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Ask a Librarian: Using the Electronic Resources

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What is the 'Electronic Reserves' or 'e-reserves'?

The Electronic Reserves, usually shortened to e-reserves, supports learners by making their prescribed and recommended reading as listed in Tutorial Letter 101 for each course and module available in digital format. Access to the e-reserves for your course or module is controlled by means of your student number and myUnisa password. If you have convenient access to the Internet you can download your reading yourself and this saves the distance learner a great deal of time.

Search for e-reserves listed in TUT101

Course Code Search

I found a reference to an article on the Web and it doesn't link to the full text. How can I find the article?

If you find a reference to an article relevant to your research while you are searching the Internet and no link is provided to the full text, note the title of the journal in which the article is published and then look it up on the Unisa Library e-Journal Finder to check if the Library subscribes to this journal in electronic format and what date coverage is available. You will be able to link to that journal from the e-Journal Finder. If the e-Journal Finder indicates that we subscribe to a journal and you are still not able to access it, please send an email to the dedicated  mailbox at to ask for assistance.

If the journal is not electronically available, the Library may nonetheless subscribe to the print version of the journal. Carry out a Journal Title search on the Library Catalogue to check if the Library has the print version. If we do have a subscription, then submit a journal article request via the Article Requests form in the Library Catalogue > glide your cursor over My Library > select Article Requests > enter your student number and myUnisa password at the prompt and click on LOGIN > complete the online request form and click on Submit this request.

What is an electronic book (e-book)?

An electronic book (also known as e-book, ebook, eBook, and digital book) is a book made available in digital form and designed to be read using special e-book software, some of which preserve the book’s original layout and design.

E-books can be read on a variety of PCs (desktops, notebooks, tablets, and handheld devices), Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), smartphones, iPads and dedicated e-book readers (e.g. Kindle) using specially designed e-book software.

How do I access materials in the e-reserves?

Access to the Electronic Reserves is available via the Find e-reserves & Recommended books link on the Library home page. This will take you to the Course Code Search screen. When you have completed your search and wish to open a full text document, you will be prompted to enter your student number and myUnisa password. Next, click on LOGIN to view the full text document.

What is an electronic journal (e-journal)?

Electronic journals (usually shortened to e-journals) are scholarly publications available in full text via the Internet.

They may be commercially published (fee) or open access (free). Commercially published e-journals will require you to pay a subscription to view their content or they may permit a once-off payment to view an individual article in the e-journal. The Unisa Library subscribes to a wide range of databases containing electronic journals for almost every discipline.

Electronic journals may be one of the following:

  • the electronic equivalent of an existing print journal, or
  • the electronic equivalent of an existing print journal but with additional material that is available in the online version only, e.g. links or media, or
  • the electronic equivalent of an existing print journal but with less material, e.g. it may lack tables, graphics, photographs, colour, or pagination, or
  • an online journal only, in other words, it does not have a print equivalent.

How do I go about finding e-journals?

Visit the LibGuide on e-Journals and how to use the e-Journal Finder for more information.

How do I go about finding e-books?

There are two ways to find the e-books in the Unisa Library's electronic collection.

1. Use the Library Catalogue:

Enter your title, e.g. marketing strategy, and then use the Refine by option to limit by Format --> EBook

2. Use the Find e-resources link on the Library home page:

Visit the Library home page and click on Find e-resources. The Find e-resources page is grouped according to the type of electronic resource you are looking for, e.g. e-newspapers or South African resources. Click on e-Books to open a list of the various e-book databases to which the Library subscribes. They are arranged in alphabetical order by the name of the database.

Each database has its own specific format so it is recommended that you use the online help screens or instruction pages for each database. Remember that the Unisa Library may not necessarily have access to all the titles held by the database, but this will be indicated.

Please note that each e-book has copying and printing restrictions. Once these are reached, no further text may be copied or printed.