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English 101 and 102: Finding Books

This research guide will help you find quality information to support the ideas you write in your essays. It also provides resources to assist in proper citation.

Books--Print or Electronic

Card catalog 

We don't use cards anymore, but we still have a catalog.  It's the big search box on our web page https://lib.wvu.edu/beckley/

Click on the books tab and enter your search terms. If you get too many results, you can narrow them down by checking boxes on the left of the screen. For example, you can check WVU Tech to get only ones available here, and/or you can check print book to just get print books. 

Ways to narrow

Either write down the call number or save the record to your list.

Finding the Book Using the Call Number

We use the Library of Congress classification system, which is the system most academic libraries use.  LC classification uses letters and numbers to designate where the books are shelved.  So, for the Stephen King book we found in the box on the left, the call number is PS3561. I483  F68.

First, look at the end of the shelf ranges to find PS. Once you find PS, look for the 3,000s, then 3,500, and find 3561.

The next part of the call number is the Cutter number, and Cutters are arranged alphabetically, then in decimal order. So I483 comes before I49.

After you find PS3561 I483, look for the second Cutter number F68.  You have found Four Past Midnight!

Critical Thinking Applies to Books as Well

Don't judge a book by its cover isn't just a cliche, it's good advice.  Anyone can write and publish a book. You still need to think about what you're reading and be critical. For example, a book about Scientology by the founder L. Ron Hubbard is going to be very different from a book written by a former adherent of Scientology, or one written by a professor of theology.  All three are valid sources, but you must decide which is the best to cite for the point you are trying to make.