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eBrary Books in the Humanities and Social Sciences
by Jody Hess

Would you like to have your own e-books to put on a virtual bookshelf? You can with JMU Libraries’ new eBrary collection.  JMU Libraries has greatly expanded its collection of e-books with a subscription to collections from eBrary in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The seachable collection contains approximately 10,000 titles in the Humanities and the Social Sciences from major scholarly presses such as Harvard University Press and Cambridge University Press. You can see a complete listing of publishers here.


ebrary Access to JMU's ebrary book collection can be found through the Libraries' Database Pages link to eBrary Books in the Humanities and Social Sciences.  eBrary titles are also starting to appear in LEO, the library catalog.  The cataloging department has a project underway to add the titles to LEO and to include the eBrary link in the records for those titles in our print collection.  A current search in LEO using the keyword “ebrary” already yields over 4,000 titles. Catalogers are finding around a 20 percent overlap with print titles in our collection, and LEO records for those books will contain access to both paper and electronic versions when this project is complete.


Access to this database requires downloading a small web browser plug-in, the eBrary reader.  Users can then search the database using a simple keyword search or an Advanced Search for a list of titles.  Each book is downloaded page by page allowing quick perusal of the content.  Multiple users can view the same book simultaneously.  The eBrary interface allows you to view the table of contents alongside the text and use it for navigating through the book.


eBrary users can register for a useful feature called the Bookshelf by clicking on the “Sign In” button.  The Bookshelf allows you to save a title list for your own personal use, and to access those titles quickly.  You can type in notes next to the passages while you are reading, and even choose among three colors to highlight text. When you save those books on your virtual Bookshelf, your notes and highlighting are saved for your future reference.  It’s like having your own personal copies of the books. 

eBrary books can also be put on Course Reserves, which means everyone in the class can have their own virtual copy of the text to highlight and mark up.


eBrary ScreenshoteBrary’s interface is easy to use. Once you have opened a book, a toolbar appears above the page image.  You can use the ? icons to jump to each occurrence of your keyword in the text of the book.  You can use the InfoTools menu to get to the highlighting, bookmarking, and other functions, or click on the toolbar icons.

The InfoTools menu also allows you to click on a word and choose to look it up in another web site or database. For example, you can click on a name and look it up in a biography database. Click on a book title and look it up in LEO!  JMU Libraries is working with eBrary to add more databases to the click-and-search part of the InfoTools menu.

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