Finding Books

Find books at the Cornell University Library using the Library of Congress classification system. Use the interactive stacks maps on the Olin & Uris Building Maps and Study Spaces page to locate your book, or use the posted maps available by the elevators and on each floor.

Subject vs Keyword

subject terms= fewer hits & better

keywords= more hits & sometimes worse

A keyword means find the word anywhere in the record -- title, author, notes, description, publisher, etc. (NOT the full text of the book or article)

A subject term is human-made and is designed to help you to other materials of similar topics

Catalogs: Learn to search library catalogs effectively to locate books and other relevant materials

From the Library's home page, click on the Catalog link to search for materials held at Cornell only. The Cornell University Library Catalog is a database that includes records for materials held in Cornell's non-medical libraries. Use the box on the home page for quick searching.

Proviso:You will not find journal articles in the catalog. Only the titles of journals, magazines, and newspapers are listed along with the years and volumes that we own. See the next section for more information about finding periodical articles.

Understanding Library of Congress Call Numbers

Reminder: Books with the Call Numbers A to P are housed in Olin, Q to Z in Uris

What to do if it's not available

If the catalog record indicates that the material is "charged," it means that someone else has signed out the book. You can recall it by clicking on "requests." That takes about two weeks. You can also try to get it through Borrow Direct.

If we do not have a BOOK in our holdings, or if the book you need is already checked out:

Borrow Direct

Click on the link to connect to Borrow Direct, search for the book and if it's available from another Ivy League university, MIT, Johns Hopkins, Duke, or the University of Chicago. We will have it shipped to Cornell. Borrowing period is for six weeks, renewable once. Books arrive in 3-4 business days. (This service is for BOOKS only). Many art books are not available through Borrow Direct, but you would probably be able to get them through through Interlibrary Loan.

If we do not have an item that you need (any item -- journal article, DVD, dissertation, etc.):

Interlibrary Loan Services

If Cornell Library does not have an item you need, Use ILLiad (InterLibrary Loan Internet Accessible Database) to request that we borrow materials from other libraries. Loan period is usually one month. Items can arrive in as little as a few days to a couple of weeks (This service will not work for items that Cornell already owns, but are checked out by other borrowers).