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E-Books @ UCL

UCL Library Services provides you with access to 1000s of electronic books (e-books) which you can access both on- and off-site.

Quick answers to the most frequently asked questions about finding, accessing and using e-books can be found below. Our e-book website overview summarises information about each e-book website we use and you'll find more detailed information in our e-book guides. If you have any questions about e-books or problems using them then please contact us.

Finding and accessing e-books

How do I find and access e-books?

To find e-books that UCL has access to:

  1. Go to Explore and run your search in All resources
  2. From the Refine My Results list on the left of your screen, select Online resources and then Books
  3. Use the View Online link to access the content If you are off-site you will be prompted to login on the UCL single sign-on screen before being taken to the e-book.
What is 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. Read more about how it all works on our E-books on demand@UCL webpage

I linked to an e-book via the findit@UCL menu but the website won't give me access - what should I do?

Please contact us using the e-resources problem report form on the right of this webpage and we will investigate and hopefully resolve the problem!

How many people can read an e-book at the same time?

For the majority of e-books purchased by UCL Library Services there is no limit on the number of people that can read them at the same time (unlimited simultaneous users). However, due to publisher restrictions, some of our e-books do restrict the number of simultaneous users and some may even only allow one reader at a time. See the simultaneous user column in our e-book website overview for more detail.

Why am I getting a 'session unavailable' message when I try to access an e-book?

Some e-books and e-book websites only allow access to a certain number of UCL members at the same time. The Safari Books Online website can only used by 8 people at the same time. If 8 people are already accessing the site, you will see a "session unavailable" message.

Once someone leaves the site, a session will become available and you will be able to log in so please try again later. To keep waiting times down, when you have finished using the site please click on "University College London" in the blue bar under the search box and then click "sign out and clear session".

Why am I being told that an e-book is already in use when I try to access it?

Some e-books can only be read by a limited number of people at the same time.

Depending on the e-book platform, you may see the message Sorry, this Ebook is in use or All copies are currently in use. Once someone closes the e-book, you will be able to read it so please try again later.

To keep waiting times down, make sure you close your browser window once you have finished reading the e-book.If you are repeatedly unable to access the e-books you want because of these messages, please let your Subject Librarian know.

I'm only seeing the option "Add to queue" - what does this mean?

Dawsonera icon

Some of the e-books on the Dawsonera website only allow access to a limited number of UCL users at the same time.

Dawsonera add to queue button

If you only see the Add to queue button rather than the usual read online and download options, the e-book you are trying to access is already being read by the maximum number of users allowed. You will need to wait until one of those users finishes reading the e-book - you can either check back later or click the Add to queue button to receive an e-mail notification when the e-book is available.

When you click Add to queue, a box will appear asking you to log in. You will usually need to do this even if you already logged in to access the e-book. Click on Login here under Shibboleth login.

Shibboleth login icon

On the next screen, select UCL using the drop-down menu and click Proceed.

You will be taken back to the homepage of the Dawsonera site. If you accessed Dawsonera via the findit@UCL menu and still have it open, click GO again, otherwise search for the e-book you want on the dawsonera site. Click on the Add to queue button again and you will be asked to enter an e-mail address for the notification to be sent to.

When the e-book is available you will receive a email notification containing a link to the e-book. If you are accessing the e-book off-site and are not connected through Desktop@UCL Anywhere or Staff WTS then please add the following prefix to the link:

https://www.dawsonera.com/guard/protected/dawson.jsp?name=https://shib-i...

So, for example, if the link in the email is

https://www.dawsonera.com/readonline/9781107253315

you should enter

https://www.dawsonera.com/guard/protected/dawson.jsp?name=https://shib-i...

in your address bar.

In an effort to ensure as many people as possible can read these titles, read online sessions and downloaded copies of the e-book will expire after 3 hours (or after 15 minutes inactivity for read online sessions). If there is no one waiting in the queue when your session expires, you can simply start reading again.

Copying & pasting and printing

Can I print and / or copy & paste content from e-books?

Most of the e-books available through UCL Library Services allow you to print and / or copy & paste content.

Some e-books are protected by DRM which automatically limits the amount you can print and / or copy & paste. For e-books which are not protected by DRM measures, you must keep within the limits set down by copyright law and our licence agreements. As a general rule, you can copy & paste or print up to one chapter or 5% of an e-book, whichever is greater. You must not print multiple copies of the same chapter.

See our e-book website overview and our detailed e-book guides to find out more about printing and copying & pasting.

How do I print or copy & paste from a Dawsonera e-book?

You will need to login to print and copy. You will usually need to do this even if you already logged in to access the e-book.

Dawsonera sign in button

Click the sign in button in the top right corner of the Dawsonera website.

A box will appear asking you to login. Click on Login here under Shibboleth login.

Shibboleth login icon

On the next screen, select UCL using the drop-down menu and click Proceed.

You will be taken back to the homepage of the Dawsonera site and will need to accept the terms and conditions. If you accessed Dawsonera via the findit@UCL menu and still have it open, click on it again, otherwise search for the e-book you want on the dawsonera site.

Dawsonera read online icon

Click the read online icon from the title homepage. You need to be in this view to print or copy - you cannot print or copy from a downloaded Dawsonera e-book.

Above the reading pane you will see an action button. Click this to see how many pages you can print and copy.

Dawsonera action button options

Click on copy to copy the current page. Click on print to print either the current page or a range of pages up to the maximum number of pages you can print.

