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Library DIY

I Want To Browse Print Books In The Library On My Topic

Books in academic libraries are grouped by subject (as are those in public libraries). The Library of Congress Classification Outline can help you identify call numbers for your subject. Then you can find where the call numbers are in the library.

Since books on your subject will likely be located together, you can also search the catalog (IUCAT) for a few relevant books and then browse the shelves around that book.


Enter 1-3 keywords that describe your topic.

In the catalog, IUCAT, a simple search is usually best to get started. You can then narrow your search from the results page.

Examples: bilingual education; gothic architecture; greek utopias; cochlear implants.

Review the search results page for relevant items. The results page includes basic information on an item like title, publication date, format campuses that have the item.

When you find a relevant book, click on the Title to see the full record.

Screenshot of an IUCAT search results page

In the full record it may help to look at the subject headingsClicking on a subject heading will help you find more books that have been tagged with the same term.

Write down call numbers of relevant books (or text the call numbers to your mobile phone).
Notice when several call numbers start the same way. Your catalog search could lead to more than one call number section. 

When you find your book on the shelf, browse the section for more relevant books. 

Screenshot of an an IUCAT full record for a book (highlights subject headings and call number)