I am an international student who will be joining a graduate program at a US university starting Fall ’18. In my home country, I have used such websites as Library Genesis and BookFi to download textbooks, from such publishers as Springer etc., which are otherwise either not available or available at exorbitantly high prices in my home country.

Is it legal or illegal for graduate students to download books from such websites? Would I get into any trouble if I download textbooks from such websites either from my personal computer or from a university-owned computer?

This question already has an answer here:

I have finished university already some years ago, and am now working in the field of my previous studies. I was always very careful, diligent and organized when it came to collecting and archiving my course notes and course text books.

Well, in the current situation, I have all these notes and books stored at my parents’ attic. However, quite often at work, I remember some of the content I studied and think “well, that would be quite useful now to know” or “I did a case study at school that was very similar to my current project – what did we do back in the days?”. I can even point to the specific book or course, where the topic was covered. However, I cannot look up anything because they are physically stored somewhere in a geographically remote place.

So I have been asking myself repeatedly: “why don’t you digitize your course notes, text books, hand-outs, etc.?”

  1. Has anyone of you similar issues? How did you handle it?
  2. Is it even legal to scan full text books for private use? I would store them in my Dropbox and do not intend to share with anyone. Of course, there is always the risk that my account gets hacked and files leaked, but I definitely do not have the intention to share any of these files (also, I do not know how probable this threat scenario is, given that I use two-factor-authentication). It is only and exclusively intended for my private use.
  3. Is it even feasible to scan dozens of books and folders full of notes and print-outs?

I am really curious to hear your opinions!

As a student I had free access to thousands of scholarly articles through my universities in databases/archives such as JSTOR, EBSCOhost, Google Scholar, Econlit, PubMed, etc, etc.

With no subscription, glancing at the full text of any 1 article costs anywhere from $20 to $60.

For any one project or paper I’d use at least five to ten papers and I’d skim over the full text of many more. For a meta-analysis of the literature, I’d go over dozens and perhaps even over a hundred papers.

As a non-student the cost is extremely prohibitive to continue reading past the free abstracts. I don’t want to pirate the papers or give up reading them, but I can’t find any reasonable alternatives.

Does anyone know of any monthly subscription I could sign up for to give me student-like/institutional access to papers?

Note:
A community wiki answer has been added to this question to provide a list of solutions to the problem.

My research led me to introduce a term that describes a certain group of web applications.

In order to ensure that the term does not already exist, I searched on IEEE, ACM and Elsevier libraries, using keywords, but I feel this search is incomplete.

What is the most efficient way to search for a term by name (search for the word “MyTerm” in all the archives)
and search a term by context (search for a derm that defines specific characteristics of a group of applications, in all the archives).

Thanks.