Skip to Main Content
Law Library Homepage About the Law Library Research Services Faculty Students Help Ask a Law Librarian Law Library Home page UNC Libraries Law Library Blog Twitter

Using eBooks at UNC

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


eBook Content

ProQuest’s Ebook Central is a digital ebook platform service providing access to ebooks that can be read on the site or downloaded to a phone, tablet, or computer. eBooks can be downloaded as PDFs (by chapter) or in full as Adobe Digital Editions files. ProQuest’s Ebook Central has a large collection nonfiction and scholarly monographs.

Ebook Central has over fifty subjects to choose from when browsing by subject area.



ProQuest’s Ebook Central is available to UNC-Chapel Hill students, faculty, and staff with their ONYEN and password.

Users can access the platform for ebooks in two ways:

All access points will require that you log in with your UNC ONYEN and password. Be aware, it is not possible to sign into Ebook Central directly. The above URL with the Library proxy must be used, and you will be required to enter your ONYEN on the UNC Libraries gateway not at Ebook Central before proceeding to the content.


Finding eBooks - Searching & Browsing

Ebook Central has an abundance of ways to browse or search for ebooks. The search bar at the top of webpage allows keyword searches by book title, subject, author, publishing organization, LC Subject Heading, LC call number, or ISBN. Directly below the search bar you can also conduct an advanced search by selecting the ‘Advanced Search’ tab. There you can refine an advanced search query using Full Text or Keyword terms for any of the above fields and a Contains or Matches operator. A faceted search by subject is also available under the ‘Browse Subjects’ tab directly under the search bar.

Above the search bar in the top right corner there is a ‘Bookshelf’ tab which houses a list of books you have viewed, downloaded, or borrowed along with any annotation you have made in the ProQuest viewer. Additionally, the bottom of the homepage features a ‘Recently Viewed’ gallery of ebooks you have viewed.

ProQuest Ebook Central Homepage (with use case diagram)


Borrowing and Reading eBooks

In order to read ebooks available on Ebook Central, all you need to do is select the book from the search results and download the chapters you would like to read. There is no need to borrow, or check out, the material if you go chapter by chapter. You can download each chapter as a PDF.  If you would like to read the book thoroughly—not chapter-by-chapter— that can be done in one of two ways.

You can read the book online through the ProQuest “Read Online” viewer. The viewer allows you to read, highlight, and annotate the text right from your web browser. It will also save your place in the book should you log out before you are finished reading—along with all your highlights and annotations. You can also perform searches for particular words and phrases within the text from the viewer.

While some ebooks can be download in their entirety as PDFs or EPUB files, most cannot. Instead you can download the book for a twenty-one day period through Adobe Editions. This can be done by selecting the ‘Download Book” tab directly under the “Read Online” tab. This will prompt you to download Adobe Editions software (ProQuest provides instructions for downloading and installing the software). Once the software is installed then you can download the ebook into Adobe Editions and begin reading. Adobe Editions contains similar features to the ProQuest online viewer but can be used offline.

Returning eBooks

There is no need to actively return ebooks to Ebook Central, once they are downloaded you can retain the PDF copy indefinitely. Additionally, if you have checked out a book using Adobe Editions, the book will automatically return itself when it is due. That being said, make sure you are aware of the due date and transcribe any notes you have taken within Adobe Editions out of the application. You may lose access to your notes otherwise once the ebook is returned.

Check out this demo on searching, downloading, and using the ProQuest online viewer!

Special Features

Offline Reading

eBooks may be read online by clicking "Read Online" using the browser. However, books may also be downloaded to devices using Adobe Editions.

Navigate to the book you would like to download for offline reading on the Ebook Central web service, then click on the “Download Book” tab directly under “Read Online” to download the book. The book will then be saved on your device for offline reading.

There is no limit to the number of books you can download at one time. Downloaded ebooks will typically be checked out for 21 days—sometimes longer depending on UNC’s licensing agreement with that title.


While logged in, users can create shelves to organize their books. Click the "Bookshelf" tab at the top of the library homepage to create a shelf, then add titles by clicking the "Add to Shelf" icon on the ebook’s information page. Ebook Central already has several pre-created bookshelves for downloaded and loaned, recently viewed, and your annotated books.

Highlight, Annotate, and Bookmark Pages

While reading an ebook online or offline, advanced features allow users to highlight text, create annotations, bookmark pages, and search the text. This can be done with the Ebook Central viewer online, or for downloaded books on Adobe Editions.

Training & Tutorials

Ebook Central Help Page

Navigate to Ebook Central’s Help Page to review instructions for getting started with on Ebook Central! There are also tips for troubleshooting common problems and FAQs. This page covers topics like searching, downloading, reading online and the bookshelf along with other tips to maximize your use of the platform.