E-books FAQs

Why should I make an item a ‘key text’?

The University has entered a nationally negotiated deal with eTextbook supplier Kortext to support the bimodal delivery of teaching this academic year. Many publishers limit electronic sales for libraries to those books that they sell in high numbers directly to students. Kortext have deals in place with a high number of publishers and this allows them to provide us with unlimited ebook access to titles that we cannot order through other means.  The deal allows you to request one ‘key text’ per module that Kortext will then try to source.  In future, the ‘key text’ should also then be embedded directly into your Canvas course to provide the students with easy access to their key reading. 

How do I make an item a ‘key text’?

Log into your resource list and select the ‘Edit > Edit list classic’ options.  From the new page that will appear find the item in the list and click on either the ‘set importance’ or ‘edit notes and importance’ link.  Change the ‘importance’ drop down to read ‘key text’.  From the top right of the screen click on the ‘Publish’ button.  Illustrative instructions can be found on the Canvas Resource Lists guidance pages.

 If you do not see the ‘Edit’ option when you log into the Resource Lists system for the list please submit a request for editing access

If there is not currently a resource list for a module  for which you require a ‘key text’ then please submit the details via the New Resource Lists request form.

I have made an item on my resource list a ‘key text’, how long will it take to make it available to students?

For items that are already in Kortext’s system it will take on average 5-10 working days to make the item available to students via their Resource List. If they don't already hold the item in their system they will contact the publisher directly to see if they can make the book available electronically.  This process normally takes 2-3 weeks but is dependent on the response time of the publisher. 

How will I know when my 'key text' is available?

We will email you to inform you that your ‘key text’ is now available via your resource list.

Why is my ‘Key text’ request not available?

Unfortunately, not all items can be made available electronically via Kortext.  This is often due to publisher or other right holder restrictions. Items published before 2012 can be harder to make available electronically due to having to gain third party permissions for the digitisation of images, charts etc., that are included in the title.  We will email you if we are unable to make the ‘key text’ available electronically.  In that instance you may want to consider ‘requesting a digitisation’ of sections of the work within copyright limits. 

I’m new to using the ‘key text’ provider, Kortext. Do you have any instructions on how to bookmark, highlight, add notes etc?

This video covers most of the basics of using the Kortext service, and we have further instructions.

The book I require is not available electronically, and I need to be able to digitise two chapters.  Can I do this?

The scanning licence permits the digitisation of one chapter or 10%. If two chapters are within 10% this request will be fulfilled without issue. If the chapters exceed 10% a query or rejection will occur.

During the current pandemic however, it may be possible to digitise more than the usual 10% or one-chapter limit. This is because some publishers have extended the limit to two chapters or 20%. This will only apply to some texts, not all, and only until the end of the academic year 2020/21, at which point the normal limits revert and any scans made under the extension will be deleted.

You should continue to request digitisations in the normal way with each chapter being requested in separate digitisation requests. The first request will be permitted under the usual limits but the second may be queried. If required, work through the referral process raised by the system to push the request to the Library. Please ensure that you include wording stating that this is the second chapter request. The Digitisation Service will then prioritise the requests accordingly, or will query them with you directly to determine which is covered under the normal rules, and which needs to be deleted when the temporary rules end.

Can I pre-check if a book is going to be available electronically before I add it to my resource list or request it as a ‘key text’?

The Ebook ordering for tutors page provides instructions on how to check if a book is available electronically via our main ebook supplier.  As part of the resource list ‘request review’ process the Library will also check other suppliers. 

Our ‘key text’ supplier Kortext’s online store shows around half of the items that they already have in their system and can provide to us, so it is not comprehensive.  It also does not include the items that they will request from the publisher on our behalf. 

How can I log in to ‘key text’ provider Kortext to see what we already have access to?

All of the items that we have purchased via Kortext can be found on FindIt@Bham, we expect most people to access individual titles via the Resource List that they are attached to. 

To just log into our Kortext collection:

1. Go to Kortext

2. Select "University of Birmingham" from the dropdown, then click on the arrow.

3. You will be taken to our login page. Enter your login details. NB: If you have not used Kortext before you will be prompted to register the first time you access a book from Kortext. Please enter your University email address and create a password for a Kortext account. You will then be able to view your bookshelf from any device.

4. Accept the terms and conditions, and you will be able to access our Kortext library. 

I need more than one key text for my module?

Our nationally agreed licence with the eTextbook supplier Kortext only allows us to request one ‘key text’ per module. If  you are teaching on a combined module that used to be two modules or if your resource list is in fact for several modules then please do contact A.Loverock@bham.ac.uk to discuss this.

One of my recommended texts is available on a one user licence.  Can I request another licence?

We receive automatic updates when a user is unable to access an e-book due to the licence limit having been reached.  If this happens at least five times in a twenty-four-hour period we will, where possible, purchase additional licences to try to meet the current demand. You can feel reassured that we will take quick action. The majority of our ebooks are purchased on a lending library model. While students may occasionally have to come back later to access an ebook this still allows much quicker circulation of an item than a normal print loan. The majority of the ebooks become available to the next person as soon as they stop being actively used.


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