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Introduction to Library Research: Finding Books

Why Books?

Books may be a better starting point for certain topics or subjects...why? Well, a topic such as the causes of World War One will have a lot of books which talk about various aspects of this topic whereas journal articles may be too narrowly focussed.


Is Wikipedia a valid/reliable source for your paper? Usually, your instructor will say no, it isn't, but that doesn't mean you can't consult it to become familiar with your topic. Also, sometimes, there are links to other references which may be useful to your topic.


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Background material

Books, and more specifically, reference books, will give you background information on your topic. They can help you determine if there are certain aspects you want to discuss in your paper. These reference books are also useful since many of them often have lists of other sources (both books and journal articles) on your topic. Use these list to find other relevant sources on your topic.

One of the best tools for finding information in the Libray's collection of reference books is Credo Reference. You can enter your search term in the box below and it will retrieve material from Lakehead's collection (both online and print). There are topic pages to browse through as well. Try it out!

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Subject Headings

A library catalogue record will usually list "subject headings" in a specific record. How can those headings help you? Well, these subject headings usually link to other books in the catalogue which may be useful to you as well.

How do I locate books in the library?

The Paterson Library uses the Library of Congress Classification System. In order to find the books on the shelves, you need to copy down the exact call # and head to either the 3rd or 4th Floor. Books with call numbers starting with A thru L are located on the 3rd Floor and books starting with M thru Z are on the 4th Floor.


Visit us at a Services Desk at your library for quick questions.

Use Ask a Librarian to get online help.

Book a Research Consultation with your subject specialist.

Scan our list of online guides/tutorials for self-paced learning.

Contact us at:

Paterson: or 807-343-8225

Education library: or 807-343-8718

Orillia (University Avenue): 705-330-4008, x2250 or

Orillia (Heritage Place): 705-330-4008, x2252 or