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Getting Started with Library Research at Mac


Welcome! Start here to learn the basics of doing library research at Macalester. For additional help you can submit a question or schedule a meeting with a librarian.

Topic Overviews

These databases provide general background information from sources, such as scholarly encyclopedias and dictionaries, used for getting started with research:

Books and Other Materials

Books, and other materials, at Macalester are arranged by subject using the Library of Congress (LOC) call number system. Many libraries around the work also use LOC. This means books on the same topic will be found near each other. See this brief tutorial on how to find materials using LOC. Use Worldcat to find books at Macalester and at libraries around the world. Materials at other libraries can be requested using Interlibrary Loan.


While you may find articles and lots of other materials in Worldcat you can find much more by searching in other library databases. The library provides access to hundreds of different databases that you can use. Some of these databases focus on a particular academic discipline, others are interdisciplinary in nature. Some databases focus on a particular type of resource, such as news, film, audio, primary sources, etc. Research guides can help you choose an appropriate database for your needs.

Here are a selection of interdisciplinary databases that are good places to start your research: