This page walks you through the process of searching for books in the library catalog. Navigate through the tabbed box below to learn more about the different search options available to you: keyword searching, known title / author searching, and subject searching.
For more general information about using the library catalog, requesting and renewing items, and requesting items from other universities that UIUC doesn't have in it's collection, check out the library guide below from the Main Library.
When you perform a basic search in the library catalog you are conducting what is known as a keyword search.
If you know the name of the book you need, perform a Title search in the library catalog. First, click on Advanced Search at the end of the search bar.
Select Title from the first dropdown menu. If you know the exact title, use quotes around phrases to return the phrase in the exact order you indicated. If you're searching for the book Black Noise, but you don't use quotation marks around the title, your search will pull any results with "black" or "noise" in the title and you'll have to sift through irrelevant results.
Use an Author search to find materials by a specific author, composer, or performer. Names can be entered in any configuration (e.g. first last or last, first).
A Subject search is more specific than a keyword search.
Example: To get books about music and popular culture, select Subject in the first dropdown. You can split up subjects by each line, or include them all in one line. Remember, quotation marks keep phrases together. For this example, put "Music" as the first subject and "Popular culture" as the second subject.
The dropdown menus on the right let you limit your search, so you can search only for Books (as opposed to scores, recordings, etc.).
If your search is not narrow enough, check out the Tweak your results column to the left, especially the Subject section.
Once you find an item that looks promising, click on the title to open the full record. Scroll down to the Details section. You can use the Subjects in the record and words from the summary or table of contents to refine your search if needed.
Browsing the shelves for materials related to your topic can be a great way to identify items that may be useful to you. If you find one or two items in the catalog that seem promising, look on the shelves at the items surrounding them.
Here's a list of call numbers for books about vocal music to guide your browsing: