Have you embraced the eBook?

 

With the closure of the library during the Covid Pandemic, we have all been forced to access books and journals digitally and the librarians have been working hard to expand the current collection to give you more access to a wider variety of UpToDate titles.

Whilst you might not be an immediate convert to the eBook and may be thinking, ‘I don’t like reading on a screen’, there are some advantages to reading texts in this format. The most obvious being that you can access the contents from the comfort of your own home, provided you have a reasonable internet connection or you can download chapters to read at a later date which is useful when distance learning, commuting or travelling. Chapters can even be printed off so you can annotate and highlight relevant sections which is something you can’t do with loaned textbooks! But, the number of pages you can download is however subject to publisher restrictions in accordance with DRM (Digital rights management).

Another great feature of eBooks is accessibility. ‘Accessibility is to eBooks what labelling is to the food industry’ (McNaught & Alexander, 2014 p35). When you access an eBook or journal online you can adjust it to meet your specific reading requirements, and this allows for greater inclusivity in the learning environment. Print that is readily available in a digital format broadens opportunities for not only the blind, visually impaired, partially sighted and dyslexics but also the sighted as it removes a myriad of barriers to reading.

Key features include the ability to:

  • Enlarge font size and magnify the print for easier reading whilst still enabling text-flow to fit the screen.
  • Alter colour and contrast of the screen to improve reading for the visually impaired and adjust brightness for lighter/darker learning environments.
  • Use Text to speech software to enable print to be read aloud by simulated voice technology. This is useful as it can alleviate some of the pressures of reading an academic text and enable to the listener to focus and interpret the content more readily.
  • Apply alternative text features to obtain a brief description of the information given in images and tables.

(McNaught & Alexander, 2014)

In addition, to improved accessibility, I like the fact that you can search the contents of the book using key words. This highlights all the mentions of the specific topic within the text, sparing you the time-consuming task of scanning pages for relevant information.

Increasingly, lecturers are embedding links to eBooks to modules and reading lists online via the VLE (virtual learning environment) giving you easy access course specific resources at the click of a button. This has the added advantage of saving you money too as it means you are no longer required to purchase core texts to support your learning!

Finally, here at the Skills Centre, our libguides in the resources section provide you with direct links to eBooks to develop your academic skills. You can choose from the following topics: Essential study skills, academic writing and reading and research.

The knowledge available to you is endless. Why don’t you take look and broaden your horizons?

Did you know?

The Skills centre also offers you the opportunity to book webinars, 1-1 tutorials & writing forums. Book online here today.

Additional resources

If you would like to know more about eBooks to support your learning, please visit the following resources and hyperlinks:

Making the most of your library off-campus

Referencing eBooks and journals

Library gateway Help pages: eBooks

eBooks for mobile devices. Search our database here: https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/shu/home.action

References

McNaught, A. and Alexander, H. 2014. Ebooks and accessibility. In: Woodward, H. (ed.) Ebooks in Education: Realising the Vision. Pp. 35–49. London: Ubiquity Press. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/bal.e