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Scholarly Research Process Outline: Finding Book Materials

provides pathways to more comprehensive resources.

COVID-19 Considerations

During the COVID-19 disruption, our special Library Pandemic Resources page provides important additions to our online book collections. In some cases, the copyright restrictions for ebooks have been relaxed for this period of time. Start with this page for immediately available 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 book catalog  

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. ( videos: short video of searching and basics of searching and obtaining articles from our two major journal index tools and our book catalog.)


Expand your search into the I-Share consortium catalog, which covers many academic libraries within the state and provides 2-3-day book delivery, by selecting the "All I-Share Libraries" pull-down option under the search box. 

HINT: Limiting All I-Share results to "Library SXU" will only show paper materials, as online tools are not specifically associated with SXU.

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



CENTRAL INDEX: The new library platform includes the "Central Index" search database that includes a wide range of materials including: Book chapters, book reviews, historical newspapers, business and legal news, some reference book material (dictionary and encyclopedia entries), selected web resources (web pages, videos, and open access books and dissertations). Click the Expand check box at the top left of the results screen to include even more sources in your search.



As a supplement to these ebooks, the following direct search options allow for searching fulltext words within millions of ebooks, a far more powerful and precise search option than searching just the author/title/subject keywords through our catalogs. Some items are freely available as public domain titles (creative commons, out of copyright, and/or government documents), while access to other items will require the purchase or borrowing from cooperating libraries.

HathiTrust maintains HathiTrust Digital Library. Since 13 October 2008, it preserves and provides access to material scanned by Google, some of the Internet Archive books, and some scanned locally by partner institutions. As of May 2010, it includes about 6 million volumes, over 1 million of which are public domain (at least in the US).

The Digital Library collection is found within the Internet Archive, which digitizes music, videos, and TV News, The database grows by over 1000 books a day, as well as mirrors books from Google Books and other sources. As of July 2014, it hosted over 8 million public domain books, which is far greater than the approximate 1 million public domain books at Google Books.

Another private listing of free online books is The Online Books Page an index that includes more than 2 million works in various formats, and can be searched by Author/Title and can be browsed by subject.

Google Books: Over a million "public domain" books from within this resource may be read online and are included in our library catalog. Many other books are searchable via Google Books, but only snippets may be viewed online ... one must use our regular book catalogs and perhaps ILL to obtain paper copies. This option allows for searching fulltext words within the books, a far more powerful and precise search option than just the author/title/subject keywords found using our catalogs.

Project Gutenberg: The Project Gutenberg initiative has hand-typed thousands of public domain books and speeches, and there may be many editions of classic materials. 


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.

DOAB - Directory of Open Access Books searches over 12,000 open access books.


If the I-Share catalog or Central Index 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.

The Central Index will perform full-text searching into thousands of recently published books. Once you have identified important titles, limit the search to "Books" and "Available Online" in the left column. If not available online within CARLI, run author/title searches in the other tools above.


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

Library Explorer provides a novel way to visualize books and makes recommendations


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