The E-Book Detective Agency: Anatomy of an Ebook Search 

Now Presenting: The E-Book Detective Agency

Ebook, oh Ebook, where could you be? As our library spaces are currently closed, here at the Graduate Center Library we’ve turned our focus to providing seamless, lightning-quick access to electronic resources. Whether through InterLibrary Loan (request a book chapter or journal article), or the hundreds of existing GC Library databases, we’re here to support your research remotely.  

But what if you want to find out if a book – a whole, specific book – is accessible online? Here’s where our team of librarians comes into play, as the Ebook Detective Agency.

Anatomy of an Ebook Search 

First, you’ll send in your request, providing information about the book you’re seeking (or wishing and hoping for!) online. We’ll start by searching the New York Public Library, RedShelf, VitalSource, the Internet Archive, and other online repositories. The New York Public Library, for example, provides electronic access to over 200 databases from home with a library card. HathiTrust alone provides immediate access to millions of books – digitized, and often available for full download, with your GC Network credentials. 

Some of our more extensive searches have brought us to interesting online locations – Asia Art Archive​, Goethe University’s digital archive, and Bibliothèque Nationale de France’s Gallica. The Ebook Detectives are an exacting bunch, ready to go the extra mile to find your book online. In the event that a book is not available, we’ll be in touch as soon as we’ve completed our full investigation. 

But don’t just take our word for it – 

And, as a few satisfied patrons report below, this nimble sleuthing service can be a lifesaver:   

“Thank you for all your help with this, I really appreciate all your efforts under these extraordinary circumstances.” 

“Wow, this is fantastic! Thank you for sleuthing it out for me!”

Thank you so much for tracking down these books for me. I very much appreciate everything you’re doing to keep things running during lockdown.​”

Again – feel free to contact us with an Ebook search request using this form, anytime! We’ll be in touch.


About the Author

Elvis Bakaitis is currently the Head of Reference at the Mina Rees Library. They're also proud to serve on the University LGBTQ Council, and as a board member of CLAGS: The Center for LGBTQ Studies.