Skip to main content

Downloading E-Books: FOR FACULTY: Using E-Books as Course Readings

Hello Faculty!

Seneca Libraries acquires information resources that support your curriculum and students. Please contact the Seneca Libraries’ Liaison Librarians for your particular Faculty so that we can look into obtaining appropriate titles for coursework.

However, if you are considering assigning something from our current electronic resource collections as compulsory reading, first please read the following below on the left, and also refer to the information in the chart below on the right.

IMPORTANT NOTES ABOUT E-BOOK LIMITS

The electronic resources available through Seneca Libraries are an excellent source of authoritative and -- from the student perspective -- inexpensive readings for your classes.

With most of our online databases we have "site licences" whereby multiple users are able to access any and all content in them simultaneously. This makes it possible to take, for example, a single article from such a database and assign it to everyone in your class as "required reading".

In this era of expensive print textbooks, faculty may wish to take advantage of this and help their students by substituting the traditional print textbook with our database content or perhaps with one of our e-books.

Unfortunately though, not all of our e-book collections work on that same multiple-user/site licence model. Our e-books are a mix of titles from a variety of e-book vendors with a further mix of usage terms and access characteristics that may make the assigning of certain titles as required reading for everyone in a class not possible.

There are three main factors to consider when it comes to using an e-book from our collection as a textbook alternative:

1) Number of Simultaneous Users:

  • Will everyone in my class be able to access the title at the same time?
    • Maybe yes, maybe no.
  • Not all e-books are ‘Unlimited’ access titles whereby any number of Senecans can access the e-book at the same time. This is often a function of price and/or limits placed on numbers of users by the e-book’s vendor or the original publisher.
  • Just know that we have a mix of titles, with 1-User, 3-User, and Unlimited User being are the most common. If you want to use it a required reading for everyone in the class, Unlimited User is the ideal, but not all titles are available as Unlimited, and that is not entirely in our control.

2) Perpetual e-books vs. Subscription e-books:

  • Is the title guaranteed to be there all semester or over multiple semesters if I want to use it every year?
    • Often yes, maybe no.
  • Some of our e-book titles are acquired as ‘Perpetual Access’ or long-term access titles – we buy them, we have them forever, just like a print book.
  • But we also lease or subscribe to a number of e-book collections. Subscribing to collections of e-books can make our budget go farther, but they also have the benefit of providing hundreds or even thousands of e-books, often by subject, on one platform. Unlike perpetual access titles, though, we can’t control the titles within subscription e-book collections. The business relationships between e-book platform vendors and publishers rise and fall, and while new titles are added, they may also be removed. We have no control over that – we are merely subscribing to the collections – and we certainly have no control over when that might occur. So like information on the Internet generally, an e-book title may be in a collection one day and gone the next – possibly even in the middle of a semester.
  • Add to all of that, that some of our e-book collections combine the ‘Perpetual Access’ titles and the ‘Subscription’ titles all in one end-user platform, so it is not always apparent which are which.

3) Currency and Frontlist vs. Backlist:

  • Are publishers’ current/recent titles, especially textbooks, available in these collections?
  • What about the e-textbooks that are being sold to our students?
    • Sometimes yes, often no, for the first question.
    • Definitely no for the second question.
  • Current editions of print textbooks are not normally licensed to libraries to purchase as e-books, be they as single-user or multiple-user. Publishers' revenue streams would simply dry up were they to sell e-copies of their frontlists to libraries that students could use instead of buying their own copies from them. Even if your students tell you the book is available as an e-book via the publisher's website, note that these are not sold to libraries, but rather to individual end-users only. We also cannot acquire PIN-number-based titles that we can then make available to students. Such titles are for individual purchase and use only.
  • It varies from subject discipline to discipline, but the e-book titles in Seneca Libraries’ e-book collections are often older titles or older editions of current titles. In that respect, they are what library collections have always been: information resources that supplement what’s in your textbooks.

*************************************

Therefore, if there is a title you want to use for all students in a semester, or from one semester to the next, please contact us well before the semester begins and we can see if we can get it as the dream choice: both ‘Unlimited User’ and ‘Perpetual Access’.

