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eBooks

Finding and accessing eBooks available through University of Melbourne subscriptions and online.

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Notice: During the Covid-19 pandemic, a number of Publishers and Providers are giving free unlimited access to a range of online resources. You can see the list on our Library blog. 
Welcome to the eBooks Library Guide

You can access the Library's eBook collection 24/7, from home, work or anywhere that you can access the Internet.

This guide is a starting point for becoming familiar with the eBook collections and platforms available through the University of Melbourne Library catalogueDiscovery and Databases, as well as free eBooks on the Web.

 

 

Searching for eBooks

eBooks via the Library Catalogue

When you use the catalogue, eBooks will be included in the results of an ordinary search, but the method below limits your search to eBooks.

  1. Go to the Library website
  2. Select the catalogue
  3. Enter your search term and select Online Books from the drop-down menu, then Submit

 

       4. In your results, click on the "Connect to eBook" (University of Melbourne only) link to access the ebook online

 

Tip: Using the Library Catalogue to search for eBooks will ensure you have easy access to full-text through your University of Melbourne login. Alternatives such as visiting a publisher’s website or searching an eBook platform directly will not give you access to the full-text of a book.   

eBooks via Discovery

You can also find eBooks by filtering your search results in Discovery by following the steps below. 

  1. Do a search using Discovery
  • Go to the Library website
  • Enter your search terms in the Discovery search box
  • Login using your University username and password, if you are prompted to do so

 

  1. Refine your results to eBooks
  • In the Refine your results section to the left, tick the full-text checkbox and click the 'Update' button
  • In the Source Types section, tick the checkboxes: 'Books' and 'eBooks' and click the 'Update' button
  • Any eBooks that match your search query will be listed in the search results

 

  1. Read or download ebooks

To access the full-text of an e-book, click the link in each result, which may appear as a:

  • PDF full-textDownload (Offline), HTML full-text, or 'View this record from...' link
  • Find it @ unimelb link
  • See Library Catalogue link

Major eBook platforms
SpringerLink Books
JSTOR eBooks
ScienceDirect books (Elsevier)
Oxford Scholarship Online
Taylor & Francis eBooks
Proquest eBook Central
eBook Collection (EBSCO)
Cambridge Core Books

  • ClinicalKey (Elsevier): is a database designed specifically to address physicians’ key search requirements and deliver answers that are more relevant than those provided by conventional clinical search engines.
  • Knoveloffers a comprehensive collection including material properties, process and design information, best practices, equations and formulations for specific industries and engineering disciplines. Knovel’s content includes over 4,000 leading reference works and databases from more than 100 leading technical publishers and professional societies including AIAA, AIChE, ASHRAE, ASM, ASME, DIPPR and NACE.
  • McGraw-Hill eBook Library: platform contains a range of titles published by McGraw-Hill Education. The Library has access to selected Medical collections only.
  • Oxford Art Online: offers access to the most authoritative, inclusive, and easily searchable online art resources available today. Through a single gateway, users can access and cross-search Oxford’s acclaimed, regularly updated art reference works: the Grove Dictionary of Art and the Benezit Dictionary of Artists. In addition, users can search and access the Oxford Reference titles: Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, Oxford Companion to Western Art, and The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms
  • Oxford Reference: is the home of Oxford’s quality reference publishing. The collection provides quality, up-to-date reference content at the click of a button. The University of Melbourne subscribes to selected titles from this large collection of materials.
  • Books@Ovid: Over 200 scientific and medical ebooks. Subjects covered include behavioral & social sciences, clinical medicine, health professions, life & biomedical sciences, nursing, patient education, pharmacology and chemistry.
  • Peter Lang eBooks: specializes in the humanities and social sciences, covering the complete publication spectrum from monographs to student textbooks. Disciplines included are across all of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.
  • CAB eBooks: provides a unique opportunity to access CABI’s prestigious titles in an easy-to-use format. CABI publish ebooks in Agriculture, Animal and veterinary sciences, Environmental sciences, Human health food and nutrition, Leisure and tourism, and Plant sciences.
  • CSIRO Publishing eBooks: is Australia's premier science publisher covering a wide range of disciplines including plant and animal sciences, farming, urban development and environmental management.
  • Project MUSE Book Collection: offers peer-reviewed books from over 65 university presses and scholarly publishers. Over 550 humanities and social science books from several distinguished university presses are available as fully open access (OA).
  • Safari Books Online (ProQuest): features a curated library of over 30,000 technical book. The database also contains over 4,000 videos, as well as interactive tutorials, case studies, learning paths and audio books.
  • iG Library: Comprehensive collection of peer reviewed electronic books published by American Psychiatric Publishing.
  • SAGE Knowledge: offers an expansive range of SAGE eBook and eReference content, including scholarly monographs, reference works, handbooks, series, professional development titles, and more.
  • World Scientific eBooks: over 300 titles published during 2011 includes the following subject areas: mathematics, physics/nonlinear science, chemistry/materials science/nanotechnology, computer science, engineering and environmental science.
eBooks via A-Z Databases

