Skip to main content

Scholarly Research Process Outline: Finding Book Materials

provides pathways to more comprehensive resources.

Searching for and within Books

The process: Searching for books may involve a series of searches, starting within our local catalog, moving through our I-Share consortial catalog, the larger Worldcat and HathiTrust catalogs, and finally the full text of books we may or may not own. (Within these systems there is access to many electronic full-text books.)

Interlibrary Loan is used to borrow materials that we do not own within I-Share.



To search our local catalog of books (and some other material), use the new VuFind 4.0 catalog interface or the older VuFind interface.  Start by entering keywords, and consider expanding your search using subject headings. Use the resulting facets (for example, dates, languages, and subject headings) to refine your search results. (short video of searching)

ONLINE BOOKS COVERAGE: The default Local Search option searches our paper holdings plus over a million online books available through a variety of e-book platforms (including the public domain titles available through HathiTrust).

  • You can remove the HathiTrust titles by going to the bottom of the Advanced Search option and checking Exclude HathiTrust.
  • You can limit results to just online books by (1) selecting the CARLI eBooks or SXU eBooks links within the Location facets on the right side of the results screen.
  • There is no way to restrict results to only paper books at this time, but selecting Locations will limit to paper books found in those locations.
  • You can mark and save/email/download selected records (works with Zotero)
  • You can browse by subject
  • You can browse by call number.

Expand your search into the I-Share consortium catalog, which covers many academic libraries within the state and provides 2-3-day book delivery. (short video of borrowing from other libraries)

HINT: Use the BACK button to return to the initial search-term form, and then change the Local Catalog Only drop-down box option to "All I-Share Libraries" to re-run the same search across the larger database.

ONLINE BOOKS: You can restrict to only your online books by going to the bottom of the results screen and selecting "Hide eResources to which I don't have access".

HINT:  Book records can be saved using the "My Favorites" option within your My Account.  You will need to log in whenever you want to save or access your records.


If the I-Share catalog will not provide your desired item, you can then submit an ILL request to borrow a particular item from another library. Start searching for additional books in thousands of other book catalogs using the Worldcat database. option to "All I-Share Libraries" to re-run the same search across the larger database. DO NOT start by selecting ILL unless you have already tried the I-Share search 

NOTE: Expect delays as you make ILL requests for many of these materials not owned by our network.

One additional free search tool to consider is Summon (from Princeton). You will see information within books and other materials...but you will not have links to the full text materials.


It is also possible to search deep into the full text of e-books using our E-Books page.

You can search thousands of digitized books by HathiTrust -- although only books published before 1923 will be available in full text owing to copyright restrictions. For the remainder of titles you discover, once you have identified important titles, repeat the search using author/title data in the search tools above.

You can also perform full-text searching into thousands of recently published books on the Title Preview platform. Once you have identified important titles, repeat the search using author/title data in the search tools above.


Best Book lists from many sources are found at Publishers Lunch Bookateria.


  • VuFind 4.0 is a new search interface offering:
    • the ability to mark and save/email/download selected records (works with Zotero)
    • the ability to browse by subject
    • the ability to browse by call number


Primo test interface

Copyright © 2013 | The Library at Saint Xavier University, 3700 W. 103rd St., Chicago, IL 60655 | Phone (773) 298-3352 | Fax (773) 298-5231 | Email: | MyMail | MySXU