This is the "Finding Books" page of the "Comm 1 Summer" guide.
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Last Updated: Mar 11, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Librarian Rule # 2: Use What You Learn

  • The best searches are iterative ones: use what you have, learn some- thing, then search again with what you learned.
  • Are you sure of the spelling of your terms? Is there a specialized term for your topic?
  • Sometimes we don't even know what we want to find, until we start looking!

Remember, use what you have, learn something, then search again.


Finding Books in a Library Catalog -- A good place to start

Libraries come in all sizes and flavors, from a 10,000 volume small branch public library to a 10 million volume university library. To use a library catalog most effectively, you want to tailor your approach to the size and kind of library it is. With smaller libraries and public libraries, your best bet is often to use a broad general search via Keyword, or Word, or similar options. Using a large research library effectively, however, typically requires using official Library of Congress Subject Headings, as well as other available searching tools. Of course, no matter what tool you are using, a good search is an iterative one: search with the information you have, learn something (terms, spelling, concepts, etc.), then search again. Also, Subject Headings found in one catalog can almost always be used in another catalog to find more, or different, materials.

Some library catalogs you may encounter:


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