Books- How to locate a book on your selected topic.
Books may be searched in the Library Catalog by author, title, Library of Congress Subject Heading, or keyword. For books not held by the Oviatt Library, request an Interlibrary Loan, but allow about 2 weeks.
If you are searching for background information about a historical event, person, historiographical arguement or issue etc., you will need to think about how to search for this information.
What words can you use to describe your topic?
Your topic itself may prove to be the words that make up your search term. This will most likely lead you to conduct a keyword search.
For example: If my topic was footbinding in China - I may try entering the keywords footbinding AND China in a keyword search. The AND is a boolean operator combining my search terms "footbinding" and "China".
To search for materials from other libraries, search the WorldCat database.
Finding Print Reference Books
You find print reference books using the library catalog.
Enter your search terms:
- To find a specific book, enter the title in the Search For box and select "Title" as the type of search.
- To find a book on a particluar topic, like sociology, enter the topic in the search box and select "Keyword" as the type of search.
Next, choose "Reference Room" from the "Limit to" drop down box. Then select the "Submit Search" button.
From the list of results that appears, click on the book's title to see more about it. To help you find the book, note the location and the call number.
Note: If "Stored" is the location, it's in the ASRS. Click the "Request" button to get it. The book will be at the Circulation Desk on the first floor in about 10-15 minutes.
Reference books cannot be checked out (there are exceptions for Faculty and Staff), but you can copy the pages you need using the photocopy machines located throughout the Library.
Finding Online Reference Books
View a complete list of Electronic Encyclopedias in the Oviatt Library Catalog
To limit the list by subject or title:
- Click the Modify Search button.
- In the Keyword Search screen, type subject or title words in the second search box (under "encyclopedias").
- Click the Submit Search button. (Note: once you've modified the search, it will list both online and print encyclopedias. You can recognize an online encyclopedia by the [electronic resource] tag after the title.)
Search Credo Reference for online reference sources:
Scholarly Journals (Peer-reviewed/Referreed)
- Authors are authorities in their fields.
- Authors cite their sources in endnotes, footnotes, or bibliographies.
- Individual issues have little or no advertising.
- Articles must go through a peer-review or refereed process.
- Articles are usually reports on scholarly research.
- Illustrations usually take the form of charts and graphs.
- Articles use jargon of the discipline.
Select a Database
- Use Databases A-Z to select a specific database or use Find Articles & Research Data to view databases listed by subject.
- Use OneSearch, provided at the top right of each subject page, to search multiple databases in a subject area at one time. For example, the American Indian Studies Multisearch on the American Indian Studies subject page searches seven different databases at the same time.
Finding History Book Reviews via H-NET
Ask a Librarian
At reference desk most hours the library is open.
Choose the Right Resource
When choosing resources for your assignment, consider:
- Assignment requirements—what does the professor want you to cite?
- Learn about your topic -- You may want to use a reference book like an encyclopedia (print or online) to start out with if you don't have a clear understanding of your topic yet.
- Time—the more current the topic, the less will be found in scholarly journals or books, which take longer to get published. Recent events will be covered on the Internet, in newspapers and magazines, as well as in the media.
- Depth of coverage and/or the topic—scholarly journals and books cover topics in more depth than magazines and newspapers. Some topics are not covered by the popular press, e.g., research that would not be of interest to the average consumer.
- Quality of the resource - see Step 3: Evaluating Sources
|Type of Information You Need||Try These Resources|
|Does your topic cover current events?||Newspapers, magazines, Internet|
|Do you need general information on a specific topic, written in a non-specialist style?||
Newspapers, magazines, Internet
|Do you need in-depth information on a specific topic, written for the college student and above by authorities in the field?||Scholarly journals|
|Do you need more detail and/or has the topic been written about for awhile?||Books|
|Do you need an overview, quick facts, statistics on a topic?||Reference books, Internet|