FAQs Browse

Why am I not able to download or print this entire ebook?

The SFU Library provides access to ebooks from many different publishers on a variety of platforms.  Some of the ebook platforms include DRM (Digital Rights Management) to protect the content of their ebooks from copyright abuse. This means that you will encounter a variety of limitations in how much you can print, download and save from an ebook.

Access to ebooks on third party platforms is an agreement between the platform and the publisher; the library has no involvement, except for the right to purchase (or lease) the ebook on an ebook platform. 

It is common for a publisher, or an author, to request additional DRM limits (on top of the platform's standard DRM restrictions). Unfortunately, there is no way to know for sure which ebooks these additional limits apply to -- except when you attempt to do something that is beyond the limits, such as print 20 pages in one session if the publisher has set the limit to 15 pages on that platform.

Ebook Central

  • The copy and print limits on most Proquest Ebook Central books are based on a percentage of the number of pages in the book.  (per book, per user session) Pages you can print = 30% and pages from which you can copy = 15%.
  • Allows full book download for two weeks (14 days) using Adobe Digital Editions
  • You must register for an account.

Ebook Collection (EBSCOhost)

Gale Virtual Reference Library

  • Allows PDF downloads of a single article or portions of a single article at a time.


Why and how should I sign into the Library Catalogue?


You do not need to sign into the SFU Library Catalogue to see the books, journals, and other items held by the SFU Library.  
Anyone can search the Catalogue and see items owned by the Library without signing (or logging) in.

How do I sign into the Catalogue?

Once you are in the Library Catalogue:

  • If you haven't started searching, click on "Sign in."
  • If your search is already underway, look for the yellow highlighted prompt to sign in.

Use your SFU computing ID to sign in

If you have a SFU computing ID, use it.

I'm an alumna/alumnus -- how do I sign in?

Use your SFU computing ID.  

If your SFU computing ID isn't working, or you have forgotten it, see About Alumni Email Forwarding to (re)activate your SFU Computing ID. 


Some borrowers, including non-credit students and external borrowers, are not issued SFU computing IDs.  

If you don't have an SFU ID but do have a library barcode, you can use your Library barcode and password.

Sign into the Catalogue to request items, check your account, update your PIN, etc.

When you sign into the Library Catalogue, you can do the following:

Request items

Learn more
  • Request (or place holds) on books and other items if the item is checked out by someone else or to have the item delivered between SFU Library branches.
  • Place an interlibrary loan (ILL) request for an item not held in SFU Library’s collection.  ILL requests may be placed by SFU students, faculty, and staff.

You will not see an option to request an item until you sign in.

See My Library account, renew books, update your PIN for the self-checkout KIOSK

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Once signed (or logged in) to the Catalogue, you can:

  • View the books and other items you have checked out
  • Renew the resources, such as books, that you have checked out
  • View your fines, if you have any
  • See requests (or holds) for books that you are waiting for.

Note that once you have returned books and other materials, they will no longer show in your Library record. However the Library sends an automatic email notification when you borrow materials, and you can use these emails to track your reading or borrowing history. 

To update your PIN (needed only for Self-Serve Checkout KIOSK):

  1. Sign into the Library Catalogue and go to My Library account
  2. In the Personal Details section, click on "UPDATE SELF-CHECKOUT KIOSK 4-DIGIT PIN".

Save items or searches to your Favourites

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Once signed in, you can pin to your My Favourites list:

  • Records for books and other items
  • Saved searches to reuse later
  • Searches performed during a Catalogue search session.

View citations or references to items from a few publishers who limit access to this content

Learn more

Almost all content providers allow citations for such items as journal articles to be viewed by anyone anywhere who searches the SFU Library Catalogue.  There are a few resources, however, such as citations contained within the Web of Science and Scopus databases, that can be viewed only if you are:

  • On campus, or
  • Off campus and signed into the Catalogue.
Accessing online content
Accessing online content like journal articles and ebooks is a different process from signing into the Catalogue, and you don't need to sign in to the Catalogue to do so. 

When you find items in the Catalogue that are available online, look for the "Access it" area of an item's Catalogue record, and then click on the publisher or content provider's link (e.g. JSTOR or PubMed).  

If you are off campus, you will be prompted to log in (authenticate). For more information, see Accessing online resources from off campus.

Get help with signing in

Contact staff in Access Services (Loans) for help with your account:

  • libcirc@sfu.ca
  • 778.782.4345 - W.A.C. Bennett Library, SFU Burnaby
  • 778.782.5050 - Belzberg Library, SFU Vancouver
  • 778.782.7411 - Fraser Library, SFU Surrey.
Why are all books not available for semester loan?

