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Religious Studies: Find Books or DVDs

A guide to doing religious studies research in Bonnie Bell Wardman Library.

About this page

This page is divided into four sections:

  1. The Wardman Library catalog, intended primarily for researchers seeking books about a particular subject.
  2. Worldcat, which describes the world's largest union catalog.
  3. LINK+which describes how to acquire a book not held by Wardman Library.
  4. Google Books, HathiTrust, and the Internet Archivewhich describes how to access two online repositories that comprise several millions of books, many of which are available in their entirety.

The Library of Congress has designated several letters to indicate major divisions in religious studies, with double letters denoting more specific categories:

  • BL - Religions. Mythology. Rationalism. Including Hinduism, Jainism, Shintoism, etc.
  • BM - Judaism
  • BP - Islam. Bahai Faith. Theosophy, etc.
  • BQ - Buddhism
  • BR - Christianity
  • BS - The Bible
  • BT - Doctrinal Theology
  • BV - Practical Theology
  • BX - Christian Denominations

1. The Wardman Library catalog, or searching for books relevant to a research topic

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Remember -- Wardman Library's catalog comprises records of books and DVDs held at Wardman Library. If you're seeking articles from scholarly journals, the catalog is not the place to look. Click here to learn how to find articles from scholarly journals.

If you know the title or author of the book (or DVD) you're seeking, searching within the catalog is a simple matter -- simply type one or more of these terms in the catalog's search field, where the default search is "Keyword" or use the dropdown menu to select a different search category (in this case, "Title" or "Author").

Finding relevant books (or DVDs) for a topic about which the researcher knows little is slightly more complicated than simply determining whether Wardman Library has a specific item, but following these steps is a good start:

  • Click here for the library's catalog. (Or, from the library's homepage, click on the purple find books & articles button, then the Library Catalog link.)
  • Start your search with the "Keyword" default. 
  • Use words and phrases you think might describe the information you want.  
    • Using synonyms is a simple way to increase the information you retrieve. To take an example from another discipline, if we were interested in the mating habits of giant squid, we would certainly conduct a search using the terms mating and giant squid, but we might also try reproduction, sex, architeuthis (the giant squid genus), and cephalopod (the giant squid class).
  • From the results list, look at the full description of items of interest. Note the Library of Congress (LC) SUBJECT line of the record to see the assigned subject headings.
  • Click on subject headings that look especially relevant; the catalog lists other books described by these headings. For a more advanced tutorial about how to find books associated with a given Library of Congress subject heading in any catalog, including Worldcat, see the "Researching by subject" box here.

Once you've found one or two books that look promising for your research, an additional way to find similar works is to click on the book's call number, which will place the book in an ascending list of the books around it -- the books with call numbers closest to your book will take up similar subjects. 

Researchers should also remember to browse around a book in the stacks. As books are arranged by subject according to LC subject classifications, the books physically closest to a book in which you are interested may be germane to your topic.

2. Worldcat

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Worldcat
("world catalog") is a union or aggregator catalog, which means that over 70,000 libraries worldwide, including Wardman Library, submit their catalog records to the site. As of 2011, Worldcat contained more that 150 million different records associated with over 1.4 billion physical and digital library items.

Whittier College students can use Worldcat to determine which local institutions have a copy of a particular book (Worldcat uses your IP address to rank libraries by distance), and/or as a discovery tool to cross reference with Wardman Library's catalog.  For those books that Wardman Library does not have, Worldcat can be used to inform LINK+ requests (see next section).

For more information about how to find books associated with a given Library of Congress subject heading in any catalog, including Worldcat, see the "Researching by subject" box here. For more information about how to use Worldcat for research purposes, ask a librarian.

3. LINK+, or "what do I do if I need a book that's not in Wardman Library?!"

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Don't panic. If you need a Wardman Library book that has been checked out, or if you can't find books that are relevant to your research interest in the Wardman Library catalog, you should use the LINK+ catalog.

LINK+ is a consortium of over forty public and academic libraries in California and Nevada; the LINK+ catalog is essentially a "super catalog" whose contents comprise the records from the catalogs of all of these libraries. Via LINK+, Whittier College students and faculty can request an item not available in Wardman Library electronically and it will be delivered within two to four days. The service is free, easy, and extremely convenient. The loan period is twenty-one days with one renewal.

  • There are several ways to open the LINK+ catalog; each takes you to the same place:
    • Click here for the library's catalog. Then, click on the LINK+ link, which is the sixth link in the center navigation menu.
    • OR from the library's homepage, click on the purple find books & articles button. Then, in the REQUEST OFF-CAMPUS MATERIALS column at the right-hand side of the page, click on the LINK+ link, and then the Search LINK+ link after the jump.
    • OR a LINK+ link will always display on the right-hand side of every catalog record and search screen in the Wardman Library catalog: 



  • Once in the LINK+ catalog, search for books by Title, Keyword, Subject, etc., and click on "submit." The LINK+ catalog has the exact functionalities as the Wardman Library catalog.
  • If your title is available you will be able to click on "request this item."
  • Follow the prompts to enter your name and barcode number on your student ID.
  • Items arrive in the library in two to four days and will be held at the Circulation Desk on the main floor for up to ten days. The loan period is twenty-one days with one renewal. The late fees are $1.00 per day.

4. Google Books, HathiTrust, and the Internet Archive

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Google Book Search (below), the HathiTrust Digital Library, and the Internet Archive include more than ten million freely accessible e-books, with full-text searching capabilities. Full-text searching means researchers can discover books using key words and phrases within the text, instead of having to rely on titles, authors, or subject terms as in library catalogs. 

 

Google Book Search