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AIS 380: Research Methods: Finding Books

A guide to library resources for students developing research proposals as part of AIS 380.

SOUTHcat

To find books and government documents in USA Libraries' collections, use SOUTHcat: USA Libraries' Catalog.

  • Catalog tips and tricks:
    • Keyword searches – use quotation marks to hold phrases together ("death penalty")
    • Truncation – use ? after the root of a word to find all its variants (president? finds president, presidents, presidential...)
    • Browse the Subject(s) field in records to find the right words for searches. (Example: Try doing a keyword search for "death penalty," then look at the subject(s) field in several records. You’ll see that the subject term is "Capital punishment." Click the subject heading to find more records with this subject.)
  • Revise and refine your searches.
  • Watch for repeating call numbers and browse stacks in that area.
  • Pay attention to the Location and Status fields. You will need this information to locate the item in the library.

Subject-Specific Encyclopedias

Subject encyclopedias have a wealth of background information that can provide you with a strong foundation upon which to build your research. To find a subject encyclopedia, try the search strategies shown in this tutorial.

Subscription E-Books

The USA Libraries subscribe to several subscription e-book collections. These collections tend to focus on a specific discipline or field of study in their coverage.

Search Google Books

Part of Google's library-scanning project. Only books in the public domain are shown in full text. Others may have just a citation or show selected pages from the book. Remember, you can check SOUTHcat to see if we have a book you find in Google Books if the full text is not available.

More SOUTHcat Resources

Interlibrary Loan

If the USA Libraries don't have the book or article you're looking for, you can place a request for it via Interlibrary Loan (ILL). The link below will take you to the ILL page.