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COVID-19: Novel Coronavirus 2019/2020: COVID-19: Free e-Resources & e-Textbooks

Information and resources about the outbreak of novel coronavirus - COVID-19

Milner Library Response

Due to the University’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Milner Library currently has adjusted hours and services. This is a fluid and constantly changing situation. Any updates to Milner hours, services, and resources will be added to this page. This guide is dedicated to sharing the various platforms currently working with prominent publishers to provide electronic titles, at no additional charge, to support free eBook and e-Journal initiatives during this time of crisis.  If you need a refresher on ebooks, please see our ebooks guide. Note** The list of publishers is ever growing and the individual publishers shown on this guide are only a sampling of those offering free access to e-books, databases, and other e-resources.



Free Resource Access Options A-I

Milner Library now has free trial access to AccessMedicine from McGraw-Hill.  This resource provides medical ebooks, drug guides, multimedia, case studies and other information.

Milner Library now has free trial access to AccessPhysioTherapy from McGraw-Hill.  This resource provides sports medicine, kinesiology, and physical/orthopedic therapy ebooks, drug guides, multimedia, and other information.

Annual Reviews is a nonprofit publisher dedicated to synthesizing and integrating knowledge for the progress of science and the benefit of society. To support research efforts, Annual Reviews has curated a group of articles that may be useful for the scientific community and made them freely available. The complete content of all of the Reviews titles are also currently freely available to patrons.

ASTM Standards for public health protective gear is being made open access in response to COVID-19. 

ASTM International is providing no-cost public access to important ASTM standards used in the production and testing of personal protective equipment - including face masks, medical gowns, gloves, and hand sanitizers - to support manufacturers, test labs, health care professionals, and the general public as they respond to the global COVID-19 public health emergency. 

The following Bloomsbury resources are now available to ISU students and faculty through the end of the spring semester.  Ignore the "Buy This" button, we have full text access to the content in these databases.  Just click on the chapter in the table of contents.

Cambridge University Press is making higher education textbooks in HTML format free to access online during the coronavirus outbreak. Over 700 textbooks, published and currently available, on Cambridge Core are available regardless of whether textbooks were previously purchased.

***Note:  This access is temporarily suspended by Cambridge University Press.***

For US colleges experiencing unplanned, mid-semester impacts due to COVID-19, Cengage is offering students free access to all of their digital platforms and 14,000 ebooks through Cengage Unlimited, for the remainder of this semester. Students can learn how to create their Cengage Unlimited account by clicking here. Create a Student Account and then "Start Trial" every 14 days, for as long as needed.

The Children’s Book Council has compiled a list of free publisher online resources that might be useful for education students.

Cognella has partnered with RedShelf and VitalSource to provide free access to digital textbooks to students from nonprofit, semester-based colleges and universities who are affected by COVID-19 through May 25, 2020.

Elsevier has made all textbooks (not journal articles) freely accessible on ScienceDirect to support students and lecturers whose classes have moved from campus to online. You can view the available offerings of textbook titles by clicking here.

To access free eTextbooks, choose a subject area in ScienceDirect, then mark the boxes for "Books" under Publication Type and "Subscribed & complimentary" under Access Type.


Milner Library now offers temporary access to the F.A. Davis Athletic Training Collection. This resource provides athletic training ebooks, case studies, multimedia, and other information.

Milner is pleased to offer free temporary access to Flipster which allows users to browse most popular magazines for leisure or academic reading.

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Free Resource Access Options J-O

JSTOR and its participating publishers are making an expanded set of content freely available to their participating institutions where students have been displaced due to COVID-19. This includes all archival e-journal collections as well as their complete ebook collection.


To address this rapidly emerging need, JoVE has announced that it will provide free access to all its educational video content through June 15, 2020.

Click on the "Video Journal" or "Science Education" tabs to browse by subject.

Milner Library now has temporary access to Loeb Classical Library of Greek and Latin works with English translations through the end of the semester.