Another way of searching for eBook platforms is through the A-Z Databases list

1.   Log into A-Z Databases from the Library website

2.   Type 'ebooks' in the Database search box

3. Browse the list of results in the catalogue

eBooks by subject area

The Library has well over half a million eBooks which you can access anywhere you have an internet connection.  Use the lists below to jumpstart your search for eBook titles recommended for your subject area.

  • Cambridge Core Books publishes a wide range of research monographs, academic reference, textbooks, books for professionals, and large numbers of books aimed at graduate students. There are thousands of ebooks available across a wide range of disciplines in Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Oxford Scholarship Online is a vast and rapidly expanding cross-searchable library which offers quick and easy access to the full text of Oxford University Press ebooks in disciplines such as Business and management; Economics and finance; Law; Philosophy; Political science; Public health and epidemiology.
  • JSTOR is a digital library of thousands of academic journals, books, and primary sources from a wide range academic disciplines, including core areas such as business & economics, social sciences, education, history, language & literature and science. Current journals are linked and cross-searchable with archival journals and ebooks on JSTOR.
  • Taylor & Francis Ebooks - Provides DRM-free e-book access for students and researchers working in the humanities, social and behavioural sciences, education, built environment, and law.

  • JSTOR  is a growing digital library covering academic disciplines, including business & economics, education, history, and language & literature and science. Current journals are linked and cross-searchable with archival journals and ebooks on .
  • Oxford Scholarship Online is a vast and rapidly expanding cross-searchable library which offers quick and easy access to ebooks in Business and management; Economics and finance; Law; Philosophy; Political science; Public health and epidemiology.
  • Cambridge Core Books publishes a wide range of research monographs, academic reference, textbooks, books for professionals, and graduate students. There are thousands of ebooks available across a wide range of disciplines including law, politics, history, language and literature, mathematics and astronomy
  • Taylor & Francis Ebooks provides DRM-free e-book access for students and researchers working in the humanities, social and behavioural sciences, education, built environment, and law. .
  • Peter Lang eBooks The Peter Lang Academic Publishing Group specializes in the humanities and social sciences, covering disciplines include acres the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.
  • ProQuest Ebook Central provides access to thousands of e-books from trusted publishers in all academic subject areas.
  • SpringerLink Books contains journals, books, series, protocols and reference works all aimed at supporting the research and academic community across all disciplines.
  • Wiley Online Library Books is a collection of online resources covering life, health, and physical sciences as well as social science and the humanities.
  • eBook Collection (EBSCO) offers a selection of scholarly, frontlist and award-winning eBook titles from leading publishers. These titles cover a broad range of academic subject matter and topics.
  • Project MUSE Book Collection offers peer-reviewed books from over 65 university presses and scholarly publishers. Over 550 humanities and social science books from several distinguished university presses are available as fully open access (OA).

