Tips For Searching For That “Specific” Book!

March 1, 2011
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I wanted to share some searching tips to help you find that ‘specific’ book.  This is primarily for Info Point People and Student Assistants, but there may be some helpful reminders and surprises!

  • Start With The Library Catalog – Students often have abbreviated or incomplete citation information.  Try and work with the student to insure the information is accurate and searchable.  If you can’t find the book by ‘title’, search by keyword.
  • Link+ – After searching our Library Catalog, check Link+ to see if other lending libraries have this title.  If the book is AVAILABLE from our library, patrons cannot request the book from Link+.  If we have a copy of the book and its checked-out to another patron, then students can request it via Link+.
  • Books often have different editions with the same title.  We may have a specific edition of a book (published in 1990) that is unavailable from our Library Catalog.   BUT if you search Link+, you might find more recent editions of the book with more relevant information for our user.
  • Textbooks - Students often assume we purchase textbooks for their classes.  The Bookstore has  a program where  popular textbooks can be rented out.  However, do not assume that all ‘textbooks’ are unavailable from our Library Catalog.  A textbook could be as generic as “Biology: an introduction” or as specific as “Gay Rights On Trial: A Sourcebook With Cases…”.  Also, other libraries (via Link+) may purchase generic textbooks as part of their library holdings. While students may want the book ‘right now’, its always a good idea to introduce Link+ to students.
  • Reserve Materials -  The other day, a student approached me and asked about a specific book.  I searched our Library Catalog (by title) and it was ‘checked out’ to another student.  I searched Link+ and there were other copies available.  HOWEVER, if a faculty member put his/her own copy of the book (same title, same edition, as the one in our library) on “Reserve”,  it can be found by searching “Hard Copy Reserves” by the instructor’s name or course – NOT by the specific book title.  Jeff Rosen pointed this out to me and – Lo-And-Behold – there it was!  (Note: If the book was purchased by our library, but maintained in the “Reserve Collection”, it would be found from our library catalog with a “Reserve Collection” designation in the “Location” field.)
  • And just a reminder to everyone - if you’re unable to find a book for a student, always refer the student to the librarian-on duty.  They may be able to assist and find that ‘specific’ book.

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