Undergraduate students are given a 3 week loan on all items that are designated "high use." "Low use" items are still available on semester loan to undergraduate students. This policy is in place to ensure that materials in high demand are available for other students.

See Loan periods: Borrowing Library materials for further information.

If you have comments or concerns regarding this Policy, please Contact us or speak directly to the Loans staff and/or supervisors if you prefer.

Why are some materials "unprocessed"?

The work that archivists do in preparing materials for research use is called “processing.” This involves:

  • identifying and describing materials
  • making the materials discoverable by creating finding aids (like these pages), database records, and other tools
  • rehousing materials in archival-standard enclosures (like acid- and lignin-free boxes and file folders)

Because we want our users to know we have relevant holdings to their research, we list and selectively provide access to our unprocessed collections.

Interested in exploring an unprocessed collection? Contact us as early as possible so we can discuss details.

Why can't I access (or print) this Harvard Business Review article?

 Restricted access and use

The Harvard Business Review (HBR) imposes restrictions on access and use of its 500 most popular articles online.

This includes popular articles such as "What makes a leader," "Managing oneself," and "Are you solving the right problems?" 

Restrictions include not allowing direct links to top articles, and not allowing you to print or save online articles from the top 500. 


You CAN access these HBR articles (for personal research purposes). However you will need to follow some extra steps.


 Find and access HBR articles (including top 500)

If you try to access one of these top articles through a direct link, you will see a message saying, "Persistent linking is NOT permitted," or "The publisher offers limited access to this article. The full text cannot be viewed from a persistent link" (or something similar).

 To get the article you need, go directly to the HBR online through the Library Catalogue, then "Search within this publication" (option 1) or "drill down" (option 2) to find your article.

Option 1: "Search within this publication" for your article title

Search tips:

  1. Make sure JN "Harvard Business Review" stays in one of the search boxes 
  2. Use quotation marks around your article title for best results

Option 2: If you have a citation: The "drill-down" method

If you have a citation, including the date, volume, issue, and page numbers in which the article appeared, you can also drill down by browsing for the year in which your article appeared, then the volume, and so on.

Use this method to find articles via the Library's online subscription to the HBR, or for print copies of the HBR held here at SFU


 Printing or saving articles

Top 500 articles are available online as "read only," and you cannot download or print them.

You may scan or copy from a print copy of the HBR held here at SFU.

Why can’t I access Factiva articles I have emailed to myself?

The email function in Factiva will only send you the links to articles, rather than the articles themselves. Unfortunately, those links won't open from off campus.

You can avoid this problem by downloading your articles in pdf and rich text format and saving and/or emailing them so you will have access to them from anywhere.

Image showing location of PDF and RTF download buttons in the Factiva interface.

See also: How do I create a stable link to an article in Factiva? (FAQ).

If you need help, please ask a librarian for assistance.

Why is the Surrey Campus library known as the Fraser Library?

The Library at SFU Surrey is called the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board Academic Library, or Fraser Library for short, in recognition of a generous donation to SFU Surrey made by the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board. 

Why should I care about copyright?

Use of copyrighted materials is protected under the law in Canada and we are subject to the Canadian Copyright Act. Additionally, the University has implemented policies, standards and guidelines that, as members of the university community, we are required to follow.

Simon Fraser University respects intellectual property and intellectual property laws, and will take appropriate steps to ensure consistent application of legal requirements throughout the University. It is the responsibility of each member of the university community to comply with copyright law and respect copyright ownership and licensing.  

Please note that staff at the University Library, Archives, Bookstore, Centre for Educational Excellence, Creative Services and Document Solutions have a professional responsibility to respect copyright law and may refuse to copy or print something if it is thought to be an infringement of copyright law.

Will the SLC help me with my resume or cover letter?

The Student Learning Commons (SLC) provides assistance for most writing with an academic purpose, including papers, theses, applications for graduate programs, and cover letters and resumes for positions related to your academic program, such as Co-op. 

For assistance with job-related cover letters and résumés, consult SFU Career Services or the Career Management Centre.

SLC staff and peer educators do not proofread or edit your work but do help you develop your own effective proofreading and editing strategies.


Will the SLC proofread or edit my work?

The Student Learning Commons (SLC) consultants will review portions of your work with you and help you develop your own effective proofreading or editing strategies. 

If you have approval from your course instructor or thesis supervisor to work with a professional editor, see the recommendations set out by the Dean of Graduate Studies, and the guidelines from the Editors' Association of Canada (EAC).  The EAC also provides suggestions for working with an editor and a directory of editors for hire.