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New Castle Area High School: Search Strategies

Finding a book in the shelves:

If we have a book in print, here’s how you can find it:


Most will start their locating information with “McGill Library General Book Stacks”. You might also see “Oversized” (Some of the moving shelves on the ground floor) “CBB Collection” (Front room by the Help Desk)  or “Juvenile” or “Young Adult”  (Kids room on the left).


Then there will be the library of congress call number- lots of letters and numbers. Here’s how you can chunk that out:


QB (After Q and QA) 981 (as a whole number, after 99 but before 1000) .H (Before .Is) and then 3773 as a whole number again. 2005 is the year of publication.


This image might also provide some more examples:


The top floor has As- Some Es, the Second floor goes from the rest of the Es-PR5799 the ground floor has periodicals, oversized and PR8000-Zs There are signs on each floor and on the stairs (the second floor is especially difficult to navigate), so anyone who works here will be happy to help you track down a book.

Tips to make searching more useful:

* Wildcard. Great for searching multiple words at once (librar* = Library, librarians, libraries, etc.)

" " Quotation marks mean that you will only get results where this exact phrase appears (helpful for book titles!)

Subject headings can be your friend, especially when they show up in the sidebar

Find something good? Track citations to really see the 'scholarly conversation'. (Using google scholar)

Reading and notetaking

Studies for two minutes knowledge is power

You're going to want to approach different types of sources differently. You won't read a website the same way you read a newspaper article. And you read a critical essay or academic journal differently. 

  • If it has an abstract, read that first! Then go straight to the conclusion
    • The "methods" and "results" sections will be less useful. The intro, lit review, and discussion are other good sections to read.
  • Read critically- what is your question or argument? What is their question or argument? What work are they conducting? (Close reading, analysis of historical sources, an experiment?
  • Look up words you don't know- especially if they show up multiple times
  • Taking notes >highlighting