Use OASys (the library catalog) to search for books at Oxy. Keyword, Author, Title and Subject searches are effective for different types of tasks depending on what you are looking for, and what you already know.
Subject Searching can be extremely effective, but is often ignored in favor of Keyword Searching. Try exploring subject headings on your topic to find more relevant results. See more about subject headings in the next box.
Browse the shelves in the library (called "the stacks"). Once you get a call number from a record, and find your way to that area, you are set up to explore other relevant materials shelved around it. General call number ranges and their topics are listed at right.
Oxy can't own everything, so expand your search to look for books held in other libraries. WorldCat (and Link+) are catalogs that search libraries beyond Oxy. Libraries that belong to Link+ or Camino will lend to Oxy students, and requests arrive in 2-5 days. Other libraries may lend you books through Interlibrary Loan but it can take a lot longer for those to arrive (sometimes months).
Keyword searches often retrieve too many results, including materials that are irrelevant to your topic. Title searches, however, can be too narrow and leave you with no results. The answer is an approach that figures somewhere in the middle: Subject Headings. Subject headings are terms (topics, proper names, geographic regions, etc.) that indicate the scope of a book or other resource.
Try it yourself: you can copy and paste these example headings right into a catalog search for LC Subjects.
|BL 1-2790||Religions. Mythology. Rationalism||1st floor, Old Wing|
|BM 1-990||Judaism||1st floor, Old Wing|
|BP 1-610||Islam. Bahai Faith. Theosophy, etc.||1st floor, Old Wing|
|BQ 1-9800||Buddhism||1st floor, Old Wing|
|BR 1-1725||Christianity||1st floor, Old Wing|
|BS 701-1830||The Bible, Old Testament||1st floor, Old Wing|
|BX 2400-4563||Catholic Church, Monasticism||1st floor, Old Wing|