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The American 1890's: Find Books & Media

A Course Specific Guide to Library Research for HIST 385: The American 1890's

Getting Started

Start your search for books by using the Library Catalog. Go to



Searching for Books in the Library Catalog (OPAC)

The default search screen is Title search. Using a Keyword search is the best option when you are starting out your search for books on a new topic.

Narrow the search using subject headings.

A keyword search is great when you're starting out, but to get a more specific set of books on your topic try using subject headings. Subject headings use a set vocabulary to group together books on the same topic.It's a more organized way to search. Starting out a new topic though, you probably won't know the subject heading terminology to use. A great trick is to do a keyword search, find books that meet your needs and look for the subject headings.

In the following example I started with a keyword search "pullman strike" and of my results list (93 items) I clicked on a promising title to get to this full-page description. The subject headings are the red hyperlinks near the end of the description:


Click on the hyperlinked subjects to get a new set of results, all with the same subject heading. Hint: Consider right-clicking on the hyperlink to open the subject heading results in a new tab or window so that you don't lose track of your initial search results.

Locating Books

How Do I Locate The Book Once I Have Found It In The Catalog?

Look for three key pieces of information in the record for locating it in the library:  Location, Call Number, and Status:

The "Location" will tell you where the item is. For example, you may see "Archives" or ""Main Desk" as a location. "Long Library" means that the book you are looking for is located in the stacks in Long Library.

The "Call Number" is the book's location on a shelf in the stacks.

The "Status" is important because it will let you know if this book is available to be "checked out."

Please ask a library staff member for assistance if you are having trouble finding an item. We are happy to help you find what you are looking for!

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Checking Out Books

Please be sure to "check out" materials you want to borrow at the Main Circulation Desk, located on the 2nd Floor (Learning Commons Area) of Long Library.

Please have your student ID card. Lending periods vary, depending on the material. Be sure to ask when your items are due in order to avoid any late fines.

Find Course Reserves

Want to know if the library has required readings for your courses "ON RESERVE"?

You can also use the library catalog to search for course reserves. Click on the "Course Reserve" tab shown below:

From this screen, you can search by instructor, department, course, and section. Once you select a search type, a list of materials will appear.