Research Coach – Find Materials

Find Materials

Step 1: Review the 'Beginning Your Research' section

If you are unsure on how to begin finding information on your research topic, please review the 'Beginning your Research' section of the Research Coach.

Step 2: How materials are classified and arranged

Classification Systems

Most academic libraries use the alphanumeric Library of Congress Classification System to arrange materials on similar topics physically together on the shelves.

Call Numbers

Materials are assigned a call number to indicate subject content and location.

The call number is usually on the spine label.

Examples of call numbers


Library of Congress Subject Headings

To avoid confusion about how to describe the subject content, most academic libraries have agreed to use the subject headings as proscribed by the Library of Congress.

  • Catalogers determine the subject content and then assign subject headings, using words that best describe the subject(s).
  • Catalogers use a resource called the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) to assign the subject heading(s).
  • A resource can be assigned more than one subject heading.
  • Being familiar with subject headings can help you locate very specific resources on your research topic.
    The multi-volume Library of Congress Subject Headings are located in the Library's Reference Department.

Examples of Library of Congress Subject Headings

Civil War, U. S., 1861-1865 Common Shares
Use United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 Use Shares

SuDoc Classification System

Publications from all United States government sources are assigned call numbers by the Superintendent of Documents in Washington, D.C., called SuDoc numbers.

Unlike the Library of Congress classification systems, the SuDoc system is based on:

  • Department or agency
  • By subject content

The Library's Government Documents collection on the second floor.

Examples of SubDoc numbers:

A 1.1:
HE 5.524:
S 4013
SI 6.2:
Am 3/4
Y 4.AG 4/2:
E 2/6

The first line of the SuDoc number indicates, in alphanumeric code, the department and the agency responsible for the publication and the type of publication (annual report, periodical, handbook, etc.)

The first line ends with a colon.

The second and subsequent lines identify the individual publication.

Step 3: Search Strategies

The most common approaches to searching a catalog are:

Author Enter the author's last name to locate material by that author. Corporate authors (American Psychological Association) are also included.
Title Enter as much of the title as possible.
Keyword By using this option, the catalog will search several "fields" that contain the search term(s). Be Aware— you may retrieve titles that are not relevant to your initial search!
Review the results of the search. Determine the title(s) that best meets your research needs. Once you have the catalog record available, look at the Subject Heading.
This is where you can also locate the Library of Congress Subject Heading term(s) that best describes the subject content!
Subject This is where you enter the Library of Congress Subject Heading term. The multi-volume Library of Congress Subject Headings are located in the Library's Reference Department.
Step 4: Use the catalogs to locate materials on your research topic
Pacific University Boxer Search The Library's various collections include:
Archives/Special Collections
Main (circulating) Collection
Reference materials
Reserve materials
United States Government documents
Regional Summit Summit is a library consortium composed of 30 Oregon and Washington college and university libraries.
Worldwide WorldCat WorldCat has over 46 million catalog records.
The WorldCat catalog includes:
computer data files
computer programs
films and slides
musical scores
sound recordings
titles of magazines, journals, and newspapers
Step 5: Write/print your results

Learn more about citation styles.

Step 6: How to locate the material in the Pacific University Library

With the Call number, you are able to locate the material on the Library's shelves. If you need assistance, please ask at the Circulation or the Reference Desk.

Please have your current, validated Pacific University ID card so you may check out the material.

Step 7: How to obtain the material if not available in the Pacific University Library
Try this First Boxer Search If you used another catalog, please check for that title in Boxer Search first.
If the book is not available at Pacific University, you can obtain the book using one of the following methods in the next columns.
Try this Second Summit catalog Try the Summit catalog automated borrowing feature.
Once you have your book citation in the Summit catalog, click on Request this item link
You will need your PUNet ID to complete the borrowing process.
You will be notified by E-mail that the item has arrived at the Pacific University Library so you can pick it up.
The book will be held for you for 5 days, then it will be returned to the original library.
Try this Third WorldCat Try the WorldCat catalog to retrieve the catalog record and then lick on the ILL icon.
WorldCat will attach the citation information to your request, which is then submitted electronically to Pacific University's Interlibrary Loan Department for processing.
Try this Last Pacific University
Interlibrary Services
Complete a Pacific University Interlibrary Loan form.
You will be notified by email that the book has arrived at the Pacific University Library so you can pick it up.
Step 8: Evaluate the materials