Library of Congress Cataloging
For this assignment, books are going to be a really great help! Art History is an area where there are a lot of great books published about artists and their works, but you have to know how to use the catalog, and how to have books sent to you from other schools.
Start early! Don't wait until the last minute to do your research!
Understanding the Library of Congress Cataloging System
It's probably a good idea for you to know a little bit about how the Library of Congress system works, because you might find that it's helpful to browse through the books instead of searching. Fortunately for you, books about art are conveniently located in the N section of the stacks.
o N : Visual Arts
o NA: Architecture
o NB: Sculpture
o NC: Drawing, Design, Illustration
o ND: Painting
o NE: Print Media
o NK: Decorative Arts
NOTE: Books that have OVERSIZE in the call number, like the one above, are shelved in a separate place!
This is good to understand, because you might find it's easier to browse through the books. You might find there isn't a book that is solely on your particular artist, but you do see one on African-American Painters, or on Cubists, or some other category that has great information.
You can also search for books in the online book catalog. Find the catalog by clicking on the link, or by going to the Holman Library Homepage, clicking "Find", and clicking "Books, Music and Videos".
The great news is that you are not limited to only the books McKendree Unversity owns. You can also request books through I-Share from other schools, and have them delivered right here to campus. Here are some tips on getting the most of your search results.
- Keep it simple! You are probably not going to get a book that compares your two artists, so you will have to find separate books on your artists. There are many different types of books...biographies, criticism, reviews of shows...each can be helpful in its own way.
- Start by doing a search for the artists name. Then, you can do alternate searches on a time period, a movement, a geographical area, etc.
- Check your spelling! If you get zero results for your search, it's possible that you do not have the correct spelling.
- Start your book search early! Other students might be doing similar searches, so it's possible you'll have to go outside of McKendree to find your books. If you start early, there will be plenty of time to have books delivered from other places.
Doing a Search in All I-Share Libraries
Start your serach with the books that Holman Library owns, because those are the books you can get the fastest. But if that doesn't work, simply use the drop-down box to change your search to "All I-Share Libraries" from "Local Catalog Only", and click Find again.
Exploring the Book Record
There is a lot of information on the book record that can help you figure out if this is the book for you.
- The Call Number is how you find the book on the shelves. You can send it to your phone in a text message instead of writing it down.
- The Location tells you in which library the book is located. Sometimes it's a very long list.
- The Table of Contents tells you what is in the book. It lists the names of the chapters, which can give you a clue as to its usefulness. This is especially important to look at when you are requesting books from other libraries.
- The Topics area is the Library of Congress Subject Heading. It tells you if the book is a biography, or a book of criticism, etc. Books that say "Criticism and Interpretation" are going to be very helpful for this project! To find similar books, click the topic you are interested in, and you can get all the books that have that tag.
Creating an I-Share Account
In order to have book sent to you from other schools, you'll have to create an I-Share account. To do that, follow the directions on this guide.
Go to the book catalog, and then click Login.
This will take you to a login page. Click "Create New Account". Follow the directions to create your account.