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How to Research in the Library

When you are assigned term papers, book reports or research papers, the first place you go for research is the library. This is the place where you can gather sources for your paper. The books are organized and cataloged on cards inside drawers or on computer database.

If your school library uses computer database, then this is where you should go first. Get yourself in front of a computer and enter the subject matter you are researching. Some computer database allows you to key in the name of the author, the title of the book or the subject. If the subject matter you are researching can be found in newspaper articles, magazines or journal articles, then you have to look in the online periodical index.

Once you've found the book that you want, you should write down the item's call number which indicates where the item can be found. You also have to check its status of availability. The book may have been borrowed or checked out. If it is not available, you can look at the listings of related items. Some libraries can print out this information for you or it can be emailed to you.

The old system of finding books in the library is through the use of the card catalog. If your library still uses the old system, then you have to go to the card catalog drawers. You will usually see a stack of drawers which contain the organized and alphabetized note cards. There are three note cards for every item in the library and these are the title card, author card and the subject-heading card. You will find these filed in different sets of drawers. If you are trying to find an article from the newspaper, journal or magazine, you can ask the librarian for the appropriate periodical index to use.

After finding the item that you need, you should list down the call number. You should continue finding as many sources as possible for your topic or subject matter. You can rephrase your subject or keywords so that you can have a broader range of books as your source.

After getting the list of all your call numbers, you then find the section that corresponds to the call numbers. If you are having a hard time in searching for the book, you should not hesitate to approach the librarian. They are there to assist the students in their research.

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