If, however, you do want to navigate your way through what we do currently have, and chance whether a title will be available for you to use, please refer to the chart on the right which can help you figure out whether a title is 1-User or Unlimited User, Perpetual Access or Subscription, etc.

*************************************

A further note about Open Access (OA) Resources and Open Educational Resources (OERs)

Everything on this page pertains to our paid-for collections. However there are also a myriad of freely-available Open Access information resources that you could also use in your courses. See the tab labelled "Open Access Resources" at top of this page.

Details of eBook and eAudiobook Counts, by Collection

eBooks (as of 1 September 2019)

eBook Collection No. of Titles No. of Users Perpetual Access or Subscription?
EBSCO eBook Collection
391 462

Titles may be single-user or multiple-user. To find out how many users for a given title there are, see Note 1 below.

Titles may be perpetual access or subscription. To find out which titles are which, see Note 2 below.
desLibris 61 010

Unlimited simultaneous user site licence for the "Full text available" titles in the "Available to your library" filter

Subscription: This is a leased collection and titles in these collections can appear and disappear without warning.

Ebook Central

54 993

Titles may be single-user or multiple-user. To find out how many users for a given title there are, see Note 1 below.

Titles may be perpetual access or subscription. To find out which titles are which, see Note 2 below.
Safari Books Online (also known as O'Reilly for Higher Education)
37 858

Unlimited simultaneous user site licence

Subscription: This is a leased collection and titles in these collections can appear and disappear without warning.
Skillsoft Books (formerly known as Books 24x7) (comprised of ITPro, BusinessPro, FinancePro, and EngineeringPro)
31 848

Unlimited simultaneous user site licence

Subscription: This is a leased collection and titles in these collections can appear and disappear without warning.
CRC ENGnetBASE (via Taylor & Francis eBooks)
7 038

Unlimited simultaneous user site licence

Subscription: This is a leased collection and titles in these collections can appear and disappear without warning.
ScienceDirect (Elsevier)
1 648

Unlimited simultaneous user site licence

Subscription: This is a leased collection and titles in these collections can appear and disappear without warning.
Oxford Reference
305
Unlimited simultaneous user site licence Mostly Subscription, with a few exceptions (see Note 2 below).
Gale Virtual Reference Library
117
Unlimited simultaneous user site licence Perpetual: Seneca Libraries holds long-term access to these titles.
Literature Resource Center (Gale)
43
Unlimited simultaneous user site licence Subscription: This is a leased collection and titles in these collections can appear and disappear without warning.
Ovid
28
Unlimited simultaneous user site licence Subscription: This is a leased collection and titles in these collections can appear and disappear without warning.
Other
149
Varies by title. See Note 1 below. Perpetual: Seneca Libraries holds long-term access to these titles.
TOTAL
586 499
   

 

Note 1: How to determine the number of simultaneous users for a particular title:

  • Search for the title using the search box on the Seneca Libraries homepage, open the catalogue record for it, and then look at the end of the "Public notes" information for the number of users; or,
  • For EBSCO eBook Collection titles:
    • Within the EBSCO platform itself, click into a title and scroll down to the "Concurrent User Level" field where it will either say "Limited User Access" or "Unlimited User Access"
  • For Ebook Central titles:
    • Within the Ebook Central platform itself, click into a title and if in the "AVAILABILITY" information/field it says, "Your institution has unlimited access to this book", then it is available for multiple concurrent users

Note 2: How to determine whether we have perpetual/long-term access to a title or a subscription:

  • Search for the title using the search box on the Seneca Libraries homepage, open the catalogue record for it, and then look at the end of the "Public notes" information where it will either say, “Seneca Libraries holds long-term access to this title” for our perpetual/long-term titles or “This title is part of a leased collection…” for our subscription titles; or,
  • For EBSCO eBook Collection titles:
    • Within the EBSCO platform itself, click into a title and scroll down to the "Database" field where it will either say just "eBook Collection” for our perpetual/long-term titles or "eBook Academic Collection" for our subscription titles

eAudiobooks (as of 1 September 2019)

Collection Number of Titles Number of Users and Perpetual or Subscription
EBSCO Audiobooks
732
eAudiobook titles in this collection are one-copy/one-user-at-a-time titles that may also be "signed out" for an extended period by a user. But they are all perpetual access titles; we hold long-term access to them.
TOTAL
732