Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Research Essentials

Finding Books

If you are looking for a specific book:

  • Go to the library home page and enter the book title in OneSearch
  • Select to limit your search to "Wesleyan Books" or "CTW Books" (searching "Everything" will also find book reviews, articles mentioning the book, etc.)
  • If it is a short title or has only common words:
    • Put quotes around the title to search it as a phrase
    • Include the author's name


If you find an:

  • Ebook
    • Click the green "online access" link to access the contents. Functionality will differ depending on the publisher; what you can do with one ebook might not be possible with another.
  • Print book
    • For a book that is "Available at WU" note the
      • library (e.g., Olin or Sci Li)
      • location (e.g., Stacks or Oversize)
      • call number (a series of letters and numbers).
    • See the Library Floor Plans to find where in a library that location and call number can be found.


  • "Available at Trinity or Connecticut College"  (CTW = Conn, Trinity, Wesleyan)
    • Click the title to bring up the full record for the book
    • Click to "Sign In" to OneSearch (in the yellow bar) if you are not already signed in
    • Click to "Request" (n the "Get it from CTW" section) for a list of copies or volumes
    • Make sure "Wesleyan" is the "Pickup Institution"
    • Select which Wesleyan library you want the book sent for you to pick up
    • Indicate your "Not Needed After" date -- "as soon as possible" is assumed, but if we can't get it right away we will keep trying until the "not needed after" date.
    • If you have a questions or requests, you can add a "Comment"
    • Click the green "Request" to finish placing the request

To find books on a specific topic:

Use OneSearch (on the library home page) and limit your search to "Wesleyan Books" or "CTW Books" (CTW = Connecticut College, Trinity College, and Wesleyan).

Start with keywords

  • Think of different ways to describe your topic: note likely keywords to find in titles, descriptions, etc.
  • You may want to use a reference source (encyclopedia, dictionary, etc) for background or summary information on your topic to come up with good search terms.
  • Do several searches with different keywords and combinations of keywords.

Once you find a suitable book or few, you can use it to find more like it:

Click the title to open the full record for the book, and look in the "Details" section for

  • Author
  • Subjects
  • Description

Author - Click the author's name to see if the library has any other books by that author

Subjects - These are standardized subject headings (from the Library of Congress's official list of subject terms) used as tags for books on that topic, regardless of what other terms or synonyms an author may have used. Click a subject heading to find all and only books tagged with that specific heading, or use terms from the subject headings in other keyword searches.

Description - Table of contents, or a brief abstract describing the book. In addition to letting you know more specifically what the book is about, you can find more keywords to search from the language and terms used by the author or publisher.


When you retrieve a print book from the library shelves, look around it on the shelf. Since books are shelved by subject, you might find more like it that you didn't find in OneSearch.

Or, use the "Virtual Browse" function in OneSearch at the bottom of the page for a full record of a book, to see other titles on the same or related subjects.

Not all books in Wesleyan's library are academic, scholarly books. The library acquires many different types of books for many different purposes reflecting a variety of viewpoints, ideas, and perspectives, so do not assume that just because a book is in a university library it is an academic, scholarly source.

But do not assume that a nonacademic book is not useful for an academic paper. For example, a book may provide a valuable perspective from an individual or community that is not well represented in academic work so far.

Here are some things to look for to determine whether a book is an academic, scholarly source:

Publsher - Is it a university or other academic press? (If you are unsure, search online for the publisher's web site or for others' comments or reviews of the publisher and its reputation.)

Author - Does the author have relevant credentials (e.g., a PhD in a relevant field)? Is the author affiliated with an academic or other scholarly institution? Is the author recognized by other scholars in the field (who has cited the book, are there book reviews)?

Bibliography - Look at the book's references. Does it cite scholarly journal articles, academic books, relevant primary sources?

Who has cited the book - Look up the book in Google Scholar. If there is a record for the book, check the "Cited by" link to see whether and how often it has been cited by articles in scholarly journals and other academic books.

Book reviews - On the library home page, look up the title of the book in OneSearch as an "Everything" search. On the results screen, there is an option on the left to limit results to "Reviews" (in the "Material Type" section).

Potential bias - Is the author, publisher, or the author's institution affiliated with an advocacy group, political party, religious organization, etc., that might affect or influence the contents and conclusions of the book?

When you find a print book in OneSearch that is "Available at WU", note the

  • library (e.g., Olin or Sci Li),
  • location (e.g., Stacks or Oversize) and
  • call number (a series of letters and numbers).


See the Library Floor Plans to find where in a library that location and call number can be found. There are also maps in various locations in the library.

Once you are in the right library and location, here's how to interpret a call number:

LD5901.W32 P683 2015

  • LD  --  Letters are shelved alphabetically, with a single letter coming first. So: 
                   L > LA > ... LD > ...
  • 5901  --  The first number is treated as a whole number, five thousand nine hundred and one. So: 
                   LD650 > LD5822 > LD5901 > ...
  • .W32  --  Letters are again alphabetical, but the second number is treated as a decimal, 'point' three two. So: 
                   .W2528 > .W32 > .W6 > .W793 
  • P683  --  Again with the alphabetical letters, and even though there is no decimal before the letter, the third number is also treated as a decimal. So: 
                   P3233 > P683 > P7
  • 2015  --  Date of publication, in chronological order. So:
                   Oh, this one is too obvious to bother illustrating

If a book in OneSearch is listed as "unavailable" -- usually because it is checked out -- you can place an interlibrary loan request and the library can borrow a copy from another library for you.

Click the title to get to the full record for the book and see the options available.

  • Make sure you are signed in to OneSearch:

If the book is at Trinity or Connecticut College. you can request their copy and get the book quicker than via interlibrary loan: under "Get it from CTW," click to "See request options," then click to "Request this copy," then fill out the brief form.

If it is not at Trinity or Conn, click the "Request" option to "Request print copy," then fill out the interlibrary loan form.