Find Books

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Finding Books

Books are found using LibCat. The library has both print and ebooks. Use the link for your campus on LibCat.

  • LibCat only searches limited information about books: title, author, subject, maybe table of contents. When you find a print book on the shelf, make sure to look at the books around it; since the books are shelved by subject, you may find other books on your topic nearby.
  • Although the titles of ebooks are listed in LibCat, you can search within the text of ebooks if you go into the ebook databases (on the library's home page, choose the link for your campus, then select “Ebooks”).
  • Items that instructors have placed on Course Reserve will not be found through a regular LibCat search. You must select the “Course Reserves” search option in LibCat after entering your search terms.

Unlike Google, LibCat works best with keywords, not sentences, so instead of “How does nutrition impact a person's health and weight?” use just the big idea words nutrition health weight in the search box.

You can also search LibCat for a specific title or author.

  • If you aren’t getting many results, check out the Searching Techniques page and try some truncation or phrase searching.
  • If you’re getting too many results, try limiting your search to just the Title (rather than “anywhere in the record”) or do an Advanced Search within the Subject field.

An Overview of LibCat is available.

Finding Only Print Books

If you want a physical book that you can borrow, LibCat results list can be frustrating for some subjects, because so many of the newest books are online. Approximately 32% of books listed in LibCat are online, so beware that looking for only print books means searching only two-thirds of the book collection.

However, there is a way to search for only print books in LibCat: on the results page, select “Held by library” in the left-hand column under “Availability.”

When you find a title you want, select it to see the full record.

  • You'll need to note both the collection (e.g., General, Hawaiian, READ) and the call number (GV 1796.H8 H67 in the example shown) to find the book on the shelf. The collection tells you where the shelf is in the library and the call number tells you where the book is on the shelf. More information about understanding call numbers.
  • Library floor maps indicate where the different collections are.
  • If an area isn’t open (e.g., Hawaiian Collection), take the title, collection, and call number to the Circulation Desk for library staff to retrieve items for you.

Reference Books

A great place to start your research is the Reference Collection on the 2nd floor (Main Level), right behind the Information Desk. These books can’t be checked out, but you can use them in the library to take notes or photocopy/scan pages. Many encyclopedias have lists of references, i.e., other books and articles on the topic.

Some of the books are broad in scope, but many are subject-specific, like the 5-volume Encyclopedia of Anthropology, the 34-volume Dictionary of Art, the 16-volume Animal Life Encyclopedia.

Additional subject-specific dictionaries and encyclopedias can be found in the General Collection: search your topic and add the word dictionary or encyclopedia (one at a time!) to your search in LibCat.

Ebooks

Some of our online book collections (Ebook Central, EBSCO) cover a wide range of topics while others specialize in business, engineering, environment, psychology, pharmacy - check out the descriptions below for more information!

One great thing about ebooks is that you can search within the text of ebooks!

Be sure to choose the link for your campus! (Some not available to Hawaiʻi CC users outside the Mookini Library.)

Ebook Central from ProQuest

  • Ebook Central (Hawaiʻi CC access)
    Ebook collection from ProQuest of almost 200,000 full-text academic titles. Search within the complete text of each title. Access is online from any web-enabled computer. Create an Ebook Central account (not required) to download books for offline access and other features. Titles also listed in LibCat.
  • Ebook Central (UH Hilo access)
    Ebook collection from ProQuest of almost 200,000 full-text academic titles. Search within the complete text of each title. Access is online from any web-enabled computer. Create an Ebook Central account (not required) to download books for offline access and other features. Titles also listed in LibCat.

EBSCOhost eBook and eBook Public Library Collections

Encyclopædia Britannica Online

Gale Virtual Reference Library

Covering arts, business, education, environment, global studies, history, law, literature, medicine, politics, science, social science.

Dissertations and Theses

Research hint: dissertations and theses have great lists of references!

  • Dissertations and Theses from ProQuest (Licensed for UH Hilo users only)
    Online access to full text of doctoral dissertations and graduate theses from universities around the world, including all campuses of the University of Hawaiʻi.

Business Expert Press

  • Business Expert Press (Licensed for UH Hilo users only)
    Collection of full-text ebooks on a variety of business topics.

Searching Tips

Unlike Google, library databases work best with keywords, not sentences, so instead of “How does nutrition impact a person’s health and weight?” use just the big idea words nutrition health weight in the search box.

