Mathematics (SB)

at the Library

The library is the mathematician’s laboratory

A teacher and his students, and a research mathematician and his students, must have a mathematics library as good as the university can afford, and they must have it down the hall a few steps away. Facts and proofs must be looked up now, other questions will very likely arise before lunch, and still others during the afternoon colloquium. A historian might be able to continue working without immediately verifying an important reference – that can wait till tomorrow. For a mathematican each step of the intellectual structure under study depends crucially on the previous steps, and a missing step could be an obstacle to any progress at all.

I Want to be a Mathematician: An Automathography, Springer, 1985, p. 355

The collection of books on mathematics is particularly extensive. It benefits from sustained development dating back to the time when the University of Lausanne and EPFL each had their own research library. These two stocks were combined into the Rolex Learning Center (RLC) and since then have been open to all users of the Library.

Printed books

More than 30,000 publications in mathematics are available directly at the EPFL library, and an even larger number in the SLSP network that you can locate and order via:

  • BEAST catalog: Books (electronic and printed) available at EPFL
  • Swisscovery: BEAST catalog tab allowing to search in the SLSP network, including the Zentral Bibliothek de Zurich
  • SwissbibCatalogue of all the libraries in Switzerland
  • WorldCatGlobal catalogue of libraries

Electronic books

The following publishers’ packages are available on the EPFL website. In order to discover all the packages and individual titles, please look up our catalogue : 

The EPFL Library provides a large number of journals, both in printed and electronic format. This range may be supplemented by calling on the services of the other libraries in the network.

Printed journals

The BEAST catalog will inform you of the availability of journals, at Lausanne as well as Zurich :

  • More than three hundred journals can be looked up at the EPFL library.
  • Volumes of archives can also be ordered from the ETHZ library.

Electronic articles and journals

The content of the journals (articles) can be searched in BEAST catalog, and in the following databases :

If an article is not directly available in its electronic format, there are other ways of obtaining it.

1. Is there free access to a version?

The authors may have filed a copy of their article on their personal page, their institutional archive such as Infoscience, or a thematic archive such as arXiv.

Google Scholar is an efficient search engine for finding this kind of manuscript (“preprints”) made available in open access.

2. Does the EPFL library have a printed version?

BEAST catalog lets you know the printed journals to which the library subscribes. If you are a researcher at EPFL, you can order a copy which will be sent to you by email.

3. Does the ETHZ library own a printed version?

BEAST catalog informs you about the ETHZ subscriptions, and allows you to order an entire volume (only past years, not the current one) or a copy of an article through an inter-library loan.

4. Can another library provide the article?

Our document search service is happy to help you and will try to find the document in a library outside our network.

5. Can the authors provide the article?

If none of the above approaches work, perhaps you can contact the authors personally and ask them to send you on the document?

Many old publications have been digitised and made availailable by the libraries that were storing them :

Regarding articles, of note are two sites dedicated to them :

  • arXivManuscripts (recent) in physics, mathematics, computer science and computational sciences
  • JSTORArchives of many pure mathematics journals and statistical journals


A small selection of sites discussing mathematics :


In order to discover all the encyclopaedias available at EPFL, please refer to our catalogue.


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