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. If you have any questions about e-books or problems using them then please contact us.
- How do I find and access e-books?
To find e-books that UCL has access to:
- Go to Explore and run your search in All resources.
- From the Refine My Results list on the left of your screen, select Online resources and then Books.
- 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 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 - you will see a note in the View It menu in Explore if there is a limit on the number of people that can access the book at the same time.
- 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.
- 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.
- Can I download content from e-books?
Content from many e-books can be easily downloaded to your computer in pdf format, just as you would with journal articles.
E-books on some websites can only be downloaded for a fixed amount of time and / or require additional software or apps to download. Below are the main platforms where this may be the case.
Download Book option
Most e-books on Ebook Central can be downloaded as a single file so you can read them offline but the file will be protected by DRM and will expire after a certain time. You will see how long you can download a whole book for when you use the Download Book option.
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. E-books with only 1 simultaneous user cannot be downloaded at all.
To download whole books you will need the either the freely-available Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) software or the Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) app for iOS or Android.
- First create an Adobe ID. Go to the Adobe website, click SIGN IN then "get an Adobe ID".
- Download the ADE software or app.
- Authorise ADE with your Adobe ID. You can authorise up to 6 computers / devices with your Adobe ID. Authorising your computers / devices with the same Adobe ID means that an e-book you download to one will be available to you on the others. For more information see the Adobe website.
- Use Explore to access and download your chosen e-book.
Download PDF / Chapter Download option
Using either of these options will allow you to download individual chapters as ordinary PDF files that do not expire or need special software to open. You will not be able to download the whole book in this way - each book will tell you how many pages you can download at a time.
Full Download option
- Most e-books on EBSCOhost can be downloaded as a single file so you can read them offline but the file will be protected by DRM and will expire after a certain time. You will see how long you can download a whole book for when you use the Full Download option.
- E-books with only 1 simultaneous user cannot be downloaded at all.
- 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 whole books you will need the either the freely-available Adobe Digital Editions software or the Adobe Digital Editions app for iOS or Android.
Download Chapter / Print Pages option
- Using either of these options will allow you to download individual chapters as ordinary PDF files that do not expire or need special software to open. You will not be able to download the whole book in this way - each book will tell you how many pages you can download at a time.
- To see these options, first open the book in your browser by clicking on the PDF Full Text or EPUB Full Text option on the left of the screen.
To download books for offline reading, use the ClincalKey Student Bookshelf app for iOS or Android.
- First access the book via Explore or this link to Clinical Key. If you see a Choose organization pop-up, just click continue. You will need to login with an Elsevier account. If you don’t already have one you will need to register with your UCL email address on initial login.
- Go into any of the book sections and click Add to bookshelf. Download the app and click sign in. Scroll down and click on Log in via your institution. Search for and select UCL (University College London). Sign in on the UCL single sign on screen and you will then be recognised by the app and the book will appear in your library.
- Find the book in your library on the app and click on the book to download it.
To download books for offline reading, use the BibliU app for iOS and Android.
- Log in to the app by choosing University College London from the select your university drop down.
- Once inside the app, click on the heart on the cover of the book you want. A little cloud with an arrow will appear in the opposite corner - click this to download the book.
To download books for offline reading, use the Kortext app for iOS and Android. Please see our instructions for accessing books on Kortext for details on how to log in to the app.