I need to find 3 sources on some topic for my paper

Summon (the search box on the library homepage) searches a wide range of sources and finds books, articles and other useful resources on your topic. So it's a good first place to start.

If Summon doesn't give you what you need, try a subject guide to point you to good search options in your subject area or discipline.

I need to find journal articles / scholarly articles

Summon (the search box on the library homepage) searches a wide range of sources and finds articles and other useful resources on your topic. It's a good first place to start. Plus, it lets you limit your search to scholarly and peer-reviewed journal articles if that's what you need.

If Summon doesn't give you what you need, you can try a subject-specific database for journal articles in your subject area or discipline.

I need to find books on a topic.

If you need only books (not articles or other sources), the library catalogue is your best place to start. Use keywords to search for your topic.

Once you've found some books you want, make sure the Status says "in library," check the Location to see what floor or area to go to, and then copy down the Call #. See "How do I find this book on the shelf?" below for help finding the call number on the shelf.

Ask at the Help Desk on the main floor for help searching the catalogue and finding books on the shelf.

See detailed help on searching the library catalogue.

I have the title of this book, how can I get it?

Use the library catalogue to search for the title of the book. If you can't tell if we have the book or not, try changing the drop-down box from "Keyword" to "Title" and search the title again. If you don't see it in the alphabetical list, we don't have it.

If we do have the book, make sure the Status says "in library," check the Location to see what floor or area to go to, and then copy down the Call #. See "How do I find this book?" below for help finding the call number on the shelf.

Ask at the Help Desk on the main floor for help searching the catalogue and finding books on the shelf.

I have the title of this journal article, how do I access it?

You have a few options. If you're off-campus make sure to log in to the Library Proxy so you can access all library resources.

  1. Search the article title in Summon (the search box on the library home page)
    • Select the article if it's in the search results. You might have to click through an extra screen to be taken to the full article.
  2. Search the journal title in the library catalogue
    • If there's more than one option, choose a link that includes the publication date of your article
  3. If neither of these work, try searching the article title in Google Scholar. You may find an open access version of the article.

If we don't have access to the journal or issue you need, you can request the article through interlibrary loan.

Get more detailed instruction on finding journal articles if you know the title.

How do I find this book on the shelf?

Most items in the library are shelved by Library of Congress (LC) call numbers. They look like this: HD2755.K575

  1. The initial letter(s) go in alphabetical order:
    H   HA   HB   HC   HD   J   JA   JC
  2. The first numbers (before the next letter) are treated as a whole number with decimal, not as individual numbers. They go in numerical order:
    HD277   HD506   HD2755   HD5065
  3. The letter following the decimal point goes in alphabetical order:
    HD2755.A57   HD2755.B46   HD2755.K575
  4. The final numbers following the final letter are treated as a decimal, not as a whole number (yes, this is weird):
    HD2755.K56   HD2755.K575    HD2755.K5754   HD2755.K63

If you have any trouble, ask for help at the Library Services Desk - we're happy to assist.

How do I get something if it isn’t available at Carleton?

If you can't find what you need here, you can get books and articles from other libraries through interlibrary loans (ILL). First, you'll need to register for a service called RACER.

The service is normally free (with a few exceptions). Articles usually arrive in 3-5 days. Books take more than a week.

See full information about interlibrary loans and RACER.

Why do databases tell me about stuff I can't access?

Sometimes you'll find a book or article in Summon or in another database that the library doesn't have access to. This can be frustrating. Why would we tell you about a great source if you can't access it?

There are a few reasons, but in a nutshell: it can be useful for researchers to know that information exists - even if we don't have it at our library. And you can request material from other libraries using our interlibrary loan (ILL) service

If it's too frustrating for you, talk to our Research Support Services staff about which sources to use and how to limit your searches to only things you can access.

Content last updated: June 29, 2018