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BIO 111 (Southern Wells High School)

Information tips, tricks, resources, tools, and other for APA/Dual credit BIO 111 at Southern Wells High School.

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Kevin Brooks
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Foundational Sciences Library (FB141) &
Health Library (HB101)

Finding books: Tips & tricks

Call numbers

Call numbers are numbers and letters that librarians put on labels to organize all kinds of library materials -books, videos, posters, models, etc. By keeping books and other items in call number order, we can easily find those items. A misshelved book is a lost book.

  • Call numbers are subject-based. Once you find a book on your topic other books on that same topic can be found on the shelves nearby.
  • Academic libraries usually use the LC or Library of Congress system while public and school libraries use the Dewey Decimal system.
  • LC basics
    • Information on a call number label becomes more specific to the book as you move down the label. E.g. QH359 .E57 1988; QH is "biology" (Q indicates physical science), 359 is "evolution," .E57 is the "cutter" and has to do with the author of the book, and, of course 1988, is the publication date. Other lines can indicate whether this copy of the book is a copy (c.3) or a volume (vol. 4) or part (pt. 2) of a series
  • Dewey basics
    • Each subject is assigned a certain broad category number and subcategories can be found as specific numbers beginning with that broad number. E.g. the 500 is "natural science and mathematics" whereas the 575 is "evolution and human genetics" and 573.2 is "evolution and genetics of humankind"

Pre-filter your search

Use the filtering and refinement tools to limit or focus your search before you begin.

For instance, if you want to make sure the book (or article- this applies to them, too) is about your subject, use a title field search. Usually, the search tool you are using will have a dropdown menu from which you can select "title" to search for your keyword or keywords in the title fields of the records.


Think like a thesaurus when you are getting started on something you know little to nothing about. It might take you some time to figure out the terminology being used by the experts in the field.

Try these keywords for the topic of evolution: evolution, natural selection, speciation, species, adaptation, mutation, uniformitarianism, genetic drift, selection pressure, allele frequency.

Books from Other Libraries (Interlibrary loan, reciprocal borrowing, ebooks, etc.)

Most public and academic libraries provide a service called Interlibrary loan - lending between libraries. If your local public, school, or academic library does not have the book or video you need, you can most likely borrow from another library by using this service.

There are also electronic books (e-books) that can be borrowed (access to them will time out at the due date) from public libraries with which you have a membership. You can read them on your smart phone, tablet, or computer. Adobe Overdrive is the software needed to borrow books like this.