Finding e-books


Using the WorldCat catalogue

If you need general help on using the Worldcat catalogue, please visit the guide on Finding books & media.

Step 1: Enter search terms

Screenshot showing the search box for the worldcat catalogue on the main McGill Library page. The term "rabbits" is typed into the box.

Enter your search terms into the search box. Here we will try the search term “rabbits”.

Step 2: Limit your search to e-books

A screenshot showing the catalogue results for the search term "rabbits". On the left side of the Search results page, there are options that can be checked to limit your search results. In this screenshot, the term"ebook", which is under the "format" heading", is selected.

Now, limit your search results by choosing the option “eBook” on the left side of the page under the "Format" section, by clicking in the box next to the word "eBook".

A check-mark should appear in the box. This means your search results will only show content that is in e-book format.

If you want to search for both print and electronic versions, you can check both "Print book" and "eBook" at the same time

Step 3: Go to the e-book file

There are several ways to access the e-book, all of which are external links to the collection which has published the e-book.

Screenshot of the catalogue, showing the four choices for accessing the catalogue record: number one brings you directly to the e-book content, number two brings you to a list of all the editions that the library owns, number three is the record title, which brings you to the catalogue record in detail, number four brings you to a list of available formats.

  • Via the Search Results Page:

Icon of number one Clicking on the "View Now" shows you a list of external links which go directly to the e-book content.

There may be more than one link in the list. Each leads to the same-book, but at different e-book publishers. When the library buys e-book collections, sometimes there is content that overlaps with other collections, and we may end up owning the same material in more than one place. If one link does not work, you can try the other ones that are listed.

Icon for the number two Clicking on the "View All  Editions" link brings you to a list of all the editions that the library owns. This allows you to see the most recent edition.

Icon for the number three Clicking on the title brings you to the detailed catalogue record.

Icon for the number fourClicking on the "View Formats" link brings you to a list of available formats and languages.


  • Via the Catalogue Record:

Additionally, the detailed catalogue record also lists all the collections where the e-book is located. This is useful in the case of e-books that have limits on the number of people who can read them at the same time. If one link does not work because all copies are being used, you can try the other links.

Using the classic catalogue

The classic catalogue does not included e-resources and it will not show e-books in search results, therefore you cannot access e-books through this catalogue.

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