Skip to Main Content

Books - Using the Library Catalog & Finding Books and eBooks

stack of four books, laying on their sideBooks are great sources because they provide:

  • In-depth coverage of a subject
  • History and chronology      
  • Background information
  • Overview of a big topic

A book doesn't need to be read cover-to-cover to be used for research. Find a chapter (in the table of contents) or look in the Index (in the back) for certain things relevant to your topic. If you are using an ebook, you can often use a 'search within' feature to find words anywhere within the text.

Because books tend to be in-depth studies of a topic, they won't be as current as a recent newspaper or magazine article. But what they lack in currency, books will provide a detailed study of a topic.

Search for Books in OneSearch, the Library Catalog.

Search by keywords, title, and/or author (use the format of last name, first name) 

Find print books by selecting 'Available In Library' in the left-hand column.


Quick Search Tips:

 Use different words and phrases that have a similar meaning, like “capital punishment” and “death penalty”

Pay attention to the number of results. Try to get a manageable number of results that you can skim through.-- shoot for around 60 max in your results!

Too few books in your search results? Go broader on your subject and look at “prison systems” 

Too many books in your results? Search for something more specific like “Lethal Injection” or “death row inmates” 

Use Filter your results left-hand column to narrow results:

Print books only, select Available in the Library

eBooks only, select Available online

Explore the other options in the column, like date, publication type, and subject

For more useful tips on how to improve your results in our catalog, see Using the Library Catalog & Finding Books