On this page
- The Library Catalogue: Search for books, articles, and more
- Print books
- Finding ebooks
- Finding articles: Using databases for research-video
The Library Catalogue: Search for books, articles, and more
The Library Catalogue is a powerful tool to searching SFU library for books and articles, all at the same time.
Most of the books in SFU libraries are non-fiction, but the library also has literature, children's books, and novels. Books in the library are organized according to what they are about.
Call numbers: Finding books on the shelf
A call number is a book's address. Books that are related will have similar call numbers and be located close to one another. A call number must be read in sequence:
- The letter codes are read alphabetically. P comes before PA, which comes before PB
- The first number is read as a whole number and is organized from lesser to greater. 456 comes before 4560
- The four-digit number near the end of the call number is the year of publication
Catalogue search: Finding books on the library website
You can search for a book title, author, or keywords in the Library Catalogue. You can also use the catalogue to do advanced searching. Write down the call number and use a floor plan to learn where you can find and get your book.
You can browse books by subject by visiting the shelves. All books with similar subjects will be close to one another.
Reading books: Strategies for better and quicker understanding
Finding a good book that is related to your research topic is great, but what are you supposed to do if it's 300 pages long? Do you have to read it all?
You do not have to read the entire book front to back. Most of the books in the library are not meant to be read through from the beginning to the end. You can select a section or chapter, and that on its own will make sense.
You can decide what parts of the book to read by looking at:
- The table of contents. This will give you a list of the chapters in the book.
- The index. This will give you a list of important words and concepts in the book and page numbers to help you find them.
- The introduction. Often the introduction will give a description of the parts of the book and an explanation of how the parts fit together.
Paul Edwards from the University of Michigan has written a guide on How to Read a Book which offers more tips and strategies.
The SFU Library has many ebooks. See How do I get ebooks? for more information.
Finding articles: Using databases for research-video
Journal articles are different from books because they are short and specific. You will find journal articles in databases, and you can get to the databases through articles found in Library Search or the Library Catalogue. You can also find recommended databases by subject in the research guides, or by browsing database titles alphabetically or by subject area in the database directory.
A journal is a collection of articles (like a magazine) that is published regularly throughout the year. Journals present the most recent research, and journal articles are written by experts, for experts. A certain level of background knowledge is required, so consult encyclopedias and dictionaries both before and during article research.