Doing Research in VTC Libraries


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Find Appropriate Books 

If you already know the titles or authors of specific books, you may look them up in area library catalogs by either title or author. 

If you are looking for books on a particular topic, you may search by Library of Congress subject heading or by keyword (if you are using an online catalog). A keyword is any specific, significant word; it might appear in the title of the book or the subject heading assigned to it. For example, you might find books by entering a keyword that you assume will show up in a book title, such as globalization or wetlands or burnout.  (General, non-specific words such as history or universal or research won't be so helpful.)

  • Use your library first!
  • If you want to use a Consortium library, check their hours and services first.
  • If you want to borrow a book from a Consortium library, be sure to check the Circulation Policies of that library. 

  • Remember to obtain a Consortium card from your home library before you go to another library to check out a book.

    You can do a more complete search for books listed in a catalog if you use Library of Congress subject headings. These are the authorized subject terms used in almost every college and university library. Most libraries have a set of big red books near their catalogs for you to check (ask if you don't see them). For instance, if you were working on a topic dealing with environmental assessment, you could look up this term in the Library of Congress Subject Heading volumes and find that the authorized term is really ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ANALYSIS. These volumes also help you identify related terms (RT), broader terms (BT), and narrower terms (NT) associated with your topic. Medical libraries often use Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) in addition to Library of Congress Subject Headings. 

    If you know about certain books that would be useful but cannot find them in nearby libraries, you should consult your library's Interlibrary Loan Office. 

    Selected Online Resources:

    VTC Library Catalogs
    WorldCat (VIVA)
    Library of Virginia (state library)
    Other Virginia Libraries
    Libraries throughout the world

    Electronic Books & Other Texts:
    Alex: a Catalogue of Electronic Texts on the Internet
    Electronic Text Center of the University of Virginia

    Contact:  Karen Vaughan  kvaughan@odu.edu
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