  • Be aware of how the database is sorting the results - some sort by the newest, others by "relevance," which is defined differently by each database.
  • Phrase searching will keep two or more words together to create a concept:
    • “quantum theory”
    • “multiple personality”
    • “marine biology”
  • Do you need peer-reviewed sources? Many databases let you limit your search to retrieve only peer-reviewed articles.

Too many results? How to limit or narrow your search:

  • Does the database allow you to limit your search terms to only the title field to retrieve more relevant results?
  • Does the database allow you to limit your results to a certain geographic area?
  • Does the database have a standardized list of subject headings that are used to tag all books or articles that are on the same subject?
  • In JSTOR, if you are getting too many “Review [untitled]” results, you can use the Advanced Search to specify retrieval of only articles rather than those book reviews.

Too few results? How to expand or broaden your search:

  • Does the database have a standardized list of subject headings that are used to tag all books or articles that are on the same subject? This may show you alternate search terms to try.
  • Try synonyms - woman, women, feminine, female
  • Truncation is used to find variations of a word ending:
    • Hawai* {note only one i} will find Hawaii, Hawaiʻi, Hawaii's, Hawaiʻi's, Hawaiian, Hawaiians, Hawaiiana
    • navigat* will find navigate, navigating, navigation, navigators
  • Wildcards allow you to find variations within a word:
    • wom?n will find woman and women
    • organi?ation will find organization and organisation
Warning
Different databases use different symbols! You must check the Help area of each database to know what to use. For example, some use a ? for truncation and % for wildcard, while EBSCOhost uses a * for truncation and ? for wildcard.

Boolean Logic allows you to craft a more effective, efficient search to find books or articles on your topic faster. See our Advanced Search page to find out how Boolean logic operators AND, OR, and NOT can greatly improve your searching.

Where in the Library?

Step One is using LibCat to find some call numbers for books that you want to look at.

Step Two is finding where those books are:

  • Make sure the book is available at UH Hilo. You can request books from other libraries.
  • You need to know what collection the book is located in:
Collection Where in the Library
Folio A-G Oversized books too large for the regular shelves. Shelved after General A-G.
Folio H-Z Oversized books too large for the regular shelves. Shelved after General H-Z.
General A-G 2nd floor (Main Level) (near Hawaiian Collection)
General H-Z 1st floor (Lower Level)
Gov Docs 3rd floor (Upper Level)
Grand Folio A-G Oversized books too large for the folio shelves. Shelved after Folio A-G, which are after General A-G.
Grand Folio H-Z Oversized books too large for the folio shelves. Shelved after Folio H-Z, which are after General H-Z.
Hawaiian 2nd floor (Main Level)
New Books 2nd floor (Main Level) (in Coffee Bar)
Paperback 2nd floor (Main Level) (near Scanners)
READ 2nd floor (Main Level) (near Print Station)
Reference 2nd floor (Main Level) (behind Information Desk)

Understanding Call Numbers

Most of the books in the library are shelved according to a letter-and-number system called Library of Congress Classification.

This 2 min. video explains how call numbers work:

There’s also a chart showing the major subject classifications used in Mookini Library.

Helpful Hint
What call numbers do is shelve books according to subject, so when you find one book on your topic, look at the books on the shelves around that one: there are probably other books on your topic nearby.

Please don’t hesitate to ask at the Information or Circulation Desk if you are having trouble finding books!

Get This Mookini Item

The library will get books (no DVDs) from the shelf and hold them for students, faculty, and staff.

  • Just go to LibCat and log in with your UH username and password.
  • Find the title you want.
  • Select Request Specific Copy from the "Get this item" section. You will not see this option if you are not logged into LibCat.
  • Select UH Hilo as the pickup location.
  • The item(s) will be available within two business days. You will be notified via your hawaii.edu email when your request is ready and item(s) must be picked up within 7 days.

Loans from Other Libraries

If we don’t have access to the book or journal article you’re looking for, you can request the article through our Loans from Other Libraries service. Not all items can be obtained. Fees and restrictions may apply.

Renew a Book or DVD

Renew books and DVDs through LibCat: Sign in at the upper right corner of the screen.

Book-a-Librarian Service

Did you know you can make an individual appointment with a librarian? Get help with finding and evaluating books, journal articles, and credible websites.