Books & eBooks

Print Books

The OCAD U library contains over 70,000 books in print dating back to the library’s inception in 1922 and includes thousands of exhibition catalogues and catalogue raisonnés. Most of the collection is related to art and design and is focused on subjects reflecting the curriculum and research interests of students and faculty. Books are classified using the Library of Congress classification system which organizes books according to their primary subject. This means that books on the same or similar topics are usually found on the same shelves, making it easy for the user to browse through multiple volumes. Due to the heavy focus on art and design subjects, most books are classified in the N’s. When searching for titles on the shelf it is thus important to note the entire call number.

Books can be searched in Summon, the library’s discovery system, or in the Library’s catalogue. Search options include keyword, title, author, subject, and many more. Searching Summon allows a user to search across most collections, digital and print, whereas the library catalogue provides access to only print resources.

Most books are considered part of the circulating collection and may be loaned from the library. A significant portion of the collection also consists of reference books. These titles may only be used in the library or borrowed for short periods of time. Please refer to the library circulation policies for more detailed information about the borrowing and usage of library material.

For information about other library book collections, including rare books, artists’ books, and archival material, check out Special Collections.


The Library’s ebook collection numbers nearly 200,000 volumes, and in contrast to the print collection, provides much broader subject coverage across the social science and humanities disciplines as well as limited coverage of the sciences.    The library owns, or subscribes to, various ebook packages which in many cases are bundled into subject or publisher collections.  The Library also acquires ebooks on a title-by-title basis often to support coursework, where multiple students may need access to a title, or to further faculty and student research in subject areas not supported by the print collection. 

The majority of the Library’s ebooks are searchable through the Library’s discovery system, Summon, alongside the print collection, journal articles, streaming videos and other digital and physical resources.  Ebook records are not added to the Library’s catalogue and therefore ebooks should be searched using either Summon, or individual ebook platforms.  A comprehensive listing of the library’s ebook collections and platforms is available within the Databases A – Z List.  The format of academic ebooks is most frequently PDF or HTML that may be read with a PDF viewer or within a web browser.  Some titles have DRM protections applied that require users to create an “Adobe ID” to “check-out” titles, typically for 7 days. These types of ebooks require DRM enabled readers to be viewed such as Adobe Digital Editions (desktop) or Bluefire Reader (android/IOS mobile devices).

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