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eBooks

All about electronic books

Using eBooks as Textbooks

This page is for faculty who are looking for no/low-cost alternatives for using library and open-access eBooks and eTextbooks.  It may also be appropriate for students looking for online books to use to brush-up on a topic.

Have you considered an open textbook?

Open educational resources (OER's) allow faculty and students copyright-free access to educational materials, including many no- or low-cost textbooksFor a comprehensive list of finding aids for OER's and textbooks, see the Open Textbook Projects guide.  Listed below are a few of the library's favorite resources for finding open textbooks: 

Best practices for using eBooks in the classroom

These suggestions apply to all resources that you use to support your teaching including eBooks from the library's collection, periodical articles from library databases, open-access textbooks and OER's. 

  • Provide a complete citation: It is always wise to provide a full citation for an eBook or any other materials (e.g. periodical articles) that you wish students to access.  This will help our librarians help your students find your materials. 
  • Capture the direct URL: If the item is from a library database, capture the book URL and add the library's proxy server string, https://library3.webster.edu/login?url=  (There are no spaces between ‘url=’ and the url for the book.) Or, copy and paste the permalink or 'share' link from the database record. Users will then be able to access the eResource via the library's website and be prompted to log in to link to it.
  • Limit access to the copy: If you're using a copyrighted work, store the file in your World Classroom course page to limit access to only students enrolled in the course.  

If you need help capturing URLs or citations, please contact a Librarian or your subject liaison librarian.

eBook Search Express

Search by keyword for an eBook in the Library Catalog.

Enter keywords:

Searching and linking students to the library's eBooks

Searching the library catalog

To search the library's collections of eBooks, use the eBook search express form, above or the eBooks search tab on the library homepage.  

From a list, click a title to view the eBook catalog record.  Look for a local note that lists the number of users for that book.  If none is available, follow the "Connect to" link into the database record to see the number of simultaneous users.

Your next step depends on the number of simultaneous users available for the eBook you want to use.  See the section, "Simultaneous users", below. 

An eBook catalog record showing the direct URL link and the number of users high-lighted in yellow

Simultaneous users

If there is a limited number of simultaneous users available for an eBook, it may be difficult for all students in a course to link directly to the item in the library database. To provide unrestricted access for your students, you may download sections or chapters and upload them into your World Classroom / Canvas course page. The number of pages that you may copy from each copyrighted book is governed by Copyright Fair Use.  The general rule is that you may use no more than 25% of the total pages from a book. For more, see Single copies - Copying and distributing portions of copyrighted works in the classroom or on the Web.

Note that there may also be limits on the number of pages that Webster University users may download. 

If unlimited users are available for an eBook, you may elect to link students to the eBook directly within your World Classroom / Canvas course page. (Use this option if you want students to read more than 25% of the book.)

From the catalog record, follow the "Connect to" link and capture the URL for the target eBook.  It should contain the library's proxy server stringhttps://library3.webster.edu/login?url=  (There are no spaces between  ‘url=’ and the url for the book.)  This string will prompt users to log in to library eResources to access it.  eBook database record showing number of simultaneous users