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Research Guides

Information Literacy & Library Research: How to Find Books and eBooks

Information literacy is the ability to know when information is needed and to be able to identify, locate and evaluate, and then legally and responsibly use and share that information.

Library Catalog

The library catalog is used to locate everything owned by that library. If the library databases, such as Academic Search Ultimate, are organized collections of related information, then the library catalog is a database of records for books, media (audio, video, DVD), maps, pictures, and other materials. It represents what is physically in the library, as well as access to ebooks and other specific online materials.

The SUU Library Catalog can be used to locate books, media, and textbooks in our library. TIP: Remember that books are much longer than articles, so using more basic boolean searches tend to work better, since most books will be about much broader topics that your specific research topic might fall under.

Note for INFO 1010:

For your Module 3 assignment, you will need to search the catalog, and for the Module 4 Assignment, you will need to find not just articles but at least one book as well. The Module 4 Assignment is looking for a citation to a book on your research topic. If you cite a chapter from a book or an entry in an encyclopedia, you are not citing a book on your topic. 

Books are best found in the library catalog, which contains the records of all the items we physically own and house in the library building, as well as access to the ebook databases. Remember you need to search both Academic Search Ultimate as well as the Library Catalog to get all the sources you need for your ENGL 2010 paper and INFO 1010 Module 4 assignment. 

Using the Catalog

Finding the Catalog

The best way to directly access the catalog from the library's homepage by clicking on Books and eBooks Catalog button. This will take you to the Advanced Search page, very much like Academic Search Ultimate.

screenshot of the Find Books and eBooks link on the library's website.

Using Advanced Search

The Advanced Search feature of the catalog is the same as a database search: using your search terms, separated by boolean operators, only it will search everything in the catalog using your terms.

Advanced Search can be used for all library catalog searches, but don't feel compelled to make your searches complex or use all the lines. Advanced Search allows you to search for a keyword or combination of keywords in all fields of a catalog record, or to target specific information in the records. For example, if you do a keyword search women and sports, your results will include records with both keywords. If you did the same search but selected title search in the drop down menu by the search bar, you would only find records with the keywords in the title. So the different search options in the drop down menus by the search bar are ways to limit your search from the start, which is helpful if you know the title of the book you're searching for, or if you want to search books by a specific author, etc.

an advanced search showing the keywords "women and sports"

Using More Options in Advanced Search

If you want to limit your initial search by a specific source type, such as an ebook or DVD, you can click the More Options button at the bottom to see the options available. If you did want to specifically only search the ebook collection, all you would have to do is check the ebook box and then press search.

advanced search with keywords "women and sports" that is highlighting the "more options" button.

list of the more options that searches can be limited by.

Finding Books in the Library

If you find a print book you want to use, you need to physically find it in the library to check it out. Libraries use call numbers, essentially the book's address in the library, to locate the books on the shelves in the library. The Sherratt Library mostly uses the Library of Congress Classification System (LOC Classification) for call numbers. This means that the call numbers will all start with letters that indicate the broad subject. The shelves are organized first alphabetically (which means they are organized by subject) and then the numbers that follow will sort the books by more specific topic and then author.

LC call numbers on shelves and book spines.

The main collection is on the 2nd floor, with other specific collections on the other floors. Once you have found an item you want to use, you can then bring it to the check out desk on the 1st floor to check it out for two weeks.

If you are looking for a book that the library doesn't have, you can order it through interlibrary loan (ILL). You can also order articles through this service. It's completely free. Just make sure you give enough time for the book or article to arrive.

Catalog Results

The results of your searches are generally listed in order of relevance, unless you choose a different sorting. Just like in other databases, you can click on the title of the result to get to the detailed catalog record. You can tell from the details in the results list what format the book is in by how it's accessed and whether it is available for loan. Ebooks will not be available for loan, and will have an online access link. Print books will generally be available for loan and will have their call number listed.

screen short of the results list in the catalog showing how to access ebooks and when an item is available

NOTE: If you are having trouble accessing an ebook, the easiest way to fix it is by clearing your browser cache, or history to reset the cookies in your browser. Here are links to instructions on how to do this in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. If you are unsure on how to do this in a different browser, search “how to clear cache” for your browser.

You can add books you are interested in to a list to save it for later. You can create different lists based on your own preferences. You will have to be signed in to create and manage your lists. Once signed in, you can access your lists to check the availability of your items or remove items or otherwise edit your lists. You can also email your lists by clicking the Send List button or print the list out so you can easily find them on the shelves in the library. 

screenshot of the lists menu in koha

screenshot of a list in the catalog highlighting the send and print buttons

If an item is not available, you can also put a Hold on it by clicking the Place Hold button that can be found both in the results list and detailed record of an item.

screenshot of an items in the catalog that is unavailable with Place Hold highlighted

The detailed record will let you know if the items are checked in or not and the due date if it is currently checked out. There will also be more publication details, which can also help you create a proper citation. It is important to note that the detailed record will clearly label all the information, such as the call number and location, which tells you where in the library the item is located and in which collection. There will also be a list of subject headings, a table of contents, or abstract that can give you more information if the item is useful to you.

the "holdings" information, or the status and location information in the detailed record.

The Call Numbers are important, since they are essentially the address of where books are in the library. However, all books usually have call numbers, even if the library is virtual, such as in an ebook collection. This is a way of grouping books on similar topics together so you can find similar books while browsing the shelves. You can do the same thing with ebooks too. It's in a slightly different place, but in the Catalog, you can find the call number for an ebook in the detailed record, under the LOC Classification, which is short for the Library of Congress Classification System, which is talked about more in the section titled Finding Books in the Library.

screenshot of a catalog record highlighting the LOC Classification line which is where the ebook call number is located.

Note for INFO 1010: 

On the final, you will be asked to show the call number for the book you find. This is a necessary step even for ebooks, so make sure you know what that means and where to find that information.