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Tutorial: Finding E-Books:

Two ways to find e-books purchased by the Trent University Library.

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Finding E-Books

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Ebooks are online books which are not physically located in our Library. Rather, the Library purchases online access to them through the web. The Trent Library has access to hundreds of thousands of ebooks and almost all new books purchased are ebooks.

Library Ebooks are Different than Ebooks You Purchase

When you connect to an ebook purchased by the Library, you only use it temporarily, which is different than owning your own copy.  You often view the book through the publisher's website, rather than downloading it.

  • The publisher, or a partner company, loads the books on a server which provides a platform (software) for multiple users to access the books.  In order to view these books, users sign in via their institution's login.
  • This platform establishes how the book looks and functions
  • Specific digital rights assigned to each title determine how many users can access it simultaneously, whether it can be downloaded, copied, or printed, etc.

There are a variety of platforms available for hosting e-books. Where possible, we indicate usage restrictions where you link to them.

Download Options & Software

Increasingly, more publishers are offering the option to download a book to your own device, for a limited time.  These books require software such as "Adobe Digital Editions" in order to read them. 

See instructions (.pdf) on downloading the software and checking out books.

There are two methods for locating ebooks available at the Trent Library: 

1. Search Omni, using the default "search anything" in the Trent Library.

  • Use the filters on the left side to limit your results to:
    • Books & eBooks, and
    • Available online.
  • This is the quickest way to search for ebooks we own.
  • You can also "Browse" by title or author for a specific book, then check to see if its "Available online".

2. Go to one of the publisher websites (platforms) and search.

  • Use the Databases A-Z search on the Library homepage and select E-Books as a "Type", to find databases that include e-books.
  • The large platforms we use most are Scholars Portal Books. ProQuest Ebook Central, and eBooks on EBSCOhost. (Some books are available on publisher's sites as well as these sites - think of them as extra copies kept in a different spot.)
  • If you don't know the publisher of a book, this is a bothersome way to search because you need to search multiple sites.  Omni is usually quicker!

If you used Google Scholar to find ebooks, ensure you edit the "settings" to show you're a Trent student. This gets you access to ebooks purchased by the Trent Library.

See the instructions below.

General Information About Library Ebooks

  • Ebooks vary in their appearance and usability, based on the site that provides access. There are variations in the number of users that can access them simultaneously, how they display, and how you navigate through them. Our Library has no control over these differences.
  • Ebooks purchased by libraries are not the same as those sold to individuals for use on an e-book reader. Library copies must be licensed and packaged for mounting on a server, accessible over the web to multiple authorized users without a fee. This is quite different from an individual purchasing one copy from a bookstore to load on his/her personal devices.
  • Some ebooks can be downloaded to your computer or device for a limited amount of time, depending on the license agreement. Look for a "download" button in the software.  If there is no button, the book is not available for download, but you can access it on the web and save/print pages.  Look for "Help" within the database if you have a question.
  • Most platforms provide an option to create an account for yourself so that you can store books on a virtual bookshelf and make notations on pages.  Take advantage of these features when you can.  It only takes a moment to create your own account and it makes it very easy to find the books again. 

Accessing Online Library Resources from Off-Campus

Online resources are rarely free; the Trent Library pays hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for the right to access them.

  • The providers implement systems to ensure that only those who pay can access the information provided.
  • At Trent this is usually done by checking the IP address (a unique number) of the computer being used against a list of valid customers, a process called authentication.
  • When Trent subscribes to an online product, we give them a list of IPs for our institution. Anybody using a Trent computer by logging into the network is recognized and given access.
  • However, when you try to access the resources from outside the Trent network (off-campus), the provider will not recognize your computer and will not allow you access. For these cases, the Trent Library uses a proxy server, a server set up to authenticate Trent users.

All the links to external resources on our website route you through our proxy server.

  • If you're on a Trent computer, it just passes you through.
  • But if you're coming from outside the network, the proxy server requires you to authenticate yourself with your MyTRENT network username and password.
    • This is done through single sign-on, so if you're already logged into MyTRENT, it will seamlessly pass you through.
  • Once you're confirmed as a Trent user, it passes you along to the provider with a valid Trent IP address that is recognized.
  • Your proxy server session lasts for the duration of your browser session. If you close the browser, or if the session times out from lack of use, you need to login to the proxy server again. 
  • Bookmarks to your favourite sites or articles won't always work with the proxy server. You may need to start at the library website to login. 
  • If you are asked by a provider's site to enter a username and password, you have not been proxied correctly. Go back to the Library website and start from there. The only authentic login screen you should see is the MyTRENT login screen.

Once you've signed in:

  • You should notice that every address you access after that contains "" in it somewhere.  If that disappears, you've lost your proxy and you need to start again. 
  • Contact if you have problems.