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Electronic Books: Home

describes search options on various platforms.

Pandemic Resources

During the COVID-19 disruption to traditional book borrowing, the Library Pandemic Resources page contains some additional helpful ebook materials that provide special support for remote learning.

           You may still contact the library staff for online assistance with our many online tools. 

Searching electronic books: the many options.

Electronic books are in their infancy; therefore there are many alternatives for searching, and few comprehensive search solutions at this time.

Search the FULLTEXT of our ebooks ... simultaneously across multiple platforms.

The Central Index provides searching across many of our ebook platforms ... EBSCOhost ebooks, EBL ebooks, ProQuest ebooks, Wiley ebooks, Hathi Trust/Google Books, American Dissertation Database fulltext materials ... and includes our local SXU ebook purchases.

   (Short video of how to search the Central Index.) 

  • After your results appear, select "Books" under the Resource Type category on the left to limit to our full text materials.
  • Use the Collection facet near the bottom of the left column to narrow your results to a specific e-book platform
  • See a page of details about the Central Index.

Search the FULLTEXT of ebooks ... one platform at a time

   Searching into the full text of the books may be performed in separate ebook platforms, such as:

  • EBL (Proquest Electronic Book Library): Our primary ebook platform.  Keyword in-text searching. Results may be viewed online or downloaded.  Download requires an Adobe ID and Adobe Digital Editions (or another ePub Reader app). Libraries will transition on June 13 & 14, 2017 from the EBL – Ebook Library and ebrary platforms to its new ebook platform ProQuest Ebook Central™.
  • EBSCObooks -- using our listing by subject. Keyword in-text searching. Results may be viewed online or downloaded. Download requires an Adobe ID and Adobe Digital Editions (or another ePub Reader app).
  • Wiley ebook collection -- full-text access for CARLI Governing Members to 3000+ Wiley Online Books that published between the years 2017-2021.
  • Oxford Scholarship Online - fulltext access to all books.
  • Oxford University Press Scholarship Online - fulltext access to all books.


As a supplement to these ebooks, the following direct search options allow for searching fulltext words within millions of ebooks, a far more powerful and precise search option than searching just the author/title/subject keywords through our catalogs. Some items are freely available as public domain titles (creative commons, out of copyright, and/or government documents), while access to other items will require the purchase or borrowing from cooperating libraries.

HathiTrust maintains HathiTrust Digital Library. Since 13 October 2008, it preserves and provides access to material scanned by Google, some of the Internet Archive books, and some scanned locally by partner institutions. As of May 2010, it includes about 6 million volumes, over 1 million of which are public domain (at least in the US). (Discover materials beyond the public domain titles that appear in our Central Index.)

The Digital Library collection is found within the Internet Archive, which digitizes music, videos, and TV News, The database grows by over 1000 books a day, as well as mirrors books from Google Books and other sources. As of July 2014, it hosted over 8 million public domain books, which is far greater than the approximate 1 million public domain books at Google Books.

Another private listing of free online books is The Online Books Page an index that includes more than 2 million works in various formats, and can be searched by Author/Title and can be browsed by subject.

Google Books: Over a million "public domain" books from within this resource may be read online and are included in our library catalog. Many other books are searchable via Google Books, but only snippets may be viewed online ... one must use our regular book catalogs and perhaps ILL to obtain paper copies. This option allows for searching fulltext words within the books, a far more powerful and precise search option than just the author/title/subject keywords found using our catalogs.

One additional free search tool to consider is Summon (from Princeton). You will see information within books and other materials...but you will not have links to the full text materials.

DOAB - Directory of Open Access Books searches over 12,000 open access books.

DEEP SEARCHING OF CURRENT PUBLICATIONS ... we may not own these items.

The Central Index will perform full-text searching into thousands of recently published books. Once you have identified important titles, limit the search to "Books" and "Available Online" in the left column. If not available online within CARLI, run author/title searches in the other tools above. Especially the Pandemic tools and the WorldCat database which will allow one to place a Borrow From Another Library option if we do not have a copy within our consortium.

Another interesting option is the search within option found in the Open Library which offers keyword searching...but many of the resulting books are not available freely online. You would then need to search for these items in your local book catalog. 

Ebook features and options

Electronic books provide a variety of options, some familiar from paper books, and others unique to the electronic format.

Some options exist for all versions of ebooks - while some options only exist when you are using an online version (as opposed to downloading to a reader or workstation).


Enhanced options (using either downloaded or online access):

  •       Keyword searching,
  •       Highlighting, annotation, and bookmarking,
  •       Image expansion and manipulation,
  •       Sound and animation playback,
  •       Sharing with others.


Enhanced navigation options (when using online, NOT after downloading):

  •       Link to definitions of key words,
  •       Link to other works by the author,
  •       Link to related books by subject terms and categories,
  •       Link to other images of terms in the work,
  •       Highlight, annotate, and bookmark for later use,
  •       Copy-and-paste (but avoid plagiarism)

Controlled Digital Lending -- an emerging method that allows libraries to loan print books to digital patrons in a “lend like print” fashion. Through CDL, libraries use technical controls to ensure a consistent “owned-to-loaned” ratio, meaning the library circulates the exact number of copies of a specific title it owns, regardless of format, putting controls in place to prevent users from redistributing or copying the digitized version.

Dowloading ebooks

Electronic books can read read online or can be downloaded to local devices. Reading ebooks online provides readers with more powerful connections and links to related resources. Downloading makes reading possible when off-line. Both options allow for highlighting, printing, and bookmarking.

If you intend to download portions of ebooks you will need to have the appropriate software, which may differ depending upon the ebook platform. The instructions below should assist most readers in obtaining the basic software required.


1.  If you will be downloading an eBook, create an Adobe ID.  The programs required to read most of our eBooks will require you to connect an Adobe ID account before you can download anything.

2.  Download an appropriate reader program.  For PC or Mac, you will want Adobe Digital Editions.  This program is similar to Adobe Reader, with the addition of Digital Rights Management.  If you are using an iOS or Android device, try Bluefire eReader.  There are a number of other free ePub readers for Android as well, and ebrary has published an app for reading their ebooks.

3.  Search for an ebook, check it out, or download it.  Depending on the device, you can download directly, or download to your computer and transfer it to your device.

See the free materials found in the Bookshare catalog (for alternative formats).

Audio Books

LibriVox audiobooks are free for anyone to listen to, on their computers, iPods or other mobile device, or to burn onto a CD.

LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain, and then we release the audio files back onto the net for free. All audio is in the public domain, so you may use it for whatever purpose you wish. Most of the texts are from Project Gutenberg, and the Internet Archive hosts the audio files (for free!).

Public Library ebook updates

What's New With the Top 3 Ebook Vendors by Brandi Scardilli in Information Today (March 1, 2017)

  • a 14% decrease in ebook sales from 2014 to 2015 for trade publishers.
  • when it comes to usage in libraries the news is very different: In 2016, readers borrowed 21% more ebooks from OverDrive than they did in 2015.
  • So, on the surface, readers are buying less and borrowing more—and yet Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo (now Rakuten Kobo, Inc.) continue to release new e-readers and put effort into selling ebooks.
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