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Smart Student Research Guide

Step 4: Finding Items in the Library
Skip to Step 5: Search strategies and concept maps

To locate specific library materials you must use the catalog. A catalog is a database of all materials owned by a particular library. Through the libraries' catalog you can locate any item that is available either in print or online --including books, movies/documentaries, journals, newspapers, and audio. You can also find the catalog search box on our home page.

This section of the Smart Student Research Guide will show you how to search the catalog and then how to find the items in the library (we’ll also tell you some cool features about the library, too!).

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Call Numbers
All items in the catalog are assigned a unique group of letters and numbers called call numbers. Call numbers are used to classify materials and tell you their locations on the shelf. The McKillop Library (as most academic libraries) uses the Library of Congress Classification System when assigning call numbers to books and other materials in the libraries.

owl For example, for the book The Letters of Virginia Woolf by Virginia Woolf, the call number is listed in the catalog as PR6045.O72 Z525 1975 and the location is Salve Main Collection.

Below is the catalog entry for The Letters of Virginia Woolf by Virginia Woolf:


Notice the LOCATION, CALL NUMBER and STATUS columns. You want to make sure the item says “AVAILBLE” under STATUS otherwise it may be checked-out (you can still request items that are checked-out but the waiting period will depend upon the due date and when the item is returned).
owl catalog


Finding Items on the Shelves
The CALL NUMBER tells you where on the shelf the item is located. Therefore, according to the chart above, The Letters of Virginia Woolf is located in the Main Collection which is located on the 3rd FL.

So, take your call number and head up to the third floor. You’ll see many books on shelves – how will you ever find the one book that you want among all of the others? Easy!

catalog search

The books in the library are arranged according to the Library of Congress Classification System. In the catalog, find the location and call number of the item you wish to borrow. For example, using the catalog record above, To the Lighthouse would be located on the 3rd FL.
catalog search
Finding items by call number on the shelves can be daunting at first, so if you aren’t sure, please ask a librarian for help! We’ll gladly show you how to find books by call number.

The catalog listing for each item includes location, status, and call number information. Items located at McKillop Library have the location Salve. If a book is checked out, its status will list a due date. If an item is not checked out, its status will say available. To find an item on the shelf, use the call number.

Click "see all" and then click the location link in the catalog (e.g. "Salve Main Collection") to view a floor map of that item's location in the library. Click on the Call Number to virtually browse books that match your search result (be sure to check the availability of the book and where the book is located; if it is not a Salve book you will need to request it). Note that books with the location of Salve Reference, Salve Pastore Collection, Salve CurrLib Reference, Salve Special Collections or Salve Newport Collection are for library use only and cannot be checked out.

If you need assistance locating an item on the shelf or requesting a book, please ask a librarian.

catalog search


Request Books from Other Libraries
Did you know that you can request that books from other RI academic libraries be sent to Salve for pick-up, free of charge? Sounds great, right? Read this page to find out how.


Course Reserves
Sometimes a professor may want you to read, listen to or view something (an article, a video, an audio file, etc) on course reserve. There are two types of reserves: physical and electronic.

Physical reserves are item(s) (a book, a DVD, etc) placed on reserve (e.g. “hold”) for you and your classmates to view. To borrow a reserve item, simply go to the front Circulation desk (1st FL) and tell the friendly staff that you need to borrow a reserve item. Be sure you know the name of the class (e.g. ENG 150) and the professor. We will then retrieve the item(s) and check them out to you. Physical reserves are usually in-library use only for a maximum of 3 hours but the type of reserve can vary; be sure you are aware of the lending restrictions before leaving the front desk. Please return your materials on time so that classmates can have their chance to use them. Click here to see items you have on reserve for your class (click on Professor or Course, enter the information and click Submit).

Electronic reserves are electronic files stored online for students in a particular class to use. Click here to access an electronic reserve (click on Professor or Course, enter the information and click Submit). If items have been placed on reserve for your course, you should see them listed. You can click on the name/title of any reserve that says [Electronic] to view the item.

To access course reserves (and some library content such as databases if you are off-campus), you will be asked to enter your name, library barcode number (14 digit number on your Salve ID), and, in certain cases, a password to access reserve materials. Enter your name as firstname lastname (do NOT add a DOT in between). If needed, the password will be provided by your professor. If you do not know your library barcode or are having problems accessing reserves, please call the Circulation Desk at 401-341-2291.


Library Items to Borrow or Purchase
Need headphones? A projector? Highlighter? Memory card reader? Desk fan? Presentation remote?
We've got you covered! Just ask at the Circulation desk.


Library Staff
The (friendly!) information desk is staffed by librarians who can answer your questions – anything from using the printers, finding articles and books, formatting documents in Word – and the front Circulation desk always has friendly staff waiting to assist you. Just ask!



pointNext, we’re jumping back into research by learning some search strategies and how to find books and articles on your chosen topic.

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