A very short holiday reading list

Winter in Mars North Polar Region Download

The holidays are right around the corner and it is a great time to catch up on your reading. Although, sometimes it is nice to keep it short. I have got a recommendation that might do the trick: Very short introductions from Oxford University Press. There are hundreds of e-books in this series, with titles in health and medicine, science and mathematics. It also includes very short introductions to topics like ageing, egyptology, and Alexander the Great.

If you are very, very short on time, we also have a nice collection of audio books on OverDrive that you can listen to on the go. For example, check out Astrophysics for people in a hurry, by Neil deGrasse Tyson (a New York Times Bestseller).

Happy [very short] holiday reading!

Image: Winter in Mars North Polar Region (NASA)

Finding E-books

Have you ever wondered how to find a book that you can read instantly from anywhere at any time? This is possible if you use an e-book (short version for electronic books).  McGill Libraries have millions of e-books in collection. They are available from various platforms with different features. Below are two upcoming workshops that you can attend and discover the secret. You may be able to find an electronic copy for your textbooks or a title for your research.

Discovering E-books on Computing and Information Technology

Date and time: September 20, 2013 from 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Location: room 313, Schulich Library of Science and Engineering

Discovering E-books on Engineering Topics

Date and time: September 25, 2013 from 12:30pm to 1:30pm
Location: Room 5 (next to the McGill Engineering Student Centre), Frank Dawson Adams Building

Beagle – the €9.90 e-reader

A tiny e-reader, called Beagle, only five inches and 128 grams, was introduced by Txtr at the Frankfurt Book Fair last week. It has no Wi-Fi embedded, and it needs to work with smartphone to add e-books.  “The main selling point is its low price – €9.90 ($12.88 USD)”. Read more at here.

At McGill University, you actually can borrow an e-reader from the Library. To find an e-book, you may explore this page or search in the e-book sub-catalogue.

Open access textbooks downloadable for free – bookboon.com

If you would like a quality and free e-book on a topic of your studies, bookboon.com might be a place to go. It provides more than 800 free textbooks in PDF format for everyone to download, even without registration. Topics cover from economics, statistics, IT, engineering, to natural science. Don’t think free things are always in poor quality. Actually, most titles on bookboon.com were written by authoritative authors in the field. Find a book that you are interested in at bookboon.com.

An electronic copy of your textbook

Now you know that you can find your textbook by searching the Course Reserves Catalogue. Many students who attended the library orientation or dropped by at the library service desk asked a same question – “Is there an e-copy available for my textbook?” The answer is “it depends”. There are a few steps that you could take to find it out by yourselves:

1. Look at your course syllabus to see if there is an indication of an e-copy.

2. Search the Course Reserves Catalogue by your course number, course name, instructor etc.

3. Check the Library E-books Catalogue by your book title or author.

4. For a book published recently by Springer or Wiley, it is worthwhile to go to SpringerLink Books or Wiley InterScience Online Books to check the availability of an e-copy.

5. The library service desk staff and your liaison librarians are always willing to help you out.

More free reads

College PhysicsIf you are curious about the physical universe this free introductory College Physics textbook from OpenStax College may be just the thing you need.  It is peer-reviewed by educators and has the look and feel of a classic illustrated textbook but with a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.  It can be downloaded, edited, customized, and reused, or you can just go ahead and dedicate some time to expanding your mind with conceptual questions, problems and exercises online.

You may also be interested in Introduction to Sociology, and there are more titles to come.

Happy learning!

Image from OpenStax College 

Will You Consider a Free E-textbook?

I just read the news that University of Windsor students now have access to their textbooks in digital formats through Flat World Knowledge – one of the publishers of openly-licensed college textbooks. This reminded me of the electronic books that we have at McGill University. We have more than two million e-books in our collection! They work on a variety of platforms from e-book providers; some of them are major publishers for academic content, such as Springer, Wiley, and Palgrave Macmillan. They are accessible for  McGill students and staff for free (see instructions on how to access our online resources). You can read them online or choose to download by chapter. The Library Catalogue is a great place to start your search. For books published recently, I would recommend an extra search on the publisher’s platform through our e-books webpage. SpringerLink, the electronic content platform from Springer – a globally-known publisher in science, technology, and medicine disciplines also allows you to Buy A Print Copy For $24.99 for some of their books. McGill subscriptions in SpringerLink are indicated by a green box.