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PHYS 047 / AMST 099 / ER&M 089 / HIST 059: Asian Americans and STEM: Finding Books in the Catalog

An interdisciplinary course guide highlighting resources for your projects.

Helpful Tips

In QuickSearch, you can search for general topics and narrow down to specific subjects using the facets to the left of your search results. This can limit resources to specific date ranges, languages, locations, online/offline, dissertations, et cetera.

While you are searching — whether it be in the catalog or in databases — iterating through terminology and being curious about where hyperlinks will take you is the best way to fall into digital serendipity, much like how walking into the stacks in a library and locating a book will show you other things that are near that book. In the catalog, author names, subjects, series, and other items are clickable — the same goes for databases. We will look at subject terms now. 

QuickSearch — accessible from the main library page — has a tiled view when you first search. If you click through to the Books+ results (print or online), you will arrive at this part of Quicksearch, or search.library.yale.edu/catalog.

For this search, we will look for Syukuro Manabe, Japanese American meteorologist and winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics, as our "gateway term" — the search we do to take us to items that may have the subject terms we want. Manabe's work modeling the atmosphere was foundational for our current understanding of weather, climate, and the global climate crisis.

The record for Manabe and Broccoli's Beyond Global Warming

We only have several results that appear, among them Beyond Global Warming: How Numerical Models Revealed the Secrets of Climate Change, coauthored with Anthony J. Broccoli. Beyond Global Warming is Manabe's "compelling firsthand account of how the scientific community came to understand the human causes of climate change, and how numerical models using the world's most powerful computers have been instrumental to these vital discoveries," and it sets Manabe's achievements in the context of Svante Arrhenius and other earlier scientists.

Contents and subject terms from the book record

This book is an example of an item that has a lot of information in it — there are numerous subject terms applied, whereas many items in our catalog only have a few. We cannot even screenshot the full record for you in the same screenshot.

Clicking on any of the subjects will take you back to the search. If you look at the search box, it will now show the words in the subject term you clicked on. Note that this is within the hierarchy. If "mathematical models" were a general subject, we wouldn't see it in these results — we're just seeing mathematical modeling as a subset of "climatic changes."

Climatic changes > Mathematical Models will show other things that have that same subject classification


We can also search for a subject in the search box using the drop-down menu. This won't look at where any of the terms appear in the subject hierarchy, so we will usually see more results using this method.

The same search for climatic changes mathematical models, but with no hierarchy or quotation marks or really anything to cause limits

In the old search interface, Orbis, you have a really interesting option that might be helpful to you. Library of Congress call numbers, which appear in either the catalog record or on the print spine (e.g., QK980 C35X 2012), can be searched. These call numbers are based on book topics, and you can locate other materials related to the book of interest to you with this search feature. One caveat: We don't assign call numbers to ebooks, so this will only help you locate print materials.

Let's look up the call number for Wen Ho Lee's My Country Versus Me: The First-Hand Account by the Los Alamos Scientist Who Was Falsely Accused of Being a Spy, published in 2001. The call number is QC774 L44 A3 2001.

We select the drop-down option for Call Number (LC) after putting in the top-level term.

We only need to look for QC774. The second and third lines (L44 and A3) are called "cutter numbers" and are a shorthand representation of things like the author's name or the topic, as assigned by catalogers. The final line is the date.

The search results show us that the books here are about scientists.

It looks like this book is among a variety of biographies and autobiographies of physicists. If I add the second line (the first cutter number), I can actually see what is near the book itself in our print holdings, so it prevents me from starting at the top of the main call number.

The new search with the second line added

The < Prev and Next > buttons in the upper right will let me browse through these items.

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