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Ebook Guide

Find ebooks in Library Search

Search options:  Basic Library search and Advanced search

Conduct a basic search using keywords, title, author, or call number

1. Use the search bar to begin your preliminary search:

Library search on University Libraries' home page

2. On the results page, filter by Full Text Online and Books 

(you can also use the additional filters as needed).

3. Don't forget to click the green Filter button at the bottom!

4. You can then review the different titles to find the best match.*

*If there are multiple options for the book result, check each one to find an unlimited license, if possible.

(learn more about licenses below)

Conduct an Advanced search:

Advanced search allows you to apply more filters and uses boolean operators and other methods to limit or expand your search. 

How do I search for ebooks? provides screenshots for advanced searching.

UA Libraries' ebook collection

Contains over 80 different publishers and collections. 

Filter by keywords, subjects, or publisher.

A-Z Ebook Collection 

UA Libraries' Unlimited Use Ebook Collection  

Our finding tool, Course Ebooks, provides a list of all unlimited-licensed ebooks in use for courses. You can search by title, course, instructor, and term. These titles have been purchased for courses, and some are DRM-free, allowing for more freedom in downloading and saving. We do not provide links to limited-licensed emails, as these have very limited access for students. 

 For instructors, use our Check for ebook availability form to see if we can purchase or currently own titles that can be used as course materials.


Begin by logging in! 

Log in to your UA Libraries account to:

  • Access full text of articles and ebooks off campus
  • Search Google Scholar to find what is available through UA Libraries
  • Save items and search queries to a favorites list 
  • Put items on hold and request titles from other libraries
  • Put limited license titles on hold in EBSCO (?)

Tools in Library Search

Use the icons for permalinks, citations (check these before using in your bibliography), emailing links, and to add to your favorites lists:

Search Basics

  • Start with basic keyword search 
  • Follow up with a search by subject headings
  • Use 2 or 3 titles from your keyword search that are the best match for your topic
  • Look at the Subject or Descriptor field and note the subject terms used
  • Redo your search using those terms


  • Use quotation marks around search terms to search for exact phrases
  • Learn more about advanced searching with Search tips (Boolean operators, searchable fields, relevancy ranking, and more)

Practice searching with our Library Search Tutorial

Ebook licenses

A quick glance at ebook records: Ebook Central and EBSCO

Rules of access and usage vary by publisher. Look for details within each record:

  • License type
  • Download limits and options
  • Print/chapter download information

This information can help you determine options for accessing (unlimited - anytime, or limited - plan ahead and/or download PDFs), 



Quick fact: Publishers determine the license for every title

Publishers also decide what type of ebook license will be available to libraries.  Many times certain types of licenses are not available for libraries to purchase (such as textbooks), as the open market is more profitable. Please note that you may experience a "busy signal" when trying to access limited-user licenses.

Limited licenses:

  • Single user license - this allows 1 user to access the book at a time.
  • 3-user license - this allows for 3 simultaneous users to access the book at a time. 
  • Multi-user license - this allows for a standard number of access points within a one year period (often 325). Each time a user accesses the title for more than 5 minutes, that constitutes one access point, or use.  Once the access points run out the title is no longer accessible -[ is this always true? ]

Unlimited licenses:

An unlimited amount of users can access the book at the same time. This is generally the only license we recommend for course use. Some of these are DRM-free as well, and these licenses have greater flexibility than basic unlimited (see next tab).


These titles are NOT owned by the library (Subscription access can end without notice, which can make them unreliable for course use. Please use the Check for ebook availability form to ensure that the resource you need will be available to you all semester if you need it as as an instructor for your course.  The licenses often expire anywhere between 3 months to 1 year.  These are unlimited titles, but may not be available every semester.

DRM-free - What does this mean? 

Digital Rights Management (DRM) are technologies that restrict usage of copyrighted materials, such as ebooks. These restrictions include copying, printing, and downloading. The University of Arizona Libraries purchases DRM-free licenses wherever possible, allowing for greater flexibility of use. In all cases, copyright law and licensing terms must be adhered to by the user.

  • Benefits of DRM-free resources:
    • Unlimited chapter downloads that never expire
    • Allows students to freely download, print, copy, and save content
    • Available for use at any time, any device
    • Ideal for assistive technologies such as screen readers 

Ebook Central DRM-free title information

DRM-free ebook databases

Free Ebooks and Digital Repositories

Hathi Trust Digital Library

Founded in 2008, HathiTrust is a not-for-profit collaborative of academic and research libraries preserving 17+ million digitized items. HathiTrust offers reading access to the fullest extent allowable by U.S. copyright law, computational access to the entire corpus for scholarly research, and other emerging services based on the combined collection. HathiTrust members steward the collection — the largest set of digitized books managed by academic and research libraries — under the aims of scholarly, not corporate, interests.

Access Hathi Trust with UA NetID login by clicking "Login" and then searching for University of Arizona. 



What are the links to Open Library books in some of our catalog records for print books and why are they there?

Open Library books that are linked from some of the records for our print books point to digitized versions of those titles that are freely available through the Internet Archive’s Open Library. For copyright reasons, these digitized surrogates of print books are only available to be checked out to a single user at a time (much like a print book), cannot be downloaded, and are protected by Digital Rights Management [DRM].

For that reason, their use is only appropriate for individual study, NOT as course texts. We add links to records for our print books where our print collection overlaps with their digital collection (which amounts to a couple hundred thousand titles). You can also go directly to the Open Library and use their collection of over 3 million books.

Project Gutenberg

One of the most comprehensive collections of electronic texts on the Internet. Many books can be downloaded for iPad, Kindle, Nook, Android, iPhone, iPod Touch, Sony Reader.

Digital Public Library of America 

Includes additional resources beyond ebooks

Banned Books Online

Books that have been the objects of censorship or censorship attempts.

LibriVox: Free Public Domain Audiobooks

Public domain audiobooks recorded by volunteers, with several options for listening.