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CIS 500-Level Research Resources: Finding Books

A guide to library research resources for computer information/computer engineering upper level courses


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 ("dissertations academic")
    • Truncation – use ? after the root of a word to find all its variants (comput? finds computer, computers, computing...)
    • Browse the Subject(s) field in records to find the right words for searches. (Example: Try doing a keyword search for "computing network," then look at the subject(s) field in several records. You’ll see that the subject term is "computer network." 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.


USA students and faculty have free access to the full-text of USA dissertations. Uncheck "Select All" then check "Dissertations & Theses @ University of South Alabama" from the ProQuest database list. If you want to search the entire ProQuest Dissertations database, look further down the database list and check ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I. Click "Use selected databases" to begin your search.

Subject-Specific Encyclopedias & Handbooks

Subject encyclopedias and handbooks 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 in SOUTHcat, search your keyword(s) and the term encyclopedia?, ex.: computer security encyclopedia? 

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.

Google Book Search

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.