If you are new to library research or just want to refresh your skills, here are some resources:
If you are looking for more advanced search help in a particular resource or database, look for a Help Menu within that resource. Check YouTube as well for both publisher-, library-, or user-created tutorials. For example, see the video below about the Advanced Search in Project MUSE. I'm also including a link to the MLA International Bibliography YouTube channel below. Of course, you can also reach out to me, your librarian, for a consultation.
Before you start entering any search terms, spend a few minutes trying to think of as many relevant terms and combinations of terms as you can. This will help you to avoid getting stuck in a rut with the first terms that come to mind.
If you need help in coming up with terms, you may want to try the "Thesaurus" or "Subject Headings" features in the database you've chosen.
Check out the "Help" or "Search Tips" to learn some of the search features specific to that database. Most databases provide similar features, but the methods may vary. Some common tricks:
Try the databases' Advanced Search feature, which usually gives you the ability to search multiple fields (author, title, keyword, subject, etc) with one search and may offer additional ways to expand or limit your search.
If your first search strategy does not work, try another approach. Remember that you can also get help from the library. Check out the links below.
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:
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:
So now that I know how to read a call number, how do I use it to find books in the library?
755 W. Michigan Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202