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Orientation to Library Research at Mac: Getting Started with Research


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


Start Here for Books and Other Materials

Books, and other materials, at Macalester are arranged by subject using the Library of Congress (LOC) acll 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 

Start Here for Databases

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 databses 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. Subject guides can help you choose a appropriate database for your needs.

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

Start Here for Topic Overviews

These databases provide general reference sources, such as encyclopedias and dictionaries, for getting started with research.