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March 1: Bass Library reopened; Sterling and Bass resume evening and weekend hours. Yale Library COVID-19 updates.

Essential Library Research Skills: Find Books

The Library Catalog

The library catalog contains books, e-books, journals, newspapers, magazines, manuscripts, audio-visual material, scores, maps, government documents, databases, and more!

Use either of these options to find books from Yale Library:

Search Techniques For Books

Linked subjects in the catalog are like #hashtags

Records for books include linked subjects, which work similar to #hashtags. If you click on a linked subject, you will return results from the catalog of more books on that same subject.

  • Pro-tip: If you have found only ONE book, or if you have a book from your syllabus, look for a linked subject to identify other books from Yale Library on that same topic. You might find something better!

Screenshot of the hyperlinked subjects found within Orbis and Books+ in Quicksearch

Try a "subject browse" in Orbis

If you don't have a book to reference, you can still leverage the power of linked subjects. Enter keywords or personal names as a "subject browse" in Orbis to see available linked subjects on your topic.

For example: Using Orbis, search for "Art" using the Subject Browse drop-down -- make note of the advice Orbis displays on the next screen.

Screenshot from Orbis showing "art" as the search term using the Subject Browse drop-down

Request Books (COVID-19 procedures)

If you are not on campus and want access to print material at Yale Library, you have a few options:

  • Use the “Request Scan of Article/Chapter” in Quicksearch to request digital scans of print library material.
  • Find nearly 7 million e-books, including 5 million titles through HathiTrust with Quicksearch Books+. Many of these titles are also found in Yale Library's print collection. Watch this short video to learn more.
  • To request print books be delivered to your home address, use the option in Quicksearch to  “Send to address." (Available beginning in September; unavailable for international addresses).
  • If you require an online book or other e-resource that we do not appear to have, please submit a purchase request and we will try to obtain it.

If you are on campus:

  • You may request print material for contact-free pickup in the Sterling Library Nave. When available, you will see the option in Quicksearch.
  • To request print books to be delivered to your residential college, use the option in Quicksearch to “Send to residential college.” This option is available now and will remain available all semester.

How To Find a Book

A book's call number tells you where a book is located in the library.

An image of book spines displaying call numbers, i.e.: JC71 .P513 2012

1. Read the 1st row of a call number alphabetically (A, AB, C) and then as a whole number (1, 2, 34).

Use the stacks directory to navigate to the correct floor based on the 1st row letters then navigate to the correct aisle based on the letter and number.

2. When you are at the correct bookshelf, read the 2nd row letters alphabetically (A, AB, C) and read the numbers as a decimal (.01, .11, .9).

3. The third row can be the year of publication (1947, 2012) or an edition (v1, v2) and will be arranged chronologically.

If you need help or can't find your book, try the "Request recall or delivery" option in Orbis and Quicksearch -- we'll get the book for you!

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