If you can't find your book in our Library Catalog, you should next check to see if it's available from an I-Share Library. To search all I-Share Libraries, switch to "Advanced Search" in our library's catalog, and select the "All I-Share Libraries" radio button.
After you have explored the books available to you here at the University of Illinois, and also at other I-Share libraries, you will want to expand your search using WorldCat:
Subject headings are used to collocate records for works on a common subject under a single, standardized heading.
The subject headings used in the Library Catalog are standardized Library of Congress terms, which may be “subdivided” (made more specific) by geographic area, chronological period, genre, or sub-topic. The language of subject headings is not at all intuitive or natural, so you shouldn’t hesitate to ask a librarian for help in finding the correct subject headings.
A good way to identify subject headings for a topic is to do a keyword search in the Library Catalog using terms you think describe the topic, in order to identify a few relevant books. Look at the full record for those books to see what subject headings were used, then do another search on those headings.
As a rule of thumb, use fairly broad headings, as well as the specific ones that describe your topic, in order to make sure you haven't inadvertently eliminated relevant material that is contained within works of larger scope. Most likely you will find multiple headings to describe your topic, and you should use all of them. You can narrow your search in the online catalog by combining subject headings (as a phrase) with keywords, using the “Advanced Search” option.
*Medical Subject Heading (MESH).
A useful tool for finding subject headings is the Library of Congress's authority file of subject headings. This tool will help you to find related subject headings, as well as broader and narrower headings. For example, if you look under "Homosexuals," you will learn that books on this topic are actually filed under the heading "Gays," and that there are 28 narrower subject headings related to this topic.
You can also use subject headings to find primary sources in the Library Catalog. Use the Library Catalog's advanced search option and include one or more of these Library of Congress Subject Heading form subdivisions in your search:
In order to browse a menu of subject headings in the Library Catalog, you must use the Catalog's "Browse Search":
After a new book is assigned subject headings, it is then “classified” according to the Dewey Decimal Classification. UIUC is the largest “Dewey” library in the world. In addition, we use a system called Superintendent of Documents Classification ("SuDocs") for U.S. government publications (based on issuing agency).
In Dewey, the first three numbers indicate the main subject, and additional numbers are added after a decimal point to narrow the subject. Books and journals on historical topics are usually classified in the 900s, although much of social history gets classified in the 300s, and the history of science, technology, and medicine is classified in the 500s and 600s. Religion is classified in the 200s, philosophy in the 100s, literature and literary studies in the 800s, and the fine arts in the 700s.
For more detail on the Dewey Decimal classification consult the Library's Guide to the Dewey Decimal System:
In the 1960s, many libraries adopted the Library of Congress Classification (LCC), but by that time the University of Illinois Library already had more than four million volumes classified in Dewey. Some large academic libraries began using LC classification for new materials and left their older materials in Dewey, splitting their collection in two. University of Illinois debated this approach in 1979, but decided against it, primarily because of the potential inconvenience to our readers, who would have to go back and forth between the systems. Eventually we did adopt LC classification for Music, Law, and materials in Asian languages; older materials in those collections were retrospectively converted to LC classification. Many newer acquisitions, across all disciplines, are now being cataloged in LCC, resulting in a split collection. For help understanding the LCC, see the Library of Congress's guide to LCC:
The Library now classifies almost all new imprints using LCC, but the historical collection, where you are most likely to find primary sources, remains a DDC collection.
In order to browse the shelves, you need to know this “classification number”. Once you have identified a few books on your topic by doing a subject search in the online catalog, you can browse the shelf under the same general number(s) to find related works. For example, if you know that the book The Evening Crowd at Kirmser's: A Gay Life in the 1940s, has the call number 306.766 B814e, then you could go to the Main Stacks or the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library to browse the shelves under the same Dewey number to find related material.
Sex manuals, for example, tend to be classified between 612 and 613 (with many at 612.6), but also 176 (and here you will find sex education books as well). Some sex ed books (for students) were classified under sex role, 301.424, and here you will also find many books on sex role "disorders."
Below is a list of other DDC numbers that might help you locate relevant books for research in this course:
Because so much of the Library collection is now stored in a high density, off-site storage facility, it's no longer possible to browse the collection as completely as it once was. You can, however, do "virtual shelf browsing" using the Library Catalog:
In addition to the more-than fourteen million print books in the Library, we also have a rapidly growing collection of digitized books. You will find records for these digitized books in the Library Catalog. The digitized books are aggregated into different collections, and you can perform keyword searches within these collections: