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Step-by-Step Guide & Research Rescue: Finding Books and Print Resources

This guide will help you understand how to efficiently and effectively do basic research.


THIS GUIDE WILL BE UPDATED August 2020. If you are currently using the guide, find the information valuable, or would like to continue having access to it, please send your feedback to

Why Books?

Books are useful for background research, finding keywords, getting an overview of your topic and chronologies. Most scholarly books also provide extensive bibliographies, directing you to other books, articles, and various other types of sources that can be very useful to your research. The library provides several tools to make books more accessible to you as a student and researcher.

Searching for Books

Use the Scholar Search search bar on the homepage of the Harold B. Lee Library website to find books, videos, audiobooks, e-books, periodicals and more. You can narrow your search using filters found on the left side of the page. If you click on the title of the source you are interested in, you will be given additional information on how to access the full text.

Library Catalog

The Library Catalog is a valuable resource if you are looking for a book or print resource.  Searching within the Library Catalog is similar to the database searches explained on the Finding Articles page.  If you know the title of a specific book or item, search using the Alphabetic Search option.  You can also search in the Keyword Search, using key terms or concepts to find more resources on a topic.  The "Subject" term heading utilizes the Library of Congress style subject headings for print sources.  When searching for an "Author", format the name using a "Last Name, First Name" style.

Once you have performed your search in the Catalog, you are given several options to further your research. On the left hand side of the page, you are given a list of limiters such as Subject categories that you can use to limit your results. Within the list of results, you can click on the titles of books or items if you want more information.

Within the listing of the individual items, you will see author information, a summary of the book or article, additional subject headings, and the call number if it is a print copy. By using the Floor Maps page, you can search the call number and be shown what floor and section of the library the item is located.

Another useful feature of the item listing are the "Find more on these topics" and "Nearby items on shelf" options. Because the Harold B. Lee Library uses the Library of Congress call number system, items on the shelves are filed according to subject. All of the "Nearby items on shelf" will be hard copy book or journals dealing with that specific topic, while "Find more on these topics" will bring up print copies as well as electronic resources.

If you have found a print copy of a book you are looking for, you can place a hold on the book. If the book is already checked out when you place a hold, it will not be able to be renewed by the patron who has it at the time, and you will be informed when it is returned.  If it is on the shelves, a library employee will go and retrieve that book from the shelves and keep it for you so that no one else can check it out. They will take the book to the Circulation desk on the third floor (where you normally check out books) and you will be able to pick it up there using your student ID card, usually the next day.

Other Print Sources

The Library has access to many databases that specialize in print resources such as newspapers or magazines that can be very useful to your research.

LexisNexis Academic -- News is a full-text database linking to national and international newspapers, magazines, newsletters, journals, and more.

Newspapers (ProQuest) provides full text coverage for more than 700 U.S. and international news sources including most of that world's major news publication sources.

Factiva is a news source that specializes in news surrounding the business world, with sources such as The Wall Street Journal and thousands of other national and international newspapers. Also accessible in Factiva are resources such as financial market data and company/industry information.

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