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Independent Distance Learners (IDLs): Books and Book Chapters

A guide to Information Services support for HWU IDLs

How do I know if the item I want is available in print or online?

Discovery searches for both print and eBooks. 

  • Print books show an ‘Available from’ link with a classmark e.g. 338.47624 OFO
  • eBooks show a ‘Full text available’ link

Borrowing from HWU campus libraries

Borrowing is available if you are within traveling distance form the library (i.e. you can collect and return books).  We do not offer a postal service.

Finding Books (Discovery)

Use the search box below to search for print and eBooks that match your keywords:

or, go to:


  • This searches Edinburgh, SBC, Orkney, Dubai and Malaysia campuses and our online collections
    • use the left hand limiters to view only your local library and/or eBooks
  • This does not search books in info4education or iSurv

For help with Discovery see:

For further information about eBooks, see:

Using Discovery to search for...

Let's assume the following book and book chapter are on your reading list:

  • Greed, C. (1996) Introducing Town Planning. 2nd ed. Harlow: Longman

  • Fishman, R. (2015) 'Urban Utopias in the Twentieth Century: Ebenezer Howard, Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier', in Fainstein, S. S. and Defilippis, J. (eds.) Readings in Planning Theory. 4th edn. Chichester: Wiley, pp. 33-59

For the first example, search for:

["introducing town planning" greed

For the second example, search for:

[fainstein "readings in planning theory"]
– i.e. the book title, not the chapter title and the book editor, not the chapter author

You can search by general keyword, e.g. entering [civil eng*] would find all resources with civil engineering/engineers etc in the title, keywords or author.

N.B. the * is used to truncate words, so eng* finds resources with engineers, engineering, engineered etc in the title, keywords or author.

Think carefully about your keywords.  See also:

Searching inside the book/finding book chapters

Discovery searches at the book title level, and chapter level for some eBooks.

Our eBooks are provided by many different suppliers, each with their own eBook platform.  You can go directly to their platform to search within their books.  See our eBook Guide for further information:

This allows you to search ‘within the book’ i.e. at the chapter level

Although you may not get the full-text of the book (this will depend on various factors), it will allow you to identify useful books, which you can then search for in Discovery (i.e. ‘you know what you are looking for’)

Google Book Search

Limiting your Discovery search to only books

Discovery  cross searches many different types of resources.  Use the limiters on the left hand side of the screen to narrow your results.

To limit your results to only books:

  • Under 'Resource Type', select 'Books':


To limit your search to only eBooks:

  • Under 'Show Only', select 'Full Text Online'


To Limit your search to print books at your campus Library:

  • Under 'Library', select your campus Library

Off-campus access

When off-campus, you will be prompted for your Heriot-Watt username/password.  For help with usernames/passwords, see: