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American Studies Resource Guide: Finding Books
(and DVDs, CDs, and Videos)
What is available & where is it?
Some tips on subject searching
After finding the IUCAT record
or if you just want to browse
How to find
Library catalogs have been created to help you find out what a library has in its collection and where these items are located. IUCAT and WorldCat are two libraries catalogs that will be helpful to you.
IUCAT can be used to find out what is available in all of the Indiana University Libraries.
This catalog is open to the public, but as an IU student, staff or faculty member you have special privileges. For example, if you live near any of the Indiana University Libraries, you will want to log in so that you can use Request Delivery to request that books not available at your local IU campus library be delivered to the campus library of your choice.
Options for learning to use IUCAT features:
OCLC's WorldCat can be used to find out what is available in many public and university libraries in this country and in some other countries.
If you find a book, CD, DVD, or video in WorldCat that is not available through the Indiana University libraries, you can make an Interlibrary Loan request for the item. Keep in mind that it will usually take at least 7-10 days for the item to come in and these items must be picked up and returned to IUPUI University Library if you are an IUPUI student, staff or faculty member. If you are not able to pick up items at IUPUI, please make an Interlibrary Loan request through your local public library instead of through University Library.
Options for learning to use WorldCat features:
- Check the Help Feature
- Look at these brief Flash tutorials
- Ask a Librarian to explain how to use WorldCat
- Experiment with WorldCat on your own
If you are searching by keyword or subject heading:
- Before you start entering any search terms, spend a few minutes trying to think of as many relevant terms and combinations as you can. This will help you to avoid getting stuck in a rut with the first terms that come to mind.
If you are searching by title:
- Leave out the first word of the title if it is a common article such as "the" or "an"
- If you are searching in WorldCat, do not include punctuation such as a ":"
Learn at least a few of the search features
- The most common one is Boolean searching:
- using AND between terms to narrow the results to items containing both (or all) of the search terms
- using OR between terms to expand the results to include items containing any one of the search terms
Searching library catalogs by Subject Heading, rather than by Keyword, can help to target your search. The catalog records for most of the books and other items in IUCAT and WorldCat include Subject Headings that come from a list defined by the Library of Congress. This can be helpful because it narrows down the options for useful search terms, but you need to know the approved Subject Headings in order to take advantage of this system.
Options for finding/using applicable Library of Congress Subject Headings:
- Most library Reference departments will have a copy of the "Red Books" containing the Library of Congress Subject Headings
- WorldCat has a feature that allows searching for subject headings.
- Go to the Advanced Search screen.
- Or see the Flash tutorial on using this feature.
- When you do run across a catalog record for a book that is relevant to your topic, both IUCAT and WorldCat allow you to click on the hyperlinked subject headings to find more books on that topic.
- This Word document shows a list of some Subject Headings relevant to American Studies topics.
When you want to view an e-book:
When you want to find an item on the Library shelves:
University Library and many other academic libraries use the Library of Congress Classification System and Call Numbers, not the Dewey Decimal System that you may have seen at your local public library.
At the bottom of an IUCAT record, you will see the call number and basic location for the item as shown in this example:
|Indpls - IUPUI University Library (I-UNIVLIB)||Location|
|P90 .G354 2006 (this is the call number)||1) Stacks|
If the location for an item in the University Library collection says "Stacks" the item will be on the:
- 3rd floor shelves if the call number starts with the letters A-N
- 4th floor shelves if the call number starts with the letters P-Z
Reference materials, Current Periodicals, Microforms, and Government Documents are all in the Reference Room on the 2nd floor.
IUPUI's Philanthropic Studies Library is on the 2nd floor.
DVDs are kept behind the Circulation desk on the 2nd floor.
Special Collections are on the Lower Level
If you are looking for full-text books that can be accessed and read online, then e-books are for you. Most of our e-books can be found by title in our catalog, IUCAT, but they can also be accessed or browsed directly in the database through which they are provided.
- ACLS Humanities E-Book
A fully searchable collection of high-quality books in the Humanities, recommended and reviewed by scholars and featuring unlimited multi-user. The majority of the titles are older but foundational works. Pages from the e-books are NOT designed for easy printing.
A multi-discipline collection of recent and older published books both scholarly and popular in nature. Workstation must have special, free Ebrary viewer downloaded to view the books. One can print multiple pages at a time and multiple users can view the same title at the same time.
- Google Book Search
Google has photocopied and made available online thousands of books, both scholarly and popular, from libraries across the county. Some books can be viewed in full-text while others provide only snippets from the book. Because of the controversial (due to copyright issues) nature of the Google Book Search project you may want to make sure it is OK with your professor before using Google Book Search as means for class research.
- Net Library
A multi-discipline collection of recent and older published books both scholarly and popular in nature. You can print one page at a time and only one user may view a specific title at a time.
Last updated by andjsmit on 10/30/2008