Skip to Main Content

GEO 7300: Advanced Geographic Research Design: Finding books

Example Catalog Record

A search in the library catalog will lead you to "catalog records" for books.  These records will tell you information about the book, including all of the information you need to cite the book.  It will also tell you the location of the book, the call number (which gives you the location on the shelf), and if the book is available or checked out. 

Be sure to look at the subjects assigned to the book.  These can lead you to other great resources.

Remember, you may want to use truncation to search for variant endings of words.


Climate Change book

Climatology Call Numbers

The Alkek Library uses the Library of Congress classification system.  This groups books about subjects in the same location.  Below is an example regarding climatology books. However, the social, economic, and political effects of climatological phenomena may be in different call number ranges.

Climatology Call Number Ranges

Google Books

You can use Google Books to search within the text of books for words.

Tips for Finding Books

Types of Searches


  • Combine terms using AND.
  • This search returns records that contain words that match exactly what you typed in.
  • This is often (but not always) the best place to start.


  • Catalog uses pre-defined subjects. 
  • This type of search works well if you are browsing for a particular subject that you know or a broad term. So if you aren't finding anything, switch to the keyword search instead.
  • Subjects are arranged using the Library of Congress Classification system.


  • Author searches are for looking for items a particular person has authored or written.
  • The library catalog works best if you type in searches in the format "Lastname, Firstname."
  • If you want books about a person, search for their name by subject.


  • Use this search if you know the exact title of the material that you want.  It is very particular.