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How to Research: Books

Books (General)

Most Useful For:

  • Finding in-depth information about a topic

Points to Consider:

  • Check the publication date to make sure the information is not outdated.
  • Read the author's background information & credentials. Is the author qualified to write on this topic? Is there any potential bias the author may have?

How to Search For Books:

  • Use the catalog to search for books, eBooks, eAudiobooks, and more.

Reference Books

Includes:

  • Encyclopedias
  • Dictionaries
  • Almanacs
  • Atlases & Gazetteers
  • Indexes & Bibliographies

Most Useful For:

  • Encyclopedias - brief introductory or background information about a topic
  • Dictionaries - information about words, including definitions, word history, usage, etc.
  • Almanacs - statistical data, often organized into charts, tables, and lists
  • Atlases & Gazetteers - maps, charts, population data, and other geographical information
  • Indexes & Bibliographies - organized lists of resources that contain information about a topic

Points to Consider:

  • Most reference resources are either general or specific to a particular subject.
  •       - Examples of general reference resources: Oxford English 
             Dictionary, Encyclopaedia Britannica

          - Examples of subject reference resouces: Civil War Almanac, Encyclopedia of
             Forensic Science
     
  • Reference books usually do not provide in-depth information about a topic. Further research may be necessary.

How to Search for Reference Books:

  • Use the catalog to search for print reference material and reference information available as e-books
  • View the "Finding Books Using Library of Congress Call Numbers" tutorial for help finding books on the shelf.
  • Use the databases to access online reference resources.

eBooks

Most Useful For: 

  • In-depth information on a topic
  • 24/7 access to library material

Points to Consider:

  • eBooks are often simply electronic copies of the original print version.
  • Check the publication date to make sure the information is not outdated.
  • Read the author's background information & credentials. Is the author qualified to write on this topic? Is there any potential bias the author may have?

How to Search for E-books

  • Use the catalog to search for e-books.
  • Follow the link in the eBook's record to access the resource. If you are off campus, you will be prompted to enter your Pellissippi username and password.
  • Consult the list of eBook resources to search a specific collection.