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University Libraries


Finding Books

Why use books for research?

Books are important for research because they

  • provide in-depth coverage on a topic
  • usually give background information on a topic
  • may present various viewpoints and interpretations on a topic
  • include extensive reference sources

How to find books on a topic?

To find books relevant to your research topic, you may use

  • Minerva, the University at Albany Libraries' online catalog
  • SUNY Union Catalog, the online union catalog of the libraries in the SUNY system
  • WorldCat, the online union catalog that is both national and international in scope

A Word of Caution:
Use the online catalogs to find books, videos, research databases, journal titles, magazines and newspapers. To locate individual articles published in journals, magazines and newspapers, use databases and indexes.

How to search Minerva for materials owned by our libraries?

  • Searching by Title or Author:
    • When doing a "Title begins with..." search, omit initial articles, such as a, an, the, le, and la.
      For example, to find the novel The child and the curriculum, you should type child and the curriculum.
    • When doing an Author search, type the last name first.
      For example, to find a book by John Dewey, you should type Dewey, John.

  • Searching by Keywords:
    • When you do not have an exact title, author name, or subject, do a Basic or Advanced search using keywords. Advanced search provides more options.
    • Use truncation * to find all words with similar root.
      For example, the search for child* retrieves records containing any of the following words: child, child's, childhood, children, and children's.
    • Use Boolean operators "or" to add synonyms to your search.
      For example, the search for gender or sex retrieves records with either of those two words.
    • To search keywords as a two-word phrase, enclose keywords with " ".
      For example, the search for "language acquisition" retrieves records with those two words appearing next to each other and in that order. The system will search those two words separately if they are not enclosed in " ".

How to locate books by call number?

The University at Albany Libraries use the Library of Congress classification scheme. This call number system uses the combination of letters and numeric numbers. The letters represent the subject, and "L" is the call number classification for Education. You might also find education related material in other call number ranges, such as BF and P. The following entries are some examples.

L Education (General)
LA History of Education
LB Theory and Practice of Education
LB 1025-1050.75 Teaching (Principles and practice)
LB 1049.9-1050.75 Reading (General)
LB 1050.9-1091 Educational psychology
LB 1555-1602 Elementary or public school education
LB 1603-1696.6 Secondary education. High schools
LB 2300-2430 Higher education
LB 2801-3095 School administration and organization
LC Special Aspects of Education
LC 65-245 Social aspects of education
LC 1099-3747 Multicultural education, Bilingual education
P 118-118.75 Language acquisition
PE 1128-1130 English as a second language

How to request a book you need?

  • To request a book not owned by our libraries, use the Interlibrary Loan services.
  • To have a book delivered from one library to another library on campus for you to pick up, submit a UA Delivery request.
  • If there is a library book currently checked out to another patron that you urgently need, use the Recall services to get the book.