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Research Guide - Finding Books

Locate books and other items in the library

Once you have searched the Library Catalog and found a book or item you need, note the library location and call number. Most books and journals have either a Library of Congress call number, or a SuDoc (government) number.

For further information on call number types used by the Oboler Library, see:

The location will determine where to look for an item. Some items are in storage; ask for retrieval help from the Circulation Desk from M-F 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. If you have questions about locating items, ask at the Reference Desk or Circulation Desk for help.

The Oboler Library has the following collection locations:

  • Third floor--Periodicals, US Documents, Idaho Documents, Health Sciences Reference, Map Collection, Microforms, and Newspapers
  • Second floor--Main Collection, Oversize, and Juvenile Literature
  • First floor--Reference Collection, Law Library, US Document Reference, and Idaho Document Reference
  • Basement--Special Collections (Intermountain West, Reference, Rare Books) and Storage


Search for an ISU dissertation or thesis

Here are several strategies for searching the the Library Catalog for theses or dissertations written at ISU:

  • Search By Author
  • Search By Title
  • Search By Keyword - using the heading "thesis" followed by the department
    • Thesis and education
    • Thesis and pharmacy
    • Thesis and English
  • By topic - Search by Keyword - with the word "thesis," connector "and," and a topical keyword(s)
    • Thesis and salmon
    • Thesis and women
    • Thesis and oral and health
  • Search by Keyword - using a combination of terms, such as
    • dissertations and geology and "idaho state university"
  • Search By Subject Heading
    • Dissertations, Academic-Idaho State University
  • Search By Subject Heading - using the above terms and adding the name of the department.
    • Dissertations, Academic-Idaho State University. Dept. of Political Science.

Most of these publications will be located in the Main Collection, Second Floor with call numbers starting with the letter Y or YB, such as Y2005.L53 or YB2005.S52.

Some may have one of these notes: Temporarily Shelved at Cataloger's Office--Needs Original Cataloging OR Cataloger's Office--Needs Original Cataloging. If you need a book with these location notes contact the Circulation Desk, First Floor, and they will obtain it for your use.


How do I find government documents

All Idaho and United Nations documents the Library has are cataloged and accessible through the Library Catalog. A large number of U.S. government documents can be found by searching the Library Catalog also. Check our Government Documents page for tips on finding government documents in the Catalog. Older documents can be found by using a variety of paper indexes. Ask at the Reference desk for assistance or contact the Government Documents Librarian. Technical reports from the Department of Energy and Department of Education (ERIC) are not cataloged but can be found using online databases. For Department of Energy and Atomic Energy Commission reports from 1948 to the present, search the Energy Citations Database included in SciTech Connect. For ERIC documents from 1966 to the present, search ERIC, ERIC (EBSCOhost) or ERIC through FDsys, browse reports received by GPO beginning in October 2002. Reports cover 1995 through 2004. See this list for additional databases for locating U.S. government documents. Additional assistance in locating federal, state and United Nations resources can be found on the Library's web pages. A complete catalog of U.S. government documents distributed to libraries can be found at GPO. The Library does not have all these titles. Please contact the Documents Librarian for more information.


Search for videos or media

Check the Library Catalog, when searching for a DVD or videocassette. Always search the Library Catalog first to get the current call number and location.

Library Catalog

  • Search by Title, Author, or ISBN for a specific video or DVD.
  • Search by Keyword for a videocassette or DVD on any topic. Either add "and videorecording" to the search statement (e.g. Idaho and videorecording) or use the Medium Limit - "Videorecording."


Find new books in the Library

One of the ways to find a new book in the library is to open the Library Catalog and click on the New Books tab at the top of the page. You will then see a new screen with several options.

If you click on the Search tab at the bottom, without changing any settings, the computer will create a list of new books from all locations that were processed during the last week, in order by call number.

If you want some other selections, you could do several things:

  1. Choose another location from the Select Location list
  2. Make a different choice from the Period list
  3. Change the Sort by type
  4. Change the number of records to be shown per page (bar at lower left)
  5. Make some other selections in the Search for: (optional) choice, such as adding an author's name, title phrase, call number (for example, QE will give a list of geology books), etc.


What is the "Your Record" tab in the Library Catalog?

The "Your Record" tab lets you track several items of information about your activities with the Library:

  1. Patron Blocks--if some of your privileges are blocked
  2. Checked Out Items--gives you a list of items out with their due dates
  3. Request Information--if you have placed an interlibrary loan request, it will track your request. In 48 hours (not including weekends or holidays) after submitting a request, you can check the status of your requests by checking under this tab.
  4. Fines and Fees--money owed the Library for overdue books or items ordered through interlibrary loan.
  5. You can also set some Preferences, View Bookbag (saved books and items), or Save Searches.
  6. Once you are in "Your Record," click on the Help tab at the top for more information about your library record.

How to view Your Record:

"Your Record" can be accessed from the Library Catalog.

  1. Click the "Your Record" button at the top of the main screen or click the link at the bottom.
  2. Enter your ISU ID Number and Last Name. (If you are a Community User, select Library Card Number from the drop-down list and enter your Library Card Number and Last Name).
  3. Your address is at the top - If it is wrong, notify the Circulation Desk.
  4. Be sure to LOGOUT when you are finished viewing Your Record.


Find books at other libraries

Sometimes it is useful to access books that the library does not have. One way to find these books would be to use the database WorldCat. It is a database that allows researchers to search the combined catalogs of hundreds of libraries around the world. Another strategy is to search the catalogs of nearby libraries such as the Marshal Public Library or the Utah State University Library. To access these catalogs go to the Idaho, Utah & National Libraries and Catalogs web page.

Last Modified 06/16/2014 kk