  • ProQuest Ebook Central provides access to thousands of e-books from trusted publishers in all academic subject areas.
  • Cambridge Core Books publishes a wide range of research monographs, academic reference, textbooks, books for professionals, and graduate students. There are thousands of ebooks available across a wide range of disciplines including law, politics, history, language and literature, mathematics and astronomy with hundreds of new titles added each year
  • Oxford Scholarship Online is a vast and rapidly expanding cross-searchable library which offers quick and easy access to the full text ebooks in disciplines such as Business and management; Economics and finance; Law; Philosophy; Political science; Public health and epidemiology.
  • SpringerLink Books contains journals, books, series, protocols and reference works all aimed at supporting the research and academic community across all disciplines.

  • ProQuest Ebook Central provides access to thousands of e-books from trusted publishers in all academic subject areas.
  • SpringerLink Books contains journals, books, series, protocols and reference works all aimed at supporting the research and academic community across all disciplines.

  • eBook Collection (EBSCO) offers a selection of scholarly, frontlist and award-winning eBook titles from leading publishers. The Library has access to selected titles, as well as the thousands of public domain titles that are included in the database.
  • Project MUSE Book Collection offers peer-reviewed books from over 65 university presses and scholarly publishers.Over 550 humanities and social science books from several distinguished university presses are available as fully open access (OA).
  • ProQuest Ebook Central provides access to thousands of e-books from trusted publishers in all academic subject areas
  • Cambridge Core Books publishes a wide range of research monographs, academic reference, textbooks, books for professionals, and graduate students. There are thousands of ebooks available across a wide range of disciplines including law, politics, history, language and literature, mathematics and astronomy
  • Wiley Online Library Books - is a collection of online resources covering life, health, and physical sciences as well as social science and the humanities.
  • SpringerLink Books contains journals, books, series, protocols and reference works all aimed at supporting the research and academic community across all disciplines.
  • JSTOR is a growing digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources in core areas such as business & economics, education, history, and language & literature and science.
  • Taylor & Francis Ebooks Provides DRM-free e-book access for students and researchers working in the humanities, social and behavioural sciences, education, built environment, and law, to well-known imprints including Routledge, Psychology Press, Focal Press, Earthscan, Eye on Education, Longman, Heinemann, Acumen, and Ashgate.
  • Oxford Scholarship Online is a vast and rapidly expanding cross-searchable library which offers quick and easy access to the full text of ebooks in disciplines such as Business and management; Economics and finance; Law; Philosophy; Political science; Public health and epidemiology.
  • Peter Lang eBooks - The Peter Lang Academic Publishing Group specializes in the humanities and social sciences, covering the complete publication spectrum from monographs to student textbooks in disciplines spanning the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.
  • Bloomsbury Collections Ebooks offer online access to scholarly books across the humanities and social sciences, including Law. The Hart Publishing collection includes titles covering a range of legal topics, such as European law, criminal law, legal history, contract law, legal philosophy and human rights.

  • Cambridge Core Books publishes a wide range of research monographs, academic reference, textbooks, books for professionals, and graduate students in disciplines including law, politics, history, language and literature, mathematics and astronomy with hundreds of new titles added each year
  • Edward Elgar Publishing Books is a leading international publisher of academic books and journals in economics, finance, business and management, law, environment, public and social policy.
  • Oxford Scholarship Online is a vast and rapidly expanding cross-searchable library which offers quick and easy access to the full text ebooks in disciplines such as Business and management; Economics and finance; Law; Philosophy; Political science; Public health and epidemiology.
  • Brill Online Books is a publishing house with a rich history and a strong international focus. Brill’s publications focus on the Humanities and Social Sciences, International Law and selected areas in the Sciences.
    The Library has access to the Human rights and humanitarian law collection, the International law collection, and other selected titles.
  • ProQuest Ebook Central provides access to thousands of e-books from trusted publishers in all academic subject areas.

