Resources by format
Each semester, the library receives a list from the bookstore of all textbooks and required readings for that term. We use this list to identify any copies of those books we have in our collection and place those books on textbook reserve. (We do not own every textbook, however.)
- Items on reserve will typically checkout until the end of the current day, then be quarantined (and inaccessible) for three days.
- Expect required readings not on the bookstore list to be checked out quickly and subject to many recalls.
- We do not purchase every required textbook; We mainly purchase upper-level textbooks that have a broad appeal.
- Faculty may place personal copies of textbooks on reserve and we encourage this when we do not own a particular textbook
- We have some textbooks available as ebooks, but licensing restrictions may make use by large classes difficult.
- Instructors should contact their college librarian to see if we can arrange a license for multiple simultaneous use.
- Interlibrary loan will not borrow textbooks from other libraries; if we don't own a textbook, you'll need to purchase your own copy.
Using the list of textbooks at the University Bookstore site, you can see if we have any of your needed textbooks.
List of online textbooks
We've listed online textbooks by department and course, including any usage restrictions (limited number of simultaneous users).
Use Discovery Search
After searching the bookstore list of textbooks, you will be given a list of titles, authors, and ISBN (standard numbers) for each book. Copy the ISBN number and search this number in Discovery Search on its advanced search screen. Be sure to select the ISBN/ISSN search type. If we own this textbook in print or online, it should be the first result. (The location will very likely be 2 hour reserve.) If you get no results, you can check to see if the library owns a different edition that may be helpful to you.
Try author and title searches
To search for other editions, use a basic search in Discovery Search . Enter the last name of the author of your textbook (or the first author listed if more than one) followed by the first few words of the title of your textbook in quotes. You may get more than one result, so note the publication year or edition listed for each results. Click the title link to see more information about these results.
No cost, editable alternatives to commercial textbooks are becoming increasingly available. Openly licensed textbooks are one format. Often known as “open textbooks” or “open educational resources,” these are freely available online to anyone; some are also available in print at a lower price. Several places to locate open textbooks can be found on our open textbooks list.
Instructor personal copies
If your instructor has placed a personal copy on reserve, it can be found the same way through Discovery Search. You can also browse all the material your instructor has placed on reserve (including photocopied items that won't appear in Discovery Search) by searching or browsing for your instructor's name or the course abbreviation. You can also ask your instructor if he or she has a copy of the textbook to place on reserve.
Search Course Reserves
Course Reserves are books and more from our collections or provided by faculty that have been set aside for use with classes. The checkout period is typically shorter so that more people will have access to the item. We automatically place any textbooks in our collection on reserve.
Library-provided eBooks and Course Reserves (most are not OER)
- VIVA's Faculty Textbook Portal provides a search tool for open textbooks and unlimited-user eBooks which may be requested for purchased through a partnership with VIVA. Further information is available here.
- Last Updated: Sep 29, 2022 2:22 PM
- URL: https://guides.lib.vt.edu/find/byformat
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