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Research Guides

Guide to Research in Special Collections: Identifying materials: books

This guide will show you how to search Special Collections materials.

Indentifying materials: why it matters

When you make an appointment with us, you will be asked to provide information about the items you wish to view. If you are requesting a book, the most important pieces of information are the call number, and volume number(s) if applicable

Call numbers describe where an item is physically located so library staff can retrieve items for users. Providing the call number when requesting books helps ensure we can retrieve them in an accurate and timely manner.

Some books exist in multiple volumes. In this case specifying the volume number(s) is important so library staff retrieve the correct item(s). This is especially important when books exist in many volumes.

This page will walk you through how to locate call numbers and volume numbers for books using the library catalog. If you still have questions after reading this page, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Identifying Materials in the Library Catalog: Call Numbers

When requesting a book in Special Collections, we ask that you include as much information as possible, namely the call number as seen circled here in the library catalog record. The call number is how we locate books within our collection in order to pull materials for users.

Identifying Materials in the Library Catalog: Volume Numbers

Some books held in Special Collections contain multiple volumes. When that is the case, we ask that you specify the volume(s) you are interested in. The title of the volume can be found under the "Description" header in the library catalog record as circled below.