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SPAN S318: Writing Spanish for Heritage Speakers

Background Information & Books

Before you can start any research on your topic, you must have a background knowledge of it. Books and websites can provide you with that knowledge.

This is important because:

  1. Background sources give you the language that people are using to discuss your topic. You will use this language when you start to search databases for scholarly articles and resources on the topic.
  2. This "pre-research" gives you a sense if your topic is focused enough. If your initial searches bring back so many results you can't even figure out what the language is, then you should consider narrowing your topic.

Remember, background information is always a starting point for research, not an ending point.

IUCAT - Find Books

IUCAT Button

IUCAT is Indiana University's online library catalog. Search it to find items held by the IU Libraries statewide, including books, recordings, US government publications, periodicals, and other types of material. You can access IUCAT from any computer connected to the Internet or at walk-up terminals located throughout the IU Library system.

IUCAT Quick Search:

Library: IUPUI University Library
  Herron Art Library
 

Understanding LC Call Numbers

What exactly is a call number anyway?
A call number is the unique number given to each book in the library. Call numbers are like addresses, they tell you where a book will be located in the library.

Why should I know how to read one?
If you understand how to read a call number, it will be a lot easier for you to find books in the library.

What does a call number look like?
This library uses LC call numbers (LC stands for Library of Congress), which use a combination of letters and numbers. The same exact call number can be written 2 different ways:

A call number that you find in IUCAT (the online library catalog) will look like this:
CT105 .K55 1981

And that same call number will look like this on the spine of the book:
CT
105
.K55
1981
 
So, here's how you read a call number on the spine of a book:
CT        --Read it alphabetically (A, B, C, CT, D, E, F, G, H, HA, HQ, etc.)
105       --Read it numerically (1, 10, 100, 100.5, 105, 1005.10, etc.)
.K55     --Read alphabetically and then decimally (.A23, .A233, .A33, .B4555, .B50, etc.)
1981     --The final line is a date.
 
And here is how this book would be placed on the shelf:

CT
104
.P281
1930
CT
104
.P7
1830
CT
105
.H866
1995 
CT
105
.K55
1981 
D
105
.H43
1992

 

So now that I know how to read a call number, how do I use it to find books in the library?

  1. When you find a book that looks interesting in IUCAT, make sure you write down the entire call number.
  2. Check the location code to find out in what library the book will be (IUCAT contains books from all IU libraries).
  3. Look at the first letter(s) of the call number. Use this to figure out what part of the library to go to. Once you are on the correct floor, look for labels at the end of each set of bookshelves. These will tell you what call numbers can be found on those shelves.
  4. Find the book on the shelf and take it to the Service & Information Desk (2nd Floor) to check it out.