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eBooks: Access Online Books During Library Building Closures

by Researcher Services – July 7, 2021

This guide provides links and tips on how to find online books. The temporary closure and restricted access to the UC Davis Library buildings temporarily prevents one from accessing the book stacks. The UC Davis Library, however, provides access to books online, both licensed eBooks and Open Access books. Additionally, during the public health emergency, access to scanned books are available online through the Internet Archive and HathiTrust, two organizations the UC Davis Library has partnered with to preserve our collections.

In this Guide:

UC Davis Library licenses thousands of electronic books from variety of publishers and provides links to Open Access titles. The UC Library Catalog can help you find them.

  1. Make sure you have downloaded and connected the Library VPN
  2. Go to UC Davis Library Catalog Advanced Search.
  3. Enter search terms in one or more of the search boxes. You may search by keyword, title, author, or subject.
  4. To limit your results to online books use the filter column to the right. Filter your results by selecting  Full Text Available under the Availability header or filter for Electronic Books under the Resource Type.

Note:  Not all books are available electronically, and if your results list does not contain any eBooks, the Full Text Availability filter will not appear.

Need more help? Check out this instructional video: How to search for eBooks using the library catalog

UC Davis users now have access to digital versions of about 50% of our print books through our membership in HathiTrust.
HathiTrust has temporarily opened up copyrighted material in its digital library to UC Davis and other member institutions who own copies of the same items in their physical collections. As part of the UC system, UC Davis faculty, students, and staff now have access to digitized books in HathiTrust that represent many of the physical book collections owned by other UC campus libraries, as well. This emergency, temporary service expands access significantly beyond the millions of digitized public domain volumes already available via HathiTrust.

To take advantage of this temporary expanded access:

  1. Visit https://www.hathitrust.org and click the yellow “LOG IN” button.

  2. Select “University of California, Davis” and log in using your campus credentials.

  3. Search the HathiTrust Digital Library to locate the item you wish to view.

  4. Click on the Temporary Access link at the bottom of the record to Check Out the item through the Emergency Temporary Access Service.

  5. This program does not allow multiple users to ‘check out’ the same book. Be sure to “Return the Book Early” when you are finished reading.


You begin with 60 minutes of access to an in-copyright book during the session. If you remain active in the book during the session, access time will be extended. You are not able to download the book; you may only read it online in an active session while using HathiTrust. This access model is intended to address the unique access needs of this moment while still protecting the author’s rights.

Note that this emergency access service will be terminated whenever UC Davis reopens its library facilities, so users should view this access to the digital books as temporary.

This Health Sciences eBooks guide, prepared for researchers in the Health Sciences, provides direct links to important Health Science eBook publishers, as well as a curated list of human health science eBooks, organized by specialty.