Category Archives: Ebooks

Making best use of book budgets – rent before you buy!

rent5 For a number of years, we have used patron driven acquisition schemes for some of our ebook content.  This means that large collections of ebooks are discoverable via our library catalogue, but items are only purchased when they are actually accessed by our library users.

We analysed usage of these materials and found that a proportion of these books were only used by a single user.

We wanted much better value for money than that!

So this year we are trialling a rental scheme with our VLE books – one of our major ebook suppliers.  This means that the first few people that use the ebook do so on a rental basis, at a fraction of the full purchase cost.

A quick Preview is possible for all books in this scheme – without triggering a rental or purchase – as shown below:


After a quick preview has been made, users will be asked to Request Access.  You’ll need to make a few click drop down selections to submit your request, for example:


Then you’ll get an Alert and email confirmation to let you know the item has been rented for you for one week.



Don’t worry, you can still access the book after your one week rental is up, it’ll just trigger another rental or purchase.  Following several rentals the book will be fully purchased at next use.

Once a rental or purchase has been made, you’ll then get full access to the book as shown below:


If you are a member of staff and are planning to use one of these books in your teaching, just let us know and we can bypass the rental process and trigger an outright purchase.  In bypassing the rental process, for books that we know will be subject to repeated use, we can minimise the ‘clicks for access’ for everyone and avoid both renting and buying the item!

We welcome your feedback on this new model of ebook purchasing.  It is aimed at making the budget go further by facilitating access to a wide range of ebooks, whilst only securing long term access to items that are subject to repeated use.

Get in touch with the for more information or to pass on your feedback.

SAGE Knowledge eBooks – new resource

The University of Exeter now has full text access to the Sage Knowledge eBook Collection.  This encompasses thousands of carefully selected titles by world-class authors on hot topics across the social sciences.

Books in the following subject areas are included.


The books do not appear on the library catalogue as we have purchased them on a ‘try before you buy’ model to ensure we get the best value for money.  This means we have full access to all titles for a year and will then examine usage statistics to identify and purchase the most heavily-used titles for permanent access.  This allows our library users to tailor the collections to their needs.

The items will appear through general searching via search engines such as Google, but we recommend you take a look at the Sage Knowledge Collection interface to browse or search the content for a comprehensive look at the material.

  • You will not need to login to the service if you are on campus.
  • If you are off campus, use the Login via your institution option.  Select the University of Exeter from the drop down list then login with your usual IT Services username and password when you are taken to the Single Sign On login screen for the University.

You can search or browse to find information of interest using the top menu bar.

SAGE browse

Reading a book online

You can read the full-text by clicking the title of the item.  Scroll down beyond the Abstract and the option to buy the book in print.   You can then use the tabs to select a Chapter to read, look at the index, or view the front and back matter of the book.

sage scroll

Working with the book online


The formatting of the book is not presented in the same way as the printed book, so you may find it useful to switch on the page number option. This will show you where the page break occurs and can be very useful if you want to cite from a particular page or you are looking to pinpoint a reference you have been referred to.

You can also search within the book or the chapter.  So if you are looking for a particular quote or concept within the book and you do not know the exact chapter or page you need, you can search to locate the information.


Use the Download option to save or print a chapter.  Full bibliographic details are downloaded alongside the full text chapter.

All books are DRM free meaning there are no restrictions on access or downloads, so multiple people can login at the same time and view and/or download information of interest.  You are permitted to access, print or download as much of an Ebook on SAGE knowledge, for personal use, as you need.


sage citation

You can use the Citations feature if you wish to capture bibliographic information to include on your Bibliography or Reference List.

Click on the Citations icon to see the citation for the book presented in the following formats:

  • APA
  • Chicago
  • Harvard
  • MLA

If you are using reference management software you can also export the reference in one of these citation styles to your chosen software package.  Endnote, Reference Manager, Zotero are amongst the software package export options.
















If you have any feedback about these Sage ebooks, please get in touch with the .



Books_at_JSTOR_Ad_LargeUniversity of Exeter Library now provides access to scholarly ebooks on JSTOR.  This resource offers more than 35,000 titles from leading publishers such as Princeton University Press, Yale University Press, MIT Press, and Harvard University Press. The ebooks are easy to use and offer the following benefits:

  • Unlimited, DRM-free Access: The ebook chapters have no limits on downloads or printing, and there’s no need to use special software or create a personalised login. It’s just like using journals on JSTOR, ensuring a great user experience for researchers
  • Integration with Journals: The ebooks are available on JSTOR alongside more than 2,000 journals. When you search on, you’re cross-searching the full text of all the resources the library provides through JSTOR. The ebooks and journals are also linked in ways that make research more efficient.
  • Easy to Use in links: If you’d like to use the ebooks in a course or keep a record of important chapters or books for referencing, you can use the stable URL for a chapter or a full ebook.
  • On-campus and remote access: Content is available 24/7, and together with no limits on simultaneous use, the ebooks are always available for use.
  • Book and chapter citations:  Citations may be emailed, exported, or copied from the item view page. JSTOR provides pre-formatted citations in MLA, APA, and Chicago styles for quick copying and pasting. Export options include direct export to RefWorks, RIS format, and text format.

The Library is using a ‘try before you buy’ purchasing model for these books to make sure we get best value for money and so that you can use those books which are most relevant to your teaching, research or study.  So you will have access to all books in the JSTOR collection but the Library will only pay for those items that are used.

A small number of books may show as unavailable, either because we already have access to those or because they are costly items that need approval.  If you come across any of those and you want access, just email us on .

