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ISF 189: Thesis Preparation : Find Books

Strategies for preparing to write an ISF thesis.

Searching Library Catalogs

oskicat logo Use OskiCat to locate materials related to your topic, including books, government publications, and  audio and video recordings, in the libraries of UC Berkeley. OskiCat will show you the location and availability of the items that we own.

melvyl logo

Use Melvyl to locate materials related to your topic located at other campuses in the UC system, or worldwide. You can use the Request button to request an item from another library, if we don't own it.

  • Using Melvyl (but not OskiCat) you can find articles as well as books, easily format a citation for copying into a bibliography, and see images of book covers, when available. Melvyl will also show you the location and availablity of items that we own.

Melvyl has changed as of January 2012, and now includes many more articles.  Detailed Melvyl help

Interlibrary Borrowing

As a Berkeley student you are eligible to use books and articles from other libraries around the United States. 

Check OskiCat  to make sure UC Berkeley does not own the material you want.

Provide a full and accurate bibliographic citation, including author, title, place and date of publication, and series.  You can get citations from professors, from Melvyl, from other articles, from Google scholar.  Verify your citations before submitting them for ILL.

Using call numbers to find books

Books and journals are arranged on our shelves according to the Library of Congress (LC) classification system. Each is assigned a unique call number based on its subject matter and other characteristics. Items on the same subject will often be grouped together.

Each call number consists of several elements. For example, consider:

TK
7881.6
M29
1993

The FIRST line, TK, is based on the broad subject of the book. Within Class T for technology, TK represents electrical engineering.

The SECOND line, 7881.6, defines the subject matter more finely. When looking for the book, read this as a whole number with a decimal component. In this example, TK7881.6 represents magnetic recording (a subdivision of TK— electrical engineering).

The THIRD line, M29, usually indicates author, but may also represent a further subject subdivision, geographic area, etc. There may also be a fourth line, formatted the same way. When looking for the book, read the numeric component as if it were preceded by a decimal point. In the example above, the numeric part of M29 should be read as ".29" (and the call number TK7881.6 M29 comes before TK7881.6 M4).

The YEAR of publication, such as 1993, may also be present. These file in chronological order and often indicate successive editions of a book. The call number may also have additional elements, such as volume numbers.

In using a call number to locate a book on the shelf, consider each element in turn before moving on to the next segment.

These call numbers are arranged as they should appear on the shelves. In each case, the element shown in boldface distinguishes the number from the preceding one:

Q
76
K26
QA
17
F75
QA
17.1
C98
TK
3
Z37
TK
29
M49
TK
29
M5
1997
TK
29
M5
2007

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