Search Tips


Title Search

You can search book titles from main webpage. The search returns all books in the UDL whose titles match the words you enter in the search box.Each word must be more than 4 characters.

You can enter words or subset of words in any language (English, Arabic and Chinese etc..) if the multilingual support is enabled for your computer and if you are used to type the langauges mentioned using the qwerty keyboard. Otherwise you may use the tranliteration scheme provided.

Advance Search

Use the advanced search option to refine your search.

You can enter any key words into the Title and Author text entry boxes. For the Title and Author fields, Unicode search is enabled, for Indian language books please click here to go the website to get the equivalent Unicode for the Indian language title. All the other search criteria can be selected from a pick-list.

For Ex: you can search for the Arabic books from the year 1700 to 1800 from the country India.

Title --> Enter any word/subset of the word of title to search the book.
Author --> Enter full name/ partial name of the author of the book to search for a book.
Subject --> Select from given list of the subjects to refine the search.
Language --> Select from given list of the languages
Year --> You can type in the year or range of years in this field to search for a book through the particular years.
Library --> Select from pick list
Scanning Center --> Select from pick list
Country --> Select from the pick list.

Browse the Collection

Use the browse the collection option to view the books alphabetically.

Title --> You can just click on the any alphabet from A to Z to see all the book titles starting from that alphabet
Author --> You can click on the any alphabet from A to Z to see all the Author last names starting from that alphabet
Subject --> Select from given list of the subjects.
Language --> Select from given list of the languages
Year --> You can select the range of years given in the list.




1. Do I need a program to view the books online?

All the books pages in the UDL are in TIFF or DjVu format. To display the TIFF images, you need a TIFF image viewer plug-in for your web browser:

Operating systemBrowserPlug-in to download to view Tiff Images
WindowsIE, MozillaAlternatiff Or QuickTime 4.1 or later
MACMozilla, SafariAlternatiff Or QuickTime
LinuxNetscape, Mozilla

To display the DjVu images, you need a DjVu image viewer plug-in for your web browser. You can download a free plug-in which supports all the operating systems are at

Very soon we will also be supporting browser-friendly and offline-reading friendly formats like PDF and HTML.

Please note that our plugins do not work in IE7. We are striving to get this problem rectified. Please use mozilla or version of IE lesser than 7.

2. I get a message "Book temporarily not online" when I try to read a book. When will I be able to read it?

UDL books are hosted all over the world. There is a possibility that the server that your book is hosted on is temporarily down. The UDL server constantly checks the status of our host servers all over the world and updates their status if a server is down. We suggest that you try back the next day if you get this error message.

3. Why does it take long time to download some pages?

The amount of time it takes to download a page depends on the speed of your internet connection, the size of the book and the location where it is hosted. Sometimes it can take a few minutes to download a page especially if the page is rich in graphics.

4. Can I download an entire book?

Currently the UDL books are in TIFF format. We are working with our partner organizations to convert the books into PDF format. Users will be able to download an entire book once the conversion is done. We expect the conversion to PDF format to be completed in 6 months.

5. How do I request a book to be added to the UDL?

Please see the Personal DL section on the website

6. How do I make a donation to the UDL?

Please see the Donations section on the website

7. Why did we choose TIFF instead of any other Image format?

We have chosen TIFF image format to display the book pages in UDL, because it produces high quality images when scanned from a paper book. We are working to convert the book images to other formats.

8. Why are some books not viewable at all?

The mission of the UDL is both conservancy and universal access to all books. We have scanned books that we can not display on our website. The reasons are numerous and very complicated. We hope that the book can be displayed on the UDL website in the future when the owner or the prevailing laws permit it. This process could take decades. Meanwhile, users can at least know about the book and try to get one at their library or buy one. By scanning the book, we have conserved it for generations to come.


UDL Improvement Plans


  1. Server performance improvements
    • Upgrade existing servers to handle high traffic volumes
    • Increase number of servers
    • Route traffic to local servers in the country where the request originated
  2. Clean up errors in metadata (Title, Author, Subject, Year of publication, etc.) for a book. This will require manual verification and correction. Given the global and collaborative nature of our project, we are exploring ways to involve the user community in this effort.
    • Errors in the Title, Author, Language of a book.
    • Misclassification of the subject of a book.
    • We have a number of books for which the year of publication has not been established clearly during the automated scanning process. To comply with copyright laws, we have restricted viewing of such books. We may be able to make these books available for viewing once the copyright status has been verified.
  3. Conversion of books into PDF format. This will
    • To Reduce page/book size
    • Allow for quick loading of pages
    • Download of entire books
  4. Provide easier navigation within a book with direct links to Title page, Content page and Index page from the metadata panel.
  5. Duplication of all books at all partner sites to allow faster access. We are bound by laws in certain countries to not host the books outside that country. In such cases, we are working to have multiple mirror sites within that country to increase access.
  6. Enabling access to UDL books even if some partner sites are down.