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Library Research Tutorial

Finding Books and E-books

This module will show you how to search OneSearch, which includes the Inver Hills Community College library catalog. When you have completed this module, you should be able to: 

  • Know what kind of resources you can find in OneSearch
  • Know how to limit your OneSearch search results by resource type
  • Find books on a topic using a keyword search
  • Find books by title, author, or subject
  • Identify the location of books and other items in the library
  • Identify a call number and use it to find items in the library

What is OneSearch?

OneSearch is the Library's online catalog or database. It has a record for each of the items that the Inver Hills Community College Library owns. 

These include:

  • Books in our physical collection
  • EBooks
  • Journals, newspapers, & magazines
  • DVDs
  • Music CDs
  • All materials available through our online databases, including reference articles, trade articles, and scholarly journal articles

If you would like to limit your search results to physical books and Ebooks, select Books under the Resource Type section of Refine My Results



Using OneSearch

There are several options for searching OneSearch. You may want to begin by selecting the scope of your search using the drop down menu next to the search bar. 

Here are the five options in regards to the scope of your search

Search option

What it searches
IHCC Library Catalog + Online (default option)  All physical materials (books, CDs, DVDs, periodicals) in the IHCC Library & articles available on IHCC online  database

IHCC Library Catalog  All physical materials (books, CDs, DVDs, periodicals) in the IHCC Library
EBSCO  Articles and books found in IHCC EBSCO online databases.   
All MnPALS Libraries  Materials available at libraries that are part of the MnPALS library consortium. You may often request these   materials through interlibrary loan.
IHCC Course Reserves  Items that have been placed on reserve by IHCC instructors because they are used in class. You can check out   these materials at the IHCC Library Circulation desk. 


Once you've selected the scope of your search, you may want to go into Advanced Search in order to select additional options for searching.                                                   

Here is what the Advanced Search page will look like. As you can see, in addition to having the option to limit by scope, you know also have the option to search by different fields



Here are some of these field options:

Type of Search  What it Does
Any field Searches for items by keywords that may appear anywhere in the item record, such as the title, author's name, subject, etc.
Title Searches for items by keywords that must appear in the item title.
Author Searches for items by the name of the author or creator of the work.
Subject Searches by keywords that appear in the subject heading.

If you simply conduct a search in the main search bar without selecting "Advanced Search, you are conducting a keyword search. 

Use a keyword search when you:

  • Are just starting your search and need ideas for additional search terms
  • Need to combine two or more concepts
  • Are searching for a phrase (use quotes around your phrase for more accuracy. For example: "climate change")
  • Want to see what is available in the library on your topic

Keyword search tips:

  • A keyword search will often get you the most results
  • Use an asterisk (*) to find variant beginnings or endings of a word. For example, a search for "medic*" with include search results for the keywords "medical", "medicine" and "medicinal." 
  • You can use connectors (AND, OR, or NOT) to broaden or narrow your result. However, "AND" is assumed, so you don't have to type it in if you want to do this type of search. 

Subject Searching in OneSearch

OneSearch uses special terms called Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH for short) to organize books by subjects. If you enter your keywords as a Subject search, you get different results than you do when you conduct a Keyword search. 

Recall that in order to conduct a subject search, you will need to select Advanced Search and then limit your field to Subject (see above section OneSearch Searches)

Keyword searches always return more results, but these results may not always be the most relevant. Subject searches are a way to help narrow the search results to items that may be more relevant to your topic, but sometimes your topic may not have a LCSH assigned to it.  

In short

  • The advantage of a subject search is that it provides a more focused search. 
  •  The disadvantage is that it's hard to know what LCSH term will be used for a topic.

Subject searches are useful:

  • For finding information about someone or something. To search for books about a person you can enter their name in a Subject search. For example, you can search grace lee boggs.
  • To find books about an organization or company, enter the organization's name as a Subject search. For example, you can search general mills.

Where to Find Physical Books in the Library

Once you locate the record of the item you'd like in OneSearch, you can use information in the OneSearch record to find out if the book is available in the library and to locate the item on the shelf. 

  • Available   Items that are not checked out will be marked Available. You can also see where in the library the book is located next to the "Available" label.
    • Circulating Collection means the item can be found on the bookshelves alongside the library tables, organized according to call number. 
    • Reserve Materials See Circ Desk means that the book is shelved behind the circulation desk, where you can ask to check it out for a short period of time, usually for in-library use only. Talk to a librarian or library staff member to check out these books. 
    • New Materials Shelf See Circ Desk means the book is shelved with either new non-fiction or new fiction. Ask at the circulation desk for help finding these books.
    • Reference No Check Out means the book is shelved in our Reference section in the back of the library. These books can be used in the library but cannot be checked out. 
    • Inver Hills Community College Library Periodicals means the item is a magazine or journal. The most recent issue will be shelved in the Periodicals section; talk to a librarian or library staff member to find out how to access older issues. 
    • DVD Circulating Collection -- DVDs are shelved alphabetically by title in our DVD section. 
    • Music CDs Circulating Collection -- CDs are shelved alphetically by artist and organized by genre in our CD section. 


  • Not Available usually means the item is checked out. You can usually see when the book is due back to the library. 


  • Call number: Write down the call number. It acts as the "address" of an item in the library. 

Ask a reference librarian or a library staff member if you need help finding your materials. 

Accessing Ebooks

If you know you want to use an Ebook, you might try searching our Ebsco Ebooks collection. 


Requesting a Book Through Interlibrary Loan

As an IHCC student, you can request books from other libraries in our consortium. To find out how, see our interlibrary loan tutorial

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