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E-books: Studying with e-books

A guide to finding and using e-books

Navigating the text in e-books

Reading an e-book allows you to use features that print versions do not have. For instance, you can search the text 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 look through. It's a good idea to think about the purpose of your reading before you start - why are you reading this book, what do you already know and what do you need to find out? Answering these questions will help you to decide what 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

Using the Ebook Central Reader

Information from ProQuest on how to use the Ebook Central Reader online, which includes information on how to search within a book and make annotations.

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 our guide to managing references:

When referencing e-books you might be able to cite them in exactly the same way as the print version and not even need to include the web address. However, if they are presented online in a different format, with different page numbers from the print version, you might need to reference the specific version. For advice on how to reference books and e-books see the examples in our Citing references guide:

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