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Non-fiction books are shelved using the Dewey Decimal system, a 10 subject category system,  Each book is assigned a call #, (Dewey number) found on the spine of the book  Here's a few location designations :

BIO + Dewey number = these books can be autobiographies, biographies , memoirs which is a historical or biography written from personal knowledge about a time in a person's life. Find these books in our BIO section

REF = reference.  These non-fiction books cover topics in depth such as encyclopedias and almanacs. These are shelved with other non-fiction books.

FIC = fiction, shelved by the first three letters of the author's last name.

SC = short story collection of fiction

Graphics - special section in library with comics / Manga / graphic novels and non-fiction





The print collection also contains over 6000 EBOOKS from Ebsco and other book publishers. You can access them directly from the online catalog Destiny. Click on the OPEN book link. No password is required on campus . Off campus use the EBSCO login/password if prompted.


Password sheets are available at the circulation desk

Research steps

6 steps to research

1. Define the task :   Select a topic and  identify the information that is required for the assignment.

Do you need information from a variety of resources such as books, databases (newspaper, magazines and encyclopedias) and the internet?  Check the sources available before you make your final topic selection . Always make sure there is enough information available.  

State your topic as a question.  If your topic is too broad , narrow it. Or if your topic is too narrow,  make it more broad.

When is your topic too broad? When there is too much information available and you can only write general statements.

When is your topic too narrow?  When there is little information available during your pre-search, too hard to find information from a variety of resources. Sometimes it's because the topic is too current.

When is my topic just right ? When you can meet the needs of the requirements of the assignment. When you can create an interesting and informational project.

What if I can't decide? Ask your teacher or librarian for help.


2. Information seeking strategies : Identify the keywords (What KEY TERMS describe my topic?)  and create at least 3 sub topics to your main topic.  Do some pre-research. Find information in subject reference books, encyclopedias . Use textbooks to help provide definitions and background information. 

 Develop research questions for your topic and subtopics - What factual information will I need?  What background /reasons will you need to research and include In your project? - What effects or recommendations you may want to add? What comparisons can you make? What judgments support your research? Underline keywords in your questions that you can use as a search term.


3. Location and access : Locate sources and find information from those sources. : books/ebooks, database articles, web sites.  Identify where the information is located. For books/ebooks,  look in the catalog. if it's in print, Use the call # (Dewey number ) to find it on the  shelf.  Ebooks can be accessed through the catalog using the Ebsco login, if prompted.

Reference books (subject specific encyclopedias) can also be used as a source. Just like your topic. If it's too narrow, think in broader terms.

Look at your pre-search, what sub topics or key terms did you list?

Broad vs. Narrow topic search.

Examples of broad topics,  you are searching Steve Jobs and found one book in the catalog and you need more information. You may think about a broader search using reference or ebooks.  Try these  keywords : apple computers, iphone, technology leaders, inventors of the 20th century. You can use the same search in the databases. 

Examples of  narrow to broad search terms






Bethany Hamilton


Rap Music, 20th century musician

Surfing, extreme sports


Bill Gates

J. K. Rowling


Computer scientist, inventor, business leader

Harry Potter series, fantasy writer, British writer


Steven Hawking


Physicist, scientist


4. Use of Information :  Gather information from all sources and select only important information that is relevant to your topic. Take notes 

5. Synthesis : Organize your notes into topic and subtopics.

6. Evaluate :  Look at your final product. Check all your sources. Cite all sources in MLA format.


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Research checklist

Evaluate your research skills. Complete this checklist.

Organizers : 

1.  topics/ subtopics 

2. topics/subtopics

Research Tips

Types of information sources :

Primary vs. Secondary  

articles , atlases, maps, almanacs (published annually, it's a book of facts, (i.e. baseball or world almanac),, books, biographies, bibliographies, dictionaries, directories,  encyclopedias (there are subject specific, i.e. Encyclopedia of the Holocaust and general encyclopedias such as World Book encyclopedia , government documents , handbooks/manuals, statistical sources, and websites