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Getting Started with Research at Shapiro Library

This guide discusses understanding information sources, formulating a topic and search phrase, where and how to search the library for information, how to evaluate sources, how to cite sources, and more.

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Online Library Catalog

The Online Library Catalog is a searchable list of all the print resources the library has (including print books, print journals, video games, audio books, and more). It also includes a number of electronic resources like streaming video and some of our eBooks.


You can find books and eBooks by using the search box provided above to search the Online Library Catalog. The catalog is a list of all the print resources the library has (including print books, print journals, video games, audio books, and more) and also includes a record for most of our eBooks.


How to use the Online Library Catalog  |  Search Tips

Most Useful For

  • Searching our entire print collection, including books, print journals and newspapers, DVDs and video games, etc. (alongside some electronic materials)
  • Finding book or eBook resources


  • Doesn't include scholarly articles
  • Doesn't include a record for ALL ebooks the library provides access to--users need to search individual databases from the A - Z Database List or What if I Just Want eBooks? page to find all ebooks available

Consider using the Online Library Catalog primarily when you

  • Are looking for print materials 
  • Are looking for books and eBooks 
  • Want to utilize Your Library Account 
  • Are interested in finding a variety of source types.

How to Search for Books & eBooks Using the Online Library Catalog

You can search for books and eBooks using the Online Library Catalog by following these steps:

  1. Go to the Online Library Catalog by clicking on the link provided. Alternatively, you can use the search box on the Find Books & Ebooks page.
  2. Locate the search box and using the dropdown provided, choose whether you would like to search for books and ebooks by keyword, author, title, etc.
    • The default choice is to search by keyword--this is usually a good choice if you have a topic in mind that you'd like to search for (e.g. books on Hinduism). See the FAQ How do I use a keyword search to find sources on my topic? for more information on using a keyword search to find books on a topic.
    • Choose author or title if you have a specific book in mind and you know either the author's name or the title of the book (e.g. you are searching for the book "The Da Vinci Code").
  3. Enter your search terms in the search box and click "Search" or "Submit".
  4. Your search results should appear in a list in order of relevancy (i.e. the resources that are most relevant to your search terms will be listed at the top).
    • When viewing the results, notice the resource icons to the left of each entry. These icons will tell you what type of material you are looking at (e.g. books, eBooks, streaming video, etc.):

      This picture is a screenshot that illustrates the resource icons for books, ebooks, games, Book on CD, videos. All icons are square. The Book icon is blue with open white pages. The eBook icon is the same except for a red circle with an "e" that means electronic. The Game icon is Yellow with a white controller. The Book on CD is purple with an open white book and a white CD. The Streaming Video icon is green with an old-fashioned film strip (a round container that holds the film).

    • For each result, you should see title, author, and some publication information. Additionally, if the resource is a print material you should see a box with the location, call number and availability (status) of the material:

      This image is a screenshot of an item record in the Online Library Catalog. An item record contains information such as title, type of resource, authors/creators, publication information, and where the resource is located.

    • The location tells you where the material is physically located in the library. If you don't know what a location means, click on it for more detailed information. The call number is used to look up the book on the shelf. If you don't know how to look up a book by call number, check out this video or ask for help at the information desk (you can contact them at Finally, the status tells you if the material is available for check out, if it's only available to be used inside the library, when the material is due back (if someone else has it checked out), etc.
  5. Once you've found a book you'd like to use you may choose to:
    • Write down the call number and if the status indicates it is available, go get it to use or take home. Print materials only.
    • Request it be placed on hold for you or sent to you (Online only). Print materials only.
  6. Once you've found an eBook you'd like to use you may choose to:
    • Open and read it by clicking on the title of the eBook, then selecting the link on the record which provides electronic access. Ebooks and other electronic materials only.
      • For example, click on this link in the eBook record to open the eBook and start reading:

        This image is a screenshot of an eBook record in the Online Library Catalog. It contains information about the title, author/creator, publication information, and how to access.  This screenshot shows a book that can be accessed by clicking a link titled "An electronic book accessible through the World Wide Web; click to view.


More Help

Check out these FAQs for more assistance using the online library catalog.