Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hidden Treasures: Electronic Books at UDC, part 2

Part one of this feature mentioned that over 120,000 electronic books are available to UDC faculty and students. These are found in various collections (all the separate providers are listed in our A to Z Resource List but how can library users discover electronic books as part of their normal research process and once they have discovered a book, how is it accessed?

Discovery: Whatever the collection, records for these books sit in our online catalog, side by side with records for print books. You can also use the Journals & Electronic Books search on our LRD website or you can search directly at each provider’s website.

Remember, however, that each time you choose to search at the provider’s website, you are only seeing a fraction of the titles available at UDC. There are benefits, though – such as being able to search full-text – that are only available at providers’ websites. So take advantage of these powerful features, but do step back to get the big picture by visiting our online catalog and seeing all that is available to you.

The EBSCO ebooks will soon be moving to the EBSCOhost platform, exactly the same as is currently used for popular databases such as Academic Search Premier, Business Source Elite, and Education Research Complete. Patrons will be able to search the full text of multiple resources simultaneously – for example, journal articles in Education Research Complete plus EBSCO electronic books.

Access: Most providers have an intermediary page with catalog information (author and publication information and summary). A link to “view book” will then go directly to the full text. In most cases, each provider has its own reader software. To take full advantage of some features, some providers (such as Ebrary) require the installation of a browser plug-in. If you have questions about accessing electronic books, please contact a UDC librarian. The linked table of contents allows you to move quickly to the sections you need and a search box lets you find specific words or phrases. Previous/next buttons turn pages for you and you can jump immediately to any page by typing in the number. Taking notes and highlighting generally requires the creation of a free personalized user account, but other features such as looking up words in a dictionary do not.

Electronic books are just one part of our growing digital library. Remember that our collection at LRD is really much, much larger than what can be seen on the shelves. We will continue to add more and more in this area not only because electronic publications can be made available quicker, but also because some publishers have discontinued their print editions. In every subject area, electronic books may well be more up-to-date than what we have in our print collection, so be sure to check here first – and come back often because we are constantly adding more!

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