Mobile devices

The following information guides you with what's possible - or not - at the time of writing with regard to mobile devices and the eResources licensed for University of Birmingham members by Library Services. 

 FindIt@Bham mobile view 

FindIt@Bham has a fully functional mobile friendly view which allows you to browse and search the libraries resources on your mobile device. The site is responsive and adapts automatically to the mobile view when the screen size reduces to under 500 pixels.

 Downloading a whole eBook

You cannot usually download a whole eBook to read offline, due to copyright and licensing arrangements. Ebook Central titles (but not all of these) are an exception, please follow the regulations below for details.

Ebook Central platform

The Ebook Central platform has a responsive design tailored to reading on a mobile device. Ebook Central allows you to download ebooks to your mobile device or tablet to read offline using Bluefire Reader. To download the whole ebook for offline reading you will also need an Adobe ID. When you go to download an ebook the platform will take you through three simple steps to allow you to install the software you need for offline reading, allowing you to 'check out' the ebook for up to 21 days.

Some ebooks on Ebook Central may be unavailable for download due to licence restrictions imposed by the publisher. Some titles also have a limit to the amount of users who can simultaneously view the ebook. If another user has downloaded the ebook you may be unable to view it until they have returned the download.

Due to licence restrictions, a limited amount of printing or copying of ebook content is allowed on Ebook Central. Where such restrictions are in place, the amount of pages you can copy or print is clearly displayed on the ebook's title page. These restrictions reset after 24 hours allowing for further copying and printing once you have reached your limit. An increasing amount of EBC titles are available 'DRM-free' allowing unrestricted printing, copying and downloading of ebook content. For most titles you are also able to download an individual chapter or limited page range as a PDF which you can keep and will not expire.

Other services

Other services which allow downloads will also be covered by copyright law - the same as if you were photocopying part of a printed book - which usually means up to 10% or one chapter of a book and no more. Digital material is closely monitored by the suppliers, so any abuse will be noted and reported.

 Downloading a journal article

You can download the PDF of an article to your PC or laptop and then transfer this to your ebook reader.  Remember: you are bound by copyright law to one article per issue of a journal only - as you are when printing off an article.

NB: eBook readers generally require use of Adobe Digital Editions, and in the case of the Sony eBook reader series the Sony Library software. Your eBook reader will be registered with your PC or laptop and you need to make any downloads using that PC/laptop, and not via networked PCs in a library or elsewhere on campus.

For further information consult the manual or online help pages for your device.

A tip with Kindles: before transferring a PDF to a Kindle, turn it into text (.txt) format on your PC/laptop. This makes font size changes possible once downloaded.

There is information for Kindles on Amazon’s help pages. Alternatively, go to Amazon, then go to Kindle - Support - Transferring Files.

 Borrowing a Kindle or other eBook reader

Library Services don't currently loan out Kindles, other eBook readers or other reading devices like an iPad. 

A project on Portable Devices was carried out, and found a number of problems relating to the licensing of our online resources, copyright regulations (see above) and also the rapid obsolescence of various of the devices involved. There can be problems linked to Fair Access for all students and staff too - for example, eBook readers may not be viable for users with visual impairments - which we have to be aware of.

This makes the devices very difficult to use in conjunction with institutional licences and resources, where access needs to be restricted to institutional members only (i.e. staff and students) - so we decided against purchasing devices to loan to users.

For the same reasons, we decided against creating course packs on loanable portable devices.

 Mobile-friendly resources or Apps

Most publishers have or are in the process of providing a mobile-friendly version of their resources. There are a few ways that you may have to adapt to view a version suitable for a mobile device:

  • No action required - the website will be responsive and adapt to the reduced screen size of a mobile device.
  • Some resources have a specific URL to the mobile version so look on the site for this link.
  • Download a SmartPhone App from your marketplace or iTunes store.

Getting access to subscribed content:

If you are not connected to the University Wireless Network you may need to log in. Look for institutional logins on the site. 

Please contact the IT Service Desk for the attention of eLibrary and eBook team if you have any queries.




Professional Services