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How To Find/Research Tips: Books

This guide provides tips on how to use a variety of TCNJ Library resources and services.

How Do I Find Books?

Start at the Library home page and select the "Books & Media" tab. You can then search using Keywords, Author or Title. Alternatively, you can click on More Search Options, which will bring you to the TCNJ Library Catalog. The Catalog lists most materials the library owns including books, magazines and journals (but not the articles in them), videos, audio recordings, and more. The Library Catalog has two main search options: Basic Search and Advanced Search

Library research tutorial

For more help on finding books in TCNJ Library, take a look at the "Find Books" module of the library research tutorial. It only takes about 15 minutes to work through this and it could save you hours in the long term!

Basic Search on Library Catalog

Search by Keyword, Title, Author, Boolean Keyword, Title (keyword or phrase), Topic/Subject, Author/Composer, Subject Heading or Call Number.

  • Step 1. Type your search term into the search box.
  • Step 2. Choose from the search "within" options.
  • Step 3. Click on the "Search" button to perform your search.

 Basic Search Hints

  • In keyword searches, enclose phrases (words you want searched next to each other in a specified order) in double quotation marks (" "). For example, a search for "higher education" enclosed in double quotes finds only occurrences of the two words next to each other in that order.
  • In keyword searches, find multiple forms of a word by typing a question mark (?) at the end the part of the word that remains the same in any form of the word. For example, typing educat? finds educator, educators, educate, educated, and education.
  • Don't include an initial article ("the," "a," or "an") at the beginning of a title.
  • Type last name first for people as authors or subjects, e.g. Clinton Bill.
  • If a subject or keyword search yields no results, try a synonym of the word or phrase you searched initially. For example, try searching "films" or "motion pictures" if a search for "movies" yields no results.

Advanced Search on Library Catalog

The "Advanced" search option offers some very useful features:

  • Limit by "Location": Filter to include items from just one part of the library, such as "General Collection," "Reference Collection," or "Childrens Collection")
  • Limit by "Type": Filter by format, such as "Book," "DVD/Video," or "Music Score."
  • Use a question mark (?) at the end of a root word to truncate. For example, parent? finds parent, parents, parenting, parenthood, etc.