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Browsing for Books
Books are shelved in general subject categories using the Library of Congress classification system. You may want to supplement your use of the catalog book search with browsing shelf areas for your topic.
Kinds of Sources
"Sources are people talking to people"
There are (at least) two ways to find information.
- The Google way - put key words into a search engine, catalog, or database and see what turns up. This seems quick and efficient, but can overwhelm you with choices.
- Following connections from one expert to another - when you find a good source, it may well point you to other sources. In a way, you're becoming part of a big conversation and your voice matters! The trick in following connections is getting your hands on the books and articles they wrote.
Libraries also use a third way - classification. Once you find a book in the catalog and note its call number, you'll find it is shelved with other books on the same subject. The shelving system is old and odd, but it still helps you browse by general category. College libraries don't use the Dewey Decimal system; they use the one the Library of Congress uses. But it's the same concept.
If you're looking to get started finding resources pertaining to Interfaith Relations, you should start by searching the library's catalog. Unless you know a specific title or the name of an author, it is best to search via Keyword (the default setting).
How Call Numbers Work
- Figure 1: Books are shelved alphabetically by the first letter or letters.
- Figure 2: Books are then arranged numerically by the number following the letter(s).
- Figure 3: Finally, books are shelved alphabetically by the next letter and decimally by the following number.
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