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Welcome to the Divinity subject guide - your guide to using the library resources, services and facilities for your subject.


This guide is designed to help researchers, students and staff at the University of Edinburgh to find Open Access e-books. There are a growing number of e-books that are freely available online as they are Open Access, openly licensed or out of copyright. Note that the University Library has no control over freely available items and access to them may be removed at any time by their publishers. 

Finding Open Access books in DiscoverEd

There are lots of books, journals and other academic resources that are open access. This means they are free to access and don't require the Library to have a subscription for you to be able to access them. DiscoverEd has a range of open access material and when you do a search you can use the filters on the left hand side of screen to show only Open Access results. You can also limit the Resource Type to Books, if that is solely what you are interested in.

Finding academic monographs

Google Books

Google Book Search

If a book is out of copyright, or the publisher has given Google permission, you will be able to see a preview of the book, and in some cases the entire text. If it is in the public domain you are free to download a PDF copy.

Edinburgh Diamond: Library-supported Open Access Books & Journals

Edinburgh Diamond

Edinburgh University Library uses Open Journals Systems (OJS) to provide a hosting platform for Open Access journals and Open Monograph Press (OMP) to provide a hosting platform for Open Access books. The service includes training, guidance and technical support and it is provided free of charge to staff and students of the University of Edinburgh.

Finding open textbooks

An open textbook is a textbook that has been openly licensed so that it can be freely accessed, re-used, adapted and modified.

Interested to know what goes into producing an open e-textbook? In 2021 the Reid School of Music and the Open Education Resources (OER) service at the University of Edinburgh undertook a research and development project to explore the creation of an open etextbook using existing content from the Reid School of Music’s Fundamentals of Music Theory course. You can find out more about the whole project and access the final Open E-textbook they published on their blog.

Open libraries

Open libraries tend to include books that are out of copyright. You will normally be able to read the titles freely online but in some cases you may have to register with a site to "borrow" the e-book. Download options are not always available for these titles.

E-books available to University of Edinburgh students and staff

If you are a student or member of staff at University of Edinburgh you also have access to over 2 million e-books that have been purchased or subscribed to by the University Library. You can search for and access these, as well as the wide range of other online and physical resources available at the Library, via DiscoverEd.


LibSmart: Your library research starts here


Are you looking to develop the digital skills you need to use our library resources for study and research? Our online course LibSmart can help.
It's designed flexibly so you can choose to study it how and when it suits you. 

Covers 5 key topics:

  1. Starting to use the library
  2. Your information landscape
  3. Finding and retrieval
  4. Managing information
  5. Referencing and avoiding plagiarism

The course is available on Learn but you must self-enrol to get access.