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E-Books: Using E-books

E-books can be accessed from anywhere using your Colby ID & Password or Colby's VPN

The e-book collections at Colby Libraries are as varied in their interfaces and features as they are in their content.

Take some time to explore menus, icons and help options to see what features exist and might be most helpful to you.

Accessing the Text

Once one finds an e-book (either through CBBcat or by searching in an e-book collection), the text can be accessed through the collection record.

How this is done and visually represented in the interface varies by collection. However, there are three common options:

  • Reading online
  • Downloading the entire book for reading offline (but with access only for a limited time period)
  • Downloading a chapter or portion of a book (usually as a PDF, which you can print)

Some collections allow you to do all three. Another collection might let you only download chapters.

Video Tutorial - Using Ebooks

Ebook Central record for History of Housing in NYC

This Ebook Central title can be read either online or downloaded with multiple user access, but note restrictions on downloading and copying.



Restrictions on downloading or copying and pasting text are common because of copyright law.

Different e-book vendors, publishers or authors may interpret copyright limits differently. One book may allow you to print or copy more pages than another similarly-sized book!

Some books are clear of copyright. They're either in the public domain or have been designated open access by the rights holder.

Image of one e-book unavailble due to single-user restriction

Some books are limited to one, two or three users at time. Other books allow multiple readers at the same time. If a single-user book is a problem for a course that requires multiple students to use that book, please contact Colby Libraries with information about the book and the course.

  • Downloading
  • Coping & Pasting or Printing
  • Concurrent access

Helpful Features

You can do more with an ebook than just read it. Besides the tools normally found in downloaded PDFs, some e-book databases offer nifty tools if you choose to READ ONLINE.

Here are some examples from EBOOK CENTRAL from Proquest:

Search Within
Annotation Tools (look for these tool icons in the top menu bar) 
Annotation Review (Click on the star icon in the left menu to use your annotations for studying or writing)
Saving Tools (folders, permanent link, citation)

Ebook user features are not always immediately apparent.

Take some time to explore the icons and help pages of the collection you're exploring.

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