Skip to main content

E-books: Studying with e-books

A guide to finding and using e-books

Navigating the text in e-books

Reading an e-book gives you access to features that print versions do not have.

For instance, you can search the text electronically to find key words or phrases.

Think carefully about what you need to search for to make sure that you do not end up with too many results to scan through. It's a good idea to think about the purpose of your reading before you start - why are you reading this text, what do you already know and what do you need to find out? Deciding on these questions will help you to see what you need to search for, and the best way to find it.

When you find the information you need, remember to read around it so that you can see and understand the context. It's more difficult to get an overview when reading an e-book, so always consider reading the introductory chapter and thinking about the purpose of your reading before you start.

search within e-book

Taking notes

You don’t always need a pen and paper when studying from e-books; on many of our e-book platforms you can take notes electronically. These notes will refer back to the page you were reading and include the title of the e-book, which can be a useful way to organise your notes.

You may need to create a personal account (unrelated to your university username and password) to store and/or export your notes but you should usually be able to create and print your notes without such an account.

Referencing e-books

Many of our e-book platforms will let you directly export your references to a reference management software, such as Endnote. For more information take a look at the Library’s pages on how to export your references to EndNote.

When referencing please remember to reference the e-book, not the print book as the page numbers won’t always correspond.It may be sufficient to give details as you would for the print copy, but add [ebook] after the title so that it is clear which version you consulted.

For advice on how to reference, see our guide on Citing References.

E-books and dyslexic/dyspraxic students

The e-book format can be especially helpful if you have dyslexia or dyspraxia. Useful features include:

  • being able to increase the size of the font
  • easy searching of the text for keywords
  • facilitates use of text-to-speech software
  • outlines displayed in navigation bars can help you to see the structure of the argument