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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

British Literature: Books

A guide to British Literature tools and resources.

Finding Books

Step One: UIUC Online Library Catalog

There are two ways to search the UIUC Library catalog. Both offer the same content but the method of searching and presentation of results varies.

  1. Through the new Primo Library Catalog. This catalog requires you to register with a login and a password to request materials. It also lets you search books in I-share (see below for more details.)
  2. Through the Library Easy Search. This interface lets you search the UIUC catalog for books, articles, journals and media. . 

Getting the actual book: When you locate your item you have two choices.

Print books

You can request the item and pick it up at any of the departmental libraries. Or, you can retrieve the book yourself from either the main stacks or the departmental library where the book is located. If you choose this option, make sure you jot down the location and call number of the item.

Electronic Books

Access will depend on the publisher. In some case you will be able to download full books via PDF. In others you might be able only to view the book online. In all cases the Library follow the publisher's requirements.

What if my book is not in the UIUC Online Library Catalog?

Step Two: I-Share

Once you have verified that the book you are looking for is either not located in the UIUC catalog or all copies are checked out, you may order it through Primo Library Catalog and selecting "All I-share Libraries." Items typically arrive within 5-10 days and you will receive an email when the item is available for pick up.

What if my book is not available in I-Share?

Step Three: Interlibrary Loan

If the item is not available in the UIUC catalog or through I-Share, then your next stop will be Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery. First, keep your full citation handy -- you'll need it. Second, login to the ILLiad server using your NetID and password. From the ILLiad main menu, select "Request a Book." Be sure to fill out as much of the form as possible, including the source of your citation. This will ensure that ILL can place your request in a timely manner. You'll be notified by email when your item is ready to be picked up.

WorldCat -You can search WorldCat to find books on your topic, which might not be in the UIUC nor the I-share catalog. Once you find a title of interest, you can order it through Interlibrary Loan

Covid Response

During the Covid-19 pandemic the UIUC Library is adopting an e-preferred policy. All of our digital services and collections are running, and we’ll continue to provide access to selected materials from our print collection via the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service and other electronic services. Items that cannot be delivered digitally are available for pickup in the Main Library’s Marshall Gallery or in the Grainger Library Engineering Information Center.

Subject Headings: Why Should I Care?

A subject heading is a special type of category that groups together materials in the Library that share a topic, author, discipline, or particular format. While simple keyword searches are a good start for finding materials, a subject heading search is an advanced type of search that often produces much more precise and targeted results that are often exactly what you need.

The subject headings used in the Library catalog are standardized Library of Congress headings, which may be subdivided by geographic area, chronological period, genre, or sub-topic. The language of subject headings is not particularly intuitive or natural, so you shouldn’t hesitate to ask a librarian for help in finding the correct subject headings.

A good way to find catalog subject headings for your topic is to do a keyword search in the online catalog. For example, let's say you look for "Charles Dickens" and you see the following record in your results:

chaucer record

Look in the "Topics" field: these are the subject headings for this book. The subject headings in the online catalog are hyperlinked, so simply click on the heading you're interested in, and it will automatically launch a search for books under that heading.

It's best to use both fairly broad headings as well as specific ones, in order to make sure you don't miss any relevant material. You'll likely find multiple headings that are relevant to your topic, and you will find a variety of resources if you look at all of them.

Haithi Trust

HathiTrust Digital Library

HathiTrust is a partnership of academic & research institutions, offering a collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world.

Guide for Using HathiTrust

Guide to Using the HathiTrust Research Center

Dissertations