  • ClinicalKey (Elsevier) is a database designed specifically to address physicians’ key search requirements and deliver answers that are more relevant than those provided by conventional clinical search engines. The database also has more than 20 million MEDLINE abstracts, which are updated daily.
  • Books@Ovid - Over 200 scientific and medical ebooks. Subjects covered include behavioural & social sciences, clinical medicine, health professions, life & biomedical sciences, nursing, patient education, pharmacology and chemistry.
  • McGraw-Hill eBook Library - contains a range of titles published by McGraw-Hill Education. The Library has access to selected Medical collections only.

  • SpringerReference offers living editions of Springer's eReferences well in advance of their print editions. This collection covers a broad range of subjects including Biomedical and life sciences, Chemistry and material science, Computer science, Earth and environmental science, Engineering, and Mathematics and statistics.
  • IEEE-Wiley eBooks Library - a partnership between IEEE and Wiley & Sons, Inc. - includes practical handbooks, introductory and advanced texts, reference works, and professional books with an emphasis on leading areas of research.
  • AccessEngineering (McGraw Hill) is an engineering reference tool for professionals, academics, and students which provides access to critical, regularly updated engineering reference information.
  • CSIRO Publishing eBooks  

    is Australia's premier science publisher covering a wide range of disciplines including plant and animal sciences, farming, urban development and environmental management.

  • ENGnetBASE: Science & technical e-books. Topics covered include chemistry, computer science, geoscience, life sciences, mathematics, physics, as well as biomedical, chemical, civil, electrical, mechanical, environmental and computer engineering.

  • CAB eBooks: Ebooks covering literature in the fields of animal health, agriculture, human health and nutrition, and management and conservation of natural resources.
  • EBL contains popular, professional and academic ebooks from the world's leading publishers.
  • Books@OVID: provides access to electronic books available on the Ovid database search platform.
  • Wiley Online Library Books: Link to subscribed ebooks and journals. Browse by publication or subject.
  • ScienceDirect Books: Browse by title or subject e.g. Veterinary Medicine/Veterinary Science to access subscribed ebooks.
  • CSIRO Publishing eBooks: Topics covered include plant and animal sciences, farming, urban development and environmental management.
  • SpringerLink Books contains journals, books, series, protocols and reference works all aimed at supporting the research and academic community across all disciplines. The Palgrave Connect ebook collections were integrated into the Springer eBook collections during 2016.
  • VETnetBASE: A collection of electronic books covering veterinary anatomy, ophthalmology, radiology, equine, exotics, farm animals and small animals

More eBook options

If you are looking for subject-specific recommendations for eBooks, see our Library Guides for more detailed guidance.

 

Reading and downloading eBooks

eBook formats

You can read all eBooks online via their link from the Library Catalogue, Discovery or databases, and you will usually have the option to download them as well. 

The 'read online' and 'download' options may appear in different positions on the screen, depending on the provider/publisher of the eBook.  E.g. EBL shows this option in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen.

Most of our eBooks are downloaded as either standard PDF files or are controlled by a Digital Rights Management program.

Standard PDF files - there are a range of Programs and Apps that wil read PDF files, such as:

ADE locked files - These files have Digital Rights Management (DRM) and can only be opened with Programs or Apps that are compatible with ADE, such as:

You will need to set up an Adobe ID to use ADE files.

Please note, that as Adobe Digital Editions is designed for personal use, it is not available on Library student computers.


Downloading EBL Books? You need Adobe Digital Editions
  1. Download and install Adobe Digital Editions by visiting the ADE website
  2. Once installed, click 'launch' to activate the Adobe Digital Editions installer
  3. Follow the on-screen prompts from the Setup Assistant wizard, and create a free Adobe ID account if you don't have one
  4. Use your  email address and set a password to login to Adobe Digital Editions (via the wizard or the member login page)
  5. 'Activate' Adobe Digital Editions on your computer
  6. Click 'finish' to close the wizard.  You can also close the Adobe Digital Editions 'library' which has opened, as you only need this software to be loaded on your computer to download ebooks for the set period of 3 or 7 days

Can't remember your Adobe ID or password? Follow the instructions here for Forgotten ID or Password.

