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Sourcing Core Text e-books For Your Academic Curriculum

E-Books for your Module: What you need to know

Planning for curriculum delivery for Semester 1 2021 has invariably raised the level of focus on digital-first availability of materials to ensure equality of access and continuity of engagement with curriculum materials.  With this in mind, the Library has set up this platform to support staff with Reading Lists, with a specific focus on identifying and assuring access to a minimum number of core e-textbooks for each module.

Academic staff are being asked to:

1. Review AIT Library e-books collections (quick demos here)
2. Complete the form identifying at least two core textbooks you currently have for each module, and any alternatives you have found

The Library team will follow-up on your submissions to liaise on what will work best for your module and ensure access, licencing, costs etc. There may be multiple considerations involved in purchasing new e-books, see the guide below for context.  

Additional work will follow on building out Reading Lists & Recommended Reading - staff can email their current Reading Lists to Once you have completed the form, a member of the Library team will follow-up with you.


The library currently gives you access to over 160,000 e-books, largely from Library budget that cover a wide range of subject areas.  Click here for our quick demo videos for searching the E-books Collections.




  • Where do I start when thinking about e-first curriculum materials?

Search the Library through E-books to get a feel for the collections; search via Subject area. Do specific title searches for the core texts you currently use. Link to Guide

  • What do I do when I find an e-book title that will work as a core text?

If you find texts in the Library's current e-book collections, flag this with us through the form below - copy and paste link or title. We will then check the licences and give you what you need to integrate it into your module. This will also allow  us to prepare support materials for your students on getting the best from these materials.

  • If I see an e-book version of a title I want on the internet or in another online store, can you get it?

Maybe, but quite possibly not. Academic libraries are usually not able to purchase an e-book like an individual as the publisher's models think this would limit their ability to sell individual licenses. Get in touch with us through the platform and we will assess the feasibility of a multi-user licence.

  • Why can't you just get anything that is available online somewhere?

There are multiple licences that must be considered when providing copyrighted material to students in online platforms, even when only shared within the VLE. A lot of the limitations come from the publisher side who have enormous control over how materials are accessed and prices jump significantly as a library purchaser. Some context on how e-book publishers operate:

Some publishers provide e-books for individual private purchase only because that model is the most effective for them financially.  An ebook being available for you to purchase via Amazon, say, does not automatically mean that the library can buy a copy.  We will always do our best to try to find an institutional copy to buy, but sometimes there simply will not be one.

Some publishers have not licensed their e-books for sale in the Irish market. In some cases it might be possible to purchase an institutional e-book in, say, North America, but not here (and the reverse is likely to be true too).

Some books are not available on secure platforms so libraries cannot work with them.

Sometimes an e-book is available but its price makes its purchase impractical for us. To have one licence for a book might cost 60e but to have multiples can cost over 1,000.  

On a similar note, sometimes a specific title is only available through the purchase of (or subscription to) a much bigger e-book package.  Library staff then need to work with academic staff and students to ascertain whether the larger package would be useful and provide value for money, and whether relevant budgets can support the cost.

  • How do you get e-books?

Once the Library has identified titles needed we check the available licenses for them and the cost. If titles can be purchased we work with the vendors to integrate them into our collecitons to share the link details with academics and make online connected Reading Lists available through Moodle - we have a Key Links tool that can be integrated into your Module for this. 

We will always try to find a solution, negotiating with providers and sometimes bringing multiple budgets together to afford a book, but we might have to turn a request down. 

  • What are the reasons why you might not be able to purchase an e-book?

There are lots of considerations the Library make when deciding on purchasing of e-books. An overview of some of the reasons it might not be possible to access a title include:

* cost, sometimes an e-book costs many multiples of what physical books cost; library pays for the majority of current e-book collections
* licence type, publishers will not sell license to e-books to libraries the same way as they do to individuals
* individual v package, publishers will often not see the licence to one e-book without buying a whole package
* content alternatives, whether credible alternatives are available as Open Education Resources

  • Why can't I always access an e-book, even though it worked before?

Sometimes an e-book which AIT has got access to might not be available to you because it is already in use (you will normally see the message “all available copies currently in use”).  Huge numbers of e-books can be used by unlimited numbers of readers at the same time, but some are more restricted and might, for example, have a single-user access model.  You will need to wait until the ebook is “free” again before you can access it.

Submit Your Core Texts & Module Reading Lists

This form gives you a single place to submit your current core textbooks per module and identify any potential e-versions or alternative texts you have found in the library collections or elsewhere.


The Library team will follow-up with you to work on sourcing the best materials for your course curriculum. You will be asked to log in with your AIT network credentials, 365 login details. 

You can fill out this form for each of your Modules or put them into one form. 

Overview of FAQ and areas for consideration with e-books.

Search the Library's e-book collections.

Library available for 1:1 or Dept level consultations on this, contact your Faculty Librarian to arrange.

If you have any issues accessing the form, contact