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Electronic Books at the Vanderbilt Library: Science and Engineering

Science and Technology Publishers

While you may find Science and Technology titles on Ebook Central or EBSCOhost, most content of interest to Scientists and Engineers comes from STM (Science/Technology/Medicine) publishers.  The Vanderbilt Science and Engineering Library purchases several large collections of ebooks from these publishers.


PDF/A refers to an ISO standard that attempts to keep a PDF document in its original format.  In the case of a PDF/A document, the reader will be unable to annotate, highlight, or change a document.  For example, Springer uses this format and chapters from their ebooks cannot be modified.

STM Publishers

As of January 1, 2016, ScienceDirect will no longer be supporting Internet Explorer 8. For additional information on this change, please check out the ScienceDirect Blog.

Elsevier encourages users to move to the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, or IE (9 or higher).


Chapters in Knovel books may be downloaded as pdf files.  They do not have DRM, but can only be highlighted or annotated using the full version of Acrobat.  The regular Adobe Reader cannot handle highlighting or annotating these files.

Royal Society of Chemistry:

Chapters in RSC e-books may be saved in pdf form.  They do not have DRM.  They can be highlighted and annotated.  They can also be printed.


You may download individual chapters of Springer e-books that Vanderbilt has purchased.  The downloaded files are not protected by DRM, so they can be printed, emailed, or copied to other media but they are saved in a PDF/A standard so there is no highlighting or annotating capability.

For some of the Springer books to which the library offers electronic access, an individual reader may purchase a paper copy for $24.95.  The book will be printed off, bound, and shipped directly to the reader.   If this option is available, there will be a note on the Springer page.


Chapters in Wiley e-books can be saved in pdf form.  They do not have DRM.  They can be highlighted and annotated.  They can also be printed.


If you need further assistance you can Ask a Librarian.