VitalSource Helps: Frequently Asked Questions for Publisher Reps
- What is VitalSource Helps? How do I describe this programme to my customers
- Who is eligible for the VitalSource Helps programme?
- How do students access VitalSource Helps content?
- How long is the VitalSource Helps programme available?
- How many titles may be accessed as part of the VitalSource Helps eBook programme?
- What type of content is available as part of the VitalSource Helps eBook programme?
- What if students or instructors cannot find the eBook they need?
- What if a student is trying to access their Bookshelf account from the campus LMS/VLE?
- Where should I direct customers who have specific questions about the VitalSource Helps programme?
- Where do I direct my customers who need assistance?
- Is the Bookshelf platform accessible?
- My customer is new to digital. What is the best advice I can provide?
- My customer is concerned that students won’t have easy access to WiFI off-campus
- What are their options for notetaking in this eBook?
- Can students share their eBooks with others outside of their institution?
- Does Bookshelf allow users to print portions of their eBooks
- Can students download materials?
What is VitalSource Helps? How do I describe this program to my customers?
VitalSource Helps is a programme designed to support students and instructors who may have lost access to course materials due to a campus moving from face to face teaching to distance learning to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This programme is made possible by the leading publishers in UKIR higher education. The programme offers free access to tens of thousands of eBooks through 30th June, 2020 to students and instructors at impacted institutions in the UK and Ireland. A complete list of eligible institutions is available here.
Who is eligible for the VitalSource Helps program?
A student or instructor is eligible if they meet the following criteria:
- They attend an institution that is listed here (private, for-profit institutions and online programmes do not qualify for this programme)
- They have a university-provided email address
- They are currently enrolled in a university course(s) that began prior to 24 March, 2020.
How do students and instructors access VitalSource Helps content?
To get started, students and instructors should visit bookshelf.vitalsource.com. Before students and instructors can begin searching for and reading ebooks, they will need to log-in or create a Bookshelf account with their institution-provided email address.
It is important to note that, while students and instructors may use Bookshelf today, their account may not be linked to their institution-provided email address. To access VitalSource Helps content, students must use their institution-provided email address.
For students and instructors accessing Bookshelf for the first time:
Here are instructions on creating a Bookshelf account Once students create an account with an institution-provided email address, they should log-in and click on the “Explore” tab in the upper left corner of the screen.
For students and instructors with existing Bookshelf accounts linked to their institution-provided email address:
Students and instructors with existing Bookshelf accounts linked to their institution-provided email address will see a new tab called “Explore” when they log-in. This tab provides access to the freely-available eBooks.
For students and instructors with existing Bookshelf accounts NOT linked to their institution-provided email address:
Here is an article explaining how a student can check the email account associated with their Bookshelf account, and how to change it to an institutionally provided email account to access VitalSource Helps eBooks.
How long is the VitalSource Helps programme available?
VitalSource and the participating publishers are offering free access to eBooks through 30th June, 2020 to ensure affected students are able to use required learning materials through final exams. Once the free access period ends, students will maintain access to their Bookshelf account. However, eBooks provided during the VitalSource Helps programme will no longer appear.
How many titles may be accessed as part of the VitalSource Helps eBook programme?
Users may add a total of seven (7) titles to their account at no charge. There is a “counter” in the lower-left corner of the Bookshelf screen to help users keep track of the number of books accessed.
What type of content is available as part of the VitalSource Helps eBook programme?
Custom content, interactive content, and content used for assessment is not included. Commonly assigned materials from publishers, often referred to as “courseware” (like Pearson’s MyLab, WileyPlus, etc.) are not included in this programme.
What if students or instructors cannot find the ebook they need?
If a student or instructor cannot find a required course material by searching for its ISBN, title, or author, then that material is not available as part of VitalSource Helps. Most custom content is not included in VitalSource Helps.
What if a student is trying to access their Bookshelf account from their campus LMS/VLE?
Any content typically accessed via the LMS/VLE will still be available on LMS/VLE-integrated accounts. However, eBooks that are part of VitalSource Helps are only available through the Explore tab at bookshelf.vitalsource.com and within all native Bookshelf apps (iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, etc.).
It is important to note that, while students may use Bookshelf today, they may access content via an LMS/VLE integration that does not require an email address, or their account may be linked to their personal email address. To access VitalSource Helps free content, students must use their institution-provided email address.
Where should I direct customers who have specific questions about the VitalSource Helps program?
For more information on VitalSource Helps, please click here
Where do I direct my customers who need assistance?
A list of student and instructor FAQs can be found here.
For instructors and students new to Bookshelf, we recommend visiting this support page.
Is the Bookshelf platform accessible?
Yes. We take accessibility seriously. You can find our VPATs here, and relevant support articles here. We ensure all materials meet a minimum standard of accessibility, and the Bookshelf platform supports even more accessibility features, but publishers determine enhanced accessibility for their own content.
VitalSource does not share user data and all participants of the VitalSource Helps programme will automatically be opted out of marketing initiatives. To learn more, click here to view our Privacy FAQs.
My customer is new to digital. What is the best advice I can provide?
Bookshelf is a personalised digital learning experience that allows you to do more than you can with print. eBooks allow learners to study wherever they are—even when they’re offline, on the devices they already own.
- Highlighting and note-taking, with sharing and print options
- “Read aloud” option
- Dictionaries and Wikipedia “lookup”
- Easy search across content
- Localisation across 37 languages
- Read on-the-go Bookshelf app
For instructors and students new to Bookshelf, we recommend watching this Getting Started video.
My customer is concerned that students won’t have easy access to Wifi off-campus.
With Bookshelf’s online and 100% offline access, learners have the freedom to study anytime, anywhere. Students can access a Bookshelf title on up to four devices at the same time: two mobile devices and two desktop devices.
What are their options for notetaking in this eBook?
Bookshelf makes it easy to highlight and take notes, whether a student is online, offline, or reading with the Bookshelf app. Notes and highlights are synced across all devices (phones, tablets, and laptops) so students receive a consistent study experience wherever they are. If students are looking to engage even further, Bookshelf allows users to create personal study guides and flashcards from sections of the text.
Additionally, Bookshelf has recently integrated with Microsoft OneNote to enable students to access notes and highlights within their own OneNote Application, so students can annotate notes created in Bookshelf and study on-the-go.
Can students share their eBooks with others outside their institution?
No. Student accounts are not shareable and Bookshelf has security measures in place to help prevent this from occurring.
Does Bookshelf allow users to print portions of their eBooks?
In most cases, yes. However, printing restrictions are set by each publisher.
Can students download materials?
Yes! To access eBooks offline, students simply need to use the Bookshelf app on their mobile device or desktop/laptop computer.