Library Services


E-books on demand@UCL

E-books on demand@UCL is a series of projects involving users in the acquisition of e-books by UCL Library Services.


How does it work?

UCL students and staff can read and download 1000s of extra e-books across a wide range of subjects. UCL Library Services will buy those used most often and add them to our existing collection of over 400,000 e-books.

UCL Library Services has been trialling two different methods of acquisition, Evidence Based Acquisition (EBA) and Patron Driven Acquisition (PDA). With EBA, UCL has access to content for a set period, usually 12 months, and at the end of that period we will use the usage data collected to select and buy the most popular titles. With PDA, we pay a lump sum upfront and it gets spent as and when users read the e-books until all the money has gone.

Which projects are currently running?

Cambridge University Press

Since 1st September 2015, UCL has had access to more than 20,000 additional e-books through Cambridge Core. This EBA project was initially funded for one year but the e-books have been so popular that it has been extended several times and is currently running until 31st August 2020.

De Gruyter

UCL currently has access to over 29,000 additional e-books published by De Gruyter, its imprint Birkhäuser and its partner publishers DETAIL, Gütersloher Verlagshaus, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) Publishing, Multilingual Matters, Otto Schmidt Verlag, RWS Verlag, Transcript and Verlag Dr. Otto Schmidt. This EBA project runs until 30th September 2020.


UCL has been running PDA projects with JSTOR since 2014, so far purchasing more than 18,000 e-books. PDA projects end when all the money is spent so in January 2021 we also started an EBA project with JSTOR, which allows us to provide access for 12 months' at a time to a large number of the titles on JSTOR. Some e-books aren't include in the EBA so we also have a PDA running alongside this.

Wiley Online Library

Since November 2014, has had access to over 17,000 e-books available through Wiley Online Library. This EBA project was initially funded for one year but the e-books have been so popular that it has been extended several times and is currently running until 30th November 2021.

How do I find these additional e-books?

Like existing UCL e-books, these additional e-books can be found using Explore.

Can I add e-books included in the pilot projects to my ReadingLists @UCL online reading list / recommend them to students?

Please do add these e-books to ReadingLists @ UCL and encourage your students to look for the e-books through Explore. When a project ends, we will inform you and your librarian of any titles you have added to ReadingLists @ UCL that have not been purchased. Please visit ReadingLists @ UCL for teaching staff for help and information on setting up your online reading list.

What were the outcomes of previous e-books on demand @UCL projects?


We ran an EBA project with Brill which ended on 30th April 2020. 483 e-books were purchased as a result of the project.


We ran a PDA project with EBL from November to December 2014 giving access to extra e-books in geography, economics and the social sciences. During the project there were 1308 24-hour e-book rentals and 73 e-books were purchased. 847 individual users had at least one 24-hour e-book rental. Users were asked to indicate their association with UCL:

AssociationNumber of users
Undergraduate student362
Taught postgraduate student342
Research postgraduate student82
Academic staff26
Teaching staff10
Research staff9
Honorary staff5
Administration / managerial support3

The 20 most-used titles during the project were:

  • The dictionary of human geography
  • Writing worlds : discourse, text and metaphor in the representation of landscape edited by Trevor J. Barnes and James S. Duncan
  • The entropy of capitalism by Robert Biel
  • Place/culture/representation edited by James Duncan and David Ley
  • Sustainable London? : the future of a global city edited by Rob Imrie and Loretta Lees
  • Hydrogeology : principles and practice (2nd edition) by K. M. Hiscock and V. F Bense
  • Nature unbound : conservation, capitalism and the future of protected areas by Dan Brockington, Rosaleen Duffy and Jim Igoe
  • The Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism by Max Weber ; new introduction and translation by Stephen Kalberg
  • The planning polity : planning, government, and the policy process by Mark Tewdwr-Jones
  • Accounting for violence : marketing memory in Latin America edited by Ksenija Bilbija and Leigh A. Payne
  • The urban revolution by Henri Lefebvre ; translated by Robert Bononno
  • Demonizing the other : antisemitism, racism, and xenophobia edited by Robert S. Wistrich
  • Urban outcasts : a comparative sociology of advanced marginality by Loïc Wacquant
  • Does foreign aid really work? by Roger C. Riddell
  • The body in parts : fantasies of corporeality in early modern Europe edited by David Hillman and Carla Mazzio
  • Cultural geography in practice edited by Alison Blunt
  • Edge of empire : postcolonialism and the city by Jane M. Jacobs
  • Territory, identity and spatial planning : spatial governance in a fragmented nation edited by Mark Tewdwr-Jones and Philip Allmendinger
  • Questioning geography : fundamental debates edited by Noel Castree, Alisdair Rogers, and Douglas Sherman
  • Dirt : new geographies of cleanliness and contamination edited by Ben Campkin and Rosie Cox
ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers)

UCL had access to the complete ICE e-book collection from 1st November 2016 until 31st October 2017 under an EBA project. During this EBA there were over 9,500 chapter views. Reviewing the usage alongside a list of impending new editions, we purchased a selection of individuals titles as well as the annual collections for 2017 and 2018.


7 previous PDA projects have been run:

  • Project 1 - November to December 2014 - 332 e-books purchased.
  • Project 2 - May to July 2015 - 629 e-books purchased.
  • Project 3 - January to March 2016 - 1365 e-books purchased.
  • Project 4 - October 2016 to April 2017 - 3946 e-books purchased
  • Project 5 - February 2018 to February 2019 - 6784 e-books purchased
  • Project 6 - October 2019 to January 2020 - 1809 e-books purchased
  • Project 7 - May 2020 to October 2020 - 1651 e-books purchased
Taylor and Francis

UCL IOE Library purchased 161 e-books as a result of the evidence-based acquisition project which ran from 1st November 2014 until 31st October 2015.  From 1st February 2017  to 31st January 2018 UCL has access to an additional 3100 titles via an EBA project with Taylor and Francis and nearly 350 titles were purchased as a result.