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Human Biology

How to Search for Books

  1. Click on ROOsearch to jump to the library homepage. ROOsearch simultaneously searches all of the library resources with one search!
  2. Try a title or keyword search on your figure or topic. 
  3. Look at several relevant records and note words and phrases from the "subject" area.
  4. Go back to the search screen and search BY SUBJECT using the words you identified in step 3.
  5. When you find something useful, copy down the call number (for more info. on call numbers, see below!) and location if it's a print book. If the book is an eBook, either click the title of the book or the link that says "Available Online."

Locating a Book by Call Number

A search for items in ROOsearch will provide you with some basic information about the book, its author, publication date, a call number (or a link if it's an e-book), how many copies are owned, and the book's status or availability (not checked out, checked out, lost, on order, etc.). So how do you use this info to get the actual book?

In locating materials in the library, it is important to understand how these items are organized and shelved. Southworth Library Learning Commons uses the Library of Congress Classification system to organize materials. In general, books in the library are shelved by SUBJECT. What this means is that once you identify one book of interest for your topic, you should be able to locate other books related to your topic on the shelves next to it. Books in most libraries are shelved by their CALL NUMBERS.

If your book's call number does not have a prefix (such as REF or JUV), the book will be shelved in alphanumeric order (letters first, then numbers, then a letter, then a decimal number, etc.) on the second floor in the general stacks. A call number is basically the "address" of where you will find a book in the library.

E457.2 M475 1991   <<<   This is the book we want to find!

First, find the area with books whose call number begins with E. E comes before EA, EB, EC, etc. and E comes after D, DC, etc. 

Next, use the numbers following the first letter to locate the shelf where the book belongs. 457.2 comes before 457.4 or 458 and after 457.1 or 450. 

Then, continue using alphabetic and numerical order along with the call number to locate your book. 

Let's take a closer look at what each line of the call number represents:

E                  The letter represents the subject area (E represents 'History of the Americas'), so find the stack in the library that contains the E section.

457.2          The numbers following the subject area letter refer to a specific subject. (457.2 represents 'Civil War period, 1861-1865')

M475          The third line typically refers to the author's last name. (M = McPherson)

1991           The last line refers to the date the book was published (1991)

If your book has a prefix, the book will be shelved in alphanumeric order within the collection indicated by the prefix:

  • REF stands for reference; Please see a librarian for reference materials.
  • JUV stands for juvenile, and this collection is housed on the second floor adjacent to the elevator.

If you ever have trouble locating a book by call number, just contact the reference desk on either the first floor or the second floor.