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Research 101: What about using books for research?

How do I use an ebook?

To read an e-book, click on "full text available" from the results view:

click on available online

On the next page, you will see one or more links to get to your ebook: 

click on any link under "view online" to get to the ebook

Once you get to the book, take a look at the information before you. 

Ebook example

Once you click on "read online", you'll see something like this (all publishers are different, so yours may look slightly different). You can pick a chapter, or do a word search. 

ebook word search

navigation in an ebook


What kinds of books does Hostos Library have?

There are many different kinds of books. Here are a few types of books within Hostos Library (and please remember, an e-book is just a book that you happen to read on your computer: it is still a book!) Click here for more information on using e-books.


Reference books: these books have information that you look up quickly.

  • Dictionaries give definitions.
  • Encyclopedias offer short overview.
  • Specialized reference books, such as nursing plan books, offer look-it-up info for a particular field.

Our physical reference books are downstairs in the Information Learning Commons (the room with the computers). Our digital reference books are online, and can be found through OneSearch (use the filter on the right for "reference resources") or in Gale Virtual Reference Library. EXAMPLE of a reference book article.  

Books written for a general audience: these books assume that you are interested in but not yet an expert in the subject. These books are likely to define and explain what they mean, instead of assuming you already know expert vocabulary. EXAMPLE of a non-fiction book written for a general audience. 

Scholarly books: these books assume that you have already studied quite a bit about the topic. They will explore ideas, events, people, or places in detail and depth. EXAMPLE of a scholarly book. 

There is not always a bright line between a book that is considered a general audience book and a scholarly book. However,  scholarly books are often:

Even scholarly books, however, are usually more accessible than peer-reviewed journal articles, as they are sometimes written for audiences both inside and beyond universities.

Textbooks: The library will put textbooks on reserve at the request of course professors. These required readings can be found upstairs in the reserves room (or in the case of three-day loans, at the circulation desk).

    • published by a university press, or by a publisher who specializes in an academic field
    • written by researchers and professors, while authors of general-audience books may or may not work in the academic world. 
    • more likely to include cited references, including journal articles, primary sources, and other scholarly books.


Novels: Novels are long works of fiction that were imagined and created by their author. They may be realistic or fantastic. They may be based on historical events, or set in the present. We have novels in English, Spanish, and to a lesser extent other languages.

Short Stories: Short stories are usually published in anthologies, or collections, of stories written by many different authors.

The library also has plays and poetry.

To browse works of literature, you can look on the shelves in the "stacks" in the main reading room downstairs. For the most commonly read books at Hostos, see books that start with call numbers:

  • for literature in French - PQ (1-3999)
  • for literature in Spanish - PQ (6001-8929)
  • for British literature - all numbers starting with PR
  • for US literature - all numbers starting with PS

For call numbers of literature from other places and in other languages, see here. You'll notice that although works from all over the world are represented, the Library of Congress classification system unfortunately reflects a Western/Northern bias by creating much more detailed categories for works of literature in the Western and especially English-speaking world.

We also have graphic novels,which include both works of fiction and non-fiction (especially reportage and memoir). Most, although not all, of our graphic novels can be found in the section with call numbers in the PN 6700-6800 range.


Ebooks on mobile devices

Most of our eBook collections work on a variety of devices, including desktops, laptops, eBook readers, tablets and mobile phones. You can also read our eBooks on your computer screen in a web-based eBook reader (this requires an internet connection).

Most of our eBook collections “loan” eBooks for download. After a predetermined amount of time (some collections allow you to select the loan period, often up to three weeks) the loan will expire.

To read eBooks on your mobile device (for example iOS or an Android tablet) you must first set-up your device by installing an eReader app and configuring the app’s settings with your Adobe account information. Then you can search for an eBook and download the eBook directly to your device. Here’s how to download eBooks to a device:

Step 1: Sign up for an Adobe ID (Digital Rights Management)

Digital Rights Management (DRM) software manages the distribution of eBooks you download. When you download an eBook that is protected by DRM, you will be limited in how you use that eBook. For example, it may “expire” (be unreadable) after a set number of days. You may not be able to share it between numerous devices (even if you own multiple devices, there may be a limit to the number of devices where you can read the eBook).

Although different eBook collections may use different DRM software (Apple and Adobe are popular examples), most of the eBook collections at Hostos (and the New York area public libraries- has a large collection), rely on Adobe DRM to manage their collections’ lending. Sign up for an Adobe account.

Note: Some eBook collections allow you to freely download and keep excerpts of books (single chapters or a small page range). If this is the option you plan to use, you won’t need an Adobe ID. Also, there are a number of free eBooks that you can download without an Adobe account (these are generally available for free on the web– Project Gutenberg is a notable example).

Step 2: Download eBook Reading Software

You have to decide where you’re planning to read your eBook, and download the app that makes sense (or that you prefer) for your device or desktop. Here are some options to get you started:

  • Mobile devices: Bluefire Reader is a free app for iOS and Android phones and tablets. It was one of the first eBook reading apps to support borrowing Adobe DRM protected library books on iOS. However, it’s a good idea to quickly search your appstore for any new readers, as new apps are developed all the time.
  • Desktop and Laptop PCs: Calibre is an eBook reading application for desktops and laptop PCs (Windows, Mac and Linux). Adobe Digital Editions is another PC (Windows and Mac) eBook reading/ viewing application.

Once you’ve downloaded your app/software, you will need to enter your Adobe ID into it’s configurations. Most applications ask for this information while you are installing the app/software on your device or PC. Sometimes, you will need to find the settings screen in the application and enter the information yourself.

Step 3: Find and download an eBook (using our collections)

Visit our eBook Search page ( for a list of resources for finding eBooks. Note that you can use dedicated eBook readers that support Adobe DRM (older versions of Nook, for example), but will need to first download the eBooks on a PC with Adobe Digital Editions, and then you will need to sync the device to the PC (using a cable connection) to transfer the book.

 Video Tutorials

How to download eBooks from eBrary to an iPad using Bluefire Reader

Ebook packages

OneSearch will search across our collection for ebooks (filter with the "books" filter on the right).

If you prefer, you can also search a particular package of ebooks. Included below are some highly recommended open access collections as well. Each platform has a different look and features.

Credo Reference — An online reference library that provides access to a selection of reference books including encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri and books of quotations, and a range of subject-specific titles. It also includes a collection of handbooks on Criminology.

Ebrary — An interdisciplinary collection of almost 100,000 academic ebooks avaialble to all CUNY libraries.Click here for instructions on how to download Ebrary ebooks onto mobile devices.

Ebsco ebook Subject Collection — A small collection of books on computers and history.

Gale Virtual Reference Library — Encyclopedias, almanacs, and specialized reference sources for multidisciplinary research.

Latin American Women Writers — Approximately 19,500 pages of prose and poetry and 36 plays by women writers from Mexico, Central, and South America.

Latino Literature — Approximately 380 plays and 67,500 pages of prose and poetry by Chicano, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican and other Latin writers working in the United States.

Nursing eBooks @ Ovid  — A small collection of popular titles in Nursing and Allied Health.  Not available for download onto portable devices.

Palgrave Connect ebooks — Academic ebooks chiefly in the social sciences, humanities and business.

Project Gutenberg — A free collection of classics from all over the world.

SpringerLink — Scientific documents from journals, books, series, protocols and reference works.

STAT!Ref — Ebooks for allied health students — NCLEX study guides, care planning books, and more. Click here for instructions on how to download STAT!Ref ebooks onto mobile devices.