Using Books for Background Information
Books are the best library resources for comprehensive information. They tend to cover issues in depth and at great length. However, they are not as current as sources in periodicals or the internet. They are excellent for obtaining background information on a topic and to develop a list of relevant keywords with which to search.
In order to use a book effectively, you may not need to read the entire book. Browse the Table of Contents at the front of the book for chapter contents, and the index in the back of the book for the pages on which shorter amounts of information are located.
Ask a librarian for assistance.
Elizabeth Sturm Library, Dandini Campus (the Main Library)
Redfield Branch, Health Science Center
Library Reference Collection
Reference books are condensed, authoritative books such as encyclopedias. Many reference books contain primary sources and original documents.
Very large and very good collection, shelved mainly on the second floor of the Main Library. Ask the Reference Librarians for assistance. These books are allowed to leave the library.
Online Books in the Book and Video Catalog
To limit your search to online books, select ‘Advanced search.’ Select ‘Online Library’ on the Location line. The title will include this phrase in brackets: [electronic resource].
Here is a sample book record with its call number:
Breaking down the Library Location and Call Number:
The book is located in the Reference section, because it is composed of short chapters on each type of critter, suitable for photocopying. Reference Books are not allowed to leave the Library.
The call number:
.L25 L for author: Lange, Ian
2002 date of publicaton.
Like most academic libraries, the TMCC Library system uses Library of Congress Call Numbers.
The LC classification system groups together books on similar subjects by means of their call numbers. The call numbers are a sort of street address, while the library location is like the town. Each book is clearly labeled with the call number on the spine or on the lower left on the front of the book.
Click on a subject below to find out which more specific subjects fall under that heading. Links lead to the Library of Congress website.A - General Works
On the Library’s home page, the Library Catalog has records for all books, videos, hard copy magazines and journals, other media, and some (but not all) online books in the library. Except for e-books, catalog records indicate that the library owns the item and where it is shelved, but do not include the full text. Click on the Library Catalog. The window opens to a place to type your search term ‘within Keyword’ [menu on the end of the search bar].
Sample keyword search:
However, our keyword search also retrieved books on another civil war:
This second book is about the Spanish Civil War, not the American Civil War!
If the keyword search results in this sort of confusion, it is helpful to turn to a Subject Browse search: Here is the subject heading applied to the relevant book: United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Regimental histories--Nevada.