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eBooks: General Information

A guide to finding and using eBooks at Phillips Library

What is an eBook?

“eBook” is short for “electronic book.” eBooks come in a variety of electronic formats, including HTML (online text), PDF (image of text), and eReader specific file formats. Depending on the electronic format, eBooks can be viewed on computers and laptops, eReaders (e.g., Nook or Kindle), tablets, and mobile phones.

How do I find eBooks at Phillips Library?

The best way to locate eBooks at Phillips Library is through our library catalog. Search the catalog by title, author, keyword, or subject as you would when searching for a print book.Screenshot of eBook record

In the list of results, records for eBooks will include the name of the eBook collection or the statement "Location: AU e-resource--click on Online Access link or Related URL", a link to access the eBook online, and the eBook icon (see image). You may select the title to view more detailed catalog information for the eBook or click "Get it online" to access the full text.

Types of eBook Collections

Phillips Library’s eBook collections are made available to our patrons via four types of subscriptions.


eBooks in these collections have been purchased by Phillips Library, and access to items cannot be terminated by the vendors.


eBooks available through this collection can be added or removed by the vendor at any time. Because we manually load records for these eBooks into our local catalog, patrons may occasionally locate records for eBooks that are no longer accessible. For this reason, it is recommended that, when possible, students make digital or print copies of important sections of a text, should they need to access it at a later date.

Patron Driven Acquisitions

eBooks through this collection are not owned by Phillips Library, but can be accessed by our patrons. An eBook’s purchase is initiated after a certain number of patrons “check out” the item.


eBooks in these collections are open access, or freely available. These eBooks can be located by searching each collection’s respective Web site. Hathi Trust and National Academies Press eBooks can also be located via the Phillips Library catalog.



Q. How long can I access an eBook once I download it?

A. Downloading an eBook is akin to checking out a printed book. You will have access to the eBook from your computer, but the downloaded file will disappear once the designated loan period has expired.

You can download the eBook again, however, or read it online.

Q. Can I view an eBook on my mobile device?

A. For those of our eBook collections that  offer downloadable versions, yes, you can download an eBook to view on a Nook, Kindle, iPhone, iPad, tablet, or android device. For detailed instructions, visit the "Downloading eBooks to Mobile Devices" page of this guide.

Q. Can I print an eBook?

A. Due to copyright reasons, you cannot print or copy/paste the full text of most eBooks. However, most databases allow up to a certain number of pages (around 60-80 pages per book) to be copied or printed. Also, books in the public domain, such as those offered by Project Gutenberg, can usually be printed in full.




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