MGG Online is a general music encyclopedia which is freely available through the end of May, 2020.

MIT Press is making their ebooks freely available during this time.

The National Emergency Library from Internet Archive freely offers over 1.4 million scanned books (published primarily in the 20th century) through the end of June, 2020. Users may borrow up to 10 titles at a time.

Milner now has temporary free access to which provides historical fulltext newspaper content from 32 countries and all 50 states going back over 400 years.  Excellent for family and genealogical research.

Ebooks freely available from Ohio State University Press do not require library activation. They specialize in literary studies, including narrative theory, Victorian studies, medieval studies, classics, linguistics, foreign language pedagogical material, and publish the annual winners of our short fiction and poetry prizes.

With the recent coronavirus situation, Oxford University Press has made content from online resources and leading journals related to COVID-19 freely accessible to assist researchers, medical professionals, policy makers, and others who are working to address this potential health crisis.

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Free Resource Access Options P-Z

Publishers currently making their content accessible for free on Project Muse include Johns Hopkins University Press (all books and journals), Ohio State University Press (all books and journals), University of Nebraska Press (all books and journals), University of North Carolina Press (all books), Temple University Press (all books), and Vanderbilt University Press (selected books).  There is a list of publishers providing free access to their content, which will be continually updated.

Public Books Database provides an up-to-date of publishers which are making their content freely available during the Covid-19 pandemic.

RedShelf is responding to the Covid-19 outbreak with a temporarily free initiative.This initiative will provide free access to digital textbooks to students from non-profit, semester-based colleges and universities through May 25th. Search for free ebooks here.

***Note!:  RedShelf seems to be much more problematic for accessing free etextbooks than VitalSource Bookshelf.  Until this is resolved, Milner Library recommends using VitalSource.***

Directions for Creating an Account and Accessing Free eTextbooks:

1.  Click "Login"

2.  "Create an Account" (free) and select Illinois State University

3.  Check your email (including Junk and Clutter) in about 5 minutes for your confirmation email, then activate your account

4.  Search for your textbook to see if it is freely available

RILM Music Encyclopedias are now freely available through the end of May, 2020.  Includes 57 reference works covering all areas of music.

Milner Library now has temporary free access to RIPM Jazz Periodicals.

Milner Library now has temporary free access to RIPM Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals with Full Text.

Royal Society Publishing is temporarily making all of their journals open-access. 
Review the full title list for your research. 

Many textbook publishers have partnered with VitalSource to make their e-textbooks freely available through the end of May. In order to access, faculty and students work through VitalSource’s Bookshelf to create an account using their Illinois State University email. Books available through VitalSource will not show up when searching the Milner Library catalog. Individuals will need to go through Bookshelf to see if books they want to access are available.

Any VitalSource title can be downloaded by multiple students with no limit on the number f simultaneous users.  The only drawback is that each student can only download a maximum of 7 titles total during this grace period.

Directions for Creating an Account and Accessing Free eTextbooks

  1. Access VitalSource at this URL:
  2. Create a (free) account.
  3. You will receive an activation email to your email. Follow those steps to activate your account.
  4. Make sure you’re “Signed In” and can see your account information on VitalSource.
  5. Go to "Explore" and search for the title of the book you need for your class – with correct spelling and no abbreviations.
  6. You should see an option to download the book, if available, through 5/24/2020.
  7. If you have already borrowed ebooks, click the "Explore" tab to search for additional e-textbooks.

The University of Michigan Press will make all content in the University of Michigan Press Ebook Collection (UMP EBC) free-to-read for the remainder of the academic term. Beginning on Friday, March 20, access restrictions will be removed for all 1,150+ titles in the UMP EBC until the end of April 2020. Included in the Collection are over 200 titles with emphasis on political science and public policy (including health), performing arts, classical and medieval studies, American studies, and Area studies (especially East Asian, African, and German studies).

World Scientific is making all of their e-journal articles freely available back to 2001.

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