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POSI 2304: Introduction to Political Science: Finding books

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 title of the material that you want.

Understanding Call Numbers

Understanding Call number order

Library of Congress call numbers should be read one line at a time as follows:

Example of a complete call number, DA 36 .A55:

DA Line 1

Line 2


Line 3


  1. First, look at Line 1:
    Books are arranged in alphabetical order, by the letters on the first line of the call number.
    Example: first come all the D call numbers, then all the DA call numbers, then DB, etc


  2. Next, look at Line 2:
    Within the DA call numbers, books are arranged in number order.
    The numbers are arranged in numerical from low to high.
  3. Then look at Line 3:
    Line 3 of the call number has a letter and a number. The letters are in alphabetical order. Then read the numbers-but BEWARE!
    The numbers are not WHOLE numbers, they are DECIMAL numbers.
    Example: A55 is read as A .55 - this is why A55 comes before A6 (A .55, A .6, A .65, etc.)