Learning the basics about how to navigate the Library website and find books on the shelf is the first step in understanding how to do research. These lessons will provide you with the tools to begin using the Library.
Note: Click the accordion titles to open and close.
The Library website is packed with useful information. To learn more about how it is organized and which quick links will take you to our most commonly used pages watch this brief video:
Links and transcript from the video:
Once you’ve found a book on the library website, there is important information you need to write down to find it on the library shelf. The record of the book gives you information about where the book is located. For example, look at the following record information:
This is the information you need to locate a print book in the UBC Library system. There are several libraries on campus with many floors. Writing down this information will help you to locate the physical book once you are in the library.
UBC Library has multiple branches. Every book record will display which Library branch(es) has the book you are looking for. In our example, the location is Koerner Library.
In our example above, the catalogue shows that the location is Koerner Library stacks, with a call number starting with PN. This means that you need to first go to the Koerner Library branch and then make sure you look in the “stacks” part of that branch, on the floor which has the PNs.
Note: most UBC Library branches have:
Each library also has signs and floor plans that show the location of stacks/reference/course reserve areas, and explain which floors contain which call number ranges. You can always ask a staff member if you need help.
Read call numbers line by line. Each piece of information directs you to a group of shelves, to a row of shelves, and then to the shelf that has your book.
Call numbers begin with letters that are read alphabetically. A call number can begin with one, two, or three letters. Single letters come before double letters, for example:
The second part of a call number is a whole number. Whole numbers are arranged from smallest to largest, for example:
The third part of a call number is a letter followed by a number. This number is a decimal number. Decimal points do not usually appear on books, but they have been added in the example below to emphasize that the number here should be read as a decimal:
The books below are in correct order.
For more information about finding books, including eBooks, and books on Course Reserve, check out the Library guide to finding Books.