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Finding, Accessing, and Using E-Books: Internet Archive

This guide contains information about The Styberg Library's e-books as well as those that are available through Northwestern.

About This Page

You also have access to many free online resources through the Internet Archive. The Internet Archive contains millions of freely available items. Their archiving began in 1996 with a focus on the Internet, and now, they archive many different types of information, including many print items. They continually add materials, and the collection includes many religion and theology texts. To find these items, you will need to search the Internet Archive directly. They will not appear when you use USearch, the library's online search tool.

For more information about how to find, access, and use the Internet Archive, see the information on this page.

1. Finding the Internet Archive

The Internet Archive is easily findable online. You can just search for Internet Archive using your favorite search engine. Alternatively, you can use the link below for direct access.

2. Accessing the Internet Archive

Access to the internet archive is free. You can search without an account; however, you will need an account to fully view and checkout items in copyright. To create an account, use the link below. You will need to provide an email address, screen name, and password. (The email address does not have to be your seminary email address.)

3. Logging In to the Internet Archive

Once you create an account, you can log in to the Internet Archive. To do this, click on Log In in the top right corner of the homepage (

Now that you have logged in, you can search the archive directly and quickly open items of interest. To learn more about finding and borrowing items, see the Using the Internet Archive box.

5. Using Your Account

To view your account, click on your screen name in the top right. (This requires that you log in first.)

Account Image

Once you open your account, you can view your loans and favorites. You can also edit your settings, like your log in information or screen name.

6. Using the Wayback Machine

On the Internet Archive's homepage (, you can also search archived versions of webpages. To do this, insert the URL into the search box and press Enter.

Way Back Image

Archived versions of the website will appear on the next page. You can click on any year to view the calendar for that year. Dates when the website was archived are indicated by blue (great) or green (good) dots. (Orange and red dots indicate issues with capturing the page.) To view a webpage on a particular day, click on a dot, and the webpage will load. (Please note, the archived version may take a while to load and may not load fully. It may also not be fully functional, but the content should be present.)

Calendar Image

This can be a great way to find historical information that was once a part of a website. It is also helpful for finding information that may not be discoverable elsewhere.

Reading a Book Offline

If you would like to check out a book and read it offline on a separate device like an iPad, Kindle, etc., you can do that. The book must be available to borrow for 14 days though. Once you check it out, you can follow these instructions to download it. Please note, this seems to work best in Firefox.

First, click on the three dots on the left to open a menu with the download option.

Next, click on the Downloadable files options and select the file to download. There may be more than one, so select the appropriate one.

4. Using the Internet Archive

Searching for Items

You can search the Internet Archive using the search box on the middle of the homepage ( Once you enter text, you can select what you what you want to search (e.g., metadata, text, etc.). Metadata is information about an object, like its title, author, date, etc. Text allows you to search the full text of items which can be useful for locating quotes.

Alternatively, you can click the icons above the search bar to search a particular type of media. This will open a full collection that you can further search using the search box and limiters on the left.

Image of Search

You also have the ability to use the Advanced Search feature. You can click the link below the search box to utilize this tool which will allow you to search by title, author, date, etc. You can also use this tool to generate/download results in a certain format. Scroll to the bottom of the advanced page for search tips.

Viewing Items

Once you search for items, you can open up an item by click on its title or the cover image that appears above the title.

Open Image

The book will open in a preview window on the next page. The preview will likely be limited, unless the book is out of copyright.

Borrowing Items

To fully view items in copyright, you will need to select Borrow above the book preview. (You must have an account and be signed in.) From there, you may need to select the duration of your loan, or you may only be able to borrow the book for one hour. (Please note, the duration is not something that we can change at the Styberg Library; it is set by the Internet Archive directly and based upon availability.)

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Once you borrow the book, it is yours for the duration of the loan period. You can now view it fully.

Using the Tools

When reading a book online, you have quite a few options.

  • At the top you can see how much time is left for you to use the item. You can also return the item early if you are finished with it.
  • In the top left, you can use the magnifying glass to search in the text, or you can click on the three dots to find options to download to an offline PDF reader, like Adobe Digital Editions, or in additional file formats (e.g., jpeg, tiff, mp4, etc.), depending upon the media type. You can also add bookmarks and make visual changes (i.e., adjust brightness/contrast, invert colors, and convert to grayscale) here.
  • In the bottom right, you can use the left/right arrows to move between pages. (The slider to the left of the arrows will also help you move between pages, just drag the dot along the line to your desired page.) The next three icons allow you to change the number of pages (one, two, or four) that are displayed. With the headphones icon, you can choose to have the book read aloud as well. The magnifying glass icons allow you to zoom in (+) or zoom out (-), and the last square icon opens the item in full screen.

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Adding a Favorite

Below the viewing window, you can see options to add the item to your favorites or share it. To share it, just click on the box with an arrow icon. To add the item to your favorites, click on the star. Then, you can more easily find and view the item later through your account. To learn more about your account, see the Using Your Account box on this page.

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Internet Archive Logo