Skip to main content

ENG 110: Finding Books

Intro to literature

Finding Books

Use the URI Libraries Search to find historical and critical information on your topic. A Keyword search will retrieve many appropriate sources and will lead you to Library of Congress (LC) Subject Headings which will help focus your search.

In a Subject search, materials relating to genres, periods, and national literatures are listed with the subheading, HISTORY AND CRITICISM. For example: American Literature - 19th Century - History and Criticism. Material on a particular author can be found by doing a Subject search using the author's surname with the subheading, CRITICISM AND INTERPRETATION. For example: Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 1804-1864 - Criticism and Interpretation.

Identifying and locating books on your topic is a simple process.

1. Go to the URI Libraries Search.
  • You can search for books by keywords, subject, title, and/or author.
2. Search the catalog and evaluate your results.
  • Use significant keywords or subject terms to describe your topic when searching, or enter the author or title if you have it.
  • Scan your results to identify citations that seem relevant or interesting.
  • Write down the entire call numbers of books that look useful.
3. Get the book(s).
  • Go to the section of the library that has the books with the call numbers you've written down. Not sure where to go? Stop by the Info & Research Help Desk or Circulation for directions.

Why should I use books?

  • Books are a great source of general information for your research.
  • Books are an excellent source of historical information.
  • Books can vary in their coverage: some are basic introductions, while others offer in-depth coverage of a topic.
What are citations and why should I care?

Citations are short notations that identify a published work. They are found in bibliographies, lists of references, and in databases. They contain all the information you need to identify and track down information.

Here’s an example of a book citation in MLA format:
Marius, Richard and Melvin E. Page. A Short Guide to Writing About History. New York: Pearson Longman, 2007. Print.

And the breakdown:
Author's name(s). Title of Book: Subtitle of Book. Publication Location: Publisher Name, Year. Print.

Additional information will be required if your book is in electronic format. See the style guides for detailed instructions.

How do I cite books correctly?
There are many different citation styles; check with your instructor about which citation style to use. Style guides are available at the Library’s Reference Desk. Limited versions of these guides are also available online, including:


Need more help? Contact a Reference Librarian.


Need help?

Click on the black arrow to open the chat in a new window.

If we're not online, please email us at Please allow 1-2 business days for a response.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.