The University of San Francisco: Gleeson Library
Library with Yellow Flowers
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Encyclopaedia Judaica
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Using EBSCO eBooks

The EBSCO eBook collection includes over 121,000 subscription ebooks in the eBook Academic Collection and over 4,300 individual ebooks that the library owns.

Access and Read eBooks

How do I access EBSCO eBooks?

Go to the EBSCO eBook collection or search for ebooks through the library catalog.

How do I read an EBSCO eBook?

eBooks can be read online in the eBook Viewer by clicking the eBook Full Text link in the result or detailed record. No download is necessary to use the eBook Viewer. The eBook Viewer works directly with your browser and has its own navigation tools to search within a book, print pages, create notes, etc. 


Note: If you are using a Mac, you may need to install Schubert|it, a PDF Browser plug-in, to use the eBook Viewer properly.

What are the system requirements for reading an EBSCO eBook? 

Internet Explorer 7.0 or later
FireFox 8.0 or later
Safari 5.1 or later
Google Chrome 16 or later
Other JavaScript, Cookies Enabled

The recommended screen resolution for EBSCOhost is 1024 x 768.


How long can I read an EBSCO eBook online?

Most EBSCO ebooks may read online for an indefinite period by an unlimited number of users.  

For the 4,300 EBSCO eBooks that are purchased titles, when you view them, they are considered "checked-out" until 30 minutes of inactivity. While reading these eBooks, you can prevent the reading session from expiring by any action that updates the eBook (e.g. turning the page, etc.) When these ebooks are checked out, they are not available to other users until your online reading session has ended. 

Can more than one person use an EBSCO eBook at a time?

Most EBSCO ebooks can be used by an unlimited number of users at a time.

4,300 EBSCO ebooks that are purchased titles can only be used by one user at a time. 

Can I place a hold on an EBSCO eBook that is checked out?

If an eBook in use by another user, you may place a hold on it to download when it becomes available. Enter your email address in the field provided and click the Place Hold button.


The eBook is placed in the Holds area of your My EBSCOhost Folder. When the eBook is available, you are notified via the email address you provided and the eBook appears in the Checkouts area of your folder. You have one day to access the ebook. 

Copy, Save, or Print Pages

Can I save or print pages of the EBSCO eBook?

You can usually save or print up to 60 pages at a time per eBook in the eBook Viewer or in Adobe Digital Editions for downloaded books. 

To print (or save) eBooks pages as a PDF:

  1. Open the eBook in the eBook Full Text viewer.
  2. Go to the first page of the section of pages you would like to print and click the Print icon in the right column.
  3. The Print PDF menu is displayed. Select to print:
    • Current Page: Print only the page you are viewing.
    • Current Page and the next XX pages: Enter the number of pages (up to 60) in the field provided.
    • This Section: Select to print the entire section of the eBook. (If available to select)
  4. Select:
    • Print PDF: To send the selected pages to your printer.
    • Send as an E-mail: To e-mail the selected pages as a PDF file to yourself.




  • Some titles may not allow for printing or a saving due to individual publisher-specified limits.
  • The number of pages you may print or save may vary depending on individual publisher-specified limits.
  • eBook pages saved as a PDF can be transferred to, and read on eReader devices such as the Nook or Kindle. Consult your device's user manual for instructions on how to manually transfer files to the device.

Can I copy text in an EBSCO ebook?

You can copy selections of a book you've checked out or downloaded, and paste it into a text editor, such as Microsoft Word. Please note you are still required to adhere to Fair Use and Copyright laws. Under Fair Use, you may copy a small part of the copyrighted book, not the entire work.

If the text you wish to copy is spread across more than one page, you will need to copy and paste each page separately.

Taking Notes

Can I take notes in EBSCO eBooks?

You can take notes--using the Bookmark function--on an EBSCO eBook in the downloaded Adobe Digital Editions reader, but notes taken there are only maintained during the days you have the book downloaded. They are not permanent. 

If you want to take notes that will remain available, use the note-taking function online in the eViewer. After logging in to your EBSCO account, find the section of the book you want to notate; click the Create Note icon on the right-hand side of the screen. Any note you make will be maintained under Notes in the Checkouts section of your account, along with links back to the relevant ebooks.

Download eBooks to a Computer

How can I download an eBook to my computer?

Downloading allows you to read ebooks offline. Most EBSCO ebooks are downloadable. In order to download eBooks, you must have Adobe Digital Editions 1.7.1 or higher installed on your computer. This is a free download available at

1.Click the Download (Offline) link for the eBook you would like to download.


2.Sign in to your EBSCOHost account. If you don’t have an account, click on Create a New Account in the upper right.


3. After you’ve signed in, you’ll be prompted to checkout and download the ebook. Click the Checkout & Download button.


4. Select Open with or Save File from the resulting dialog box.


If you select Open with, your eBook is opened with Adobe Digital Editions. If you select Save file, the eBook is saved to your computer and can be opened with Adobe Digital Editions at a later time.

