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CASA/Humanities Inclusivity Program (Summer 2020): Research Basics: Finding Books

How to Find ebooks in GILFind

You can search for eBooks from all GSU library ebook databases in the GSU Library's GilFind catalog just as you would search for traditional print books. After you search, tweak your results to show only "full access online" and the "books" format to see only eBooks.

(Are you teaching? See a full description for embedding ebooks for course content).

Finding Electronic Books in the Era of COVID-19

The GSU Library is open as of August 24. Book checkout is available in the library.

Self-service checkout in the library will be coming soon!

You also have to the option to arrange for curbside pickup of books and other materials (DVDs, CDs, etc.) from GSU Libraries.
Click here for information about arranging for a pickup.

GIL Express and Interlibrary Loan of print books are available as of August 24.

Here are some strategies that you can use to find and access ebooks.

Please feel free to ask me if you have any questions about finding electronic versions of texts!

Help! I've found an ebook in the library's catalog and I'm not sure how to download it!

Different providers (i.e. ProQuest, EBSCO, etc.) have different requirements. Check out our Ebooks research guide for information about how to read/download ebooks.

What if I just need a chapter or essay from a particular book?

If the book is available as an ebook, you may have the option of printing just that chapter or section.

If the book is only available to you as a print book, you can use our Desktop Delivery service to have the chapter/section scanned and emailed to you through our Interlibrary Loan service. Click here for more information about how to get started.

***If a print book that we hold is available to you through the HathiTrust Emergency Access program, you will see an "Online access" link indicating this availability in the book's GILFind record.***

***IMPORTANT!!! As of AUGUST 24, 2020, we will no longer be eligible for the HathiTrust Emergency Access program.***

Not Finding an Ebook Version?

If you're not finding an ebook using one of the above sources, you still have some options:

  • Contact your Subject Librarian to see if it's possible to order an ebook. (Find your Subject Librarian by locating your school/department here).
  • Check the book's publisher's website to see if they are making their books available online as an emergency measure. (For example, Johns Hopkins University Press temporarily made its ebooks freely available through the Project Muse database, which GSU affiliates can access).
  • If you know that you only need a section of a book, you can place an Interlibrary Loan request for that section. You will need full citation information for the book and the page range that you are requesting. (Don't know the page information? Check Google Books to see if you can see the book's table of contents. Amazon might also provide this information).

Use the Power of Subject Searching

Books in libraries are assigned one or more subject headings. These are standardized terms that ensure books on the same topic can be found even if the keywords are different, as with The US Civil War and The War Between the States.

You can search in GILFind (which now lets you search all of the University System of Georgia library holdings at once -- just select "University System of Georgia" instead of "Georgia State University" in Simple Search, or in the "Search Scope" dropdown in Advanced Search) or WorldCatusing subject terms. 

  • In GILFind, use Advanced Search and select "in subject" in the dropdown box furthest to the left.
  • In WorldCat, use Advanced Search and select "Identifier: Subject" in any of the dropdown boxes. 

When you find a good book, look at its subject headings in the catalog record. Follow these to list other items on that topic. Or, use the subject heading terms in a new keyword search.

* * * * * * *

Using the "in subject" search option in Advanced Search can turn up more resources!

You can also use these terms to search in databases.

Examples of subject terms:

  • African Americans in Motion Pictures
  • Cuba Foreign Relations 1959-1990
  • Freedom of Religion United States
  • Existentialism
  • School Integration Georgia Atlanta History 20th Century

You can also search for books about individual persons, places, or events by searching by subject:

  • Lorde, Audre 
  • Missouri Ferguson
  • Olympic Games (26th: 1996: Atlanta, Ga.)

Search Other Library Catalogs

We are currently unable to check out print books; we also cannot request print books from any other library.

This information is included here only for future informational purposes.

Start with our catalog at GILFind.

If GSU's library doesn't have what you need, you have, don't give up.  There are several options to get the book you want:

Universal Catalog - includes all Georgia public colleges and universities. The Universal Catalog is now included in GIL -- just select "University System of Georgia" in the dropdown next to the search box!) To see information about participating USG schools, click here. Request books through GIL Express (see above), or use your Panther Card to check out books at USG schools.

Emory - you can also borrow materials at Emory with your Panther Card

ARCHE - you can also borrow books from several local private colleges. Click here for a list of ARCHE schools. You may want to contact the library in advance to get further information about borrowing privileges (what kind of ID is needed, how long you can check out a book for, and so on)

Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library Catalog - GSU students & faculty may obtain library cards from the Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library, then borrow materials.


Use Interlibrary Loan to request books you find in the following catalogs
(or any other library catalog):