Finding Books in the University Library

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Look around and get to know the tools

Books are easy to find once you know how. When you are physically at the library look around for maps, computers, and helpful librarians. The catalog, often called an OPAC ("OH-Pack"), is the main finding tool.

The library catalog

The OPACThe catalog is found on line. The library catalog is the best place to start to find any library material. The online web site for the CSU catalog looks like this and is found at this link.

You could use “Quick Limit” to restricting searching to books only. Then choose how you want to find the book. This often depends upon how much you know about a book. Do you know who wrote it? Do you know the title on the cover? Do you know what it is about—science, crime, or another subject?

Use the catalog

Title search If you know the book’s title, type that in the box "Search for." Do not put leading words like "a" or "the" even if these words are part of the title. For example, if you are looking for "The Little Prince," just put "Little Prince." In the "Search by" box choose "title."

Author search The author who wrote the book, your favorite author, or an author you are studying could be used as a search term. Authors are usually located by their last name. For example, "Smith, Roland," or "Twain, Mark." Use "Author (last name, first name" in the "Search by" box and your author’s name in the "Search For" box. The picture here demonstrates this choice.

Subject search When you know what you want to study or read try a subject search. These searches are good too when you are searching for specific information, but you do not know the title. If you do not discover what you want the first time, try searching on different words. Use "Any word anywhere" in the "Search by" box.

More details on finding books

Follow these links for more important tips on finding and using books.

... and finding is not browsing

"Sometimes browsing is best. If you have a particular interest, often it is fun—and useful—to browse what other works there are and see how others think. Try our “I. Brows” browsing tool for eBooks, electronic books, here.

I. Brows