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Finding Book Sources  

Last Updated: Sep 6, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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Finding Book Sources

How to Find Relevant Book Sources

A.  Search for for relevant booksIt may be that books have been pulled from the shelves already for you. If so, skip directly to Step B below.  If not, you may need to use the online book catalog (Alexandria) as described below to find book sources.

  • Click here to open Alexandria
  • Click on the Researcher button.  You can search by title, author, subject, keyword, series, etc.  For a short video tutorial on using Alexandria, click HERE.

BONUS TIP #1:  The default is the "anywhere" search which means Alexandria will search everywhere in the book's record for your search terms.  You can leave it set on the "anywhere" search unless you know exactly what you are looking for.

BONUS TIP #2 You may also need to pick terms that are broader in scope rather than super specific.  For example, the library may not have a book on the artist Jose Clemente Orozco but it will have books on Mexican muralists.  Searching in Alexandria for muralists or Mexican artists will identify books that discuss Orozco among other artists. This is when your background knowledge of the topic comes in hand!
BONUS TIP #3:For each book you find that may be useful, jott down the entire call numer so you can find it on the shelf!  The call number is always listed above the title.  Here's an example:

B.  Refer to the Table of Contents and the index.  Remember those words you brainstormed on your Creating Search Terms worksheet?  Look up some of those words in the Table of Context and/or the index!

  • Skim the chapters and/or pages noted in the Table of Centents and the index.
  • When you come across relevant information, start taking notes in a Google doc or on a looseleaf sheet.  Make sure to record the book's title, publisher, year it was published and city it was published in.  Take notes and be sure to record the page numbers!  Or ask your teacher if you can use your phone or iPad to take a photo of the book's copyright page (usually the page on the back of the title page) to use for your citations later.
  • Repeat this process until you have used a few books and taken quality notes.  Make sure that you have MORE printed sources than your assignment requires in case some don't work out.

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