How do I find books?


Don’t be embarrassed if you need help finding books – if you haven’t looked before, why would you know how to find them? Before reading more, though, it’s important to note: to get relevant search results, think about the words you type into the catalogue.  See the blog post on Keywords for help with this step.

To find books, you can start at one of two different places.  The first is the Beryl Ivey Library homepage: there you will see that the default search says “Search Summon for Books, Articles and More.”  As the title suggests, searching here brings up books, but it also brings up journal articles, government information, and everything else the library carries.  You can limit your results list to just “Books” using the refinement on the left of Summon (see screen shot below), but this isn’t always the most effective.

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One of our lovely librarians finding a book in the stacks.

A better way to search for books is to start at the Shared Library Catalogue.  You can find this either from the Beryl Ivey homepage or from Western Libraries: click the “Catalogue” tab or head straight to: http://alpha.lib.uwo.ca.  The catalogue is a big list of what we own at every campus library (including Brescia, King’s, Huron and St. Peters; and Weldon, Taylor, Music, Law, Business, Education and the ARCC).

Once you’re at the Catalogue, try the following steps:

  1. Click the “keyword” tab to open that screen. Type in keywords that relate to your topic (e.g. diabetes AND treatment)
  2. Review the results.  These are displayed in order of relevancy (you’ll notice I did a poor search – 1560+ results is WAY too many!):Jul 17 - diabetes and treatment.jpg
  3. Click the title from your results page to find more information: Jul 31 - diabetes and treatment 2
  4. Look at the Location to find out which inter-campus library holds the book (in this case, the book is at Brescia, which is indicated through Brescia General Collection
  5. Click on the location to find out more information (i.e. in the above example, clicking on Brescia General Collection tells me where to go in the library to find the book)
  6. Record the Call Number if you want to go get the book yourself
  7. Make sure the book isn’t checked out (“In Library” means it’s on the shelf)
  8. Click the Request Itembutton at the top of the screen to have the book delivered to Brescia (or whichever library you’d like)
  9. Mark the book to put it in your “shopping cart.”  You can then email or print out your list for future use.

Looking for books the first time inevitably leads to other questions: what does “stacks” mean, how do you read a call number, etc. You can always come ask a librarian – but if you’re off-campus, a quick way to find these answers it to use the Ask service on Western Libraries’ website.

In order to get the results you want, it’s important to think about the words you use while searching.  See the blog post on “Keywords” to learn more about how the catalogue functions. In order to get the results you want, it’s important to think about the words you use while searching.  See the blog post on “Keywords” to learn more about how the catalogue functions.

How do you find print journal articles?


Note: Our new search engine Summon does not search our print journal collection.  While this might seem convenient, it does mean that you are missing out on a considerable amount of useful content.  Make sure to supplement your Summon research with a traditional database (where applicalbe) to make sure you have well-rounded results.

Sometimes you’ll come across a journal article that is only available in print, and not online.  (Try following the steps in the full-text journal articles blog post to see if your research is available online or in print).  This happens when something was published before the internet was invented (really).

The catalogue record for print journals will look like one of the following examples:

1. This journal (College and Research Libraries News) is only available in print at Western.  How you know is that there is no “click here for online access” link included at the top of the page:

2. Let’s say we’re looking for an article from the Journal of Nutrition Education and it was published in 1995.  You’ll notice from the catalogue record that this journal is available online through ProQuest, Scholars Portal, and EbscoHost, but not before 1997.

Underneath the database links, the record lists the library locations that carry this journal in print.  The first example also did this.  In our Journal of Nutrition Education example, you’ll see that Brescia (BRES), Education (EDU), the ARCC or Archives (ARCC), and Taylor (TAY) carry this journal in print, although not always for the same length of time. Note: if you see a library that you’re not familiar with – i.e. “ARCC” – click on the name of the library for more information.

If our made-up journal article was published in 1995, which library do we need to visit to find it in print?  Look at the dates underneath each library to find this information: it looks like Brescia is the only library that subscribed to this journal in 1995.

Your next step is to write down the call number of the journal above the name of the library you need to visit (in this case QP141.A1J86n). Make sure to also write down the volume, issue, and page number that your article is found in.  The author’s name and the title aren’t a bad idea, either.

When you have this information, head off to the library (although, with the Journal of Nutrition Education, you might already be in Brescia) – you will need to photocopy your article (sorry!!!).  Each library has a periodicals section where you can find print journals, which will be organized by call number.

Usually, entire volumes (i.e. every issue that comes in for a year) will be bound together so they look like a big book.  While I don’t have a picture of Brescia’s periodicals section, Google images produced a good example of what bound journals look like:

This is why it is important to have the volume, issue, and page number of your article: within each of these “book” looking things will include multiple issues of a journal, where sometimes page numbers start over again.  For example: imagine we put a whole bunch of issues of Macleans magazine together in a bound volume like you see above – it would be important to know which year, month and page number you’re looking for so you don’t have to flip through every “book.”

Periodicals cannot be signed out of the library, so it’s up to you what you do next.  You can definitely photocopy your article, or you can read in the library for as long as you like.

Good luck on your print journal adventures!