External Guides by major eBook platforms

Some eBook platforms offer detailed user guides on how to find and use eBooks in their databases.A selection of them are included below:

Note: the buttons below with open resources in new windows

 

Free eBook platforms

This is not an exhaustive list of free eBooks available online, but a selection of freely available, quality resources which may be useful to you.

Google Books

Provides over million freely accessible books you can preview or read

Project Gutenburg

Offers over 40,000 free eBooks: choose among free epub books, free kindle books

Project Gutenburg Australia

Contains 'public domain' eBooks in Australia, which have been prepared by volunteers

Internet Archive

Contains a wide range of fiction, children's literature, historical & academic texts

Open Library

Gives access to over 20 million records online and access to 1.7 million scanned books

Hathi Trust

Access public domain content through linked to Google, Internet Archive, and in-house initiatives

The Online Books page

A website from the University of Pennsylvania Libraries that facilitates access to eBooks

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Over 30, 000 books from the University of Michigan collection, scanned for preservation

UC Press eBooks Collection

350 + electronic editions of academic books available for free to the public

Dr S Cavanaugh Education Technology

This site lists a range of eBooks libraries, many allowing for free access

International Children's Digital Library

Free access to digital books - browse by age, genre, length, character types

Referencing eBooks

Need help with referencing eBooks?

 

Visit the Re:cite guide to referencing

 

FAQs


General 

An eBook (short for electronic book) is a book-length publication in digital format. Ebooks can be read on computers, dedicated ebook readers, tablets, mobile phones and other mobile devices.

Ebooks come in a number of formats and file types, which display slightly differently. Some ebooks are pdf files that have been scanned from a paper text. These offer limited search options and do not easily resize to adapt to different device screens.

Some eBook providers require you to check-out or borrow eBooks and use particular software, such as Adobe Digital Editions, to read their eBooks. However you will be prompted to do this when you try to access an eBook with special requirements and instructions will be provided.

Other ebooks are taking full advantage of the digital environment. They can resize, remember your place in a book, hold notes and bookmarks, allow searches and have in-text links to supporting material.

Most of the eBooks provided by the library can simply be read online using a web browser and/or downloaded, by section, chapter or whole book, in PDF format.

To access, download and read most eBooks from the library you simply need:

  • A unimelb login and password.
  • A device, such as a PC, laptop or tablet, with access to the Internet,
  • An up-to-date web browser (find the latest versions of common browsers here), and
  • A PDF reader, such as Adobe Reader.

Some eBook providers require you to check-out or borrow eBooks and use particular software, such as Adobe Digital Editions, to read their eBooks. However you will be prompted to do this when you try to access an eBook with special requirements and instructions will be provided.

Refer to the Reading & Downloading eBooks page for a step-by-step guide to using eBooks.

When viewing an eBook on any PC, laptop, or mobile device (e.g. eReader or smartphone) it is essential that the device can support both the software and format requirements of the eBook in question.  For example, a Kindle cannot view PDF file eBooks because of the proprietary format under which it operates.  By contrast, the Sony eReader can process PDF format eBooks.    

It will depend on the device itself, as well as Digital Rights Management issues, which is a way for publishers to control who can read purchased eBooks, and to restrict what can be done with them.  At the moment, downloaded EBL ebooks can be transferred to any portable device that supports Adobe Digital Editions (ADE). There's a list of these compatible devices on the ADE website. Portable devices with browser support (such as the iPhone/iPad) can also access EBL and Read Online via the web. 

For further information please visit the Montgomery County Public Libraries guide.

