addition to reference and periodical literature, libraries offer
publications in various formats on a huge number of subjects. Some
of those formats are print, microform, audio-visual, graphic, etc.
the materials that are physically present in the library are arranged
by call number for easy location. To use those resources, you need
to search the online library catalog first. It will show you four
very important types of information about materials:
the library has on your subject of interest,
complete citation of each item (title, author, publisher, year
call number for each item (so that you can find it in the building),
availability for each item (i.e. whether it is currently checked
out or not).
can usually search the online library catalog by:
· call number
· ISSN number
often libraries will offer more publications on your subject of
interest than you can possibly use. It is, therefore, crucial to
select the most relevant materials without having to read all. You
can do this in two steps:
As you look over the list of items on your topic in the online
catalog, you can judge their relevance by the subject headings
in the detailed description of each item. Titles do not always
reflect everything a publication covers, so the subject headings
can give you valuable clues.
you select a number of relevant materials from the catalog, you
will need to print out or write down their call numbers, take a
stack guide, and locate the items in the building. It is a good
idea to select more items than you intend to use.
As you find an item on the shelves, you can judge its relevance
by looking at the contents and the index. You can choose one or
two major keywords, look them up in the index, and skim the passages
where they appear in the book. In this way, you will not have
to check out books only to discover later that you have no use
for the information they offer.