Redefining the Classroom

Finding a book...

This is a little more complicated than it sounds. We have paper books, online books, and a catalog that combines them all together. In all, we have 150,000 paper format books, 250,000 government documents, and 25,000 online books. Here's the scoop on how to "find a book." Oh, if you still have problems, and there are a lot of places this can go awry, please call the Reference Desk and speak to a librarian (635-2651). We'll do what we can to help.

  • If you just need a book, a book in any format, start here. To find a book, you need a computer, and you need to go to the library's home page. If you're on this page looking for help finding a book, I know you have a computer, and I recommend you open the library's page in a second window by right clicking on this link and choosing to open the link in a new window. Once you've got the second window open, you can re-size each window so they fit side-by-side, and you can read the directions here, AND use the other window to look up your book.

    In the Library page window, click the "Search the Library Catalog" link, then choose the "Search the LSSU Catalog" link. This first screen is a keyword search screen. Think of the two or three most important concepts you want this book to cover. Maybe it needs to be by Shakespeare, or about dog mushing. Type in only those important words. If you type in "the" or "and" or other common words, the machine will tell you, in not so understandable language, that it didn't find anything. So choose just a few words that describe what you'd like to find.

    If you know the title, or the author, you can click on the tab marked Title/Author/Subject, or just type in the boxes on the first page, but use the drop down menu to the right, to identify the words as an element of the Author, or Title field.

    When you're done typing, click on Search.

    The results page should list titles that contained the word(s) you typed. If you typed in "bird," you would get books with "bird" in the title, "bird" in the subject heading, and books written by someone with "bird" in their name (i.e. Lady Bird Johnson). That explains why, sometimes, books may be listed that appear to be totally unrelated to your search.

    Your results page should look like this.

    That screen shows me that I searched for the keywords "sled dogs" and that the catalog found 17 items. The captured screen shows the first five items. The title is given for each, and usually the author. The approximate date of publication is in the next column, and the library that owns the item is listed to the far right. The fourth and fifth items are owned by LSSU. To find the location of those items, you need to look at the information in the yellow band, below the name of the book. The fourth item, Call of the Wild, is located in the basement. It's Call Number (the address of the book) is PS3523 .O46 C15 1977. Further, it tells us that the book isn't checked out, so it should be available. To get the book, you'd need to go to the basement of the library, and find the PS section-the sections are aphabetical-then the 3500's, then the 3523's, etc.. If it's not exactly where it ought to be, snoop a little to the left and a little to the right, things get put away incorrectly sometimes.

    To get the fifth book on the list, which is also at LSSU, you'll have to click on the title of the book to get more information about it. The item record looks like this.

    This screen tells us that we're looking at number 5 of the 17 results, and it gives us the citation information for the book. It's a good idea to cut and paste, or print out this information, because if you use this book, you'll need it for your bibliography. Along with the citation information, this page also tells us the official subject heading, listed behind Subject(s):. The official subject heading in this case is Eskimos -- Fiction. If that's the exactly the topic we're looking for, or pretty close, click on it, and it will take us to a screen that will lead us to more information on that subject. As to this specific book, the catalog tells us that the book is in the basement, in the Juvenile section. If the catalog indicates that the book is in a special area (i.e. Juvenile, Special Collections, etc.), ask one of the librarians at the Reference Desk for directions to that location. It's not hard to get there, but it's hard to describe in writing. The final bit of information that you get from this item record is information about this title as an Electronic Resource. For this particular book, you can get information about the author, and information about the book by clicking on the links, but not the full text of the book.

    You may get an item that is listed as an Electronic Resource, their item records look like this.

    Electronic books are books that are available online rather than in paper. Every word, every space, and every picture is available online. The only difference is that the item is online. To view the book, you need to click on the gray Linked Resources button, and then click on the links that are presented. To turn pages in the book, you click on Next and Previous, and, well, you'll get it... . If you are not on campus, you may need to have an account to use online books. Creating an account is something you need to do while you are on campus. If online books sound like something you'd like to use, create an account while you are on campus, and you can find more information about using electronic books, here.

    If the results page offered no titles, click on "Back" and try again, using some different terms. (Instead of "old age," try "elderly," for example.) You may also choose to go back and modify your search, so your results are closer to what you need.

    Finally, catalogs keep track of books, but you still need to watch out for government documents, and the listing of magazines and journals to which we subscribe.

  • If you specifically want a book in the paper format (hard or paperback cover, pages, words, maybe pictures), you need to use the catalog. My grandma used to read to me from those. They were pretty nice. Oh... you need to find a book. I forgot.

    To find a paper book, you need to go to the catalog. As described above, you need click on this link with the right mouse button, and open it in a new window. Then resize this window and the window with the catalog link so that you can read both at the same time.

    In the Library page window, click the "Search the Library Catalog" link, then choose the "Search the LSSU Catalog" link. This first screen is a keyword search screen. If we only want a book, we need to tell the catalog so at this point. On the lower right side of the screen, you see a blue box labeled Limit Search, click on it. This screen should appear.

    In the gray Search Limits box, is a box labeled Location:. Click on LSSU Books, then click on the Set Limits button at the bottom. The results you get should be only books held at LSSU, unless you choose a subject heading from within your search results. Use the directions above to do your search.

  • If you would like an online book, you can go directly to our online book provider, Ebrary.

    If you would like an online reference book, use Credo Reference. This product is almost as simple to use as Wikipedia, and has a much better reputation. You will not need to defend anything you find in Credo Reference to faculty members, as the contents are from well known reference books. If you're looking for general information, type the topic in the search box and click on Search. If you are looking for subject specific material, click on the drop down menu and choose the appropriate subject area, then type in the specific topic and click on Search. All material in Credo Reference is full text, and while the information is delivered via the Internet, it's all from published works.