5. When the download is complete, Adobe Digital Editions will launch, and you can begin reading your book.


When an eBook is checked out, it is added to the Checkouts area of your folder. If you have not yet downloaded the eBook, it can be accessed and downloaded from here.

Why am I unable to download an ebook?  

An ebook that's missing the "Download (Offline)" link cannot be downloaded in its entirety. Certain publishers restrict downloading of their ebooks. Some of these publishers include Ashgate Publishing, Edward Elgar Publishing, I.B. Tauris, Kogan Page, MIT Press, New York University Press, Princeton University Press, Reference Service Press, University of California Press, University of Oklahoma Press, McGill-Queen's University Press, STM Learning, Inc., and University of Arkanas Press.  Some of these publishers permit downloading, saving, and printing of portions of text, such as chapters.

How long can I check out/download an EBSCO eBook for?

Most EBSCO eBooks may be downloaded for offline use for 14 days. After 14 days, the ebook will disappear or no longer be accessible from your bookshelf, Adobe Digital Editions bookshelf, or device. eBooks that only allow one-user at time may be checked out for 7 days

What if the ebook doesn’t download properly?

Even if the download is unsuccessful, the book is checked out at this point and reserved for your use for the duration of the checkout period. If there is a problem with the download, you can find the book in your Checkouts folder and try again.

How do I return an ebook?

You don’t need to return a downloaded ebook. After the designated access time, the file will remain on your computer or device, but it will become unreadable.  Once it times out, you might want to delete the (unreadable) file to avoid confusion.

You don’t need to return downloaded books, but returning the download of a limited-user book will make it available to others. 

To return an ebook early: 

  1. Open Adobe Digital Editions or Bluefire
  2. Select “Return Borrowed Item.“

Note, returned ebooks may take up to an hour to become available.

Download eBooks to a Portable Device

How can I download books to an Apple device (iPhone, iPod, or iPad)?

eBooks can be downloaded and read offline using an Apple device using the Bluefire Reader app available for free from iTunes.

Before you download eBooks you will need:

  • An Adobe ID (To create an Adobe ID, click here and then Don't have an Adobe ID? to create an account.)
  • Bluefire (Recommended mobile reader app available free for both iOS and Android. The Bluefire app for iOS is available on iTunes).

To download an eBook:

  1. Click the Download (Offline) link for the eBook you would like to download. In order to download eBooks, you must be logged into your personal My EBSCOhost folder. If you are not logged in when attempting to download, you are prompted to do so.
  2. Bluefire should automatically open and prompt you to view your library or begin reading the eBook.

How can I download books to an Android device?

eBooks can be downloaded and read offline using an Android device with the Bluefire Reader app available for free from Google Play. Note: Your device must be running Android 2.1 or higher. 

You will need the following:

  • An Adobe ID (To create an Adobe ID, click here and then click Don't have an Adobe ID? to create an account.)
  • Bluefire (Recommended mobile reader app available free for both iOS and Android. Bluefire is available for free from Google Play at the following link: Bluefire Reader via Google Play

Before you download an eBook to Bluefire, you must authorize the app with your Adobe Digital Editions ID.

To download an eBook:

  1. Click the Download (Offline) link for the eBook you would like to download. In order to download eBooks, you must be logged into your personal My EBSCOhost folder. If you are not logged in when attempting to download, you are prompted to do so.
  2. Bluefire should automatically open and prompt you to view your library or begin reading the eBook.

Because Android devices vary by software and hardware features, your process to transfer eBooks may differ slightly.

After your eBook checkout expires, the eBook file is still be on your device but can not be opened. You must remove the file manually by opening Bluefire and selecting to remove it from your library.

Which mobile devices are compatible with EBSCO eBooks?

EBSCO eBooks are compatible with for the following eBook Readers:

  • Apple (iOS) Devices such as iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
  • Android Devices such as smartphones and tablets
  • Sony eReader Touch Edition
  • Barnes & Noble Nook
  • All eBook Readers supporting the Adobe eBook DRM

EBSCO eBooks are compatible with the following mobile apps:
  • Bluefire Reader apps for iOS and Android devices and Kindle Fire
  • Aldiko app for Android devices
  • Txtr app for iPhone and Android devices
  • All apps supporting the Adobe eBook DRM
EBSCO eBooks are compatible with all devices and apps supporting Adobe eBook DRM, a standard used by most popular eBook providers, including Google Play. A complete list of Adobe eBook DRM compatible devices and apps is available here.

Note: Currently, EBSCO does not support mobile devices that use the Windows operating system.

Export citations to RefWorks

Can I export EBSCO eBook citations into RefWorks?

From the results list, click on the title of the eBook you wish to export. This will take you to the eBook's detailed record. In the detailed record, click Export in the right-hand column. The RefWorks login screen should open up. Once it opens, enter your RefWorks login name and password.