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All about electronic books

Best practices for eResources in your classroom

Best practices for linking library eResources in your classroom

These suggestions apply to all eResources that you use to support your teaching including eBooks, streaming videos, and other items from the library's collection, periodical articles from library databases, open-access textbooks and Open Educational Resources, and other online resources (e.g. YouTube videos and websites). 

  • Provide a complete citation: It is always wise to provide a full citation for any materials that you wish students to access.  This will help our librarians help your students find your materials if the link doesn't work. 
  • Capture the direct URL: If the item is from a library database, capture the URL and add the library's proxy server string,  (There are no spaces between ‘url=’ and the URL for the online resource .) Or, you may 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 order to access/link to it.
  • Limit access to the copy: If you're using a copyrighted work, store the file in your World Classroom / Canvas 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.

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: 

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 unlimited users are available for an eBook, you may elect to link students to the eBook directly within your World Classroom / Canvas course page. 

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 string  (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

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. Note that there may also be limits on the number of pages that Webster University users may download or print. Please consult your subject/liaison librarian or your international campus librarian for more options for making eBook content easily accessible to your students. In addition to information about the eBook and your course(s), please discuss the answers to the following questions (and possibly others) with your librarian: 

  • When do you intend to use the eBook as a course text?
  • How do you intend to use it -- the entire book, or only selected chapters?
  • Will this class be taught in future semesters by you or other faculty?