If you would like to search all UK Libraries e-books, including those hosted on the platforms discussed in this guide, please try InfoKat Discovery, using “Resource Type” > “more options” to limit to Books. Then click “Full Text Online” at the top of the search results.
UK Libraries provide access to numerous e-books across a number of platforms. Some of these are dedicated solely to e-books, while others include other types of electronic content such as journal articles or audio-visual resources. User options, software requirements, and format availability varies depending on the platform, which can sometimes become confusing for users.
To help eliminate this confusion, we have created this guide as a quick, handy reference to compare platforms and to understand the options and requirements for accessing and using e-books.
Each page here is dedicated to a specific platform that provides e-book access.
In the "Use and Download Info" box, you will find what file formats are available, any special software requirements for accessing or using e-books via that platform, and available options for accessing content via a mobile device such as a smart phone or tablet.
In the "Checkout/Printing" box, you will find the length of checkout time for checking out full e-books and options for placing a hold or renewing checked out e-books (both of these apply specifically to dedicated e-book platforms).
You will also find any specified limits on the number of users that may access a resource at once. This is very important to note, because some of our e-books default to single-user access unless otherwise specified, meaning that if one person checks out an e-book, it will not be available for anyone else to use until it is checked back in. If you have questions about user limits on a specific title, or if you are a professor wishing to assign a book for a class, please consult a librarian beforehand to ensure that there will be sufficient access to the title.
This box also lists any special restrictions on printing. Please note that even if it is not explicitly stated, copyright law and common sense apply to all downloading and printing options. Do not make several copies of a document to distribute or post online without proper permission. If you have questions about fair use, feel free to ask us.
DRM (Digital Rights Management) has been a hot topic in libraries in the past few years. But why? DRM technology is good for the publishers -- helping protect against piracy and unauthorized use of content -- but bad for librarians and patrons. For this reason, we recommend the purchase of DRM-free titles whenever possible.
The two main reasons to chose DRM-free titles where they are available are 1) accessibility and 2) fair use. In terms of accessibility, DRM-protected titles limit usage to particular access methods, with may not play well with screen readers or other assistive technology. In addition, the restrictions DRM places on copying hampers legitimate copying allowed by fair use.