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SSI1-104: Why Travel?

Strategies for Finding Books

PRIMO is the discovery tool to use to find books, no matter the format (print or ebooks).  PRIMO is the combined catalog of nearly 40 academic libraries in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon.  If Collins Library does not have a book you need, you can request it from SUMMIT, which is the name of the service that brings you books from other campuses, usually within three to five business days.

For this assignment, you may wish to follow these steps:

1. Start by searching for the specific titles suggested in subject encyclopedia entries.  Click on the title to access the full record.

2. Identify the Library of Congress Subject Headings for that book to identify additional books on the topic. 

  • To do this, scroll down to "Item Details" and simply click on one of the subject headings listed in the record for the book; the next screen will list all the books that share this subject term.

3. If required for your assignment, make sure that the book is scholarly. 

Is it scholarly?

Here are some clues to look for in the catalog record when you are evaluating whether a book is scholarly or popular:

  • The publisher is either a university press or an academic publisher (such as Routledge, Wiley, Blackwell, etc.).
  • The description of the book includes "notes and references."

When you have the book in hand, and still aren't sure if it is scholarly, you might want to do a little more digging, perhaps with a couple of quick Google searches:

  • Who is the author? What are the author's credentials or other sources of expertise?
  • Does the publisher have a website? If so, what types of books does it publish and what is the process for submitting work for consideration?

Reading a Call Number

Collins Library uses the Library of Congress classification scheme to organize print books on the shelves. Follow these tips to find the book you need.


Call Number EXample

  • Start with the top line. It is in alphabetical order. Ex. PN
  • The second line is a whole number.  Ex. 56
  • The third line is  a combination of a letter and numbers. Read the letter alphabetically. Read the number as a decimal, eg. Y.23, Y.34, Y.344, Y.4, etc. Ex. .T7 C36 (*Some call numbers have more than one combination letter-number line.)
  • The last line is the year the book was published. Read in chronological order. Ex. 2001, 2005, 2010, 2015, etc. Ex. 2018

Use the library map to find where the book is located.