How can I access my university or college library and course reading online?

This week’s blog post is in reply to a question from a student comment on the post about digital literacy skills: “Could I use any E-book reader, like Kindle reader, to download the tutorial references or academic books? By this way, would it be cheaper and more convenient than buy real book or borrow from the library?”

Lecturers’ recommended course reading material that is in a digital format, such as e-books, scanned chapters or articles in online journals, to which your institution subscribes, will usually have to be accessed through your university library’s online catalogue. To download it, especially if you are off-campus, there will be a secure login procedure (e.g. VPN). Regarding the use of a Kindle reader, most of the large e-book collections (Ebrary, MyLibrary, EBSCO) allow e-books to be downloaded onto such devices, but not all. The best way to find out whether a particular e-book reader is compatible or not is to look at the ‘help’ pages online that can usually be linked to from each e-book.

Your course reading lists are likely to contain many items – not all of them available as e-books or in another digitised format – so you may wish to select essential books to buy, and borrow (or access) others through your library. Important books are often in a reserve section of the library so that as many students as possible can read them.

Check out your university or college library website to find out more about the range of resources they hold in your subject area and how you can access them.

If you have a question related to academic life and study in the UK and you can’t find the answer in the Prepare for Success learning resources, write it on the Question Wall and we will try to answer it here in the blog next time.

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