Library Research Skills
Exercise: Searching the Library Catalogue
- How to use key concepts and words related to your research topic to construct a keyword search in the Library Catalogue
- Search the Library Catalogue using appropriate Boolean operators and truncation
- Select two books that directly support one or more aspects of your research topic and write an MLA style citation for each book
- Locate one or more subject headings in your first book record that you can use to locate other books that support a specific aspect of your topic
- Explain in precise terms exactly what aspects of your book will be useful in supporting your research questions.
1. Using your Assignment/Essay title, write down your main thesis statement and questions here:
2. Write down keywords and phrases that relate to your questions and thesis. Refer to your in-class Library Catalogue exercise for tips on generating keywords and phrases.
3. Select 2-4 keywords from your answer to question 2 that you will use to search for your first book.
a. Write the keywords down here.
b. Would truncating any of the keywords you selected be helpful? If not, note why. If yes, write down each term as you would truncate it, and list words that would match the truncated term(s).
4. Open the Wexford library catalogue and use the keywords you noted in question 3 to search for a resource in the library catalogue that supports your essay statement. Write down the terms exactly as you used them in your search, including any truncation or Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) you may have used. You may have to revise your search one or more times to find a suitable resource.
5. Provide a complete, MLA-style, citation for the resource you’ve chosen. Print out the record from the library catalogue and attach it to this assignment.
6. What is the call number of the resource? Is the resource available at the Wexford Library or from another public library? If not, why isn’t it available? If it isn’t available, how could you get the resource?
7. Using the resource itself, or another source of information (Amazon.com’s “Search Inside the Book,” or a book review), find a section in the resource that directly addresses your focused topic.
a. List the specific chapter, section, or page ranges where you find this information;
b. Tell me exactly how you could use this information to support your thesis;
c. What are the credentials of the author or editor? Do you think those credentials qualify the author or editor to address this topic? Why or why not?
8. List two subject headings from the catalogue record that would best support your topic. Include the subheadings.
9. Click on one of the subject headings you noted in question 8. Place an asterisk (*) by that subject heading.
a. How many records matched your search? _________________
b. If your search found more than one item, continue with parts i thru iii below. (If you found only one item, skip to question 10.)
i. Scan the search results for another resource that you think would be useful for your focused thesis. If you don’t think any of the results would be useful, tell me why and skip to question 10.
ii. Provide a complete, MLA-style, citation for the resource you’ve chosen. Print out the record from the library catalogue and attach it to this assignment.