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How to use Primo to find electronic books

Page history last edited by Elaine Shallcross 10 years, 3 months ago

Summary: Primo is a web-based resource discovery tool. You can work from home and make use of all the advanced features on offer by logging in to it using your University computer username and password. It is possible to limit your search to e-journals and e-books only and then link out to their websites to read them in full text (where we have paid for them).


Guides and help on how to use Primo to find electronic materials are available at the end of this section.

IMPORTANT: it is essential that you have completed the section on setting up off campus access to electronic materials (i.e. set up the web proxy on your own computer) before you start.


Finding e-books: 8 important things to remember


  1. Primo can list titles of e-books.
  2. Primo cannot search the content of e-books.
  3. All e-book titles in the ebrary, ScienceDirect and SpringerLink collections are listed individually on Primo.
  4. The electronic location link in the book title links you to an e-book website where you can read the book or section of book in full text.
  5. You must configure your web browser to use the University's proxy server.
  6. You must allow pop-ups and cookies for ebrary and ScienceDirect websites (see Guides to ... section below).
  7. You must install Adobe Reader software in order to read full text sections of books in PDF (easy to read portable document format).
  8. Copyright law is strict to protect the rights of the owner and covers book material in paper and electronic format (see Guides to ... section below).
  9. We subscribe to over 100,000 e-books in full text across three collections alone - ebrary, ScienceDirect and SpringerLink. Every title in these collections is listed individually on Primo.


What to do if you don't know what e-books are available to you


  1.  Go to Primo at http://primo.abdn.ac.uk:1701/
  2. Click on the link to Advanced Search located alongside the basic search box.
  3. In the first search box type in the important keyword(s) that must be found in the title of the book; keep the Field search as Any.
  4. Select Books from the Material drop-down menu .
  5. Select Libraries from the Search Scope drop-down menu . 
  6. Click on orange Search button.
  7. Primo will list the total number of books that contain your keywords somewhere in their records.  
  8. If you do not find anything think about alternative keywords or broaden your search to a more general level.
  9. In the Show only section click on Full Text Online to view a list of e-books that match your search terms.  
  10. To link to the books in full text you must first click on the title of the book or the View Online link in the record.
  11. Depending on the e-book collection you may be prompted to login using your University computer username and password.
  12. If it is an ebrary e-book it will open automatically in Quick View.


What to do if you are looking for a specific e-book

 If you find a reference to a book that you would like to read, you can use Primo to check if we have paid for the title in electronic format, then navigate out to the e-book itself on the publisher's website. To do this:


  1. Go to Primo at http://primo.abdn.ac.uk:1701/.
  2. In the basic search box type in two or three words from the title and the family name of the author, e.g. for the book Handbook of quantitative criminology by Alexis Russell Piquero type quantitative criminology piquero in the search box (the keywords can be written in any order).
  3. Click on the orange Search button.
  4. Primo will find the book if we have it in our collection. It may be in print and/or electronic format.
  5. An e-book will have Online access on its record.
  6. To open it click on the title of the book or the View Online link on the record.
  7. If it is an ebrary e-book you will first be asked to login using your University computer username and password, and it will then open automatically in Quick View.


Guides and help on how to use the library catalogue to find electronic books


Library Guide: QG DBS005 Accessing Electronic Information

Library Guide: QG DBS001 BOOKS - How do I find a book using Primo?

Library Guide: QG DBS004 Ebrary

Library Guide: QG GEN008 Copyright, Photocopying & Scanning - Your Responsibilities

Web page: Setting up proxy server access

IT Service Desk: servicedesk@abdn.ac.uk; tel. 01224-273636

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