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The ebook revolution



Feb. 3, 2013 – Ebooks have dramatically changed the publishing business and access to scholarship at Virginia Tech. In October of 2012, the library adopted an ebook acquisition policy that states ebooks are our preferred format for monographs (books), much as we've been adding online journals to our collections for a decade. With ebooks, we don't have to be concerned about loss of the physical book and we save money when we don't have to process, label, or shelve books. Many ebooks can be used by multiple people simultaneously, effectively increasing the size of the collection, and ebooks are very easy for remote students to access. We can obtain very detailed usage statistics for online materials that we use to help future collection decisions. There are still cases when we will add print books to our collection, but we already have over 100,000 ebooks in all academic disciplines available for our faculty and students.

An infrequent concern from our users is that they don't own a Kindle or other ebook reader, but like most of the articles in our ejournals, the typical ebooks come as PDFs that can be downloaded, saved, annotated, and printed. What's really exciting is how many of our ebooks are full-text indexed in database like Summon. Now students can find phrases and concepts that are not just part of the book's title, table of contents, or index that previously would have required perusing the entire book (or multiple books).

Alumni have access to several hundred ebooks through the SAGE Research Methods licensed database, covering social sciences, medicine, and related disciplines. Don't forget, your local public library likely also provides recent fiction, popular novels, and many other ebooks. The Alumni Library Portal provides links to many state library systems you can access with your public library card.

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Freely accessible databases

Listed here are databases that have no access restrictions (you don't need to be a current student to search them). Some databases provided free access to only a part of their content; check the database description for details.

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