Skip to Main Content

Library Services



Electronic books (e-books)

Guide to finding, using, and citing e-books at UCL.

Citing e-books

Although most e-book platforms generate citations for downloading, it is important to check the citations for accuracy to make sure they include the elements required for the citation style you are using.

Below are examples for citing e-books in Harvard and Vancouver.

For guidance on citing e-books in other styles, please refer to the individual style guide:

Find out more about:

Citing e-books in Harvard

To be made up of:

  • Author/editor.
  • Year of publication (in round brackets).
  • Title of book (in italics).
  • [Online]
  • Place of publication: publisher.
  • Available at: URL.
  • (Accessed: date).

In-text citation:

(Dann, 2017)

Reference List:

Dann, R. (2017). Developing feedback for pupil learning: teaching, learning and assessment in schools. [Online]. London: Routledge. Available at: (Accessed: 7 June 2020).

Citing e-books in Vancouver


Author(s) surname Initial(s). Title: subtitle [online]. Edition (if not the first edition). Place of publication: Publisher; Year of publication [Accessed Date]. Available from: URL of database / location in which the book is held

Greenhalgh T. How to read a paper: the basics of evidence based medicine [online]. London: BMJ Publishing Group; 2000 [Accessed 8 September 2008]. Available from:

e-book reader format, e.g. Kindle

Author(s)/Editor(s) surname Initials(s). Title: subtitle. Edition (if not the first edition). [Name of e-book reader]. Place of publication: Publisher; Year of publication.

Llewelyn H, Ang HA, Lewis KE, Al-Abdullah A. Oxford handbook of clinical diagnosis. 2nd ed. [Kindle DX e-book]. Oxford: OUP; 2009.


When citing e-books, it is important to provide accurate page numbers. Most PDF versions of e-books retain the original layout and pagination of the print copy. However, if the e-book is only in HTML (online view) or is in another format, there may be no page numbers. This is the case on e-book platforms such as Oxford Scholarship Online and O'Reilly.

If there are no page numbers in the e-book, it is advised to use the chapter and paragraph instead, by counting the paragraphs from the beginning of the chapter. For example, Chapter 3, para 12.

For further advice, please contact your subject specialist librarian.

URLs vs. DOIs

The majority of citation styles require including a link to where you accessed the resource online. It is better to use a DOI (digital object identifier) where available rather than a URL, as a DOI is a permanent and unique link to the resource.

Screenshot of DOI in an e-book's bibliographic information

The DOI for an e-book can usually be found on the e-book platform near the other bibliographic information.

If the e-book does not have a DOI, then it is best to use the URL provided by the platform.

Exporting e-book citations to reference management software

For more information on how to export citations to reference management software, please see the following guides:

Downloading citations from e-book platforms

While most e-book platforms allow users to download a citation for the e-book directly from the platform, you should always check the citations against the reference style guide you are using. Even when using the same citation style, each platform may not apply the style correctly to the citation.

Please note: copying or downloading the citation directly from UCL Explore will NOT include the URL for accessing the e-book. You must go to the e-book platform to get the correct URL for the citation.

The examples below show some of the inconsistencies where citations are generated within the e-book platform:


  • EBSCOhost Ebooks
    Koukoulopoulos, D. (2019) The Distribution of Prime Numbers. Providence, Rhode Island: AMS (Graduate Studies in Mathematics). Available at:,shib&db=nlebk&AN=2326468&site=ehost-live&scope=site (Accessed: 28 July 2021).
  • Ebook Central
    Chapman, C, & Feit, EM 2015, R for Marketing Research and Analytics, Springer International Publishing AG, Cham. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [28 July 2021].


  • EBSCOhost Ebooks
    Koukoulopoulos D. The Distribution of Prime Numbers [Internet]. Providence, Rhode Island: AMS; 2019 [cited 2021 Jul 28]. (Graduate Studies in Mathematics). Available from:,shib&db=nlebk&AN=2326468&site=ehost-live&scope=site
  • Ebook Central
    Chapman C, Feit EM. R for Marketing Research and Analytics. Cham: Springer International Publishing AG; 2015.


  • EBSCOhost Ebooks
    Koukoulopoulos, D. (2019). The Distribution of Prime Numbers. AMS
  • Ebook Central
    Chapman, C., & Feit, E. M. (2015). R for marketing research and analytics. ProQuest Ebook Central