Finding Books and Videos
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Yes! For most research projects, you do need some background information. Why? Gathering background information provides you with a solid understanding of your topic and a platform from which to extend your research:
- If you don't know a great deal about your topic, an overview can help you analyze and understand it -- learn enough to conduct good research on it!
- If you are familiar with your topic, background information can help you learn about its history or current methods and areas of research on it!
How Do I Find Background Information?
Two excellent ways to find background information are:
- consult a bibliography of resources
- search a library catalog to identify books on your topic. Library catalogs are discussed in the next section.
Most libraries have Internet accessible catalogs or you may contact them by phone to learn what they may have on your topic. For more information on locating libraries near an extended campus, please see our page on local library information. Our page on accessing other library catalogs can give you additional information on searching library catalogs.
The Webster-Eden Library System is composed of two libraries: the Emerson Library at Webster University and the Luhr Reading & Reference Library at Eden Theological Seminary. The library catalog contains records for all books, periodicals, videos, media materials and other items contained in these two libraries. The search menu is pictured below.
Search options include:
- Keyword lets you search titles, contents, subject headings, and notes for keywords. It's very useful if you don't know an exact title, or want to browse by topic. Enter a couple of words that describe your topic, for example, teacher education. You can also combine topics using the word AND to be more specific, for example, teacher education and computers.
- Title takes you to an alphabetical list of titles. Use it if you know the exact title, or if you know how the title begins.
- Subject lets you search an alphabetical list of subject headings. For example, a Subject search on the word Personality would list all the subject headings that begin with that word (Teacher; Teacher centers; Teacher-principal relationships; Teacher effectiveness, etc.). If you don't know the exact subject heading, do a Keyword search.
- Author lists items written or composed by a person. Type the author's last name, then first name. Capital letters and commas don't matter, but you do need the space between the last and first name, for example, theall, theall michael or just theall m. NOTE! If you are looking for materials about someone, do a Subject search instead of an Author Search.
The library catalog gives basic information about periodicals: years and volumes owned by the library. It does not search the contents of the periodicals. If you are looking for articles, you need to use a database -- see the section of this guide on finding articles. For more help, see our library catalog tutorial.
Each book, video, periodical, CD, and DVD in the library catalog has a record. Records contain the author, title, publisher, call number, and subject information for the items. Here is a sample record:
MOBIUS is an academic library catalog system. It allows patrons to search holdings of Missouri academic library catalogs simultaneously, or to search holdings of individual Missouri academic libraries, including Webster-Eden Library System.
Please contact the reference desk at (314)968-6950 or 1-800-985-4279 if you have questions about MOBIUS or see our MOBIUS tutorial.
In most cases, the books you want to read will not be available full-text online. That is, you can find a citation and call number online, but you still need to locate the book on a shelf in a library to actually read it. The Webster-Eden Library System has a growing collection of books that are available full-text online. These are called eBooks (short for electronic books), and may be searched and viewed online. All eBooks owned by Webster University and Eden Theological Seminary are listed in the library catalog and are available to all Eden and Webster students, faculty, and staff.
Webster and Eden students and staff in the U.S. have a six-week checkout period of materials (a semester checkout for faculty). Within the greater St. Louis area, all students are encouraged to visit the library to check out materials. Unfortunately, we are unable to lend reference books, books on reserve, and rare books in special collections.
Webster and Eden students, faculty, and staff outside the greater St. Louis area may request books and videos owned by the Webster-Eden Library System through the library's Document Delivery service. These will be sent at no charge to home or office. Books and videos cannot be sent overseas due to shipping and time constraints.
If you have questions about borrowing library materials, please call 314-968-5994 or 1-800-985-4279.