As we are using this model you won’t see these books on the library catalogue until they are purchased, following usage.  But don’t worry, these books are easily discoverable.  You’ll come across them when using search engines such as Google as the JSTOR content is indexed there.  And you can use the JSTOR platform to search/browse just the books, or to search the books alongside all the other JSTOR content for a rich research experience.

You can view a short video about using ebook chapters, or visit JSTOR to start using the ebooks.  If you are off campus make sure you login as University of Exeter so you have full access to content.

We’d be interested in your feedback on these books so please get in touch on  and let us know what you think of JSTOR books.

E-books put to the test


ebookThe Library has been working with your Library Champions to assess our e-book provision.  We buy books from a range of different suppliers and regularly check in with students to find out:

  • which suppliers your prefer
  • which features you like or would like to see in the future,
  • to identify services where improvements need to be made
  • which features and services meet students current ways of working.

Your Library Champions recently attended some E-Book Focus groups where all the various suppliers were put to the test and where they also had the chance to feed in their view on e-books in general.  They provided some really insightful feedback and we are using that to guide our purchasing strategies.  So, for example,  where there is a choice of supplier we will opt for those that have been identified as the preferred option by students.

We tested two main categories of e-books:

1. E-book collections which come direct from the publishers.  These are usually DRM-free (Digital Rights Management -free) meaning the publisher does not impose any copyright limits and you can print/save/copy as much as you like.  Not every publisher offers this, and some will only offer packages of books rather than allowing you to select individual titles.  We have a range of materials available in this form, including large packages from CUP, Cambridge Books Online, and  OUP, Oxford Scholarship online,

2. E-books available via hosting services. These hosting services provide books across a wide range of publishers, many of whom do not offer their e-books in any other way.  Theses books are usually subject to some form of DRM (Digital Rights Management), which is a way of limiting printing and download to set limits agreed with the publisher.  So for example, you may be able to download a chapter or a set no. of pages only, not the whole book.   Our VLE and DawsonEra platforms emerged as preferred hosting services, based on the feedback from our Library Champions – do let us know if you agree or if you have other favoured services.

If you have feedback you would like to pass on to us about e-books in general or particular suppliers, just get in touch with the Library LiaisonTeam via  The more input you provide, the better we can frame our e-book purchasing to meet your needs, and the more feedback we can provide to our suppliers to address those areas where you’d like to see improvements.

Here are some of the key messages from the Focus Groups and we’ll be working on these with our suppliers.  If you have anything else to feed in, please do get in touch.

  • DRM free books are appreciated as the print/download limits can sometimes be frustrating.
  • You like e-books to appear on screen in a similar form to the printed item.
  • The citation features are really helpful – you can pull off the citation in the correct forms for your bibliographies and referencing.  Although it was interesting to note that some of you weren’t happy to trust that function and would always check you have the right format for your referencing!
  • You would appreciate help pages on e-books advising on DRM issues and different features such as notes, citations, export options etc.
  • You like a combination of print and e-books for core items, especially when items are not DRM free
  • The ability to use the search function to pinpoint quotes or subjects within e-books are a great timesaver
  • You like clear uncluttered interfaces rather than ‘overly flashy’ interfaces that just get in the way of the content you need to access
  • You would like simple feedback / report error options from within the e-book platform or library catalogue in order to quickly flag problems that you might encounter

And, lets end with some e-book stats which show how much some of our ebooks are being used currently.  You may be interested to know that

Directory of Open Access Books: DOAB

DOABThe Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) is a service of OAPEN Foundation and operates as a discovery service for open access books. 

DOAB launched in 2015 and currently has 4035 Academic peer-reviewed books from 135 publishers.

In 2015, DOAB won the  IFLA/Brill Open Access Award. This award was created in 2013 to recognise initiatives in open access monograph publishing and in 2015 DOAB was recognised as the most outstanding and game changing initiative in this field.  Research has shown that OA books listed in DOAB receive almost twice as many downloads as unlisted books.

You can search and browse to discover content. You can browse by title, subject or publisher. You can search across a range of fields including: title, ISSN/ISBN, publisher, author, keywords and abstract. You can also limit your search by publication year.

Brief bibliographic information is provided plus links through to the open access books on publisher websites. Licence information is also clearly flagged for each item as in the example shown below.




Ebooks from Cambridge

cboAccess thousands of Cambridge ebooks through the Library

Your library currently has access to over 25,000 ebook titles from Cambridge University Press. Subject ranges from law, medicine, history, literature, politics, engineering and many more. We have books available for instant access across 57 subject areas.

Ebook access includes:

Over 1,500 titles in Law

Over 1,000 titles in Medicine

Over 1,300 titles in Literature

Over 2,700 titles in History

How to access

These titles can be accessed instantly via your library catalogue, and are available online now. You can browse by subject or search for a specific topic or title. Click here to access the full list of all Cambridge titles now. Unlimited access to these important titles is available until end of September 2016. Usage of these ebooks will inform the purchasing decision of your library for permanent use. 

Please note that a small number of ‘premium textbooks’ are not available in full text.  To exclude these items from your search and find only full text titles on Cambridge Books Online, restrict your search as shown below:


Need more information?
If you need any help accessing any content via Cambridge Books Online, please get in touch with

Recent Highlights Include:

Natures Trust

Nature’s Trust: Environmental Law for a New Ecological Age

Mastering Communication with seriously ill patients

Mastering Communication with Seriously Ill Patients: Balancing Honesty with Empathy and Hope

Networked Life

Networked Life: 20 Questions and Answers

July Crisis

July Crisis: The World’s Descent into War, Summer 1914

The Hidden Jane Austen

The Hidden Jane Austen

Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking: a global perspective