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Smart Tools & Tips for Your Studies

From personal guidance to useful applications

Studying is no easy ride. Sometimes you can’t find what you are looking for or you can’t stay focused. Especially when it is recommended to study from home. The tools below are to support you so that you can maintain your productivity and concentration even at home.

Information & Software

The Library has a number of resources available which many students are unaware of. Are you stuck with your studies or do you want to start well prepared? Then the tools below can get you started (again).

Van Dale online dictionaries

The UvA gives you access to the Van Dale Online Dictionaries and Van Dale Online Language Handbooks. These are the most complete dictionaries, fully up-to-date for Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish. With audible pronunciations of keywords and conjugations of the verbs.

The Van Dale Online Dictionaries can be found under the button “Databases” in CataloguePlus.


Another useful tool is NexisUni. This news bank contains data from more than 40,000 reliable national and international sources with which you can search newspaper articles, company information and legal information. They offer information from national and regional newspapers and information from news magazines, websites, social media, blogs and forums.

You can find Nexis Uni under the button 'Databases' in CataloguePlus, and then under the 'N'.

The New York Times

The Library has a subscription to The New York Times. The daily news can be read as well as the archive from 1851 to 2015. The articles are shown with their original layout. To read the latest news, sign up at bij To do this, you must be within the UvA network, or work from home with a VPN connection.

The archives of The New York Times can be found under the button 'Databases' in CataloguePlus, and then under the 'N'.


As a UvA student you can purchase software from Adobe, Norton, McAfee and Microsoft at a reduced rate via SURFspot. SURFspot is the not-for-profit ICT web shop with a special education discount on software, cloud services and hardware.

Productivity Tools

For a little extra help while studying, there are useful applications available on the web that can help you maintain your concentration.

Website Blockers

Do you always stray while studying? Focus is a website and application blocker for MacOS and Cold Turkey for MacOS and Windows. You can lock websites or the entire internet in soft and hardcore mode (turning off is excluded). Use the pomodoro timer for interval study cycles or the scheduler so that the program runs according to fixed time schedules. A one-time purchase gives you access for life.


Forest is an application that does not block websites, but encourages productivity by growing a tree on your screen if you leave your device alone. If you do visit a website your tree will die. The application can be installed on your laptop as well as on your mobile.


With Flipd you can conveniently track and categorize all your productive time. There is also the Flipd Focus Lock that removes all installed applications from your phone for a set time. Only calling or texting is allowed in this mode. Thus, it is impossible to be tempted.

Toggle Tracker

For some guidance during your study time there is Toggle Tracker. The extension for your browser and the application for your phone that lets you time your activities with one click. This way you can clearly see how much time you have spent productively. Simple and effective.


Contact the UvA Student Services for more information.