Research Help

Having trouble with finding the resources you’re looking for? Here are some helpful guidelines.

1) Can’t find a book in the catalog?

  • Try searching the author’s last name with a key word or two from the title.
  • Accuracy: Search for the book on Google or Amazon to be sure you are spelling everything correctly. Our library catalog search will not give you any results if any word is misspelled.
  • Broad: For general searches, use broad terms. It might be helpful to consult Wikipedia for relevant key words related to your research area.

2) The book is missing from the shelf?

  • The book may be part of one of our Private Collections, most of which are in the Main Hall. Check in the library catalog to see if a book is in one of these. To do this, click the “Show Copy Information” (below the author’s name) for any book in the catalog. Books in private collections will have the name of the collection under the “Location” column. Use a map to locate the private collection and then use the Library of Congress call number to locate the book within that collection. If there’s nothing under “Location,” then it is in the main collection.
  • Some of our books are too large to “stand” on the shelves and must be placed on a lower shelf in a different position. In this case you should find a laminated sheet where the  book would go if it were smaller, telling you to find it on a nearby lower shelf. Please leave the laminated sheet where it is, but find the book where it directs you.
  • The book may be on a cart waiting to be re-shelved or someone else may have it on the “Reserved” shelves. Ask a library staff member to help you search in these two places.
  • Our staff members have other resources they use to locate books. Ask them for help!

3) Can’t find a journal?

  • Be sure that you have looked at our journals list to see what journals we have. Printed journals are located in the journals room and in some private collections. Online access to journals is available by using JSTOR and Galaxie software.
  • Click here to email us a specific question about journals.

Email Us Your Research Questions

Click here to email our head librarian, Sharon Cofran, with a research question.