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Access to HE and Foundation Pathways Programme

Books and eBooks

When writing and presenting information for your assignments you need to use academic sources to provide evidence for, and back up, what you are writing about. Books can be a great academic source to use and a good starting point for research! For some assignments you might use books as your main information source whereas for other assignments, and depending on the topic, you might have to use a mixture of information sources such as journals, newspapers and websites.

Advantages of Academic Books

  • Good for proving background information, overview of a topic or an introduction to a new subject.
  • Help to develop your understand of a subject
  • Usually written by experts in that subject
  • They go through publishing checks to assess quality so they are more likely to be credible and reliable.
  • Often include references to other sources of information on the same subject/topic

Disadvantages of Academic Books

  • Information can go quickly out of date particularly in certain subjects such as medicine and computing
  • Self-published books may be less reliable

Watch the video below to find out more about academic books.

You can use our discovery platform, Library Search, available either in the Library on stand-alone PCs or online via the Library's website, to search for a variety of materials, not just printed books.  When you search on Library Search you might find books, eBooks, journals, articles and media sources in your results list but you can use the filters to just display books.

If you are looking for a specific book, it is best to search by Author (just the surname) and just a few words from the book title.  Or you can use a few topic keywords, e.g. sport and nutrition, if you want to find out what we have in stock for your subject.

Have a look at the Finding Books in Library Search video to find out more.

eBooks are basically a digital version of a print book. They are brilliant because you can read them anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. 

The Library collections includes access to over 600,000  eBooks to support you during your studies. 

You can read eBooks online or download them for offline reading. 

We often recommend using the Read Online feature as this gives you more options to add your own notes, bookmark pages, print or copy text from the eBook.  Some of our eBook suppliers have accessibility features to read the book aloud or change the text size and background colour.

Most eBooks can be downloaded for a period of 24 hours to ensure all users are given a fair chance to access them. If an eBook is on loan to another user you can choose to be added to a reservation list and will be notified when the eBook becomes available.

You can find eBooks using Library Search

Watch the video below to find out more. 

Library Search will tell you where the book is on the shelf (called the shelfmark number), the number of copies we have and the date any items currently on loan will be due back in the Library. It will also inform you of what campus the book is located at - if the book you want is not available at your home campus you can request to collect it from the site of your choice.

Have a look at the video below to find out how to find a book on the shelves.

Once you have found the books you need and want to borrow, you use the Self Issue machines close to the library exit.  

Our handy video guide will show you how to issue and return a book and you can always ask library staff to help you if you are unsure

  • You can borrow 15 items at a time
  • All items are issued for ONE WEEK
  • All items Auto renew which means that you don't have to remember to renew them each week.  However, if someone reserves the book you have on loan, the auto-renewal system will stop.  You will receive an email reminder to return the items by their due date.
  • You can return books to any of our Libraries, not just to the site that you borrowed them from.

If you want to borrow a book that is on loan to someone else or is held at another of our Libraries, you can place a reservation via our discovery platform "Library Search".

  • Go to Library Search
  • Click on Sign In at the top right corner of the page.
  • Select the appropriate login option (University of Derby Students and Staff)
  • Sign in using your University username and password
  • Search for the item you want
  • Click on the title to view the item record.
  • Check all copies are out on loan
  • Underneath Find in Library click on REQUEST: Reserve this item.
  • In the dialogue box that opens, click on Pickup location
  • Select the campus you want to pick the item up from

If the book is on the shelf, our staff will find it and send it on to your choice of collection site.

If the book is currently on loan, the auto-renewal process will end and the borrower will be reminded by email to return the book.

  • You will receive an email to your student email account ( telling you when the book is ready for collection. We hold on to the book for 8 days to give you time to collect it.
  • If the book is also available as an eBook we will email you to let you know, in case you prefer to use this instead of waiting.

Each module you study will have its own resource list which is created by your lecturers. Module resource lists will contain recommended academic print books and eBooks to use, as well as journal articles and they might also include other resources such as videos or links to websites. Your resource lists can be accessed by going to the pages for your modules on Blackboard (Course Resources). You can also use click the ‘resource list’ icon on the library website and then search by module title or code.

It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with your resource list as soon as you start your modules. If you need more support with accessing and using the resource list system have a look at our handy guide