The aim of this guide is to provide instruction on finding books, primarily using the UBC Library catalogue. It also provides directions for how to find books on a library bookshelf using call number and other location information, which you will find in the catalogue record.
You can also use our Summon search service, accessible through the “General” tab on the UBC library homepage, to find books. See Summon Help for more information.
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Scholarly books are ideal information sources to consult in the early stages of research when you are looking for an introduction or overview of your topic. While journal articles can help you find more targeted information or a specific study related to your research area, books provide a more comprehensive overview, and may analyze a number of related studies. Additionally, because books include sub-topics, they may assist you in narrowing a broad area of interest into a narrow or more manageable research topic.
✔ Are in-depth and cumulative studies of a topic.
✔ Include more contextual and historical information than other information sources.
✔ Are longer than other works (typically over 100 pages).
✔ May be republished in new editions to account for further research.
✔ May be available in print or electronically through UBC Library.
Books typically take longer to write and publish than other scholarly materials, which means they offer more complete coverage, but may be less current than sources like journal articles, newspaper articles, or websites.
For more information about evaluating sources, visit our Evaluating Information Sources guide.
If you need further assistance with finding books or other aspects of research, our librarians are here to help you:
Get personalized help - phone, e-mail, chat or arrange to meet with one of our subject librarians.
Visit a reference desk - Every branch has staff to help you. Check out our reference hours and visit a reference desk today!
Call a librarian - Call the reference desk at any one of our many library locations.
Email a librarian - Fill out our handy online reference assistance form.