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Ask a Librarian

Finding Books on a Topic


When searching for books on a topic the best place to start your search is in the UVM Library Catalog. Links to the Library Catalog are included in the Find section of the Library Web Site, under the link labled "Books and More" and from the "Library Catalog" in the red bar at the top of each page.

Before You Search

When searching for books a topic the first thing you should do is decide what the best keywords are to describe your topic.

Sample Topic: Looking for books on the cultural significance of tattoos and tattooing.

Suggested search terms and alternate search terms:

Concept One tattoos tattooing
Concept 2 culture cultural society

Running Your Search

To run your search:
  • Click on Link to Library Catalog (located in red bar at top of page)
  • Click on Guided Keyword search
  • Enter one term or more terms from each of the rows above in each search box
  • Click on Search button

sample search

Note: In the above search the two words in each search box are connected by any (same as OR). This means that either of the words from each box must occur. Likewise the two boxes are connected by AND. This means that one word from each box must occur.

Interpreting Your Results

  • After you run your search you will get a list of titles that match your search terms.
  • Review the list and decide which titles best match what you are looking for.
  • Click on the title to learn more about the book.

Each entry in the Library Catalog about an individual book includes:
  • Basic information about the book - title, author, publication date, and publisher
  • A list of subjects that broadly describe the contents of the book
  • Information about where in the library the book is shelved - its collection or library and call number
  • Current status of the book - whether it is available or checked out
Many books also include:
  • A link to Google Books where you can learn more about the book and sometimes preview or search part of the contents

Information about the book

Recommended Strategies for Locating Books on a Topic

  • Run multiple searches using a variety of terms – don’t worry about finding the “one best” search statement.
  • When you find an item that looks good click on the Subject links to find books that are similar.
  • Learn more about your topic as you go – what vocabulary is used to describe your topic in the Library Catalog?
  • When you go to find a book on the shelf, look at the books in the same area.

Bailey / Howe Library

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