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Finding Books in the Catalog


Where are the Library's books listed? back to top

Books, as well as other kinds of materials in the library's collections are listed in the online catalog which is available from any Internet-connected computer.

NOTE: If the Library's catalog is down, you may use WorldCat to find out if we own the item.

To find the call number for the item, display the book's record on WorldCat and scroll down to see the CLASS DESCRIPT: field. Write down the LC information and use it as a guide to look for the book in the Library's collection. You may ask for assistance from any library staff member.

Using the Library's Catalog back to top  

Spelling is important. Capitalization is not. Punctuation may be.
Do not include the "a", "an" or "the" if one begins a title.
Search for an author's works by using his last name.
Before going to the shelf, check to see if the item's status is "On Shelf".
If it is not, you may place a Hold on the item at the Circulation Desk. When it returns, you will be notified.
Before going to the shelf, write down all of the call number information and note the location.
You may ask for assistance from any library staff member.

Browsing vs Searching back to top

  • Browsing is useful when you have the exact title, author, or subject information and want to retrieve a list of items using that information.
  • For example, a list of items titled "a midsummer night's dream", a list of an author's works, or a list of items about computer science.
  • Searching with keywords can be very effective if information is only partially known. Entering one or more terms (spelled correctly) will result in a list of records that contain those terms.
  • For example, "midsummer and dream" or "cyborg".
  • Note: To obtain fewer hits, try using the search limits button found at the bottom right of the screen.

Arrangement On The Shelf back to top

Books on the Library's shelves are arranged according to the Library of Congress System of Classification which uses letters and numbers in combination to identify and group books by subjects. 

This number is usually found on the book's spine and it known as the "call number".  The call number usually appears on the spine of the book in a vertical manner, as shown below.

QC        (Broad Subject)
851       (Specific Subject)
L43       (Author Code )
1978     (Date Published)  

In addition to the call number, an item is assigned to a particular location. Letters in front of a call number usually indicate that it is shelved in a special place. For example, A.V. PN1997 .J38 is an item in the Audiovisual Collection and it is housed in a closed area. To see this item, ask Library staff for assistance.

What if a book is not on the shelf? back to top
  1. If a book is not on the shelf, check the online catalog again to be certain the call number is correct, you have the correct location information, and the status is "On Shelf".
  2. Look to the right, left, above, and below of the spot where the book should be on the shelf to see if it has been shelved out of order. 
  3. Check the shelving carts - located near the Reference Desk and at the Circulation Desk.
  4. If a book is not found in any of these areas, ask the Circulation staff to place a hold on it, or, if it has been missing for a while, request that a search be conducted for the book.
  5. If a book cannot be located, you may want to try to obtain it from another library by making an Interlibrary Loan Request.

What if the Library does not own a book? back to top
  1. Ask for assistance from a Library staff member.
  2. The book may be available in another library within driving distance. Try searching other library catalogs for the book.
  3. It may be possible to locate the book in another library's collection and borrow it through Interlibrary Loan.

Other Places To Find Books back to top
Another way to find books is to search WorldCat, OCLC's online catalog. This catalog contains listings for millions of books and other materials owned by libraries around the world, including books and other items owned by Logan Library. Items not owned by Logan Library can usually be obtained/borrowed by making an Interlibrary Loan Request.