Information in Volumes
When you think of the library, you think of books. Depending on your subject, books may be your best sources of information. Learn how to find books in the library with the resources on this page.
How to Find Books in the Catalog
Books are available in both print and electronic formats.
Are usually authoritative sources of information.
May provide thorough coverage of a subject.
May contain references and bibliographies.
May be written by one author or contain contributions from several authors.
The library catalog contains both print books and electronic books. Print books must be picked up at the library or ordered through mail or courier. The eBooks, however, you can have right away: See the eBook instructions for details.
Book Evaluation Tips
Date of Publication
Is the information current enough for your purposes?
Alternatively, is a historical perspective important?
University presses are likely to be scholarly.
- Professional organizations and the U.S. Government Printing Office can also be indicators of scholarly content.
The Dewey Decimal System
Melvil Dewey invented this system for organizing libraries in .
The numbers represent different fields of human knowledge. But you don’t need to know what the numbers mean—you just need to know that books are arranged in numerical order on the shelves!
|000–099||General Reference & Information Science|
|100–199||Philosophy, Psychology, & Logic|
|400–499||Natural Science & Mathematics|
|600–699||Technology, Applied Science, & Medicine|
|900–999||History & Biography|
This system keeps books on the same subject together. If you find one book on your topic, scan the other books nearby to see if they will be useful also.
Look at the spines of some books in our collection:
These labels contain call numbers. Call numbers tells you where in the library a book is shelved. When you look up a book, you will receive the call number and can then go to the shelf where the book is located.
Each call number contains two number sets:
- Dewey Number
(For example, 708.051.)
This represents the book’s subject.
- Cutter Number
(For example, B633d.)
This represents the author’s name.
Now look at the end of a shelving unit:
Each shelf has a range of numbers printed on it. When you know the call number, you can retrieve the book from the shelf with the appropriate range. If you want a book that has the call number 708.051, as shown above, you would go to the shelf containing books with call numbers 708.05 to 735.045.