To content
Our E-books


You prefer to read e-books? We offer numerous scientific publications as e-books. Here you can find further important information.

  • An electronic book or e-book is a publication made available in digital form, often an electronic version of a printed book.
  • The most common e-book format is the PDF format; some e-books are available in HTML or EPUB format.
  • If possible, Dortmund University Library acquires e-books in the PDF format; members of TU Dortmund can access these e-books free of charge.

With few exceptions, you can find our e-books in catalogue plus and read on-the-spot.


E-books are available for all users on the campus of TU Dortmund. Members of TU Dortmund also have access to e-books off campus. If you are not a member of TU Dortmund, you do not have access off campus.

Different from the online lending scheme in public libraries, you also have access to our e-books, when someone else is reading them. Only in few cases, simultaneous access is limited by some publishers.

Unfortunately, there is no standard user interface at the present time. The user interface can vary considerably depending which publisher has produced the e-book.

The publisher's conditions define which contents are available. Basically, we try to provide e-books without any restrictions. In most cases you have access to the complete e-book. In general, downloading and/or printing is restricted to individual chapters or a certain number of pages. As a rule you are not allowed to print out or download a complete e-book (compare Urheberrechtsgesetz) – but there are some exceptions.

The publisher's website with the table of contents does not open, the download button does not lead to your full text? This may be caused by the following reasons:

  • There are technical problems, or the title has not yet been activated by the provider.
  • The title is listed in catalogue plus, but has not been licenced by us.
  • You are a member of TU Dortmund, but cannot access an e-book off campus? The latest version of the VPN client is installed, but does not work? Other access options via Shibboleth on our webpage Using the Library from Home or you may have a look at our FAQ 'No access to full text despite active VPN - possible causes'.
  • The title you want to read has a single user licence, e.g. when using E-Book Central.

Questions or problems? Please ask our service centre.

In general, we only acquire e-books with long-term use. Sometimes we licence the full range of e-book titles from a publisher for evaluation purposes for a limited period, before we acquire a permanent licence for e-books used most - Book suggestion form.


The following reasons may apply:

  • The book you suggested does not fit within the subject focus.
  • An electronic version does not exist.
  • Only individuals can buy a licence for the respective e-book.
  • The terms of use are not reasonable.

Apart from the first case, we try to fulfil your suggestion and either buy the printed book or refer to the interlibrary loan.
Scientific electronic books are normally more expensive than printed books, because - different from private e-books - more than one user can use a library e-book simultaneously.

You can use our e-books from every device, where a PDF reader is installed; other formats like e.g. EPUB often need an additional program.

You can download a chapter from an e-book and read it offline any time.

At the present time it is not possible to order e-books via interlibrary loan.

Guidelines for the Purchase of Electronic Resources

The library always acquires e-books to cover the requirements of our users.

  • In general e-books can be accessed, saved and printed without restrictions on campus and from home as PDF documents.
  • We focus on e-book packages from publishers in great demand as well as reference works (encyclopaedias and dictionaries), which in electronic form facilitate search and navigation. The latest edition of each reference work should be available. In many cases, the latest electronic version of a reference work is issued before the printed version. All e-books must be available at all times.
  • We also use patron driven acquisition (PDA) or evidence based selection (EBS): we acquire from a range of e-books the most used titles. Alternatively, from a large range of e-books the titles least used will be become inaccessible. In these cases, the library takes care, that the metadata of the publishers are up to a minimum standard.
  • Download rates of electronic full texts are monitored and analysed systematically; we will always weigh up costs and benefits.
  • We decide to acquire a suggested title as e-book individually.
  • We also take into account, how often printed books are used (reservations, interlibrary loans, document delivery orders); the acquisition of multiple copies for our text book collection and of e-books is always coordinated.