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E-books @ Unisa Library : E-books @ Unisa Library

This guide describes the many e-book resources available through the university library catalogue and electronic databases and how to access them

Request a Literature Search

Need sources for your literature review? Struggling to find sources for your assignment, research proposal or thesis?

The Library can assist with a literature search, which is a systematic and comprehensive search for published, academic material on your specific subject/topic. How do you request one? Simply go to Request a literature search .

If you are experiencing problems accessing the form, please use this link

New Open Access Databases

What is an 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 on any mobile device, laptop or PC..

Advantages of using e-books

Some of the advantages of using e-books include the following:

  • access is 24/7
  • access from anywhere
  • search within full text
  • browse across content
  • no heavy books to carry or return
  • once downloaded/saved they can be accessed at any time

How to find e-books using the Library Catalogue

The Unisa Library has an extensive collection of e-books available via the Library Catalogue:


  • Go to the Library Catalogue
  • To select your search option, use the drop down menu and select Keyword
  • Type your keyword(s) in the search box, e.g. research methodology
  • Using the dropdown menu, change View entire collection to E-books
  • Click on Submit


  • The search result(s) will appear with the most relevant titles displayed first
  • Click on the title you require to view the full details of the e-book: date of publication, location, status (availability), etc.
  • Click on the View full-text link to view the e-book
  • Off-campus users will be prompted for their login information before being allowed to access the content of the e-book
  • Once you have opened the e-book, you can browse its table of contents or perform an in-text search, depending on its format

How to find e-books using the Library’s electronic resources (databases)

The Unisa Library has an extensive collection of e-books made available through our electronic databases.

These collections cover a variety of disciplines including business, economics, technology, engineering, humanities, arts, and science etc.

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 Library may not necessarily have access to all the titles held by the individual database, but this will be indicated.

  • Go to, click on Find e-Resources and then click on e-Books
  • Select the relevant e-book collection by clicking on the database title, e.g. Cambridge Books Online to open a search screen
  • Enter the topic in the search box

Select E-Book Collections at Unisa Library

Copying, printing, downloading, saving and e-mailing e-books

Due to copyright restrictions, only limited printing, downloading and/or saving is allowed by many of the databases.

An entire e-book may be downloaded only when copyright clearance has been obtained or the copyright has expired.

The following usually applies:

  • Copying: text can be highlighted and copied
  • Printing: either page by page or the whole chapter if the e-book is in pdf format
  • Downloading: available if the e-book is in pdf format
  • E-mailing: individual books cannot be e-mailed, but some databases allow lists of titles to be e-mailed

Please note that limits on the volume of copying and printing will apply to each e-book, e.g. some books may say you can print 10 pages, others will allow you to print a chapter. Once these limits are reached, you will be blocked from further copying or printing from that particular e-book.