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Research Tutorial

Finding Books on the Shelf

Once you have identified a book that you would like to look at, you need to locate it in one of our libraries.

Fortunately, the page for each book will tell you where it can be found. Let's go back to that first book in our results list.

There are THREE things you need to make note of when you go to search for a book in the shelves (sometimes called stacks — that's just a fancy library term for shelf!).

  • The Title. It's hard to find a book if you don't know what it's called!

Screenshot of title and author information on item record page. Title & Author: “The athletic trap: how college sports corrupted the academy / Howard L. Nixon II”.

  • The Call Number. This is that funny collection of numbers and letters we pointed out earlier. Write it down for now, we'll explain what it means in a minute.

Screenshot of item call number on item record page. Call number: GV351 .N29 2014

  • The physical location. This comes in two parts. First, the book's page will tell you what library it is found in:

Screenshot of location information on item record page. Current location: Mortensen Library, Collection: Books, Shelving location: Shelves

So we can easily see that this book is in Mortensen Library. "Shelves" means it is in the main collection of books.

(Other Shelving Locations that you might see are "Reference," "Oversized," "Archives," or "Reserves." there are others, too, but these are the most common.)

Next, you can look at the map on the page to see where in the library you need to start looking. There will be a small map on the book's page, like this:

Screenshot of small map on item record page

When you click on it, you will get a larger, more readable version:

Screenshot of  large map

This tells you that this book is on the upper level of Mortensen, and it highlights the area of the shelves where it is located.

So now you can find the book, right? Hold on a minute. Not quite.

We've got to go back to that "call number" thing we mentioned a few minutes ago.

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