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Research 101: Finding Books & Ebooks: Reading your Results

Get the basics on books & library catalogs!

How to Read your Results

This 3-minute video (and accompanying guide) will give you a more thorough understanding of your library catalog search results. You can learn about how to locate items, how to request them and how to interpret different characteristics of the item such as format, date published, contents and publisher.

video that explains how to read your search results from the ODU library catalog

Location, Call Number, & Status

Books in the Library

If the item is a book that we have here in the library, you will see the (a) location, (b) call number, & (c) status of the book:

Part of library catalog record showing location, call number, & status

What's this? Click on each to learn more.

The location tells you where the book is located within in the library. Some of those options are:

  • Main Stacks 3rd/Top Floor
  • Main Stacks 2nd/ Middle Floor
  • Reference Stacks
  • A/V Materials
  • Juvenile

The call number is the unique number assigned to the book based on its content and author. ODU Library uses the Dewey Decimal system to number its nonfiction books and organize them on the shelves: Books are assigned a 3-digit number from 000-999 based on the books' content; additional numbers and/or letters are added after that number as needed.

Use the call number to find the exact location of your book. Need help finding a book? Ask a librarian--we'd be happy to help.

The status tells you if an item is available. When looking at a record, you will first want to look for the availability of your book:

  • If the item says AVAILABLE, as in the example above, the book can be checked out right away. [mention tab for doing so?]
  • If the item is checked out, it will say DUE and then the due date will be listed. 
  • The status may also say LIBRARY USE ONLY, which means the item cannot be checked out but you are welcome to use it in the library.

Take the Challenge!

Do a keyword search in the ODU Library Catalog for spirituality and gender, and then answer the questions below; click the links to view the answers.

At the time this guide was created, the keyword search for spirituality and gender returned 48 results. You may have found a few more or a few less.

Screen shot of ODU Library Catalog's list of 48 results for the search for spirituality and gender

At the time this guide was created, the results of the keyword search for gender and spirituality were sorted by relevance. You can see this on the search results screen, under the search bar, next to the number of search results found. You can change that to sort by date or title.

Screen shot of ODU Library Catalog list of results

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