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WRI 135/ 136: Answering the Call

Searching for Books

The Princeton University Library Catalog is the best way to search Princeton's library holdings for books relevant to your topic.

A critical element of a successful research project is assembling the best available source material on the topic at hand. Princeton's holdings are extensive, but there's no reason to limit yourself to our collections if there are sources important for your project that we don't have. WorldCat, the catalog of OCLC (The Online Computer Library Center), is an excellent tool for discovering what's out there on a given topic. WorldCat aggregates catalog records from more than 70 thousand libraries around the world. It holds almost 270 million records and is the closest thing available to a complete catalog of all the books in the world. WorldCat links back to the catalog at the searcher's home institution and will indicate which titles are held in Princeton's collection with this tag . When a title is not in our collection, a request can be made through the Borrow Direct or Inter Library Loan services. In most cases titles can be delivered to Princeton Libraries in 2-3 days.

It's always a good idea to pay attention to the taxonomies and vocabularies the systems you're searching use to classify materials thematically. Princeton Libraries and OCLC WorldCat use the taxonomy Library of Congress Subject Headings to classify and label materials by subject or topic. Sometimes searcher and author vocabulary doesn't coincide, and the hyperlinked subject headings in the online catalog records provide a useful supplement to keyword searches by grouping together materials sharing the same subject matter, irrespective of the title and other labeling vocabulary applied by authors or publishers.