try it out and let us know what you think?