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Electronic Books

Cardiff University libraries provide access to thousands of electronic books (eBooks) which can be viewed in their entirety on a PC, laptop or mobile device, over the internet both on and off campus. The FAQs below cover the main things you need to know about using eBooks at Cardiff University.


How can I access eBooks available at Cardiff University?

The library has either purchased or subscribed to thousands of eBook titles which can be accessed via LibrarySearch, the eLibrary or by searching eBooks provider's databases. 

eBooks can be accessed from the networked computers on campus. They can also be accessed from home or other off campus locations using your Cardiff University login. The majority of eBooks will not require a username and password when using a networked computer on campus. However some services require the use of your Cardiff University login both on and off campus.

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How can I access eBooks using LibrarySearch?

Most eBooks available at Cardiff University are recorded on and accessible via LibrarySearch. If an eBook has been purchased or is subscribed to by Cardiff University and is recorded and accessible on LibrarySearch, it can be found by searching under the Library Collections tab. Click on Full Text Online on the left to narrow your search results to eBooks and other online sources. Alternatively, you can limit your search to eBooks only by selecting this collection from the drop down menu next to the search box. 

If the title is available electronically the result will say Online access. To open the book, click on View Online and then Open source in a new window. Alternatively, click on the title of the book.  

Those eBooks which are freely available on the web can be found by searching on LibrarySearch under the ArticleSearch tab.    

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How can I access eBooks using the eLibrary?

Information on and access to all eBooks available at Cardiff University is available via the eLibrary, which provides access to all online journals and books at Cardiff University (though not books and journals in print format - see LibrarySearch for information on these). The eLibrary's eBooks Help page provides information on searching, viewing and using eBooks via the eLibrary.

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What eBook providers are available at Cardiff University?

eBooks are available from the providers listed below. Besides using LibrarySearch and the eLibrary, eBooks can also be accessed via the direct links below to the provider's own databases. Unless specified links can be used both on and off campus. To access some of these resources you will need your Cardiff University Login.

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Can I access any other eBooks besides those to which Cardiff University subscribe or have purchased?

As well as the subscription eBook providers above there are a number of websites that provide access to freely available eBooks. Besides searching on LibrarySearch under the ArticleSearch tab, freely available eBooks can also be accessed via the direct links below to the provider's own websites.

  • Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) - The DOAB is a service which aims to increase the discoverability of Open Access books. Academic publishers are invited to provide the necessary information of their Open Access books to DOAB. The directory is open to all publishers who publish academic, peer reviewed books in Open Access, provided that these publications are in Open Access and meet academic standards.
  • Google Books - millions of eBooks available to view in 'Full View' (full text of book available) and 'Limited Preview' (only a limited number of pages from the book are available to view). Those books with limited preview are still in copyright, and their pages displayed with the permission of publishers and authors.
  • Gutenberg-e - a collaboration between Columbia University Press and the American Historical Association, committed to promoting the electronic publication of scholarly writing in the Humanities.
  • Internet Archive - millions of eBooks available to view in full text. The 'Texts' collection of the Internet Archive includes millions of digitised books from various libraries around the world as well as many special collections. As well as eBooks Internet Archive offers permanent storage and access to collections of digitised materials, including websites, music, moving images, and books.
  • National Academies Press - The National Academies Press (NAP) of the United States publishes books in a wide range of topics in science, engineering, and health. The NAP website has thousands of books that can be downloaded free in PDF format. See the website's frequently asked questions guide to find out how books can be downloaded for free by the chapter or the entire book.
  • OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks) is a collaborative initiative to develop and implement an open access publication model for academic books in the Humanities and Social Sciences, which aims to improve the visibility and usability of high quality academic research by aggregating peer reviewed open access publications from across Europe.
  • Project Euclid - Developed by the Cornell University Library Project Euclid is jointly managed by Cornell and the Duke University Press and provides free access to journals, conference proceedings and monographs in the field of theoretical and applied mathematics and statistics.
  • Project Gutenberg – over 100,000 free eBooks available to download and read. Project Gutenberg aims to digitise and archive books by freely providing them in standard electronic formats. The collection is made up of books whose copyrights have expired or whose authors have permitted free redistribution.

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What software will I need in order to access eBooks on my own PC, laptop or mobile device?

eBooks are accessed via the internet, and you will need an internet browser such as Internet Explorer or Firefox to do this. You may also need Adobe Acrobat Reader, to enable you to view pdf files (the format in which some full-text titles are displayed).

Acrobat Reader software is already installed if you are viewing electronic books from the University network. If you need to install Adobe Acrobat Reader on your home computer, the software can be downloaded free from Adobe.

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What can I do if the book I want isn't available electronically?

Check LibrarySearch to see if the library has a printed copy. If not, you may be able to obtain a copy through the Inter-Library Loan (ILL) service.

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Can I print from an eBook?

Yes you can print pages of an eBook. However, there will be restrictions on how much content you can print from an eBook, depending on copyright, the digital protection within each eBook and the database on which the eBook is hosted. For example, it is not possible to print from an eBook which has been downloaded from the Dawsonera database, while only one page at a time can be printed from an eBook which is read online on the Dawsonera database.

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What copyright restrictions apply when I use an eBook?

Under UK copyright law it is generally accepted that you may print out one whole chapter or 5% of a whole work, whichever is the greater. eBook providers closely monitor and restrict the amount of printing from their titles.

Unlike printed books, the library does not own most of the electronic books it subscribes to. Instead, a licence agreement is made with each provider, specifying the terms and conditions of use. The terms of the licence generally limit the usage for research and scholarly study, and you are not permitted to distribute the content to someone else by email.

Violations of the licence agreements are taken very seriously by both publishers and the library. Infringements could result in access being terminated, or even legal proceedings being brought against offenders.

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