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Finding Information

Gain an understanding of different information formats, including the ways they can be used in research.


This page is designed to help you:

  • Understand what an ebook is and its relationship with other formats
  • Select an ebook on a certain topic

Ebooks Overview

The Library has an extensive collection of ebooks for virtually all academic subjects. You can learn about the hundreds of thousands of ebooks on the Ebooks Collection page. This guide will assist you in searching for, accessing, and downloading digital content.

eBooks enable:

  • Access from any location
  • Accessibility features, including adjusting the font-size of the text
  • Read-aloud features, which turn an ebook into an audiobook
  • Flexibility to read in-browser or download for offline reading

Note that guidelines for downloading and printing vary by publisher. Kindle devices and the Kindle app are not supported at this time, and we do not purchase Kindle ebooks.

Search for Ebooks at Brown


You can search for ebooks directly from the library home page. There is a selection button to search all books, which will look for physical and electronic versions, or for just ebooks.You can also search without making a selection, and narrow by format on the search results page.

bruknow search box with radio button for ebooks and physical books highlightedThe Library ebooks collections page includes information about the many ebook collections available to you through the Library. It also includes information on downloading, which can be tricky because the process varies among different platforms and publishers.


You want to write a paper on music censorship in Iran for a class on free speech and are not on campus. Perhaps you do not know a lot about music censorship, although you are familiar with Iranian culture and politics. Start your search using broad terms:

Type music censorship Iran into the search box on the home page, select 'ebooks only' and hit enter. Learn more about keywords and other search strategies.

There are about 30 results for this search in August of 2021.

The first result is The Oxford Handbook of Music Censorship. We know from the overview of information formats that a handbook provides an overview to a subject. This is a great resource to use when looking for general information on a topic. When you click on the title in the search result list and scroll down, you will see there are multiple links to access the book from Oxford University Press. We often have access to ebooks from multiple vendors and on different platforms. You can click any of these links to view the book. Different platforms offer researchers different features, like the ability to copy and paste text, the EPUB format, changing text size or colors, and downloading.

As you scroll down the page, you will also see that we have a physical copy of this book at the Orwig Music Library. Results for books and ebooks are sometimes combined in one record like this in BruKnow.

view of book record in BruKnow with online, interlibrary loan and library location page headers highlighted.

If you don't find an ebook that meets your needs, you can easily remove the online format requirement from your search to see what we have in the libraries. Under "Active Filters" uncheck the "Available Online" box. You can request that a small portion of a book be digitized for you. For example, look at the record for Shoot the singer! : music censorship today. Under "Get It," there is a link for request and digitization. The request button will request a physical copy of this book from another library if all of our copies are checked out. The digitization button opens a form for you to let us know what pages or chapters you need scanned.

Downloading Ebooks

Downloading options vary by platform. For complete details for each vendor, consult the ebook Printing guide.

Further Reading

  • Blummer, B., & Kenton, J. M. (2020). A Systematic Review of E-Books in Academic Libraries: Access, Advantages, and Usage. New Review of Academic Librarianship, 26(1), 79-109. 

Learning Objectives

This page was designed to help you:

  • Understand what an ebook is and its relationship with other formats
  • Select an ebook on a certain topic


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