Depending on which browser you are using, you may see separate buttons for cite, copy, print and download rather than an action button.

Be aware that the limits on printing and copying are per user for the lifetime of each e-book. You will not be able to print or copy different pages from the same e-book once your limit for that e-book has been used.

I can only print one page at a time from Safari Books Online - what am I doing wrong?

You're not doing anything wrong - this is the way printing works on Safari Books Online.

You can only print the page you are actually viewing so you will need to click the print button on each page you want to print. Remember that you are only permitted to print 5% or one chapter, whichever is greater.

Downloading

Can I download content from e-books to my computer?

Content from many e-books can be easily downloaded to your computer in pdf format, just as you would with journal articles. Our e-book website overview provides a brief guide to how each e-book website we use works.

E-books on some websites can only be downloaded for a fixed amount of time and / or require additional software or apps to download. Some e-books cannot be downloaded at all. Key points are below and we've created more detailed guides for these websites.

Dawsonera

Dawsonera icon
  • Most e-books on the Dawsonera website can be downloaded for up to 3 days but e-books with limited simultaneous users can only be downloaded for 3 hours - you will see this information when you try to download. After this you will no longer be able to open the file on your computer but you can download the e-book again as often as you like.
  • You cannot print or copy & paste from an e-book downloaded from Dawsonera
  • To download you will need either the freely-available Adobe Digital Editions or the Bluefire Reader app which is available from the Google and Apple stores.
  • Although Adobe Digital Editions is available through Desktop@UCL, it is recommended that you only download to your own devices as there is a limit to the number of devices you can associate with your Adobe ID and e-books downloaded without an Adobe ID will only be available on the machine on which they were downloaded.
  • See our Dawsonera guide for more information.

Ebook Central

Ebook Central logo
  • Most e-books on Ebook Central can be downloaded for up to 4 days but e-books limited to 3 simultaneous users can only be downloaded for 1 day - you will see the options available when you try to download. E-books with only 1 simultaneous user cannot be downloaded at all.
  • In an effort to reduce waiting times for e-books with limited simultaneous users, only 2 out of the maximum 3 users can download the e-book, leaving the third copy available to read online.
  • You can download individual chapters from Ebook Central and these will not expire - they form part of your printing allowance for that e-book.
  • To download e-books you will need either the freely-available Adobe Digital Editions or the Bluefire Reader app which is available from the Google and Apple stores.
  • Although Adobe Digital Editions is available through Desktop@UCL, it is recommended that you only download to your own devices as there is a limit to the number of devices you can associate with your Adobe ID and e-books downloaded without an Adobe ID will only be available on the machine on which they were downloaded.
  • See our Ebook Central guide for more information.

EBSCOhost

  • Only some of the e-books on EBSCOhost can be downloaded. If an e-book is available for download, you will see the option displayed on the left of the screen.

    EBSCOhost logo
  • You will be asked to login with your My EBSCOhost account in order to download. You can create one at this stage if you do not already have one.
  • To download e-books you will need either the freely-available Adobe Digital Editions or the Bluefire Reader app which is available from the Google and Apple stores.
  • Although Adobe Digital Editions is available through Desktop@UCL, it is recommended that you only download to your own devices as there is a limit to the number of devices you can associate with your Adobe ID and e-books downloaded without an Adobe ID will only be available on the machine on which they were downloaded.

Elsevier eLibrary

Elsevier eLibrary logo

Content unavailable for download

E-book content cannot currently be downloaded from the following websites:

  • MedicinesComplete
  • Safari Books Online
Can I download content from e-books to my tablet or phone?

Content from many of our e-books can be easily downloaded to any device which supports the viewing of PDFs.

For some e-books, the download may only be available to you for a fixed amount of time and / or you may need additional apps to download content.

Below are some key points to note but please see our e-book website overview and detailed e-book guides for full information and help.

Dawsonera

Dawsonera icon
  • To download e-books from Dawsonera to iOS and Android devices, you will need an Adobe ID and the free Adobe Reader and Bluefire Reader apps - see further details about downloading from Dawsonera
  • Most Dawsonera e-books can be downloaded for up to 3 days at a time but some can only be downloaded for 3 hours - you will see this information when you try to download. After the download expires you will no longer be able to open the file but you can download the e-book again as often as you like.
  • You cannot print or copy & paste from an e-book downloaded from Dawsonera

EBook Central

Ebook Central logo
  • To download e-books from EBook Central to iOS and Android devices, you will need an Adobe ID and the free Bluefire Reader app - see further details about downloading from E-Book Central.
  • Most e-books on the Ebook Central website can be downloaded for up to 4 days at a time but some can only be downloaded for 1 day - you will see the options available when you try to download. A few e-books cannot be downloaded at all.
  • In an effort to reduce waiting times for e-books with limited simultaneous users, only 2 out of the maximum 3 users can download the e-book, leaving the third "copy" available to read online.

EBSCOhost

EBSCOhost logo
 
  • To download e-books from EBSCOhost to iOS and Android devices, you will need an Adobe ID and the free Bluefire Reader app

  • Only some of the e-books on EBSCOhost can be downloaded. If an e-book is available for download, you will see the option displayed on the left of the screen.

  • You will be asked to login with your My EBSCOhost account in order to download. You can create one at this stage if you do not already have one.

Elsevier eLibrary


Content unavailable for download

E-book content cannot currently be downloaded from the following websites:

  • MedicinesComplete
  • Safari Books Online