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Research Basics

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Viewing eBooks

When searching the library catalog, you are likely to find items denoted as eBooks. An eBook is a book that exists in a digital, electronic form.

The library's eBooks work on any device that supports PDF formats and graphics. While downloading is possible for some titles, most work best when read through a web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, etc.).

The library uses many different vendors to access eBooks including EBSCO, JSTOR, and ProQuest. Because of the variety of vendors, each eBook interface varies. While this can be confusing, the good news is that most eBooks function in the same way.

Searching Within eBooks

example eBook table of contents and search feature As mentioned before, eBook interfaces will vary depending on the vendor providing the book. Most allow you to search the entirety of the text. A magnifying glass usually signifies the search feature in eBooks. If the eBook does not have a magnifying glass icon, you can also look for phrases like "search in this publication" or "search in this book." In PDF eBooks, you can also use the shortcut of Ctrl+F (Windows) or Command+F (Mac) to open the search box.

The search box allows you to type in a keyword, short phrase, place, or person’s name to determine if that eBook addresses your topic. Like finding a word in the index, the frequency and number of consecutive pages of the word or phrase will indicate how much coverage this eBook has of your topic. Searching the entire text is a very effective way to pinpoint those sections relevant to your research.

Many eBook table of contents are hyperlinked for easy navigation. As with print books, using the table of contents allows for quick browsing to identify sections relevant to your topic. Simply clicking a chapter's link will send you directly to the first page of that section.