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Library Resources: How Do I...?

Tutorials on using Gertrude Kistler Library, online library resources, and various information sources from elsewhere.

Using the Catalog

If you specifically need print resources, the Library Catalog will always be the best place to start.

See How Do I Navigate the Library? for information on how to read a call number and locate print materials in the Library.

Can't find a specific item? Try Interlibrary Loan or visit an affiliated library.

How Do I Find Books In The Catalog?

How should I search if I'm looking for a specific book?

The best way to find a book when you know the title is to do a simple search by "title":

catalog search by title for novel Pride and Prejudice

results of catalog search by title for Pride and Prejudice


How should I search if I'm  looking for books on a particular subject?

To find books on a subject, start by finding the appropriate Library of Congress subject heading(s) for your topic. These are controlled terms that professional librarians use to describe materials in library catalogs, and in some periodicals databases.

You can find out what subject headings describe your topic in one of a few ways:

  • Library of Congress Subject Headings are available in book form from the Information Desk at the Library.
  • You can search for subject headings in WorldCat. At the FirstSearch screen, use "Jump to Advanced Search" and select "WorldCat," and then click the black  button marked Subjects.
  • Doing a "words or phrase" search in the Library catalog, using the word or phrase that you think best describes the subject you're looking for:

catalog search for sexism in advertising by keyword


results for catalog keyword search for sexism in advertising

Many of the search results returned at first may be irrelevant, but this will be a good broad starting point from which to refine your search.

Find a book that seems relevant to the subject you're looking for, and click on its title. This will take you to the Item Information screen. Click on the "Catalog Record" link, at the top of the display, to change to the catalog record view.

item record in catalog with catalog record link highlighted

Scroll down the catalog record, and look at the fields labeled "Subject":

subjects listed in catalog record

These Subjects are the Library of Congress subject headings that describe the book.

If you like, you can also click on these subjects to return a list of all books that are described with that exact subject heading.

results of subject search for women in advertising

This search may miss some books where the subject is worded differently, however, so exercise caution when using this strategy.

It may be more helpful to simply perform a new search by Subject, using words that you've seen in the Subject field of books that are on your topic. Searching for a word by "subject" will find that word anywhere in a book's Subject lines.

results for subject search for advertising women in library catalog


How should I search for a specific type of item (videorecording, etc.)?

Click on Power Search, right below the search box on the main catalog page:

main search page for library catalog with arrow highlighting power search link 

From the drop-down box marked "type," select the type of item you are searching for (DVD, ELECTRONIC, etc.). Then you can enter your search terms in the fields above to conduct a keyword, title, subject, or other type of search. (NOTE: This method is NOT recommended for periodicals. Many of our online journals are not designated as periodicals in the system. For best results, search for periodicals in the catalog as you would for books.)

power search screen for library catalog with type drop down menu highlighted

How Do I Find E-Books?

Kistler Library maintains access to ebooks through a number of different content providers, including many freely available open access and public domain ebooks. Users can conduct a comprehensive search for ebook titles through WorldCat Discovery, using the search box below:

Once you enter your search terms above, click GO to view your results. You may also click on Advanced Search instead to view more search options, including choices to limit your results by publication year, format, or open access status. The default index for the above search is set to Keyword, but you may click the dropdown menu to change the search index to Author, Subject, or Title, depending on the parameters of your search.

In the list of results, you will see links to View eBook under each title. By clicking on these links you will be directed straight to the content provider. Be aware that you may be prompted for a login before you are able to access any subscription-based materials.

Browse databases containing ebooks on our Database (A-Z) list. 

Books at Other Libraries

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