Where is e-book development going?

McMaster is part of OCUL (Ontario Council of University Libraries), a consortium which has licensed e-book software from ebrary. Over the next several years, OCUL will be developing an integrated e-book "platform" on Scholars Portal which will provide, among other things:

  • a single interface ("look and feel") for e-books from multiple publishers (including purchased and subscription e-books)
  • print-on-demand e-books

e-book standards and technologies are still evolving. Stay tuned!

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Can e-books be downloaded onto one's own computer and does the file remain there for an unlimited time?

Yes, and no. Some of our e-books can be downloaded, but they will only be available for a limited time. Providing unlimited downloads would mean we were distributing free copies of copyrighted e-books, which is illegal. Most of our e-books are "tethered" to the Internet and their copyright is "protected" by the publishers, using some form of "digital rights management" (DRM). The e-books Mac Libraries provide our community can be read on multiple computers by authorized McMaster users (using either your MAC ID or an on-campus staff computer to logon). This model contrasts with, for example, Amazon, which sells individual copies of e-books to customers, which can be downloaded to a handheld electronic device or to a dedicated e-book reader.

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Can e-books be used on a Macintosh computer?

Yes. Publishers aim to provide e-books on standard operating systems (i.e.. PC;Macintosh) and web browsers (i..e. Internet Explorer; Firefox). If we discover problems, we contact publishers and work with them to solve technical issues.

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