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Finding books LRC@TCC

In many cases, books will provide the majority of the information you need for your research. Books typically provide a broad, detailed treatment of a subject, usually from a retrospective point of view.  The humanities and some of the social sciences depend largely on books for information. If you require only very current information or information that is more focused on a specific aspect of your topic, periodical articles, which are covered in the following lesson, may be a more appropriate source of information. 

Library Catalogs 

TCC's library catalog lists all the books (print and online) and other types of library materials.  Campus locations are identified in the catalog. The catalog may be searched from any computer that is connected to the Internet.

Patrons who possess a valid library card may borrow books and other materials from any other campus library of the college.  If the book you need is not at your campus, you may request that the book be sent to your campus by completing a Intercampus Loan request form, available at all library locations and online.

With  the exception of materials on short-term reserve, books and other materials may be returned to any campus location.  If the book you need is not at this college you may be eligible to request an Interlibrary Loan.  .

For more information on how to search the catalog try Ask a Librarian. For more information about the LRC's services, speak to a staff member and/or refer to the LRC home page on the Internet. 

Bibliographies (Citations) 

Most scholarly books and articles contain bibliographies and lists of references to other sources of information related to the subject of the book or article. These lists of citations are usually found at the end of the book and/or the end of each chapter. Check your textbook and other readings assigned by your instructor to see if other relevant books exist on your topic. If you find citations for books that seem relevant, you will need to search a library catalog to find a library that owns the books you want.

A book citation identifies the book in which particular information can be found. A book citation includes:

the author and title of the book
the publisher, date and place of publication, and
the page numbers for your quote or paraphrase

If the book is a collection of articles or essays, the citation includes:

the author and title of the essay
the editor and title of the book
the publisher, date and place of publication, and
the page numbers for your quote or paraphrase

Browse the Shelves 

Once you have found one or more relevant books, browse the shelves in the same area for other books on the same subject. Searching the indexes of books often reveals information not retrievable through the catalog. 

Most academic libraries use the Library of Congress Classification system to arrange books by subject area on the shelf. This system uses a combination of letters and numbers to arrange materials by subject. The first letter(s) of a call number represents the broad subject of the material.  Read Library of Congress Classification in a New Setting, Beyond Shelfmarks by Dr. Lois Mai Chan for more information.

Finding books by Call Number 

Books are shelved alphabetically by first letter of the first line of the call number, then by the second letter, if any. In the example below, Book 1 comes before Book 2 because plain B comes before BF. Second lines are arranged as whole numbers with Book 2 coming before Book 3 because 198 comes before 1003. The third line is a decimal so that Book 4 would be shelved before Book 5 because .A42 comes before .A7. 

Book 1 Book 2 Book 3 Book 4 Book 5
792 198 1003 964 964
.T51 .S2 .M49 .A42 .A7
1989 1998 1973 1999 1996

Reprinted & adapted with permission from
Ross Tyner's Electronic Information Literacy.