Section 3 – Finding Books
Where is the library catalog? Most often, you will find it on the home page of a library’s Web site.
It has a record of each of the items a library owns. These include:
Note: You won’t find individual articles in a library catalog. You’ll learn how to find them by using an article index described in the next section.
Ways to Search a Catalog
There are two options for searching a library catalog:
Finds items by title, author, subject, etc.
You can enter keywords and the computer will look for a match for those terms in the records of all the items in the library.
Use an Advanced search when you:
An Advanced search provides fill-in boxes and drop-down menus that make searching easy.
Finding a Book by Its Title
Use a Title search in the Basic search tab when you already know the name of a book you want.
Finding a Book by Author
Tips on searching by author:
Subject Searching in a Library Catalog
You’d think you could enter any term as a Subject search. However, the Subject search uses special terms to organize books by subject. These are called Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH for short). If you enter your keywords as a Subject search, you may not get many results. For example:
If you entered a Subject Heading search for: acquired immune deficiency you would get no results!
But if you searched using the LCSH term, AIDS (Disease) you would get results.
Making the Most of Subject Searching
The advantage of a subject search is that it provides a more focused search.
Its disadvantage is that it’s hard to know what LCSH term is used for a topic.
A good strategy is:
You can also use a subject search to find books about a person or organization.
Another Use for Subject Searching
To search for books about a person you can enter his/her name (enter the last name first) in a Subject search:
Similarly, you can find books about an organization by entering its name as a Subject search.
general motors corporation
Write down the call number. It acts as the “address” of where an item is located in the library.
This section showed you how to search a library catalog. Now you should be able to:
Before continuing on to section 4, take the self-test.
1. Which item CANNOT be found in a library’s catalog?
A. Journal Title
B. Journal Article
C. Musical Score
D. Video Recording
2. When entering a title of a book you leave off a, an, or the if it is the first word. (Choose one.)
3. If you wanted to find a book about Bill Gates, you would use a (Choose one.)
A. Keyword search
B. Subject search
C. Author search
4. When looking for a book on a topic, a good strategy is to first do a Keyword search and then look at subject terms that you might want to use. (Choose one.)
5. Using a Keyword search in a library catalog you can (Choose Two)
A. combine two or more concepts
B. find textbooks for your class
C. search the Internet
D. use your own search terms
1. Correct answer is B. To identify a journal article, you will need to use an article index.
2. This is true, because the words are so common that searching them would slow down a search.
3. B is correct. A subject search will focus your search on books that are about Bill Gates.
4. True, because it may give other terms to use in your search.
5. A. a Keyword search is the only type of search that lets you combine concepts
D. this is one of the advantages of a keyword search.