Electronic resources management

Online video

Schools can purchase licences/subscriptions to online streaming providers of films, educational videos and TV programs. They allow schools to store, manage and deliver video inside and outside the classroom.

Options used in Tasmanian schools

Online magazines, newspapers and databases

Schools can purchase subscriptions to databases that include newspapers, journals and magazines. Options suggested by Tasmanian schools include:

eBooks and eAudiobooks in schools

Including eBooks and eAudiobooks in your collection gives your students a choice in reading formats which encourages and supports their reading and research practices. eBooks and eAudiobooks can be appealing to students who are reluctant to pick up a paper book, plus they have features such as the ability to change reading and listening settings or to look up words, that can help them understand and enjoy texts that would otherwise be difficult for them.

Publisher licensing models

Publishers, not suppliers, decide on a licensing model for the titles they make available for libraries to buy and lend.

A title can be:

  • Single use – the title can be on loan to only one reader at a time.
  • Simultaneous use – allows multiple readers to access the title at the same time.

The publisher may also set the following restrictions:

  • Loan limits – a title can be borrowed X number of times before the licence expires. This is often set at 25.
  • Licence terms – the licence for a title is valid for a set period of time, usually up to 2 years.


eBook files are generally ePub or PDF format. The main advantage of ePub files is that the format changes shape according to the device you read it on. If you change the font settings in the ebook, the text flow will adjust so that it displays correctly. An ePub file can include hypertext linking and reader tools such as built-in dictionaries as well as allowing the reader to change page and font settings. By contrast, PDF files are displayed as the book would appear in print, regardless of device.

eAudiobook files are generally MP3. These files can be downloaded and played on a variety of devices and apps.


To read an eBook or listen to an eAudiobook, students will need a device such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop. An eBook or eAudiobook can then be accessed through an app, an internet browser or via software such as Adobe Digital Editions. Many eBook and eAudiobook vendors have created their own app, e.g. ePlatform for Wheelers, Sora for OverDrive. These apps cater for a range of reading styles and include dyslexia settings and night-time settings.

There are also dedicated eReaders such as Kindle and Kobo devices for reading eBooks. They are light to hold, use e-ink technology, which makes reading more comfortable for your eyes, and have a long battery life.

Many schools have Bring your own device (BYOD) policies that let students connect their own devices to the school’s network.

Purchasing eBooks and eAudiobooks

Discussions about the purchase of eBooks and eAudiobooks should include the school’s library staff, your IT department, teachers and senior school staff.

To prevent illegal lending and copying, publishers apply digital rights software to eBooks and eAudiobooks, this is referred to as Digital Rights Management (DRM). Schools must purchase eBooks and eAudiobooks through suppliers that have negotiated DRM with publishers and can pass the rights on to the libraries, which is why the likes of Amazon, Apple or Google are not suitable suppliers.

Schools can purchase titles individually or subscribe to a collection. If purchasing individually, then the same selection criteria that you would use for print and physical resources apply to eBooks and eAudiobooks as well.

Options used by Tasmanian schools

You need to critically look at the availability of titles on offer – some suppliers have a better range of children’s material, Australian-focused material and textbooks.

Providing access to your eBooks and eAudiobooks

You should catalogue eBooks and eAudiobooks you’ve purchased using the same standards you use for print items. This will help your readers find and access them through your online library catalogue. eBook and eAudiobook suppliers can provide records to download into your catalogue.

Freely available eBooks, eAudiobooks, and online resources can be catalogued using the item’s URL. For example, you can link from your catalogue to an item from Project Gutenberg Australia, or the International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL), where content is free.

Promoting your eBook and eAudiobook collections

There is no physical item to display, so you’ll need different ways to let students know what’s available. eBook and eAudiobook suppliers will have materials you can use for promotion. These include posters, bookmarks and other images to download and print, add to your website or use on social media.

Use email, your school newsletter or your library website to let your school community know:

  • what’s new in your library’s eBook and eAudiobook collections
  • how to access your library’s eBooks and eAudiobooks, including links that make it easy to download apps for reading.

Find out more

Get recommendations from other schools through the OZTL-net forum.

Take advantage of trial subscriptions.

Take a look at the National Library of New Zealand’s eBooks and eAudiobooks in the school library pages – this was a source for much of the information you see here.

Libraries Tasmania electronic resources

Staff and students with Libraries Tasmania membership can use a range of electronic resources, however please note that licensing restrictions mean these eresources are for personal use only. They can’t be used as classroom resources.

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Page updated 19/10/2021