Most of the eBooks provided by the library can simply be read online using a web browser and/or downloaded, by section, chapter or whole book, in PDF format.

The same copyright rules apply to eBooks as their print versions, so the 10% rule is a rough guide.  However, most eBook publishers provide guidance for the amount you can copy or print from an eBook (usually within the eBook you are reading).  For example, clicking print in an EBL book will show you how many pages you have printed and display the total number of pages you are permitted to print.

Please note that Hawthorn students, general and alumni library members do not have access to eBooks, even from public access PCs.


Accessing and downloading eBooks

To read eBooks from the University library catalogue or eBook databases, you do not need an eReader device.  You simply require a PC or laptop that supports eBook software (e.g. Adobe Digital Editions), so it is possible to download eBooks. In most cases, when you choose to read an eBook online this is browser supported and does not require additional software.

Generally, eBooks from the library do not require any specific software other than Adobe Digital Editions, which is necessary for downloading EBL eBooks.

Refer to the Reading & Downloading eBooks page for a step-by-step guide to downloading Adobe Digital Editions.

Most eBooks provided by the library do not need to be 'borrowed', however some eBooks provided in databases such as 'EBL - Ebook Library' have fixed loan periods and after the loan period expires the eBook will automatically be deleted from your computer or device.

To access an eBook again, just return to the library catalogue record for the eBook, and repeat the download process.

There is no known limit to the number of eBooks that you can download or access from the library catalogue or eBook databases (at one time).

You can read an ebook while online (in your browser), print out part of the text (usually a chapter) and sometimes save a file to your computer of device. The publisher's page will tell you how you can access the files.

eBooks are provided to the University for use by staff and students. You should only ever access ebooks for your own personal study requirements, and not copy or share these files.

Most major eBook platforms comply with web accessibility guidelines.  For more information about eBook accessible formats, please visit the relevant eBook provider below:

Digital rights management (DRM) is a term used to describe the technologies that are used by hardware manufacturers, publishers and copyright holders in order to limit the use of digital content.

When it comes to eBooks, DRM determines how many users can access content and what can be done with it. DRM sets the terms for how many users can access content, whether it can be downloaded and if downloading is possible any expiration period. Content that can be downloaded and has an expiration date will be automatically wiped from a device once the expiration date has been reached. 


Technical Issues & Troubleshooting  

The library does not have access to all titles on any given platform. Sometimes, a subscription to a title will lapse if it hasn't been accessed in some time (but the University Library catalogue record remains). Contact the library to arrange access.

Please report any access problems or error messages by going to the eJournals and Databases page and selecting the 'Report A Problem' button on the right.

Try accessing the eBook via the University Library Catalogue to avoid hitting sign-in restrictions.

Alternatively, you can save the Lean Library browser extension which will use your University credentials to access material you have found from Google searches or other sources. 

Note: not all books on a publisher's platform are part of the University's subscription package. You can often restrict your search within the platform to only material that is available to you.

Check the system requirements for the type of file the publisher has supplied. Some eBooks have Digital Rights Management protections added and require special software to read the file.

Check the system requirements on the publisher's page, including any software that may be required to view their files. 

Some eBooks are better suited to particular screen sizes, e.g. some will not resize appropriately for a phone screen. Check the publisher's page.

eBooks are subject to access period restrictions, just like a physical library book. Files are available to read for a set period and will then be erased. You can re-download the text if you still need it. Any notes or highlights you have made in your personal account should still be there.

First, try searching within the Library Catalogue. This should direct you straight to the correct title within the publisher's platform. 

If searching within a platform:

  • check that you are looking on the correct publisher's page, it may be on a different eBook platform
  • check that an ebook version exists (not just print)
  • use advanced search features or tools available on that site. You should find more information on a help page.

Some publishers offer this service, check the help page on the eBook you’re interested in. You may require a Kindle account to do this with some publisher's books.

Further help

Contact us, or ask a question on Library chat

 

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