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Using eBooks at UNC

How to locate, access, and navigate ebooks through the UNC Libraries collection


eBook Content

The West Academic Study Aids Collection provides access to digital books, audio books, and video materials. Digital study aid titles available in this digital collection include:

  • Acing Series
  • Black Letter Outlines
  • Concepts and Insights
  • Concise Hornbook Series
  • Gilbert Law Summaries
  • Nutshells
  • Short and Happy Guides
  • Exam Pro Series


Access with ONYEN and Password

Institutional access to the West Academic Digital Study Aids is available at this link to the UNC Law community with their ONYEN and password. Utilizing this access will allow you to search and read all content within the digital library.

Creating an Account

West Academic also offers the option to personalize your experience with the platform by creating your own account. This allows you to annotate, save favorites, listen to audio lectures, download titles for offline access, and more as discussed in the special features box below.

  1. Go to the West Academic Digital Study Aids site.
  2. Click ‘Create an Account’ in the upper right-hand corner and follow the prompts.
  3. Once you create an account you will be automatically logged into West Academic.
  4. Verify your email address one of two ways:
    1. If you are already logged in, click on your name in the upper right-hand corner and click My Account. Enter your school or work email address under “My School/Organization” Click “Check for Materials” and check your email for a verification link.
    2. The next time you log in you will be prompted to confirm your email. Enter your school email address and check your email for a verification link.

Once you have verified your email address you can access all the content available in your subscription and you can log-in independently from your school’s network.


Finding eBooks - Browsing

Across the top of the West Academic homepage, there are multiple ways to browse the digital collection. Select "1L" or "2L/3L Subjects" to browse by legal subject area. Select "Content Type" to browse by type of book, as well as audio or video materials. Select "Series" to browse by a type of study aid, like Nutshells or Short & Happy Guides.

Finding eBooks - Keyword Searching

If you know of a particular title, author, or topic, consider utilizing the keyword searching feature in the search bar at the top of the homepage. By clicking on the "Search Tips" link under the search bar, you can view the advanced keyword search features available within the platform.

Special Features

Special Features & RedShelf

West Academic provides for many special futures detailed below, including offline reading, highlighting, and annotating. However, to have access to these special features you must (1) create a personal account as detailed above and (2) utilize RedShelf via a web browser or via the app.

RedShelf is an ebook platform that West Academic utilizes for an enhanced reading experience of its ebook content. You may utilize RedShelf via your web browser. For higher functionality, it is recommended that you download the RedShelf app to your personal device.

To access RedShelf via the web browser, open an ebook in West Academic while logged into your personal account. Click the link to "Open in RedShelf eReader." For more details on the RedShelf app, see the box below on offline access to content.

Offline Reading

Titles in the West Academic Study Aids Collection are available for offline reading in the RedShelf app. The RedShelf app is available through the Apple Store for iOS devices or the Google Play Store for Android devices.

How to Get Offline Access (via West Academic Instructions)

  1. Sign in to
  2. Search for the book you would like to read offline and select it from the search results page.
  3. On the book detail page, click ‘Browse Book’ and select a chapter from the Table of Contents to open the book to that chapter.
  4. Scroll to the top of the page and click the ‘Open in RedShelf eReader’ button to open the book in the online reader. The book is now available for offline reading in the RedShelf app.
  5. Download the RedShelf app, available free in the Apple App store or Google Play store.
  6. In order to gain login credentials for the app, you will need to create a password for the RedShelf app. Simply select 'Forgot Password', enter the email address associated with your West Academic Study Aids Collection account, and click the 'Request Reset' button. You will receive an email with a password reset and should follow the instructions for creating a new password in order to sign in.
  7. Books you have viewed within the online reader will appear in the RedShelf app the next time you sign in. Your notes and highlights will sync between the app and the online reader.

Highlight & Annotate

When viewing a West Academic ebook on RedShelf, you have access to additional features for interacting with the book. This includes highlighting text, annotating, creating flashcards, and creating citations. To activate these features, highlight text in the book with your mouse and look for the pop-up box with these options.

Read Aloud

RedShelf has a read aloud text-to-speech feature enabled for all ebooks viewed on the ereader. When viewing a book on RedShelf, look for the controls on the top right corner of the screen.

Training and Tutorials


Have questions about West Academic Digital Study Aids? Go to the platform's FAQs here or contact the Law Library Reference Desk.

Offline Reading & Listening

Detailed instructions for offline reading are available here, as well as instructions for listening to audio books.